I keep a daily travel log and write a newsletter. That
information is much more detailed. I made this page to collect some essential
notes of problems, or variance to pay attention to in India.
My Travel Log or Blog for India starts as the end of September 2003 in log and
newsletter for information on India.
If you feel very uncomfortable and out of place you are
probably in the real India. If you can see another tourist you are not in the
WHY PEOPLE VISIT INDIA?
- Koreans come because this is the beginning of Buddhism.
- Vegetarians come because the country is the Mecca of
- Yoga teachers come to find or learn about the beginnings
- Most travelers come to search for God or to find their
- Goa is a great beach area.
- Delhi or Mumbai (Bombay) appears to have sex tourism. I
am not positive on this. Pune is suppose to have a Sex-Ashram.
- Calcutta is suppose to be great to buy clothing cheap.
- Ashram stays - Living in a semi-Hindu and working.
DO NOT VISIT INDIA IF?
- If you want to be cleaner than camping in the barn.
- If you are not willing to push a person or man out of the
room that is trying to enter.
- If you do not want a man to grab the rear or butt of a
- If you do not want to see a person defecate in front of
you. (Going to toilet in street.)
- If you do not want to shake hands with very dirty people.
I believe it would be impolite to not do so.
- You want the floor mopped and the toilet clean. (I think
they do not know the word "Mop.")
- Respiratory problems - The dust and pollution if India is
THESE THINGS ARE GUARANTEED TO
NEED TO BRING
You may wish to also bring the stuff that you can buy
immediately. If you are on a tourist trip you should bring both the need and
what you can buy immediately.
- Laundry bleach soap and sponge to clean.
- Shower sandals or slippers that are waterproof. (The floor is always dirty.
I meant to use the word "Always.")
- Anti-fungus soap in a bottle. You can buy Dettol here in India. MAKE SURE
you buy the hand Dettol and not the cleaning Dettol or you could burn yourself.
Note that they sell this in pharmacies or "Chemist" as they call it here. Dettol
is the brand name.
- Sleeping bag liner or sheets.
- If you are going to cold areas you can bring a sleeping bag or buy a cover
immediately. The will not necessarily be supplied.
- If you have lung or respiratory problems take care to bring breathing
apparatus, handkerchiefs, or masks.
CAN BUY IMMEDIATELY
- Essential Train Guide to India
- Dipper for sponge bath.
THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR IS A BIG PROBLEMS IN INDIA
- Betel or chewing of crap in their mouths. Maybe it is called Beetlenut.
- Need trash cans and pick up.
- There needs to be a sewer system installed that works.
I have been in a lot of countries poorer than India, but they were able to
keep their homes clean, and to not shit where they sleep. I have no idea why the
people of India will shit where they sleep and live.
TOILETS AND SHOWERS
TOILET - All are squat type unless you are in tourist
TOILET PAPER - Always carry here, they will never supply
Sometime the people in India are using the same dipper to
dip shower to clean their anus as you are suppose to use to dip shower. You may
want to carry a plastic cup of your own.
SQUAT EXERCISE - A person going to Asia may wish to start
exercising before to prepare themselves for the toilets of Asia being that it
may beyond their present ability to squat and rise again.
LEFT OR RIGHT HAND? You are not suppose to wave, shake
hands, or do other things with your left hand because they supposedly clean
themselves in the toilet with the left hand. I then wonder why the facets or
taps are always on the right?
SPICY FOOD CAUSES DIARRHEA - I believe spicy food causes
diarrhea or soft stool by forcing the body to over secrete fluids to protect
POVERTY TOURS - Walk around and look at beggars.
TV IN HOTELS - If you are careful and pay attention there
are TV's in some hotels in common areas. If you go to small cities where there
is NO tourist there may be hotels in the 100-150 Rupee price range hotels.
DATING THE LOCALS - Can be dangerous. The outcaste people
MARIJUANA LASSIE - They serve in most restaurants although
I believe illegal a flavored shake. This had no ice cream and is more of blended
cool drink, but they will also include Marijuana if you wish.
TRAIN RESERVATIONS: You MUST get a reservation way ahead
of time for a train, or you will be on a waiting list and can find yourself
fighting for a seat. Note that this is why it is good to jump from major tourist
city to a major tourist city so you can find a travel agent to help you. The fee
is or should be about 50 Rupees or one Dollar or Euro.
