Traffic and transport in India
If there is anything that will give you culture shock, it will be the Indian traffic!
This ties in with the volume of people in India – there are lots of people so there’s lots of traffic. And it is (to our western eyes) chaotic, dangerous and disorganized.
In Delhi I saw a beggar get run over by a rickshaw, right next to me, the wheels went over his head. He was bleeding badly and the driver who ran him over just got out of the car and dumped the begger on the side of the road.
In Haridwar I also saw a cycle rickshaw driver who had been killed by a truck.
I noticed that every vehicle on the road will play chicken with the other and what should be a two lane road becomes six lanes! Cows really do wander about in the traffic and taxis do not have seat belts or wing mirrors!
Drivers hoot and use hand gestures to communicate to each other, we don’t understand but they do and you just have to trust that you will arrive at your destination safely.
Road accidents are very frequent.
I traveled mostly by train for long distances, and even the train stations were cause for much frustration and confusion for me! Often platforms are not numbered (but people still know where to go, apart from me!), buying a ticket involves a long wait in a disorderly pushing and shoving queue and long delays are frequent.
It is well worth reading about how to buy a train ticket, the scams you may be up against in train stations and the many different classes of carriage in the trains, the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide books have great sections on transport. I found that it is best to research things like this as much as possible beforehand, it helps to know what you are up against!