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India’s massive 1.38 billion population, an ancient culture, and rapidly changing attitudes combine to create one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. But, how safe is India for female travelers?
India could well be one of the most rapidly-changing cultures on Earth – and these changes are leading to tensions in society and confusion for visitors. Here are my strategies for safe travel, especially for solo women travelers.
In 2005, when I first started traveling in India, the question of safety was not as topical as it is today.
As a Canadian who had never traveled alone in a foreign country, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy place to travel around, but I was more worried about getting sick, feeling lonely, or just not being able to cope with the “heat and dust.”
Even as a solo female traveler, who had never been on such an ambitious trip – six months across the length and breadth of the subcontinent – I wasn’t particularly worried about my safety.
Times have changed. I have been traveling and living in India over the past 14 years. Now, safety – especially travel safety for female solo travelers – is a hot topic.
I have lived in the capital Delhi, which is the most notorious city for crime in the country, and now live in the northern city of Rishikesh, the Yoga capital. When I travel, I usually do it alone. I’ve had very few uncomfortable incidents. I’ve been stared at a lot, followed several times by creepy guys, and groped twice. I’ve felt unnerved a few times, but I have never felt threatened or unsafe.
I was in India in December 2012 when the horrific gang rape and murder of a young Indian woman made headlines around the world.
I saw the country erupt in anger and felt the paradigm shift. The colloquial phrase “Eve teasing” became the much more accurate “sexual harassment” overnight.
A media onslaught followed, provoking several countries to issue travel advisories for India, and for the country to be painted as the “rape capital of the world.”
Since then, the issue of women’s safety has gained a lot of prominence.
More recently, in the fall of 2019, a spate of gang rapes and murders in Hyderabad and Unnao reignited concerns over women’s safety in India – for both local women and tourists. Several countries have issued travel advisories warning women not to travel alone or to remote areas; some even warn about safety even if traveling in a group. The United Kingdom travel advisory states: “There has been an increase in reports of sexual assault against women and young girls, including recent sexual attacks against foreign female visitors in tourist areas and cities. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men.”
Whether sexual assault is actually increasing, or whether there is just more reporting and more focused attention, is a difficult question to answer.
I’ve been asked many times whether I think India is an unsafe travel destination. My answer is: that’s the wrong question. It’s not about safe or unsafe destinations – anything can happen anywhere. However, it’s unlikely most women traveling in India will face aggressive or hostile behavior. Staring and unwanted attention are common.
I think it’s far more worthwhile to ask about how you travel, rather than where. Are you practicing what I call ‘safe travel strategies’?
I also think that making women feel fearful of travel is a modern form of purdah (seclusion or secrecy), with sexist and misogynistic undertones.
If you look at statistics, most attacks against women take place in the home. Most women are raped or harmed by men they know.
There are no guarantees in life, but if you mitigate risk, and travel with confidence within your comfort zone, I think you can go just about anywhere you want.
I am comfortable and confident in India, and I think that’s what’s contributed to my enjoyment of travel there.
Having said this, India does present some greater risks – especially with regards to staring, unwanted attention, and sexual harassment – than other countries. There is a significant gender disparity in India, and you do come across some negative and outdated attitudes towards women – such as the film director who suggested women should carry condoms in case they are raped. It’s wise to be prepared, and be able to safeguard yourself, and take things in stride.
Here are a few safe travel strategies that I think are particularly important for India, and for female travelers.
Do your research, and make sure you know and understand the culture before embarking.
For example, in India, the genders relate differently, and the basis of the culture is still very traditional.
You can’t relate to the opposite sex in India in the same way that you would in a western country. A casual, friendly word or gesture could be perceived as an invitation.
Aside from a few pockets, such as South Mumbai and Goa, India is still a very traditional society. This means you should follow the rules of society and dress modestly.
Most of the time I’m in India, I dress modestly, and very often, Indian clothing – such as the three-piece suit known as a salwar kameez.
This inspires respect from locals and makes me blend in a bit more… as much as a tall-ish, blonde Canadian woman can blend in.
As a Canadian, I was brought up to be polite. But when you travel alone, in a place like India, it’s more important to be confident than polite.
Trust your instincts. If you feel that someone is a potential threat, or is harassing you, walk away.
Don’t bother with politeness. Ignoring people who stare, beg, and the overly-intrusive is the best way to get rid of them.
