India

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Overview

From the peaks of the Himalayas to the white-sandy beaches of Goa, India's landscape and terrain alone will have your senses running wild. Vibrant colors drape temples, store-fronts, and people alike, while the smells of freshly boiled chai and a hard day's work linger on the crowded streets. Ruled by the Mughals, governed by the Portuguese, and captured by the British Raj, India boasts a rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Since gaining independence in 1947, India has become the world's largest democracy and is on its way to becoming the world's most populous nation. Bordered by nations like China, Nepal, and Pakistan, India has been a dominant economic force, gaining the accolade of fastest growing major economy. With numerous languages, archaic traditions and people, tourists flock from all over the world to experience India's unique culture.

One of the most significant issues plaguing India (and our world) is human trafficking. The trafficking of persons is a 9 billion dollar industry and is estimated to be the fastest growing enterprise of the 21st century. With its loose borders and vulnerable people groups, India is both a source and transit country for human trafficking with its sex industry holding captive an estimated 2 million sex workers. Of those 2 million, it is estimated that 20 percent are under the age of 16. Weak legal landscapes paired with factors such as gender discrimination, family violence, and a lack of access to education and economic opportunity provide traffickers with ample victims. Rescuing agencies work day in and day out to combat human trafficking and to bring freedom person by person. It is these newly freed people you will be serving and loving. Your generosity, joy, and sacrifice will be key components in the restoration of their self-worth and dignity, ultimately restoring their hope for a prosperous future. In return, you will see the faces of redemption, an unadulterated beauty worthy of far more than words can describe.


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Statistics

India is about a third the size of the United States, but has a population of around 1.25 billion (almost 4 times the United States). Mumbai, also known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India with an estimated city population of 18.4 million and a metropolitan area population of 20.7 million. Mumbai's trains alone carry six million people per day-equivalent to the entire population of Nicaragua. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has nearly 100 miles of coastline. Kolkata, also known as The City of Joy, is situated in the northeastern state of West Bengal. Home to nearly 14.4 million people, Kolkata houses the oldest operating port in all of India. One of its most notable former residents being Mother Teresa, is still highly revered throughout the city. Rich in history, Kolkata is home to the country's oldest zoo, the largest public library, and the world's oldest Polo Club.

Income less than $100 per month:
India has exceptional poverty levels. Wikipedia shows that about 30% of the population lives on less than $3.10 per day.

Per Capita GDP (Goods and Services Per Person):
India $6,200
United States $55,800
World Average $15,800

Percentage With Access To Improved Water Sources:
India 94%
United States 99%
World Average 91%

Percentage With Access To Improved Sanitation:
India 40%
United States 100%
World Average 86%

Percentage With Internet Access:
India 19%
United States 87%
World Average 39%


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Our Partners

Freeset Global
Learn more about Freeset Global

Justice Ventures International
Learn more about Justice Ventures International

International Justice Mission
Learn more about International Justice Mission

JKPS
Learn more about JKPS

The Apple of God’s Eyes
Learn more about The Apple of God’s Eyes


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Weather

India is hot and humid. Its coastal nature and tropical location ensures temperatures don't fluctuate much throughout the year. The maximum average temperature lands around 100°F in summer and 80°F in the winter.


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Food

India is known throughout the world for its many lip-smacking dishes and distinctive cuisine. Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the dishes in India boast of rich taste, fieriness and unique flavors. Its cuisine covers a large assortment of interesting, one-of-a-kind dishes complete with zest and tang. When dining like a local, prepare your tastebuds for rice, aromatic fish curries, Indian bread (naan and rotis--think flatbread), vegetable curries, stir fry, and syrup-drenched desserts. Coconuts, cashew nuts, peanut oil, potatoes, chilies, garlic, cardamom, and coriander are some of the major ingredients used in many of India's traditional dishes. Also popular are India's delectable chaats, their use of spices, and masala chai tea. While everything you eat will have an Indian flare, there are many continental restaurants boosting foods from around the globe to satisfy a more bland palate.


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Religion

India is about 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2% Christian, and 2% Sikh.


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Do's & Don'ts

  • Mirror the body language received from Indian nationals
  • If someone offers a handshake, DO shake back. If not offered, do NOT initiate.
  • Keep only a copy of your passport with you while out and about.
  • Keep your physical passport in the safe at the hotel.
  • Dress modestly.
  • Expect traffic everywhere!
  • Soak in the vibrant colors & smells.
  • Don't accept any food or drink from outside of the hotel or strangers.
  • Don't encourage begging by giving money to beggars as they may be trafficked to beg on the streets.
  • Don't wander away from the group at any time.
  • Don't give gifts of any kind (candy, money, promises of returns, your unused computer from the US, your website building skills) to any Indian nationals. This encourages the belief that westerners are affluent and easily swindled.
  • Don't give out personal information to any strangers, church members & people you meet during the Prayer Walk (this includes email addresses, phone numbers, social media profiles, messaging services, etc.).
  • Don't spend all of your time observing and experiencing India through the lens of your camera or phone.

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Time Difference

Indian Standard Time (IST) doesn't change like our daylight savings time. So during the winter (after we fall back) they are 10.5 hours ahead of us. During our summer (after we spring forward) they are 9.5 hours ahead of us. We know that 0.5 is tricky, but that's the way India works. When in doubt, just Google 'What time is it in India?' and you'll get an accurate answer.


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Hindi Words & Phrases

There are 122 major languages & 1,599 other languages. Hindi and yes, we're serious, English are the official languages in India.
Quick reference to some common words and phrases:

  • Hello - Namaste, Namaskar
  • Bye - Alvida
  • Thank you - Dhanyavaad
  • Good morning - Shubh prabhat, Su prabhat
  • Good night - Shubh ratri
  • Take care - Apna khayal rakhna
  • See you later - Phir milen-gey
  • I - Mai
  • You - Tum/aap (respect)
  • What - Kya
  • To be hungry - bhukh lagna
  • Water - Pani
  • How are you? - Aap kaise hain?
  • I am fine. - Mai achchha hoon.
  • You are welcome. - Aapka swagat hai.
  • Let us meet again. - Fir milenge.
  • My name is ______. - Mera naam ______ hai.
  • What is your name? - Aapka kya naam hai?
  • Where are you? - Aap kahan ho?
  • I'm from (the U.S./India). - Mein (America) se hoon.
  • Can I help you? - Kya mein aapki madad kar sakta sakti (female) hoon?
  • Can you help me? - Kya aap meri madad kar sakteyhain?
  • How much distance to go? - Aur kitni door jana hai?
  • How much is it? - Yeh kitne ka hai?
  • I don't understand. - Mujhey samajh mein nahi aataa.