Asha Rao, an Indian woman
living in Short Hills, USA, has travelled extensively in India and
knows this part of the world very well. A business professor teaching
cross-cultural management at Rutgers, Asha has sent along her suggestions
for women to follow when travelling in India. She writes...
Do your research
Especially for women, India is not like any other
country youve ever visited. If you have an Indian
neighbour talk to her about how western women are perceived.
Chat with friends whove travelled to that part
of the world. And read, read, read everything you can
lay your hands on -- both fiction and non fiction.
Use it! Would you jog in NYs Central Park at
4:00 a.m.? If not, then dont visit public beaches
alone (or with another woman) at dawn. Most Indian women
who swim at beaches tend to do so at private ones, where
they dont have thousands of strangers gawking
If you want to be safe and comfortable, stay in decent
hotels. All the five star hotels offer superb service,
and they are relatively cheap with the exchange rate.
If not, consider the middle of the road hotels that
middle-class Indian women stay in. They are clean, safe
After you have had the pleasure of travelling by bus
in the cities, try the alternative of hiring a car and
driver. You can do this through your hotel and, by North
American standards, it is not very expensive. A good
driver will not only get you where you need to go safely
but he can also caution you against going to places
where you can get into trouble. P.S. An air-conditioned
car is more expensive but in India, the extra cool
is worth every penny.
Find an Indian
Indias population just hit 1 billion, it shouldnt
be too hard. Indian women have a strong sense of sisterhood,
and are usually friendly. In the cities, many speak
English, and will be happy to tell you where to go,
and where not to. Check out South Asian websites and
South Asian Womens websites before you plan your
for boiled or sealed bottled water from your hotel
Best way to stay healthy is to travel with your own
safe bottle of water.
Travel with somebody
Male or female. In India, a woman alone is considered
In most cities you can wear western clothing -- pants,
shorts, skirts. I do, and so do many Indian women. But,
you have to use common sense. If you are travelling
by car, with a group, you can dress as you wish. Alone,
you are better off wearing a salwar kameez, which feels
cool, goes anywhere, and looks great on women of any
Unfortunately, it happens. Indian women have well developed
antenna for gropers and follow multiple strategies.
Avoidance -- wait for a less crowded bus, take cars/autorickshaws.
Posture -- stick your elbows out at a slight angle while
walking in a crowd., carry a bulky bag. Clothing --
wear salwars; footwear with a slight heel will help
you accidently kick away legs that get too close!
Its a great country
-- enjoy your trip!
savvy Journeywoman always does her weather research before
choosing where to go, when. In India there are generally three
main seasons. You can expect...
- Cool winter from October
to February; hot summer from March to June; and the rainy
monsoon season from July to September.
- Temperatures normally
do not go below 4C (40F) in January and will reach uncomfortable
temperatures as high as 45C (113F) during the summer (even
in the northern areas).
- The southern region
is generally the warmest in any season.
(Source: Raise Your Cultural IQ, Louisa Nedkov)
Interested in reading more
about India from a womans point of view? Click here.