If you are in trouble, don’t be afraid to call out for help. Social shaming plays a big role in Indian society, and the chances are good that aunties and uncles will crowd around and defend you – and heap shame on the badmash who troubled you.
As part of your research, find out which parts of India are more tourist-friendly, and which neighborhoods are considered safer. In Delhi, I recommend South Delhi, for example – an upscale residential area where you are less likely to run into touts, con men, drug dealers, and those who prey on tourists.
States such as Kerala and Rajasthan, which see a lot of tourists, are generally a better option for female travelers, and especially solo female travelers. Goa is a popular destination, but it also has a “party scene” and has been the location of crimes against women travelers. Stay away from drugs and the drug culture in Goa and wherever else it is found in India.
Travel in India can sometimes be overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and tiring. It sometimes seems as if nothing is easy – even booking a train ticket. So, while in transit, women sometimes experience the brunt of unwanted attention and potentially risky situations. Take extra care with your bookings and with travel by train, plane, bus, and car. Try not to arrive late at night, especially at train and bus stations. Arrange for someone reliable to pick you up. Let others know your plans. And above all, do not trust random strangers at railway stations and airports offering you help or a ride. Use taxi apps such as Ola or Uber, or pre-paid taxi options.
You can also hire women drivers through companies such as Women on Wheels in Delhi – a taxi service staffed by women drivers – and Pink City Rickshaws in Jaipur. Look for the “Ladies” car on every metro train in Delhi, and on the commuter trains in Mumbai. There are also women-only compartments on long-distance trains. Not only will you feel safer, you will also enjoy the convivial atmosphere.
For more, read my top tips for women traveling in India, here.
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My friend and i are from South Africa, we back packed India last year from Goa, Varanassi to Bodhgaya catching trains, planes and taxi's and never felt threatend once. We wore clothing that covered most of our bodies and when someone tried to hussle us we just acted like we did not understand and moved on. You have to have patience and understanding to be in such a place where the cultural differences are so far apart but just remind youself why you were attracted to visit there in the first place, once you strip away the layers it is beautiful and was one of the best experiences in my life. Try not to over prepare it will make you anxious and therefore you wont enjoy, just go with the flow. Made some good friends there... one place i will keep going back.
I travelled India with a girlfriend twenty years ago and did not really have any hassle. This year I went with my partner and was glad he was there. India is not as safe as it was and even as a couple we were warned not to go to Old Delhi at night. I have travelled a lot and will be going back again this year but again with my partner. Also in places like Jaipur and Jodhpur we were always the only foreigners walking in the street..nice but dangerous on your own. I love India and Indian people but be cautious and enjoy!
I am currently travelling in india for the first time. I get lots of stares, and lots of people taking my picture, but I happily pose with those who ask me and take it in good humour! The only real negative I have experienced so far (touch wood!) is that a man grabbed my breast in an alley in Varanasi last night! He was walking towards me and as he passed threw his hand out, squeezed my boob and carried on walking! I shouted at him and he just smirked at me. I was shocked and it was unpleasant, but I'm just thankful it wasn't anything worse. And before anyone says "why were you walking down a dark alley alone at night?" I was literally a step behind my husband (avoiding cow pats and making room for this man to pass in the narrow gali) and we were walking back from dinner at a restaurant about 10 metres from the door of my hotel.
I also went to India for the first time in 2005 and was warned by the locals to dress humbly and to not go out on my own. I would not have gone to India on my own anyway. I went with a group and although I've travelled a lot on my own, my feeling about India was different. There is definitely a male superiority tradition on a general level, meaning of course, not all Indian males treat women as second-third-fourth-last class citizens, but certainly I felt like a piece of meat when I walked around, and the way I was looked at made me feel very uncomfortable... and I was wearing a long white skirt and Indian blouse. But it wasn't until an Indian family came to visit me in the West that I realized "holy cow!" there is no difference in their attitude. My kind and welcoming western way was so hugely misinterpreted by one of the men that I spent most of my energy trying to keep the leech away from me. Needless to say, they will not be welcome back.
I'm a very seasoned traveler who always dresses modestly, never showing flesh. I've travelled solo in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa & Middle East, Europe & South east Asia. In my travels I've had very rare harassment or felt danger. India was the exception.
