Travel Notes on India

 

Travel Notes on India

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.
Andy HoboTraveler.com
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REAL 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 real India.

WHY PEOPLE VISIT INDIA?

  1. Koreans come because this is the beginning of Buddhism.
  2. Vegetarians come because the country is the Mecca of Veggies.
  3. Yoga teachers come to find or learn about the beginnings of Yoga.
  4. Most travelers come to search for God or to find their first God.
  5. Goa is a great beach area.
  6. Delhi or Mumbai (Bombay) appears to have sex tourism. I am not positive on this. Pune is suppose to have a Sex-Ashram.
  7. Calcutta is suppose to be great to buy clothing cheap.
  8. Ashram stays - Living in a semi-Hindu and working.

DO NOT VISIT INDIA IF?

  1. If you want to be cleaner than camping in the barn.
  2. If you are not willing to push a person or man out of the room that is trying to enter.
  3. If you do not want a man to grab the rear or butt of a woman.
  4. If you do not want to see a person defecate in front of you. (Going to toilet in street.)
  5. If you do not want to shake hands with very dirty people. I believe it would be impolite to not do so.
  6. You want the floor mopped and the toilet clean. (I think they do not know the word "Mop.")
  7. Respiratory problems - The dust and pollution if India is extreme.

     THESE THINGS ARE GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN

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.

  1. Laundry bleach soap and sponge to clean.
  2. Shower sandals or slippers that are waterproof. (The floor is always dirty. I meant to use the word "Always.")
  3. 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.
  4. Sleeping bag liner or sheets.
  5. If you are going to cold areas you can bring a sleeping bag or buy a cover immediately. The will not necessarily be supplied.
  6. If you have lung or respiratory problems take care to bring breathing apparatus, handkerchiefs, or masks.

CAN BUY IMMEDIATELY

  1. Essential Train Guide to India
  2. Dipper for sponge bath.
  3. Sponge

THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR IS A BIG PROBLEMS IN INDIA

  1. Betel or chewing of crap in their mouths. Maybe it is called Beetlenut.
  2. Need trash cans and pick up.
  3. 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 area.

TOILET PAPER - Always carry here, they will never supply it.

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 itself.

ENTERTAINMENT

POVERTY TOURS - Walk around and look at beggars.

YOGA CLASSES

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 are available.

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.

TRANSPORTATION:

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 ticket is:
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 last.

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.

ANNOYANCES:

TRAVELER FASHION - If you are NOT one of these you can take a lot of crap from other travelers.

  1. Vegetarians
  2. Gay
  3. Wanting to find God.
  4. Reverent or in worship of the local religions.
  5. Feminine acting.
  6. 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.
  7. Do not delve into the meaning of any word, or they will become defensive.
  8. 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

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 the same?

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 to them.

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.

LAUNDRY

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.

MONEY:

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 2004

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.

ELECTRICITY:

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 short period.

WATER

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.

SAFETY:

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 have visited.

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.

COMMUNICATION:

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
"Maybe?"
 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.

CULTURE:

COW VERSUS SHOES
Shoes are made of leather and they Hindu people revere the Cow. This is a moral debate...

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 not daughters.

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 father.

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.

LUGGAGE

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 the handlers.

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.

GEAR:

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

FLASHLIGHT NEEDED

BUSINESS

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 normal business.

GOSSIP

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.

SOCIAL PROBLEMS:

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.

SEASONS:

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.

FOOD:

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 by omission.

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.

MONEY:

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:

GHAT
 - 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.

UNTOUCHABLES:
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 office.

SADHU
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.

FAKIR
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, and SuhrawardYyah.

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

GURU:
Etymology: Hindi guru, from Sanskrit guru, from guru, adjective, heavy, venerable- more at grieve
Date: 1613

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 India.

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.

FOOTNOTES:

1. From Encyclopedia Britannica - I have made BOLD some key words.
 

 



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