Essential Hindi for foreign travellers

Hindi is an Indo-European language which its roots in Sanskrit. It is spoken widely in India; in fact, it is thought that more than 60% of the population of India are able to speak Hindi or at least understand it. It is one of the many official languages and is the national language of the Republic of India. Hindi is the official language of the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

Hindi for Travellers
Hindi for Travellers

Learning Hindi is perhaps beyond the scope a traveller but it’s quite possible to learn some words and phrases. Although, leaning Hindi is not that hard at all but English speakers might find it a little challenging since Hindi has 11 separate vowels and 35 consonants.

But don’t let this trouble you; most Hindi speakers don’t speak the standard Hindi anyway. I myself speak Hindi with a Bihari accent which is sometimes subject to ridicule in India. My personal opinion is that the worst Hindi speakers are from Delhi itself.

A little local knowledge can go a long way. Here’s some the common Hindi phrases and words that you must learn if you wish to communicate with the locals in India, at least in Hindi speaking regions of India.

Some Hindi phrases and words useful for travellers to India. Listen to me speaking in Hindi, pay careful attention to the pronunciation. If you want a complete list of Hindi words and phrases for your travels to India then you might wish to buy “Essential Hindi Words And Phrases For Travelers To India” on Amazon.

The basics

Hello = Namaste or Pranaam
Morning = subhah
Night = raat
Left = baiye
Right (direction) = daiye
Yes = haa
No = nahi
Good = accha
Today = aaj
Tomorrow = kal
Temple = mandir
Local = desi
Time = samay
Okay/good/whatever = thik hai
Stop= ruko
Please = kripya
Thank you = dhanyevad or shukriya
Sorry or Excuse me = maaf kijiye


Tea = chai
Sugar = cheeni
Water = pani
Chapattis = roti
Rice = chawal or bhaat
Food = khaana
Breakfast = naasta

Greetings in Hindi

What’s your name = app ka kya naam hai
My name is Shalu = mera naam Shalu hai
How are you = aap kaisi hai
I am fine = mai thik hu
We’ll meet again = phir milenge
I am going = mai jaa raha hu (male); mai jaa rahi hu (female)
I am from America = mei America se hu
Nice to meet you = aap se milke khusi hui
How’s your family= aap ka parivar kaise hai?

Hindi phrases when shopping in India

Any discount = daam kum kijiye
How much or what is the cost = kitnay ka hai
This is expensive = yeh bahut mehanga hai
Bill please = bill de dijiye
What happened = kya hua
I want a ticket = mujhe ek ticket chahiye
How much is this = ye kitne ka hai

Out and about

Let’s go = chalo
Go away = chale jayo
Get lost = chal bhaag (just in case if you want to use it)
Please take me to my hotel = kripya mujhe mera hotel le chaliye
I need a taxi = mujhe ek taxi chahiye
I don’t know = mujhe nahi malum
Who are you = aap kaun hai
I understand = samagh gaye
Where is the toilet = toilet kidhar hai
Leave me alone = mujhe akela chhor do
I am coming = mai aa raha hu (male); mai aa rahi ho (female)
What are you thinking = aap kya sooch rahe hai
How to get to the station = station ka rasta bataiye

Hindi numericals

0 = shunya
1 = ek
2 = do
3 = teen
4 = char
5 = panch
6 = cchhai
7 = saath
8 = aath
9 = nau
10 = dus

Those wishing to travel in India should learn a little Hindi to let the locals know that you are not new to the place and mean business. (Here are more Hindi words and phrases).

If you want me to translate anything into Hindi then ask below in the comments. Alternatively for a professional Hindi translation services of any kind use PoliLingua that deals the most challenging translation project whether its website localization, transcription, voice-over, video game localization, or interpreting and multilingual website development.

88 thoughts on “Essential Hindi for foreign travellers”

  1. Hello There,
    I think very spectacular work driven here.
    It made me chuckle On some words.
    I think If you are visit man then This Indian language can make some feelings for India.Mother Tongue has no options.

  2. What a great article!Thanks for sharing some of the most important phrases and words of Hindi language. I can not speak Hindi very well, but I’m going to improve it .

  3. Hi Shalu,
    Glad to have read this post of yours as I only know “Namaste” before. Now I get to know the Hindi equivalent of yes, no, thank you, please, excuse me and other common phrases that travelers in India would find most helpful for them when conversing with the locals. Thanks for sharing!

  4. this is very useful suggestion for the foreigner who are planning to visit and India they can easily became a bit favorable with the Hindi language in India after reading this post and it will make them feel comfortable to communicate in India

  5. What a great article!Thanks for sharing some of the most important phrases and words of Hindi language. I can not speak Hindi very well, but I’m going to improve it .

