Handpump water in India

This blog is extensively dedicated for the foreigners travelling to India. The issue of safe water in India is substantially overhyped. Although packaged water bottles are available quite easily everywhere in India, you are suggested to keep one filled water bottle with you before you start your journey. The following should clear your doubts about water in India –

Tap water

Unlike the rich countries like UK, Germany, France, USA; tap water in India is not meant for drinking. You’re advised to buy packaged drinking water for all purposes, even for brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth if you’re unsure about the quality of water.

Drinking tap water

Picture source: Google images

Bottled water 

There are two types of bottled water available in India – Mineral water and Packaged Drinking Water. Some of the most common water bottles available are of Kinley, Bisleri, Himalayan, Aquafina, Bailley, and Rail Neer (available at the railway stations and in the trains). These are all very safe to drink as the majority of them are manufactured by the MNCs. Please see to it that the cap of the bottle should to sealed, as some people refill the empty water bottles with the unsafe tap water. Do check for the ISI mark on the side of the bottle, to make sure it conforms to the Indian safety standards.

Bottled water packaged drinking water bisleri, bailley, aquafina

Picture source: Google images

When bottled water is not available

If bottled water is not accessible in the place of your visit, you may try Tender Coconut Water to keep yourself hydrated. These are easily available in India and are an excellent source to save you from dehydration. To be on a safer side, you may consider buying a portable water purifier or pocket water filter

Tender coconut water, when water is not available

Picture source: Google images

Does boiling help?

Boiling the water kills the bacteria present in it but fails to eradicate the harmful metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, etc. For that purpose, you may put iodine tablets in the boiled water to make it safe to drink. This is, however, not recommended as an excess of iodine is fatal for health.

Boiling water safe drinking water

Picture source: Google images


If you’ve travelled in the Indian railways, the words ‘chai…garam chai’ may sound familiar to you. This literally means ‘Hot Tea’ and is absolutely safe to drink because the tea is boiled for more than 5 mins or so. Roadside tea vendors are seen almost everywhere and serve really good tea with some readymade snacks. We advise you to have tea in dispensable plastic cups so that you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the ceramic cups which are used again and again. But beware, you just might get addicted to it. 😉

Chai tea kettles on the street

Picture source: Google images

Gol gappe – big no-no

Golgappe or Pani puris are fried crispy hollow puris filled with boiled potatoes, chickpeas, flavored water (pani), tamarind chutney and spices. It is an all time favorite snack for the north Indians, but even they have it in moderation. We insist you not to have it as it is really spicy and the water used to fill the puris may or may not be pure.

Gol gappe pani puri puchka sellers

Picture source: Google images

Nescafe vending machines

Nestlé is a world renowned MNC and is the largest food company in the world. The drinks dispensed through the Nescafe vending machines are absolutely safe to drink and are bliss in the cold weather conditions. These are available at almost all tourist destinations.

Nescafe coffee vending machine

Picture source: Google images

Fruit juices 

If you intend to have freshly squeezed out fruit juices from the street stalls, make sure that the sellers do not mix the fresh squeezed juice with the stale batch. Packaged juices are high in sugar, and can be consumed if you’re not a diet freak. Nothing beats fresh juices, in our opinion.

Fresh fruit juice, orange juice

Picture source: Google images

Water scarcity

You wouldn’t face water shortage issues until and unless you’re visiting places inhabited only by animals. All the tourist destinations in India provide good availability of water, packaged juices and aerated drinks. You may carry an extra water bottle with you before you leave for your destination.

Personal hygiene

Your mother was right when she said that it is good etiquette to wash hands before eating. It’d be better if you have food with your hands which a part of the Indian tradition (which is actually more fun). If there’s no facility to wash your hands, try the alternatives like hand sanitizer and hand wipes.

Mother Washing hand

Picture source: Google images

So, water in India is not that big-a-issue. We hope that this blog helped you answer your questions about the safety of drinking water in India.


About Tanushree Barua

A person with varied yet passionate interests, Tanushree's love for food remains static. She believes that change is the only constant and lives life to the fullest. Although a commerce graduate, she's an ardent philosopher. She loves to write to bring out her creative self. Traveling and exploring new places find a special place in her heart.