Why I love southern India

Retire in IndiaI am approaching 62 and have been spending the last 5 years going back and forth from the US to India on a tourist visa. While so many love northern India because of its beauty and splendor, I love southern India more. Yes there are places where it is very hot but there are ‘hill stations’ in Ooty and in the Coorg mountain district that are awesome. I live in Bangalore when I am in India and live with an Indian husband and wife who have become more family than the family I have here.

Although Bangalore has a population of 10 million and is more like NYC it is also considered the ‘silicon valley of Asia’ so there is a lot of diversity. It is on a plateau – the weather is nice most of the year. March-April are a little uncomfortable with heat; however the humidity is quite low so it doesn’t seem so hot. Outside of the hot season, the average temperatures fluctuate between 57 as a low and 85 as a high (remember no humidity). We keep the windows open all the time.

There are some infrastructure problem and some garbage problems although recently the government is really getting involved and we must recycle etc. It is still a little different in the neighborhoods because small trucks come every other day. One day it is garbage and opposite day recycle, but they have not given out the bins in all areas.

Bangalore tends to be more expensive but you can still live quite comfortably on $1000-1200 a month which includes everything you can imagine. They have wonderful theater and art and a diversity of people and culture from all over India and from around the globe.

Retire in IndiaThe visa issue is a problem. They do not have a pension visa for those without Indian origin or ties. The best way to reside here is to get a 10 year, renewable tourist visa. You must leave the country every 180 days, but there are so many places to go visit such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. You can take a week or two vacation and come back for another 6 months. Also Sri Lanka is becoming more and more attractive for expat living.

Health care is excellent – no problems at least in Bangalore. It is important to get the help of locals but I’ve found the locals to be very eager to help. Recently I went to get a lower spine MRI for $50 at a hospital that is owned by an Indian who spent 16 years of his career in the US then returned to open his hospital.

I notice many talk about Ram Krishna – I am involved a little as the wife of the house where I live is very active – and the community is truly nationwide and the people are of all religions – I truly enjoy going there and have become close with a few of their spiritual leaders.

Food is not an issue – you can get anything you want. Not many eat beef although you can get beef in Bangalore but once you see how and why they cherish the cows it makes you not want to eat beef. There are several warehouse-type stores where one can find many items. You must get a card to shop here and there is a small minimum purchase amount. You won’t get all the brands you may be accustomed to and then again, you might be surprised at some of the familiar names! Although there is fresh food at these large stores, you have to purchase in larger quantities. I don’t purchase perishables at these stores because fresh produce is as close as a 5 minute walk from the house or sometimes carried and sold on a cart on the street.

Retire in IndiaBangalore is about 180 miles from either coast, the Indian Ocean or Arabian Sea, but it does take about a day to drive there. Travel will be much faster with the toll highways they are building.

Bangalore has a metro subway system that is somewhat new and almost reaches all parts of the city. I take Uber or a local similar taxi called Ola and it is much better than owning a car and is actually also cheaper.

There is so much more to discover in India. India is a great democracy with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Give it a try, go with an open mind, try not to dwell on the negative, and you could be very happy there. It’s not like the USA but for me that is a good thing.

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  1. Sharmila Chakraverty

    May 22, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    What about the traffic noises? And the wedding procession starts at after 10 at night and waking up the neighbors? How easy to find help or how much is the going rate for a “reliable” parson to do the cooking and cleaning? Do I need to pay taxes? Can I sign up for any medical insurance? I am 62 and my husband is 65, moved to US at our early in career, lived in mid-west for about 35 years and raised children there. Even though we have Indian background how is Bangalore compared to say Kolkata or Varanasi.

  2. Bangalore has traffic noise but not as bad as Kolkata or Mumbai in my opinion. I’ve never heard the wedding procession noise – never. Our domestic help works 7 days a week – dishes, sweep and mop daily and more heavy cleaning on weekend – pay is 2000 r/s. There is lots of medical insurance available – I have accident insurance through government for 12 r/s year and can purchase private insurance for more than 5 lakh coverage a year for 1.2 lakh a year and there is also cancer insurance, etc. I would recommend the southern end of Bangalore – more out Kanakapura or Benerghatta road or in JP Nagar where we live. There is also much more retirement complexes that offer almost anything and they are very popular, especially with children that remained in the US. With Uber and Ola, you really don’t even need a car. A driver will cost about 30,000 r/s month or combination of pay and room. Cars are about the same price but interest rates are higher. Good luck!

  3. Hi Terry, I’ve been thinking of Southern India for retirement. I was wondering if you had been to Kerala and are their reputable companies to give you a tour..not just a big box tour. I lost my husband this year and was thinking of living and doing some volunteer work over there. How do you start? Did you have friends over there? Can you suggest good websites..anything would be helpful. Thank you, Kerry

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