It is just not possible to write a post and tell all that we lived in India wile travelling the “Golden Triangle”. Not in vain is probably the biggest and longest guide always to purchase. So my bet to give you the “Top tips” about our experience in India and how to love it better.
I have travel to India, along the Golden Triangle, on October 2016 for my honeymoon. This journey was my wife Marta and I dream. We have been to Asian South East before, but India was the one great destination for us. And he have enjoy a lot, we have come to love this country and their people, the beauty of the colors, the charm and welcome, the spiritual richness that embrace every single corner…
So, what to expect from the next lines? I just hope that I can come along with some “Top tips” for your future journey to India. You must prepare your senses to some of what you are going to see, to smell, to feel, to live… since the very first step out of the plane.
I’m sure this post will help and encourage you to travel to India. As Marta says, and is most important TOP TIP: “India is a huge wave, you can either let the current bring you to a wonderful place or stress yourself fighting against it”.
Remember that you are about to read our personal experience and learnings, with all the humble of a “back packers – low cost travelers” that love to understand and learn cultures as much as their sunsets or monuments.
So here are my 8 TOP TIPS for INDIA!
1- India is a different country.
I hate the term “third world”, or “developing” country. I am sure you will have hear about misery in India and kids cover with filth and hunger… You must understand where you are, and that to our European Standard based brains, this country is like a shock therapy. This Top tip is about: Do not bring your colonizing spirit with you on your travel, trying to put European expectations or order in what you see.
2- They life as they drive.
“Good brakes, good horn and good luck” is what they say while driving. People going the wrong way, no respect for lines or queues at all, any maneuver is possible… things that on our standard driving will cause a problem with the police, stress and start swearing and yelling to each other, for them… is normal traffic. As our driver says and take this Top tip from him, “you do not know how to drive in India, I do not know how to drive in Europe”. This driving chaos can be comparable to the way they life in the streets. No apparent order, no respect for “personal space” as we have it in Europe, street is as good for walking as for sleeping or cooking… Be in a que, and be sure that people will get in front of you at any chance… is not that they are being cheeky, is just they work things other way.
3- No violence at all.
The constant use of horns or yelling to each other is more an “I’m coming” advice, than a show of temper or anger. They do not show any violence, and will not understand if you get angry for some reason that is not really important… and furthermore, they will blame Karma for what has happened and they know that if someone does something wrong to them… Top tip is: Karma will payback.
4 – They respect every life.
So is easy and perfectly normal to go along a street and see dogs, pigs, cows, monkeys, rats and any other animal that for us is “wild”, but not for them. They are just animals, and since they have not been threaten by hunters, they have adapt themselves to the city. You will have to adapt to them, might be the hardest Top tip!
5 – It is a cash world.
In every commerce you will find difficulties to pay with a credit card, they will always say there is bad connection or technical problems. This happened to us even in the airport, and the waiter told me to go out to a cashier. At the end it turn to be that they had 2 credit machines working… so on restaurants and shops (not street markets), Top tip: insist on paying by card.
6 – Happiness through resignation and patience.
Think about it, since you are born you have settle what will your work will be, cast are removed from the system, but still this is a very traditional country with a huge respect for traditions. This means that there is not much you can do to improve your opportunities in life, same as concert marriage, still on a very high percentage. If since you are born you realize that there is not many expectations you can add to your ambitions, also there will be rare few frustrations. This is also part of their lives and with this, comes patience and resignation, and many says that is the reason of why they are happy. Therefore, the Top tip in the words of Chárvaka “in this life, just be happy and eat goat chesse”, and he was not the spiritual kind of guru.
7 – Nice beautiful people.
They are! And they dress with beautiful colors and traditional dressing. India is a time-frozen country, they have adapted their traditional clothing to new fibers and styles, but the sari is the most common cloth you will se. They perfectly know how is the European style, but this does not mean that will not be shocked when they see you wearing shorts on the street, or a shirt with no sleeves… they will stare and look to you, and this might be uncomfortable, further more on the coast at the beach. The Top tip from this is to understand that same as you find them beautiful and amazing and you will find yourself looking at a child with a color full sari playing on the street, you will be stared back for showing your legs and shoulders. Also in many temples they ask for a correct clothing to enter, lots of the visits will be to Muslim monuments and mosques.
8 – Be respectful.
You are not on a safari. There are many traditions that will cause your curiosity and you will love to take a picture, but control the impulse. For examle, you will see people bathing on Ganges, and there are many reasons for that: bath for the joy of it, bathing on holy waters, or might be also because is part of the ritual for moaning their resent lost. In any or the other I do not think they will like to have you take pictures of them wile bathing… How do you feel if someone takes picture of your family at a public swimmingpool? India is a very traditional country with lovely, mystical and amazing traditions from centuries ago. Just put it this way, the more strange it looks to you, the more important and old the tradition is for them. Basic and most important traveler Top tip ever: Respect them, you are not on a safari, or ask permission!
I think this are the most important “Top tips” for loving India. Leave your standards behind. Do not try to look through a European glasses or you will feel a constant aggression to your senses, sounds, tastes, colors and you will not enjoy at all.
Do not try to compare or judge, just live and try as hard to understand the way of living and why things are as they are, you will love the contrast, the people, the experience and after all this is what will make it a great journey, if you are just for the pictures, will not be able to leave your European shoes at home and will not interact with the culture, the country, the food, the people… you will rather see a TV documentary of India.
If you are the kind of “getting involve” tourist, be ready for the experience of your live!
Enjoy your slow travel, thanks for reading!