Spotlight on India

My husband and I are taking the Spotlight on India Tour in November 2016. I'm just curious as to what to wear? I've read that it is custom for travelers to wear Indian clothing, and appreciated by the people, you will garner more respect, etc.; however, on all pics posted I've not noticed that to be the case. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Comments

  • No one on our tour wore Indian clothing, but our American female tour director did, overshirt and pants. You certainly want to wear clothing that covers most of your body. Many of the women in our group wore nothing but black clothing, such a shame in such a colorful country. I wore my usual colorful collection of clothing and scarves.
  • We did the Portrait tour in January, and while no one specifically wore Indian clothing, I think most of us (the ladies) picked up a piece or two along the way and featured it at sometime...nothing too radical, but just a cotton top or a silk tunic (wonderful selections in Udaipur). There will be many opportunities for pashminas (the real thing) and beautiful shawls. For the most part the ladies wore tee shirts and/or blouses and long pants. Since our tour also covered the much warmer south, we also brought some lighter weight clothing (linen pants, etc.). As a tourist, I felt that respect was earned by attitude and behavior not clothing. Oh, and as an American you will pretty much stick out like a sore thumb and many people will ask to have a photo taken with you! Even in cosmopolitan Mumbai we were asked for photos...go figure!
  • Thanks for the information - I don't want to stick out anymore than I have to! I know that is absolutely impossible with fair skin and short blonde hair.
  • Ladies may find it fun to wear Kameez as the top with their pants. Look for the ones that are half or three-quarter sleeved and about knee length. You can get them in the fabric of your choice, silk, cotton or linen. See for example:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=kameez&espv=2&biw=1208&bih=567&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6nqrtjY3OAhVB_mMKHYT4CQoQ7AkIPA

    Similarly, men may get tops known as Jubba and wear them with their trousers. Look for the ones that are full sleeves and knee length, in cotton, silk or linen. see for example:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=jubba&espv=2&biw=1208&bih=567&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlnIGkkI3OAhVEyWMKHQy4DM4Q7AkIRA

    Have Fun.
  • edited July 2016
    With no intention to offend anyone...I always laugh about how stressed people get regarding dress codes, customs
    etc... I even have a girlfriend who spend a fortune buying Sari's for her and her daughter... for her trip to India, to find
    out the dress just like us here in U.S . (jeans, capris, long pants etc.) as well as their own typical local clothes. Remember, India is very up to date in fashion , technology etc..
    So people, just dress as you would in your own country always considering and respecting their culture and traditions. Wear long pants when visiting temples as well as either long sleeves or take with you a scarf to cover, which I always do anyways... they can become handy.
    I personally keep as my travel wardrobe ..3 sets of travelling capris , bunch of cotton shirts (which I renew in a yearly basis) with std sleeves and also the 3/4. 1 pair of travelling tennis shoes, 1 sandals, flip flops and 1 std dressy black pair of shoes.. than depending on the trip I add on more dressy, more casual, hot-cold clothes as needed.
    It's very easy. :)))

    JOYCESW. I do have a question regarding the many opportunities for pashminas. Where would you recommend?
    are these many oppt. within the tour or on your own? I'm going next Oct. and my mother plans on doing some shopping. :)
    I would appreciate your advice.

    Thanks
  • edited July 2016
    I don't know where your girlfriend went in India, but there are plenty of places you visit on the Tauck tour where the women do not wear western clothing, especially Varanasi, I doubt the people could even afford to buy Western clothing. And they would not be comfortable making cow poo patties in capris. There are places where you will not see any women because they are kept inside the house. After my Spotlight tour, I would recommend the following footwear ----do not wear any flip flops or open toe sandals because you spend a lot of time dodging cow poo on the streets. Cow poo between the toes is not nice. Only take shoes that you can either throw away or wash thoroughly when you return home. Ok you can take one pair of something decent if you are not going out in the evening. After the first day, I kept to just my teva type sandals outside, I had another pair but did not want to contaminate those. Make sure you have plastic bags to isolate sheoes you have worn for your suitcase.
    Pashminas vary considerably from the $5 type you can buy on the streets of New York to hundreds of dollars for the beautifully crafted ones. I think I paid no more than about $40 for some with a silky feel to suit how I use them, for me I could not justify paying any more. There are plenty of opportunities, from the hotel stores, airports, Udaipur. They also took us to a craft type center that had them and also some special paintings, we bought three of them. Can't remember where that was.
  • Thank you British. My friend went on her own with her family and came back not only super sick but! with some scary stories... now she is kind of weir...and cheap so I don't believe much of what she said...
    What I meant about regular clothes is that any tourist will be okay wearing what they normally wear @ home just adjust some items to the local customs and be respectful.
    Now I have a question for you, Is our tour going to see any town where they are making cow poo patties? and was the visit to a craft type center something requested by the group or do they normally do?
    Do you have any tips? please advise.
    Thanks

