India Travel

INDIA – TRAVEL INFORMATION

India will amaze you with its size, clamour and diversity – but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth, and you’ll quickly develop an abiding passion for it.

Nothing in the country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is a litmus test for many travelers – some are only too happy to leave, while others stay for a lifetime.

The country’s glorious diversity means there’s an astonishing array of sacred sites, from immaculately kept Jain temples to weathered Buddhist stupas; there’s history around every corner, with countless monuments, battle-scarred forts, abandoned cities and ancient ruins all having tales to tell; and there are beaches to satiate the most avid sun worshipper. On a personal level, however, India is going to be exactly what you make of it.

Access by Air

India’s major international airports are Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras); there are other international airports at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore and Kochi. Flights from Europe tend to arrive in India in the early hours of the morning, which can be inconvenient if you don’t have reserved accommodation or don’t like tramping around unfamiliar cities in the dark. Delhi is the cheapest place to buy air tickets in India, followed by Kolkata and Mumbai. International flights to neighbouring countries can be very cheap, especially between Kolkata and Dhaka (Bangladesh), Delhi and Karachi (Pakistan) and Tiruchirappalli and Colombo (Sri Lanka). The departure tax on flights to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal is approximately US$ 5.00, but to other countries it’s US$ 10.00.

When to go:
India has such a wide range of climatic factors that it’s impossible to pin down the best time to visit weather-wise. Broadly speaking October to March tend to be the most pleasant months over much of the country. In the far south, the monsoonal weather pattern tends to make January to September more pleasant, while Sikkim and the areas of northeastern India tend to be more palatable between March and August, and Kashmir and the mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh are at their most accessible between May and September. The deserts of Rajasthan and the northwestern Indian Himalayan region are at their best during the monsoon.

Getting around India

India’s major domestic airline, the government-run Indian Airlines, has an extensive network. The country’s international carrier, Air India, also operates domestically on the Mumbai (Bombay)-Delhi, Mumbai – Kolkata(Calcutta), Delhi-Kolkata and Mumbai-Chennai (Madras) routes. Deregulation has radically improved service and swollen the number of secondary operators, though several have gone belly up recently.

The Indian Railways system is deservedly legendary and Indian rail travel is unlike any other sort of travel on earth. At times it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but it’s also an integral part of the Indian travel experience. You should try to pick up the key points of Indian train etiquette as quickly as possible, otherwise you’ll find yourself hopelessly attempting to defend your own private space. There are a number of different classes and a number of different trains: you want express or mail trains, but try all the different classes just for the hell of it. The Indian reservation system is labyrinthine and worthy of anthropological study, but be patient because it’s one of the few bureaucracies in the country that actually works. When booking tickets, take advantage of the tourist quota allotment if one exists. You’ll find it easier to reserve a seat this way.

(Calcutta), Delhi-Kolkatta and Mumbai-Chennai (Madras) routes. Deregulation has radically improved service and swollen the number of secondary operators, though several have gone belly up recently.

The Indian Railways system is deservedly legendary and Indian rail travel is unlike any other sort of travel on earth. At times it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but it’s also an integral part of the Indian travel experience. You should try to pick up the key points of Indian train etiquette as quickly as possible, otherwise you’ll find yourself hopelessly attempting to defend your own private space. There are a number of different classes and a number of different trains: you want express or mail trains, but try all the different classes just for the hell of it. The Indian reservation system is labyrinthine and worthy of anthropological study, but be patient because it’s one of the few bureaucracies in the country that actually works. When booking tickets, take advantage of the tourist quota allotment if one exists. You’ll find it easier to reserve a seat this way.

(Calcutta), Delhi-Kolkatta and Mumbai-Chennai (Madras) routes. Deregulation has radically improved service and swollen the number of secondary operators, though several have gone belly up recently.

The Indian Railways system is deservedly legendary and Indian rail travel is unlike any other sort of travel on earth. At times it can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but it’s also an integral part of the Indian travel experience. You should try to pick up the key points of Indian train etiquette as quickly as possible, otherwise you’ll find yourself hopelessly attempting to defend your own private space. There are a number of different classes and a number of different trains: you want express or mail trains, but try all the different classes just for the hell of it. The Indian reservation system is labyrinthine and worthy of anthropological study, but be patient because it’s one of the few bureaucracies in the country that actually works. When booking tickets, take advantage of the tourist quota allotment if one exists. You’ll find it easier to reserve a seat this way.

