We Indians are an amazing lot. As a traveller to India, you’ll find out as soon as you step out of the airport. For instance, any sort of public affection between the two sexes is a no go area for us. Kissing in public is something that we don’t do at all costs.
This is a follow up of the previous audio post on Hindi I did for travellers going to India. Hindi is the one of the official languages and most widely spoken language in India. Hence learning a few words and phrases can go a long way. Although English will do, there is no harm in learning a little bit of Hindi. Except the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, you should be able to communicate in Hindi in most parts of India.
My friend Irene Turner was recently in India and she was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her trip to India.
Who are you and what do you?
I am Irene Turner, an interior designer and soon to me realtor helping to sell not only homes, but a quality of life here in Sonoma County. I am a traveler at heart, it’s not something I do, but who I am and how I experience life.
India is about experiencing different types of food that it has to offer and here’s something that you must try. You just have to try the traditional Indian tea (we call it chai) and to go with the Indian chai, you have to try some ‘pakoras’. Pakoras are basically battered fried snacks a bit like potato cutlets. They can be of different types; potatoes, corn, cauliflower, onions and even chicken pakoras. My favourite have always been the onion pakoras.
I am excited to announce my new India travel guide book. After the success of my other guide books on India, I thought another one was due. It is now finally available on Amazon both in the kindle and paperback format. The book is called, “Essential India Travel Guide: Travel Tips And Practical Information”. Obviously, for the kindle format you will need a kindle reader. Currently, the “Kindle Paperwhite“, is the most popular while the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ Tablet is latest one and selling like hot cakes on Amazon. Just take a look at the number of reviews it has.
Holi is the festival of colours, one of the most awaited festivals in the country and celebrated by Hindus all over the country. The festival is celebrated with much joy and vigour all across the country especially in North India. Holi is not just a festival; it’s a tradition which dates back millenniums. It’s one of those festivals that brings out the child in everyone.
The colourful festival of Holi spans over two days and marks the beginning of spring. On the first day, known as day of “Holika Dahan”, fire is lit marking the victory of truth over evil. The second day is “Phag”, when the actual Holi is celebrated with vibrant colours and water. The festival bridges gap between people of different communities and age groups and people hug each other while smearing each other’s face with paint.
When in India, you will find people doing tricks on the road involving animals of which monkey tricks are the most common. I am not sure if you know that the word monkey is a general word for a variety of species of monkeys. In fact, they are primates that include apes and prosimians such as lemur and humans. There are 13 species of monkeys in India of which the ‘Common Langur’ is the most abundant. They are also known as the ‘Hanuman Langur’ and they are purely vegetarian. In fact, these langurs are everywhere. You’ll even find these in the city of Agra where the Taj Mahal is situated.
If you happen to be in Delhi then do not forget to visit Raj Ghat, a memorial built on the very place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial known as the “Raj Ghat” in Hindi is built on the banks of the River Yamuna surrounded by a beautiful garden. The memorial itself is built of black marble that marks the place where he was cremated, a day after his assassination. There is an eternal flame that burns at one end. “Hey Ram” is inscribed on the memorial which is supposed to be his last words when he was shot by an assassin who thought that the Mahatma was responsible for the division of India and giving way to much concessions to the Muslims of Pakistan.
The trouble with Indians is that we love bragging how great our country is and how ancient our religion is and on. But does it really matter if children like these have to sell and beg to make a living? If you are going on holiday to India then you are going to see a lot of these. In fact, every time your taxi stops at the traffic light in Delhi then a boy or girl just like in the picture will come up to you to beg or approach you to sell something. Coming from abroad, you might find this heartbreaking and out of pity you might end up buying whatever they’re selling. But we as Indians are almost immune to sights like these and most of us would probably turn a blind eye and even shoo them away.
I recently got asked about tipping in India. Here’s the actually question.
I found your website on line…thank you so much for all your honest and easy information. I am going to India at the end of this month and will stay for 2 weeks at an ashram and am then traveling around for 11 days with a tour company called India by Car. My question for you is what is traditional and acceptable tipping in India…for example, at hotels, for the company driver, the cab driver etc. I want to be respectful but not flashy. Do you have any suggestions as to day tips for the driver or at the hotel? Is it a day trip or a percentage? How is it best to figure out a fair tip?
Sand Cult, in association with Goa Tourism, presents Goans and visitors to the state with a visual treat – a chance to see the 20-foot tall sand castle which has been put up at Calangute Beach. Mr. Jerry Jose, Founder of Sand Cult, said, “Tourism in the state will derive the maximum benefit from this. Sand Art is a very fragile, delicate and complex art; through these installations we want to promote this art form.” Mr. Simon Snip, World Master People Champion has volunteered to help promote this art in Goa and he has created an elaborate installation around the animated character Shrek and his castle.
If you are planning on going to India’s holy places then I have a surprise for you. I have compiled an ebook (paperback coming soon) especially for children and travellers to India. It’s called, “Hinduism For Kids: Beliefs And Practices”.
Lots of tourists from around the world visit India to seek spirituality at India’s numerous holy places. Even non-religious individuals are visiting these places as sites of cultural importance or just to get an idea about Hinduism and India in general. What Jerusalem is for Jews and Mecca is for Muslims and Rome for Catholics; India is exactly that for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.
Some of my friends, family along with many travel bloggers around the world and in India have requested me to publish some of their travel stories and photos on this site. I was reluctant in the beginning but after giving some thought, I realised that it does make sense if I were to publish about other destinations of the world.
My next interview is of my friend Ryan Biddulph of New York. He is a traveller with a difference. In fact, he’s not only a traveller but also an internet marketer, someone who makes money online while travelling the world. While most of us have to do a job for a living, he makes his money while sitting on the beautiful beaches of the world. He was recently in India and he was kind enough to answer some of my questions. So here’s Ryan Biddulph’s interview.