First time to India

Old Jul 26th, 2017, 02:21 AM
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First time to India

I am 60 and travelling for the first time to India.
My trip is towards the end of October and beginning of November of this year.
I am visiting the "Golden Triangle" and then Nepal (Kathmandu).
I have no idea what to take to wear.
Am I able to wear shorts, knee-length dresses, sleeveless tops or will they be culturally unacceptable?
I would really appreciate advice.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:08 AM
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I am around your age and did a tour of Rajahstan and the golden triangle last September. Because no one local, of any age, was wearing these items outside of hotel grounds I would have felt a little uncomfortable to do so albeit I don't think that in tourist towns it would wildly surprise or offend anyone.

I therefore stuck to lightweight cotton tops with short sleeves [covering the shoulders] or polo shirts and either cropped trousers or a mid length or long skirt. Inside the hotels for evening meals etc I felt perfectly comfortable in sleeveless tops and shorter skirts.

There are many, many opportunities to buy beautiful Indian tops, kaftans, baggy trousers and dresses at low prices so I bought some as I went along rather than trying to stock up on a lot of suitable wear before hand.
loncall is offline  
Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:17 AM
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Thank you for your comment - very helpful.
Will bare in mind that I can buy tops etc - will help with luggage weight.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:24 AM
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We've taken three trips and spent about four months total in India, and we've visited Nepal for three weeks. Same age category as you too.

What you describe for clothing will be inappropriate. My standard India wardrobe includes calf length or a bit longer skirts, three quarter sleeve or just above the elbow blouses, light-weight long pants. As mentioned above, if you bring the items you were describing, you will look and feel totally out of place. I usually take one pair of knee length shorts and wear them only in our room or on hotel grounds. Think extremely modest as your guideline.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:25 AM
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Look for Fabindia stores in larger towns for nice, affordable clothing of a style that westerners would wear.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 05:45 AM
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Are you traveling on your own or with a tour? Are you using trains/planes or a car and driver?

If you are a solo female traveler (as I am) you need to be aware that India is a very misogynistic society. You need to dress conservatively, and you should also avoid being on anything other than main streets late in the evening. All western travellers to India are liable to find it not just a sensory overload, but also filled with hassles. You should practice saying no and sticking with it, insisting that your driver follows your instructions, ignoring touts while walking and looking straight ahead, and decide ahead of time your policy for beggars (I give to a charity before I go and do not give to people on the street, who are often "run" by a local mafia).
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 07:56 AM
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Thank you for the helpful replies.
I am a solo traveller but I am going with travel company and so will be on organised tours with a guide.
I will take the advice given with regard to covering arms and legs when not in the vicinity of the hotel
Is there any advice with regard to Nepal/
Will it be cold at the time of year I am travelling (end of October beginning November)?
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 10:43 AM
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The Kathmandu Valley will be warm, not cold in November. So you can wear the same kinds of clothes for both destinations.
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Old Jul 26th, 2017, 04:53 PM
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My dress code is similar to julies. I have five linen skirts that hit just above the knee. The have an elastic waist, so if I am heading into a temple, I pull the skirt down a bit, which is not a problem, unless I have eaten too many dosas. I also rotate some cute print t shirts that have short sleeves, as I find long sleeves too hot. It's also extremely important to take at least one pair of linen pants. Our Varanasi guide invited us to a wedding, and he asked me to wear pants, and not a dress or skirt. I believe the idea was to completely cover one's legs. The young ladies at the wedding were all wearing jeans. I agree with julies, I also take a couple of pairs of gym shorts for hanging out in, and I always take a lightweight zip up hoodie for the plane, and trains or cars that have the A/C turned up.

Also, get yourself a pair of Ecco or Teva sandals that come on and off with Velcro. They are perfect for temples.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 03:16 AM
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Along with all the good suggestions above I would recommend packing a Stole.Primarily for its simplicity,utility and versatility.Its an enduring classic.
Easy to pack,this generous wrap could have a place in every piece of luggage.Its can keep you warm when necessary,modest when required or even perhaps enhance your fashion quotient and very importantly as a sun screen too.Splendid and sublime, a choice of fabric would define the end use.Be it silk, wool,linen,pashmina or the humble cotton.
It'll come in handy.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 09:32 AM
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Hi - I have visited India many times, often in October/November. I agree that shorts are definitely inappropriate, as are sleeveless tops - you should keep your shoulders covered. Short sleeves are OK, or wear a shirt over any top without sleeves. Keep a shawl handy to cover your head/shoulders if you visit a temple. At places like Ranakpur (between Udaipur and Jodhpur) you need to cover your legs also, but they will provide a lungi (wrap) if necessary. I prefer skirts that come below the knee, or cropped trousers are fine. It will probably be warm in the evenings but you should have a sweater or shawl in case it is cool - though you won't need more than that. Remember that you will be putting your shoes on and off a lot so wear something that is easy to slip on/off (laces are not a good idea) - and you may find that your footwear is ruined due to the dusty paths and uneven surfaces so bear this in mind. I have also been to Nepal but at a different time of year - same dress code applies, but I think it may well be cooler as you will be at altitude so take some slghtly warmer clothing for the evenings.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 07:58 PM
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It is culturally acceptable for women to dress in shorts, sleeveless tops and the like in some circles in India or certain parts of major cities. But I realize as I write this how my experiences would be very different from those who look different than me. As a foreigner, you may draw curious stares regardless of what you wear. That said, loose fitting clothes from Fabindia feel more comfortable in the heat.
I am originally from India and have never covered my head inside a temple. I would advise you to wear slip-on shoes over socks and not walk barefoot inside temples, my feet get itchy when I do. I don't wear open toe sandals in India and prefer to wear shoes.
It saddens me that women question their attire and look inwardly to influence how others behave when the issues are of safety and male entitlement. It moves me when I see so many women wanting to go to India despite all the horrific stories one hears. I would advise you to be mindful of your surroundings even if you are travelling in a group and maintain a distance with men.
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Old Sep 8th, 2017, 09:54 PM
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Modesty must prevail in India, especially if you want to be safe. What you wear in your home town is probably not appropriate. Indian women may wear some very revealing clothes, but it is always in a private party or with close friends, not wandering the streets. I will wear a sleeveless top in a hotel, but will cover up with a short sleeved shirt when I leave the premises. I am afraid that I cringe when I see Western women wearing poor quality Indian clothes - more like monkeys in fancy dress.
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