Is it safe? Single women traveling alone in India
A girl traveling in a group goes to destinations; a girl traveling solo goes everywhere. Understanding the psychology of a solo traveler is a very difficult task for most of the people. In my views, solo travelers are soulful travelers. Solo traveling is a great way to break the monotony and humdrum that your friend circle creates around you. Solo traveling is a great way to break that typecast self-image imposed on you by your immediate surroundings. Here I would like to add, sometimes we start taking this imposed image a little too seriously and it becomes our masked up personality. This is why it is very important to explore yourself in some new surroundings where you are alone and you are on your own.
Solo female traveler on soulful and safe sojourn of India
Personally, I never miss an opportunity to break this image from time to time and a warm country like India is my best bet for that. Some of you might raise an eyebrow on the fact that how come? A single woman traveling alone in India can enjoy herself, feel safe and brag about it. Give me a break fellas, I am not a royal prince looking for bodyguards all the time when I am traveling in a soulful and warm country like India. However, I am not saying that my “self-security management” is not with me. It is very much there, please take my words for it; it is a Z category security blanket that I am talking about. If you are a free bird and an incorrigible single woman traveling alone in India, reading this chattering then you can also wear this Z-Category security blanket, all you need is to follow these instructions.
Study, and study it hard for sturdier you
My initial few visits to various parts of India were “into the box” visits. I was traveling solo, but soon I realized that I am a part of a group, tour operators were handling us with utmost care, however, it was boring, the sense of adventure was nowhere, the happiness of exploring new people and new cultures was missing from the deal. Everything was pre-meditated. I visited a village in Rajasthan, which was more or less like a film set, I visited some monuments in Agra, and again it was a scripted tale where historians were the real hero. Though my stint to Goa was a bit better because, in Goa they left us alone for a while, this is where I decided that next time I would enjoy solo female travel in India.
Now it was important for me to break this mold, so next time I visited India all alone. It was a memorable trip by all the possible standards. I interacted with humans, yes, they were humans, they were imperfect, they were talking from the bottom of their hearts. Good, bad or ugly,we all have human sides, exploring this human side is important for the worldly growth of an individual. Interact with a professional dispensing his or her job you will not be able to see the human side of that individual. I travel too often and I prefer to travel alone on most of the occasions because of the same reason I want my worldly wisdom to reach on to a new level with every travel that I am pursuing.
My study to develop a sturdier solo woman traveling to India, took me to official sites of various government-based agencies. Just like United States of America, India is divided into various states, when we talk about government based tourism agencies then we can divide them into two parts, first agencies are the agencies run by Central Government and second agencies are owned by state government. We brush our shoulders with centrally owned agencies on all the major terminal points like National and international airports, transit stations or bus stands. Their primary job is to inform us about certain things and queries. They can also connect us to the embassy at the earliest when we need.
The state-owned agencies set up their offices near tourist attractions and other places. It is very important for Single women traveling alone in India to know that these state-owned agencies interact with local police stations and at some places, they have deployed “tourist police” that handles tourism related affairs. Currently, India is all poised to deploy these tourist police stations in all the major tourist spots of the country. So next time if you are arriving with this tag of women traveling alone in India, then make sure that you have all the necessary numbers of such places with you. For instance, in Goa or in Delhi you can easily find them. “Indian Tourism Department” or “Name of the state ( like U.P, M.P, Maharashtra or J&K) state tourism development Corporation” are keywords. The moment you reach to a new destination, make sure to pay a visit to these places and ask them for all the necessary helpline numbers. As Single women traveling alone in India, you should never forget that tourist police is the first response body if something wrong happens. Most them are trained individuals with expertise to negotiate foreigners. They understand the needs of foreign tourists and keep them away from the touts all the time.
Tourist police are the ultimate SOS support, even if you contact someone else in the vicinity, or you take the support of an App etc. Then again, they will direct you to this department only. It is very important for every woman traveling alone in India that it is a hierarchy that their complaint will follow. Ensuring safe and secure Solo female travel in India has become a mission in India; it holds a primary space in the principles of this tourism promotion program under the name “Incredible India.” So be sure that they will attend you well. Indian laws are very strict; forget about molestation and eve teasing. If you think that somebody is ogling at you or staring at you then it is more than sufficient to file a complaint. Here I would like to add one more thing; if the cops find something really serious in the charge or if it is a case of repeat offender then it can become a non-bailable affair for the culprits.
Stay aware of the adequate laws
In last two or three years, India, in general, has seen a strong policy for the better safety of females, if something wrong happens with a woman traveling alone in India then they will not hesitate in taking appropriate action and they are well equipped with a set of laws to bring these culprits to the book. If you are, single women traveling in India then feel the power of this law setup backing you up all the time. Unlike Europe or Australia, in India, the activity of tourism takes place in small pockets of the city. Most of these pockets are very secure because they are under constant vigil of local intelligence units and tourist police. Now, remember I named it as Z category security blanket if you are in touch with authorities. If they are aware that you are in then you are already in a Z category blanket. Just make your head count at right places and be a royal guest in India. If authorities are aware that you are single women traveling in India then they will pay extra attention to your safety and security. In case of any an emergency, you can place toll-free women helpline number 180002332534. Immediate help would be approached to you after dialing this number.
