In this post, I am sharing s 7 items that I always carry in my bag when I travel in India. After a few trips to India, I figured out what my essentials, and try to not leave the house without these items.
I just came back from my third trip to India and I was lucky to not have any Delhi belly problems again. It was partly pure luck, a part of the success I attribute to my strong immune system, but the most important reason I think I didn’t get sick is that I followed all the “rules” for food safety in India.
Food poisoning can ruin the whole trip to India, so I wish no one has to experience it. If you are traveling to India for the first time, you need to know that hygiene is not always the best. People who live in India develop an incredible immune system that helps them survive everything. But even my Indian mother-in-law avoids eating in questionable restaurants and on the streets in India, because of the low hygiene standards. And people who are traveling to India as tourists need to be extra careful with food and water.
Here are the basic food safety rules that every traveler to India should know.
India is a very popular tourists destination and welcomes millions of visitors each year. If you visit India on an organized trip, the language shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you are planning to go to India on your own, knowing a local language can make your travel experience much better. Most Indians know English to some extent, but not everyone can communicate fluently. Hindi can be very useful for travel in North India, it is the main language in Delhi and the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and others. In other North and Central states, where Hindi is not the main language, such as Punjab or Gujarat, Hindi is still useful, because many people speak Hindi as a second language.
From my own experience, people seem very happy when they hear me speak Hindi. If you learn just a few basic words and phrases in Hindi, it will be appreciated. And you will be able to connect with many more people.
Download this pdf file and take it on your trip to India.
Hindi Greetings and general phrases
- Namaskar /Namaste – Hello
- Aap kaise hai? – How are you?
- Main theek hoon. – I’m fine.
- Main accha hun, dhanyavad. Aur aap?(male)/Main acchi hun, dhanyavad. Aur aap?(female) – I’m good, thanks. And you?
- Mera naam ______ hai. – My Name is _____.
- Aapka naam kya hai? – What’s your name?
- Aap kahan se hain? – Where are you from?
- Main ______ se hoon. – I’m from ______.
- Shukriya /Dhanyavaad – Thank you (but English “thank you” is also common)
- Haan – Yes
- Nahin – No
- Chalo! – Let’s go!
- Rukiye – stop
- Phir milenge – see you later
- Ek minute – One moment
- Accha – can have different meaning depending on intonation: ok, fine, nice, really?
- bohut accha – great, very good
- (Bohut) badiya – very good
- Main shaadishuda (nahin) hoon. – I am (not) married.
- Mujhe bhookh lagi hai. – I’m hungry.
- Mujhe pyaas lagi hai. – I’m thirsty.
- Mujhe ….. pasand hai. – I like ….
- Mujhe India pasand hai. – I like India.
- Mujhe Indian khana pasand hai. – I like Indian food.
- Mujhe ….. pasand nahi hai. – I don’t like….
- Mujhe zyada mirch pasand nahi hai. – I don’t like spicy food.
- Apka kya matlab hai? – What do you mean?
- Nahi chahiye – I don’t want it (this phrase is useful when you are in touristy location and people try to sell you something)
- Kya mai photo le sakti hun? – Can I take a photo?
- … kaha hai? – Where is …?
- Bathroom kaha hai? – Where is the bathroom?
- Station kaha hai? – Where is the station?
- mandir – Hindu temple
- masjid – mosque
- gurudwara – Sikh temple
- Mujhe …. de dijiye. – Give me … please.
- Mujhe pani de dijiye. – Give me water, please.
- Ye kya hai? – What is this?
- Main samajtha hun(male)/Main samajthi hun(female) – I understand.
- Main samaj gayi (female)/Main samaj gaya(male). – I understood.
- Main samjhaa nahin (male)/Main samjhii nahin (female). – I did not understand.
- Mujhe Hindi nahi aati hai. – I don’t speak Hindi.
- Kya aap English bolte hai? – Do you speak English?
- Please yeh likh dijiye. – Please write it down.
- Kya baat hai! – Wow!
Common Hindi words for foods and drinks
- pani – water
- chai – tea
- cheeni – sugar
- Meri chai mein cheeni mat daliye. – Please don’t put sugar in my tea.
- daru – alcohol
- doodh – milk
- Barf mat daliye – Please don’t put ice(in a drink)
- khana – food
- chapati/roti – Indian whole wheat flatbread
- naan – flatbread cooked in tandoor (special oven)
- chawal – rice
- naasta – breakfast
- thanda – cold
- garam – hot
- murgh/murghi – chicken
- mutton – lamb
- machli – fish
- Main shakahari hun. – I am a vegetarian.
- Ye veg/non-veg hai? – Is this vegetarian/non-vegetarian? (Veg and non-veg are very common words to describe vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in India. Eggs are also considered non-veg)
- subzi – vegetables
- paneer – Indian cheese
- aloo – potato
- palak = spinach
- matar – green peas
- tandoori – a dish cooked in a tandoor oven
- aam – mango
- chana/chole – chickpeas
- achar – Indian pickled vegetables
- dal – lentils
- dahi – yogurt
- gobi – cauliflower
- masala – a mixture of spices that is traditionally used in Indian cuisine
- biryani – a rice dish, often with meat, but can also be vegetarian
- mithai – dessert, sweet
- namkeen – a small salty/savory snack
- Namak mirch kam daliye. – Please make it less spicy.
- Ye bahut swad hai. – This is very tasty.
Useful Hindi phrases for shopping in India
- Yeh kitne ka hai? – How much is this?
- Bahut zyaada hai. – That’s too much.
- Yeh bahut mehenga hai. – This is too expensive.
- sasta – cheap
- Thoda kam kariye. – Lower the price, please.
- Mai nahi kharidungi. – I will not buy.
- Ye chhota hai, mujhe bada chahiye. – This is too small, I need a bigger one.
- Ye bada hai, mujhe chhota chahiye. – This is too big, I need a smaller one.
- Kya apke paas bada size hai? – Do you have a larger size?
- Kya apke paas chota size hai? – Do you have a smaller size?
- Kya apke pas koi dusra rang hai? – Do you have another color?
- kapre – clothes
- Kya aap cards lete hain? – Do you accept cards?
- Wo wali dress dikhaiye. – Show me that dress.
- Ye wali dress dikhaiye. – Show me this dress.
- color – rang
- kala – black
- safed – white
- laal – red
- hara – green
- gulabi – pink
- neela – blue
Have you been to India?