India is deservedly famous for its culture, art, food, and the many ways a woman traveler can be badly hurt, traumatized for life or killed and that’s not counting the terrorism. You think we’re kidding or perhaps being too harsh? It’s so bad that the Indian Tourism Minister advises female tourists to avoid wearing skirts in India. It is not so much a tribute to India’s improvement as it is the deterioration of other countries that has led to India’s fall to #5 on the 2017 List of 10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women Travelers.
Rating: Particularly Dangerous and Obnoxious
The most recent statistics show that rape continues to be a huge problem throughout India. Despite some high profile prosecutions, there are continuing problems with sexual assault of tourists and native women including gang rapes, murder, acid attacks, domestic violence and harassment of women, as well as increasing problems with terrorism.
The British advise against all travel to: “the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah, Manipur and against all but essential travel to Imphal, the state capital of Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of (i) travel within the city Jammu, (ii) travel by air to the city of Jammu, (iii) travel within the region of Ladakh; all but essential travel to the city of Srinagar and travel between the cities of Jammu and Srinagar on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The tourist destinations of Phalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg fall within the areas to which the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) advise against all travel.” Also, they warn about widespread violence in and around Kohima and Dimapur, Nagaland and advises if you travel there to avoid large gatherings, monitor local news and check the latest situation with your travel company or local contacts. There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners. There have been recent media reports suggesting Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) interest in attacking targets in India. There may be an increased threat to places visited by British nationals such as religious sites, markets and festival venues. This is certainly backed up by the ESRI database that reports regular terrorist attacks in India throughout 2017. For example, an attack on April 6, 2017 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, by Jaish-el-Mohammed with one casualty.
Because of the restrictions on old banknotes, the Brits advise visiting the Reserve Bank of India website as the best way to get cash. Speaking of cash, there is an ATM credit card scam that involves cloning details of your card for use later. Additionally, according to OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) business travelers are targeted in major cities for kidnapping and extortion
The Kiwis say: “There is extreme risk to your security in Jammu and Kashmir due to the threat of terrorist activity and ongoing political violence. Despite an overall decline in violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in recent years, the potential for violence remains high and we advise against all travel to these areas, with the exception of the Ladakh region via Manali, or by air to Leh. There is extreme risk to your security in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan and we advise against all travel to this area, other than at the international border crossing between Atari, India and Wagah, Pakistan. Landmines pose a risk along some stretches of the India-Pakistan border.”
If you want to go to India or must go: Pune (pronounced Poonah) is famous for its Ashrams and meditation centers as well as zoos, museums, gardens and palaces. Best time to visit would be October through February so as to avoid high heat (March – June) and Monsoon season with humidity and flooded streets, etc. (July through September). Diwali is celebrated between late October and early November.
Conclusion: Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 Safest Countries for Women Travelers, Best Countries in Africa, Best Places in Oceania, and Best Countries in South America.
Cover Photo: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images via The Guardian
Description: Scene of gang rape of American woman in Dharamsala, India