TRAINS - What I think you want to ask for when buy a train
Sleeping Class - UB Upper Bunk or Top Tier. You want to be on the top so that
they do not make your bunk into a seat during the day. Note that the window side
is longer and can hold your backpack better. I sleep with my backpack and all my
belonging on the inside part of my bed.
BUS - There are no toilets on the normal India buses.
BUSES OR BUS - Sometimes the women sit in front and the
men in back on the local buses. Sometimes the women get on first and men get on
RED ATLAS SOLD - 70 Rupees in the country, Has rail and
streets. Note the best map would have the name of the city in the Hindi name.
WALKING - There is always a Motorized Rickshaw taxi
available. It is probably an extremely easy country for seniors.
MOTORIZED RICKSHAWS - The most common is this 3 wheeled
cart. Some are metered.
MOTORIZED RICKSHAWS - Dangerous if overloaded. I saw one
roll in Hyderbad. It had 4-5 boys inside and no luggage.
METERS - There are meters on the taxis in the big cities,
but I still negotiate a price and hold to that.
TRAIN MAP - You can buy train maps for sure inside country
and probably can either print or buy in your home country. For most travelers
this would be extremely helpful.
STREET SIGNS - Do not exist. I have yet to see a street
sign or to be able to figure out the name of the street by a sign. They way I do
it in India is to look at the signs about the business. They will often have the
name of the street with an address on the sign for their business.
PHOTOS - HOW TO FIND A STREET SIGN
India Train Conductors do not tell you when to get off the
train. You need to ask constantly to everyone around you.
ESSENTIAL TRAIN GUIDE - This is the name of the book that
everyone carries to find the trains in India.
TRAVELER FASHION - If you are NOT one of these you can
take a lot of crap from other travelers.
- Wanting to find God.
- Reverent or in worship of the local religions.
- Feminine acting.
- Willing to talk in pyscho babble or use all the words of
the day of India. Ayuredic, Ashram, Yaga, Dharma, Vishnu, Shiva, and many more
trendy words to use in India and not understand.
- Do not delve into the meaning of any word, or they will
- A person to say that shitting on the street or dirt is
good. If you complain about the shit or dirt people can be real judgmental that
you do not like dirty and mess.
CLEARING THROAT - Try to not live in a hotel with locals.
They will spit and clear their throats so much and can be extremely obnoxious.
GIRL TRAVELERS -The men of India can be extremely forward
and taxing on the mind. I would recommend you learn to say no and do not flirt,
or flirt and talk with great caution. Although they are nor really dangerous for
the most part, they do seem to assume that all Western women have sex at the
drop of a hat.
LOUD SPEAKERS - There are a lot of cities where they do
the chants in the morning over loud speakers. If possible in especially a Holy
city of any kind try to get a room at the back of Hotel.
STREET NOISE - Horns are unbelievable. It is as if there
is a 2 year old with a horn. All the cars, and trucks have signs on the back of
them saying to "Blow Horn" therefore everyone does just that.
COW SHIT - Always watch where you walk in India. It has
some of the worlds most disgusting things on the path.
ELECTRICITY - The electricity is going to go out at least
3 times per day.
GENERATORS - Some of the better hotel will have
Generators. You do not want to have your room next to a generator and have a gas
powered motor running.
ASKING YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS: People will constantly ask
your name and address. Just answer and give them the address is my advice
because they will never stop. Do not give them your Hotel, especially women as
they will come to visit. You home address in your country is harmless for the
most part, and they will normally not write.
INTERNET - Be very careful with credit cards in Internet -
They have logs that literally capture every time you type a on the keyboard and
will record your credit card number.
INTERNET BROADBAND - Does not mean much when share among
30 machines. Does mean a lot if you are the first one in the internet cafe.
Connecting your computer is random chance in Internet
cafe. I recommend you walk into an Internet Cafe with a computer. If the owner
or manager is able or knows how to connect your computer to his LAN - Local Area
Network immediately then proceed. But if they have even a slight hesitation then
come up with an excuse and leave.
MOBILE TELEPHONE - The connections in India are often done
by way of mobile or cell telephones.
CELL CONNECTIONS TO INTERNET - I believe if you want to
check e-mails by way of POP server and "Upload" or "Download" with an
E-mail Client such as Outlook Express, Pegasus, Foxmail, Eurdora or a lot of
other you could do this in India. You would call long distance to the USA. If
you lived in India for a long time, you may consider buying service.
