There are many reasons to travel in India; some travel to take a break from the monotony of life while others travel to explore a new place. There are many travelers who are experiential travelers and travel the world to connect with the place in a deeper manner; these kinds of travelers not just browse through the main attractions of a place, but, try to connect with the people and get the history of the place. If you are also an experiential traveler, then there are certain ways in which you can enhance your experience of any place. You can follow the tips mentioned below and become a true explorer!
Connect With Locals
In this age when you have access to the entire map of any new city and have all the information about the city on your device, it becomes quite difficult to talk to locals and connect with them. However, you should make an effort to connect with a local (family or a particular group of people) to get the essence of a place; the localities are the best source of knowing the specialty of any place and the rich history of the place. Your starting point could be traveling through the local mode of transport (preferably a three-wheeler, as the drivers talk a lot about their place and help you know the city better).
Visit Off-beat Towns
You cannot get the soul of any state until you visit the off-beat places, suburbs, and villages present in that state. Take the example of Rajasthan; you can know this state only if you go to off-beat locations like Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sikar, etc. (for once you can ditch tourist places of Rajasthan!). Even if you want to visit a hill station, then you can ditch some known destinations like Shimla & Manali and go to Naldera, Narkanda, Bir, Jibhi, etc. In metropolitan & big cities, usually you will find an inter-mix of nationalities, religions, cultures, etc. which is why it becomes difficult to get to the roots of any state. Off-beat locations see less of tourists and commercialization and offer a perfect venue to connect with locals.
Become a House Guest
There can be no better experience than a homestay while traveling to a new holiday destination in India (you can find amazing homestays at discounted prices, at any travel portal). You will actually live with the family for some time and you can talk to the family members to know more about the place. There are some popular travel booking websites like makemytrip, agoda, goibibo etc, where you can maximize your savings by using promo codes during the online booking process. Right from learning about the culture & festivals of the place to knowing about the food habits & uniqueness of the place, this local family can help you immensely in your charade! Apart from this, you also get to eat home-cooked local delicacies. You can also know about the lives of the people in general and the ways in which it differs from different cities’ lives.
Go For Hands-on Activities
If you get the opportunity to involve yourself in the activities carried on by the locals of a place, then you should grab such opportunities. Some examples of such hands-on activities are, helping a local family in preparing their signature dishes; involving yourself in arts & crafts activities, etc. Experiential travel becomes fun when you get involved in activities with locals.
Attend the Festivals
India is a land of festivals; in fact, a particular festival is celebrated differently in different states of India. If you want to grasp the essence of any place then the best possible way is to immerse yourself in the festival activities of that place. For example, you can be a part of a carnival in Goa during the carnival festival, or you can visit Rann Utsav in Kutch; there is no better way to celebrate Holi than in Vrindavan (be a part of “Braj ki Holi”). Once you become a part of these festivals, wholeheartedly, you will never feel you do not belong to a place or that you do not know anyone!
Learn the Basics of Local Language
Even if you are an Indian traveling within India, language can be a big barrier, especially if you want to connect with the locals of the place. This problem becomes even more visible if you travel south from north and vice versa. You can attempt to learn the basics of any language and there are many apps that can help you do it. Putting an effort into understanding the locals and their language will bring you much closer to the locals of any place.
Eat Street Food
Food has always been a very important part of Indian culture and you will find a lot of diversity in the kind of food eaten in different Indian states; in fact, all the states have something special to offer like Dhokla & Undhiyu of Gujarat and Dal Bati Churma of Rajasthan. If you travel down south, then you will taste some best South Indian meals & South Indian Food. The mountains of India offer different kinds of dishes altogether! The best way to eat all such delicacies is to head to the street food lane of any city or try small local eateries (run by a localite’s family). Food can help you connect with any place in a much better way.