India Travel Tips

India has a well established infrastructure for western travelers. You need just a little extra patience and consideration to have a wonderful experience. The transport and the range of hotels in some ways eclipse those you will find at home (except in speed and luxury) and you will comfortably get by with English in any established tourist town or city.

TIME : India is 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT/ UTC, 4 ½ hours behind Australian EST, and 10 ½ hours ahead of American EST.

WOMEN TRAVELER :
Once upon a time, women traveling alone used to be frowned upon in India, but times are slowly changing. Proper dress code in accordance with the Indian social matrix serves to an extent. In mosques, women should be fully covered, and in temples and gurudwaras (Sikh temple), they have to cover their heads. One needs to be on the right side of caution while entering into conversations with strangers, accepting invitations to drinks and late night dinners. Remember that the more you move away from touristy areas, the lesser problems you are likely to have.

The southern and the eastern parts of the country are more fun to travel for the women traveler. And as a bonus, there are ladies’ queues for train tickets, ladies’ compartments in trains and even ladies’ seats in buses. So you see, it is not just caution all the way.

SENIOR TRAVELERS :
Elders are respected and revered all over India. Thus senior travelers will not have any problem in touring India. Unless you have poor vision or are otherwise challenged, there shouldn’t be any reason for not visiting India. All senior travelers have senior citizens’ quotas in trains and senior citizens’ queues for train tickets. Your stay in India will be a memorable one. So, enjoy it while it lasts.

PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED TRAVELERS :
Traveling in India for the physically challenged is not easy. Few buildings in India are geared up for the wheelchair. Sometimes even footpaths cannot be used by the physically challenged. Restrooms have not been designed with the wheelchair in mind. Nevertheless, many physically challenged travelers are daring a head-on encounter with these difficulties.

TRAVEL WITH CHILDREN :
Traveling with children is a real joy as it often increases the chances of having interesting encounters with the local people. Children are easily welcomed everywhere and hospitality is extended to those accompanying them. One of the reasons for this might be that children are not self-conscious and they do not feel cultural differences as acutely as some adults are likely to. It is thus easier for them to make friends with the locals.

However, traveling with children can also be exhausting, for they fall sick very easily. In big hotels, obtaining safe baby food is not a problem. Disposable nappies are available in all major towns and cities. Most big hotels provide babysitting facilities.

Extra care should be taken to protect children from the Indian heat by avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day. Cool showers and baths always help. Dehydration can be remedied by drinking plenty of water that is either boiled or purified with tablets. Diarrhea can best be avoided by staying away from uncovered street food. If traveling with children, it is best to visit India in the cooler months.

DANGERS & ANNOYANCES :
Theft :Nothing could be more annoying than to discover that you have lost something important. It is always preferable to carry important things on yourself and never leave them behind in your room. Be extra vigilant about your baggage at airports, on trains and other means of public transports that you might take. However, if anything is stolen or lost, it should immediately be reported to the police. Finally, a good travel insurance policy may help to some extent in making good the loss or damage.

Stolen Traveler’s Cheques: Traveler’s Cheques can easily be stolen or lost, but the good thing about them is that they are replaceable. It is best to buy them from American Express, Visa, Thomas Cook, Citibank and Barclay. Instant replacement may be difficult. However, the best way to deal with such a crisis is to keep an emergency amount aside. Those availing of American Express TC facilities can seek help at the 24 hour helpdesk in Delhi at (011) 687 5050. The loss of TC’s should be reported to the company concerned within 24 hours of the loss. Carrying the receipts of the missing TC’s would ensure a speedy replacement. It is advisable to keep the receipts in a separate place and a photocopy of the same in another.

Business Hours:
Government offices are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from Monday through Friday. Banks are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Saturday. However, major cities have been divided into zones where banks remain closed on particular days of the week. You must check that up before you actually go to one for a transaction. Traveller’s cheque transactions usually cease 30 minutes before the official bank closing time. The Reserve Bank of India has a half-yearly closing on 30th June and 31st December. Other banks have it on 31st March and 30th September. Shops also remain closed on particular days of the week according to their location. Offices are usually closed on Sundays and public holidays.