HOTELS OR ACCOMMODATIONS:
WARNING: Do not allow India people to come in your
room. Especially women because they will not leave and may try to molest women,
and will not leave. Meet them outside your room. Take whatever you want and then
return to the room. If you are not willing to push a person out of the room then
maybe you should not visit India.
ROOM PRICE STAYS SAME: One or two people and the price is
DORM IS STUPID: Do not go into the dorm unless you wish to
be robbed by the other travelers. The saving is not worth the risk.
LODGE - HOTEL? I think you will have better luck if you
ask for a Lodge or Lodging, or even just say room. The world hotel is not clear
HOTEL VERSUS RESTAURANT - In the city of Gadag, India.
State of Karnataka they call a restaurant a Hotel. Just because the sign says
Hotel, it may be a restaurant and not have rooms.
HOTEL HOT WATER - If you are in areas where there are not
tourist the hotels will boil hot water for bath. They do this also in tourist
areas, but you will need to ask, learn this before you rent the room. The cost
of a bucket of water that was brought at 7:00 AM in the morning was 3 Rupees in
Karimnagar, India and it was very hot.
HOTEL HOT WATER - If there is 2 taps or faucets one is
probably hot water. Maybe has a red color, but the pipe that does NOT got to the
sink is probably hot. If you wait wait wait for about 5 minutes the water will
get warm... maybe. It has to travel a long way to reach your room.
HOTEL RENT - 150 Rupees as of 2003 is the maximum needed
to pay for good backpacker room.
HOTELS - Always get a room where you can put on your own
lock. This is so far always possible. Very good in India.
HOTELS - Do not put things next to windows they will reach
in and steal things.
HOTELS - You can negotiate the price of your room in
India, especially in tourist areas. The more local areas I am not sure, but in
the tourist areas they overbuild and everyone is in on the act, so there is a
lot of competition.
HOTELS - They sometimes want a deposit on the room, for
example say you rent a room for 100 Rupees, they would request 200 Rupees. 100
for the first night, and 100 for the deposit. I have only had this happen in
places with no tourist and only more or less India Travelers. Gadag, Karnataka,
and Karimnagar Northe of Hyderbad.
SHEETS - I have lived in various hotels now in India for
almost 2 months. I have never once had the India people want or offer to change
my sheets or covers. I think in the non-tourist areas they have been more clean
than in tourist areas.
SHEETS OR COVERS - The system here appears to be that they
give you one sheet and maybe a cover. The sheet is a flat sheet and is not
fitted so easily comes loose. I have realized you need to have a sleeping bag
liner. I recommend you buy one immediately or have one made. A duvet can work
also. If you do not have one, or cannot find one, buy 2 flat sheets and bring
with you to convert. You will also need a pillow case. India is very dirty.
SLEEPING BAG LINER COUNTRY - I recommend you carry
either a duvet cover or a sleeping bag liner. The longer I travel in India the
less I believe they may seldom clean the covers or sheets.
NO WASHING OF SHEET OR COVER - I have yet to see the
Shanthi Hotel demonstrate or demonstrate in the last 15 days of livng in the
place in Hampi that they change the cover, clean the covers. I am positive they
sweep the floors because I see them performing this duty, but the bed covers
work is missing. In most hotels in the world you will slowly learn where and how
they wash or clean bed covers and hotel supplies. Normally there is a place on
the roof. India is almost totally lacking in this, and I believe that the level
of dirt may be higher than imaginable.
ONE SHEET WORLD - I have been in India for over two months
and have yet to see a bed with 2 sheets. I recommend you bring a pillow case and
a sleeping bag liner, or maybe a duvet.
HOT WATER IN TUB - You can often request a pot of hot
water for a shower from the Hotel, or they may charge you 5 Rupees. This is
sometime standard in the "Real India" hotels.
DRINKING WATER PITCHER - I have found that the "Real
India" type hotels bring a pitcher of water to the room to drink, while this is
not part of the tourist hotels and often will push the bottle water.
LEFT THE HOTEL - Do not under any circumstance believe a
hotel manager when they say that a person has left. Double check or return
later, the language and culture make the answer automatically be negative.
The will clean and even press you clothes in India for
about 5 Rupees or less. In the tourist areas I have paid 5 Rupees and in the
non-tourist areas I have paid less.
