India is a vast South Asian country that is full of surprises. However, there are a few things that you must know before visiting this country.
It is very diverse
India might be one of the world’s most diverse countries. Geographically, the mighty Himalayas in the north of the country are so much different from the sunny beaches along the west coast or the arid deserts in the north-west. Historically, the country has seen so many migrations from different corners of the planet, which gives rise to a very ethnically diverse population. Wipe out any stereotypes you might have of the country and you will be really surprised by what it has to offer.
India has 22 official languages
When traveling to a new country, you are usually advised to learn by heart some popular words and phrases in the local language. However, what if the country you are going to visit has no national language but has 22 official languages and up to 1,721 other languages? In the north of India, you will get by with a few Hindi words, but not so much in the south and the northeast. Therefore, you should stick to English, which is widely spoken in all areas of India.
Each state has different cultural sensitivity
India has 29 states with each having its own unique history and culture. While some north-eastern states like Goa are quite liberal, others like Haryana and Rajasthan are much more conservative. The way you should dress and interact with other people will be differently perceived from one place to another. Remember to do some research on the region that you’re going to visit beforehand or seek advice from those who have come there before.
Bring cash with you
Although ATMs are widespread in all the major cities in India, you still need to bring cash in hand. Auto rickshaws (a common transportation mode in India), small vendors, and most services in remote areas like rural towns and villages only accept cash. India’s ATMs also have a reputation for being out of order or even running out of cash, so you should always have enough currency exchanged beforehand.