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Readers Respond: Your Reaction to India Culture Shock

Responses: 72


About.com readers share their reactions to India culture shock.

How did you feel when you first arrived in India? What things do you find difficult to cope with in India? Here's the place to get it all off your chest.

Share Your Experience

horrible been here 22 years

I am an indian...It's a horrible place. People are not really that nice. Was in Europe for 2 months; people were genuinely nice, helped out, and did not try to force their culture on me. In India, everyone has their own opinion, which is fine, but somehow they really want the others to follow them too. You hardly get personal space here. Everything is cut-throat. Though people do help out, many a times one gets cheated and so on. Well, there are also a fair share of good, honest and amazing people too...One thing I never get is why most Indians take every comment personally, and pounce at other people's opinion. People see what they see, no point in being offended for everything.
—Guest indian

Petty rules

Of course there's vast beauty in India and I especially loved rural Punjab and the north generally. But as the subject is culture shock.... I won't bother echoing all the other comments about filth, noise, poverty, sexual repression etc. I'll mention the bizarrely exaggerated sense of their own importance apparently held by the very lowest representatives of any kind of 'authority' and the imbecilic 'rules' they constantly 'enforce', including whistles and shouts to control your movement when visiting historic sites, metal detectors, frisking and passport checks even when entering museums and empty parks, unconscionable injunctions against cameras and other entirely reasonable and harmless items at many 'tourist attractions' and even public places, and the ubiquitous litany of totally unnecessary demands and requirements. Not what I expected from India at all. It will need addressing before India's tourism industry has any real chance.
—Guest Mojo

Thanks, but no thanks

You can judge a country by how it treats it's vulnerable inhabitants. India FAILS on all levels. Westerners have a fantasy that they try to fulfill in traveling to India and it is just that. A fantasy. Filth, disease, abuse of children, animals and women and a wide spread ignorance of the environment in general. No thanks. If it's culture, safety, beauty, cleanliness and history you want, Go To Europe! Stay far away from India.
—Guest Western woman

India IS amazing!

I'm an Indian American and I've been living in India for almost 10 yrs. To all those ppl who really want to visit the real India plz visit Kerala Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by doin this u'd cum to know wat the real India is! Yeah yeah ppl might think that it's dirty and stuff lik that bit trust me it's not as bad as u think and things are cheap here too! PS plz don't wear Indian clothes and roam around the place it's not cool!
—Guest Swapna

India sooo sad

When I visit India many things I want to know, and I want to explore but if we apart everything the most and extreme bad condition in India is about the Indian women. As we all know, women has the only life which has the only power to give birth. But somewhere in India I found that people kill the child when they found its a girl because people they want boy for their family. As we all know, we describe India as a girl or a woman. Then why this degrading custom still happens? God bless India.
—Guest aazan khan

Bring the criticism on.

I would like to tell to everyone that for more 5 millenniums the Indian culture had existed.When I say Indian,its Hindu.India at that point before British invasion was spread right from Afghanistan in the north to Indonesia in south.Slowly the Muslims invaded us in the name of trade",so did the Muslims(Please no anti-religious views intended here).The culture was still not destroyed.That's something which you should appreciate us.But on the flip side,I am not ashamed to agree that Indian roads are filthy and dirty.That's something you have to see after our independence.I want to conclude saying that our roads maybe barbarian but our heritage and prestige as well as the antiquity of our ancient culture makes other cultures in the world look barbarian.I could on and on explaining unknown stuff about India to non-Indians,only if the characters permitted me to do so.
—Guest Resident Indian

The good outweighs any negatives

I was only in India for two weeks but it was a great experience. As a tourist there were times I was overcharged, etc. but that was OK – part of the experience. The beggars, especially the children, were heartbreaking. I didn't like the garbage strewn all over the place – often pure laziness not bothering to put the trash in a bin. I noticed in the train station in Jaipur they were trying to clean up the place. To the person who said “Don’t go to India if you can’t afford it” - so not true. I stayed at inexpensive places that were very nice and clean with great food. I checked out recommendations before going. I met other travelers on the rooftop restaurants at night. I also stayed at a few different homes. The saying that’ the guest is God’ is really true. My hosts were so welcoming and took such good care of me. They weren't happy that I chose to do a bit of travelling on my own visiting the golden triangle by train and bus as they didn't think it safe.
—Guest mmv686

Not going back

The noise pollution (cars using "warning" honks) and traffic ruined virtually every outing I took on a recent trip to Mumbai and Delhi. There were always too many people working in stores and harassing me when I just wanted to shop in peace. I actually ended up not buying much at all because of this. I also noticed that many stores had one person writing up a receipt and a different person taking the cash. This is grossly inefficient. You have to know where to find a certain product (we had to ask at 2-3 stores to find a hair dryer in suburban Mumbai) which adds a lot of time to simple errands. It's impossible to find healthy, simply food like grilled white meat chicken or steamed vegetables. Everything is over-spiced or drenched in oil or butter.


