Is it safe to travel to India?

‘Atithi Devo Bhavo’ – a phrase straight from an ancient Hindu scripture implores the faithful to treat a guest with the same reverence as they would treat God. Given the Indian people’s boundless obsession with God and religion, this indeed is a lofty sermon to put into practice. In recent years, sporadic yet well publicized incidents of crime have seen the Western media paint a rather gloomy picture of India’s general law and order situation, and this in turn has helped perpetuate a growing perception that India is particularly unsafe for female travelers. Perception and reality – do the twain really meet, let us find out if it will answer your question: “Is it safe to travel to India?”

Travelling to a country with a peculiar culture and food may intimidate even the most seasoned traveler. The very first drive from the airport to the hotel gives a rough introduction to the chaos which underlies the modern Indian city. Contrary to perception, Indian cities are quite safe for travelers and citizens alike with reports of serious crime perpetrated against tourists being rare. Morever, incidents of sexual violence against tourists too are rare. In fact, the much maligned capital city of India – Delhi fares much better than cities like New York and Istanbul in matters of sexual violence according to a study conducted by the London School of Economics in 2014. The legacy of British rule entails that English is widely spoken by the urban populace, both privately as well as in official dealings. Travelers to Indian cities will thus find that essential tasks like ordering food in a restaurant, purchasing consumables, navigating routes and making enquiries can be accomplished without much hassle. For those who find Indian food too spicy to handle, there is no dearth of restaurants and fast food chains offering all kinds of Western cuisine. On the downside, incidents of sexual harassment such as leching and groping are much more common especially in crowded places. It is thus advisable for foreign tourists to heed local customs and dress modestly while visiting Indian cities to avoid undue attention. Petty crimes such as snatching are not completely uncommon either, and travelers must remain vigilant when approached by beggars at traffic crossings and busy marketplaces.             

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Community in New Delhi, India.

Due to India’s troubled neighborhood, Western countries often issue advisories to their citizens against visiting certain parts of the country – namely Kashmir and the North–Eastern states. Despite this, India has remained completely immune to the forces spreading havoc in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The once troubled valley of Kashmir, famed for its spectacular natural beauty has seen a return to normalcy in recent years. Tourists are once again pouring in by the thousands to visit its world-famous Mughal gardens and lakes. The North–eastern state too have been seen a return to normalcy, with India’s strong trading relationship with China mitigating the remote possibility of a flare up between the two countries.  However, a Maoist insurgency in pockets of Central India – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha means that foreign travelers are vulnerable when traveling to remote parts of the aforementioned states. India largely falls in the tropical climate zone, and experiences a season of heavy rainfall from every June to August. Tourists visiting India during this time are advised to protect themselves from mosquitoes by using ointments which are readily available.

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A regular day among Indian boys: swimming in the river!

The Indian people are renowned for their warmth, friendliness and hospitality. Ever willing to help, acquaintances made during a long train journey often invite travelers to visit their homes and be their guests. While travelers should exercise their personal judgement in such situations, it is perfectly safe to live with a family and experience Indian culture and food through their hospitality. Moving out of the cities into the real India, the rural folk innocently gaze at foreign travelers with amazement and awe. Being the center of attention, travellers can rejoice in this brief moment of stardom.

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Having completed his Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, Naunidh is now a researcher at the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) working on sustainable energy solutions in the age of climate change. He is an avid trekker, a voracious reader and an aspiring writer. He is also interested in learning about the formation of our Universe and read books on cosmology and astrophysics. With close friends, Naunidh indulges in long conversations ranging from football to philosophy. He is in love with the mighty Himalayas and aim to explore the innumerable trekking routes criss-crossing it.

  1. Mwaona

    13 September

    wow nice pictures! thanks for sharing the information

  2. WeiLe Ng

    15 September

    India is always one of the country that I want to travel to. I have heard about good and bad things of it, I’m wondering if there are a lot of visible tourist there.

    • Naunidh

      17 September

      Hi there !!! Indeed India is a beautiful country to visit and there are a lot of tourists in India during the peak holiday season. You can notice them in the popular tourist destinations.

  3. Lexie

    21 September

    I always hear mixed reports about India– from the good to the absolute worst– but I can only imagine the local people being as you said, “warm, friendly and hospitable,” and the dream of going to India stays strong 🙂

  4. DEO

    24 September

    Hi, you are damn good at writing..

    bitin lang… 🙂

    Please write more about india..

  5. Lesley

    27 September

    I guess I would have assumed there was more violence in Delhi, but it’s wonderful to read and learn more. It has been on my list for a long time. I’m considering it with Athena in 2016.

  6. Elaine J. Masters

    27 September

    Such a lovely perspective. India is so vast it shouldn’t be a surprise that one area is different to visit than another. Still, at least in my country – the U.S., blanket opinions override the truth. I’d love to visit and for a long while.

  7. Carol Colborn

    27 September

    Many pros and cons here. I still have not decided whether to include India in our bucket list. Right now, the Taz Mahal, yes!

  8. Dana

    27 September

    We are hoping to take our kids to India within the next year or so. It’s good to know that it’s a safe place. I pretty much need to use the same precautions I always do when traveling.

  9. mar

    27 September

    I will agree that statistics are important and we should not just take media or one-off examples but it is also true that India is the only place i felt touched and literally physically harassed, and I have been to lots of places we are told not to go to, including Pakistan, Sudan, and most of the middles east. I will still return and it won’t prevent me from having a good time but the lack of understanding of personal space is something I have only seen in India, and I am on 87 countries. It’s important to always keep perspective

  10. I’ve been lucky to visit India three times now, and am absolutely in love with the country. My husband and I will go back in December for my sister’s wedding. I can’t wait!

  11. Laura

    27 September

    I’ve wanted to go to India for a while now, and while I’m apprehensive about the crowding and chaos, I’ve never felt that it was unsafe to travel there. Just like anywhere, you have to keep your wits about you and use some common sense.

  12. Bobbi Gould

    28 September

    It’s really great to know that it’s so safe! I have been wanting to go but was unsure so thanks for dispelling the myth!

  13. Ramakant

    16 December

    Thanks for writing such a lovely and informative post. I enjoyed to read your blog. Thank you

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