Thursday, November 28

What to Wear in India for Women Travelers

Prior to this trip, I had a hard time selecting my wardrobe for the whole duration of our stay.  I admit I had apprehensions proceeding with this voyage since the onslaught of several violent cases against women starting from the 2012 Delhi gang rape. Almost each month thereafter, the media did not fail in delivering grim news about local women and female travelers alike. Either from a simple child molestation case to devastating gang rape stories. Such incidents, no matter the scale, should be treated and dealt with equal fervor. Somehow I turned a blind eye from all of those events.

A year before, there were supposed to be five of us. However, three did not push through for whatever personal reasons they may have. Since I have already purchased non-refundable tickets and truly fueled by my secret desire to finally lay my eyes on Taj Mahal, I went ahead with friend Marx as planned.

Scouring through many travel blogs and Indian forums, I somehow got a rough idea on how women visiting this colorful country should dress up.  Most advise I have read were to dress modestly which emphasized on the do-not-expose-too much-skin topic. If possible, you can dress like the locals if you are comfortable about it. A Salwar Kameez is worn by almost all local women, in the cities and far-flung provinces alike. Kurta for women are also worn just like what I am wearing below. However, as an alternative, you may create your own ensemble. Of course, you can still wear the usual jeans and shirts. Just always have a shawl/scarf ready around your shoulders. I opted to not choose the latter since I wanted to blend in.

Kurta for women: bought this pair in a local bazaar in Jaipur
In my case, I bought several loose pants/fitted leggings and matched these with colorful, long-sleeved, loose-fitting tops with matching head scarfs. These attire may not be comfortable for all but it helped made me at ease in my movements since we were out touring all day. It greatly helped covered a woman's gentle curves. Avoiding form-fitting and glitzy outfit would help minimize lewd stares and ward off unwanted attention. Remember, that being a foreigner alone, you will be stared at no matter what. I think blending in the culture not only helps in your safety but also as a respect to the local culture.

Photo op in front of one of the mosques inside Taj Mahal complex
The loose category definitely helped in regulating my body temperature and protected my skin from direct sunlight exposure. I chose to wear flat shoes good for walking in all kinds of weather. A scarf does not only serve as sun protection but it is also a must-wear in entering some religious sites.  
Varanasi women in vibrant saris
For daily activities, best to bring your travel essentials in a small body bag or bag pack. Mine was equipped with a bottle of alcohol, wet napkins, face powder, tissue, comb, my wallet with small change and a bottle of water. You may secure your more important travel documents like passport, ATM cards/credit cards and cash closer to your body.  
At Humayon's Tomb, New Delhi
All in all, my stay in India was chaotic, harried, colorful but memorable.  A lifetime's worth of memories which can only be achieved by being there. By experiencing the obvious first hand.  I believe that taking the necessary precautions and doing intensive research, women can still safely travel in this incredible country.

Other parts in this series

Part 1   How to Apply for an Indian Tourist Visa
Part 2   Smyle Inn :-)
Part 3   Karan's Guesthouse: Your Home in Jaipur
Part 4   Kolkata's Sunny Sunflower Guesthouse
Part 5  Goa's Little Secret
Part 6  One Night in Kuala Lumpur
Part 7  Brave in Bangalore
Part 8  Ghost of Goa
Part 9  Magnificent Mumbai
Part 10 You are on it!
Part 11 Romantic Udaipur
Part 12 Israel, Morocco and the Fort of Chittorgargh
Part 13 Pondering in the Pink City
Part 14 New Delhi Baby!
Part 15 The Red Fort
Part 16 Whirling Emotions
Part 17 Varanasi's Traditions 
Part 18 Kolkata and Calcutta
Part 19 Off to Pattaya!
Part 20 India Trip at a Glance
Part 21 India Trip Backpacking Expenses


  1. Very informative. Going to India is in my wish list. Hope i could also visit the place to see its beauty and rich culture.

    1. Thank you Sherlane! Plan well so you can enjoy India to the fullest! :-)

  2. Awesome post! I wish to travel again soon and India should be part of the list.

  3. Love the bright green outfit - modest but colorful. :)

  4. Pao kung mka outfit wagas and gondo!
    U survived india galing nmn!

    1. Yes Kulapitot. Salamat! Pinaghandaan talaga yan. :-)

  5. Hey Pao! I have to be honest, i have huge apprehensions about visiting India especially since i know how stupid i am and i generally get lost quite often and that i always seem to end up travelling solo. But now, seeing the beautiful saris and colourful clothes i really want to go there too!

  6. Hello girl thank you for dropping by :-)
    Yes, one must be tough and headstrong in order not to feel intimidated by the many negative comments about women traveling to India. Of course, mishaps may happen every now and then. We just need to learn how to travel lightly,

    Just like their culture, women's dresses are very colorful in deed.

    Enjoy your visit there!


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