India is a vibrant country, rich in heritage, history, warmth and spirituality. It is 7th largest country in the world and the 2nd most populous. For the quintessential tourist, in this case American, is India a safe country to travel?
There are conflicting view-points, however Michelle Breitstein a multi-faceted, multi-talented Travel Writer cum Life Style Travel Blogger and Mountain Lover based in San Francisco, USA has articulated this safety angle, very well. She spent many months on end, travelling the length and breadth of India. This is what she has to say.
“Yes, things are unbelievably safe here.” I can send my kids on a train, knowing the other passengers (complete strangers up to that moment) will take good care of them. My kids can go out on her own in the evening without much worry. In Mumbai, Reader’s Digest recently left 10 wallets with about Rs. 2,500 each on the streets to see how many would be returned. Our Mumbaikars returned 9 of them (2nd most honest people in the world).Yet, there are still authentic reports of petty crime, rape, corruption, and mob violence that are at least enough to make relatives worry.
Many factors affect your safety in India. Men have very few concerns, whereas women need to be more cautious. Where you are planning to travel in India, can make a big difference. For example, I would not be as comfortable with my wife going out on her own in Delhi as opposed to Chennai or Mumbai. Travelling with children actually endears you more and makes you less likely to be the target of a serious crime.”
Michelle has some very appropriate tips for American as well as British Travellers. She says dress appropriately, especially at religious places, so that sentiments are not hurt. Try to avoid arriving at new places alone at night. Be assertive and do your homework about a particular place you want to visit. Taking a train? Book an upper berth. It is safe, snug and cosy.
She signs off very well – “ultimately, there is no secret to staying safe in India. It is a continual process of being wise and keenly listening to your instincts — just as you would anywhere else in the world. Indians love to welcome foreigners into their country, so trust your gut in accepting their hospitality and learn from their kindness. India is a complicated and chaotic country, and yet it is also a place of inconceivable beauty and warmth.”
India is as as safe as any other country in the world. Don’t worry too much. There is so much beauty waiting to be discovered. So go out, revel in the friendliness, soak in the happy feeling, yet keeping a watchful eye all the time.
Hey Americans, India opens its doors and heart wide for you. Namaste!