When you visit India, you don’t just stay at a friend’s home and sing your heart out on their best karaoke system. India has a diverse culture, and there are many sights to see and explore in every corners of this land. Some require a fee and others are for free.
“Free?!” Yup, you read that right! So put down that microphone and let your wanderlust kick-in. Here are the things you can do and visit in India for free:
1. South Park Street Cemetery (Kolkata)
This may not be a good start but this cemetery is more of a tourist attraction and it already stopped welcoming the dead. It opened in 1767 and, based on the epitaph, it was closed in 1790. What can you expect from this haunting amusement? According to Atlas Obscura, it is a “melting pot of design influences from European gothic to classical antiquity to Indo-Saracenic styles all jumbled up in a maze of obelisks, cairns, urns, and sarcophagi.”
2. Watch festivals
In India, you’ll never run out of festivals to visit and see. Celebrate one of the most colorful festivals in India called Holi. When we say colorful, expect being face-painted with colored powders or colored water sprayed at you. This is a jovial occasion and the residents are only in for a good time. Join in the fun as well. The other one is Diwali or the Festival of Lights. At night, be enchanted by the rows of lamps perched in buildings/houses and stood in awe watching brilliant fireworks displays.
3. Visit temples
The majestic Taj Mahal is not on this list, yet there are other temples worth including in your itinerary without touching your budget. Marvel at the dazzling architecture of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Capture through your lens the intricate design of Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai, the shrine of their god, Shiva.
4. Learn Indian history through Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi is considered as the “Father of the Nation” of India and he instigated the freedom of the country from the British rule. There are two places where you can learn about him. First is in Gandhi Smriti in Delhi. This is where he stayed until he was assassinated in 1948. The last is Mani Bhavan museum in Mumbai. It features his room, a picture gallery and the terrace where he was arrested in 1932.
5. Cross the international borders
The neighboring country of India is Nepal and you can cross to this country for free! This is due to the “freedom of movement” between countries. Once you’ve captured all the wonderful attractions in India, your next stop to explore is the ancient monasteries of Nepal.
6. Enjoy free food
Where?! This is at the Golden Temple we’ve mentioned above. The free dish is called Langar which is mainly served for the pilgrims, but the tourists can enjoy it as well. Keep in mind that this is considered as a holy food so brush up on your Indian etiquettes.
7. Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Witness a collection worth cringing for—the Museum of Toilets. We are curious why an odd themed place was built, so we read their ‘About Us’ page and one item in their ‘Objectives’ section convinced us how important this is: “To help sanitation experts to learn from the past and solve present problems in the sanitation sector.” Ironically, the Indian Express estimates 60.4 per cent of the country’s population have no access to toilets.
8. Check out the nightlife
After scouring every tourist spot in India at daytime, don’t retire to the night just yet. Visit a karaoke bar to avoid being accused as a microphone-hog at your friend’s home in India while using their best karaoke system. Bring out your singing frustrations in a bar and rip your vocals chords as the dawn breaks. Just kidding because a ‘karaoke artiste’ is there to tone down your jubilant spirits and keep you from belting out all the Bollywood songs in the playlist. Yes, they are out there and they are keeping an eye on the likes of you. To disclaim: karaoke bars are not for free in India.