India is Filthy – Okay I admit it

Written By: The Planet D

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the fact that India is much cleaner than we expected. Well, the minute I posted that article, I have been eating my words.

Ever since that day, India has become progressively worse.  You see, we started our journey through the country in the South of India.

We had heard all of the stories about the garbage, the cow dung, the pollution etc.

We thought that we should ease our way into India so that we would be more prepared once we traveled north.

India is Filthy

india is filthy garbage in street
People Ignore Garbage in the Street

The South is Cleaner than the North

Update 2021 – Comments have been turned off for this post. This post was written in 2010. 

Goa was so nice, it had people cleaning the beaches each morning. (Except for the cow carcass that the dogs gnawed on each day) We even saw garbage trucks go by every once in a while.

Hampi may have been rough around the edges but it was still possible to walk without gagging on a regular basis.

Kerala almost seems sanitized at this point and Mumbai, well let’s just say, I would love to go back to Mumbai.

It had a few sidewalks that we could walk on. It had a few garbage cans here and there and it even had a waterfront path to escape the traffic.  We didn’t even see cows in Colaba or the Fort District.

In retrospect, I think that we may have made the wrong choice starting in the south.

Check out 10 Things that Will Ruin Your Sleep in India

filthy india streets with tuk tuk

I think that if we traveled in the opposite direction we would have witnessed India becoming cleaner as we go.

Sure it would have been just baby steps to cleanliness, but with each city, we would have noticed an improvement.

Instead, we are seeing a dirtier and dirtier India with each stop.

We have become so grossed out in the North that we just may wimp out after Varanasi and the tiger sanctuary of Ranthambore and “skip out of Dodge” while we still have happy thoughts about India.

A Great book depicting India is White Tiger

filth in india cows eating garbage
Garbage everywhere but in the Garbage Can

Rajasthan has been noticeably a mess.

Our first stop was Udaipur and we loved that town.  Sure, it had cow dung and garbage in the streets but we still loved it.

The city is beautiful, romantic and the people are friendly and kind. 

But, the lake was polluted, and at times, you could smell the stench of urine where men had peed against the wall, but it wasn’t too bad.

filthy india public urinals
Public Urinals, No way I’d go there

As we have moved on through Rajasthan, each city has become more cluttered with refuse. Human waste is in the streets along with the cow dung.

Open sewers flow along the sides of the foundations of the building.  It is impossible to walk anywhere.

The filth was becoming more apparent with each day.

filth in india garbage

The Government Needs to Do Something

Now that we are in Rajasthan, we wonder why the governing body doesn’t get its act together.  There is no need to live in this waste.

There are a billion people in India, it should be easy to employ people to clean up the street.  Why not put in some garbage cans? That would be a great start.

Why not put your criminals to work?  We have punishments in Canada where people are sentenced to community service.

It is still worth it to go to India: Get the Lonely Planet India Travel Guide

filthy alleys in India

Dave and I walk around daily and state how there isn’t a reason for all this mess.

Well, we can’t talk while we are walking. I have to assume the position of walking behind him while he leads the way.

It is impossible to walk side by side. We must walk in single file.

We have to walk on the road with the cars, the rickshaws, and the cows and oh yeah, the filth.

india is filthy
Signs don’t help at all – , Nobody Listens, India is still Filthy

Walking in India is Hard Work

We commented to each other that India is very bad for the relationship.  We never get to hold hands or socialize while we walk.

Nope, walking in India is work.

I have to walk with my scarf around my nose to block out the disgusting smells that linger in the air.

We have to watch where we step, we can never take our eye off the road.

One lapse in concentration and you could easily be stepping in a gooey mess of giant poop.

Maybe they should have touts sell hip waders to tourists, I’m sure they would be a big hit!

All the while you have to dodge buses, cars, rickshaws, and the odd loogie of spit coming out of windows or flying through the air from somewhere.

You may trip over a homeless guy sleeping in the street… or a sleeping dog. Cows don’t move for anything and you have to fend off touts and beggars the entire time.

Do you want an adventure?  Try going out for a leisurely stroll in India.

Filthy_India_Public_Urinate
The stench of Urination in the Streets

The temples of India are beautiful, the forts are nice, but the waste, the feces, and garbage are such a turn-off that we are really considering leaving the country for a while.

What can I say, we’ve reached our limit.  We just can’t get past the poop and rotting food in the street.

It really makes us appreciate what we have in Canada…A Garbage Union.

Those guys deserve all the money they are making and more!

Now, to the Indian government that prides itself in being the largest democracy in the world, we beg you, take care of your people and clean up your streets!

Read Next: Top Scams to Watch out for in India

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

202 thoughts on “India is Filthy – Okay I admit it”

  1. I’ve been to Kolkata 9 times now and most of the city looks like this. I try my damnedest to find a public garbage while out but can’t. Why is this such a difficult concept?

  2. I empathize with most of the sentiments shared here. Most blogs gloss over the dirtiness, the heartbreaking poverty the mistreatment of women and the scams, leaving tourists shell-shocked upon arrival. There is so much rich history and culture, and most of the people I’ve met there were lovely (aside from the scammers, and the men who either groped me or followed me for blocks if I wasn’t glued to the side of my male travel companion), and I would gladly return, it’s just important to buckle up and accept the experience will be unlike anything you’re used to. I’m not a novice traveler by any means, and thought I’d seen things in Africa, Central America and Asia, but nothing would have prepared me for this.

    The pollution is horrible, so bring a mask to protect your lungs. Bring toilet paper, hand sanitizer and sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. Even if you wear modest clothes (taking care to ensure your definition of modesty aligns with the cultural views in the region you’re visiting), there’s still a chance you will be ogled, groped and followed — especially if you’re alone. I’ve seen and experienced things that would make jaws drop, but have never been as afraid as I was in India. Again, I’d go back, but you should have a clear idea before your visit.

  3. I am wondering if this is a psychological revolt by most Indians who were forced to adhere to rules during the nations centuries of occupation. Now, we are free to do what we like, including polluting everything in sight. As an Indian who has lived overseas most of his life, I cannot help being confused when returning to India. Many thousands of others feel the same way. How can a country of highly educated and capable people be content to live in such surroundings? Obviously the education is geared for one purpose and that is self preservation. India tragically is a case of delayed development. Nothing pleases the vast majority of Indians more than having all the consumer products available overseas. They remain oblivious to the poor and the filthy conditions but are immensely proud of the nations achievements. A pity that this pride does not extend to the hygienic and clean environment that India deserves. All the religious observances has not made any difference as well.

  4. Sad to confirm that it is dirty. They are clean in the house. The outside to them is someone else’s problem. It does not bother them one bit. I tell my relatives about this and they say nothing to get excited about but enjoy your stay.
    We have a house in India. About 8:30 am the streets are cleaned. At about 10 am the house servant from across the street dumps their household garbage over the wall onto to the just cleaned street. It remains there for the dogs, cows to eat till the next morning when they clean the street.

  5. We spent 4 weeks in Kerela..an place we could ease ourselves into India on another trip.
    We’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot and I can honestly say Kerela is dirtier than anywhere else we’ve been.
    We started in the North of Kerela and were shocked at the rubbish everywhere.
    Every nook and cranny, every bit of waterway. Steps are being taken to ban single use plastic but its never going to make a difference.
    We even saw a hotel worker at a nice hotel throw garbage into the adjacent river.
    The backwaters were lovely but again are getting clogged with rubbish.
    It’s never going to improve.
    As a women (even with my husband with ne) I felt unsafe and vulnerable.
    We are currently in the Phillipines and although it has its problems with rubbish, it’s a beautiful and relatively clean place to be.
    India is a big no no for us. Never again.

    • I am so sorry to hear that but it’s quite the contrast to what everyone says about Kerala because if you found Kerala to be dirty I don’t know which other state would you find cleaner and even speaking about the safety of women, Kerala is quite safe though you might feel scared on your own everytime hearing about the crimes that women face in this country. Moreover, it’s a huge country where people, language, food and culture change almost every 100-500 km. So, it’s hard to judge. It is not all dirty or filthy because there are well educated people as well, who care about cleanliness and I bet certain parts of India are much cleaner than the Philipines. As an Indian youth it is heartbreaking but awakening at the same time to read such things about my country and I hope to help my country grow out of it.

      • Hey Allen – Your heartbreaking comment melted my heart. What steps do you think Indians can take to even try to get out of it not just to “show off to the western world” but for the sake of simply being clean and sanitized country? Yes, there are cleaner places in India like rich apartment communities and a lot of other places where being clean is more about show off than about being clean and sanitized? You think being unclean is something taught in Indian schools, by societies or by parents? I mean how do adults get so unclean if someone did not appreciate their unclean habits sometime growing up?

    • Can you post some pictures ? Because kerala is a state which probably cleaner than most places in the world.
      Its healthcare, education, life expectancy and other human dev index paramaters are better than most of the western countries.

      I dont believe unless you prove otherwise be cause i have roamed across various areas in kerala and its extremely clean and beautiful.

      The air is free, the water is pure, the people are nice and educated. I dont see what kind of filth you saw exactly

  6. We are here on our 2nd trip to India.
    Yes the streets and alleys are full of rubbish. It’s revolting compared to our clean (ish) country of Australia.
    We have travelled here both in winter and the only thing to smell is the beautiful chai spices , jasmine flowers and yes , ugh pee on walls.
    Love the parts of India we’ve visited. Can’t wait to come again ASAP.
    2x parents with 19,16 year olds

  7. I can tell that you were trying your best to be kind about what you saw (and smelled) in India, but I would not recommend tourists to visit there, unless they have checked every place else off of their bucket lists first. It’s not worth the cost, or hassle, to visit India on your own dime. I have to travel there from time to time on business (within a few hours of Mumbai in every direction), and I have a lot of “third world” experience, and India is the least enjoyable, least safe and most annoying of all of the places that I have been to (27 countries and counting…). It seems like you guys made the most of your trip, or tried to, but I could never bring myself to recommend that others visit there. I’m over here now and I can’t wait to leave, if I had spent my own money to come here I don’t think I could live with myself. Cheers!!

  8. It isn’t really the garbage that’s the problem, it’s overpopulation. That’s still too taboo to discuss right now, but can we really keep cramming another billion people on earth every decade or so? It’s only going to get worse.

  9. I feel like they need sidewalks because it it dangerous when people are walking in the road they also need to pick up trash and make some roads that are not made out of dirt and make the country a little more free maybe a few christian churches or maybe some verity of restaurants expect for making a few American restaurants in india why not make chinese or persian food or maybe japanese food or koran food

  10. Finally, someone who dared to speak their mind. We can only hope we teach our future generations to be better than us and try to salvage ourselves while we still can.

  11. It all comes back to culture. The average Indian will not lift a finger to clean anything because it is not his job or he will encounter caste problems from those around him. It has been a long term dilemma for India…by far the filthiest of countries. How anyone could anticipate travelling here without dread of disease or worse is beyond me. All the smiles and the constant talking up of the place by those who are interested in getting your money becomes very tiring after a while. If you speak out on these issues, the conversation gradually comes to a stop as you are discerned as being anti Indian. What a sad fate for India.

  12. I agree totally with what you have said – my wife and I started in Delhi we then visited the following- Amristar- Jodphur- Jaisalmer- Jaipur- Agra- Bagdogra- Darjeeling – Ajanta- Ellora- Aurangabad- and Panaji – all of which we found quite filthy- even when you think you have a clean town you turn the next corner and it’s filth again- we have both traveled extensively over a number of years but never have we been confronted with this – the government get enough from taxing the tourists and overseas aid to put a lot of these problems right

  13. My husband and I have been volunteering in Asia for over four months, and the filth in India is overwhelming. We have been in Vietnam where the most polluted and dirty city looks good, Myanmar which is a poor country, and yet relatively clean or at least tolerable, South Korea and Malaysia, which are very clean (yes, there is some trash but overall clean). I have also been to Central America which has its own basura, nevertheless, India takes the price. If you get sick in India, which I have, it’s pretty scary. The positive thing is that medications are cheap, and plentiful. Yes, India is a complicated country and so are many others, and yet it is truly one if not the worst in sanitation and life expectancy

  14. It’s because the people are selfish and self-serving. They only think and care about themselves. Most of my neighbors and coworkers happen to be Indians. Most have no self respects. They’re polar opposite of the Japanese.

    • I agree with you, but I’m an indian raised and brought up in the US, and I feel that you are making assumptions, not every single indian is like that.

  15. Firstly, I would like to apologies for all the filth and disgust which you endured during your trip. Despite of all the merits in India this is one thing which devalorize everything else and trust me we are ashamed of it. As you rightly mentioned that southern India is way cleaner than some if the states in the North. Just to add, if you go further in north, maybe Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh then your nightmares will come to an end (Google it). If you would have travelled to North East part of India (seven sisters/states), you would have taken aback with the pristine beauty and the cleanliness (again, just google it). To sum it all up, India definitely does not have the best sanitation practices but if you choose carefully you can avoid all the filth and trash to admire the places where the true beauty lies. Hope that helps.

