India is a land of boundless cultures, flora and fauna, languages, attires and so on with a dash of unpredictability and uncertainty added to the mixture. It offers the world the adventure of a lifetime ranging from lifestyle to natural splendour.
And just as you would pack your safety gears on your other adventure trips, India requires a certain amount of safety measures for those coming from a more predictable and routine life.
Because India, you would find is far from what you can ever imagine to be ‘predictable’.
High Risk Areas Advised Against Travelling
As per the government guidelines issued on Thursday, 26 March 2015, places like State of Jammu and Kashmir (except Ladakh region, Jammu and Srinagar) and India-Pakistan border (except Atari crossing) are not allowed for travelling.
The government recommends reconsidering travelling to locations like North-eastern states (Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur) and Chhattisgarh and the border areas of neighbouring states owing to unrest in the region.
Awareness About the Locations
India is a vast land stretching across 3,166,414 square kilometres and the number of locations worth visiting and near to infinite with the prevailing diversity in regions. Hence it is very important to have a very good idea and knowledge about the climate, terrain and facilities in a region you intend to visit apart from the necessary knowledge about the lifestyle and beliefs of the people there.
It is generally advisable to get vaccinated for some of the known tropical viral diseases prevalent in the said geographical conditions. In addition to it, carrying a first-aid kit is always a sensible way to travel in case of emergencies.
The quality of medical services and facilities varies throughout the country. Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but are usually limited or unavailable in rural areas. Private facilities often provide a higher level of care, which can be expensive. Most hospitals require up-front payment or confirmation of insurance coverage prior to commencing treatment. Government hospitals provide services free or at minimal cost.
It’s always advisable to book prepaid taxis from known taxi companies in the country if you intend to travel by a cab.
If you are looking to get a real feel of the land by travelling by public transport, then it is best to use trains for long distance travelling.
Almost all the places are connected by plenty of buses as well. The time chosen to travel usually determines the rush in the buses. It is essential to take good care of your valuables as the buses and trains are usually pretty crowded and there’s a lingering threat of pick pocketing and thievery.
Auto rickshaws (three wheelers) are another common mode of transport used quite frequently and a ride worth experiencing. Though these should be given a second thought when travelling at night particularly if you are not aware of the route to be taken since rickshaws function independently and not under a company like cabs excepting the prepaid ones at the Railway station or airports.
If you value your personal space when travelling, then public transports are definitely not for you as this is the last thing that a crowded train or bus would ever offer you in an India.
There are numerous incidents and stories circulating in the media regarding the safety of tourists in India especially women. It is necessary to know that all of India is not the same, nature of the people and the security and protection available from the police varies from region to region. Having said that it is a must to take some basic precautions against any such unpleasant situations.
The body language and mannerism in addition to the attire in India varies considerably from cities to villages and region to region hence its safer (especially for women) to dress up a little more conservatively as per the norms of the land so as to not attract any undue attention. The Indian cotton ‘kurtis’ form one of the most comfortable ways to tolerate the climate as well. Loose fitting cotton garments form the best option in this regard.
It is not uncommon to find yourself being stared at by every second person in several locations but sometimes these are usually harmless; although its best to ignore and not respond to avoid miscommunication.
It’s important to be alert at all times, especially when travelling alone and to keep emergency numbers at hand to call for help at any point.
Avoid travelling late in the night, and if there is a necessity travel in groups if there are people accompanying you or using recommended and registered transport system like the prepaid cabs who are accountable.
Southern India including states like Kerala are generally safer in comparison to the Northern states
Eating Right in India
India is ridden with numerous mouth watering cuisines and drinks; all the more reasons to be careful about what and where you eat from since it’s hard to resist the delectable looking food. Make sure you eat from good reputed restaurants if you have weak stomach. Not all places offer hygienic and fresh food. Its best to take recommendations and opinions before having food or water at any particular place.
Its best to always carry bottled water whose seal you should check before buying from a shop.
Other Tips and Points to Keep in Mind
Beggars are a common sights in the streets of India and their condition and poverty very heart wrenching but it’s crucial to harden your heart to such sights as they are usually part of intricate web of a network which usually forces children and women to go begging . The people begging might not even get the money that you give them. The networks are often run by petty criminals who harass the children and compel them to begging.
They also involve a large number of people who have no interest in working and make a livelihood by just begging. Women with babies in the scorching heat is usually a heart wrenching sight but these babies are most often borrowed and drugged for the sole purpose of begging by gaining sympathy.
It is also important to stay on your toes dealing with friendly strangers; some may be good but there are plenty who may be up to no good.
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