India is a beautiful place that has many and many things to offer to a traveler. However, despite a trip to India, many people get to see only a fraction of it. So, if you want to experience authentic India, this post might help you.
#1. Choose a Local Homestay
Did you know that there is a saying in India, “Athithi Devo Bahava”, which means that “the guest is God?”
I don’t know about other countries, but I can say without a doubt that India’s hospitality is incomparable. Indians consider it a huge honor to have guests in their house and this is why they always try their best to please them.
Unfortunately, when traveling to India, many visitors tend to stay in a hotel and never get to experience the authentic hospitality of Indians. As a result, we recommend you to stay at a homestay rather than a hotel.
Now, what is a homestay? It is similar to the bed and breakfast concept and refers to a sort of lodging where tourists share a residence with local people of the area. This concept was launched in 1992 by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and the main objective was to provide more local experience to foreign tourists.
Indeed, unlike the sterile hotels, in homestays, you will get unique opportunities to experience India’s beautiful diversity, learn about the Indian culture, have endless chats with Indians, and taste authentic homemade Indian food.
#2. Hop on a Local Bus or Train
Everyone knows that the rapid increase in India’s population has put a huge strain on all public transport systems. And, if you have watched Indian movies, you would know that Indian buses are usually overcrowded (and honestly, the people hanging on the bus usually remind me of monkeys hanging on trees).
However, this doesn’t mean you should not travel on a bus or a train while visiting India. Instead, I would suggest you to take it up as a challenge and at least take one ride on a local train or bus.
#3. Attend Festivals
You cannot visit India without experiencing at least one Indian festival, because India is known as the Country of Festivals. During these times, all hostility is forgotten and all the different castes come together to celebrate.
For example, if you are traveling during the month of March, you might be lucky enough to experience and even participate in the Festival of Color, most commonly known as Holi – one of the most beloved Indians festivals that is celebrated using colored powder and water.
#4. Visit Local Markets
It is not surprising at all that tourist shopping areas near popular monuments such as Taj Mahal, tend to be a little overpriced and also a little tacky. This is why I suggest you to visit local Indian shops.
Just one visit to a local shop and you will gain a great insight not only into the vibrancy of the city but also into the rich and exquisite Indian culture. These bazaars are like an echo of a much older era that still continues to exist.
Whether you are a shopaholic or not, you will undoubtedly be amazed by the sights, sounds and stimulating sounds of the local markets. So, before you travel, you can do a little research and search for those local gems where you will be visiting.
For example, in Delhi, there is the Dilli Haat, which I would call the “One Stop Shop”. It is a traditional market with a vibrant ambiance where music, food, fun and festivities are combined together. In the Dilli Haat, everything is available – from handicrafts to shoes, clothing, jewelry and delicious Indian cuisine.
Will you consider these tips? Please share your comments!