My name is Andrea. For several years I’ve been traveling to Asia, I am here today to write how I did (and how you could do) to Live in India for 6 months with less than hundred euros per month … without the need to segregate in a temple or sleep on the street!
Many people think that, in order to carry on this lifestyle, it takes a lot of money. Studies and research are often confused with a holiday.
Here we’re dealing with the first great dilemma that separates the Dreamer from the Man of action.
“I would like to do it with all myself, if only I could I would” … do not say bullshit! Let’s start to accept that it is not for everyone.
Before entering into the heart of the topic, I would like to clarify: everything I write concerns only my personal experience. Everyone is free to interpret according to his own visions and convictions.
Live in India – Intro
India is Dirty!
This is a real reserve of organic (and not) rubbish … and all that derives from it (insects, pestiferous air, poisoning food/water and so on).
Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. I spoke with an Indian to understand how they live in this situation and he replied “Even the canals of Venice stink”.
Exceptions aside, the average Indian never says what he thinks, does not know what the schedules are and, consequently, does not respect them. For him, lies are part of the game, he does not know fair play and you, most likely seen as a spoiled and inexperienced tourist, in 90% of cases you are his prey.
Given the fact that no one can put you in the bag and you are a fearless and courageous warrior, I tell you dispassionately that waking up every single day in these situations can be very unnerving. I’ve seen people go into neurosis since the early days and, trust me, it’s not a joke!
So, it is good to know before you leave.
Let’s go to the point.
You bought the flight ticket 3 months in advance (about 400 euros) and got the visa – we suppose you have six months (which varies according to the nationality, about 90 euros). Ps. I hope you were able to do it by yourself without delegating an agency … otherwise you spend more!
The flight went well and you arrived in India.
Live in India – Accomodation and Food
We suppose you are an extremely intelligent person. You have understood that you must avoid the common places, the big cities, the tourist attractions and you are NOT moving with the Lonely Planet in your hands, you risk to get a triple price.
We are very similar and we have a great spirit of adaptation.
The easiest way to save money is to find a monthly rate solution (2000/4000 rupees); also considering solutions in sharing style B&B/Homestay, possibly with kitchen. Eating out means spending more and exposing to gastrointestinal problems, extremely easy. In India it is a fairly serious matter.
It must also be said that developing phobias for water and food is the mirror. Sooner or later, you will be forced to visit a Dhaba (local restaurant with questionable hygiene standards). In these cases, avoid raw foods and consume bottled and sealed water. The stomach will gradually get used to it.
If you eat “western style” you will not respect the budget, so you will consume some simple local food, following a mainly vegetarian diet (fish and meat here are always at risk): seasonal fruits and vegetables (limited choice), chapati (flat water and flour dough) , parantha, rice, legumes, eggs, milk and tea (good coffee is hard to find and it’s expensive).
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks: about 100 rupees (1, 20 euros) per day.
As said, we are really very similar! If forced, we eat to feed ourselves more than for pleasure.
Live in India – Transportation
If you want to move around considering medium-long routes, the cheapest way is the train “Sleeper Class”: a “beautiful” adventure. Cold in winter, hot in summer and crowded beyond belief. Obviously dirty. Cover a night of travel with around 350 rupees (€ 4.50)
Next, we have the Bus. There are two types:
- Local / Ordinary, fixed, small and rigid seats, often damaged windows, no a/c. Cover a night of travel with around 400 rupees (5 euros).
- Tourist / Volvo, comfortable and reclining seats, with a/c, water bottle and blanket, same route with about 800 rupees (10 euros).
For small trips instead you can consider a bike or a quiet walk, to be preferred to the turbulent tuk-tuk, especially if you do not like spending your time fighting and bargaining (at the beginning it’s maybe funny, after a while it’s an abnormal waste of energies).
Live in India – Healthcare
We are twins separated at birth, remember? So, like me, you are consciously “reckless” and you have decided to travel without health insurance. Otherwise, you should add about 300/400 euros (basic) to the initial investment of the flight + visa.
That said, you’re a guy who knows how to make do, how to keep fit, how to minimize risks and is always ready to face the unexpected.
You have brought with you a kit of antibiotics, painkillers, antihistamines, disinfectant, etc. We postpone the dentist when we return home!
Live in India – Study and Research
Consider we have similar interests and you are conducting this journey to deepen Yoga, Ayurveda and Kalaripayat.
Surely you are a person of a certain depth, you do not like clichès and you are an ardent supporter of the Truth.
As a good observer, you would certainly never participate in a Teacher Training and you do not intend to marry any kind of religious beliefs.
You love things as they are and tackle everything with a lot of practical sense. You know very well that “knowledge and merits” are acquired with practice are not bought with money.
If you have a university education and/or a great work experience in the field of education, foreign languages, cooking, photography, videomaking, etc. then you are ready to arrange a cultural exchange project. In this way you can offer your skills in exchange for education and basic needs.
It depends exclusively on you and the firm will to give and receive.
Live in India – Conclusions
What I’ve just described is the solution that allowed me to plan and carry on 6 months of professional research in India with a total budget of 1000 euros: return flight, visa, food, accommodation, transport and study.
Being a researcher is not a hobby, it requires considerable sacrifice and strong organizational skills.
However, as long as one is strongly motivated, everyone can have these experiences, to test oneself without too many excuses and to test one’s own resilience.