Tourist Tips for Dealing with Beggars in India

in India

Tourists visiting India are often shocked by the number of beggars in the major tourist centers.

Their presence is somewhat confronting, especially if you hail from an affluent part of the world, but by following a few simple tips they need not detract from your vacation experience.

Beggars are most prevalent in tourist areas, as these people look to take advantage of unknowing visitors. Many congregate around tourist attractions, shopping districts, and railway stations. You might also see them near major traffic intersections, where they approach stationary cars at traffic lights.

While beggars in Western countries are generally homeless people, this is not always the case in India. Beggars often make more money than they would in paid employment, and so opt to walk the streets. As a rule, you should ignore any beggar who seems healthy and able bodied to avoid being exploited.

Of course, it can be more difficult to disregard a beggar if they are handicapped, elderly, or very young. In these instances it’s often better to give food rather than money which may be spent on alcohol, or end up in the pockets of parents. Do not be suckered in too easily though. Beggars often go out with children and babies that aren’t there own to play on Western sympathies.

If you would like to give money, always make sure it is a small amount. Between two and 10 Indian rupees is an appropriate sum. Otherwise you may attract more beggars who hope to share in your wealth. It’s also wise to hand over money as you are leaving an area rather than arriving; loitering will also attract more beggars.

Remember that while you may have a generous spirit, there are many beggars in India. It would be impossible to help them all, so you should not attempt to try. While it may seem cruel, it is often best to ignore India’s beggars and focus on all of the wonderful sites this country has to offer.

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