A land of dazzling colors, textures, textiles and patterns, India is exciting to explore. But is it equally safe for men and women? Though the recent incidents point to the lack of security for women in India, this is far from the complete picture. Just like most other countries, not all places in India are equally safe. But the government is doing different things to improve safety standards for women.
The National Safety Council is an autonomous government body, which publishes Safety Calendars on very basic safety measures. Delhi has launched a women’s safety helpline, 181. Take a look at these 10 safety tips for women traveling in India:
1. Stay in a reputed hotel
India has hotels of different grades, and the more reputed a hotel you stay in (ones marked with three or four stars) you can usually expect more safety precautions and security regulations, generally. If you are looking for extra security on Indian holidays, spend a little more and stay in a hotel that has a few extra options like a corridor or floor exclusively for women. Research options online or talk to those who have been in India, to get ideas about hotels.
2. Maintain privacy
India is a country where people love chatting each other up. You sometimes find perfect strangers falling into easy conversations on trains, for example. While it’s fine to keep the conversation going with people you meet, keep your private information private as far as you can. While your co-passengers may be friendly and helpful, it is not a good idea to reveal too much information about your whereabouts or about who you are. Even in hotels, maintain privacy while talking to attendants.
3. Stay on the radar
It is a good idea to have someone you know, in India, be it a family or friends, that you can fall back upon in case of an emergency. Keep your cellphone number or important details, like hotel information, with this group or person you can trust.
4. Defense tactics
Having a few self-defense techniques handy is a great resource on the road. You can stay armed with a pepper spray or hairpin, to feel more confident just in case. But the best self-defense is the kind where you can use your body as a weapon. Many self-defense training styles like Karate, taekwondo and judo emphasize ways in which you can resourcefully use your limbs, the thrust of your body, etc. to intimidate an opponent. You can also take a quick course in Krav maga (is a self-defense system), a tactic used in Israeli defense training.
5. Safety in taxis
Try as far as possible to opt for prepaid taxis, which are available outside the airport, outside major railway stations and so on. Many big cities have private taxi operators like EasyCabs, CoolCabs and MeruCabs. Safety and accountability make these taxis very popular.
6. Women’s only compartments in local trains
If you are traveling short distance in local trains, you can get on the women’s only coach. On the railway platform there will usually be a sign board or some indicator to tell you where to stand to get on the women’s only coach.
7. Remain flexible about hours to keep
In small towns or villages of India, people often sleep early and rise early, which means you are likelier to find streets becoming quieter at night. It is a good idea to follow the local customs, and not stay out late nights in these places. Sometimes security patrolling is not too evident, so looking after yourself is a smarter idea.
8. Clothing norms
If you go to hinterland areas, it is a good idea to dress a bit modestly and not wear dresses that are too revealing.
9. Sunbathing norms
The tropical sun in India makes sunbathing a tempting option, but make sure it’s safe before you get topless at beaches. In some beaches of Goa, sunbathing topless is acceptable and safe. Private beaches at big hotels too are fine; still make your enquiries before you do so.
10. Drink with people you know
Reserve your drinking or night-outs for friends or people you know. It may not be too safe to drink in the company of strangers. Do not take lifts from people you don’t know.
Hope, these 10 safety tips to travelling in India will helps you lots. While these are self-protection measures, keep an eye out for government news and updates too. Many states are introducing helplines and other safety measures for women, so take advantage of all these safety tips and plan a trip to traveling in India.