What do foreigners like about India?
Brady Campbell, Blogger at The Indefinite Journey (2011-present)
I am a foreigner to India. I didn’t know what to expect before going. What myself and my girlfriend did, was booked a ticket to Bangkok, then to Chennai. No other plans, timelines or expectations.
We didn’t like India at first. We had a difficult time understanding how to do seemingly simple things like getting a SIM card, booking a train, or knowing what to order in a restaurant. The Indian people however were extremely helpful and we finally figured it all out.
I will post some pictures of my favorite things and places in India, but first let me help you understand a little about India and how I see it. It’s a place of extreme acceptance. I have never been anywhere in the world quite like India in this regard. People are just simply accepted. There is a difference between acceptance and tolerance. Most places I have been in the world, people are tolerant of tourist, religions, differences and color of your skin. India is accepting. It is truly the most endearing thing about this country in my eyes.
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Being a citizen of the USA, I thought that “America” was a melting pot. It’s more like a melting dish compared to India. India is massively diverse and yet live in harmony with each other in a way I haven’t been able to find in many places in the world. The days of the caste system are over and the people of India have once again assimilated to their surroundings.
The Indian people have assimilated for centuries of occupations that has helped to create this acceptance. From the Muslim invaders to the British most recently, this country has not lost her identity over thousands of years, yet assimilates parts of the occupiers seamlessly. This is admirable and says a lot about the Indian people.
So Lets get to the things/ places I like most about India in no particular order!
1.The Food! Come on! The food is a balance between spicy and sweet that simply makes me happy. There is little better feeling then the curries that tickle my lips with almost a buzz after eating Indian Food. From the biryani to the curries, from pani puri (sp) to the Chole Bhature and Kati Rolls of Delhi. By no means am I a vegetarian, however this is the only country where I could eat veg and not care one bit. Amritsar has some of the best and eating at the famous Kesar de Dhaba was a treat. Kesar De Dhaba
2.The people! Extremely accommodating and curious. There were many times in some of the religious pilgrimage places such as Pushkar and Varanasi where complete strangers would come up to us and ask to take a picture. More so with me because many thought I was a professional wrestler in the WWE. But many times it was just a way to talk to us and get to know us.
3.Dharamshala/ Mcleod Ganj. India has balls. They openly defy China by housing the Dalai Llama and have been a safe haven for the Tibetans who currently live in India as refugees. It’s an amazing place that doesn’t have the same India feeling the rest of the country had for us. This is one of the most interesting things about India, is the diversity of areas and cultures within it. McLeod Ganj is absolutely beautiful too perched in the Himalayan Mountains. I could have stayed there for a very long time.
4.The Festivals. No one knows how to party like the Indians. They celebrate! Not only do they partake in the festivities, they live it. We spent Holi In Vrindavan and it was absolutely insane! It’s crazy that you can be somewhere where people have their hands all over you, throwing powder in your face, with millions of people shoulder to shoulder all smiling, laughing and having a good time doing it all. This was a foreign thing to me, but for some reason I felt safe and in some regards I felt Indian. Which is part of the reason for Holi. To paint everyone so we are all the same. It was a uniquely beautiful experience we will never forget!
5.Udaipur is an amazing place to visit in India. The beauty of this city with it’s Havelis , cafes, palaces and cenotaphs made this place one of our very favorite places in India and quite possibly the world. Udaipur and the lakes were one of the most amazing places to simply sit and marvel. Some of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen too in the desert! You know you are in a foreign land being here, however it feels… just right! Udaipur is a must see in India.
Nikita Tsekhanovich, Been to 7 citites in India
Mobile connection and roaming
After landing in Delhi, first of all I bought Indian sim-card of Airtel, just inside the airport. I had paid 1 200 rupees and afterwards used this sim all-over India with free roaming for whole month. This is very handy and also cheap.
In Russia, our mobile operators love to loot us during roaming. It is extremely expensive, if you just step out of your home city. I went from Saint-Petersburg to Moscow for 1 day, made 2–3 calls just for few minute speaking. My account lost 500 rupees. Mobile operators charge us even for income calls in roaming. Situation is changing now, but you are 1 step ahead in this.
One Indian showed me how your Aadhar card works. I understood that it is a card that every Indian has. Even if you don’t have it with you, police will identify you by fingerprint, connected to your account.
We are still using stupid paper ID’s in Russia and police usually spend time to identify who are their guests, if they don’t have an ID with them.