India Travel Guide

Here are some useful information and general tips for your India Tour. For any further information you may contact us on info@visit2indiatours.com

Visa

You require a valid passport from your country and a visa from an Indian mission abroad to enter India.E-visa facility extended to 31 more countriesThe government is set to give a major push to the e-tourist visa scheme by extending it to 31 more countries and allowing foreign tourists to avail of the facility at seven more airports by June 15, 2015. Among the countries that will benefit from the latest extension are Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Hungary , Ireland, Jamaica, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Surinam, Sweden, Tanzania, East Timor, Turks & Caicos Islands, the UK, Uruguay and Venezuela.The airports to be added to the existing list of nine where foreign citizens from eligible countries can land with an e-tourist visa are Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow, Trichy , Varanasi and Ahmedabad. The airports have been chosen due to the large number of foreign tourists they receive on account of their proximity to major tourist spots.The e-visa scheme presently covers 45 countries and can be availed across nine international airports.With the expansion of the scheme by June, the list will go up to 76 countries and 16 airports.

Travellers who do not require a visa:

· Citizens of Bhutan and Nepal, who do not require visas.

· Nationals of Maldives who do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days.

· Persons of Indian Origin and Non-Resident Indians who possess either an OCI or a PIO card, which are the equivalent of a long India visa.

India issues the following types of visas [http://passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/visaServices]

· Tourist Visa: Up to 6 months. Apply with: documents supporting your financial standing.

· Business Visa: One or more years. Apply with letter from the sponsoring organisation.

· Student Visa: For the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years whichever is less. Apply with: proof of admission to recognised Universities / Institutions in India

· Transit Visa: Maximum period of 15 Days. Apply with: Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India.

· Conference Visa: For the duration of the conference or seminar. Apply with: letter of invitation from the organiser of the conference.

When you apply for a visa at an Indian Embassy or High Commission you must include the following:

· Your passport valid for at least 6 months.

· Visa fee in cash or by postal order (cheques are normally not accepted).

· Two passport-size photographs.

· Supporting documents, where necessary.

· Duly completed application form.

· Note: Allow one month’s processing time for postal applications.

· Some parts of India are “restricted areas” and require special permits.

Currency

The Rupee, which is divided into 100 paise.

Currency code: INR

Coin denominations: 1, 2,5 and 10 rupees.

Note denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100,200, 500 and 2000 rupees.

There are no restrictions on the importation of foreign currency by tourists, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival. The import and export of the Rupee is, however, prohibited and may not be spent in Duty Free Shops or on board aircrafts. Receipts for all currency must be kept, as it may be reconverted on departure.It is advisable to carry money in the form of travellers’ cheques, preferably in US Dollars, as it is widely recognised and accepted.Changing money through unauthorised persons is illegal as well as risky in respect of receiving counterfeit money.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and some shops accept major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Mastercard. They will usually display signage to that effect.

Time: UTC + 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Shopping

In India, a huge number of things are still hand-made, using skills and secrets passed down for generations. Dazzling silks and other hand-made fabrics, clothing, hand knotted carpets, religious imagery and decorative articles in bronze, wood, stone and more, jewellery, leather, musical instruments, perfumes… the list goes on and on, and each region has its unique specialities. And prices, you will find, are very reasonable. (Do note that we’d be happy to provide you with expert shopping assistance.) You can bargain hunt at colourful, crowded bazaars, (be prepared to haggle!) on roadsides in the hinterland, in air-conditioned hotel arcades and bustling modern malls. Many reliable establishments that cater to tourists offer to deliver purchases to you in your homeland. Remember, though, that these deliveries can take a long time to reach you.

Indian law prohibits the export of antiques over 100 years old. Keep sales receipts and certificates to show proof of purchase and legitimacy when you’re leaving the country.

