What to know while traveling to India?

Advice – Shaking the head to say yes and no, Swastikas in temples… Even the most populous country in the world has its own codes, which it is better to know before going there.

India It’s easy, you just have to take the first plane to Delhi and there, do the same as in the West. No. India is the world’s most populous country: 1.4 billion inhabitants, 22 official languages, an area six times the size of France. A “subcontinent” where no region resembles another. We usually say that India is shaking, shaking. This is true. Traveling to India requires preparation, at least minimal: documents to obtain, rules to understand, scams to avoid. Here are some traditions to know about.

Visas and…Special Permits

It is better to know in advance: India requires several documents from French travelers. first a visa The rules for achieving this keep evolving regularly. the best ? Make your request VFS Global, partner company of the Indian Embassy in France. In addition to visas, special permits are required in some areas of Sikkim, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Ladakh. All these states have one thing in common: they share a border with China or Pakistan. Please note: It is very difficult to know the exact areas where these permits are required. But Ladakh For example, you can move around without a permit in the capital Leh, but not in the Nubra Valley. Often, these permits are easily obtained from local travel agencies.

Indians shake their heads to say “yes” and… “no”

At first we did not understand whether it was yes or no? After a few weeks…we still don’t understand. Indians nod their heads when they answer you, but not like the West. At home we shake our heads up and down to say “yes” and left to right to say “no.” Indians swing their heads like a pendulum to interpret all of these together: “yes”, “no”, “probably yes” and “probably no”. To understand, you have to pay attention to two elements: the swinging speed and the position of the eyebrows. The higher the eyebrows are raised and the faster the head is moved, the stronger the agreement. But youtube Humorous video will help you understand.

indian hospitality

When you are invited to an Indian home, the table is usually covered with biscuits, dry fruits and tea. No choice: you have to taste. While you drink your tea, your host will refill the tea for you. If you don’t want it anymore, stop drinking it. If you are invited to eat, remember to wash your hands before sitting at the table, Indians do this systematically. If you forget, we will show you the way to the sink. Also remember to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home.

expect some scams

It’s a classic: you get out of the airport, you give the taxi the address of your hotel, but the driver tells you that the establishment is closed and offers you another room somewhere else. Don’t believe a single word of it and don’t solicit or call another driver. There are variations on this scam: Are you looking for the tourist office? Oh no, they’re out of business, buy these tickets instead. These lies have only one goal: to make money in the form of commission for the person who wants to take you somewhere else.

Be prepared to be (very) in demand

In big cities it happens that stubborn passers-by follow you for several minutes.
capture_space – Stock.adobe.com

Are you a western tourist? People will stop you to exchange a few words and take photos with you. If you’re white you’ll feel like a celebrity. In big cities it happens that stubborn passers-by follow you for several minutes. Some people just want to chat, want to be interested in you. Others eventually offer to come to their business or travel agency. Disbelief. To greet someone, you say “Namaste” (hello and goodbye) with your hands folded in front of your chest as if you are praying.

Indians drive on the left, but…

Indians drive on the left. It seems. In fact, vehicles share the road with pedestrians, cows and vehicles. There is an atmosphere of chaos in the city: the locals are moving in the wrong direction, moving in all directions. Driving in India? An unnecessary risk: choose to rent a car with driver, safer but also… cheaper than ordinary cars.

No, Indians are not Nazis

We see it everywhere, in Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries, as pendants: this little cross with four hooks, each arm bent at right angles. Yes, Swastika, Swastika. Indians are clearly not followers of the Third Reich. This symbol has been used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism for over a millennium. It is a symbol of peace and hope. The word “swastika” comes from Sanskrit (the language of Hindu and Buddhist religious texts) and, depending on translation, means “conducive to well-being” or “to be upright.” Adolf Hitler used the Swastika as a symbol of Aryanism. This version differs slightly from the original: on the Nazi flag, the cross is tilted 45 degrees to the right.

Begging: to give or not?

People on the street, children, handicapped. They live and sleep on the footpath, begging. Their number is in lakhs. Going to India also means facing extreme poverty and being asked for your wallet. By giving, you risk attracting other beggars and this can quickly become difficult to bear. Some solicitations are scams: The money you give to a child may end up in the trafficker’s pocket. Travel experts recommend offering food instead of cash. Should it be given or not? There is no correct answer to this question.

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