  • About pashminas...the REAL pashminas (made from fine cashmere) are not cheap. The best places to purchase them, we were told, was in Jaipur and Udaipur. The cheaper shawls can be found everywhere, and they vary in price and quality. Our tour stayed at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, and I ended up buying a beautiful silk shawl at the gift shop when the price dropped one third. It wasn't cheap but was a bargain. The best place to buy jewelry is in Jaipur. I went to The Gem Palace with some of the ladies who purchased some lovely pieces (the prices weren't too bad), and I ended up buying a pair of gem stone earrings for about $40. Gone are my pricy Diamond, gold and opal days! Your tour director will bargain with vendors and bring wares on the bus for everyone to examine. I got some great bargains...I call them my "bus beads", and I love them! The "craft place" where they had many crafts was in Jaipur. There are many handcrafted items and paintings of various sizes. We got a great small piece there. Of course, as usual, the framing cost more than the painting!!
    My husband who loves boxes of wood, stone, etc. bought a spectacular marble, with inlaid stone, box in Agra. If you are interested in some quality stuff, there is an opportunity to go through the showroom. In fact, it is near a funky little show about the Taj Mahal that is so much fun. Go to the showroom and then take in the show. The acting isn't the greatest, but the dancing and colors are great!
    About shoes...I had a pair of old slip on Skeechers and an old pair of Bob's (both washable and covered shoes). I blew out the Skeechers in Delhi on a pre-tour adventure through Old Delhi on a freshly tarred street! Our hotel butler cleaned them up pretty well so I could use them, but they stayed in Mumbai at the end of our trip. The Bob's (more comfortable version of Tom's) were thrown in the washer are still going strong! When will they ever wear out??? I only wore sandals in the South (we did the Portrait), which was such a different part of India.
    As far as the cow patties, the only time we saw them was between Agra and the road to Jaipur and Fatephur Sikri where they are drying beside the road. They're getting to be big business on the internet! By the way, give up a spa afternoon at Agra and take a trip to Fatephur Sikri which was arranged through our local guides. It was simply amazing! When I got home I read The Enchantress of Florence by Salmon Rushdie (I take a pass on all spelling of previous names...), and that made that visit even more special..
    Oh, and a packing hint...use shower caps as shoe covers....
  • Joyce has given a great review of crafts. I have to add that I bought several carved elephants, so if you like elephants, look out for those. The 'Craft Place' was part of the tour. In addition we went shopping In Delhi independently.
    Cow patties, we saw women making them outside their homes on the side of the road. The bus rides were fascinating for seeing every day things going on. If you have read any of my past India comments you will know one of my daily challenges of the day was to see how early in the day I saw my first man peeing in the street--- sorry, the weirdest things amuse me.
    Fatehpur Sikri was also one of our favorite places.
  • edited July 2016
    Dear JOYCESW & BRITISH, thanks so much for the info.
    Here I am with tears in my eyes of emotion... this trip is a dream ;)) the more I read, the more I know, the more I hear from people ... the more exciting it gets and I know it will all feel small compare to the experience of being there.
    Joycesw, I've already planned the Spa treatment after my visit to Fatehpur S. it was one place I wanna to go as I saw it while doing my homework. So I'm ok.
    The tip about the shower cap is great, I'm actually taking some surgery shoe covers... from work :)))) one of my first things I thought about. :)))
    The Pashminas Yes are expensive , but @ least one as a souvenir is a most. Yes, I was told to bargain till they drop price to 3/4 of initial cost. :))
    British always helpful, Yes I read your comments and I as you believe that bus rides around a new country are best and exciting way to see the locals... I would love to stop @ one of those road towns for few min. and smell the country .
    seeing cow poo or men peeing is part of India, is not common for us or pretty but @ the same time what makes India amazing. I'm open to see different things , it is all beautiful.
    The way I see it........ I know I'm blessed to have the chance to do this trip! and I'm making the best of it and ready to experience it all!!
    Thanks both & have a great weekend.
  • I'll never forget India. I've had several friends go on different tours. One friend went with just another girlfriend. When I asked her if she was affected by the poverty, they really did not see any, not even visiting Varanasi. I think Tauck gives a very good overview of India, I am just sorry we could only do the Spotlight tour. Even though the tour stops have changed since we went and you actually miss Fatepur Sikri and Khajaraho. Excuse spelling here. They were part of the tour when we went, but are not now.
  • Milena,
    As British mentioned, the itinerary for this tour was changed this year and Khajuraho was eliminated (described as "Erotic Tableaux in the Middle of Nowhere" in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die). While I understood the middle of nowhere part, I was disappointed about not getting to see the erotic tableaux. I know you do careful research for your trips and am not sure if you have planned to see Nagda Temple outside of Udaipur. This was an extra tour arranged by our TD with our local guides. It was well worth the trip, beautifully preserved and with some of the erotic tableaux missed in Khajuraho. As with Fatehpur Sikri, we paid a nominal fee plus tip to go there. For Nagdo, we left directly after our market tour in Udaipur (arranging beforehand for a box lunch from the hotel), and our lunches were already on the bus. In both cases, the guides were nothing short of phenomenal! As a matter of fact, out of 14 Tauck trips, all of the local guides (minus one in Mumbai) were the best we have ever had! (A good reflection of an outstanding Tour Director!) Not too many people availed themselves of these opportunities which was a shame as both are not to be missed.
  • edited July 2016
    Hi, Joycesw.