If you want to do your own laundry I would recommend you
pay 5 Rupees and ask the manager of Hotel to bring you really hot water. This
will kill off most fungus.
LAHK - one hundred thousand or a great number. Used to
describe the number or Rupees in India. Originates or starts from the Hindu.
EXCHANGE RATE: 1 Dollar equals 44.5 Rupees as of January
TIGHT FISTED - There is this idea that India people think
the Tourist or Travelers are cheap. This is probably true, but more likely they
are greedy and do not like the tourist or travelers being smart enough to
negotiate. Get a good price, they will not sell it too cheap. Tight fisted is a
greedy way of saying they want you to pay through the nose so they can be
greedy. Do not be made to feel guilty for anything.
CHARGING BATTERIES - If you want to charge or use
electricity when leaving the room watch the switch outside. The owner often has
a switch outside the room to shut off the electricity of the whole room.
Carry a candle or flashlight at night if you are afraid of
dark or people. You can find yourself walking in the complete dark and no way to
find your way. So far the lights have went of about 3-5 times per day for a
There are special water taps in India that are ok to
drink. I have only been in the states of Goa and Karnataka so far. They all seem
to be free of particulate matter, but some locals recommend you boil. I am still
debating, but do not see the water looking bad, and has never tasted bad. I am
10 times more worry about the fingernails of the cook, then the water.
DANGER - MEN IN WHITE - PANTS AND SHIRTS - There
are some men that walk around in white pants and white shirts. They are NOT
the same as the ones that have the skirts or longies on that are pulled up
between their legs. These men have on white pants and are normally very clean,
but they seem like corrupt officials and I would steer clear of them when
possible, they seem to have some sort of authority, but they appear dangerous to
associate with, and I would forget how to talk with them.
DANGER: Do NOT ask Policemen for help in India.
They are the India version of the Mexican Policeman and not to be trusted. If
you see a policeman walk on the other side of the street and look away. Do to
make eye contact for any reason. I do this in all countries, and that includes
the USA. 99 percent of people become Policemen for "Power," but please do not
help them have power by going up and talking with policemen.
PEOPLE ENTERING HOTEL ROOM - Do not every open the door for people. They will
barge into the room and the men are very likely to sit and annoy a single woman
or even try to feel or grab the girl in a sexual manner.
DATING THE LOCALS - Can be dangerous. The outcaste people
are available. I would never accept the opinion of the girl you may wish to see,
or date. They will portray India as a modern liberal country and you are the one
that will get beat or killed. They consider Western girl prostitutes so they can
see men as they wish.
TOILET THEFT - The India people wait around at night for
Western people to go to the shared toilet, they run inside the room while the
person is in the toilet and rob the room.
BAREFOOT WALKING - I like to walk barefoot, but off the
beach I am not sure it is safe or recommended. The amount of human urine, feces,
cow shit and people spitting is at a danger level in the any normal street of
India. They are pigs to an extreme level compared to all the other countries I
MOSQUITO NETS - The mosquito nets in India are made of a
very heavy material. It may be recommendable to buy a mosquito net in the USA or
any cheap country before you enter India. They are too heavy to carry. I have
not seen the whole country, but the standard so far would be like carrying
around a tent. It should be more the weight of a T-shirt.
DUST AND POLLUTION - You may wish to bring some form of
respirator or face mask if you have a problem with dust or pollution. With the
use of motorcycles, burning of wood, sweeping the dirt, and the general lack of
cleanliness the air is polluted.
CANDLES AND MATCHES - A person needs to carry candles with
matches or lighter. The lights go off at bad times.
IF SLEEPY - Go back to your room or find a friend quickly.
There are people in India that will drug you so that you go to sleep and they
can steal all your valuables.
ASKING THEM A QUESTION: If you walk into a business and
ask a question you may think the person is being quite rude by not answer. If
they are confused, or do not know the answer they will maybe just look at you. I
believe this is the way to say they do not know in India. They just do not
answer and assume you understand that if they had an answer or understood they
would answer. They also will shake there head NO, but that does not mean NO, it
could mean yes.
SHAKING HEAD N0 - The India constantly shake there
head in a NO type wobble. This is not No, and could be yes, and in the end it is
better to force them to talk for best communications.
ENGLISH CLASS - Teach the Indian people that yes in
English is nodding your head down and up, and saying no is shaking your head
form left to right. They may speak perfect English and have terrible body
language. Body language is just as much a part of communications as is speaking
skills. There business manners are atrocious and do not take offense. This is
their normal culture.