HOLIDAYS :
India is a multicultural, multilingual country and thus has a great number of holidays and festivals. Most of these festivals follow the Indian lunar calendar. Therefore they are likely to fall on different days each year in the Gregorian Calendar. Muslim holidays and festivals follow the Islamic calendar. So they too fall on different days every year. Numerous religious festivals are celebrated throughout the country, although the manner in which they are celebrated may vary from state to state. Amongst those that count as public holidays are – 26th January: Republic Day, 15th August: Independence Day, 2nd October: Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday and 25th December: Christmas.

PHOTOGRAPHY:
Film: Every kind of film is available in the Indian markets. Always check the expiry date printed on the film rolls as the heat and humidity of India can take their toll on them. Each city has its own camera and film market, so if you are looking for a large stock, it is better to get it from these markets as you’ll get it much cheaper here. However, it is better to bring your own positive films as they are not readily available in smaller towns. Kodak and Fuji have their labs all over the country, including in small cities. You should try to store both your exposed and unexposed films in a cool place to protect them from the summer heat. And if you’re traveling during the monsoon, it is better to have waterproof cases for your equipment.

Equipment: A UV filter permanently fitted to your lens will not only cut down the UV rays but also protect your lens from the heat and dust of India. UV and polarizing filters will also help shoot better photographs in high altitudes. Professional photographers should carry their tripods as well, for India has a lot to offer through its historical monuments. Fast films (400 ASA) are also useful while photographing the interiors of India’s numerous temples, forts and monasteries.

Exposure : In India, photographs are best taken early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The midday sun tends to eliminate the shadows of objects cutting down on the depth to your shots.

Restrictions: Indians could be very touchy about what you photograph. To photograph places of military importance including railway stations, bridges, airports, military installations, tribal areas and sensitive border regions, you would require to seek permission from the authorities concerned. Some temples prohibit photography in the main hall and the inner sanctum. Usually such temples have prohibitory signboards on their premises. It is always prudent to ask if there are no such indications. Some temples, forts, palaces, tombs and monasteries levy a fee to bring a still or video camera into the premises. A few wild life sanctuaries levy a much higher fee. The Archaeological Survey of India issues special permits for photographing monuments with tripods and artificial lights.

People in India are ever willing to pose for complete strangers. In places where tradition and conservatism rule the society, care should be taken before training your lens on women.

SHOPPING TIPS:
The most important rule while purchasing handicrafts is to get the right bargain. It would not hurt to first look around to know the fake from the real. It is always beneficial to get an idea of the quality and price of items by visiting the various state emporia and the Central Cottage Industries Emporia in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Here the prices are fixed and will give you a fair idea of how much you could expect to pay while purchasing similar items from regular dealers.

Again, be careful when buying items that include delivery. You may have to pay additional customs as well as the handling charges. Beware of buying gems and carpets unless you’re an expert. Export of items such as ivory, fur and skins, antiquities is banned. Hence it is mandatory to obtain a certificate of legitimate sale and permission for export before trying to take any of these items out of the country.

India Travel Documents:
To beat jetlag, book an overnight flight or one that arrives in the evening when traveling east so you can either catch your sleep on the flight or as soon as you get into your destination. All visitors are required to carry a passport valid at least for the next 6 months.

India Visa requirement:
Citizens of all countries (including Commonwealth) require a valid passport an an appropriate (entry, transit or tourist) visa. The visa must be obtained abroad from an Indian Mission. If planning to visit a neighboring country such as Nepal and then re-entering India, a double/multiple entry visa should be obtained.

General requirements:

(a) Original passport valid for at least six months
(b) Correct visa fee.
(c) Two passport-size photographs (five photographs in case of Pakistani nationals)
(d) Supporting documents, where necessary
(e) Duly completed application form (Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals need to apply on special application forms)

Air tickets to India:

Major Airlines operating to India: Malaysia Airline, American Airlines, Air India, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Eva Airline, Malaysia Airline, Singapore Airlines, Continental Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Northwest, Air Canada, Ethiopian Air, Lufthansa, Kenya Airways, China Airlines, Thai Airways, United Airlines, Air France, Alitalia, Delta, and Korean Air.

Cheap India Airfare Search Tips
~ Traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday traditionally costs less.
~ If your travel plans are flexible, consider these days.
~ Buy your India ticket as far in advance as possible. Fares are often lower when purchased 7, 14 or 21 days in advance.
~ Avoid flying on a weekend. Many airlines have made this a requirement for reduced fares.

