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India Travel Tips

India is one of the oldest civilizations with a rich cultural heritage. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km, extending from the eternal snows of the Great Himalayas in the North to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills. It measures about 3,214 km from North to South and about 2,933 km from East to West. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of its coastline including its group of islands viz Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.

POPULATION: India's population as on 01 March 2001 stood at 1,028 million
CAPITAL: New Delhi
TIME ZONE: UTC +05:30

RELIGION

Hinduism is the main religion constituting 80.5% followed by Islam with a population of 13.4%. The Christians constitute 2.3 while others viz Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis etc constitute 3.8% . The country is the birthplace of four major religions viz Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

CLIMATE and WEATHER
India is home to an extraordinary variety of climatic regions ranging from the deserts in the west, alpine tundra glaciers in the north and humid tropical supporting rain forests in the southwest and eastern India. It is largely subjected to four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), monsoon (rainy) (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October to December). Generally, the best time to visit India is during the winters, when the weather in most places is relatively cool and pleasant.

VISA TO INDIA
Indian Missions abroad are the right place to acquire your Visa to India. You may seek a tourist, business, student, employment, transit or an entry visa from Indian missions in your country of residence.

LIST OF ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES
Every city in India has many additional activities to offer which could be a lot of fun and fill up your holiday with beautiful memories, these include hot air balooning on top of the forests in Jaipur, visits to Akshardham ( one of the most beautiful modern temple in Delhi ), Kalakriti show in Agra ( theater which tells you the story of the Taj Mahal in many languages ), Lunches and dinner in nice Indian restaurants, The fantastic Kingdom of Dreams in Delhi ( one of the most fascinating shows in India along with food stalls from different parts of India in a lovely ambiance ), Yoga and Indian cooking lessons, Henna hand decorations and saree tying lessons for ladies, Heritage walks and rickshaw rides in old part of the city, Ayurvedic massages, beauty and Spa treatment, Shopping tours, camel and elephant rides, Visit to an Indian wedding ( subject to availability ), Bollywood movie show (in Mumbai), Romantic surprise dinners for your partners or any other surprise you want to arrange for your partners or anything else you could think of. These supplementary activities can be arranged at a nominal cost and would be usually much cheaper than arranging directly as we provide them business in bulk.

SIM CARDS FOR YOUR PHONE
Can be arranged for you by our staff at a nominal cost, let us know a day in advance. We will need your passport copy and a recent photograph to arrange the same for you.

INTERNET / WIFI
Internet and wifi costs are usually very high in hotels. If possible Cyber cafes could be used for internet access or we could also arrange for data cards at nominal costs. We would need a day's notice to arrange the same.

PHONE CALLS
Phone calls from hotels are expensive and should be avoided unless urgent. International sim cards usage also attracts very high roaming charges, keep in mind when making calls. Phone booths are available in most of the cities in India and you could tell our drivers to find them for you. Alternatively, we could always arrange local SIM cards for you at a nominal cost.

TOILETS
Are generally very clean in hotels and good restaurants but not so clean in other places hence we recommend using them there only unless absolute necessary. In trains they are clean early morning and start of the journey , so we would recommend using them then. Toilets in highways are not very clean, so we would recommend using them at the start of the journey or in restaurants the driver stops on the way.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Indian Rupee (INR) is the currency. Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised bureaux de changes as well as at Hotels, though hotels do not give out very good rates. No matter what time you arrive in India there will be an exchange office open at the airport though the rate given is not so attractive. If you want we could also arrange for foreign exchange from authorised currency exchange at good rates if the amount to be exchanged is above $500. It is illegal and dangerous to exchange money through means other than mentioned above. It is advisable to refuse torn notes. ATMs are generally available in all the major cities and towns.

VOLTAGE
Standard voltage is 220-240V (usually 220V). Pack a universal travel adaptor that will allow you to use a hairdryer, electric shaver, charge a mobile phone or minidisc/CD walkman.

TOURIST TOUTS
During our travel in India, you may come across unauthorised travel touts offering assistance in shopping, offering guide services or illegal drugs or flesh peddlers. Please avoid and ignore them. Try not to get into any conversation and please keep a check on your personal belongings.

TAXIS / AUTORICKSHAWS
If arriving on your own at airports or railway stations, hordes of touts may harass you by surrounding you and offering to take you to your destination. Beware of getting overcharged. If you are unsure about the cost, you can always ask for a meter card. At some places, a late night charge is payable for travel between 11 pm and 5 am. At major metros, authorised pre-paid taxi services are available.