    • Brother I was living in Himachal (manikaran, kasol, Manali and village of Gazan that you probably didn’t hear of) as you enter or exit Manali you will be greeted with a stack of trash and dogs munching on it like theyre hungry after a dose of Charras. Manikaran went as bad as a local lady throwing her garbage 1000 meter down to the holy Parvati river, what a shame that me and a friend had to be the ones educating her. It’s doomed man, situation is doomed. God bless you and everyone in it

  16. Firstly, I would like to apologies for all the filth and disgust which you endured during your trip. Despite of all the merits in India this is one thing which devalorize everything else and trust me we are ashamed of it. As you rightly mentioned that southern India is way cleaner than some if the states in the North. Just to add, if you go further in north, maybe Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh then your nightmares will come to an end (Google it). If you would have travelled to North East part of India (seven sisters/states), you would have taken aback with the pristine beauty and the cleanliness (again, just google it). To sum it all up, India definitely does not have the best sanitation practices but if you choose carefully you can avoid all the filth and trash to admire the places where the true beauty lies. Hope that helps.

  17. I have traveled to around 100 countries in the world and by far India is the dirtiest place. I understand that if you are indian and proud of it it is hard to hear that people thinks you are extremely dirty. But stop being deffensive and clean up your streets !!!!

  18. How dare people here threaten the writers of this? They are simply presenting what they see. It is only this kind of immense nationalism and a refusal to acknowledge problems that has hindered India’s development.

  19. How dare people here threaten the writers of this? They are simply presenting what they see. It is only this kind of immense nationalism and a refusal to acknowledge problems that has hindered India’s development. I

  20. I think here if senior professors insult the heads,deans etc of their department and if lobbying begins,then it is also some example of filth,that is what I want to tell you,I would tell you that thing my friend,I hope you do understand this thing.

  21. This filth is in the academic atmosphere too,as here senior professors often insult the heads,deans of their department,and there is lobbying also

  22. I’m about to go to India next week and I’m dreading my travel. Yes, I know and have heard horror stories about India (even some directly come from Indian friends), but seeing them encapsulated in pictures is a different thing.

    OMG

    • You’ll be okay. India is a wonderful place to visit and I think they are working on cleaning it up. Let me know how it is! This is a post from quite a few years ago, so I am sure a lot has changed.

  23. India please look.at other countries such as Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Singapore and Malaysia and please compare these countries to your country. These latter countries may not be perfect but nowhere as bad as India. Rather than critcising South Indians for something as stupid as being darker, kala, etc….please work.together with them and develop your country.

  24. Don’t visit Egypt then. Pollution, rubbish everywhere. India – makes me think, it’s a good example of a country’s tourism promotion, the ideal vs.the reality. Bad politics, poor politicians, lack of public awareness, lack of education. India is a reflection of its people – like any country. In 50 years, will it better or worse? Worse.

  25. Well if you travellers have gone to China you will say it is filthy too. Toilet habits in china are as bad if not worse

    All countries with big populations have issues and one of them is public hygiene
    Why don’t any of you mention any other developing countries you have been to?

    It is the same in all developing countries, at least in india you saw some architecture and ancient culture

  26. Oh lady be careful… you are staying in my country and you’re saying such things??? How dare you… beware india is the worst place for women and particularly white women as they are objectified here, havent you heard of the incidents yet,? Your hubby isnt safe either as its the worst country for tourist…yes you might be from a clean place but indians are happy in india no matter how bad it is… but why did you travel to india in 1st place,? Are you so adventurous that you want to experience it 1st hand??

  27. Lived in Mumbai and Thane for 3months in total. I can say without a shadow of doubt that India was by far the dirtiest place I have been to. Maybe because it is a big city. Dunno. But the odours, congestion, uncollected refuse, cow dung, open sewers, crowded filthy blighted tenements and open spaces and swamps turned to landfills; is out of this world. Yes it is intespaced by beautiful estates(read societies) but for the sake of me Mumbai is a global city one would be hard pressed to return

  28. You first see the good things about India and then you talk. Idiot. What do you think you are doing?! Dont say bad things about my country. you dont even know about india

  29. I’m in Lucknow and the filth is appalling. I came from Agra and that was even worse. I have even invented a game where you get 1 point for spotting some body peeing & 5 if they are doing a poo. (Spotting is the wrong choice of word as I’m actually trying to avoid seeing this, but the behavior is so prevalent). I think the surprising thing is for the most part the people doing this are quite well dressed men, not the obviously poor. I’m enjoying my time in India, but the filth & attitude of the people is poor in relation to waste of any kind. I have seen some bins that were really quite pointless as the cows, monkeys & dogs were wonderfully efficient at emptying them on the ground. It would appear that to see animals feast on dead cow is not unusual. Perhaps the cities could start by moving the animals to more appropriate surroundings to lessen road accidents, poo and the fact they scavenge through the waste spreading it all liberally.

  30. Please do something about the stray dog problem in India. I was traveling through Rajasthan with my sister and we felt unsafe at times. These dogs carry rabies and sicknesses. If I would have known about this terrible problem, I would not have even traveled to India.
    People lying and trying to scam us made traveling in India difficult, sometimes even scary. Some tuk tuk drivers took us way out of the way and even out of the city. I believe two rickshaw drivers tried to separate us in busy New Delhi.

  31. I am a massive critic of India’s lack of civility and humanity but this article is an overly blown up account of a pissed off traveler. If I had known you as a friend, I would have advised you against going to India. I grew up in a small town in Kerala until I was 19. By 24, I have traveled and lived around many cities in India as my job wanted me to. I have seen filthy places but a great majority of the places I’ve been around are clean enough for anyone. This account is an emotional outburst and exaggeration out of shock she experienced. I wouldn’t read too much into it. Give me a camera – I’ll find a series of filthy places from NYC to New Mexico. I 100% sure we have a terrible sanitation challenge – culturally we are disabled to think for the greater good of the society but this article showcases none of it. It is an immature rant – that’s it. Sorry, no offense meant.

    • I believe you are reading the comments more than our post. that tends to happen, people read the comments and get all worked up rather than reading the words the author wrote. We travelled for 3 months through the country and if you read the rest of our posts on India, you will see that we enjoyed it very much, but it is a very dirty country and the powers that be should organize to make it cleaner.

      • True. Agree with you. People are missing the point of this post. They are seeing this post as India bashing post which it is not. I am totally with you on this. We have wonderful things like Darjeeling Toy Train, Goa churches, Khajuraho Temples, Taj Mahal. These touristy places help us make a lot of money & people come and enjoy these places. Thanks for writing this post.

  32. India is not dirty everywhere. We are working on this by having Swach Bharat Abhyan. When foreigners travel to India, they too throw waste on roads and they would not do that in their own countries.

    We are moving towards cleaner India however, saying entire India is filthy is untrue. We have our challenges however we also have our strengths too.

    If you are on roads then you will find toilets every 50-100kms and most of them are clean. Esp. all expressway toilets. We have ambulance service on these ways which is extremely effective for any emergencies.

    We will soon be cleaner country in few years. Its a habit change for all of us and more so for people who are disciplined in their countries, should also show discipline in this country too which is lacking.

  33. I am not trying to be judgemental but cleanliness for me is a personal matter and each individual has to say it starts with me instead of pointing fingers at others. I live in London. I have been fighting the last two years to teach people in my neighbourhood how to manage waste. Thankfully UK has stringent laws that protect the environment and the proper handling of waste or rubbish but some areas the stench of urine , overfilled bins , rat and fox infestation is incredible. I had to take it on me to keep my neighbours on the straight and narrow. Waste management laws have been updated in 2016 to force people to be accountable for the cleanliness of their community and if not adhered to they will be fined even thrown in jail. Maybe INDIA needs a tougher law and educate its people to have a communal sense of cleanliness instead of each for his own. I would like to give you an example what I have to do. A neighbour disposed of a rug he has no use for near the rubbish bins and walked away. I could see him from my flat. He was not supposed to do that. It was not in a plastic bag nor was it placed inside the bin. This is pure laziness and an ” I don’t care as long as it is not in my home” attitude. I did not want to have an altercation with my neighbour right there and then. A few hours later I wrote a note on an A4 paper asking my neighbour to please take this rug to the recycling bin and stapled it on the rug and placed it on his door step. This made him think so I didn’t see that rug again. I do not have to do that but I felt responsible. I am sure Indian family values respect their elders as community leaders. Each small community under an elder should start their own DO IT Yourself cleaning programme. You have to start somewhere otherwise all will be lost. I have been to India twice in the 80’s and have loved it. I would love to go back and visit again. Please don’t take it personal when people comment about the filth. Do your part and you may be a pioneer and start a revolution. You never know.

  34. I have just left Cochin/Kochi after spending a few days there, put this way –

    I never want to return.

  35. People don’t learn about India through pictures . They learn about India through experiences . And experiences are dreadful for those who are not accustomed to such unhygienic practices . People easily blame municipal corporations for the ill-management of dustbins in a city . But they don’t realize the core problem . The problem every Indian suffers from ; the dementia that anything outside one’s home is not home . A friend from Indore said that the Indore Municipal Corporation had taken an initiative to put dustbins in public places so that the people would keep the places clean .
    What happened ? The people took away all the dustbins ! Where to ? Perhaps to their own homes . Why ? Because places outside their homes was not worth cleaning . The dustbins were misplaced going by their misplaced logics .

  36. Hello, I am Dr. Stephen J. Krune, a scholar of India. I have studied it for years and from the account helpfully added by Ganpati Rajasekharan I have now developed the theory of the bindi-bugman cycle, which I give you here:

    step 1: diluted vaccine is “abminnerdered” to high caste shit slum magnate

    step 2: vaccine “does its work”, prompting bindi to take a healthful shit in the river just outside his cockroach-filled home and bacterium

    step 3: lower class mutant bindi with visible deformities drinks deeply of the watery shit sludge that is his only source of hydration

    step 4: adulterated vaccine has just enough effectiveness to prevent him from getting nu-AIDS, forestalling a world-devastating pandemic, but the shit river imbibing results in a brand new festering disease threatening all life (a brown goo)

    step 5: bugman blogger travels to the most disgusting place on the planet to get clicks for his podcast and make roughly $50 in YouTube ads and from posting photos on Facebook of himself in airports dressed like numale scum

    step 6: bugman blogger RIP from drinking fluids drained from the mutant bindi following an organ “donation”, then resold as a curative homeopathic slurry

    step 7: western scientists spend billions of dollars diligently curing new disease, funded by profits from importing TB-carrying browns who are hired by Mark Faceberg to create nonfunctional “Hello World” apps for his social media platform

    step 8: shitlibs demand that pharmas make the cure free for the third world lest the global population dip below 7 billion people causing their blog economy portfolios to crash

    and then the cycle continues anew…

  37. I’m an Indian and I really don’t know what to proud of.

    Everybody keeps telling me to be proud of being India, but then I ask them ‘For what ?’
    I get the below answers
    1. 40% of all Doctors in US are Indians – ( Why should I be proud ?. They are US citizens now and they are happy there )
    2. 40% of all NASA Scientists are Indians – ( Why should I be proud ?. They are US citizens now and they are happy there )
    3. Our culture is amazing and rich – ( Can you explain culture ? Like all other cultures, India has good and bad. Its not the best in the world )
    4. India has many languages – ( Why should I be proud of that ? Its not like any of those languages are a result of what i accomplished )
    5. India has one of the biggest Armies – ( That’s what other countries include in their propaganda 🙂 )

    Just to sum it up ( Pride goes before a fall )

    Everybody here keep saying that its better to be a 1st class citizen in India than being a 2nd class citizen in another country. I was born in Dubai and I think they treated me way better as a second class citizen. If i were to go to a government office here in India, I would be treated like a worthless turd and I wouldn’t be able to get anything done unless I bribe them.

    Everybody keeps talking about how East or West India is the best ( including Salman Khan ), but when it comes to pissing in public, that is also a culture that we supposedly need to be proud of. I feel ashamed to go out with my wife and mother only to see a nice Indian man whipping out his tool and showering the wall with his offerings, even when there is a big sign on the wall which says ” Do Not Urinate “.

    We keep talking about Swach Bharat and stuff, if we could start giving out corporal punishment to these guys who piss in public to start of, we would be on our way to a better India. It took us more than 60 years to get to this stage, and we are still nowhere. There are a bunch of people who complains that its because of the corruption that India is still under developed. Well, according to many people, USA is the most corrupt country in the world, and they too had nothing before. Can you see how their cities have been designed and developed now. An areal view on Google Maps will give you that answer.

    Indians went to Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries and made those cities beautiful, but they couldn’t do it in their own country. Its because they work well under a dictator. When strict rules and harsh punishment is in place, we do well. I still remember when I was younger, they used to put people in Jail for spitting Tobacco ( Gutka ). There were many incidents where the people got their A55 beaten to near death for spitting gutka on the roads. Here in India, spitting, pissing and shi**ing in public is something which is part of the culture and we need to be proud.

    I am desperately trying to get out of here to be a second class citizen in a western country, because even though I pay my taxes and try to do something in India as a first class citizen, there’s no point.

  38. I agree that India has huge problems regarding waste management, but the photos that you have put is of selective dirty places which overall does not constitute more than 5%of total place at the max. The Indians do not live with such filth in their homes.

