What does it cost in India?

Knowing the exact prices can be very helpful for bargaining. This often requires you to trust the vālā (the guy who sells stuff) or to be able to speak the local language to a level at which you can communicate to the locals to ask them how much they would be for a certain thing. This list is not complete and focused on northern India: Gujarat, Delhi and everything in between, as well as a bit of the south: Goa and Kerla. The prices are based on the time period May 2017 – September 2017. Keep in mind that the rupee has lost half of its value in the last 10 years. Inflation is moderately high and therefore you have to adapt the price with 7% inflation rate per year.

This list addresses people who travel India independently and who want to learn the language and who want to submerge into the Bharati culture. The prices written here might not be achievable if you are not able to at least count in the local language / Hindi for Northern India).

Services

  • Oto riksha per km: 10 – 15 rupees in north India. For distances above 10 km, 10 Rs is should be sufficient. Smaller distances (1-2 km) there can be a charge of rather 20 Rs. You have to negotiate before-hand and reject the driver if necessary (usually he will go down then)
    • Amdavad was the only city I visited where there were actually rikshas with working taximeters which where actually used. No need to further negotiate. Prices are very cheep with taximeter.
  • Haircut: 70 Rs for a standard haircut
  • Haircut with massage (1,5 hour): 200 Rs
  • Night in mass dormitory (like an Indian driver would visit): 200 Rs
  • Night in cheap motel with bathroom: 1000-1500 Rs off season
  • Night in Mumbai, anywhere 10 km from the city center: 2500-4000 Rs for a very small very shitty room (with AC if you are lucky) in September.
  • Comfortable one night stay in Goa, off season: 2000 Rs
  • Guide for one and a half hour: most guides are booking are going to take you to a shop afterwards where they get a bonus for just taking you and a share if you buy something. This bonus for them for taking you might be 100 Rs per group and up to 30-50% of the share. Don’t buy anything if a guide took you to a store. You cannot negotiate properly with the store owners, since they have to share the turnover with the guide
    • Guide which will show you shops: you can get them for as low as 150 Rs off season
    • Guide which will not show you shops: you can get them for 300 – 400 Rs off season
    • Important note: guides who do offer other languages than the local language / Hindi / English are usually much more expensive
    • Sometimes English guides want more for English guidance than for Hindi guidance. A reminder that English and Hindi are both languages of the Union of India helps to balance out the price gap.
  • Prices in Goa: Standard of living is higher in Goa. Generally speaking you can double the prices of Northern India.
    • Bribery: In northern India people will be very happy with 50 Rs for a small favour. For untrained people this is their hourly wage. For very small things also 10 Rs might be appropriate
  • Putting your shoes in a man-monitored shelf: Indians usually give 1 Rs per pair. If you don’t want to stick out as a rich don’t give more than 5 or 10 Rs.

Food

  • 12 banana in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan from July – September: 30 Rs for small banana, 40 Rs for big bananas
  • 1 kg Banana in the extreme south (Kerala): 50 Rs
  • 1 kg apple starting from September: 100 Rs or below and falling. Before they are imported and can cost 160-200 Rs or more in July.
  • 1 kg of pomegranate: 80 – 100 Rs in August
  • Masala Chay: 10 Rs
  • Coffee: 15 Rs
  • Lunch or dinner in a train, third class AC-sleeper: 180-250 Rs.
  • Bottle of water: 20 Rs
  • Fresh fruit Juice at the street: 50 Rs
  • Fresh sugar cane juice: 50 Rs

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