I have traveled to both the North and South of India several times. Yes, there are many things to love about India, and as in every country there are many positives and negatives. India sure has it's share of positives. But, the negatives on the other hand are so overwhelmingly in your face it's hard to discount them. One of the first things a foreign visitor will notice is the sheer filth that is inescapable. It's hard to enjoy the beauties of the country when one is constantly surrounded by filth, pollution and in some cases the smell of open sewage. I do notice that some people on here who are Indian I presume seem to take offense to this. no offense is intended on my part I am just relating my experience while in India. Each time i was there, i was VERY happy to leave. I do notice that some Indians seem very sensitive when it comes to criticism. Please don't take the criticisms of india so personally! I love Indian people but the country itself it embarrassingly filthy!
—Guest LAisto

Feel India

If you want to travel all India then you have to think like an Indian. Indians feel happiness in dirt also. You have to feel India.
—Guest Prateek

I love India

I'm saddened to see some of the comments left here, but really not surprised. I've just returned from 3 weeks in India, and I cried when I left. I fell in love with the place, and I only saw a small portion (mostly Rajasthan). Yes people stare. Yes the hygiene standards are lacking. Yes you can buy food from street stalls. But honestly, why travel if you don't want to see something different to your own country? And surely you've researched India and know somewhat what to expect? I saw past all of this, used the dirty squat toilets, slept on overnight trains, sat in second class carriages, and loved every minute of it. The history, the culture - if you just smile at people, ask questions, be open and interested, you'll mostly be embraced in a warm welcome. The people are what makes India so special. I feel like I was only seeing the world in black and white, until I visited India - now I see in amazing colour.
—Guest Ali H


India is a very expensive country if you want to enjoy the experience and if you spend the money you get 7 star service. Google Oberoi Hotels and Resorts - that is an Indian luxury hotel brand and has been voted best luxury hotel Brand in the world by travel and leisure, and many of their hotels have always been in the top 10 best hotels of the world. India on a budget is a horrible place to visit...but India when you have money to burn is a whole new world u will never see anywhere else. India has thousands of Palaces converted into luxury hotels where u can live like royalty. India has man royal trains too on which u can travrl like a royal, and even living like a royal India is still cheaper than many western and eastern countries...but as I said its bad on a budget most of these people posting seem to think India is fun and cheap...it is not cheap at all if you want to see it PROPERLY...thats why they all have a bad experience.
—Guest IndoAryan


Dear all travelling lovers... I have been to the most of the states and cities in India... Being an Indian, I find India every where same as far as facilities and dvelopment is concerned. It is only the political mirror which deals in his own way about facilities and development. India 70 % people are staying in villages. 20 percent India comes under Cities measurment. Yes Cities always have some extra facilities. Nevertheless India is same. For foriegners , I have to say that acceptance is required because India is not lavishly framed ( especially for the foreigners coming from developed countris). Any problem, keep on asking to anybody but never believe anybody until and unless you are confirmed by many people/ resources. Or ask your problem to reliable resources like traffic police, Police, any shop person, hawkers to some extent, etc. Dont ask to moving people, group of people they may create confusion mostly. Any major problem dial 100 by mobile that will connect to police station
—Guest dEEPAK

Neutral, But Not Balanced

Hello Sharell, I like the intentionally impartial take on India. I'm from Delhi and know for a thing that India, particularly the Golden Triangle corridor, can get a little overbearing. However, go south and there'll be plenty of positive experiences. To my friends from outside, I'd suggest doing the Mysore-Hampi-Ooty circuit. Some of the best sights to be seen, friendly locals, reasonable accommodation and yes, relatively much cleaner. Also, rather than trusting a guide, try and find a connection in India. There are lots of Indian students studying abroad. See if you can get them to help you. Maybe a friend of a friend? I just thought the article still didn't highlight the positives about India as well it did the negatives! My two cents. Sushant. Reply: Hi Sushant, thanks for your feedback and excellent suggestions. Granted, the article didn't highlight the positives about India because it's outside the scope of the topic, being culture shock experiences. There are other articles focusing on the positives, such as this one: http://goindia.about.com/od/planningyourtrip/tp/10-reasons-to-visit-india.htm
—Guest Sushant

A land ruined by it's own people

India is a land of stunning and amazingly diverse natural beauty. Unfortunately, its people are content to wallow in their own filth. I have lived here for 10 years and have worked in rural and urban India. There is absolutely no excuse for the complete and utter lack of respect Indians have for their surroundings, each other and their country. Spit, urine, feces, garbage.. it is everywhere, all the time. I count on average at least 40 men a day urinating right on the main road as I drive to work. Ex-farmers who have now become waged workers still waste water as if it is an endless resource, burn all their trash polluting the ground and the air. Despite education, despite awareness, people just do not seem to care here. I live in a fancy apartment building where the tenants own beamers and mercs, yet, the stairways of my building like all other fancy and not so fancy office and residential buildings here, are covered wall to wall in paan and gutka spit.
—Guest carmenere7555

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