FLASHLIGHTS - 1 is not enough if you want light. The bulb
or the batteries can be bad and than you have no light.
PARROTING - You will sometimes here India people Parrot or
repeat the statements of the foreigners. You could here them complain about the
USA, but treat a person from the USA better than other cultures. This is normal
for the whole world, a European or Brit could be complaining about the USA and
the local culture will Parrot.
"You , No come back" or
"You promised" or
"You, tell me yesterday." or
Do not feel the least bit guilty if they sometimes tell you that you told them
that you would return or maybe that you promised. If you lied to them for real,
then feel guilty, but I have found that between their English being weak and a
little bit of wanting to try to make you feel guilty and purchase you can become
uncomfortable. If they say this type of thing just ignore or say you sorry, but
I refuse to buy from anyone that tries to make me feel guilty.
LEFT THE HOTEL - Do not under any circumstance believe a
hotel manager when they say that a person has left. Double check or return
later, the language and culture make the answer automatically be negative.
COMPANIONS OR TRAVEL MATES
India is a date country, and most travelers are with
girlfriends or boyfriends.
Women Travelers - Better to travel with another girl or
man if possible.
COW VERSUS SHOES
Shoes are made of leather and they Hindu people revere the Cow. This is a moral
SCOO-PAY OR SCHOOL PEN - If you have children ask you for
a school pen or something that sounds like a school pen do not give them a pen.
They are suppose to be age 10 before they have a pen.
1 or 2 - If you hold up your little finger that means you
wish to urinate. If you hold up your little finger and the ring finger that
means you wish to excrement.
LITTLE BOYS LOOKING LIKE GIRLS - I have notice a few time
now that what I thought was a girl complete with pig tail, and maybe earrings
was a boy upon inspection of their naked bodies.
STARING IS INDIA CULTURE - They will stare at you
constantly. Do not get angry, this is normal.
FINGER BENDING - I saw a whole group of India people bend
their fingers all the way back to touch their wrist. I think it may be part of
the genetics here.
DOWRY - The father of a Hindu girl must pay money for his
daughter to be married. This is or may be the reason people want sons here and
WATER DRINKING - The India people will pour water down
their throats without the class or picture touching their lips. It is
interesting way of drinking water.
RANGOLI - The India people draw with chalk in front of
their homes to make good luck. These are intricate geometric patterns.
GAG - Some people in Hampi near city of Hospet, State of
Karnataka put their fingers down throat to induce themselves to gag more or to
further clean or clear their throats.
COW MANURE OR FECES - They spread a mixture of water cow
feces around on the ground and I am told in the houses also to help ward off
bugs and to keep the house clean.
BEGGARS - Long-term residence in a city can be hampered
because you give to beggars. I have been giving small coins all within the realm
of what I would call beggar-rules. I have discovered that the beggars are now
looking and seeking me in larger and larger numbers and I now have no peace
outside of my room. If I sit and talk with people they will come and hound and
never stop. I therefore am recommending that all charity of this type be changed
or altered to something else. I do not know what, but to live a life of being
hounded would make me learn to hate these people and not illicit the proper
empathy. They are devoid of caring whether I have gave them money, and will
continuously come for more money without end.
BUBBA OR BOSS - I am constantly called Bubba or Boss. It
is like saying maybe Sir or Mate to someone. I believe the word Bubba means
EATING WITH HANDS - Normal people here in India appear to
eat with their hands and do not use forks, spoons, or knives
BANANA LEAF PLATES - Banana leaves are used for plates.
LEFT HAND - Do NOT wave with the left hand or SHAKE HAND
with the left hand. If a person does either to you they are being arrogant or
insulting. This is the hand use to clean their butt in a toilet.
SANDALS VERSUS SHOES - There is not a religious need to
take your shoes off in India so there is not need for sandals. If you wish you
can wear gym shoes all the time. I have had a few people ask me to take off my
shoes, but that was not a religious thing and because I do not tie my gym shoes,
but have a not in the end of the string it was very easy for me.
COWS EAT PAPER - In India I have watched cows eat the
paper in the trash bins. I was sitting in front of a step and a cow meanders
over and eats a piece of newspaper. I am sure they process large amounts of
trash in a day.
SADHUS - They can smoke or use marijuana legally.
