You must check the validity of your passport which should be at least six months. Keep a copy of your passport and other important documents.
All foreign nationals need a visa to travel to India. Please visit the nearest Embassy for the fees charged and necessary documentation.
Before traveling make sure you have travel and medical insurance - and know exactly what it covers. You must be covered for an unlikely event of an accident and read the fine print carefully!
You need to pack lightweight to medium weights from March to October and warmer wear for winter months. As the weather can change quickly in certain parts you should be equipped with suitable clothing. A pair of walking shoes and sandals will come handy while traveling in warm weather.
Electricity is 220 volts, so if you bring hairdryers or other appliances, make sure they can handle it.
If you are dependent on any drugs, bring a supply and a spare prescription. Also bring spectacles / sunglasses, as the hot sun and dry dusty environment of some regions may irritate your eyes.
A small first-aid kit will always be handy. Buy one from a pharmacy or get your doctor to suggest what you should take.
All personal effects you can bring in without any customs. This includes personal Jewelry, 200 Cigarettes, presents to the value of Rs. 600 and two bottles of wine/liquor.
The unit of currency is Rupee. One Rupee equals 100 paise. Currency notes come in the denomination of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. The coins come in denominations of 10, 25, 50 paise and 1, 2 & 5 Rupees.
You can bring in any amount of foreign currency or travelers cheques into the country but in excess of US$ 2500 must be declared which will enable you to export the unspent portion on departure from the country. You must exchange currency, traveler's cheques, drafts etc only at the authorized foreign exchange dealers / counters to avoid landing with counterfeit currency. There is a 24 hour exchange facility at the airports and all major cities.
All major credit cards are accepted at the member hotels, shops and establishments.
It is common and is not included in the bills. Normal tipping is around 10% in most of the restaurants and other services.
Banks are open from about 1000 Hrs to about 1400Hrs weekdays and on Saturday from 1000 Hrs to 1200 Hrs. Post offices are open from 1000 Hrs to 1700 Hrs on weekdays and 1000 Hrs to 1300 Hrs on Saturdays. Most offices operate from Monday to Friday, 0930 Hrs -1730 Hrs and many of them work half days 0930 - 1300 Hrs on Saturdays.
There are all types of shops in India - Bazaars, shopping complexes, supermarkets, road side shops and corner shops too! The ones in the shopping complexes are open from around 1030 Hrs to 2000 Hrs in most of the cities. However the road side shops and corner shops are open till 2200 Hrs.
Many of the eateries and restaurants other than the ones in the hotels remain open till midnight.
However, there are exceptions to all of the above. There are 24 Hr coffee shops and Banks at airports, for example, stay open to accommodate international flights.
India is ahead of GMT by 5 ½ Hrs.
India has a hot tropical weather which changes from region to region. In Mumbai, the weather throughout the year is humid and can get hot during the day. Delhi the capital city, days are hot during summer and can get cold during winter. Kerala & Goa is wet from May to September, due to monsoons (supposed to best for Ayurveda therapies). These places are best visited during November to March. Other parts of the country can be quite hot or cold depending the time of year visited. Majority of visitors find November to mid March the best time to visit as the day temperature is warm averaging around 28 degrees and night temperature of 18-20 degrees Celsius.
Malaria risk prevails in whole of country except parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal, Uttaranchal & Sikkim. It is recommended to have a course of anti-malaria pills and mosquito repellant cream.
You need a Yellow fever certificate if arriving within six days from an infected area. You may be detained up to six days if you don't have a certificate.
While traveling in India, you must use bottled water only which is provided in the hotels and is freely available. Do not eat at the road side eateries. People with sensitive digestive system may not eat hot spicy food.
In India mobile phone operators utilize the GSM system so you will have to organize international roaming with your service provider before you leave home if your phone operates with this system.
India is the second most populous country in the world (1 Billion people) after China with a population density of 267 (Germany is 224). From North to South the country stretches 3 214 Km and East to West 2 933 Km. Total coastline of India is over 7516 Km (which is twice the distance from East coast to the West coast of USA).
India is the largest secular parliamentarian democracy of the world. There are 35 Union states and territories.
Hindus are a majority comprising of 82,6%, followed by Muslims 11,4%, Christians 2,4%, Sikhs 2,0%, Buddhists 0,7%, Jains 0,5% and others 0,4%. A vast majority of the population speaks English in the main cities and towns. The two official languages are English & Hindi. However there are tour guides we can make available in main metros who can talk French, German, Portuguese and Italian.
India is rich in flora and fauna and there is an abundance of natural resources. The famous mountain ranges are Himalaya (2400 Km long and between 240 & 320 Km wide), Kanchenjunga (8534 Mtrs). Others are Aravalli, Mount Abu, Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats.
Forests comprise 23,4% of total area (770 000 sq Km) and deserts 200 000 km² about 1/3 of total cultivable land. There are total 80 National parks and 441 Wildlife Sanctuaries. India has 60% of world's tiger population with 23 Tiger reserves under "Project Tiger". There are 65000 different species of fauna. This includes Fishes: 2500, Amphibians: 150, Reptiles: 350, Birds: 2100 and Mammals: 350
The animals population includes, Tiger, Asian Lion, Elephant, Four horn Antelope, One horn Rhinoceros, snow Leopard, black an brown Bear, Yak, Tapir, Moschusdeer, Sibirischer Kranich, Indian Wild ass, Indian Bison (Gaur), Indian Buffalo (Nilgai), Crocodiles.
You can choose between Air, Rail or Road travel depending on your preference and the availability of time. Most tourists prefer Air or Train travel. Road travel may not be as comfortable as in Europe, America, South Africa or some other countries. For road transportation car is the best mode and you can choose from a wide variety of small cars, saloons or luxury cars.
If your stay in the country is long enough to enjoy train travel, there can not be a better way to experience the diversity of India. There are Super Luxury trains like Palace on Wheels, Orient Express and Deccan Odyssey, which will give you a glimpse into the history of the country coupled with a tour. Some of these trains are ranked amongst top ten luxury trains in the world! Next choice can be express trains connecting length and breadth of the nation. You can book your train travel in advance before commencing the tour.
You can choose from the state run Indian Airlines or Air-India and also from many private operators like, Alliance Air, Deccan Aviation, Jet Airways and Sahara India Airlines. We will advise on the choice to pre-book your domestic air travel.
There are accommodations to suit every pocket. Some of the finest international hotel chains have their hotels in many of the cities which include a few Indian Hotel chains like Taj and Oberoi. There are hotels, resorts and guest houses in 5/4/3 star category and budget accommodations. We will help you with the right choice to suit your pocket and taste.