In all my years of solo travels in India, I have learnt some lessons (some, the hard way). Here are a few things you should keep in mind. They could go a long way in ensuring your safety.
Always arrive at a new destination by noon
When travelling alone, I never arrive at a new destination after sunset. Latest by mid-afternoon. 2 to 3 pm is the best time to arrive at a place you haven’t been before. This gives you good control over things such as accommodation. Arriving during daytime means you can look through as many hostels or guesthouses to find the one where you feel safest, and enough time to establish your zone of security and comfort. This also gives you plenty of time to take a bus/taxi to the other end of town, had you disembarked at the wrong bus-stop, for example. More time = more flexibility. Being in control is important.
Be careful when you drink
Ideally, never drink alone when you travel. Not because you would get drunk, but because you could get drugged. Yes. It does happen. I have witnessed this first hand.
If you must drink, make sure you order something that will be opened in front of you (beer/wine).
Apart from this, the basic things to avoid when travelling India solo include: don’t stay out too late when you feel it may not be safe to get back to your accommodation. Sometimes, there is more than notorious people out there in the dark. In 2014, I narrowly escaped being eaten by a brown bear in Bhagsu (Dharamshala) when I walked to my room through corn fields at night. So, beware and be careful. It is usually better to have someone walk you home, if you are to pass through a lonely stretch on the way.
Enjoy responsibly, and hit me upfor any suggestions, or leave a comment below.