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India Culture - Some Advice

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Pazooh, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Pazooh

    Pazooh New Member

    So, I've seen quite the amount of posts asking about different parts of the culture of India. Whether it comes to the dress code, language, food, customs, etc., people want to know more about it.

    As some of you know I'm planning a trip to India, so I did my fair bit of research on all of this, which is why I'm writing this post.

    This is just a little helpful information I came upon my Internet research, and I've decided to share it with you, because I've noticed that people were interested in the topic.

    Obviously, anyone can join in with their own advice, questions, etc., this is a forum after all.

    You'll have to excuse my writing style, I'm no writer or a journalist. :)

    • India doesn't have a unified culture. The most common advice I found on this topic. India is a mixture of languages, customs, food, festivals, holidays, etc. If you will be travelling the entire country, it's highly likely that every day will be a whole new experience. This is one of the "selling points" if you ask me - multiple experiences for the price of one! :)
    • In the lines of the previous point, there's a huge difference between the older and younger generations. It's nothing unusual to have a conservative parent and his modern children in the same room.
    • The contrast between huge cities and small, poor villages is gigantic. And those high and low classes live almost next to each other. This is why India seems so cheap to foreigners. Because of this unique social structure you can spend a huge budget or a small one, depending on your preferences.
    • Indian people are less individual than us (foreigners). Parents play a huge part of their children's lives and most businesses are tailored for families. Basically, family is the building block of the society of India.
    • People on the streets are very open and willing to talk to strangers.
    • There's no "NO" in India. This one baffled me the most, and I ended up loving it. You have to try and avoid the answer "no", unless it's a really, really harsh negation. So instead of saying "No, thank you, I don't want a burger.", you say "I just ate, thank you".
    • There's no rush in India. Everything has its relaxed pace, and that's the best way to experience the country.

    Obviously, all of this is what I READ, not experienced. So I'd like someone to confirm or deny these, and add their own as well. :)
    Ange Maroya likes this.

  2. btalivny

    btalivny Member

    India loves to embrace foreigners. One thing that should be noted is that there are some locations which are not allowed to be visited by non-hindus such as some temples and holy places. These locations are CLEARLY marked usually in a large metallic blue sign. Due to the clarity of these signs which are written in a multitude of languages, there is no excuse to trespass in these areas. Overall, the people are extremely kind. To most outsiders, it almost feels as if they want to scam you or use you for something other than to just assist. It is actually quite the opposite and a majority just want to help enthusiastically. Just be careful because there will always be a few bad in the large population. Most customs in India are becoming as western as possible with the concept of hinduism being intertwined into daily society. Overall, have fun, you will love it.

  3. travelguide

    travelguide Active Member

    Absolutely, India has diverse culture and beliefs. Unty in the midst of diversity is one of the uniqueness of India. I think that is one of the reasons why India is evolving as a major tourist destination nowadays. Moreover, in India you can see a lot of historical places built by ancient rulers. They have also contributed to this diversity factor.

    Yes, in India everything is related to family and it has a major role to play in everybody's life. But with regard to food, I suggest you to avoid it from strangers especially during journey because there can be people with some bad intentions too.
  4. moondebi

    moondebi New Member

    The conception, in a broader way is more or less similar as you have read. Still, there will remain a huge gap between reading and having the practical knowledge.

    With a fair amount of homework you may land up to the country, but it may happen that after one or two interactions or incident you changed your opinion to a large extent. It is difficult to know a culture in a few days. As oppose to your idea of people’s eagerness to talk to the strangers, you may find that some people are not at all bothered even if you ask for a help, especially in the metros.

    India is indeed diverse, diverse in every aspect.
  5. nemanjanp

    nemanjanp New Member

    Couldn't agree more. While all the countries do have diverse cultures and belifes (some less and some more), only rare ones like India have such a strong unity like India.

    Regarding the food, that's pretty much the rule in every place you are going to visit, and such rule stands even for your own country. Don't eat and suspicious places people! And even if it's not suspicious, always do a double check. Ask other people if the place is good, check it online on google and social media.
  6. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Member

    I think the practical experience of travelling in India is a little different, it really is a diverse place and different regions can feel like different countries, different parts of the same city can even feel like a different country sometimes. I find good advice is always to be polite and respectful to your hosts. The friendliness in India is legendary and can be a little disconcerting to those from other Western countries. The best way to understand India is to soak in the atmosphere and experience as much as you can while you are there.
  7. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I found the part you mentioned about not saying no really interesting! I think that would take some getting used to, because here it's just so acceptable to say no. I'd have to consciously be thinking about rephrasing it like in the example you shared. I love that it doesn't feel rushed there. I think those are often the best vacations, because you return to your home country feeling relaxed and refreshed.
  8. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    It seems funny to me that people plan a holiday to India or like the thoughts of India, usually because of the people, the culture and the diversity but then they're also the things they worry about the most.