    Yes, I was planning to visit the Nagda and I think I read about it in one of your commends ... this visit I have left open in my schedule because I wasn't sure if it was offer by the tour guide or if it had to be requested. So.. I think I will mention it to the tour director ahead of time.... so he can arrange same deal as they did for you, right after market visit.
    The Fatehpur Sikri is a visit for sure! and I can do same thing mentioned to the TD and he will advise.
    I booked 2 pre-nights and 2 post-nights with Tauck so I can stay longer and see as much as possible... I hire a private tour guide with car in Delhi both @ the beginning and @ the end of the tour.
    Tell me something if you recall, during the trip is the toilet scenario a scary one.... :)))) Lololo!!
    and did you felt uneasy eating fruits or [email protected] the hotels? I know about St. food but what about the breakfast time.
    We are going to the Leela Palace Hotel in Delhi that's the only different one from previous trips all the others are the same Oberoi.

    One book that I just finished is the " Red Sari" pretty good. read it if you can, it will bring nice memories of your trip.

    Thanks, have a great weekend.
  • edited July 2016
    It seems as if you have the side trips well covered. You will be smart to let your TD know beforehand of your interests (we did) and he/she will be able to arrange those trips. Really, they are great because the Tauck local guides run them.
    No problem with the toilets...we moved through a lot of airports (Portrait tour) and there were always western-style toilets available , although, the lines might be a bit longer. It is never bad advice to put a tissue packet in your pocket, just in case.
    As far as breakfasts are concerned, there are so many options. I have learned, after so many Tauck trips, to exercise caution on breakfast! I am usually a fruit, yogurt, granola breakfast person, and my options were endless with so many griains and nuts. I went nuts with the homemade yogurts. I was fine with the fruits at the hotels. There are made to order eggs and everything else imaginable for breakfast.
    I had no gastric issues, and I don't believe anyone else on our trip did. Our biggest issue was a respitory problem that seemed to work itself through the entire group in varying degrees. One person had a cough to start, and then there was no stopping it. It was rather ironic that we were felled by a cough, not Delhi belly! Pack cough drops and antihistamine drugs, just in case!
    Thanks for the book recommendation...will put it on my list.
  • edited July 2016
    It seems that our experience was similar to that of Joyce, one couple arrived ill with a cold and fever and spread it through the group during the trip. The person who got the Delhi belly on our tour was the tour director.
    Toilets, we had to use the squat-over toilets several times, but then we had to use them in France, my first foreign country to ever visit. You encounter them over the years and just get on with it. I never leave the house ever at home without an emergency Kleenex in my pocket and certainly more than that on my travels. Just imagine that a huge proportion of the Indian population don't have toilets! We drove past a huge 'poopatarium' in one location. We are very lucky, I'll just try to remember that next time I'm cleaning all the toilets in my house!
    I thought the food in India was great, especially the breakfasts at the New Delhi Oberoi, which of course is closed at present, we were there two days early, took a cooking lesson with the chef and he arranged for us to have different regional dishes for our breakfast the next day! I think most of the Gastro- intestinal issues in India is not necessarily the food, but being careful to keep your hands away from your face while out and about if you have had to touch surfaces like railings, because the locals do not have the opportunity to wash their hands like we do,I guess that is why they have the clean hand/dirty hand etiquette. If you have the opportunity to wash hands with soap and water, that is always a better choice over hand gel for getting rid of the most germs.
  • I can answer this one. Only three people on our tour went on this included tour. Everyone else was too tired. So Tauck organized a lovely limo for us and guide. We had a very adventurous ride, when the roads were too busy, the driver just drove onto the sidewalk amongst the people. After say 45 minutes, the guide asked the driver to stop and we got into Tuk tuks so we could experience one of those for the remainder of the journey. That was about another fifteen minutes. Coming back, all by car was also about an hour. A very memorable experience.
    We used two different spas on the tour. We arrived two days early, so one was before the tour began. Both locations were excellent.
  • British! I could not stop laughing with the sidewalk story..... now, I know.. why you cannot forget this trip :)))))))
    Only in India.
    Ok ,so I better change my treat. for the first day , once we arrive to Agra. that way I can enjoy it. Talking about crazy memories.....
    Our TD for the Vietnam, Cambodia & Thai tour, Larry. Amazing Larry! set us up with some motorcyclist guys and we speeded up all around Hanoi @ rush hour. between cars, busses etc... it was a thrill.
    It was amazing.

