Thursday, 27 July 2017

How To Have ‘Local Experiences’ In An Indian City?

I’m so much in love and in awe of India. No, it’s not a patriotic statement. It’s purely an expression of a traveller’s heart. Although I’m an Indian by birth, and have lived here all my life, I’m fascinated by it. I think it’s unusual to be fascinated by your own country. What do you say?

But, I have reasons for my fascination. I think Indian cities exude so much. There’s so much to absorb in an Indian city – chaos, drama, thrill, colours, and sounds. You just can’t get enough of it in a jiffy. You have to give it time.

The best way to explore a city (not just in India but anywhere in the world) is by seeing it from a local’s perspective. It’s always more fun to have local experiences in a city. And, when it comes to Indian cities, the experiences are unique and diverse.

So, here are my tips on exploring Indian cities through local experiences –

Amble through the local markets.
I always make it a point to stroll through a famous market of the city that I’m in, which helps me learn about its local traditions and preferences. For instance, if you browse through the markets of Kolkata, you would discover a great deal about its art and craft, traditional clothes, spices and a variety of other local stuff.

Taste and learn about the local cuisine.
Since I’m a foodie, I like to taste the local cuisine of my destination. It’s always fun and also enriching to learn about a city’s food history – little details about their culinary traditions and different evolvements that happened over the years.

Besides finding restaurants that serve authentic local cuisines, you can also look for an opportunity to eat at a local’s home. Yes, eating straight from a local’s kitchen is an exclusive experience. You would not just savour delicious home-made food, but also get some interesting insights about the place, the culture and the people. 

Travel by public transport.
Unless you want to do a guided tour of a city, refrain from travelling in taxis. It’s always better to use the public transport of a city. You can hire cabs on and off for your comfort, but make sure to experience some modest and charming modes of transport. For instance, a cycle rickshaw ride in the alleys of Old Delhi can be an absolutely enthralling experience.  

Talk to the locals.
I like talking to the locals quite a bit on my travels. I always look for an excuse to begin a conversation. Quick pleasantries, gleam in the eyes, smile, small chit-chats or long conversations – any kind of communication opens doors for better understanding of the local way of living and beliefs. For instance, I never follow Google maps for directions. I always ask a local if I’m looking for a place.    

Walk the streets.
I love walking and wandering in a new city. There’s a sense of freedom in walking through places in a city. The best part about wandering a city is that you get to discover so many unexpected and interesting attractions while you are on a lookout for something particular.

What has been your favourite ‘local experience’ in an Indian city?  

This post is written in collaboration with Xenia City Experiences.

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  1. I second those. Ideal ways to explore any Indian city.

  2. I always enjoy visiting local markets when I explore a place! What are your tips for meeting locals? Do you go to non-touristy parts of the town?

    1. Yeah, even I visit the local markets (as I mentioned in the post). I also visit the old town, the old suburb of a city...that's so interesting.

  3. My first trip to India I did my best impression of a lost tourist overwhelmed by everything. When in fact... okay that's exactly what I was. I ended up staying with a family of a guy I met on a bus ride for like three days. They took me to every temple in Jhalander. Wonderful experience.

    1. Sounds great! It's always more rewarding to connect with a local.

  4. hi,

    nice posting how to have best experience from Indian cities?
    nice information for us ,

    thanks for this posting ,


    mansi desai

  5. I'm simply in love and in awe of India too, and 'local experiences' are the way to go anywhere, but especially in Indian cities. I feel like local experiences are somehow more rewarding in cities where the attractions aren't so obvious, like in Chennai, Hyderabad or Kolkata. These are the places I find where peeling back the layers is really rewarding.

    1. Rightly said, Tim! I haven't been to Kolkata, but would love to...I made a passing visit to Chennai, so it's on my wishlist. I have lived in Hyderabad for 2 years and I can say that it's quite an interesting city, especially the old quarters are so compelling.

  6. I have never been to INDIA but I have listened to so many good views of that city, and thank you for sharing something related to this place.

    1. I'm sure you will love India and its cities.


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