Cuisine
Indian food is as varied as the country itself, with every region having its own specialities. It therefore, does not always have to be “hot” nor can any one dish be labelled a “curry.” (That said, many Indian cuisines can be pungent to those unaccustomed to it. Even if you have eaten at Indian restaurants outside India, remember that many such establishments tone down the spice quotient for local tastes) Most dishes with a gravy are normally called curries but are prepared with a different masala (a combination of spices and seasonings) containing among other things coriander, cumin, garlic, onions ginger, turmeric, chillies, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves cinnamon, bay leaves, saffron, mace and nutmeg; all the aromas and flavors that brought traders to India for centuries.

A traditional meal in large parts of India is usually served in large metal plate called a ‘Thali’ (when you see the word in a menu, usually prefixed with a region name, it means you’re getting a full traditional meal from that region) with a number of small bowls used to hold the gravy dishes. The meal is normally accompanied with unleavened bread, usually wheat-based, in the North, or rice in the South. The more upmarket hotels also provide a fair selection of international cuisine as well, and in the major cities, you’re also very likely to find Italian, Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, and Lebanese speciality restaurants. Aside from international fast food franchises, which are making inroads even into smaller towns.

While India is by no means teetotal, in most parts of the country people do not usually drink alcohol with a meal. (More likely is a glass of salty or sweet or spiced buttermilk, a soft drink, or water!) But most large hotels, and restaurants with liquor licenses, will be happy to serve you a drink at your table should you want one. The Indian wine industry is still a young one, but it is improving steadily, and is close to international standards on some counts. Imported wines and liquors are usually reasonably easily available, and tend to be much more expensive than local beverages.

Note: Gujarat & Bihar and some part to Kerala are the only dry states in India at present. However, foreigners visiting India can obtain liquor permits either from embassies/missions/tourist offices abroad or at a Government of India Tourist office at Bombay, Delhi, Madras or Calcutta.

India grows some of the finest, most in-demand tea in the world, and though in many parts of India what you get served is milky, oversweet tea made from powdered leaf that has had its antioxidants boiled out of it, in the better hotels tea is still served as it should be. India also grows good coffee, and the people of the South drink a lot more of it than North Indian tea lovers.

Water from the tap is not purified for drinking in India. To be safe, apart from the flasks of water in your hotel rooms, tea, coffee, mineral water and bottled drinks, you should carry around and use purifying tablets. If you are away from your hotel for an extended period, it may be a good idea to take along a bottle of water or, if you’re buying bottled drinks, to use a straw.

Health

Yellow Fever – Vaccination Certificate is required if arriving from an infected area.

Cholera/Typhoid – Innoculation recommended.

Malaria – No certificate required, but advisable to have a course of pills.

Medical treatment in India is inexpensive by European or North American standards, though India has a pool of some of the best doctors in the world. Most hotels have a doctor on call.Sunshine stronger than you are used to, heat, especially if you are travelling in India’s summer months, digestive upsets, insect bites for which you have developed no immunities, all these can spoil your trip. So please take a few basic precautions.

Carry a kit containing sunscreens and other lotions for protection from the sun, insect repellents and sting relief creams, water sterilising tablets and medicines for possible stomach upsets or indigestion. To protect yourself from mosquitoes when outdoors in the evenings, use an insect repellent on exposed skin, and wear socks, trousers and long-sleeved shirts.

Eating and Drinking

Tap water is not purified for drinking. Unless you have access to a water filter, or are sure water has been boiled, it is safer to stick to bottled water. Avoid ice in your drinks outside your hotel.Avoid ice cream or food sold by roadside vendors, uncooked or under cooked foods, fruit or vegetables that cannot be peeled.

Electricity

The majority of India works on 220 volts AC 50 Hz. However, it is possible that certain areas have DC supplies and it may be a good idea to check before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is well to take along a set of plug adapters.

Note: You will probably need to get an adapter for your devices. It’s pretty easy to get “all-in-one” adapters that you can use to plug your device’s power chord into before plugging into the power supply.