A year before, there were supposed to be five of us. However, three did not push through for whatever personal reasons they may have. Since I have already purchased non-refundable tickets and truly fueled by my secret desire to finally lay my eyes on Taj Mahal, I went ahead with friend Marx as planned.
Scouring through many travel blogs and Indian forums, I somehow got a rough idea on how women visiting this colorful country should dress up. Most advise I have read were to dress modestly which emphasized on the do-not-expose-too much-skin topic. If possible, you can dress like the locals if you are comfortable about it. A Salwar Kameez is worn by almost all local women, in the cities and far-flung provinces alike. Kurta for women are also worn just like what I am wearing below. However, as an alternative, you may create your own ensemble. Of course, you can still wear the usual jeans and shirts. Just always have a shawl/scarf ready around your shoulders. I opted to not choose the latter since I wanted to blend in.
|Kurta for women: bought this pair in a local bazaar in Jaipur|
In my case, I bought several loose pants/fitted leggings and matched these with colorful, long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops with matching head scarfs. These attire may not be comfortable for all but it helped made me at ease in my movements since we were out touring all day. It greatly helped covered a woman’s gentle curves. Avoiding form-fitting and glitzy outfit would help minimize lewd stares and ward off unwanted attention. Remember, that being a foreigner alone, you will be stared at no matter what. I think blending in the culture not only helps in your safety but also as a respect to the local culture.
|Photo op in front of one of the mosques inside Taj Mahal complex|
The loose category definitely helped in regulating my body temperature and protected my skin from direct sunlight exposure. I chose to wear flat shoes good for walking in all kinds of weather. A scarf does not only serve as sun protection but it is also a must-wear in entering some religious sites.
|Varanasi women in vibrant saris|
For daily activities, best to bring your travel essentials in a small body bag or bag pack. Mine was equipped with a bottle of alcohol, wet napkins, face powder, tissue, comb, my wallet with small change and a bottle of water. You may secure your more important travel documents like passport, ATM cards/credit cards and cash closer to your body.
|At Humayon’s Tomb, New Delhi|
All in all, my stay in India was chaotic, harried, colorful but memorable. A lifetime’s worth of memories which can only be achieved by being there. By experiencing the obvious first hand. I believe that taking the necessary precautions and doing intensive research, women can still safely travel in this incredible country.
Other parts in this series
Part 1 How to Apply for an Indian Tourist Visa
Part 2 Smyle Inn 🙂
Part 3 Karan’s Guesthouse: Your Home in Jaipur
Part 4 Kolkata’s Sunny Sunflower Guesthouse
Part 5 Goa’s Little Secret
Part 6 One Night in Kuala Lumpur
Part 7 Brave in Bangalore
Part 8 Ghost of Goa
Part 9 Magnificent Mumbai
Part 10 You are on it!
Part 11 Romantic Udaipur
Part 12 Israel, Morocco and the Fort of Chittorgargh
Part 13 Pondering in the Pink City
Part 14 New Delhi Baby!
Part 15 The Red Fort
Part 16 Whirling Emotions
Part 17 Varanasi’s Traditions
Part 18 Kolkata and Calcutta
Part 19 Off to Pattaya!
Part 20 India Trip at a Glance
Part 21 India Trip Backpacking Expenses