DRUMS AND TAMBOURINES - Every morning around
6:00 AM they play and walk around the city of Hampi, Karnataka, India.
I have discovered that this is the men in the black dresses going to the river
to bath. The would be very awake after that experience as the water and air is
quite fresh in Hampi in January.
AIRPLANE - All your luggage should be inside a
bag, plastic covered or tied with ropes. I discovered that my bag was the only
one accessible by the luggage handlers, and the India travelers did not trust
SITTING IT DOWN - ANYWHERE - Be very careful
where you put your bag down. The people of India Spit, Piss, Urinate, Shit, and
the cows also everywhere. Especially inside train, bus, or stations where you
may assume the floor is cleaner.
ELECTRIC CLOCKS - A clock that you plug into the wall
would be worthless in India. The electricity goes off constantly and it would
never be correct. A battery backup would be absolutely necessary.
SLEEPING BAG LINER NEEDED
PRICE TAGS - There is a factory printed price tag on most
everything sold in the India. This is the price you should pay.
RECEIPTS - A good business will give a receipt in India as
COW MANURE TRIVIAL INFORMATION
- I was listening to a person in Palolem tell me that there was cow manure
disinfector soap in the Ciarans camp for the travelers.
- Yesterday Mono tells me that them mix up cow manure and spread on the ground
to disinfect, and clean. He is from India.
TOWN DRUNK - In Hampi this is a Sadhu.
In the English newspapers there is daily an article about
a suicide. Often it is a farmer that could not pay back a loan. This seem to
smell of loan sharking. I have watched money collectors come daily to homes.
India people will fight or argue
Begging is everywhere and considered normal.
MONTH OF JANUARY - This is High Seasons in Goa, Hampi, and
Karnataka. I believe the prices go up around 100 percent so if you can try to
avoid these areas during this period you will save lots of money.
TRASH AND RUBBISH DISPOSAL
CITY THROW - They seem to throw all the trash on the
ground and people come and collect it. There is almost no way to find a waste
container so I recommend you do the same. But do NOT throw your trash on the
ground in the country side, only in the cities where people come by and pick up
or clean. Inside the Hotel is probably the same policy, but sometimes
there are receptacles.
DEPOSIT ON 5 LITER BOTTLE - They may just not tell you
that there is a 10 Rupee deposit on the 5 liter bottle in India, so you pay
over, or do not get your money back and they increase their profit. Dishonesty
HOT OR SPICY FOOD - This will make the nose run or mucous
to be secreted. You may need to blow you nose all the time or feel congested
because of the food. Dust will cause the same.
LOCAL FOODS - I have found local foods in the street being
sold before 8:00 am. After that it stops and you cannot buy. So maybe you should
wake up and try some of the local street foods.
WHAT IS GOOD RESTAURANT? - Very difficult to find or
decide. I would look around to see if they include napkins on the tables. I
would also look at the lids to the condiments and see if they are clean. The
clothes and fingernails of the workers should be reasonably clean and there
would be a sink for patrons and staff to clean their hands. I would if really
nervous walk into the kitchen and walk around.
HAMPI AND HOSPET HAS NO ATM - As of December 2003 there
was no ATM in Hospet or Hampi. You need to go 70 kilometers to Bellary or bring
the money. There is ATM in all of India though I believe.
TERMS OR DEFINITIONS:
- A term used constantly in Varanasi. It I am 95 percent sure means the steps
or one step that leads to the water. In Varanasi the traveler will refer to them
or mix or intertwine them with temples or things that happen at a particular
Ghat. For example they could say "Go to the body burning Ghat," and they would
mean go to the area where the steps lead to the Ganga River and they are burning
bodies. Do not feel out of place or like you do not understand the word. It is a
trendy of fashionable word for the other travelers to adopt, and they really do
not understand either.
