Visiting India for the very first time can be a bit overwhelming: there are 1.25 billion people here that speak more than twenty two official languages, not to mention that there are a few hundred other regional languages spoken as well.
Sure, visiting India can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you’ll start visiting some of the most popular tourist attractions here, you’re going to understand why so many people love this place. In order to help you out with having a great time when visiting India, below we’ve come up with a few tips that’ll help you enjoy your time here.
While Goa is indeed one of the most popular places in India, it’s recommended that you get off the well trod Temple Trail of the North and go south. You could very well aim for Kanchipuram which is one of India’s seven sacred cities. There are thousands of ancient temples you can visit here and many of them are not only grand, but also majestic and historically rich. Kanchipuram is also known as Silk City and that’s because the women here make some pretty amazing saris and hand woven fabrics.
Take your shoes off In India feet are considered dirty so that is why if you touch something you shouldn’t touch with your feet, you’re going to get frowned upon a lot. Probably one of the most common situations where you’ll need to take your shoes off is when you visit a temple. However, unlacing and lacing your shoes every single time you visit a temple can be pretty tiresome, so that is why it would be better if you just choose to wear some sandals instead. On top of that, given the fact that sacred cows and other animals usually live near the temple grounds, it’s certainly a good idea to avoid walking barefoot.
Relax with some Ayurvedic massage Flying for 12 hours straight or even longer can be very tiresome for anybody, so that is why when you’ll finally arrive in India one of your first stops should be an Ayurvedic massage. If you don’t know too much about it, Ayurvedic medicine is a very ancient, but also holistic practice that helps soothe pains, aches and it can also rejuvenate your soul and body. During the massage, the massager will use steam, oils and herbs in order to help you relax.
Keep in mind that in India, men are massaged by men and women are massaged by females. Ride the rails, but don’t forget to read the large print Many people say that you won’t really get an idea of what it’s like to live in India unless you hop on a train. While you’ll find a lot of signs in English, there are also some which are in Indian. However, if you ever see the words Auratein or Ladki on any of them, keep in mind that they are only for women, so you should not take those trains. Routes in India vary quite a bit and there can be at times, differences of up to ten hours in travel time. The trick is that the longer you ride the train, the more you’re going to end up paying for the ride. To avoid such situations, always make sure to read the India Rail Time Table at www.indianrail.go.in.
Last but not least, no matter what you plan on buying in India, it’s always a good idea to barter. In fact, bartering is extremely common in India and most people there do it automatically. Rule of thumb: if you’re planning on buying something from a vendor and he says the price is 1000 rupees, you should never pay him more than 500 rupees and make sure you start negotiating at 250 rupees.
If you’re in the popular Crawford Market in Mumbai and you pay the vendor the asking price, then you’re certainly going to get lots of pitying looks. But no matter how many of them you’ll get from people, the vendor is still going to happily take your money.
Visiting India is an adventure in itself and in order to make sure it’s going to be one you’ll certainly love, it’s best that you keep these travel tips in mind. By doing so, you’ll avoid getting lost and ending up wasting time trying to find your way instead of visiting popular tourist attractions.