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General guidelines while Traveling to Indian subcontinent
Visa Formalities /Information
Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days (a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders).
The Consular Passport and Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuing Indian visas to foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.
Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The Embassy / High Commission/Consulate reserves the right on granting and deciding the type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making the application.
Visa on arrival facility is limited to the below listed nationalities.
-Only for citizens of Finland , Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.
Procedure for obtaining Visa
-Visas can be applied for in person or by post at Indian Embassy/ High Commission/ Consulate based in the country from where the candidate intends to depart for India. You are requested to contact the nearest Indian mission for details.
Important: Please note if you are travelling to India with plans of touring to Bhutan / Nepal / Sri Lanka, then please apply for multiple entry visa to re-enter India.
Travel as light as possible.
It’s better for women to avoid tank tops or short skirts / shorts.
Winters are pleasant in southern India while you will need heavy woolens as you progress in the Northern region.
Summers are harsh throughout, so light cotton clothes are most comfortable.
Best to avoid miniskirts / shorts both for men and women while visiting religious institution. Some temples may insist to cover your head as well. A small handkerchief or a scarf can suffice.
If you give the impression of being from a different country, chances are that you might be stared at, especially in the smaller towns. Don’t be offended-they mean no harm, it is just curiosity.
In India, public toilets facilities are few and far between. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you go.
Food and Drinks:
Drink only bottled water. Many popular brands are available. In restaurants insist that they bring a sealed bottle to your table.
Beef is not served in many parts of India. Pork is also not easily available.
Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants.
Good quality vegetarian food is easily available.
Curd or yoghurt is served with most meals. It is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food.
India is shoppers’ paradise. From decorative items like pottery, masks, bronze items to jewelry can be purchased at reasonable rates in India. India is the largest producer of branded jewels which are exported and can be bought here at affordable rates.
Various types of silk are manufactured in India and are easily available at good shops. Embroidered cloth, leather items, various spices like pepper, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and saffron, miniature paintings, wooden and marble objects, cotton clothes and much more. If you have got the taste of Indian food, ready to eat packets of various dishes are also easily available. Various pickles and snacks can be bought.
India also produces a huge variety of tea and you can get a good choice. Along with that you may also go for some herbal beauty products and last but not the least various music and cinema cds to keep your Indian sojourn going can be bought!
In hotels and restaurants, tips are not normally included in the bill.
Some hotels include service charge on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary.
The standard tip is 10%.
In hotels, porters and room service attendants are normally tipped at the end of the stay,
Weather in India:
Temperature in India can vary from North to south and east to west.
There is snow in the northernmost part of the country while you sweat in the southernmost part of the country.
The climate is extreme in the north while it is constant in the south. The east and the west do differ but not much.
The sun is strong. Remember to use sunscreen of exposed parts of the body. Wear Sunglasses to screen out harmful rays.
The dry summer heat can drain you completely. Drink lots of water and fluids
Dress codes for religious places can include covering your head, being barefoot etc. Ask, So that you don’t unwittingly give offence.
Some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises.
Certain temples are not open to Non-Hindus. Please check with your travel agent.
Most museums in India are closed on Monday and Site Museums, those near Archaeological monuments on Fridays.
Photography is not always permissible, and at many places it is permitted only at a fee.
There is usually a higher fee for using a video camera.
Smoking is not allowed at public places. All properties of the Indian Railways including Trains and railway stations are strictly non - smoking zones with stiff penalties for Violations.
English is widely spoken however bilingual guides can be easily arranged with prior intimation.
Always drink bottled water.
Always wash fruit well before eating it.
Always keep a tube of mosquitoes repellent with you.
It is advisable to carry medicines with doctor’s prescription.
Keep extra photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport. This will be request for Indian permits. Also, keep extra photographs of yourselves. These will be request for Permits, filling out forms, etc.
Voltage in India is 220 V for Plugs C & D. If you have a different plug you will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use your appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.
In cities you can change most major foreign currencies and brands of travellers’ cheques- but you’ll widen your options and save yourself hassles if you stick to US dollars or pound sterling, and either Thomas Cook or American Express travellers cheques.
Most big cities have ATMs which accept Visa and MasterCard as well as American Express. The ATM network is ever expending and in some states, you can find them even in some smaller towns.