1 also called Harijanin traditional Indian society, any
member of a wide range of low-caste Hindu groups and any person outside the
caste system. The use of the term and the social disabilities associated with it
were declared illegal in the constitutions adopted by the Constituent
Assembly of India in 1949 and of Pakistan in 1953. Mahatma Gandhi called
untouchables Harijans (“Children of the God Hari Vishnu,” or simply “Children of
God”) and long worked for their emancipation. Kocheril Raman Narayanan, elected
president of India in 1997, was considered the first untouchable to occupy the
1 also spelled saddhu and swamy, Sanskrit sadhu and svamin,
in India, religious or holy men. Sadhu signifies any religious ascetic or holy
man. The class of sadhus includes not only genuine saints of many faiths but
also men (and occasionally women) who have left their homes in order to
concentrate on physical and spiritual disciplines, as well as hermits,
magicians, and fortune-tellers, some of dubious religious intent. Swami usually
refers to an ascetic who has been initiated into a specific religious order and,
in recent years, has come to be applied particularly to monks of the Ramakrishna
Mission. A ‰aiva (follower of the god ‰iva) sadhu is generally referred to as a
sannyasi (q.v.), or daˆn(mY sanny(sin, while a Vai—pava (follower of the god
Vishnu) monk is often called a vairagin (q.v.). An ascetic who practices yoga in
order to achieve his spiritual goals is a yogin, or yogi. A Jaina ascetic is
usually referred to as a muni, while a monk who follows the teachings of Buddha
is a bhikku (q.v.).
Sadhus may live together in monasteries (ma¡has) that
usually belong to a particular order, may wander throughout the country alone or
in small groups, or may isolate themselves in small huts or caves. They
generally take vows of poverty and celibacy and depend on the charity of
householders for their food. Their dress and ornaments differ according to
sectarian allegiances but they usually wear ochre-coloured (more rarely, white)
robes. They shave their heads, or they allow their hair to lie matted on their
shoulders or twist it in a knot on top of their heads. They usually retain only
the few possessions they carry with them: a staff (dap;a), a waterpot (kamap;alu),
an alms bowl, a rosary, perhaps an extra cloth or a fire tong.
1 Arabic FaqYr (“poor”)originally, a mendicant dervish. In
mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man's spiritual need for God, who alone
is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied
in India to Hindus as well, largely replacing gosvamin, sadhu, bhikku, and other
designations. Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of
miraculous powers, such as the ability to walk on fire. While less influential
in urban areas since the spread of education and technology, fakirs retain some
hold over the people of the villages and the interior of India. Among Muslims
the leading ˜¨fY orders of fakirs are the Chishtayah, QadirYyah, NaqshbandYyah,
SIKHS: Sikhs are disciples of the Guru¨ (spiritual guide,
or teacher). 1
GURU: (Sanskrit: “venerable”), in Hinduism, a personal
spiritual teacher or guide who has himself attained spiritual insight. From at
least the time of the Upanishads (ancient commentaries on the sacred
scriptures), India has stressed the importance of the tutorial method in
religious instruction. In the educational system of ancient India, knowledge of
the Vedas (sacred scriptures) was personally transmitted through oral teachings
from the guru to his pupil. Classically, the pupil lived at the home of his guru
and served him with obedience and devotion. 1
Etymology: Hindi guru, from Sanskrit guru, from guru, adjective, heavy,
venerable- more at grieve
1 : a personal religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism
2 a : a teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental
concern b : one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent c : a person
with knowledge or expertise : expert 1
AYURVEDIC: 1 Ayurvedic medicine is an example of a
well-organized system of traditional health care, both preventive and curative,
thatis widely practiced in parts of Asia. Ayurvedic medicine has a long
tradition behind it, having originated in India perhaps as long as 3,000 years
ago. It is still a favoured form of health care in large parts of the Eastern
world, especially in India, where a large percentage of the population use this
system exclusively or combined with modern medicine. The Indian Medical Council
was set up in 1971 by the Indian government to establish maintenance of
standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education. It establishes suitable
qualifications in Indian medicine and recognizes various forms of traditional
practice including Ayurvedic, Unani, and Siddha. Projects have been undertaken
to integrate the indigenous Indian and Western forms of medicine. Most Ayurvedic
practitioners work in rural areas, providing health care to at least 500,000,000
people in India alone. They therefore represent a major force for primary health
care, and their training and deployment are important to the government of
Like scientific medicine, Ayurvedic medicine has both preventive and curative
aspects. The preventive component emphasizes the need for a strict code of
personal and social hygiene, the details of which depend upon individual,
climatic, and environmental needs. Bodily exercises, the use of herbal
preparations, and Yoga form a part of the remedial measures. The curative
aspects of Ayurvedic medicine involves the use of herbal medicines, external
preparations, physiotherapy, and diet. It is a principle of Ayurvedic medicine
that the preventive and therapeutic measures be adapted to the personal
requirements of each patient.
1. From Encyclopedia Britannica - I have made
BOLD some key words.