Book travel during holidays, or other peak periods, as early as possible to get the best promotions and deals.

Best Airfare Deals from :
Los Angeles, LAX, Logan Boston, BOS, New York, NYC, JFK, Newark, NJ EWR, Chicago, IL CHI, O’Hare, ORD, Denver DEN, Las Vegas, LAS, Detroit, Michigan, MI DTW, Baltimore, BWI, Phoenix, PHX, Denver, DEN, Dallas Fort Worth, DFW, Houston, HOU, Atlanta, GA ATL, San Francisco, SFO, Minneapolis, MN MSP, San Diego, CA SAN, Miami, Florida MIA, Texas, IAH, AUS, Philadelphia PHL, Seattle, Tacoma SEA, Pittsburgh PA PIT, St Louis, MO STL, Washington DC WAS, Orlando, FL MCO, Salt Lake City, UT SLC, Charlotte, NC CLT and Cincinnati, OH CVG.

What to take:
As little as possible, you can buy just about everything when you are out there. Perhaps the only area in which buying in India is neither cheaper nor easily available is technical equipment. And off course don’t forget to bring in your complete clinical / medical records translated into English with you!

What to wear:
Bare minimum! if you buy out there, you blend in better anyway. During winter months in the North and the highlands in the South do get cold at night, but at all other times light weight cotton is best. Respect their culture, discreet clothing for women especially. For footwear – comfortable sandals are all you need.

Email / Internet access in India!
Now huge in India, particularly on all well-trodden travelers paths. Connection can be slow but you will rarely fail to find a selection of Internet

cafes. Good tip is to duplicate records of Travelers Cheque numbers, passport, and plane details, etc. on your Yahoo/Hotmail accounts.

Electricity in India:
The voltage used is 220 volts (the U.S. uses 120 volts). You can purchase a converter at most hardware stores for appliances that do not switch to 220V.

General Travel Tips:

(A) Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by both filtering through an “absolute 1 micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.

(B) Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against stomach upsets. Some of the better-known brands are Bisleri, Kinley, Aquafina, Himalaya etc. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact.

(C) Watch out for spicy dishes, especially at the outset of your tour. Avoid eating food from roadside stalls. Eat unpeeled fruits and avoid fresh salads, especially in small hotels. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is served hot.

(D) Always use an insect repellent if you find yourself in a mosquito-prone area. But remember, not every place is mosquito-infested and low temperatures in winters (when most tourists come to India) kill most bugs in the northern plains and hills.

(E) If traveling in scorching heat, remember to drink enough water, use hats, sunglasses & UV lotions. Do not venture out in the mid day sun.

(F) Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village and you can buy medication. In case you need to see a doctor for a specific condition, ask for help from your hotel (most have doctors on call) or your tour operator. The cost of visiting a doctor is fairly low (less than a dollar) compared to western countries.

India has a well-established infrastructure for western travelers. You need just a little extra patience and consideration to have a wonderful experience. The transport and the range of hotels in some ways eclipse those you will find at home (except in speed and luxury) and you will comfortably get by with English in any established tourist town or city.

INDIA TRAVEL WEBSITES

 

TRANS INDIA HOLIDAYS

TRAVEL AGENT FOR INDIA

INDIA TRAVEL AGENTS

1 UP TRAVEL

AIR TICKETS INDIA

INCREDIBLE INDIA

COX & KINGS

DELHI TOURISM

INDIAN RAILWAYS

INDIA TRAVELITE

KVT HOLIDAYS

MAKE MY TRIP

INDIA TRAVEL

OUTLOOK TRAVELLER

RAJ TRAVELS

THOMAS COOK INDIA

TOUR OPERATORS INDIA

TOUR INDIA

TOURISM OF INDIA

INDIAN TRAVEL PORTAL

TRAVEL POST INDIA

TRAVEL CORP OF INDIA

TRAVEL INDIA

TRAVEL-INDIA

TRAVELLER’S KEY

TRAVEL MART INDIA

WELCOME GROUP HOTELS

TAJ HOTELS

OBEROI HOTELS

HOTELS INDIA

India will amaze you with its size, clamor and diversity – but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth, and you’ll quickly develop an abiding passion for it.

 

Open chat
Dr. Khosla's Dental Centre