For many centuries, Asian countries have piqued the interest of travelers because of the continent’s diverse culture. Even today, many travelers still place Asian countries at the top of their lists of travel destinations. But with over 48 countries on the continent, it might be challenging to choose where to start. Why not start with culture in India?
The Republic of India is known as the seventh-largest country in the world and is the second-most populous country. With its population of 1,120,700,000, it is home to 17.07% of the total population in the world. The Indian subcontinent is located in south-central Asia, in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It is bordered by several bodies of water, which include the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Gulf Mannar. The country is found next to Nepal, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar.
When one thinks of India, you immediately think about its booming technology industry. But long before tech was even a thing, India is a country that has always been known for its diverse culture and breathtaking beauty. Immersing in the local culture in India will convince you to go back for another visit.
Immersing in Indian culture and tradition
Visiting a foreign land is one thing, but exploring its culture and heritage first-hand will give you a whole different experience. Not only will you get to rejuvenate your body and mind during the journey, but you’ll also gain memories that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. What’s more, letting yourself immerse in the local culture in India allows you to have a deeper appreciation and respect for the country you’re visiting.
Do you want to go beyond the typical tourist trip? Then here are some experiences, traditions, and customs that can help to immerse yourself in the local culture in India:
Take your tastebuds on a journey as you discover culture in India
One of the reasons why India is known across the globe is because of its diverse offering of flavorful dishes. It earned this reputation because these dishes are cooked with extensive use of spices and herbs. If you’re not used to eating dishes with spices and herbs at home, this is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and get into it as you get a taste of culture in India.
Contrary to popular belief, Indian food isn’t just about curry. Curry is not one spice but a magical blend of different spices that make local dishes so flavorful. Aside from that, you’ll also find that the different regions of India have their signature dish or make use of a signature ingredient.
Throughout the country, the staple consists mostly of rice, wheat, and chana. If you’re more into vegetarian dishes, this Indian cuisine is an integral part of the Gujrati South Indian and Rajasthani cuisines. Meanwhile, Mughlai, Bengali, North Indian, and Punjabi cuisines are for those with non-vegetarian preferences. You’ll find Central Asian, Persian, and Afghan influences in Kashmir’s cuisine.
Local etiquette says to eat with your hands
While we’re on the subject of Indian food, another thing you should try is to eat meals with your hands and experience the culture of India first-hand so to speak. Although this might not sound good to some of you, eating with your hands has a lot of benefits. This practice lets you check the temperature of the food before you eat it, and it aids in digestion since you’re eating slower compared to using utensils. Before digging into any food with your hands, make sure that you’ve thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water.
Join in the Indian festivities
Because of its diverse religions and groups, India has a large number of festivals all year round. The largest and most important holiday of the culture in India is Diwali, the festival of light which lasts for five days. According to Live Science, the lighting celebration symbolizes the inner light that protects the locals from spiritual darkness.
But the most popular Indian festival is Holi. This festival is also known as the festival of spring, the festival of colors, or the festival of love. As you might have noticed, this festival is for a lot of things. Aside from the change in seasons, this festival also celebrates the blossoming of love, play and laughter, forgiveness, and repair the broken relationships. Taking part in it will certainly make you fall in love with culture in India!
Travel like the locals
Millions of travelers and pilgrims come to the country each year to see its breathtaking attractions and discover the local culture in India. Though places like Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra are indeed a sight to see, these are tourist spots, and most people choose to visit them by booking tour packages. The alternative is to travel as the locals do once in a while. Not only do you get a good experience out of it, but you also get to decide how much time you want to spend looking around the place.
Travel by train and bus is one of the best ways to experience local culture in India. In case you get lost, just follow the locals, and they’ll certainly help you get back on track.
Learn about the religions in India
Aside from visiting the many awe-inspiring temples in India, knowing more about their religions and their practices also gives you a broader perspective on culture in India. Known as the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, your visit to India will become one of the books. Aside from these two major religions, smaller percentages of the population in Indian society also practice Islam, Christianity, Jainism and Sikhism.
Play in an Indian lottery
This one takes on a more current approach if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture in India. Playing the lottery is very popular across India as people get the chance to become a millionaire overnight by just buying a few tickets. The excitement and the once in a lifetime chance attracts a lot of locals to participate in the lottery. However, lotteries are currently authorized in only 13 states, which include Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Sikkim, Assam, Goa, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
While this might not be the traditional way of experiencing culture in India, this lets you socialize with the locals because of the shared excitement as you wait for the results.
Bonus: India travel tips
I know how heavy the mental load is when you’re making the necessary preparations for your next trip. To make the process more convenient for you, we’ve listed down some tips for your next trip to India:
Do the necessary research on culture in India
Planning and research are necessary if you want a smooth trip. Of course, you can always let your travel agent take care of that but that will probably cause you some extra fees. While it might entail a heavier mental load, you could always do your own planning and research so that you get the value for money for your trip. What’s more, there are a lot of things to discover beyond those commercial tour packages.
To help you with your research, always check an online Indian newspaper or travel website for some great reviews on hotels and restaurants, and tips on what places you should check out.
Get a portable Internet connection
Be it for work or play; we all need a decent Internet connection. While most hotels could provide it, you’re not going to be there for most of the day. What’s more, it’s better if you can access your email and social media sites whenever you need to.
A portable Internet connection allows you to access your email and social media anytime, anywhere, even if you’re out on a day tour. Get Reliance Jiofi to access the Internet on-demand while you’re in India. For as low as Rs 25 per GB of data, you’ll get the value for money for their Internet packages. After purchasing your Jiofi device, we highly advise you to change your Jiofi password and network name to avoid confusion with other devices.
Make use of cards and online payments
While you do have to exchange your local currency to rupees once in a while, it could be a bit tedious to go back and forth. Why not skip all that and make payments with your card or digital wallet? With PayPal, you can do both. The online payment platform not only lets you pay your merchants digitally, but you can also withdraw from an ATM or charge your purchases with its Mastercard debit card. Make sure that you have done the Paypal activate card process before using it on your trip.
India is a beautiful country to explore because of its awe-inspiring architecture, breathtaking views of nature, and diverse culture. With so many places to see, dishes to indulge on, and experiences to dive into, your trip to India will surely give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Take your journey to India on a different level by going beyond the capital and immersing yourself in the diverse culture in India. This way, you’ll not only take beautiful memories home with you, but you’ll have a deeper appreciation of the country, the Indian people, and maybe even life itself.
If you have any questions about the culture in India or would like to share about your trip there, contact Mirela Letailleur. Have a safe trip!
Your India travel guide
Lyn Alforque is a freelance writer in love with the culture in India. She writes about different topics such as computer software, mobile application, and financial information, among other things. She has been engaged in writing how-to guides and informative articles for various kinds of readers. During her spare time, she loves to read fiction books and watch movies or TV series.
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