Do’s and Don'ts of India Travel
Dr. R. Agarwal
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Dos and Don'ts
People and Culture
Interacting with locals
Things to carry with you
 People and Culture of India
Current Leaders
Albert Einstein Said:
 We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught
us how to count, without which no
worthwhile scientific discovery could
have been made
Land of Contrast
 There are 250 million poor people in India
But Historically Rich and Geneous
 The digit zero and the numbering system
 Chess
 Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus
 The decimal system
 The game of Snakes and Ladders
 The value of “pi”
 Noble prizes in Literature, Physics, Economics, Peace, and
 Ayurveda is the earliest literature of medicine known to
mankind. The father of medicine, Charaka, practiced
medicine 2500 years ago.
 Until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the
 India never invaded any country in her 10,000 years of
 Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism borne in India
and followed by 25% of the world's population
Achievement made by Indian Engineers in
Santa Clara:
– Vinod Khosla Founded Sun Microsystems
– Vinod Dham Invented Pentium Microprocessor
– Sabeer Bhatia created and founded Hotmail
There are 3.22 millions Indians in USA (1.5%
of population), but they constitute
 38% of doctors
 12% scientists
 36% of NASA scientists
 34% of Microsoft employees
 28% of IBM employees
 17% of INTEL scientists
 13% of XEROX employees
India borne US executives
Ramani Ayer, chairman and CEO, Hartford Financial Group, a $27-billion
financial services company
Shumeet Banerji, CEO, Booz & Company, the new $1 billion-plus spin-off of
Booz Allen Hamilton
Francisco D'Souza, CEO, Cognizant ($2.8 billion company, one of the
NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500); founded in 1994 by Kumar Mahadeva.
Raj Gupta, chairman and CEO, Rohm & Haas, an $8-billion specialty materials
Sanjay Jha, co-CEO, Motorola (2007 sales: $33.6 billion (Aug. 2008)
Farooq Kathwari, CEO, Ethan Allen - leading furniture maker, with sales of $1
billion, 310 stores and 21 manufacturing plants.
Sara Mathew, president, Dun & Bradstreet (Feb. 2009)
Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo - $33 billion in sales (Aug. 2006)
Vikram Pandit, CEO, Citigroup - world's largest financial services company
(Dec. 2007)
Deven Sharma, president, Standard & Poor's (Aug. 2007)
 Looking at the History:
Foreign Invasions
Due to its wealth and culture, India has attracted foreigners
throughout its history:
 Persian invasion in 500BC
 Greek Invasion in 327 BC
 Turks in 1175AD
 Mughal in 1526
 Portuguese in 16th century
 Dutch and French in 17th century
 English in 18th through 20th century
Cultural Impact of Muslim Period
 Today, 13.4% of
India’s population is
 Muslims are an
integral part of the
Indian culture.
Cultural Impact
 Hindus and Muslims live
side by side
 However, Inter-religious
marriages are rare
FACTS and Statistics
 India is one of the ten nuclear state in the world
 Has a labour force of over 509 million, 60% of which is employed in
agriculture and related industries
 India is the second most populous country, and the most populous
democracy in the world.
 It is the world’s 4th largest economy in terms of purchasing power.
 India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38%
per annum.
Hindi is the national language. There are 21 other
languages that are either spoken or have classical status.
The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.
 Over 800 million Indians, or about 80.5% of the country's
population, are Hindu
 Other religious groups include Christians (2.3%), Sikhs
(1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%), Jains (0.4%)
 And minorities include Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahá'ís and
 The national gender ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males.
 Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer
electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum,
pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment, and textiles.
 Almost 70% of Indians reside in rural areas.
 India's largest cities are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Kolkata (formerly
Calcutta), Delhi, Chennai (formerly Madras), Bangalore, Hyderabad
and Ahmedabad
 It is the largest democracy in the world
Dos and Don'ts
 Take along Pepto-Bismol or Imodium pill
 Use bottled water or boiled water for drinking and brushing
teeth. Soft drinks. Ice is a NO! NO!
 Don’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables that you cannot peel
 Don’t drink any alcohol or smoke in public, it’s offensive
 Wash your hands well before eating
 Use hand-sanitizer after a visit to restroom.
 If you get diarrhea, drink plenty of
liquids, eat rice and bananas.
 Most toilets outside the hotel will be
the type where you squat, and no
toilet paper
 When you see “wild” dogs, do not
pet them they are unaccustomed to
such close contact, and they are
very dirty.
 Women: Best wear are skirtblouse or trouser-shirt,
 NO-No's: shorts, deep
cleavage, eye-popping tight
shirts/straining buttons,
halter necks, spaghetti
straps etc
 Men: Best wear are pantand
 No-no's: Shorts and cut-offs
Shoes/sandals, are considered
unclean. Usually you take them off
when entering a home, and always
when entering a temple
If your foot - with or without shoes –
touches someone accidentally,
apologies, it is considered an insult to
touch someone with our foot.
The left hand is only used for one’s
“morning business.” Therefore, one
does not touch anyone or
receive/give anything with one’s left
Men and women do not touch in
public. Do not offer to shake the
hand of a person of the opposite sex
unless they offer first
Don't trust strangers with money. All hotels
are Trust worthy.
Do bargain with street hawkers and stores.
Don’t bargain with Fixed price stores and
government run places.
Many Indians are in the habit of shaking
their head in the course of conversation or
taking instructions. Don't show amusement
if you witness this
Be careful of excessively friendly
strangers, especially in cities and tourist
Mosquito repellant
Electric voltage converter and adapter
Hand sanitizer
All your medicines
A small roll of toilet papers or a pack of tissues papers
Most public latrines are unclean, be prepared before leaving your
Occasionally, we are late for a meal, carry your favorite food treats
and be prepared for a late meal.
Travel documents: Passport, Insurance paper, etc.
Carry traveler checks and credit card rather than cash
5-6 days clothing. All hotels have laundry service. No washer and
Don't tip unreasonably and unnecessarily in a hotel
Weather in January
Ave High Ave Low
Hyderabad 84
Highs: Hyderabad and Bangalore can get much hotter during
day-time (high 80s)
Lows: Agra and Delhi can get really cold at nigh time and
early mornings (low 30s).
What to Wear?
 Wear comfortable clothes.
 Business clothes during company site visits
 Comfortable cloths off-hours, except avoid:
– Clothes that reveal too much skin
– Mini skirts
– Low cut blouse
– Cut-off jeans
– Excessively tight clothing (ladies)
 Do not buy or consume any food without checking with me.
 Do not drink the tap water or the water served in hotels and
 Carry a small roll of toilet papers for emergencies.
 Public toilets are often in unsanitary condition, so use your
discretion when consuming excessive water or beverages.
 Carry
A hand sanitization lotion
Diarrhea medicine
Anti-bacterial medicine
Mosquito repellent
Carry a money belt to keep your money and passport.
Keep all valuables locked and secure
Do not travel alone, especially in dark
Keep your wallet and purse in front and not in back.
Avoid big crowds and body contacts with people in narrow
 Carry your passport with you at all times.
 Keep a copy of your passport and visa in your suitcase.
 Most people pride themselves in helping foreigners, so
keep a positive attitude but be business-like.
 When dealing with beggars, do not give them money, just
ignore them.
 Be sensitive to people when taking a photo, lest they are

Do’s and Don'ts of India Travel