    Moreover, the administration is rather surprised to find that despite such waste, the amount of tourists is only increasing every year. That is because many of the tourists do the business of posting their travel vlogs on YouTube and earn money out of it. Since India is a cheap place to travel, the tourists make an overwhelming amount of money by posting their videos/writing blogs which nit only covers their cost of travel, but also leaves a large surplus to them.

    The second lot of people are they who who are paid and promoted to visit india magnanimously over highlight the wrong places and completely undermine the good things. The people paying for such are generally from foriegn countries or organisations having a motivated agenda in doing negative publicity of india and destroy it’s image and reputation, so that our country falls further into a trap of never ending quicksand of miseries.

    I have visited Britain, which calls itself the most developed country in the world. While London and Wales is rightly clean, I remember waiting on a local village railway station somewhere in U.K., which unimaginably smelt of worst form of urinary stench. London and Wales and rich areas are repeatedly highlighted and projected while the backward areas in Britain is carefully controlled from any analysis.

    Thirdly, when India was very clean and rich and prosperous, then wicked malicious people from today’s so called developed countries ifrom the western world, came and destroyed India and looted our resources. So what is essentially the moot point in making India as clean and rich and prosperous as it earlier was?? To ready a silver platter for the degrading western world so that they may once again come and destroy and loot our country?? The western people however modem and advanced and developed they may call themselves, in reality they have a wicked mind and malicious heart with no sentiment or even pity for anything or anybody, other than themselves.. The garbage in 5% areas of the land keeps the bloody vampires out of the country.. thank you but we do not need you and you may please learn to get lost without any further reference..

    • I have been in India for three weeks, mostly in the north and the photos posted represent 95% of what I have seen in the streets so far. Lovely people, but the sanitation and trash issue are a major problem. I would find it hard to recommend a visit to India on this alone.

  39. All the photos you have published are of spots that must be cleaned by local municipal. It is not the job of residents to clean streets, clean common urinals and carry common street garbage all the way to the dumping ground. The mounds of garbage on streets are proof that local municipal is lax in cleaning these areas. People file complaints but municipalities in India are dysfunctional, corrupt and inefficient.

    You thank garbage collecting workers of Canada but you do not mention how much money they make and how much Indian garbage collecting workers are paid. Payscale says Canadian Garbage Collector earns C$18.50 per hour. If we assume that the person works 8 hours a day then it comes to C$148. If that person gets paid at least for 25 days of the month then the monthly salary comes to C$3700. Now how much an Indian garbage collector earns? The average is C$7 per day for more than 8 hours of work. Every 3-4 months they go on strike because they do not get paid even that meager amount. Most of them are hired on contract through contractors. They do not receive any benefit like pension or insurance coverage. Even after factoring in the currency values, there is a vast difference in their earnings. You cannot compare these two groups of workers.

    Of course, Indians should be doing more to clean this mess. But there is a limit of how much people can force government to work. The same people follow all sanitation rules when visiting an area that is kept clean.

    • Well said, I agree, that I believe it is government and municipal problems. I don’t think I say that citizens should be going out and cleaning up the streets. There are many factors and I am merely and observer. I feel bad for India citizens having to live in a mess and I believe corruption and bureaucracy play a large part. Garbage workers deserve to make good money. I believe our garbage employees in Canada make even more than you say. It’s a union job with benefits and standards here.

  40. We’ve just visited India for 10 days. People were nice & the architecture (temples, palaces, forts) were beautiful, but all this can not outshine the unbelivable amount of filth, garbage & animal waste on the streets – literally everywhere.
    I hope it will improve in the future.

  41. I’ve just returned from a holiday in Kerala and while I didn’t see it all I was horrified at the amount of rubbish there was; some of it quite disgusting. So if that state is ‘sanitized’ compared to northern parts then I don’t think I want explore India further. I must add, though, that I managed to enjoy my time in Kerala thanks to the wonderful people and the amazing food. But India must start cleaning itself up.

  42. Thanks for pointing it out. We have challenges but we are working towards resolving this issues. It’s very very diverse country(more than anybody’s imagination). It’s sad that people of my country generally like to blame it all to government and forget the fact that they have bigger role to play in keeping the country clean. On the other hand, you will find that an average indian cleans his home(like sweeping a floor) twice a day.

    Hoping for a better picture in near future.

  43. As a foreign born Indian I often come back to visit relatives and I can’t say how much I agree with you! I’ve been here for 4 days now and feel really unhappy with how people treat the environment. India isn’t a poor country- it has a lot of money. The problem is it’s not distributed. The government could enforce laws to keep the country clean but they won’t for whatever reason. And yes I can’t even sit on a rickshaw without an impatient scooter beeping at us ever 2 seconds. The noise pollution is also horrific. Sad to say but I won’t be coming back any time soon.

  44. I am an Indian girl who is proud of culture, heritage and national achievements. I also love my country very deeply.

    I have been to 20 countries and travelled through the length and breadth of India. I would like to say that I agree with your point of view and admit that it is extremely filthy.

    According to my analysis, there are various reasons for this problem.

    1) People think that it is okay to litter and that someone will clean it up. The, “It is not my problem” attitude.

    2) People are lazy about cleaning stuff up or holding on to their trash till they see a trashcan.

    3) People think it is okay to litter in the public areas and throw out the garbage from their cars and homes out on to the street. There is some sort of indifference towards communal good. They believe that as long as the trash is not inside their homes it is alright.

    4) People don’t want to clean up their house because they feel lazy. Even the maids employed for the purpose don’t like to clean it up properly.

    5) Spitting beetle leaf and coughing up your snot on the streets is another reason why it is so filthy.

    6) People are numerous and the government funds are rather limited (because very few people in India pay taxes – many of the rich people also don’t pay taxes). Whatever funds are obtained by the government through taxes are eaten up by the municipal bodies responsible for cleanliness. There are too many self-interests that prevail in the minds of these municipal officers. This is also the reason why there are such few public toilets scattered around India.

    7) People do not want to do their job. This is the reason for dirty public toilets and dirty streets. People who are employed to clean it up don’t clean it up. Again, you can co-relate this with laziness.

    8)Regarding the cows, they are not left in a cow shelter and are just abandoned after they stop producing milk. It is to do with religion partly, (I am a devout Hindu) because you cannot kill the cows and export beef because now there is a beef ban in many states. It is difficult to maintain herds of cows because it is expensive to create so many cow shelters and the country doesn’t have enough shelters to support its human population. It is struggling to house its human beings let alone the cows. But that is not the only reason for this mess. It is interconnected with poverty and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy because they consider cows sacred but once the cows are not useful to them, they leave them on the roads to get hit by a truck or starve to death, or worse die of cancer from consuming so many plastic bags from the litter mounds. But it is also related to poverty because I can imagine how difficult it would be for a person who struggles to feed his family two meals a day to feed and maintain a cow as well. But I am guessing it is mostly hypocrisy because I don’t know how difficult it is to arrange grass to feed the cow (I would admit that I don’t know the costs of arranging cow fodder in India and it maybe expensive for the poor families so I may be wrong and it could be more to do with poverty rather than hypocrisy).

    9) People feel that throwing their one piece of plastic bag will not make a difference to the cleanliness of the city as a whole. They don’t realise if all 1.3 billion Indians feel this way then the whole country is going to be a mess.

    10)Poor levels of education and exposure to cleaner cities or countries can make a person believe that this is as good as it gets.

    12) Lastly but most importantly it has to do with one major attitudinal problem. This is – REFUSAL TO ACCEPT that something is wrong with the country. My point is that you can only fix a problem if you acknowledge that there is one. But the majority of Indians do not want to accept that their great motherland is a filthy mess. They are stuck in the mighty achievements of the Indian civilisations in the past. They have inflated notions about how well their country is doing economically (India was the fastest growing large economy in 2016). The truth is India is doing well economically in part because of its demographic dividend, which can soon turn into disaster if the population is not managed well (this point calls a separate post altogether, so I am going to leave it here).

    Indians don’t want to admit many problems in their society. Cleanliness of towns and cities is one of them. Before deeply offended Indians start trolling me or saying nasty things to me, I would like to say that every society has its good points and bad points. Indian society is no exception. So we can make an effort to clean our society of all the evils it has by acknowledging that it does have some negative points.

    That said, India’s new PM Narendra Modi has taken a step in a right direction. It is called the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or the Clean India Drive. But it will take a lot of funds, will power, attitudinal change and time for its results to manifest.

    Also, a note to those Indians with escapist attitudes who criticise India in the comfort of their centrally heated homes in western countries – If you have such a big problem, why don’t you come back and help out your own country rather than escaping it. If you can’t contribute in any way then the least you can do is refraining from negative publicity. India could do with that revenue from tourism.

    I also request you to please publish this response so that people know that there are sane Indians out there who acknowledge the problem and make it a point not to litter. I also stop my friends from littering the country despite the fact that many of my friends have mocked me for doing so.

    In conclusion, India is a very complicated country with even more complicated problems to understand. There is no simple solution there. It would take a lot more time and effort to understand it completely. To be honest, I haven’t understood it completely. It is indeed a big hot mess. But it is the mess that I live in and try to change albeit in my own small ways.

  45. I’m NOT western. I lived my whole life in Afghanistan, a war torn country with no infrastructure and I agree India is filthy. As a matter of fact it is way dirtier than Afghanistan. So, people coming from the first world countries are not the only ones thinking India is dirty, not to mention Pakistan is the same.
    Indians should accept the fact that their country is filthy and they, the local people are the main factor for it. Our last visit was August 2016 and everything was still the same. If you decide to go to India or already there, you can read our article How to avoid getting sick (how to TRY to avoid getting sick) 🙂

  46. Its really stupid when westerners come to India expecting it to be a clean sanitized country like theirs? Do u have a billion people out of which 80% are poor? Do you have the thousands of years old history that India has? Do you have 250 languages, so many religions, cultures, castes, races all living together in india for centuries ? India has completely different dynamics than Canada, this is an over populated country packed with people from very diverse and distinct backgrounds and canada is an under populated country full of majority white people and new immigrants who arent even accepted by the whites at all. In canada whites live in white areas, blacks live in black areas, asians live in asian areas, sometimes they try to mix and they have major clashes….your country with such few people cannot get along either yet you judge india with 1.2 billion people as being a filthy place? My advice – if you cant afford India properly then dont come here. To go to canada on a holiday an indian needs ten thousand dollars at least…so if u want to explore the GOOD parts of india and NOT deal with the shit here then you need to spend at least twice as much,,,twenty thousand dollars and you will be treated like royalty in India which u cant ever experience anywhere else in the world. India has culture, history, class, elegance, the best hotels in the world and a lot to offer but its easy to criticise india without understanding it properly. Western countries are boring now, ive left many and come back…they just offer a clean environment but nothing else…westerners are half dead depressed modern day slaves with no social lives no family ties no sense of community left in them….and they all come to india now to clean their souls.

    All poor western travellers complain about the filth in india because they think india is some dirt cheap tourist destination where they can live for 10 dollars a day…yes u can live like a dog in india for 10 bucks a day…but if u want to enjoy india properly then u need a 1000 dollars a day to spend and u wont even notice the filth. Rich indians dont walk on dirty streets, they have their own palatial mansions with gardens to walk or they go to private clubs where u cant even dream of entering. They all drive around with chauffeurs in luxury cars which cost 3 times as much in western countries…its a total myth that india is inexpensive …to explore india properly and to live here properly is very very expensive,..much more than most places in the US and Canada. Budget things in india are filthy but there is a lot of luxury here too which comes at a price.

    • That is a really sad commentary that you mention. YOu seem to be proud the there is such a divide between the poor and the rich and that to live well in India, you have to be extremely rich. “Rich Indians don’t walk the dirty streets?” That’s supposed to make things better? I think it is terrible that the rich don’t work on cleaning up the country and help the poor who are forced to live in these conditions. Nobody should have to live on $1000 a day just to have cleanliness. You are talking about exactly what is wrong with the society. There should never be such a divide that people are living behind glass walls, ignoring the problem outside and being chauffeured everywhere. If that is the future of the country, there is a serious problem. The rich and the government need to give the poor more opportunity. I think that your argument is naive. If you think that having good parts of India makes it ok that there are such horribly filthy parts, then you are part of the problem. You shouldn’t be proud that the rich live perfect lives and that it is expensive, you should be working to bring the standards of others.
      You are mistaken that Canada is segregated. And it is sad that you think that. If you came here you would see that it is very much a melting pot. When I walk down the streets of Toronto, I am very proud of the cultures blending together in harmony.
      You are right, we are very much an underpopulated country, so there is no comparison. However, we have been to many countries that have a much larger population density than India per area and they have managed the filth. India is a country that has potential to be clean, it has wealth and the people in power chose to do nothing about the problem. If you keep defending it and ignoring the problem things won’t get better. I hope it does because the people met and the friends that we made in India, don’t deserve to live in filthy streets. They should be able to walk down the road and breath fresh air.

    • It is true that most of urban India is very dirty due to overpopulation, poverty and lack of infrastructure. As an Indo -Canadian, I do home to visit quite often and there are many lovely places I,e Chandigarh, Hill Stations, Shimla, Kulu Manali, Sikkhim and the open fields of Punjab. These places also have amazing hospitality so it is a joy to visit.

