How Much to Tip??
Tipping is fairly common in India with the exception of rickshaw drivers or taxi drivers, unless you hire them for the day (although a few rupees or rounding up the fare is always appreciated). These amounts are meant as a guideline. Tip ONLY in rupees, not any other currency. Check to see if a service charge has already been added to any bill.
Waiters - generally 10-15 percent of the bill in upscale places, in smaller places (local/budget) tip Rs. 10-20.
Bellmen - Rs. 50 - 100 (depending on how much luggage).
Hotel Doorman - Rs. 50-100 when you checkout.
Hotel Maid - Rs. 100-200 for your stay (5+ days). Be sure to hand deliver.
Room Service - Rs. 20-50. (20 for smaller things, 50 for meal delivery).
Drivers/ Guides - half day/ Full day sightseeing trips Rs. 150 - 250.
Drivers/ Guides - long trips spread over many days Rs. 150 - 200 Per traveller/ day.
Porters (train stations/airports) - set the rate beforehand (around Rs. 10-20 per bag).
Wander the Markets
Spending time in markets is one of my favourite things to do in any country. They're fantastic places for people-watching. . .and you can run into some of the most interesting people and scenes, if you just give yourself time to relax and become enveloped in your surroundings. Markets are something of a microcosm of India ~ vibrant colours, intense smells, lots of people and noise. . .but it's controlled chaos and they can be lots of fun to explore. This photograph is from a market close to the Mumbadevi Temple, if I recall correctly.
The snobby upper class ones
This is just something I have personally took notice of. The upper class Indians converse in English among themselves. They speak in English when they are ordering food or simply just asking a question. The upper class Indians do not drink from the bottle, they drink only canned drinks. This has happened on numerous occasions I just wonder if they are trying to prove something?
DON'T GET TOO HUNG UP ON PRINCIPLES
Some Western travelers have a tendency to focus on the principle of something. Being overcharged by a vendor even if the amount is small drives some people to fury. "It's the principle of the thing." Its not that the person trying to take advantage of you is unprincipled or lacks a sense of morality, it is just that sometimes things are relative.
Try not to spend your time getting angry when things don't work the way you expected (from your cultural perspective). It would be more constructive to try and understand the motivations acting around you. Try and understand the perspective of those you are dealing with. An auto driver who tries to get a higher fare than the meter is not driving home in a Porche. Most of them are living in some hovel in a part of town you'll never see, struggling to feed, clothe and educate their kids. They are exploited daily by the owners of the autos, the cops and other officials, and have to spend their waking hours driving in hellish traffic and polluted air. Their interest in the "principle" of using the meter is limited.
Don't assume that only foreigners get ripped off occasionally. Indians also have to haggle constantly over prices, and when they are out of their "home turf" they are cheated almost as much as foreign travelers.
Trust is an important "cultural fiction" in the West. For many in India, the default mode in business dealings with others, especially with strangers, is respectful mistrust.
The ideal to strive for in dealings as a traveler here, is a good humored respectful mistrust. For some transactions, you can safely assume that the other person is interested in his or her own advantage, say, the highest price. You, of course, are interested in your own advantage. If you can, at least occasionally, work through the process of reaching an acceptable compromise with humor and mutual respect, you've arrived.
Do not assume each and every transaction is an attempted rip-off. Most people you interact with will be dealing honestly with you.
Rock Temples ..... The Elephanta Caves!!
Visit the famous Elephanta Caves or Gharapuri as they are also known as in the local tongue Marathi, situated at about 10 kms away from the Gateway of India and approachable by boat from there as well as from Ferry Wharf too!! The island houses the mystifying rock cut temples which date back to the 7th century AD. The chief attraction is the huge 3-headed bust of the Lord Shiva also popularly known as 'Trimurti'. These rock temples in the caves are a fine example of hindu architecture at it's best!!! Boats do not always operate during the monsoon season due the choppy seas!!! Tickets are Rs10 for Indians and $5 (Rs250) for foreigners. The ride to Elehanta Islands is Rs100 by boat and it takes about an hour to traverse the 9 kilometer distance!!! On the way to the islands you will see a lot of ships anchored at sea and also a few of the smaller islands as well as the nuclear reactors and the petroleum refineries!!! No night stay is possible on the island and everything is very expensive on the island so be prepared for higher rates even for a bottle of mineral water!!!