6 Invaluable tips for the first timers to India

India is a land of many wonders. May it be architectural or natural, India has something for everyone. If you visit the northern part of the country, you find the mountains, and on the western side, you have one of the largest deserts in the world. If you move to the south, the sea will greet you with open arms. Thus, if you are planning to go for a pretty long trip in a country with diversity, India would make a perfect choice.

Whenever one travels to a different country, what one faces apart from the hassle of passport and visa applications is a cultural difference. The rules, mode of life, the way of thinking all vary in different countries, and when it comes to India, a country full of not only linguistic but also cultural diversities, these factors vary from region to region. Thus, it is best to get to know the country better, or at least read up about it a little before you make your travel plans. If you are planning your first trip to India, then here are 6 tips that will help you in the planning and preparation:

  1. Decide what you like

India is a vast territory to cover. If you want to see the whole of it, you would need at least a good year to travel from north to south or vice versa, that is, if you want to get to know the country that you are visiting. As mentioned before, India has much natural as well as architectural diversity. So you have to make up your mind as to what you would like to see the most. If you want to explore the majestic Mughal architecture, then you will have to take a different route. If you want to experience the beaches and soak in all the glamour, then you would need to take a different route. If the temples call out to you, you would need another plan. For example, if you want to visit the wonders of the Mughal architecture, then make Delhi your base. Move around the city and then travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. Then you can book a car or take a train to Rajasthan, where the forts are bound to mesmerize you. The myth about Rajasthan is that every corner has a fort and the truth is, it does! You can also visit and even spend a night in the deserts in tents. You can also take a trip to the hills if you want from Delhi. Get as many brochures you can and decide which place appeals to you the most and accordingly make your travel plan.

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  1. The best time to visit

India has a demanding climate, especially for a traveller. The best time thus to visit, would be the winters. Even if you decide to go to the hills where temperatures do drop down below freezing points at time, then also, it will make your journey less tiring. So it is best to plan your trip then.

  1. Rest is as important as travel

There are a lot of things to cover when it comes to visiting India. Even if you cover everything in your original plan, you will always feel that you have left something out. However, travelling can be taxing, especially when the roads are pretty much made up of potholes and the weather can get demanding at times. So plan out your rest accordingly. Take a day off at least after 7 days of travel, at a place which you think best suits your need, rejuvenate yourself and then head out again the next day.

  1. Eat right

Every country has developed eating habits mainly according to the climatic conditions. When you travel from one country to another, there thus occurs a major shift. So, it is very important to eat right. Indian food is known to be spicy. Though these hot, spicy delicacies are something that you would want to eat every day, keep a check. Give your stomach some rest and time to adjust to the new kind of food. And avoid street food at any cost. You can indulge in occasional gorging of street food like phuchka (in Kolkata), Pav Bhaji (in Mumbai) and aloo chat (in Delhi), but do not make it a daily habit. Also drink bottled and purified water for your own safety since the largest number diseases here are water-borne.

  1. Do not get into trouble

You will come across people, who will help you, while, at the same time, you will come across people who will mislead you. Especially, if they realize that you are not native to India, they would want to cheat money out of you, especially taxi drivers and roadside shop vendors. Do not fall for their act. In order to avoid it, do a thorough research online before coming and learn the tricks to avoid it. Just as it is important not to fall for expensive deals, it is equally essentially to not go for really cheap ones. Keep away from dark alleys and sly faces. It is always best to stick to the main road, within the crowd. That way you will be safer.

  1. Passport, money and contact number
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Keep your passport and visa with you all the time. If need be, carry a sling bag or buckle a pouch where you should have all your important travel documents. And always have some extra cash. Since it is a foreign country, you never know what you might get into the next moment; hence, it is important to have money with you. Always have a contact number ready at your disposal. Make sure that you have the phone number of a known contact in the city that you are visiting. If you do not know anyone in the city (which is most often the case), then have the embassy’s number with you, so that you know that help is just one call away.

Follow these simple guidelines and you are all set to experience the beauty of this culturally rich country. And no matter what season it is, do not forget to carry sunscreen, your shades and a hat, ‘cause, we bet, you will need them. All in all, in the end, you will know that every trouble that you took to visit India has been worth it.

Rahul Sharma

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