      Poverty is a very real issue in the country that the Government and the upper classes need to address. It seems like nobody seems very interested in tackling this problem, corruption is everywhere from the locals to the bureaucrats. I hope the new generation will use their intellect to help solve these problems.

  47. Amar Devi No offence intended.I stay in Switzerland and not India.I did not make any personal remark about you or the heaven you live in.All I meant is you cannot say "most" until you have visited all the countries in the world.For the rest of your statement I totally agree with you.

  48. Ravi Verma Yes, and I stand by my comment. Like it or not instead of getting offended do something about yr country. Don't mistake from my name I am from a place that resembles with heaven!

  49. I agree with the filth and lack of cleanliness but your comment about awarding India with the title of "most disgusting place on planet earth" makes me wonder are you talking about the same Earth 😀 lols

  50. every thing these Canadian couple have posted this article I saw it just this month and things have gone worse since 2010, the most disgusting place on planet earth. if there is hell on earth it is INDIA.

  51. Indians are filthy because there are very few leaders who are ready to take the burden of cleaning the filth….. Leader doesn’t mean just a politician or a bureaucrat, even a child who throws his chocolate wrapper into the dustbin is a leader……unfortunately, most of the indians are not ready to take the first step in cleaning and try to blame on others…..we indians need true leaders who will bring a change in the masses…

  52. Im truly dissappointed with india’s present state i pray to god for a tremendous change. My class teacher once said that if we can survive in india we can survive in any part ot the world but that really was not a positive complement for india that was a wake up call for improvement. Seeing the crowd in trains everyday bring hatred and suicidal thoughts in my mind.

  53. I too feel everytime that india is filthy its all because of overpopulation and intense corruption i feel so bad for my country’s sorry state. I hate our uneducated fools and our corrupt and lousy government.

  54. It’s been a year since I moved to the US and I am now scared to my guts to return to my home in India. People blame the government and corruption for garbage and the filthy streets while the CITIZENS are the ones who pee on the sidewalk and throw out their trash anywhere they want to. I live in Delhi, which is the damn capital and sadly, it is equally filthy. This isn’t anything new, but it bothers me now as I simply cannot imagine going back and living in such a filth. Indians lack a very basic civic sense and quite honestly, it is shocking how people make excuses and try to justify the garbage and filthiness. I pray to God I never have to go back to that country again.

  55. I’ve been to other third-world countries and experienced filth, but India exceeds every one of them . Poverty is not an excuse.

  56. In reply to Mayank: This blog is NOT about greed, global harmful impact on the environment, luxury ocean liners dumping waste in the oceans , criminals hiding their money etc, etc. All of your points are valid in their own right. Go start a blog about those issues. But do not try and deflect from the fact that India is filthy and there is no excuse for that. I have traveled all over the world and the filth I have heard, read about and seen on the internet and media about India is a disgusting reflection on a nation. It needs to get its damn act together on many issues, this one particularly. There is NO excuse, Period.

  57. Let me first say that I respect this blog post, you are good natured people, amongst people of all nationalities, I have utmost respect for Canadians. The ‘kind’ filth that you are referring to in this blog post is quite literal or obvious in meaning but let me say that it is one of the most ‘innocent’ type of filth. To give some examples: going to war with poorer countries for greed, high stakes gambling, driving SUVs while fully knowing their harmful impact on the environment, luxury ocean liners that dump waste in the oceans (that can never ever be cleaned), anonymous bank accounts where the biggest criminals could hide their money, exploitation of poor asian and latino women by the thriving porn industry, the massive processed meat industry and fast food industry is also filthy in many ways, overfishing is filthy, the high percentage of college students from rich countries who take drugs (isn’t wealthy Vancouver consistently in the news about this?), excessive violence in blockbuster films and video games that kids are exposed to these days, million dollar energy guzzling ‘luxuty’ homes, guns (well, let’s not talk about that here), all these, imho, are much bigger examples of filth. While apathy may be one side of filth (as visible on the streets of India), greed is certainly the other and the more scary side, I do hope you will agree partially if not fully. Thank you for letting me comment on your blog.

  58. Unfortunately, its true. Indians as a lot lack basic civic sense. They also lack the moral fibre required to admit their own faults. Someone else, preferably the government/corruption/the nasty westerns are always to blame. If the street is filthy, its not because they have thrown trash on it; its because the government didn’t clean up.

    Worst of all, they have simply succumbed to considering this the *norm*. The majority of Indians cannot believe that it can be any other way. They dont see the garbage. They dont smell the stink. And they will not change. And if you point this out to them, they will take umbrage and claim *you* are nasty to say such mean stuff; the more literate of them will head off on a tirade about how America (or the west’s) morals.

    If you cannot *see* the problem, you cannot fix it. Indians cannot see the problem. Its a lost cause; by the time any action taken by helpful organization takes hold, the country will be waist deep in garbage, and people will not notice.

  59. We are currently in India at the moment and we are so glad to read your post as it is the blatant truth! It is a disgrace that a country of so many people can’t get around this issue and put people to work. We recently took a sleeper train and there were people spitting all over the floor and there was rubbish all along the tracks … the toilets also emptied straight onto the tracks so poo and wee on the railway lines. When we entered one city there were human skulls amongst the rubbish too. We love India and people seem wonderful but we are leaving very soon as like yourselves we want good memories and we don’t want to get any sicker!

  60. I would love to visit India but I never will because of the filth I have read about and seen on travel programmes. There is NO excuse for governments who allow this or people to accept living in such disgusting conditions. Get your house in order India. This planet deserves better than the lack of respect you show it. It is sickening and shameful.

  61. I am a Indian, its true that most Indian cities towns are dirty as never imagined. the main problem is the people’s mean mind, selfishness and the education system now a days, I mean the children are taught (mostly forced) to read write and study 24hours but no one teach them how to keep our surroundings clean and the systematic life and only force them to become an engineer or doctor in future… I am ashamed of our people :/ …

  62. If you have never lived in Canada, you will not truly understand how filthy India is compared to Canada. I’m a Canadian currently living in India and it is here in this amazing country, that I have learnt how to breathe from my mouth and not from my nose. I know it might be unhealthy for me to breath from my mouth, but at least I don’t have to smell through my nose the repulsive stench arising from every street. At times, on one street, there will be ten different smells each one vying with the other in repulsiveness. But I do see some change happening like in Gujarat:

    Garbage collection from doorstep paying dividends
    Himansshu Bhatt, TNN | Jun 2, 2013, 11.12 PM IST

    SURAT: Tagged as one of the top three cleanest cities of the country, Surat is witnessing a distinct shift in garbage collection.

    After elected wing declared it’s intention to make public places of the city garbage and container-free a year ago, the steps taken by civic administration of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to increase, strengthen and expand it’s door-to-door collection network has started paying dividends now.

    Today, the city sprawling over 326 sq km with nearly 10.5 lakh households, generates close to 1,500 tonnes of solid waste daily. More than half of this is collected from door-to-door on daily basis using nearly 325 vehicles.

    SMC, one of the first civic bodies in the country, started this collection system in 2004 and by 2006 it had nearly 200 vehicles lifting 350-400 tonnes of garbage directly from homes. It spent nearly Rs 10 crore then against Rs 17 crore on yearly basis today.

    “The desired effect of this expansion of door-to-door collection is seen on the garbage containers in the city. The numbers have come down by about 1,000,” said EH Pathan, executive engineer, solid waste disposal, SMC.

    “The effect of increased door-to-door garbage is that now we lift just 650-700 containers for disposal of garbage and expenses on this count has come down by nearly Rs 60 lakh per month,” said Pathan and added, “This means, as we pay more for door-to-door collection, we are saving Rs 7 crore on annual basis on container lifting count and over all spending the same amount of money for higher amount of garbage disposal.”

    “We want our citizens to develop a habit of keeping garbage and litter that is produced in their homes or by them to be kept within the house. The network of SMC will collect it once a day to keep city clean and healthy,” said mayor Raju Desai. “We don’t want people to throw their garbage in containers outside their societies and spread pollution,” he added.

    Surat had 1,650 containers placed on different city roads and public places for garbage collection and it used to empty all of them either on daily basis or on alternate day basis spending nearly Rs 20 crore on annual basis.

    SMC pays Rs 250 per trip for emptying a container.

    Bhimji Patel, who recently retired as chairman of standing committee, said, “Money is not the main issue here. We are determined to keep our city cleanest of all and so would not mind paying a little more if required.”

  63. I am Indian and I am appalled by the filth that humans can live in. .
    You don’t have to be rich or educated to keep the area that you live in, clean.
    But it seems that even the rich, educated people love the filth as well.

    I live in South Africa, and a well educated IT guy from India visited our malls and said that it was too clean for his liking.
    He said that he preferred the filth.

    Based on that comment, I wonder if there’s any hope.
    If the earth that they walk on is one gigantic garbage bin and they all love it that way, then there’s nothing more for me to say!

  64. I recently watched a tv show (Ironically called “An Idiot Abroad”) Basically its about a guy (Karl Pilkington) who travels to various destinations to report on the seven wonders of the world, albeit in a comedic slant. Its a funny show.
    However when this guy was sent to India to report on the Taj Mahal the whole series took on a very miserable tone. This guy who is normally so very laid back and seems to be so disaffected by anything suddenly became very depressed and he actually “Cried” that he wanted to “come home”…So disgusted by india was he that he just could not hide his reaction to this country during the filming. He was basically Sick from food poisoning from the first day he arrived and continued to be sick throughout and appeared to spend most of the trip in filthy toilets. This very laid back guy actually cried and begged to leave india and go home. At the end of each episode he normally finds so many positive references to each country he visits but at the end of this episode he could only say that he couldnt wait to leave…When his friend (ricky gervais) asked him what he thought of india he replied “I Fucking Hated It Mate” Sorry for the long post but after watching this show i realised that what he was feeling about India and the hygene conditions was exactly how I myself felt about my trip there. I feel it just left me feeling very depressed and homesick. The indian people we met were lovely (Although some were very shady. Some (not all) will cheat you, and would steal the eyes from your head if your not carefull) but the indian friends we met were also not happy with their “way of living” over there. It is a shame because there are beautiful parts to india but unfortunately the the densely populated parts are not at all clean or hygienic and it is sad that this is the memories i am left with.

  65. Useless post ..useless comments ..and useless people ! Why don’t you travel to any other country if you don’t like India ? India is such a beautiful country , more beautiful than you think ..Idiots !

  66. Where is the impact of 20 years of economic boom on the streets of India. The reality is that India has successfully portrayed an image of shining India at the expense of ignoring basic human rights in the country. Filth, dirt, pollution and poverty are increasing, not decreasing.

    Terrorism and extremism would not stay forever. The area is going to be under reasonable control soon (as it was before 2001) and then, I would suggest all of you to pay a visit to Islamabad. Filth is not even a word that we know of here. Clean atmosphere, beautiful tracks to walk, hiking and spring brings the best of the flowers you can imagine.

    Most people are surprised by paying a visit to Islamabad. Their assessment of Pakistan changes the moment they get out of the Islamabad airport.

  67. India may be filthy and smelly and disgusting but it aint as boring or cold or heartless as western countries have become. Despite all the filth in India., people are happier …and most indians who leave india to settle abroad now come running back to India after realizing what trouble those western econmies are in, Indians with money have lifestyles richer than the queen of england. Poor westerners who travel in india never get to see the other side of India’s riches….they only see the poverty nothing else….but do they even realize why that poverty exists? Who’s fault is it really? When u have 1.2 billion people packed in a country and most of them are poor, then surroundings will be filthy…but what the writer of this article doesnt realize is that poverty and dirt in india exists because we were looted and exploited for 500 years by the british before getting independence only 60 years ago…and in 60 years india has come a long way too….at least its a powerful economy and a safe economy unlike the leveraged risky western countries, indians are also happier people generally….europeans, canadians and americans are all miserable…they have very hard lives and no personal relationships and a dangerously declining population due to a low birth rate. Europe and America are finished, they grew their economies and expanded in such a way that there is no more room for growth or even survival….the had been living way beyond their means for decades and now they are all deep in debt hanging on to a lazy unenthusiastic population.

    • Hahaha! Dumbest comment yet! I guess your indian dad is loaded and you can ignore all the beggars and poop on the roads because you are a terrible person. People in Europe and america live longer, happier lives because their lives are worth much more compared to India because life is so cheap. Keep drinking the indian Koolaid, you’ll be upto your neck in garbage soon.

    • Oh come on…The same old excuse time and time again. The british ruled us for so many years and because of that we have become lazy ,corrupt filthy .Utter nonsense. I am an Indian and very ashamed of how people here are so filthy

    • Oh, grow up and stop playing the victim! When the Brits left less than 70 years ago, there were 400 million Indians. We’ve added 800 million, and haven’t done a darn thing to clean up the country. How much longer are people like you going to moan about colonization or about Muslim invasions? The fact is, Indians are by nature/nurture de-sensitized to the lack of cleanliness and hygiene. There is ritual purification, sure, but what about outside the temple and outside the home? Not that the homes are all that clean, anyhow. I see maids coming out of mansions swinging trash bags which they dump on the next corner. Surely those “upper class” Indians who employ them are aware of this practice? Of course they are, but they simply don’t give a darn as long as it’s dumped out of their sight.