My husband and I went to India for 1 month on our honeymoon, backpacking. I was covered, loose clothes & never alone. I've never had so many problems with men trying grab me, leaning over my husband to make lewd tongue gestures, hand gestures at me. We were followed on more than one occasion. Men would come into our train car & just stare at me. I normally don't mind being stared at all, if you look different that should be expected, but there was something about the looks that unsettled me in a way that I'd never experienced before. I just kept my hair covered (blonde) & sunglasses on - trying to cover up even more. I was shocked & upset by all of this. I have no desire to ever go back. I'm glad to hear that other women have had positive experiences. I followed all my rules to be modest, respectful etc , including those by the author & had a terrible experience.
It's obvious people like Kelly here are more interested in hammering India's image than discuss women's safety.
I'm a Swiss woman who's lived alone in Bangalore for more than 2 years. I've travelled a lot across India, mostly with a group, but a few times alone as well. Yes I get stared at especially in areas where whites are not common, I have had my purse grabbed from me, I have been groped a few times and I was stalked for an hour once. But these have been by far the exceptions to the rule in my experiences. Most of the time I can confidently say that I did not feel any more unsafe in Bangalore, then I have felt in many European and American cities.
India still has to go a long way to rectify it's issues with regard to how it treats women, and there are big problems with its patriarchal syatems and social attitudes. But the narrative that a woman traveller here will get groped and molested at every corner by crowds of leering men (how Kelly narrated it) is a plain exaggeration.
India is a paradox, on one hand you will find such upright and righteous people as no where else in the world and on the other plain monsters!Eventually you meet such people and there will be unwanted attention or perhaps even worse.it's a shame such elements call themselves Indian, a consequence of a thousand years of slavery and rape of hindu culture.Being Indian I am sure any lady travelling here will face a certain form of indignity whatsoever she may do to avoid it but there will be many more who will be kind and helpful.
Maria: since you have singled out Kelly- I will respond to your comment by saying it seems like a rude reaction. To not let someone share their honest experience without calling them down is an odd choice, when you could just share your own experience and let the readers make their own impression based on the experiences of many. As a woman commenting on this article for women, I feel you owe more respect for the experience of other women. If they had a negative experience, that is theirs to share and it is not your place to minimize it. It is fantastic that you haven't had the same unfortunate experiences but it is also completely realistic that a solo female traveller have the experience Kelly did.
In fact, I had almost the same experience as Kelly when I spent 6 weeks solo traveling in India. I too am a very seasoned traveler- I have been to 43 countries (maybe more at this point-I've lost track), never on a package tour. I had been told that India was a difficult destination by other female friends who had solo traveled, but I shrugged it off. The rude awakening for me was what my friends had wanted me about was also my experience. Boy, was it draining to be there alone. I wish I had taken heed and waited to go with a friend - so I could have enjoyed India for the wonders it does offer.
I was also there during the Delhi rape and found it a truly uncomfortable time to be there. It was interesting to witness how this disturbing and tragic event that rocked the world was perceived within the country itself.
Even before this terrible tragedy happened, I myself had multiple negative experiences, luckily though unnerving I came out relatively unscathed. I am a cautious traveler, who covered my hair, did not make much in the way of eye contact with men, and wore Indian clothing. I still had people griping me through bus windows, telling me I would probably get raped, etc.
I did have some beautiful experiences in India- lots of them actually. Unfortunately, the overwhelming feeling I have when it comes to my recollection of the trip is negative- it has been 4 years and I still haven't even looked through my photos. I still remember the sense of relief that followed me for several weeks after I had left India and was traveling around East Africa.
I would never dissuade anyone from traveling to India- but I would not recommend travelling to India alone (as a woman) if you have the option of traveling with another person. The few times I managed to link up with other travelers was awesome! It was a million times less stressful and far more comfortable. If I ever return to India, I will do so with a male companion.
Hopefully you have an experience more like Maria and less like Kelly- but I think it is important to acknowledge both types of experiences are within the realm of possibility.
Thank you Jill for expressing freedom of thought, opinion and experiences. I appreciate everyones experiences -- good, bad, etc. After reading comments, think I will try to go to India on an organized tour --any recommendations for tour groups, companies ?
