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December 6, 2012

Women Travellers and India

Picture credit: Flickr/mckaysavage

It may be because I have just watched “Life of Pi”, or because once you go to India, if you loved it, you can hardly get it out of your mind. Anyhow, this week I would like to bring this article to your attention. It is an interesting series of suggestions for women travellers to India.

The author “found India both tough and rewarding in the same breath. And from time to time the experience can seem even more perplexing for girls (we are talking about a country where the metro offers a separate carriage for women), but India also has the potential to offer its female visitors even richer rewards (imprinted with henna and swathed in sari silks it’s impossible not to feel like a princess)”. Fantastic. I think the author has pointed out some interesting essential topics.

In the past 24 months, I have spent 7 in India, and I have grown a particular fondness for its thunderous character. I met fantastic people there, and I have also made some strange encounters. Based on my experience, it was interesting to read about the perceptions of a woman travelling around India, as it is undeniably true: sex makes a big difference in this country.

I have been lucky enough to be the guest of a big number of Indian families of all social strata: the rich, the poor, the excessively posh and the dirt poor. One time, I did not stay with a friend because the double bed provided at his house with no roof already had to accommodate six other family members. But apart for this case, one thing was clear in my personal picture: women and men in Indian society are very different classes of people. A man is advanced by a patriarchal society, and a woman is generally employed as a “slave in the house”, regardless of her social status. The only difference may be the number of maids she has.

And I have to quote directly another important thing the author says: “Perhaps one of the most vital concepts to grasp about India is the importance of dressing respectfully.  Regardless of your personal opinion on a woman’s right to wear what she wants, the reality is that clothing is much more conservative in India than it is in the likes of Europe, America, Australia, and other countries that are more liberal in the amount of material required to constitute decency.”

If you are a woman and plan on going to India, please follow this simple advice. Respect for their culture may give you more in terms of experience than the bad memory you will bring home not adhering to these simple rules. I have met more than one foreign woman traveler complaining about the horror of Indian men, the stares, the groping attempts everywhere. Right; but when this comes out form the mouth of a person dressed in shorts and a revealing blouse, I am sorry, I have to disagree as she probably does not realize that she is exactly looking for such a reaction.

In conclusion, go check that article out as it is one good piece of advice. And if any women visitors to India have other interesting suggestions to spare to help make a trip more safe and interesting, please comment below.

Posted by | Comments (2) 
Category: Asia, Backpacking, On The Road, Youth Travel


2 Responses to “Women Travellers and India”

  1. rubin pham Says:

    police records show high incidence of crimes against women in india. the world’s largest open brothel is also located in india. i have seen women in india harassed by men everwhere they go. if you are a woman, you may not want to travel alone in india.

  2. rubin pham Says:

    also the open toilets you see everywhere in india can be really hard to avoid.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/17/world/asia/india-open-toilets-udas/index.html

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