      There’s only one way to clean up the country: with a big stick and hefty penalties, for both officials as well as citizens. In this, Singapore should be a model.

      And stop running down Europe and the US, another disgusting Indian habit. When India depends on them for its major exports(and even India’s exports to China are indirectly supported by Europe and the US), it is not merely unseemly but downright hypocritical. When you see all the “little Indias” throughout the west, you come to the realization that the lack of cleanliness is a failing of the Indian consciousness, not of colonization or any other excuse you care to make up.

    • Too bad “travel2013” has never been outside of india as then “travel2013” would be shocked to discover how far behind and backward india IS. BTW: you know who are THE harshest critics of india? It’s those Indian citizens who have traveled to places outside of india such as North America and Europe and East Asia. Those persons see the Japans and the Germanys and the Britains and the Canadas and the Australias and then those Indian citizens go home and face the realities of THEIR indian home cities and they become angry as to why “superpower” india is NOwhere near the CLEAN cities IN THE REST OF THE WORLD….

  68. Hai I’m lakshmi frm Kochi,kerala. You know how I reached this blog.. well I typed “why are Indians unhygenic’.. you are absolutely right n ur blog.. I kp thinking y is it so… Throwing garbage jst lyk tht.. as if th whole plce s a one big garbage can.. I do agree wd all tht u hve said.. India s beautiful but v Indians r destroying her… Sorry

  69. Yes India needs to be sanitized . Seems like everyone cares only for himself and not for the country. Politicians suck and dont think outside the box … given up on India .. not for sightseeing …probably good for spiritual growth..just my 2 cents

  70. I was in Tamil Nadu the week before last and it didn’t differ much from your pictures above.

    I suspect Goa is so clean because it is an international tourist spot. There are too many ruppees dependant on the place. To be filthy will put people off going.

    • Hey The Guy, I do have to say that Goa is cleaner but it still isn’t what I would describe as clean. There was garbage in the streets and a dead cow on the beach. There is a lot of work needed to be done but hopefully it’s getting better.

  71. As an in Indian from Jaipur, i must say that your article truly captures what India has become. All the time, i cant help but wonder why is it that we cant clean things up. If you look at it, it’s not just the filth on the roads or in the alleys, its of our minds; and unfortunately India, and in particular the North, has become laid back, rowdier, arrogant and extremely self centered, with eroding morals and sense of being. We justify everything in some twisted logic of spirituality, on not accept our mistakes. Our social preconceptions are just plain DUMB sometimes.

    having said that, i still cant live anywhere else other than this country even after having studied in the UK. The food here is just lot huge notch BETTER 🙂

  72. You guys are certainly right there. I returned from my trip to Singapore, and I cried for the people who aren’t so much privileged to know how the country can be made.

    For my little two cents, I’d just like if you people help us instead of complaining. No offence. 🙂

    • Why do you ask someone else to help you to do what you should be doing as a matter of hygiene and self-respect? No foreigners have an obligation to help clean India. That is the job of the people who live here. Do you ask your neighbor to come and help clean your toilet?

  73. Animals in India clean up the street- the humans create the problems- they throw plastic waste and cows eat them and get serious diseases!Cows and dogs are to be worshipped for their services!They sacrifice their life-for the inconsiderate humans!

  74. I disagree that this was a rude post. I think the authors were just being honest and I appreciate it. Maybe the criminal political class will be embarrassed into spending some of the money they loot from the middle class on actual services.

    Ordinary Indians who have civic sense and decency struggle against the cultural malaise and government programs (massive welfare) that caused all this.

    If you live in India, you too will gradually become indifferent to the filth and poverty. It’s the only way to survive.

  75. What can I say? I thought we were prepared for some hygiene issues on our recent trip to India…BUT Nothing could prepare me for the actuall reality. One of the above comments described India as a “hell on earth” which is slightly over dramatic, however there are hellish elements for sure.
    The Stench was brutal (along with the heat) and was just relentless everywhere we went. The open deffication made me sick to my stomach. Was it Human or was it beast?…still not sure
    We soon became terrified to eat anything that was not sealed and even sealed, all I could think about was the sights and smells around me…The upshot was I lost lot of weight.

    Another comment above has mentioned that for many Indians it is their pride that allow them to live in such conditions…Then why doesnt the Indian gvnmnt offer incentive for these particular jobs’ , Here in the UK a street cleaner earns a good salary as do refuse collecters and earn more than…say an office cleaner school/college cleaners, janitors, chefs etc…That is incentive that allows for practicallity over pride in times of need
    The Indian people need a wake up call if they gonna clean up their act. They are plain Lazy

    I’m glad to have left India and be home now but even now I feel my travels there have changed me for the worse, I hate myself for this but I now hate to be around the Indian community where I live…I don’t mind the Indian people who live there but the area is becoming as bad as what we saw on our trip (minus the poop), And that realisation scares me….

  76. I think that if India actually allowed a ton of foreign investment without useless restrictions, it would actually benefit the country tremendously. It would also probably lead to more cleanliness as more and more foreign corporations moved in and gentrified areas. The problem is that India puts too many restrictions on foreign investment. I say allow them to bring their culture there. Maybe, Indians will clean up the more they see the same.

  77. Know why India is so?Its because of corruption,that made heavenly India such.A true Indian when blended with knowledge yields a man with super high qualities, like one of them… Mahatma Gandhi!!! , the root cause is corruption,which is keeping most of indian people backwards, with lack of education and facilities.Presently there is a war on corruption, which if won, will nourish India and make it a very lovable place, with her various historical places and cultures… So please, if u r Indian, support anti-corruption movement, and if not,and cannot help or support, please don’t criticize us and our India , that’s all…

    • As an american who lives in a place with a very dense indian population speaking from personal experience Indian folks are the friendliest culture i know. However they are also the dirtiest and lack general hygiene… It doesn’t take much for local municipalities to tax and hire public services. NOBODY has to live like that…

  78. if any of you tourists want to come to india let me tell you which places are cleaner, good to visit & beautiful…
    1 wonderful kerala
    2 mount kudremukh in western karnataka(cool place)
    3 incredible ancient ruins of hampi
    4 goa of course for it’s sandy beaches
    5 scenic spots like ganpatipule,matheran,mahabaleshwar in maharashtra
    6 banglore,mysore or any other south indian city
    7 beautiful sceneries in simla,darjeeling,manali,ooty(very cold places)
    8 the great himalayas
    9 south mumbai (of course)

    • Thank you Lucky Indians. You are right there are many place in India to travel to and if you read the rest of our posts on India you will see that we loved it as well. We wrote many positive articles on India and the people that we met. And agree, Kerala, Hampi, Goa, Mumbai…we loved them all.

  79. Hellloo
    It’s may be ok to sling back a shot, but face it, India is filthy.
    I wish to god, that the payment for answering prayers is a demand to keep the neighbourhood n village CLEAN.
    I love my India, but I can’t overlook the trash.
    What can we do????
    Education?
    That may take many years.
    What else?
    I think stricter laws n reinforcement of laws..is a solution, because same Indians go abroad n live cleanly.
    Population control,that surely is in the hands of all of us, yet laws will be needed to see that they r not dodged…God bless all who put in the effort.
    Sorry to bother u, I don’t even know you,may b I too am escaping.

  80. what i can say? i traveled in India for 8 days, and be cheated every day, by the driver, the people in the hotel…. what a filthy place!!i will never go and will persuade my friends not go.

  81. It’s crucial timings of India. No responsibility. The people we met in India were amazing. We were just frustrated with the filth. I wish that the government which is very rich and emerging as a world powerhouse would have more love for it’s people and create infrastructures. Really you collect a good information.

  82. Had been to Switzerland for 3 weeks in October. Indeed, I was amazed to see the neat and tidy surroundings there. No garbage. No potholed roads. Not a single person was found spitting and pissing in the streets, anywhere I went to (I took some random rounds as well).

    Being an Indian myself, it wouldnt be pretty to disgrace my own country, but the truth is INDIA IS INDEED, DIRTY. People here dont have civic sense.

  83. Siddhartha:

    Do they not clean their own toilets at home? who cleans their houses?

    ALso, why don’t they use pit latrines like in much of Africa? You will never see open defecation in Africa. If you see it in India, it suggests to me that there is a deep cultural problem. Never saw it in China either which has a large population

  84. One reason why it is very hard to get (and keep) public spaces clean is that manual labor has no dignity here. And cleaning up marks a person as the lowest of the low. This is a holdover of the caste system. Only the most desperate people will stoop to cleaning as a job. And the people who do the littering will look at them with contempt. In such an environment, who would take pride in cleaning? It’s almost like thinking about cleaning up makes a person unclean. So the civic authorities, from the managers and supervisors down to the actual workers, have no incentive to do their job properly. Why are public urinals the dirtiest place around? Because you cannot find a single person who would clean it up to save his life. How can this be rectified? Perhaps if some ideal minded rich upper class kids would go around cleaning up to set an example (and with the media in tow), maybe it would have an effect. But I am not hopeful. Almost everyone, from the richest to the poorest, has this f***ed up mentality. More wealth (and even education) doesn’t seem to change them.

    • I think you have hit it on the head with your perceptive comment. India is not
      – an “emerging culture”, or “recently civilised”: it is one of the most ancient cultures, with a long history of urban centres starting from 3000 BC! Varanasi is at least 2000 years old, so is Delhi.
      – “overpopulated”: whatever that means – overpopulation is an excuse for everything that is wrong
      People are not
      – “inherently dirty”: all Indian religions place great stress on personal cleanliness; a daily bath is a ritual for all (unless there is no water available for it); you would be surprised to see the insides of most Indian rural dwellings (they are as clean as the inmates can afford)
      So what is it? It is an embedded cultural disdain for cleaning up common spaces. That is the job of the “lowest of the low”, which no one would like to be.
      Of course, public spaces become cleaner as people become richer. It is said that you could smell Amsterdam’s canals several miles away in the 1700s. They are pristine now. Many parts of New Delhi have certainly become cleaner in the last few years.
      A piece of advice to travellers: plan to stay in the better parts of the places you visit. You might miss the “real India” (read dirty streets and con artists, a la Paharganj) but will have a less distressing time.
      Unfortunately, India is not quite dependent on tourism as a source of revenue – revenue earned from foreign tourists is negligible for the country as a whole.

  85. Most of the communities in the entire Indian sub-continent(such as Bengali) succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(Oscar Lewis), irrespective of cl-ass or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is genuinely regret ed or ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, bad work place, weak mother language, continuous consumption of common social space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold(supported by some lame excuses). Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour(values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting children those are born out of ignorance, extreme poverty. It seems that all of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of (social) Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), initiate a movement by heart, an intense attachment with the society at large is very much required – one different pathway has to create, decent & rich Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101.

  86. Dave and Deb, firstly I agree with your observations about the dirt and filth in India. There is no point in trying to deny it, as it is there for all to see. Nor am I offended. People who are denying it on this blog discussion, for whatever reason (population density, poverty, etc etc), are being jingoistic and perhaps it flicked them on the raw.

    I find many Westerners to be very practical regarding civic issues and I’m interested in an open discussion, and finding solutions.

    I’m Indian too, a fairly decently traveled one, and I do agree with what you have reported. I’d like to add my perceptions on the complexity of the problems India faces.

    First of all the human depravity you mention, the indifference to death…believe me, a billion people crowding in on each other will do that to you. There is no escape, even for the rich when they step out of their air conditioned mansions. So the obvious reaction is to develop an armor to this massive invasion of personal space – both physical and mental, and become desensitized to the relentless human suffering. It’s not that people don’t donate or try to help – they do. But try as one might, it seems insignificant, and many people just give up in the face of the *aize* of this problem.

    I feel that in India there are a few factors that have compounding effects on all social/civic issues – the sheer size of population, poverty, rural-to-urban displacement, and a profound lack of civic sense. Indians have a peculiar (and very misplaced) sense of individualism that prevents them from following rules, helping, cooperating for a larger good.

    One of the posters said something about another poster being a Brahmin, implying that Brahmins are responsible for everything bad in the country. This is irresponsible and naive commenting. Do you know, that all so-called backward classes get massive handouts and help from the government? Similar to the Affirmative Action program of the US, but goes further – for e.g. there are more than 50% reservations for backward classes in education, government jobs, in practically every walk of life. To be a brahmin in modern India is a curse,because Brahmins are actually discriminated against. Tell me, who is responsible when a poor family has 10-15 children they cannot feed/clothe/educate on their own? The government can try to help them with rations and such, but it will never be enough. Do you know, the government has many times built proper housing for the poor and displaced for free, and what these people do is to sell their houses at the first opportunity and go back to living under a bridge or wherever and continue to hustle for a living, sending their children out to beg. Also, it is not just the poor but many minorities that have growth rates in the double digits. I really don’t understand people who feel the need to have so many children, when they can’t afford to nurture even one.

    And, just as an FYI – there is no caste system anymore. It has been abolished by the constitution of India. As far as mixing, one cannot force people to mix or intermarry. They do so based on their own perspectives and interests. And this is true of all countries/cultures.