It is not about dressing sense alone, learn how to carry yourself
Read it out in the memories depicting solo female travel in India. Personally, I felt annoyed when they repeatedly told be to avoid exposing clothes, a simple spaghetti or anything above the knee length can be exposing here. Some of them might tell you that over makeup and high heels can also invite undue attention towards you. I am not writing them off completely. It happens, it happens everywhere in the world.
Here my advice goes something like this; pick your dresses carefully, I am not telling you to wear a tunic with a chastity belt, I am not telling you to cover yourself completely. I am simply telling you to wear it for the occasion. Posh Markets of Mumbai and Delhi, Mall road at Shimla, Hazrat Ganj in Lucknow and main market of Bengaluru. There are many places in India where you can wear short skirts. Nobody will notice you; Indian girls are wearing short skirts. You might feel good when you will see that hint of appreciation in the eyes of some decent guys. Indian males have their aesthetic senses in place, not all of them are perverted. However, the above-mentioned fundamental is true for some selected places in India. If you are a woman traveling alone in India and planning to visit a tier 2 or tier 3 city of India then please avoid skin show, adorn yourself local clothes. Indian clothes are very trendy and cloth ranges like Fab India can offer you some somber yet glamorous outfits when you are out to have solo fun in two tier and three tier cities.
Apart from decent clothes, it is very important to wear decent attitude as well when you are having this status of a woman traveling in India. Check out your degree of friendliness with locals, over friendliness can sometimes give those wrong signals and bring you at tight spots. An average Indian male can be an incorrigible flirt if he is getting the right dose of positive signals from your side. An average Indian woman is shy in nature, this is why Indian males love it when they see “open girls”, I am extremely sorry for the derogatory phrase, however, it was important because I am sharing their point of view sometimes friendly behavior can become open behavior for them.
This is why it is important to wear a friendly smile when you are going out, make sure that you are not wearing an over friendly smile. It is the same with your non-verbal body language; make sure that you are not sharing eye contact with them for longer times. Conduct your behavior and talks in such a fashion where they never get this feeling that you are showing extra interest in them. Physical touch, deliberate or accidental should be avoided at all possible levels. In western countries, patting on the shoulders or holding hands is a common trait, but in India, it is a big deal. If you are a single woman traveling in India or you are traveling with a group, keep them at a distance and they are most innocent, sweet and warm people. You are a tourist; they will bargain in various deals with you, they will come up with fishy deals with you. Frankly, I am not concerned with that at all, it is part and parcel, it is a business. It has nothing to do with the safety.
Here I would like to share one more personal observation of mine. Most of the Indian males start acting funny when they find themselves in the company of pretty girls. The definition of courtship is little different here. Hugging each other or throwing flying kisses is an exchange of pleasantries in the western world. However, here in India if you hug a person then it means that first castle is won. This is why it is very important to behave in a strict fashion. Observe Indian girls, how they keep them at a bay, Indian girls wear an attitude where they are accessible to the permissible limits and exclusive for any nonsense. It is very important for you to understand this act of balancing. Make sure that none of your talks are giving them any hint or carrying a sexual connotation in it.
There is no denial to the bad fishes
Eve teasing and molestation are worldwide phenomena; it will be unfair if we blame any particular society or country for that. We can always start a debate with adequate data and prove that India is much safer in comparison with many other countries. It looks unsafe from a distance because people are a little too pushy at times. Unorganized sector of tourism wants to nab customers when they are roaming the streets. It happens everywhere,
At least in the case of India, we have this saving grace that current laws are very strict here. Now imagine a pub in a Las Vegas and a tipsy guy approaching you. In Las Vegas, the degree of crime and punishment is lighter for this type of a behavior. However, things are very strict in India because in most of the cases it is a non-bailable offense. Locals are aware of this fact, Indian police and media have already set a strict example of punishment for these bad fishes. Even then, be sure that you are not entering in wrong allies.
We do not deny that crimes have registered in India, punishments have been awarded but it never means that you start feeling the paranoia that a serial rapist is waiting for you at the other end of the alley. Not every person roaming in the streets of small cities is after your purse, you are a business prospect for them, they might try to approach you aggressively, and they are doing it because they want to sell something. They want to make money out of a deal. Enjoy it, handle it, tackle it, allow your real personality to come out. Don’t act like a babe in the woods. Act like a courageous soulful traveler, who is out here to battle it out against this “stage fright” like syndrome. India can be your stage, it can become an ideal playground for your solo traveling fantasies just give it a chance under the light of this new Z category safety blanket that they are rolling for you.
Design and Travel would like to know your story as well, about India or anywhere around the world. My aim is to share the story of the women traveler to the world. Let her story inspire other women to travel solo this year. For more inspiring stories please subscribe us below and get featured on Design and Travel by sharing your story at firstname.lastname@example.org