Special note for women going to Rishikesh

Advice for women going to Rishikesh

I would not advise women to travel alone in India. It is possible, but it’s much more difficult than traveling with somebody.  You might have heard reports about violent rapes in big cities of India. There have also been instances of rapes and attempted rapes in Rishikesh as well. Foreign women should be especially careful, as Indians interpret Western ways of dressing and behavior as inviting to sexual advances. I have personally heard reports of molests towards female foreigners in Rishikesh. Therefore, I do not advise women to walk around Rishikesh alone after dark.

Generally, do not wear provocative clothing, the one that reveals your knees, shoulders, and cleavage. If you wear such clothing, first, you disrespect the norms of the country you're visiting, and second, you might experience Indians trying to grab you even in the broad daylight in a street full of people. Do not wear a bikini while bathing in Ganga. A more proper attire for women would be shorts and a t-shirt, or you can go traditional and wrap a shawl around you (big size shawl I mean). Do not expect that you will be safe in the company of babas. Nobody is required to verify their identity to buy orange clothes and be considered a baba, therefore one can find a couple of outlaws living on the banks of Ganga who hide from justice under orange robes. 

If you’re traveling alone, do not accept teas, coffees, lassies, or another beverages or food from unknown co-travelers, they can contain roofies or other drugs designed to knock you out. 

The best way to travel in India is with a male friend. If you’re alone, you need to be extra alert, assertive and strong. Of course, if you’re coming to a yoga course or retreat, it’s completely OK to come alone as you will be in a group of foreigners and will not need to get to your school on your own. You can look for yoga retreats, teacher training courses or other events in India or find a yoga school in Rishikesh. 


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