    The filth is born of a most peculiar mindset – I personally believe that underlying it is a rural mindset and habit transposed into an urban setting. See, in the rural areas. people ‘go’ in the fields, in thickets and forests. It is all natural. They may spit or throw a banana peel but it goes into the earth. Put these displaced folks into an urban setting without proper sanitation and you get the horror that is urban India.

    But beyond all of this is the sheer population pressure. The government has of late, tried to create some facilities. But they are overwhelmed by the number of people using them. And the government can only do so much (I agree they don’t do enough and are corrupt to boot)…but it is also the people and their complete absence of civic sense.

    If someone is walking down a beautiful street, what is the need to spit and throw garbage? To me, ultimately, Indians have the country we deserve. Look aI have these hooligans who desecrate monuments with their immortal monikers “Raju loves Pinky circa 1991”. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten into fights trying to prevent people from doing stuff like this. But I’m one person, and they are the hordes…

    India is definitely not ready for mass consumption ala US. But it seems we’re hurtling down that path, come hell or high water. There is a war brewing…over natural resources…

    I depair.

    • In my opinion your comment is better than the original post. There is journalism, and there is poverty porn: this post tends towards the latter IMO. Devoid of context, pictures of the worst a nation has to offer (though ubiquitous) is akin to ethnocentric propaganda. India does need to change, and Indians need to quit hiding behind the excuses of a saving face culture if they want to change, but in my opinion broad-side salvos of “India is filthy” are unfair and unhelpful.

      Here are some we could say about ourselves: “Americans are war-mongering Evangelicals who hate gays and like Nascar.” “Canadians are wusses who weren’t brave enough to shirk British rule and who say ‘Eh’ way too much.”

      Generalizations are true in that they represent the way things tend to be, but we are much more comfortable using the double barrel buckshot of “generalization” when it’s aimed elsewhere. It doesn’t feel so good when people say it about us.

      So I agree that India has plenty of work to do, but had you been in India any extended length of time in the past two decades, you would not believe the amount of changes that have taken place.

      When I first came to Varanasi in 2002, I don’t think I ever used one western-style toilet, rarely saw cellphones, was in one restaurant that had AC. Now most rickshaw-wallahs carry cellphones, western style toilets are blase, and AC’s are prolific.

      Holding India, a nation with a population equal to the population of Canada, the US, all of Central and South America-THAT’S THE ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE-crammed into an area less than half the size of the continental US-holding this nation to the standards of Canada and America (both of us having our own checkered pasts-having displaced hundreds of thousands to millions of natives through disease and conquest, and both of us guilty of the slavery of Africans and natives-although you guys were with Britain in ending the atrocity first) after it has only been in existence for 60 years, when it has faced not only the most difficult population density issue the world has ever known, but also one of the most stratified unified societies the world has ever known. Even today communal tensions are high with a number of languages that would make all Americans and Canadians balk. Canada has had trouble juggling two primary languages; try living in a country with 12 main languages, and at least 1000 other distinct dialects. See how America and Canada handle that challenge. Well, we did get a chance to see what Britain could do with India, and they, as good of administrators as they were could not make it work.

      India is changing, and people are working to change it, but a 1.2 billion person, 1600 language-speaking juggernaut doesn’t turn on a dime. Give it a chance.

      This place is a challenge for many reasons, and public health is a very large one, but there is a better way to warn travelers of its dirtiness than the phrase “India is filthy.”

      It tends to be true, but glosses over a bunch of the incredible things, places, people, foods and experiences the place has to offer.

  87. It definitely brings back vivid memories of India’s northern states, although the south is only relatively better. You could only witness the smell first hand. I wonder how many people have avoided India for this reason.

    I admire your courage in publishing this post, even though it would more than likely offend quite a number of Indian nationals. But like some of you said above, if the issue is not surfaced and documented, it cannot be addressed. Hopefully there will be some locals who have the determination to make their country a more beautiful place.

    Remember, change is possible.

  88. Went to India to trace my roots as I know live in Malaysia. Sad to say that India is the pits-nothing but filth,crap, urine and loads of other shit. Bloody uncouth people. Boy am I glad my ancestors left that blooming nation and headed here otherwise I’d probably be one of the idiots walking around and peeing and shitting around everywhere!!!!

    • Hi Joel, to be fair there aren’t a lot of places to go to the bathroom or to throw your garbage away. When the powers that be aren’t supplying basic needs, it is difficult for a dense population to control the filth. What we were frustrated with was the lack of interest in providing communities with garbage cans and proper sewage. India is an emerging nation that could do something more about the pollution problem but in our eyes the people in power don’t seem to care about the common people that are forced to live in these conditions.

  89. That is truly horrible! People of India are filthy? OMG! But this only the other side of India. India is a very beautiful place to go.. Thousands of tourists come to visit here and they love India. On the other and other side in India there many less fortunate people that needs more help and mostly of them are children..

  90. Yes, India is filthy and reflecting back to my 7th trip of 3 months, March 01, 2011 to

    June 01, 2011 there is more waste and filth then my 1st trip in the 80’s.The one very bright

    spot was in the forest area around McLeod Ganj, H.P. Every week, there was a group of local

    guys and gals trekking with large bags to pick up waste thrown out by travellers. Checking their

    bags I saw wrappers, cans, bottles with non-India labels. Sacred Cows and monkeys and dogs

    roam freely in the village leaving their waste on the streets. Waste water runs in open ditches

    on each side of the main road that leads up to the main Temple of the Dahlai Lama.Shops,

    restaurants line this road. To enter, there is a narrow metal “bridge” to cross the open sewer

    ditch. The Public Toliets on this road at the base of this Holy Temple are quite beyond

    description. This was my 2nd visit of a month to this village. This is a common occurence to be

    found in other major tourist destinations in

    India. One exception is the Golden Temple in Amristar where there were attendents to keep the

    toliet area clean. Will I return to India? Yes, despite this glaring health problem, I have

    found the people of India to be friendly, kind and warm hearted with travellers. The people that

    we meet, as travellers, cannot change what is occuring in their government…its too vast and

    complex for the majority of Indian citizens.

    • Ya, correct. There are some beautiful places. But they are not maintained properly. Where you have Taj Mahal, for example, there you also have heaps of garbage and narrow bylanes. Unfortunately.

  91. This kind of Filth results from two things: lazy and selfishness. its just that simple. Furthermore, there is no excuse on earth for people to live like this. none at all. And for those of you here who are “offended” by the facts presented here… if it hurts, it must be the truth. you say you’re “offended” when what you should be is embarrased.
    The world is a much smaller place these days and the secret is out; India is filth unimaginable! dont waste your time here being “offended”, instead try to figure out some way to make a change. remember, it always begins with one person. And finally, to the originator of this blog: DONT sugarcoat it, tell it like it is feelings be damned. you think your pics are explicit?? the chinese are taking the india expose to the next level with high Def pics you would not believe.

  92. God had to create Hell somewhere on Earth – and he couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate place.

    • That is a little harsh Devoneco. I don’t think it is hell on earth at all, it is just a country that needs to organize better. The people we met in India were amazing. We were just frustrated with the filth. I wish that the government which is very rich and emerging as a world powerhouse would have more love for it’s people and create infrastructures to help with the sewage, water and garbage problems plaguing the country. Hopefully soon.

  93. I guess every country has a bad side of the story but this is so bad. These Public Urinals are very public! I didn’t know they exist. What really make it look bad is as you noted, people don’t seem to care or notice.

    Still, India is a great country and has its share of impressive places not to mention their current fast-growing economy. This might help things to get better over time.

  94. I think India has two social parts. The first one is lazy and ignorant people who ignore all social needs including basic cleanness as a result of poverty mostly. The other part is clever, young generation who had a chance for nice education and working especially in IT, Telecommunication fields as world experts. The increase on the second will surely increase the overall life quality in Indian streets as well. Still, I admire India and its people for their culture.

  95. I was in India for the first time for seven weeks this past February and March. I had wanted to go for such a long time – I felt called to the country for some reason.

    India is a country that takes people in, chews them up, and spits them out. It’s unrelenting, unforgiving, and a full frontal assault for most first time travels there. At least this is what I have observed and also what I experienced myself.

    The interesting part is which particular aspects of the country drive an individual traveler to his or her breaking point.

    In the weeks before my departure, I talked with many who had been before and who provided lots of advice and commentary on their experiences. From all of these conversations, I felt decently ready to face the country.

    In the end, for me, it wasn’t the poverty, the trash, the begging, the lack of anything remotely resembling a sense of customer service, etc., it was the constantly blaring horns that drove me to by breaking point. I just couldn’t get tune them out — everywhere I went a horn blasting in my ear!

    I was VERY happy to leave India. But I must admit that I have a certain fascination with returning. And I probably will someday. This, too, I’ve heard is also common.

  96. india is not country but force to be a country by British .if the every state of india go to be Independent country ,it will best for their peoples,because they will get more chances to get money.and compete each other. Whatever ,free india ,free the east part of india, free every state of india .

  97. Hi there…my partner and i just returned from the same sort of trip you guys did…except we started on cycles in the South …rode to Tamil Nadu…then flew to Delhi and rode further North..we rode about 1000 ks in a month and saw a lot of India.. even up to the Himalayas..On my return…i have found it hard to describe to my friends and family the absolute filth i was surrounded in… nor the absolute indifference to human suffering … lest me not forget the animal cruelty…People just seem to step over the dying and starving.. no one bats an eye lid to a dead body on the street..nor the starving children sifting through rubbish in unbearable heat…when i asked a hotel manager why children were sifting through rubbish all day nearby…he informed me they worked for a man who runs a service the hotel also used…apparently the children are sometimes only payed in food…he seemed ok with this… and rather upset when i questioned how children survive when they are surrounded rubbish rather then in school learning…It seems the rich think the poor are lazy..and the poor think they don’t deserve any better..it was not all that long ago that the untouchables in india were made to crawl backwards in the presence of others..sweeping away their footsteps as if they were never there..this system of those who desreve and those who do not may well have been abolished.. however it is still there..although unspoken..the poor live and die in absolute filth…Some blame the west for Inidias problems.. i do not agree…i see a reigion that says question not your life circumstances but acccept your fate…a governement that is corrupt (in Kerala they had arrested ministers who had bribed their way into goverment) and rich land owners suckiing the life of the peasants who work day and night in the tea plantations..Any way my take on India is that if this is enlightenment.. then please keep me in the dark..i constanly hear people say how happy and enlightened the Indians are… i only heard strories of hunger and hard work to survive..well that was from the people in the street…the rich i met in better hotels seem to just see the poor as lazy and dirty.. ..faith is huge all over India… and maybe this is what drives many to question what we are missing in the West…i think its obvious though…after all.. when you earn pittence for slave driven work.. and have nothing but an empty belly to drive you..all you can have is faith….i did meet intersting Indian people in my travels ..and learnt much about their perspective on life….i also saw the magnificent beauty of the Himalyas.. and rode 2000 m above sea level to musoorie only to look down at the incredible sea of lights burning in the Indian night..India for me was an experience not a holiday..it was awsome but also hard….go and see…but be aware nothing can really prepare you.. J

  98. At last the TRUTH! India is the most unhygenic place I have ever been to, there is nothing incredible about the place unless its the stench! If you want history, go to China, or anywhere in europe, if you want spirituality, go to a chuch, mosque, temple, synagogue etc (you should see what they do to the Ganges, a sacred river!) if you want to be overcharged and have a desire for exotic gastro intestinal diseases go to India!

  99. I’m going to India for my 14th or 15th time (lost count) in a couple months. I’ve been reading this blog because for the first time, I’ll be traveling to the South…I’ve only been in North India. I am extremely familiar with the dirt, the public urination, etc. That said, this post is extremely offensive. Deb and Dave can very easily warn tourists without labeling India as “filthy” or taking so many pictures of the worst. I could take nearly equally horrible pictures in New York, London, Montreal, and even Toronto (in your native Ontario). I’ve been to all of those cities and have seen some pretty “filthy” and “disgusting” things, including public urination and poop on the sidewalks and streets. Canada has a population of around 34 million and India, a much smaller landmass, has a population of over 1 billion. Canada also does not have the same kind of poverty as India. Maybe, instead of being judgmental, you should try compassion.

    And Sunny is right. India is not a developing country anymore (“third-world” is a pejorative and passe term).

  100. ive read most of the posts,nd not surprised,me indian nd yea thats the truth, we gotta deal with them, but we have lots of problems leading to this, like population corruption…many, but i feel so damn lucky to be born nd livin here, as my generation makes india a become a great country..its more exciting than just living with all comforts nd few problems as in already developed countries, i promise india wont be what u call it now.:D

  101. Oh geez here comes the parade of the Indian nationalists. I think the author here is doing a service to other travelers. It is far better that they know what the conditions of the countries are like before they get there and face some unhappy surprises. The author has never recommended anyone not to travel to India.

