Preparing for India
End of February we’re planning to go to India. We still haven’t prepared everything, but we’re already really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be amazing. I picture this diversified country thrilling, adventurous, colorful and simply amazing. I guess I’m gonna either hate it or love it.
Since travelling in India is a very controversially discussed thing to do, I’m even more excited about it. I think the most important aspect is, to be prepared pretty properly. And you need to be aware of the fact, that there are gonna be plenty of situations which can be kinda dangerous or at least unexpected. But that’s the thing about it – this culture shock, this completely different world in comparison to the environment I live in. So there’s no more time to waste. We need to plan the trip and make all preparations, so there’s nothing more to do in the end than lean back and wait for the time to come.
The stop-overs on our journey
We’ve already agreed on the cities and places we’d like to see during our one-month-journey. Starting in New Delhi, we thought about going to Varanasi by train, where you can see the popular Ganges river. Next we plan to fly to Mumbai as the distance is very long and I guess travelling by train would at least take two days or even more. Next stop is gonna be Goa where we would like to go on an Ayureveda and Yoga retreat. Then heading to Kochi in the Indian state Kerala, where the absolutely impressing backwaters are located. You can drive by boat across small rivers through the deep jungle. I definitely need to go there, I’m so excited about that. From that point the next stops will be Bangalore and Chennai, then back to Delhi.
Visa and injections
Applying for a visa is literally a trial of patience. For a couple of years now, you need to apply online and submit the so-called e-Tourist-Visa form to the responsible embassy. In our case it’s the consulate in Munich, Bavaria. The technical preconditions are kinda outdated. You would need the Internet Explorer to make the application work properly. We tried it a thousand times, in my perception, until it finally worked out.
Additionally to the form you need:
- 2 identical passport photos
- passport which is still valid for another 180 days, 2 empty pages
- visa fee, round about 66€
Furthermore, you need several injections to be adequately protected. Which injections in particular, is listed on the webpage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You should prepare yourself at least 6 weeks prior to departure, so that you can be sure you’re not suffering from side effects of the injections while you’re travelling. Plus it takes a little time until you got all injections needed so that you’re safe.
Conditions of travel
What’s really important about going to India is an adequate prearrangement. You need to inform about the conditions of living and travelling there. Still trains are the main means of transportation in India. It is necessary to book them in advance online. The best way to do this for foreigners is on Clear Trip. It’s slightly more expensive than other services but it’s the easiest way plus you can book your tickets without possessing an Indian credit card. Travelling by train will be super cheap anyway. The disadvantages are, the trains are mostly fully booked and super busy and besides that it can take a pretty long time to get to the destinations you chose. Sometimes 30 hours of travelling must be taken into account.
The next thing is the culture shock you probably will get. Inform about the country, the culture, the behavior of the citizens and especially the Do’s and Don’t’s in India. Women should wear large clothes. Covered shoulders and hair are a plus. Indian people are staring at strangers either way. You need to get used to it and shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, you should try to avoid mass aggregations of people, try not to look lost even though you might be, express yourself clearly and precisely if you feel pressed by somebody. In most cases it’s supposed to be enough when you tell the other person you wanted to be left alone.
That’s the most important information I’m gonna take with me on my travels. As I said – I haven’t been in India yet. I can’t wait what I have to tell afterwards. I’m gonna write about my experiences there when I come back for sure and let you know if my expectations had come true.