All this website contains guide based travel writing relied entirely on first hand and personal experiences of top Indian travel bloggers. From journeying usual and off beat destinations from around the globe to exploring our Indian palates and discovering delectable finds, every travel story on this website has a couple of Indian Traveler’s perspective otherwise not found on the websites of many other Top Indian Travel Bloggers.
Gosh!! Disturbing & sad to read thru, but believe me its as safe as any other developed country just that dont be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Even locals wouldnt be in some of the places mentioned at that hour.
We are as shocked when an Indian software engineer walking back home from work late in the evening is brutally murdered by bunch of muggers in Sydney Park Australia; her mistake, she took a shortcut thru a notorious park avoided even by locals at that hour or for that matter an Indian being shot dead in a pub in the US for being Indian & brown, his mistake talking too loudly in his native language & standing out from the crowd.
So, when in Rome, be a Roman; do your research, talk to locals before you come & find accomodation in the right places only since Indian cities are in a state of ongoing social reengineering & contrast being divided on social lines.
There are countless lovely cultured families & people willing to welcome you & guide you. "Athithi Devobhava" (A guest is equal to God). You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for travel advice in Karnataka & places surrounding Bangalore.
An interesting read here and great to learn about all your experiences both positive and negative.
I am actually contemplating travelling to India in October following a trip to Kathmandu. (I have always wanted to visit and now have an opportunity to make it happen). A dream of mine is to visit Bodh gaya but I am having trouble finding much online for advice for travelling to this area for lone female travelers. I had convinced myself that smart precautions would help make my experience easier and to just go for it but I do have some concerns and hoped someone here could advise?
Maria - what an extraordinary thing to say. You can't understand other people reporting sexism - and then admit in the next sentence that in the space of just 2 years you've been groped several times, stared at, mugged, and stalked. What kind of internalised cognitive dissonance led you here?
I've travelled all over the world and never come to 'expect' people groping me as part of regular, everyday life. You need to get some perspective - that's REALLY not normal, and absolutely not ok.
I remember being stared at a little in China for being white with red hair - but it was clearly curiosity, not leering or lustfulness written on their faces. People can tell the difference.
I will suggest a simple explanation for the debate from a guy's point of view. I spend many times in India traveling with different women. And i noticed something very strange. Indian males act very different depending on the women appearance: body, face and... skin color.
In my opinion this debate has little to do with what you wear and the way you act. All the women i traveled with where instructed to blend in: covered & loose clothes.
Despite similar measures taken (not to wake up the animal in common Indian males) i noticed something very strange.
First of all Indians have an obsession with women displaying extreme white skin. It's a fetish coming from colonial era and from their cast system. If you travel in India you will notice they have a lot of products for skin whitening...
1. Women with extreme white skin will always experience more harassment.
2. If you are blessed with nice breast, big or not so big but steady, the risk for more harassment increase.
3. If you have a very nice face, especially European type of nice resembling well known white actresses with glamorous eyes and big lips you are in big danger.
4. If you have a curvy body like Monica Bellucci you are the perfect harassment victim.
5. If you are not very tall the risk for harassment increase.
If you are very tall this may reduce the harassment. Also if you have the skinny type of body you may experience less harassment. It's like the average Indian male consider those women less sexy or they are somehow scared of tall women.
That's why, in my opinion, some traveler women are not experiencing extreme harassment and some other do. I saw this many times and it's so obvious from a male perspective. Many Indian males acts purely on instinct and they have a very predictable type of European beauty fetish they are quite obsessed with.
This may explain Kelly horror story and the fact other women don't understand what she is talking about. Fortunately some women are not quite the Indian male types. Unfortunately some are. Those beautiful women (from the Indian male perspective) are living the worst India traveling experience.
A very energetic and informative article. I really appreciate this post thank you for sharing these type of posts.
"In all this time, I’ve had very few uncomfortable incidents. I’ve been stared at a lot, followed several times by creepy guys, and groped twice. But, I’ve never felt threatened or unsafe." I'm sorry, but I find this appalling. By what standards is "being groped" non-threatening? I'm a young British Indian woman who's grown up in London, and this article shockingly naive and irresponsible. I would like to add that it's a very "white person's article" rather than one suitable for all travellers. Women of South Asian extraction get treated very differently, even as obvious tourists. Strangers are less likely to help, basically, because there's something of a double standard in place... And the police are less likely to help if you're not white, too.
