When you need a restroom, ask for the "loo," the washroom, or the toilet. Two types of toilets are available wherever you go in India. Traditional Indian toilets are holes in the ground—a squat variety with two steps in which to put your feet. There are also Western-style toilets, but the toilet seat, except in luxury hotels and better restaurants, may be messy. In many bathrooms you'll see a faucet, a small hand-held showerhead, and/or a bucket with a plastic cup or other small vessel; Indians use these to rinse, bidet-style, after using the toilet. Sinks are either inside or right outside the bathroom. Outside of hotels, malls, and some restaurants, public restrooms are rarely clean, and ideally avoided. On long road journeys, finding any public restroom—let alone a clean one—is difficult. Always use the restroom before you set out and ration your fluid intake during a long journey. Be on the lookout for a decent hotel or opt for the outdoors. Luxury hotels and fancier restaurants usually have clean bathrooms.
Nicer hotels and restaurants provide toilet paper, but you can't depend on this, as most Indians don't use the stuff (they use their left hand and running water to clean themselves, which is why this hand is considered unclean). And often soap and paper towels are not available for washing up afterward. Keep toilet paper and towelettes with you at all times, which are readily available in pharmacies and grocery stores in large cities. Never throw anything other than a small amount of toilet paper in a toilet; India's septic systems clog easily.
Find a Loo
The Bathroom Diaries. This site has a searchable map of restrooms the world over—each one located, reviewed, and rated. www.thebathroomdiaries.com.