INDIA : A BASIC TRAVEL INFO Print

 

Area                                            3.288 million square kilometer 

Comparing to the size of U.S.         About the size of three largest states Alaska, Texas,                                                                                      California combined

Borders with                                 Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh Myanmar, Sri Lanka,                                                                               Pakistan

Population                                    1.25 Billion

Time Zone                                    GMT + 5:30

Religions                                      Hinduism, Islamism, Buddhism, Sikhs, Jains

Government Type                         Constitutional Republic

Capital                                         Delhi

Language                                     Hindi, English and other regional languages.

Passport & Visa Formalities

U.S. citizens require a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India. You can apply visa online, if you are visiting India for the purpose of  recreation , sight seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.

 

You passport must have at least of six months validity.

 

Go to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html to apply online or more information.

Weather & Clothing

As diverse as its terrain so is the climate. From the sheltering plains in the heartland to the high Himalayan regions, the temperature can vary from sizzling heat to freezing cold. The average temperatures in North India range from the 30s to the high 80s Fahrenheit. Temperature can be much colder in the higher altitude.  In the South the average temperatures range from the 50s to the 90s Fahrenheit. In winter during the days the temperature can be warm, however, at night it can get quite cold.

Dress informally while on tour; carry lightweight clothes that can be laundered easily.   During winter, you will need light woolens, sweaters, a light jacket or wool wrap. Dress in layers, so you can lighten up during the warm days. In summer, light cotton clothes will do everywhere except in the mountain regions, where it will be cold at night. Bring a warm jacket. 

In South India, It is advisable to wear light cotton clothes throughout the year, as the climate is hot and humid.

If you are traveling to North India in winter, prepare for warm weather during the day. However, , at night it can get cold. Therefore, both warm and cold weather clothing is required. List of clothing and other items you might need: Good walking shoes with grip, Slippers or sandals.

Health & Immunization

No compulsory Inoculations are required if you are arriving from the United States, Canada or Europe. If you entering from Africa or  parts of Latin America, certification of Yellow Fever Inoculation is required.  Although no vaccinations are required to go to India, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended. There is no risk for yellow fever in the Indian Subcontinent.

If you have diabetes, allergies, asthma or any condition that may require emergency care, always carry some identification (tag, bracelet or card) indicating so and prescriptions of the medicines. Preferably also carry a letter from your physician.  Bring personal medicines, especially if you have diabetes, asthma, allergies, or other disorders that require a regular intake of medicines. 

All visitors to India are strictly to be advised not to drink tap water and unwashed vegetables and fruit. Untreated water, uncooked vegetables and fruits can cause hepatitis and gastrointestinal diseases. Most hotels and restaurants serve boiled and filtered or even treated water, but it is always safer to stick to bottled mineral water. You must carry your own water bottle and iodine tablets if you are traveling to remote areas.

The Centers for Disease Control provides an International Traveler’s Hotline offering recorded messages or faxes on current health risks. Call 877 394 8747 or visit cdc.gov/India  for suggested immunizations and food/ water precautions For other health-related inquiries, call 404 639 3534 (8 a.m. 4:30 pm EST).

Customs & Declarations

All baggage is subject to inspection upon arrival. If you do not have anything to declare, you can then just go through "Green Channel" at the major airports. However, our baggage may still be inspected. The use or trafficking of any and all drugs- narcotic and psychotropic substances-carries heavy penalties and long jail terms under Indian laws. Do not carry into or out of the country bags and packages that you did not pack yourself.

Export of antiquities is prohibited. Items that resemble antiques require a special permit issued by the Department of Archaeology. These permits can usually be supplied by the shop where you bought the goods. The export of gold, silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skin and horns are also subject to restrictions.

Money, Credit Cards & ATM

In India, the unit of currency is the Rupee (Re) consisting of 100 paise (P).  You can exchange currency at the most hotels in the major cities and the international airports. Major credit cards are accepted at the city hotels and the wildlife lodges accept cash only. Keep small denominations for it will come in handy for small purchases or for tips.

You can bring in any amount of foreign currency, travelers checks, and take out as much as you brought in. However, if you are carrying more than US $2500 (or equivalent), you should declare it, on arrival, on the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), to be attested by the Customs Officer. No Indian currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.

Large establishments generally accept all major Credit Cards, including hotels, shops and airlines. ATM’s are available at most banks in big cities. 

Credit cards are widedly accepted in hotesl, tourist restaurants and stores in big cities.

Culture & Etiquette

Indians are traditionally warm and friendly people who treat foreigners with respect. Before photographing religious festivals, cremation grounds, women, the inside of temples, etc., it is best to ask permission,

Many temples do not allow you to enter with the shoes. You may have to leave shoes outside. There are usually shoe keepers outside the temples.

Miscellaneous

Upon arrival at the airport or border,

When you arrive in India, someone from our local supplier will meet you at the airport who will be displaying your name. You will be then transferred to your to hotel.  In case,  because of earlier or delayed flight, if you do not  see anybody to pick you up, then give a call to the local tour operator listed on the “Local Operator’s Contact Detail” which is in the information package you have received from us before you left U.S.

Postal Services

Visitors to India should avoid having parcels sent to them, especially through mail. Important documents should be sent to India via one of the international courier services like UPS, FEDEX or DHL.

Telephone, email & Wifi

You can call direct from major places in India to most places though the telephone lines.  Telecom in India has developed significantly. It is also relatively easy to find cyber cafes these days. 

Wifi are available in most of the hotels in India.

Safety, Security  & Strikes

There is a threat from terrorism in most of the major cities in India.  U.S. citizens are urged to always practice good security, including maintaining a heightened situational awareness and a low profile.

Shopping

If you are thinking of purchasing any products, which you cannot carry with you, then think twice before you purchase it. The salesman or guide may tell you that they would pay the shipping charges to your address.  However, besides the shipping charge, you must understand that there are other charges involved at your end, which they may not be aware of, such as destination charges, custom clearance fees, warehouse fees and other fees. By the time, the product reaches your home; the chance is high that you will also receive a bill for all the other charges, which might be higher than the cost of product itself. So, unless you are very sure about these charges, shipping anything home is not suggested.  

Tips & Gratuities                                                                                                              

The same rules apply about tipping as elsewhere. Roughly 10% of bills at restaurants.Your driver and guide also expect a tip at the end of the tour.  Below is a general idea on tipping in the group size beween 2-5 people.  If there are more than 5 people in the group, a little more would be expectd. The mentioend tipping is to be divided by the number of people in the group.  The tips can be more or less depending on the services you get from them.

Tour Guide :  US$ 10 a day

Driver  :         US$  8 a day