Indian male here (grew up in Delhi) currently living in the west. The experiences described here are sad/shameful to say the least. Change is happening but for a billion+ people, it will happen gradually. The good thing is that the society as a whole will rightly identify the experiences described above as bad/not right/appalling.
The issue as some have pointed out are largely area/region based. In general population/education/poverty has a large effect.
Has there been an easy way to raise the issue with the authorities/police?
General advice: Go where you see other couples/families as well.
Being a Indian And a traveler by passion ,
I feel ashamed after reading above
Education is the real cause of these issues ,
Hope it end soon ...
i will trveling to solo indian girl
Sorry to read all these experiences, but I am a women traveler, traveling in India. The situation is improving in many areas.
I’m plannig on traveling India alone as a woman...
I believe safety for women during travel are important to discuss no matter what country but I also have to raise a voice and say that these problems or situations have happened to me living and traveling in England too.
Not to belittle anyones experience in India (good or bad) but India is huge and various. Also we need similar articles that are less focused on white western looking women traveling alone. There is a Difference.
I feel very very bad for what Ms. Kelly especially had to go through, considering she was with her husband on her honeymoon. And these horrible Indian males were trying to have a go at her, disgusting really. What a nightmare she & her spouse must have been through.They were foreign nationals & outnumbered by the local Indians on that train obviously.
The trouble here in India is that Indian laws are lax & generally men exert a lot of power & authority in the society. Also, there's a huge disparity in the overall numbers of males to females in the population.Other Western women here also narrated having been through similar experiences like Kelly while travelling solo across India.
Nevertheless, I do admire the courage of these Western women solo travellers. Because though being Indian myself & knowing the local language & culture as a lady I still feel stifled by the overall attitude of males around..I absolutely never ever travel solo anywhere except when I take my local train to work & back.home. Its like you feel vulnerable at most times.
Its like you are made keenly aware that you are a woman, regardless of whether you are all covered up, in ethnic wear western wear ....whatnots.
Mind you I am an Indian lady in my 50s & its only in the last decade or so since I ve visibly aged that I ve started feeling a bit comfortable in my own skin.
And I ve been living in Mumbai since Oct. 1990.
I absolutely detest the thought of having to travel solo by passenger train to my home town in Kerala. Which I had to do quite a bit of in my younger years when I was in my 30s, as my elderly Dad lived there.
After Dad passed away in 2009 I have had no reason to travel out of Mumbai to Kerala. Which is a blessing really.
There is something very wrong with the way Indian society views women.I m sorry to admit this.
I lived in Kuwait for a few years before moving to Mumbai in Oct 1990. Though it was an Islamic nation & women had few rights etc.within certain limitations one did feel quite safe there at least in the 80s when I was resident there or perhaps because I lived with my family so it felt safe as a whole.
I am an Indian woman living in India, and can totally understand what women travelling to our country must have felt. It is really shameful to all of us. First of all I would never recommend any women (foreigner) to travel solo to India, because no matter how loud we scream things are changing , they aren't truly.
Second, even if you re keen to travel solo to India please be a part of a large tourist group so that you are always surrounded by like minded people.
And at last, if you don't want to be a part of a large group, please have a good budget prior arrival. Many a times women do stay at cheap notorious places which are not safe even for locals. Make sure you're staying at a star rated "branded" hotel. The staff that you will find at these hotels would be well educated and they truly care about the guests and the brand image they carry, but this won't be easy on your pocket. Travel to states which are safest for foreigners in India such as Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand. I know while you visit a foreign country you would really love to use the public transport , but avoid it in India. You see public transport is used by everyone and most cases happen there only. Please use a cab for local travel, preferably OLA or Uber where rides are GPS tracked. Or even if you are booking a private cab make sure it is booked through your hotel concierge (branded). Also, keep in touch with someone at your hotel who should be your first POC during distress.
India is a great place to visit and enjoy your heart out, but again with precautions. And all the measures that I have mentioned above are even taken by us (locals), when we travel alone. Follow these to avoid any bad experience.
Have a great trip!
P.S. Always drink bottled water(Your own, don't borrow from anyone!)
