Prepare for your trip
India is everything, and more, all at once.
It's a sensory potpourri; a visual explosion of bright saris, lumbering cows, marigolds, incense, spices and bursts of sunlight - where you're guaranteed to craft your very own Darjeeling Limited experience.
As for the language, Hindi isn't spoken by everyone in India - in fact there are more than 20 languages spoken throughout the country and English tends to serve as a common one.
A few Hindi phrases will definitely help along the way: "Namaskar" (hello), "shukriya" (thank you), "aap kaise hai" (how are you), "kitna hai" (how much) and "naam kya hai" (what's your name), may come in handy on your trip.
As for money, you'll be dealing in Indian rupees - there are about 55 rupees to each Aussie dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but make sure you know all your pin codes as signing has been phased out around the country.
WHERE TO SHOP
Kerala is known for oils and essence. The best and purest forms of oils and essence are found here. Kochi’s options to shop almost rivals its obsession with food. Pick up an array of packaged spices on offer, such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, tamarind, cloves and bay leaves… let the wafting aromas guide you there.
In Cochin there are many varieties of cotton clothes and silk emporiums... you can’t leave without buying at least one traditional saree. Along with colourful bead handicrafts, brass bangles, metal mirrors, silver and gold jewellery.
Always a trade destination, from tradtional merchants to hip, young designers who create modern, fresh styles and fashion.