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Geographically India stretches from the tropical lushness of the Indian Ocean coasts to the high Himalaya, with virtually every conceivable terrain between.
Combine this with a history dating back thousands of years and the result is a land of incredible diversity and endless fascination.
A rich melting pot of religions and languages, regional cultural and culinary traditions and festivals, splendid artistic and architectural styles.
General information about India:
capital city: New Delhi (population 295,000)
area: 3,287,590 sq km
population: 1.14 billion
language: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, English
currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
time zone: GMT +5.5
dialing code: +91
Numerous major airlines fly daily to Mumbai and Delhi from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
There are also international airports at Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Trivandrum serviced by Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Emirates, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.
A number of domestic airlines provide connections throughout the country.
In India the currency is the Indian Rupee (INR)
It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers checks in major currencies - USD, CAD, EUR, AUD - and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Most major currencies can be changed into Indian Rupees at banks in all cities in India. Travelers check transactions can be time consuming, particularly in small towns.
Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide we suggest USD15 per day (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they intended.
•total: 3,287,590 sq km
•land: 2,973,190 sq km
•water: 314,400 sq km
Capital City: New Delhi
PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION
Each traveller must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that will remain valid for six (6) months beyond the completion of his/her trip to any destination in India. All passport holders are required to obtain a tourist visa for entry into India. You would require getting a multiple entry visa. Visa can be obtained on arrival in Kathmandu. However, please carry four passport size photographs.
We urge that you discuss health precautions for your exact travel itinerary with a qualified health professional at least six (6) weeks before you depart. No vaccinations are currently required for entry into India when arrival is directly from North America or an Asian or European country.
ARRIVAL AND CUSTOMS INFORMATION
Please be advised that regulations at most points of international arrival do not permit passengers to be met inside secured passenger areas (such as the Customs area). In addition, airports in India are occasionally put on short-notice, high-security alerts; and, at these times, passengers can only be met outside the airport building.
WEATHER - THE CLIMATE
Weather varies widely due to the great size of the country. It can, however, generally be described as monsoon - tropical with certain regional variations. Temperatures from April through September average in the 80s and 90s (Fahrenheit) and climb to over 100°F in some areas. The hottest, driest period is from Mid May until late Mid June. The monsoon rains from June / July to the end of mid August provide some relief to the scorching heat, but the humidity levels are very high in some of the cities.
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
Formal wear is not necessary while on a holiday in the country. Casual shirts and slacks for men and blouses and skirts for ladies made of lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton are suggested. Generally, loose-fitting clothing will prove most comfortable for daytime wear. Comfortable, soft, soled walking shoes are essential. When visiting temples, mosques, and other religious places, you will need to dress conservatively. Please keep in mind that shoes must be removed when entering temples, mosques, and other religious places. You may also want to pack a lightweight (no-plastic) raincoat and/or umbrella. Good sunglasses, sun block lotion and sun hats are essential for protection from the strong sun.
In India,electricity runs 220/240 volts. If you do bring electrical appliances, take along an international converter kit complete with a set of adapter plugs.
FOOD AND DRINK
Indian food is known the world over for its use of spices, but it does not always have to be spicy-hot. Regardless of regional variations, grains and rice are the staples of cuisine. Sauces (ranging in flavor from sweet to sour to hot) are generally available with every meal, and these are specially created to complement the main dish. A serving of chilled unsweetened yogurt or slice of lemon taken with your meal will help to offset the spiciness of any dish. There are a variety of vegetarian specialties - and some very sweet desserts. Do not drink, or brush your teeth with, the tap water in India. Additionally, do not accept ice in drinks. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables should be avoided.
It is also advisable to carry your own personal supply of bottled water during sight-seeing excursions and during long drives.
In India,the unit of currency is the INDIAN RUPEE, which is divided into 100 PAISE. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees. Coins are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 25 and 50 Paise. There are also coins with denominations of 1, 2 and 5 Rupees. On arrival in India, you will be required to complete a Currency Declaration Form, on which you must indicate the amount of money you are bringing into the country. If it is over USD $2,500,it can be in cash and if over USD $10,000, in Travelers checks. You will definitely be asked for your exchange receipts in either country if you want to exchange any leftover Rupees back into foreign currency. You should exchange money only at authorized facilities (such as banks and hotel desks). Be aware that only paper currency will normally be accepted for exchange. In India, do not accept currency that is extremely soiled or mutilated.
We recommend that you bring all the photographic equipment you will need from home, including an ample supply of film and additional camera batteries. Film, batteries, and photographic materials are available in India, but then it should be purchased from an authorized shop. It is also suggested that you check the working order of your camera and have your equipment insured before you depart. Under no circumstances is photography permitted inside aircraft or at airports. In addition, do not photograph government buildings (unless permission is granted - check with guide/ tour manager) and installations or military or police personnel. Certain temples also restrict interior photography. You should also be aware that the use of video cameras is restricted in Taj Mahal at Agra . Taking photographs and/or videos when permission is not granted is inconsiderate at best and may result in the confiscation of your film.
VALUABLES, SAFETY, AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
Exercise the same safety precautions throughout your travels as you would at home. Be especially careful with your passport (the pages containing your photograph and passport details, as well as any amendment pages and visas). Follow the security measures included with your travellers checks, and also leave an additional record of their numbers at your hotel. Do not carry this record with you during sightseeing tours. Please do not pack valuable items (such as your camera and jewellery) in checked baggage. We recommend that all travellers purchase adequate trip cancellation / interruption, medical, and baggage insurance and that they carry the details of their coverage with them on tour.
Many travellers view tipping as a difficult subject, though this need not be the case. The first thing to remember is that tipping is not compulsory. Nor are there any fixed amounts. The bottom line in determining whether and how much to tip is to ask yourself how much the individual did to make your travel more enjoyable.
Indias official language is Hindi. However, each state has its own official regional language. As such, there are over fourteen (14) official languages in India. English is widely spoken and understood all over the country.
Indian Standard Time (IST) operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +five (5) hours and thirty (30) minutes. Eg:GMT 06 00 AM = IST 11 30 AM.