You can’t escape it. At some point in your travels you’ll be faced with the dilemma of using an Indian toilet. While it might seem crass to discuss this topic, it’s better to arrive prepared before finding yourself in an awkward situation. Using an Indian toilet requires not only learning a new position for release but also an entirely new way of cleaning.
Most mid-range hotels and all high-end hotels are equipped with Western style toilets as well as paper and washing soap. Budget, extreme cheap and trekking travel will normally include squat toilets and no paper. The same applies to restaurants, newer shopping centers are built with options for both and rail stations are slowly converting away from floor toilets as well as airports. It’s best to pack toilet paper if you’re really that concerned. However, paper is readily available for purchase in convenience stores or grab an extra roll at your hotel (if provided). For some training wheels and sanitary back-up, pack wet ones and bum wipes until you’ve learned the ropes.
A typical Indian toilet will be floor mounted with grates on either side of the hole for your feet. You may encounter the hybrid style which looks like a Western toilet but affixed with feet grates on the seat. Nearby you’ll find a water spigot or hose with spray for cleaning and flushing of the toilet.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4:
2. Let the moment move you. No straining please!
3. Now, aim the water hose toward your dispensary, release the water until you feel fresh as a daisy. No water hose? Use the provided hand mug and spigot to collect water. Reach behind yourself, use the right hand to pour water into your left hand while you wash. Continue as needed and air dry. If paper is needed, be mindful that too much can clog the pipes. Once finished be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use your trusty wet ones.
4. Flush the toilet. If a water tank is attached as a Western toilet, simply push the button. If not, fill the provided bucket with a mindful amount of water and forcefully empty into the toilet.
TIPS: Pouring a bit of water down before you start prevents sticking and aids in final flushing. Roll your pant legs up to prevent any accidental sopping of the floor.
Still not sure you can handle it? Consider the majority of the world relieves themselves in this fashion everyday. This process is very hygienic and far less wasteful than the massive amounts of paper we consume in the “industrialized” nations. Plus, studies have shown a far lower rate of colon cancer due to the full evacuation process that squatting allows.
Cleaner, healthier. Hmm, we might be on to something with these Indian toilets.
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