Beautiful, crazy, Chaotic, mindboggling, hypnotizing, overwhelming, and unforgettable.
That is how you might have heard of India, it is all that and more but to truly enjoy the experience and ensure that you don’t get into trouble or hurt local customs and get into awkward spots it is important to understand the culture. Of course this article won’t be able to cover it all as Indian culture is so diverse but you will get an idea and of course the locals will always be there to help from the Jovoz team to guide you whenever you need assistance.
Language – A common misconception foreigners may have is that Hindi is the main language, but especially for those going to the south like in Bangalore, Hindi is not all that prevalent. Learning local language, at least the basics will keep you in good stead while talking to the locals. In metros you will be able to cope in English though.
Royalty – You will be treated as royalty when you are travelling on the streets. This is because street vendors and beggars will perceive you as the rich foreigner with a lot cash to spare. Make sure your local friends who you meet help you with standard exchange rates. Once you are able to figure that out you will have a wonderful experience enjoying the attention you attract as you smartly deal with them.
Indian English – There is such as Indian English, a term like ‘loose motion’ is used to explain an upset stomach. Indian English has a distinct localness to it which adds to its uniqueness. Absorbing this might take a little bit of understanding and don’t hesitate to clarify when someone tells you something which doesn’t make too much sense as what you have understood and what was implied might be totally different.
Temples – The most beautiful temples exist in India. You will find the experience deeply spiritual. But also keep in mind the cultural intricacies. Removing your footwear before entering a temple is a must and wearing clothes which cover your body are ideal. Wearing shorts might be not be a good idea. Respecting religious sentiments is very important as India takes its religion very seriously!
PDA – Even though India has become quite liberal and you will find lot of youngsters walking around holding hands and indulging themselves it is advisable to a foreigner to not indulge in Public Displays of Affection. This might catch unnecessary attention. Certain places like discos are more open and relaxed about such things but as a norm it is better to abstain from PDA.
For your eyes only – It might be a little uncomfortable in the beginning as you will observe that Indians on the streets might stare at you a lot, regardless of your gender. Foreigners are a unique entity still for many even though millions of foreigners have settled in India. This might be considered invasion of private space in the West but that custom is almost non-existent in the teeming country of India. Most of the time this is just a friendly curiosity which makes them do so. If you smile at strangers they are most likely to smile right back at you. Ensure you maintain your safeguard, safety comes first, but don’t worry too much about this gesture!