Trust me, we will show you the best and safest tourist destinations for visitors to South India.with your faith fully karthikeyan
Neighbors visiting South India will treat the woman with good security and dignity👍👍
India is safe country
This is all about standing out in the crowd and seeing something you rarely see. Not so much about the fantasies of European women (there is beautiful and unattractive in all races/colors), but about what one is used to seeing. I'm of mixed race, part Hispanic and part Asian, and most people will never correctly guess my nationality. I'm naturally tan with dark hair and if I go anywhere to Europe, I'll surely stand out of the crowd. I've been to England and Germany and caught men staring at me all the time. Granted I went with my fiance so most did not have the courage to approach me. And this was during November when it is already cold and one cannot dress revealing skin and I still had stares left and right. it just goes to prove we, as humans, are just fascinated to what we're not used to. This article makes it seem like white skin and features is just the definition of beauty and the most sought after. I'm sure everyone will agree they've seen beautiful and unattractive, sexy and fat, tall and short, rich and poor, good and bad, etc. in all races. No exception. Once can be safe and unsafe anywhere in the world. Go to a place where you'll stand out for obvious reasons, the attention should come as no surprise to you. It's not rocket science. It's like seeing a person all tattooed (entire body): one will surely stare or (s)he will grab your attention since you just don't see such a thing on a regular basis.
India is not unsafe country. Problems are basically with scammers, but if you are sufficiently tough and intelligent you will avoid most of it. It is just disturbing. You can meet many interesting people in India. You can really have great experiences. But regarding women travelers. I can hardly recommend this. Yes I know many women who traveled India alone and managed everything. They were usually strong experienced and intelligent personalities. So if you are like this and will tolerate some sexual harassment, then you will be quite probably OK. If you are not like that, is better for you not to go alone. I would also note, that there is some sex tourism, though minor, from foreign ladies going to Goa and Gokarna mainly. So these places are used by usually middle aged women (but have seen young as well) to get sex with local playboys. The other important thing is your look. If you are highly attractive young blonde female, please don´t go. Better is not even go with your boyfriend. You will experience hell. Yes if you are with your boyfriend and just cautious none is going to rape you. But you will get like 50 times per minute sexual word assaults and people will try to touch you (though most of the time just hairs) if you are in frequented area which are extremely common in India. I experienced this twice with my two previous girlfriends. It was really unbearable.
Such a great article. This is so accurate about India, I bet she has explored so much here. Thank you so much even being an Indian its is really helpful for any solo women travelers.
India is not safe for women, lets be really honest. The number of violent, unthinkable assaults that happened in the two years I lived there to common women, I now have a PTSD about moving about in the night. There was an instance where I was travelling at 10pm through Bangalore city, and the auto driver stopped midway, on a pretty dark highway and told me he was not going to go in my direction - I had taken an OLA auto. I was stranded, the place he stopped at was infront of some shoddy liquor shop, I can assure you I was afraid for my life - and this is not an over reaction, considering the level of violence of assault that takes place. . India is not a safe travel destination for anyone, and this is isn't a situation where " anything can happen anywhere if you're not careful". It is dangerous to not be in groups, especially as a woman, and if you are not travelling or hanging out in posher more crowded areas, then that too is dangerous. I am not saying India is an unsafe or not beautiful destination - it is truly one of the most spectacular places on earth. But as a solo traveller as a woman, I would not recommend it.
The issue is not petty scammer, the issue is that if you are hurt, the police will ask " why you were travelling that late at night". Dont play yourself, be extremely vigilant of your surroundings. As a woman, you will always be under threat.
Alberto trying hard to project his internal desires and fetish. Probably he doesn't realize that.
Okay! I am an Indian man. And, I only have experience in small to medium-sized cities and rural areas in India. So, generally, small cities sleep by around 9 to 10 pm and medium-sized ones sleep around 10 to 11 pm and rural areas sleep around 8 to 9 pm. After that, you can't see almost anybody on the roads. So, I think, it's not advisable to walk around or use two-wheelers beyond that time. But, if somebody wants to travel by car, it should be fine, except that dark areas to be avoided. Because anti-social people generally use the dark areas of a locality to get drunk or use drugs at that time. Tbh, I too don't like to travel alone at night in dark areas because anti-social people generally gather during nighttime.
However, if you feel threatened, you can call the emergency number (112) or the police and they always respond quickly these days in towns and cities. But, I am not sure about villages. Police might reach a bit late there.
Anyway, daytime through evening should be no problem. If somebody tries to harass you, just shout or ask for help, and a lot of crowds will gather and beat up the person harassing you before handing him over to the police.