    Thank you my friends, you guys are awesome.
    :))
  • edited July 2016
    Hi Milena,
    According to my log, we left the hotel at 2:15 and returned at 6:30. Only 8 of us went (out of a very small tour of 21), and we had a brand new, beautiful van. I never felt rushed and felt our wonderful guide did a fabulous job. In fact, I apparently overtipped the bathroom guy, and our guide got so mad he had a "private word" with him and had him return my money sans the proper tip! We did not experience any of the jammed traffic that British had...well, by India standards, it was pretty mild. It was a long day as we did the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort , lunch and then this trip. We did not rise for the early morning view of the Taj as it was a bit hazy, and we felt the white of the building wouldn't contrast with the sky. It turned out to be a good call for us as the sky was a beautiful blue when we went with the group, and our local guide was a bit of a photography buff, taking us to shoot different angles and even getting a photo of the reflection in my sunglasses!
    How ironic that we, too, had Larry for our Southeast Asia tour! He was just the best! So efficient and so funny. I will never forget that as we left The Four Seasons in Chaing Mai, perhaps one of the most luxurious and amazing places we have ever stayed, he turned to the group and said, " Well, that was a dump!"
    ironically, we had Peter for this tour! You will not be disappointed! He is fabulous as well! As a matter of fact, we are taking a Japan tour that he does, upon his recommendation, and I am hoping he is our TD there as well!
  • Lolol!! both Larry & Peter , what a coincidence. Larry is amazing!

    Dear Joycesw, good morning.. Happy new week.
    Well... I re-confirmed all my Spa treat. (3) and I think I'll be fine. Also added to my request list the Akba's Mausoleum
    for the TD, to do his magic, if time permits. This is an amazing place only 17 min. from Agra. so, I hope to visit.
    I want to see so many things, I'll need vac. from the Vac. Lololo!! But I have everything so far schedule in a way.. that is doable. I'm also keeping and eye on the Taj cleaning process.. it look like the Main Building will be clear of the scaffolding during Oct.
    Hey, Joyce as I come back.I will let you know, so you guys can see my pictures, I do love photography and do take awesome ones.. and I will share.
    Thanks to you & British for all the info.
    Have a lovely day & if you think of anything else let me know.... :)
  • Milena
    I can feel your enthusiasm and excitement...I am going on the Portrait tour of India in mid-February with 4 friends. I am busy planning, making notes, researching, etc! I am starting in Hong Kong, then Singapore and then finally Delhi. I only have 1 day in Delhi before the tour begins, but I should be acclimated to the time change having been in Asia for a week at that point. I am extending the trip for 2 added days in Mumbai. I never like to end trips!! I hope you will write a full review of the trip, especially what you added through the TD, as well as on your own. I love to shop so I would love to hear about that too! I had not really thought about adding more sightseeing to the trip itself, but you have me intrigued and now I am researching. Let me know how things work out with your 'suggestions' to the TD.

    Take good notes!!
    Nancy
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