  102. This was a very rude post… And the comments folllowing it were even worse…india is different.. Its NOT disgusting.. We have out problems.. Yes we do.. But who doesn’t?… If ur gnna go search for filth and garbage.. U WILL find it.. Its ridiculus how ur completely undermining the country.. Its a hot country!.. That’s why the smells.. We have a billion people.. And yes a lot of ignorant peole too.. Which makes stuff even more dificult to be done… If u hate the place so much.. Don’t travel.. and I have travelled so much.. To so many places.. Its not as bad.. Yes there are some places.. But to completely dismiss something as “filthy” and “disgisting” that’s just ignorant…

    • Oh and another thing I picked in the really hateful comments.. India is NOT a third world country..it has one of the strongest economies.. Even now when most of the western world is crumbling down under their own weight..we have one of the highest growth rates.. We are an emerging global power and a very strong contender to the reformed security council… Yes we have problems..and we there needs to be an improvement.. A lot of it actually.. Even in all the chaos.. We do end up getting work done.. So much so that the U.S president comes here to create jobs back home.. U are a wimpy couple.. But its ok.. That’s a typical mentality a lot of people suffer from.. Read above..

      • The minute you need to state, “The US President came to us”, means you are an insecure idiot. Folks like Davendeb come to visit India with an open heart and an open heart. Instead, they are met with ignorance and pure asinine a-holes like you. They have commented extensively on the filth, but we all know that is not all they put up with. The stares, the panhandling (more aggressive since they are “white”), the rude behavior where nobody explains the system to them, et al. is probably more than anyone can handle. Yet, they are gracious enough to appreciate India beneath the absolute s**t around them. And what do they get in return? People like you. “Emerging global power”. Seriously. Why don’t you emerge out of your rear, and literally clean up your act. I am Indian, and love India. However, I see idiots like talking a big talk, but unable to play with the big dogs. Before you bark up and down kind folks like Davendeb, take a look at your own Chihuahua sized stupidity.

  103. One question, if India is filthy then why people like you are jealous of us??
    In 60 years of independence we have shaken the empire of entire world that the US president came here and asked why indians are stealing american jobs from americans in there own country. We are not stealing american jobs, american organisations found we are better than their own people(you should better know why).
    About above pictures, they may be true. because No country is perfect and one cannot compare a developing country with a developed country, and i can assume how much effort you had done for searching those places. If you wanna compare try with developing countries then you will know the reallity.

    And i am surprise to know some people are there who travels to see rubish,, i can assume to what society you people belongs….

    • Wow. You’re an idiot and a half. DavenDeb never said a single word about jealously. And they especially didn’t denigrate India. They merely observed what any *normal* and *sane* person would observe about India. It is reactive, and idiotic people like you who perpetuate the state India is in. There is always some excuse, covered in a pile of religious crap (pun intended). To desire basic human decency is nothing to do with being “white” or “western”. As a matter of fact, statements like yours turn the tide against Indians. On the international stage, we are big f-ing joke, and it’s primarily due to people like you.

  104. A POSITIVE article about one mans excellent plan to begin the “clean up” of Delhi.
    PLEASE read

    APRIL 9,2010 CNN Harmeet Ahah SINGH “Sewage streams into scenic parks? One Mans goal-CNN.com

    There is an excellent Video, CNN of the author showing how it will be easy to put the plan in action.

    • Wow! I am going to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Bangalore and Hyderabad in November, I never expected it to be so filthy! What I don’t like is that you said Kerala is almost sanitized, its also a communinist state! In the west, we do not agree with communism, but the one aspect of a socialist gov’t is the fact that many companies are unionized. Although democratic and conservative gov’ts could also agree to unions, that may help. Kerala also has the highest literacy rate and lowest unemployment rate. The other problem is caste based issues. Could it be a protest against gov’t reservations for lower castes in higher positions? Excessive littering to lead people to think leaving the jobs that used to be done by lower caste are now unfilled? Job creation? I can’t believe Indians can be so gross, dirty, apathetic and unhygienic. The real turn off is that these unhygienic conditions are breeding grounds for diseases and affect the tourism industry, which the country is very dependent on. I had previously read that a couple of countries threatened to pull out of the Commonwealth Games unless Delhi cleaned up its act!

  105. If you don’t have an open mind about travel, then go back to [email protected]#*!, alberta, from which you obviously shouldn’t have left.

    Please stop advertising the fact that you are Canadians. You are embarrassing the rest of us out here.

    • Now here is a classy comment. We don’t normally allow any swearing on our blog and we would normally delete you instantly (instead, we took out the crude swear word and put in our own symbols). We wanted to address your reply. First of all, we are from Ontario, and if you would have read the article, you would have seen that we are simply telling the truth about the dirtiness of a place. We definitely travel with an open mind and then when we see something that is senseless and could be fixed we write about it. I doubt that the children of India want to play in parks that are covered with trash and I doubt that people walking to work want to step over sewage and garbage. If people start to talk about it, things will change. India’s filthy standards are making headlines in the Commonwealth countries right now. Many athletes didn’t go to the games because of the standards. It is something that India has the power and the money to change, and yet officials turn a blind eye.

      • Hi Guys,

        I am an Indian and I can attest to the account of filthiness that you’ve given. One of the reasons that India is filthy is that people are lazy to the bone. Those lazy people ( labeled as middle class ) then employ desperate poor people for menial jobs. Where else in the world you can get a hireling to do your dishes. clean house for about 2 dollars a day ?? Most people in India talk a lot and do nothing. Many of if not most of us lack good manners and really do not know how to communicate.Most of them are nationalistic in a wrong way.

        If we don’t mend our ways , we are doomed.India likes to sit on its past laurels. Whenever someone tries to show them the correct picture, they get offended and try to BS their way in the argument. They lack what I can term as commonsense and rationality. It WAS once spiritual land , now it is fast losing that title as well.Most Indians ( that you see on roads , shops ) are largely ignorant and cant only think very short term.

        Some of us try to do good and strive for meaningful education but number is ridiculously low. I have given up on it. I would rather employ my talents and abilities where they are valued and can come to fruition. People accuse me of being a traitor and a disbeliever in religion – So be it. I can not stand imbecility that my country and countrymen flaunt.

        -Visha

    • hey man just go to Punjab and look their ,,,i know India is dirty,,,,but not all places ,,,,,,,if you will go in up ,bihar,etc,you will find so,just once go and look the cleanliness of Punjab ,,don’t blame whole country for it,,,,,,,,,,because punjab also comes in it,,,,,,,,,,

  106. Wow, well what do you expect from the 2nd most populated country in the world 🙂
    .-= wmofree´s last blog ..Ice World 2002 TV =-.

    • It is true that India is populated, but there are smaller countries out there with very dense populations that still manage to keep their countries cleaner. The powers that be (whoever they are) in India, the government and the rich need to take an active roll in cleaning up the country. When wealthy people are flinging their garbage out the windows of the train and when they are having their servants live in dirt and grime, they are not taking a leadership roll. The cleanliness has to start at the top by putting out garbage cans, have a local clean up day, they need an infrastructure to take care of their waste rather than sweeping it off to the gutters or into a pile in the jungle. India is growing rapidly and the rich are extremely rich, things can be done. Even thought there is sever poverty, there is also extreme wealth. Someone just has to take an active roll and maybe if more tourists talk about it, they will actually do something about it because they will learn that it is unacceptable.

      • Namaste to both of you.

        If possible, I would like to repeat here my reply in Feb. 2010 to your blog on India, as it expresses my love/hate of India as I experienced India during 6 trips. I know about the filth and I also know about the kindness of Indian people, their generosity and hospitality.
        There are many replies to your blog from those who support your views and those who castigate you for being so honest in your opinion of India. Having met both of you, I know that both of you have great insight into people and places and most important, you both have a kind and loving heart. I believe that with your honest, heartfelt blog on the filth of India you hoped that it will create a “heads up” call to those readers who do enjoy India and have hope that sanitary conditions will improve quickly. May I suggest the following to all travellers to India, past and future. GOOGLE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA Manmohan SINGH There is a form to fill out, entitled “Write to the PM of India Prime Ministers office. Its quite easy to do so with space for your comments. Its best to write in a respectful manner with a positive
        point of view and perhaps easy solutions to begin with, like trash barrels and garbage collection. The Prime Minister is a Sikh with certain knowledge of how serene and clean the Golden Temple is in the Punjab. Can you just imagine how surprised the PM will be if he gets an avalanche of email (THOUSANDS) from the readers of Dave & Deb The Adventure Couple?
        LOVE to both of you and again NAMASTE Marylouise

  107. Wow, this article derives a lot of discussion indeed, as you promised in the 7 blog challenge. It seems that the haters only happen to find this article of yours, never the article about how much you guys love India. I bet they hate the Slum Dog Millionaire too.

    It makes me sad that the world’s wealth is not balanced. I sincerely hope that poverty will be eliminated someday. I know it’s not an easy task to handle this problem, especially as some people pointed out above, the reason it’s not handled is sometimes because there are many other problems that need to be handled first.
    .-= Dina´s last blog ..Top 3 Pieces of Traveling Advice by Travelers Around the World =-.

    • Thanks Dina. When re reading the article, I can see that we were definitely in a frustrated state of mind. But I wouldn’t change the post. It was a very very dirty country in most places. There are things that the government could do. It is a developing nation that has the funds to make change. It really should think about cleaning up the pollution to prevent disease and contaminating the water supply. What will happen when a country of over a billion people runs out of clean water?

  108. It’s really interesting that your two most commented posts are about India. India seems to inspire such strong feelings!

    I went to India to recover from grief and depression, and it worked — India brought me back to life. So I love India, and I just decided to accept India the way she is. I think of it as a spiritual practise, part of my yoga journey.

    But of course I have noticed that India is not clean; and of course it bothers me that the government doesn’t seem to care about the poor.

    India could use some of Canada’s order and efficiency; but I also think that Canada, and the west in general, could benefit from some of India’s ideas about being content with less and valuing the family and relationships more, etc.

    Thanks for your honesty. You have a way of writing and expressing yourselves that is factual and honest; but not bitter, judgmental or self-righteous. You call it like you see it, and I admire that.
    .-= Mariellen´s last blog ..Sufi Music Festival in Delhi =-.

    • Thanks Mariellen, some people were very offended by this post, but that is not what we intended at all. At the time our emotions were running very high, but we weren’t upset with the people that we met in India, we were upset that the policies in India don’t seem to care about the environment or the poor. It is an emerging nation and things will only get better for everyone, but we do feel that people should speak up about the good and the bad in each country that they go to. It can only help everyone live a better life if we raise a little bit of awareness. thanks for the comment at the end about bitter, judgment and self-righteous. We definitely don’t try to be any of them. We are just two travelers going around the world and witnessing what we see.

  109. Guys First of all i would really like to thnk u for shwin these pictures of india to the world, So that they cn see it b4 comin 2 india nd change their minds if they cnt tolerate the envi’t of india.
    thank you.

    Nw being an Indian I must admit that i hated ur blog and i hate u all thats it i said it. Let me ask u only one question name me one country which is independent 4 60 years and havin a population density like india and which is more developed or even more clean than India.
    If you can do that guys then i swear i will eat my words.

    Hav fun in India or nt !

    • Kaush,

      You have no right or reason to feel offended. The author’s blog was very positive about India, but addressed a very obvious problem.

      Without recognizing the problem – it can’t be resolved. It’s nationalists like you, who deny the obvious problems that will keep India in the state it is in.

      I find myself wondering, are you brahmin? I’m not trying to offend… Just want to know why you are so apathetic about the plights of your own countrymen – to the point that you deny they are suffering..

      • Hey, I am an Indian citizen, I am patriotic abt India and I am passionate about it. Yet, I totally agree with you. There are many places in in India which are filthy and many others which aren’t. Accepting that there is an issue is the first step to solve the problem. If any one is a true Indian, they would work towards cleaning it, bringing awareness to the unaware… Instead of being defensive, see for yourself what your actions are towards promoting awareness.

  110. Bravo! For writing an honest blog about the filth in India. 18 months ago I returned from my 6th trip to India since 1983. From my travels recently I can say there has not been any decrease in the amount of garbage or human waste in the streets of any of the cities that I have revisited. 6 visits to Delhi, 6 visits to Jaipur, 2 visits to Amritsar, Haridwar, Rishikesh.I have a love/hate relationship with India. I love India for its beauty and diversity of its regions. For its music, art and its very kind and generous people. I hate India for its lack of government concern about the health and safety conditions of the garbage, open sewers in the cities. Recently, I wrote a letter of my concerns to The Times of India with a pointed statement about the forthcoming Games of 2010 in Delhi and the filth of the streets, lack of public bathrooms in the capitol city and at major tourist attractions throughout India. I firmly believe that if visitors to India who find these conditions would send an Email to the India Govt Tourist Board or to the President of India, an improvement will take place. Indian citizens do not like the street condition but can do nothing about the situation. Thousands of tourists arrive on a daily basis in India. If a fraction would send off short emails a change can be made. All the best in your travels in North India.
    I will suggest both the Golden Temple in Amritsar and McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dahlai Lama. Namaste, Marylouise

    • Marylouise, that is great advice. I do believe that tourists can help to make change. If more people speak out, maybe the government will take the initiative to start. Thank you for the suggestions and we will send a letter ourselves to start join the movement. Let’s help India’s garbage problem before it is too late!