    While obviously nobody wants to go to a foreign country and upset the people or show disrespect to the culture, but India is now a popular tourist destination and so I think people are a lot more relaxed and wouldn't expect tourists to know everything about their different ways and customs.

    While it's always nice to find out, it's nothing something I'd worry too much about, or let it put me off going altogether.
  9. vegito12

    vegito12 Member

    I have seen in movies from India that when it comes to driving no one is stressed out as everyone seems to know when to give way and pass safely, people are friendly and social class is a major thing in some parts and can mean who you can interact with. I think people need to learn about any sacred places like temples or holy places, as these areas may be blocked so tourists don't go there and only the locals can go there. It is interesting to see the places you can visit and also need to be aware of the cultural views in the area you visit so read about the places you plan to visit before going there.
  10. innaf93

    innaf93 Member

    I would comment to the rush one: it's more like the mentality is different, like in every culture. But if you are in a busy city in rush hours, then yes, it can be crammy and rush-y too.
  11. misskrystal1982

    misskrystal1982 New Member

    Very interesting! There were a number of points you made that I had not really thought about. I think part of the fun of visiting different countries is the ability to learn about the different cultures and see how different other people live. Sometimes, though we can inadvertently be considered rude. Nobody ever wants this, and it's great to do a little research before taking off on an adventure in a new place.
    pwarbi likes this.
  12. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    You're right when you say that half the fun of travelling is about sampling the different cultures, and while it's good to see different countries and explore the historic places and view the scenery, travelling is also about exploring the different people as well and finding out how they live.
  13. ellajanelle

    ellajanelle New Member

    Thank you for this! I was especially interested with the fact that there's no NO in India. This just shows how inclined they are to being positive. I love it :) Also the fact that there's no rush. The main issue with busy cities nowadays is that the people tend to be more and more unfriendly because they're always busy or in a rush. I think this makes India more attractive to tourists.
  14. bharat soni

    bharat soni New Member

    yes many of your research is 100% true. in india we say food clothes and language changes every 100 miles it is that much a diverse country with loads of tourist destinations. try to plan your trip to india in December month because india is a very hot place during summer and very humid during rainy seasons so if you want to enjoy winter is the best time and that month is also known as the wedding month try to attend an Indian wedding you will really enjoy it.i have a different opinion about rush in india most cities of india are very crowded so there's plenty of rush in most part.
  15. sillyllucy

    sillyllucy Member

    Thanks for narrowing down all that you have learned on the forum! I love the idea of collective learning and you just proved that with your points. I like to think of India as being a diverse culture and no one is going to have the same experience. It is great to ask beforehand, but your travels will be unique!
  16. Ange Maroya

    Ange Maroya New Member

    Wow! This is a very interesting post. I have never been to India but I have a very respectable friend there. We went to the same school in Nigeria. Now, I recognize that if I ever go to India, "No" shouldn't be in my lexis ;). Everything you revealed above is pretty original to me. Accordingly, I'm just going to say "thank you" for these inordinate advices and facts :).
  17. xeylonfm

    xeylonfm New Member

    Now I have been to a lot of new and different places and there are some basic rules that could be backed from an anthropological standpoint to be rudimentary. First of all you need some kind of contact, some native individual who fully understands you and you can understand him. This individual will be the key to unlock all the differences that you may find in this new placed. Another thing, you will need a very welcoming and composed demeanor that portrays friendship as well as respect for the new people and their culture. This is where most people always go wrong and end up in a lot of problems. Don’t act the foreign and enlightened hero, act like you are willing to learn and shake hands with new people. Please don’t show disgust. You can comment about it but don’t show it. It will paint you entirely with repulsion. Have respect even to the lowest people of society. Never look upon people that seem miserable and therefore may not hold vital information. You may not find any fun ahead. These principles have worked for me and I hope someone can pick them as they tour beautiful India and the Indian subcontinent, definitely a land you cannot miss.
    Chahal likes this.
  18. djordjem87

    djordjem87 Member

    I herd about multitudes in India. I guess the vast country like that cannot have anything else in the back yard. I can't wait to go there and by reading the posts i guess i need to go there because i would really want some nice people around me for change. I read somewhere here that foreigners will assume they are being scammed. It is just saying about them. If you are a con artist you will look everyone with those same eyes. Anyway i believe what i read on this forum and i also confirmed these thing from other sources. I think people in India deserve much more but that is life. I do not like the fact foreigners cannot go in in some places. That is very single minded rule. i would really like to find out more about culture and history but that is a law that limits everyone. I guess they had a good reason for having it.
  19. naiara

    naiara New Member

    Most travel guides usually recommend the very same things, don’t trying to do too much in too little time, visit smaller villages, take it easy on the food, be respectful, watch the way you dress, and be prepared for noise. I would talk to someone who went there and ask advice, India is an amazing place. As long as the traveler is smart and respectful everything will work out just fine.