1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Readers Respond: Your Reaction to India Culture Shock

Responses: 78


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

Indians find happiness in dirt?

what does Prateek mean when he says Indians 'find happiness in dirt'?
—Guest Ru

It's Not Culture Shock It's Disgust

India certainly has it's good points but it has many bad points. Some unspeakably bad. Something is broken in a society that allows people to defecate openly on the side of a street. That allows animals to live in horrible diseased conditions. That allows garbage to be thrown all over the place with zero attempt to collect it. Everything is covered in filth and nobody cares.
—Guest Pepper Sanchez

India still a country?

India might be the single least enjoyable place I have ever visited in my life. In my hotel I am waited on hand and foot, right out side the door the smell of urine and apathy surround everything. I don't particularly care for either experience. I can't avoid being followed around by the damned hotel staff and after about a week I've seen all the temples full of stray dogs and homeless people I care to see. I didn't come to India thinking it would be paradise on Earth, just wanted to have been there and done that. There is no such thing as a line, the lines painted on the road don't serve a purpose and the country is full of young men without a future. 2/3rds of India does not have electricity. 2/3rds. So, go somewhere else. Someone else said something about India being a "whole new experience" if you are ultra wealthy. Yeah.... I'm sure being a corrupt Indian bureaucrat probably is interesting.
—Guest Not Impressed

Don't feel anything

I was born and raised in India therefore I neither feel it's good or bad. But for foreigners if they can afford they can live in luxury but if they can't it can be hell. But it must be hard for foreigners to roam around the place by bus. But Coimbatore is pretty good i feel.
—Guest Divya

50/50 India

Well first of all, as someone once said: If Indians could take care of their temples and homes with such pride, why not their land? Where is the beauty in filth? I see many people with toenail infections. The staring isn't a problem, the stupid traffic is! Maybe too many people or maybe people do not care for traffic rules! Bargaining is fine, funny at times. India is also know for sharing the love...well I gotta to look hard for that love, maybe far far away from the cities. Guys, in any country within cities, people are rude and unfriendly, they do not smile and do not help you. I have been living in this country a short time and intent on staying here but here is what I do not understand: most people here do not care about their surrounding other than what they own. I cannot have a nice walk, I cannot have a nice drive, I cannot have privacy (slowly getting used to it) I cannot run errands in less than a day, everything is so far apart, corruption is so obvious.
—Guest Kas

sorry for inconvenience

Hi I am indian too..well travelled throughout India.seeing comments I would like to apologise to foreign tourists for troubles they had to face coz of us. We do accept that our country has been made filthy n bad in many sense for which we Indians are truly responsible. For fellow citizens, kindly acknowledge the truth and take a note of how india n Indians are perceived as. Don't just boast about culture n spirituality. Com'on man..u can't even take criticism. Can't even laugh at useless. In the act of balancing western n indian culture we have ended up losing both and taking negative aspects of both. With 1 billion n more population, India is truly amazing but needs to rebuild itself. It's pathetic to see fellow citizens pestering foreigners. Ya we do feel ur plight. Before changing anything in the country, we need to change mindset of people. Do listen to tourist guys.. Rather than justifying. Accept that we are not good as we think. We are from land of lots of hope.
—Guest sai

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

Share Your Experience

Your Reaction to India Culture Shock

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.