India is perhaps the most vibrant country in the world. It has thousands of forts, tens of thousands of mosques, and hundreds of languages among more than a billion people.
The reasons to visit India are endless – its culture, monuments, people, cuisines, spirituality, festivals, hills, beaches, rivers, and so on.
But before you embark on the journey to India, there are a few things that you should know to have a safe, comfortable traveling journey.
Planning on a trip to Singapore? Or planning to rediscover Singapore? Find out everything you need to know when visiting Singapore with Your Muslim Visitor Guide to Singapore and the Lifestyle Guide to Singapore for Muslim Travellers!
Not knowing what different gestures mean might land you in trouble. You might not be able to understand what the locals are trying to tell you. Or you might unknowingly offend them by doing something that you believe is totally normal.
In India, nodding can mean many things. Nodding up and down means yes while nodding from side to side means no. What someone is trying to convey by nodding depends on the context. A head nod can also indicate approval, understanding, or interest.
Indian culture in general, not just specifically Muslims, considers the left hand unclean. Try not to shake people’s hands, pass things to them, or eat food with your left hand. It is not considered to be positive. However, this is a custom and not a strict rule. If you are a left-hander, you do not need to worry about doing everything with your opposite hand.
Cattle are considered holy in Hinduism. Beef products are usually not found in most restaurants and any food chains, especially in northern India.
As a tourist, it would be better for you to stick with chicken, lamb, fish, and other seafood dishes.
A clueless tourist can be an easy target for a scam.
Taxi drivers can scam you by pretending to have never heard of the hotel you plan to stay at.
They might also suggest that the hotel has shut down permanently. Their aim is to convince you to stay at another hotel that pays them to bring in business. It is best to have the address and contact information of your hotel to confirm and avoid being scammed like this.
Another way in which tourists are scammed is by being offered tickets by fake tourism agencies.
Scammers might approach you to sell railway or other transportation tickets that are actually of no use when you get to the station.
To protect yourself from being scammed, make sure that you know enough about the journey that you are making. Information about India’s railways and local transport is easily available online.
You might also be approached by hawkers trying to sell you things and services that you do not actually need.
As a tourist, you will be approached by many hawkers who will try to sell you things for prices way above what they cost.
You will also need to know how to bargain when you visit one of the many local markets in the country.
Bargaining is completely normal and even expected while shopping in India. You can easily negotiate with vendors by asking for a lower price until you reach an amount that is reasonable for both parties.
If you feel that the price being asked is too high, simply thank the vendor and start walking away. Since they do not want to lose a sale, most vendors will settle on the price that you wanted. If you pay more than what something is actually worth, it might make you an easy target among other vendors as well.
Most tourist attractions around India are closed on Mondays. The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays as per Muslim custom.
Be sure to double-check whether the place that you are planning to visit is open on that particular day or not. It is also advisable to find out their opening and closing timings and how you can get there.
While visiting any religious place in India, it is better not to wear short sleeves, shorts, or skirts. It is also advisable to carry a headscarf and wear shoes that you can easily take off. Many religious places will require you to be barefoot as a sign of respect.
Most places have counters where you can safely keep your shoes while you are inside. But you still have to beware of your shoes getting stolen or misplaced. You can always keep your shoes in your backpack if you are concerned about them getting stolen.
A trip to India is life-changing for many people. It is a place with people, history, culture, and spirituality like no other.
Now that you know what to expect during your journey to India, you are ready to have the best experience that you can!
You can also check out the various blogs on Halaltrip to know more about Indian destinations.