For Summer Cottons or synthetic blends are most practical in India.
The sunshine is very bright at most of the day. So a wide brimmed hat and sun glasses and using sunscreen lotion are advisable.
For Winter woolen cloths would be preferred, as there can be snow in the North.
Language in India
India is multilangauge country , there are 18 recognized languages which is used by different states, but English is commonly use in tourist cities, Government offices, corporate, school and collages.
Drink only boiled or bottled water. Buy water from city and good outlets. Check the seal before buying the water to make sure that it is intact. Don't drink water from tap or roadside vends.
Wash the fruits properly with water well before eating them. Never eat cut fruits sold by the roadside vendors.
It is advisable to keep a mosquito repellent ointment with you always.
Avoid eating food from the roadside vends. If, by chance, you are forced to eat from there, make sure that the food is well cooked and is served hot.
Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need. Especially medicines for upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc. Also, keep some band-aids, antiseptic ointments, etc with you.
Try to avoid spicy dishes, especially in the initial stages of your travel.
Avoid eating salads, especially at small restaurants and small hotels.
If you fall very sick, it is better to visit a doctor.
Get your domestic tickets done in advance and save some precious energy and time. Also, there are 'peak' seasons when tickets aren't available. So, better not take chances.
Come prepared for delays, especially while flying in north India during winters. Smog envelops cities and take-offs are impossible sometimes for hours.
Pickpockets ant around - especially at crowded haunts like airports, railway station or even some popular markets and tourist spots. Wear an inner money belt.
Fares for taxis and auto-rickshaws change frequently and do not always conform to the meter reading. Ask for the latest official fare-conversion tariff-card. Fleecing is common so just keep your cool and act smart !
Trains are a cheaper travel option for long distances and saves you overnight hotel expenses. Moreover, it is a lot of fun....a great chance to see the countryside and mingle with the locals.
The Licensed yellow & black taxis plying in most towns and cities are metered. Just incase you are told that the meter doesn't work, fix a fare before riding with him. You can ask the hotel desk, your guide or a local for an approximate fare to your destination.
Don't hire cab with private number. i.e white plate cars these are illegal taxis, you will be not insured in these Cars, hire cars only if it has yellow plates, yellow plate cars are licensed taxis.
Never leave an unlocked suitcase in a hotel room or an unattended one on airports/ train stations.
Photography could be an issue at some places. For places of military importance like railway stations, bridges, airports, defense installations and sensitive border regions, you would require to seek permission from the authorities concerned.
Remove your shoes before entering temples, in Sikh temple you have to cover your head with Scarf. Some temples prohibit photography in the main hall and the inner sanctum. Usually, signboards announce this. Be prudent and ask if there are no such indications. Some temples and other monuments levy a fee for photography.
In a Buddhist monastery, remember to follow a clockwise direction while any sort of movement - from spinning prayer wheels to walking around the stupa or even the exteriors. Sit on the steps outside or on the floor. If you get to meet a rimpoche (head lama) or any respected monk, it's polite not to turn one's back on him while leaving. It is decent to remove the hat and lower an umbrella within the monastery.
Tips are optional in a not-so-fancy restaurant. Place only a few rupees as a tip and not a percentage of your bill. But outside restaurants and hotels, tipping or 'baksheesh' is commonly practiced. Some tourist restaurants and hotels add a 10% service charge to the bills.
Tips for taxi drivers of Rs. 50-100 is a handsome one. Give a local guide Rs. 200 to 500 of his service according to the services.
Carry small change - you'll need it often for people who help you with little things like those who keep your shoes outside temples/mosques etc.
Shopping Tips in India
They are stuffed with bright and beautiful things - handicrafts, silks, ethnic jewelry, curios and what have you.
Exporting items like ivory, fur, animal skins, antiquities etc. is illegal. If you must have it, obtain a certificate of legitimate sale and permission for export before leaving the country.
If you don't see what you're looking for in a store, ask the store keeper, Most stores have little display space.
Visit the various state emporia and the Central Cottage Industries Emporia (most major cities have one like Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc.) The prices here are fixed and will give you a fair idea of the cost with a regular dealer.
Never, never believe the touts (they hang around the tourist-y spots and cities) who promise to take you to the best shop around and get you the best bargain. They usually have their handsome commissions built into the cost.
Use your local guide to help you in shopping.
Women travelers Tips
Be friendly but don't get friendly, especially with those servicing you in hotels, trains or even your cabbie or coolie.
Don't wear anything that attracts glances. In metros like Delhi, Mumbai etc., it is ok to dress western but in smaller cities and towns, short skirts, tight pants or blouses can make you stand out in the crowd. Dress sober - loose and long clothes that neither define body shape nor expose it.
Never accept a ride to anywhere if there's someone accompanying the driver in a taxi or an auto-rickshaw
Keep your hotel room locked while you are inside. Chain locking your hotel room door is a smart precaution.
Carry your passport, travelers cheques, money, cards etc. in an inner shirt/jeans pocket.
Turn your alarm sensors on when in crowded places like airports, railways stations etc. Watch for faces that are always lurk in a radius of 10 feet.