  111. Are you kidding me? India is an incredibly poor with all sorts of problems, and yes, cleanliness is one of them, but you have nothing better to say than use mean words to say that it is filthy. You don’t think that India is doing what it can to improve itself on a daily basis? There are more important issues that are being dealt with. How dare you speak of India that way. Being from India originally, I am truly offended by your blog. Shame on you, shame on you.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Bridgestone Motorcycle Tires =-.

    • just come back from India, I have the same feeling as the author, I couldn’t agree more ! It’s all true!!

    • Hello Chris,
      Thanks for your passionate reply. I agree that India has more important issues to deal with than it’s lack of cleanliness and if you read some of our other posts you will see that we feel just as strongly as you about problems such as street kids, begging, poverty etc. I also agree it is starting to do what it can but by bringing problems such as how filthy the streets are (I’m sure you cannot argue with this) perhaps it will help to raise some awareness of just one of the many hardships facing India in this day and age.

    • Chris

      It’s expatriated Indians like yourself that prevent India from developing. You sit in your comfortable and clean environments in in America and Europe, and deny that anything is wrong back in India…

      India’s lack of proper sanitation is obviously a problem – and if you don’t face it, then it will never be remedied. This blogger has been very positive about India. Clearly, they’ve enjoyed themselves despite the mess. You have no reason to be defensive, the author meant no offense..

      If you’re unaware of how filthy it really is in India, go home and see it for yourself.

      • Hello Bernard, thanks for your comments and defending our post. We have been to many developing nations and they haven’t been as dirty as India. Something needs to be done if it wants to develop further. Soon there won’t be any clean water in India. Then what?

  112. I enjoyed the south of India much more than the north. It is a bit cleaner south and the attitudes and people seemed more laid back.

  113. i remember when i met my friend in thamel, he said that i should prepare myself when i get to India because there’s shit everywhere. it turned out he’s right. hehehe
    .-= flip´s last blog ..10 Things You Should do in Brisbane =-.

  114. One thing travelers would have to take into consideration is the culture and religion of the country, which plays a pretty big part. In many countries, especially Asia, religion plays a big part. That’s not to say the Hindu religion is a filthy one. Perhaps there is a creed or belief in it that encourages a certain practice, which in turn leads to the chaos you saw. If most Indians are devout followers of their faith, it would explain why even the government isn’t doing anything about that. Hope that made some sense.

    I live in a third world country, and have never been anywhere abroad. I can only compare India to what I know about my home country… and what I see of other countries via media. We have our share of dirty places too, but I honestly think on the whole, we’d rank higher in cleanliness and order.

  115. I think one of the big problems with India’s filth is that the cows are able to roam free – because they are sacred – and poop wherever they want, leaving huge piles of crap on the street and sidewalk everywhere. I’m curious to hear your impressions of Varanasi – that’s a city of contrasts. It’s fascinating, but also filthy.

    The men peeing against the wall at all times really infuriated me, especially as there was never a public toilet for women. It got to the point that I’d laugh at men as they’d pee near me or run off the bus and pee right in front of it.

    Hope you’re enjoying Sri Lanka. Sounds like it was the right time to get out of India and take a break.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Ecuador, More Than Just the Galapagos: Photo Essays and Panoramas =-.

    • So True Audrey. We always talk about how happier they would be in a pasture. I don’t think that they actually love walking around the street eating plastic and garbage. One person told us that the cows walking in the street are the useless cows. Cows that can give milk and babies are in people’s back yards, the cows that don’t give anything are let out to roam on the street.
      We are loving Sri Lanka, it really is a beautiful country!

  116. wow I should have warned you about that. our trip was mostly in Northern India and cross-over to Nepal, but w/ an exception of Bombay/Mumbai. In the rural areas (not sure if you seen it already) cow dung stuck all over the walls to dry, then use as source for heat in the colder months. Peeing along the road is very common too. In fact, many of the villagers who live along the Ganges river go off to the river in the morning to do their business there and wash their face in the same water.

    Varanasi and Bodha Gaya are totally worth the visit. As Buddhists it was to us and that was the reason why we went anyway. But my advice, don’t miss it.

    You’ve made it this far, keep going. It’s worth it! 🙂
    .-= GotPassport´s last blog ..Yes, a Confession! =-.

    • Thanks GotPassport. We are still going to visit everything that you mentioned, we are just going to take a little break to come back with a fresh mind and new attitude:)

  117. I can’t imagine why the government doesn’t provide adequate public facilities, such as toilets, so people don’t go in the street, or at the very least to encourage people to throw their garbage in appropriate receptacles…..

    Bethany is right – cleanliness is a learned behavior, but if the government of India would take steps to change what Indian society considers acceptable and what is not, the public would learn pretty quickly. The problem wouldn’t go away, but it would improve dramatically.

    And what would pressure the government to take such steps? A drop in tourism. If more tourists would be honest, like you are, and show pictures of the filth instead of just beautiful temples, fewer visitors would want to go there with romantic visions of a bollywood-style India.
    .-= Trisha Miller´s last blog ..Research: A Key to Great Travel Writing =-.

    • I agree Trisha, we blame the government. They could do something about it. Adding garbage cans would be a huge plus! And it is true, more people need to talk about the filth because it really isn’t fun to travel through. Who wants to look at crap all day?

  118. hahaha! You are not a wimpy couple! Everyone says that India is disgusting and the proof is in the pudding. I have heard you either love it or you hate it so you guys have done very well. It’s hard traveling for sure. I can’t wait to go but it is very nervewracking to think of as well.

    I agree, there is no reason for the filth everywhere. The problem I think comes from the fact that inherently people are not clean. I know it seems bizarre but it’s true. It’s something you learn. I had a friend who worked as a counselor to immigrants in the US, specifically people from 3rd world or war ravaged countries. The lice, the scabies, oh god it was all so gross but the thing I never got over is that she would actually have to go their homes and SHOW them how to clean. They just didn’t know. They were used to living in filth and didn’t know how to be clean because they were never taught. She used to tell them “If you don’t keep your house and your kids clean, the government will take them away, it’s not like how it is in your home country.” They just didn’t get it. They would let their kids play in the middle of busy streets and she said bugs would be crawling all over the walls. She took a bunch of kids out for ice cream once and ended up with scabies in her car. That was a disaster to clean.

    I think it is disgusting and it seems weird that people don’t want cleanliness but it really is a learned behavior. They obviously don’t think it’s that gross to shit in the street or they wouldn’t do it.

    You’re having quite the adventure!
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How to vacation in a war zone – Part 2 of a 5 part series. =-.

    • Bethany, that is very interesting and I totally think that you are right. I think that you have to learn cleanliness. As we travel more and to harder places, we even let ourselves go. While we are in Canada we shower everyday, here we can go for days and not think anything of it!

      • Hi! I am a Indian and stayed like almost all of my life in Canada. I don’t know about you guys but I love INDIA(might be ‘coz i’ve stayed like 5 years out there).I hardly go to India, but when i do i love it as i said before, i know its dirty and all but look past the dirtiness dude. I know that you say that India is so dirty and all, and i agree ‘coz i know its dirty like hell, but its kinda the people’s fault but its even the gov’t. Over here you’ve not gotta pay for school fees and stuff like that ‘coz you get help from the gov’t bt not in India,out there you have gotta do everything by yourself. Okay, so you talk about the people don-not take shower out there,you know whats the truth that there isn’t any clean water to even drink so the hell with a shower, and seriously if you wanna see India you need to check places like Chail, Ranthambore, Manali and much more of these kind of places. I don’t know about the south ‘coz i have never been there but I love the north(ignore the dirty things)like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal pradesh.

  119. I would really have loved to see the south the way you describe it – I have no idea what a truly clean India even looks like! That being said, north of Dehli got a bit cleaner. Amritsar was also dirty, but McLeod Ganj was actually pretty clean – and I’ve heard Manali is great too. Oh, Rishikesh is also fairly dirty, but nothing like some of the towns in Rajasthan. I was really looking forward to more India stories, so I hope you make it back – have you done Rishikesh yet? 🙂
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Confession…My SEO Job aka Why I’m Not a “Real” Backpacker =-.

    • Don’t worry Shannon, we will still be traveling India. We have so much more to see! A little break is in order though:) Thanks for all of the heads up on the dirty places. The south is better, but remember, we went in with low expectations. This is what we were expecting in the south, so we were pleasantly surprised when it was fairly clean. They still have a long way to go. Still cow crap and garbage etc. Just not nearly a much!

  120. LOL! We spent three weeks in the north of India, and were very happy to come home! We’d been sending out these polite little factual emails to all our friends since we have many who are Indian and we didn’t want to be insulting. When we arrived home a good friend (who’s Indian) picked us up at the airport and took us out to dinner. “How was it, really?” he asked. “Well…,” I responded. “I TOLD YOU SO!”

    Don’t give up quite yet – the Golden Temple in Amritsar is AMAZING and unbelievably clean! No one will hassle you there, either! We even ate in the Languar (public kitchen) and no one even asked us for a donation – we had to search for the box which wasn’t even labeled in English!!!

    The public urinals is a bit funny, really. I mean, maybe it would be more accurate to label some part of India that you CAN’T pee on. Or worse. In plain view of everyone. We have photos of the paan spit in the corner of those beautiful temples…

    Thank you for your honesty. Now you’ve convinced me that maybe we do want to go back to the south of India some day!

    Ian and Wendy

    • Thanks Ian and Wendy! We won’t give up. The Golden Temple is high on our list and we are going to finish seeing what we have to see for sure. We don’t want to have to come back:) The south is better.

  121. Great post as always. We found it really hard to accept the filth in India, and got so frustrated as it seems so senseless. We caught a train in the north and sat with an Aussie couple and a lovely young Indian couple. The Indian couple threw their crisp packets and bottles straight out of the window. When they saw us carefully wrapping our rubbish to put back in our backpacks the guy offered to ‘get rid of it’ for us. We politely declined, and he was so uncomfortable throwing anything else out in front of us that he had a steady build up of garbage within a few hours. No pretensions that we changed even one person’s attitude, but if we at least made him self-concious of throwing stuff mindlessly out of the window then it’s a result.
    .-= Andy Jarosz´s last blog ..The smiling faces of Laos =-.

    • Andy. We had the same thing happen to us. We were sitting with upper class Indians on the train and late in the trip the trash was full. Dave went to throw something in it (it was beside the bathroom) and it was overflowing, he walked around to see some more and one of the guys that was sitting with us said “I’ll get rid of it for you” Dave thought that he knew of another garbage can, instead he threw it out the door. Couldn’t believe it!

    • Tracy, I don’t think that there is any good way to start. We thought starting in the south would prepare us for the north, but nothing can prepare you. At least you will leave India with a better taste in your mouth than we will. You will remember it as beeing not too bad:)

  122. You are not Canada’s Wimpy Couple! Aspects of India can be incredibly frustrating and trying, and it is normal to get fed up! I know I keep saying it, but I think you are so lucky it was not stifling hot when you were there. Imagine the smells and the dirt intensified in 50 degree heat….not pretty.

    When you kept talking about how easy India was at first, I wondered if Mike and I were the wimps. I now realize that the South must be so different!

    I am glad you went though, and stuck it out. You will be so happy you did!

    • I have to say, I was expecting this part of India. I knew that the south was going to be much better. The south was cleaner, but it still was by no means immaculate!

  123. I always appreciate a less sentimental, realistic (okay maybe pessimistic) perspective of third-world travel. I’ve done it through countless countries and the experience is wavering.

    From cat-callers in Bali pushing young women (young boys at times) as you walk buy to a country nearly entirely focused on ripping you off in Bolivia, third world travel isn’t for the light of heart.

    Regardless, I would love to see India. Here in the US we’ve been a well organized society from the start, which only occurred because the age when our culture and country were started.

    Keep the travel truths comin’!

  124. Ha! I wish I could argue with you, but it’s the truth. I started north and went south — and wished I’d spent more time in the south as a result. Varanasi (VeryNasti) is probably the worst I encountered. Narrow streets combined with all the cow traffic will make you appreciate your boots.

    That said, Varanasi is very much worth it — a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

    Happy travels!
    .-= Johnny Vagabond´s last blog ..Travel Blog Round Up — 5 Favorite Posts =-.

      • Ha i just love how people simply look at the negative side of things. Perhaps you forgot to upload the beautiful photos outside rural villages or maybe even forgot to take photos? You guys are nice tourists, taking photos of garbage. Just goes to show how highly you americans think of yourselves. Try going to chandigarh and kasauli (which is near the mountains) and continue to take photos of trash will you? Meantime, i’ll head over to the US and take photos of your fat backsides and how you are being controlled by the new world order. Btw theres nothing great about your current country, infact you guys are causing many problems for the rest of the world with your horrible western influence.

      • To Don’t Generalize (Who than proceeds to generalize): If you had bothered to read the story, you would have noticed that the couple is from Canada. Since you are so offended (people get offended when things are true), why don’t you go home and clean up the filth in your country?

        To the authors, thank you for your story and pictures. Sometimes people need to see the real world.

    • I am glad that you liked it Amy. It is true, the nice temples and palace photos are pretty, but all you have to do is turn around for the other photo. The filth is everywhere except inside the temples. Crazy.

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