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This is India! 47

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I am in Indonesia at a conference… more on that later!

Now your story,

Indians are quite superstitious! Some of what they do is just something that is passed down, and maybe they don’t believe it deeply but rather it’s just become a tradition.

One superstition that I find very interesting is the dummies they hang while building houses. I’ve seen it in a variety of ways and also had it explained in many ways, so I guess I’m not sure what the truth is.

dummy hanging in india superstitious indiaSpotted in Ratnagiri w/ McDonalds bag…

While building homes, a dummy is hung to either keep people safe or to keep bad spirits away. I’ve heard the same thing about the lime and chilies hanging on the back bumper of cars, or the leaves over the entrance of a house.

Some people believe the second floor of a house is always haunted, so they hang one there.

Here’s one I stopped to take a photo of.

Actually, I first typed “click a photo of” instead of take then remembered I’m not Indian ;)

superstitions india

superstitions indiataken outside Mysore

This is India!

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rachel April 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    What a strange superstition, well you learn something new every day! They look pretty creepy though!

  2. Zara @ Backpack ME April 24, 2015 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    hahaaa.. I have actually never seen this in North India. I have seen the hanging chilies, but this is way better… specially with the McDonald’s bag! This country ALWAYS manages to amaze me!! :D

  3. Colleen Brynn April 24, 2015 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I knew about the chilis and limes but not about these dummies! They are borderline super creepy!

  4. Rebekah April 24, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I loved how you had to stop yourself from using Indian versions of English. I started speaking the worst Chinglish for awhile in China. Its weird how its becomes natural after time.

  5. Ashley April 24, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Interesting! But also slightly creepy- especially the headless dummy!

  6. De'Jav April 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Not something I knew about Indian Culture. Is this true for all regions of the country?

  7. Michael Huxley April 25, 2015 at 6:38 am - Reply

    I agree with the others that is just creepy as hell! I knew Indians had an array of weird and wonderful superstitions, I’ve never seen this one though and now I’m not sure I want to! Haha!

  8. Manish Gupta April 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Wow! Nice collection of images seen here and also proud to be a Indian. Thanks for publication of our Country.

  9. Tim UrbanDuniya April 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Interesting! How did I not notice this while I was in India?!?!

  10. Phoebe Nygren April 26, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Rachel- Now that I am in india, reading your This Is India’ posts is part of my daily morning ritual. I am constantly questioning everything happening around me, and your posts are a helpful insight into all of the strange customs, traditions, and daily occurrences unfolding before my eyes.

    Love it!

    • Rachel Jones April 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      that’s awesome! let me know if you see something I should mention on there.

  11. Justine April 26, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

    For anyone who’s traveling to India for the first time, it’s good that you explained this. Because if I came across these dummies and didn’t know why they were there I would be super freaked out!

  12. Zascha April 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Thats’s a bit odd to be honest. And as other people have commented: slightly creepy.
    But they probably think people in other countries are odd for NOT doing it! :)

  13. Mukesh May 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    From what I have observed. These are more popular in Southern part of India.
    In other regions of India you will see a creepy face (only head and not the whole body) fixed on the topmost floor of the building. This is generally to used to keep the bad spirit away.
    In regions along the Himalayas people simply will grow a cactus on the roof of the house for the same purpose.

  14. K. October 24, 2015 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Those dummies are terrifying!? Fascinating stuff. :D x

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