  6. Hyderabad is one of the metropolitan city in india. Hyderabad is capital of Andhra Pradesh.It is fifth largest city. It is well known for IT hubs, multi nation companies are established in is very fast developing city in the country. Hotels are very demanded business in Hyderabad due to many international companies in city.

  7. Thank you, Shalu! This is such a helpful website for people traveling to India for the first time. I have read through at least 20 of your webpages now and they are so helpful, especially to a woman traveling alone. I really appreciate you for creating this website!

  8. Thank you for making Hindi a little easier to use when interacting with Indians. This is my first time to India & I will be working here for 12 months so these phrases are a good starter! I would not call my interactions “conversing” but it is a beginning.

  9. Hi Shalu sharma ji,
    Nice useful post, useful basic Hindi language. I hope those are mandatory words to use in our daily life of Indians,I agree it especially helps to foreign people’s.

  10. I like Hindi language. It’s one of the favorite language I often speak whenever hangover with my friends. From my childhood to till now I’m watching lot of Hindi movies and by watching Hindi movies I’ve learned and I can speak fluently Hindi as well, except writing. Thanks.

  11. This is a very useful post. I am sure it will help people out.

    It makes a real difference when you travel to try to speak the local language, instead of expecting people to know English.

    On my own site, I have an excellent free Hindi course, plus a premium paid course as well for those who want to reach a level of fluency.

    Great post, and your effort is appreciated. (The audio is a really good help.)

  12. In city I live we have a large Indian population and I like to able to communicate with them in their native language. Thanks for the useful tips.

  13. Wow. its grateful for foreigners and
    visitors. These basic things very helpful for communicate with the Indian people.

  14. You are right! Knowing a local language of a country that we travel is must necessary. We must know basic language otherwise we can’t feel the local experience. In India different corner of people saying different language but most of people knows Hindi. As a foreign traveler he or she should know. Thanks for publishing helpful information.

  15. Great translation of Food named in Hindi Tea = chai
    Sugar = cheeni
    Water = pani
    Chapattis = roti
    Rice = chawal or bhaat
    Food = khaana
    Breakfast = naasta super i to dont know this words when i’ll reach there definitely i’ll contact you Madam

  16. Appreciate your efforts to provide basic Hindi lessons as we need to make learning all languages easier. However, I request you to detest from blatant lies and misinformation. Please get educated that Hindi is not the national language of India. Check Gujarat High Court judgment of 2010.

  17. Great Shalu! Just a correction to this, Hindi is not the national language of India and India does not have a national language. There is no provision in the Indian constitution for a national language and the judiciary has upheld this (Gujarat High Court) . Hindi is a regional language of North India and mother tongue of merely 25% of Indian Population (Census 2001). Languages like Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Chattisgarhi etc are clubbed as Hindi dialects even though these are independent languages and are mutually unintelligible. So if you plan to travel to North Indian states like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan etc. knowledge of Hindi might help even-though English is welcome as a transactional language. But in the South, North-East, East (West Bengal, Odisha) and to a large extent in Maharashtra (except some Metros) speaking in Hindi can evoke negative responses and even scorn, so foreign travelers are advised to stick to English Phrases and also learn few words/phrases in the other official and state languages of India they wish to travel to. (example: Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Assamese, Odia etc.) Jai Hind! Unity in diversity!

  18. Best way to learn any language is to listen it first and spend time with that language speakers,try to learn special and most frequent words that are used.well talking about Hindi,it is the largest language that is spoken in India so try to understand them,use Hindi in jokes and use it on social media sites.

  19. Thanks for sharing this, you are doing a Great Job for all people who come in India and don’t know Hindi.Some Indians make us feel proud like you.

  20. Thank you, Shalu! This is such a helpful website for people traveling to India for the first time. I have read through at least 20 of your webpages now and they are so helpful, especially to a woman traveling alone. I really appreciate you for creating this website!

  21. Topic is very different and easy to understand. your way of describing in words is very good. I really appreciate you for writing such a good topic.

  22. Hi Shalu, this is a wonderful list you have given. I am a traveler and coming to India sometime by the end of this year. This list is so helpful for foreign language speakers like me coming to India. I was actually thinking of hiring a multilingual translation service once I am there, as I am visiting other places too. Does it help in places like Bangalore also. I got to know the city speaks a lot of languages when I saw this

  23. Thanks for the information. I love hindi beacuse a sense of respect is there in the language. Two things i love in life. First one is travelling and second one is watching comedy movies. Goa is my favourite place to travel anf the hangover is my favourite movie. Thanks for the information about travelling to india.

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