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Travel Guide

India is a wonderful place, you will enjoy the scenic beauty, rich culture, engrossing traditions there, but India is a country with enormous internal diversity. Same as other countries in the world, there are travel taboos in India which cause extreme offence and lead to an immediate negative reaction in India. Although most local people are very tolerant to foreigners, it’s wise to be mindful of local customs, learn the following travel tips, and follow Indian Dos and Donts before travelling to Indian in order to avoid getting in trouble or seriously offending someone.
India Travel Taboo
Ears in India are considered sacred, pulling or boxing ones ears is a grave insult. India Donts
  • Do not offer to shake the hand of a person of the opposite sex unless they offer first.
  • Do not walking over books and paper, even newspaper or even touching them with your feet, as Indian people treat books as a metaphor for the Goddess of learning.
  • Do not use the same hand for eating and also for taking food from a common dish on the dining table. Indians believe other people’s saliva is unhygienic. Tasting and taking a sip from others’ glasses is regarded as violation of private space. If you need a spoon, you will need to ask for it or bring one along. Typically, people eat with their (right) hand.
  • Do not breaking temple rules while on a visit to a temple. Feet, particularly shoes/sandals, are considered unclean, always take them off when entering a temple (except in some Westernized, urban congregations).
  • In some temples tourists are not even allowed to walk into the most holy areas with their shirts on! Do not touch anyone or receive/give anything with one’s left hand, as the left hand is only used for one’s “morning business.”
  • Do not drink any alcohol or smoke in public. It’s offensive.
  • Do not hunt, as killing wildlife can get you in serious trouble. Do not hurt a cow, as many Hindus consider the cows are holy, and are offended if they are hit by strangers.
  • Do not discuss religion, especially with Muslims who form 11% of India’s population. Do not make comments of ridicule or disrespect toward the society or any religion. People are very resentful of Western (ignorant) judgments.
  • Do not do any public preaching or handing out of tracts, and that kind of activity is prohibited when you are in India on a tourist visa
  • Do not visit areas in the extreme north or north-east, as foreigners, especially west Europeans and Americans are at risk to be hostaged by terrorists in those areas. The other areas of India is safe for everyone.
  • Do not buy food from roadside stalls or mobile canteens. Do not drink local tap water, drink bottled water only. Do not eat fresh fruit and vegetables that you cannot peel.
  • Do not take offers of spiritual salvation and magic remedies from saints, godmen and quacks. There is no way you can distinguish the genuine ones from the crooks.
  • Do not try to explore Indian road yourself, nor to drive in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads.
  • Do not ever purchase air, rail or bus tickets through strangers or unauthorized travel agents or tour operators. In any case avoid persistent touts and taxi-wallahs at airport/stations/bus stand to help you find your hotel. Always use tourist assistance desk for proper advice.
  • Do not hire any type of transportation from unlicensed operators. In case of taxis and auto-rickshaws, try to hire them from the pre-paid booths if possible. Otherwise, insist on going by the meter or set a fare in advance to avoid being over charged.
    India Dos
  • Do dress modestly . No sleeveless blouses, no short skirts, no shorts, no low, loose collars and men do not wear shorts in religious or rural area.
  • Do prepare yourself at the earliest. Indian traffic and roads are hapless.
  • Do greet people with big smile. Handshake with ladies especially in rural areas should be avoided.
  • If possible do cover yourself with travel insurance for thefts, loss and medi-claim. Do exchange money only through authorize banks or money changers
  • Do immunized yourself against various diseases like typhoid, malaria, hepatitis and tetanus that are prevalent in India. Do take whatever medications you need in ample supply.
  • Do bargain with half price when you buy things from roadside stalls or hawkers, but do not bargain in proper shops especially where display “fixed price” signs.
  • Do make sure to remove your footwear when visiting a place of worship or mausoleum.
  • As customary, do bring some small gifts as hostess gifts and as presentations to one’s students, it can be as small as a postcard from your home region.
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