FOOD and WATER
Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.  Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice. Bottled water is available even in small roadside shops. Most of the 4/5* hotels have treated filter water which is safe to drink. Most of the hotels provide complimentary two bottles of water in every room ( You could check from the reception about this ) apart from that if you buy any bottle of water from the hotel it will be very expensive, so do avoid that.
As a rule, stick to freshly cooked food, made in a reasonably clean restaurant.  Freshly cooked food is safest. Be wary of salads and fresh vegetable garnishes.  Fresh fruit juices can be a problem, if taken from street side vendors since many tropical fruits blend into a pulp that has to be diluted with water.  It's unlikely that the vendor adds expensive bottled water.
Lastly, keep your finger nails short and clean.  Wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat.  Even the dirtiest way-side joint will have a place to wash hands, though they may not have soap.  Carry some with you.
In case you wish to book the meals through us, we have negotiated special rates in following cities , with some restaurants ( list attached ), where the meals will be on fixed menu / buffet, costing INR 450 per person per meal (lunch or dinner, excluding mineral water, any hard / soft drinks ). Else you can choose on AL-A-CARTE basis by making direct payment in these restaurants.

CREDIT CARDS
Major credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments, including hotels, shops and airlines. Hotels may refuse to accept credit cards at certain destinations. It is best to pre-check.

ATMS & CASH MACHINES

ATM’S and cash machines are easily available in big cities in India but not in villages & small towns.

SECURITY OF PERSONAL BELONGINGS

Don't move out wearing expensive things. Keep all the necessary items with you. Don't carry too much of cash. Try to carry only the important documents with you and if need be stitch a pocket inside your outfit to keep important documents like passport, credit cards, travelers’ cheques, etc. Avoid unnecessary items like too much of eatables, bulky clothing, heavy items, etc.

WOMEN TRAVELLERS IN INDIA

India is a very warm and hospitable country. Though modern in almost all aspects, India still remains traditional in some parts. It is not always safe for women to travel alone. Don't wear clothes that are too revealing or provocative. Refrain from any such physical activity that is intimate.

HANDLING BEGGARS

Please do not encourage beggars. In case you have a guide or a representative, take their help to keep them away.

PHOTOGRAPHY

There are no such restrictions on taking pictures; however, it is always suggested to check with your guide. Camera / Video Camera charges are applicable in most of the monuments. You may please purchase the ticket separately, as it will not be included in the entrance ticket to the monument. There are restrictions on use of tripods in certain national monuments such as Qutab Minar in Delhi.

SHOPPING IN INDIA

Every tourist who visits India wishes to take back a part of this lovely country. Shopping in India is the ideal way to fulfill your wish of taking a memory. Indian shopping attractions offer a variety of items to suit your diverse needs and taste. Please do not hesitate to ask us for a list of authentic places of shopping in every city as per your requirements and interest.

TRAIN TRAVEL IN INDIA

Travelling by train is one of the great experiences in India, and a good way to meet people. However, please beware of pickpockets while boarding or de-boarding a train. Do not accept any eatables from strangers/unknown fellow passengers. Take extra care of your belongings, luggage, cameras and other small but valuable equipment. After de-boarding from the train, wait for our representative at the platform itself.

TIPPING
Tipping is a complete personal gesture and depends on the service you get, but is an integral part of the earning of the people dependent on tourism. The usual norm is USD 10 ( Rupees 500 ) a day for the driver, USD 2 ( Rupees 100 ) to a waiter in the restaurant or 5-10% of the bill. Rs 200 – Rs 1500 to a guide and Rupees 20-50 to a bellboy.

POLICE

Police can be reached by dialing 100 from any city in India

EMBASSIES

List of all foreign embassies with their contact details and addresses are available at the following link http://india.gov.in/overseas/embassy_detail.php

USEFUL PHRASES

Common Indian phrases will help you in communicating more effectively with the locals. These frequently used phrases are usually very handy.

English Phrase Hindi Translation
Hello Namaste/Namaskar
How are you? Kaise hain?
Goodbye Main chalta hoon (chalti for female)
How much/ What is the cost? Kitna hua/ kitna daam hai?
What is your name? Apka naam Kya hai?
My name is … Mera naam … hai
Yes Haan
No Nahi
Thank you Shukriya/ Dhanyavaad
OK/Fine/Good/Whatever Achaa, Thik hai