To promote travel in India in November 2014, The Government of India introduced an online tourist Visa (E-Visa). By introducing Visa Sub-categories for tourists, business travelers and medical visits in April, 2017, India retooled its e-Visa program.
At present travelers from more than 160 countries can apply for a Tourist e-Visa, Business e-visa or Medical e-Visa depending on the purpose of their visit to India.
Here are a few nationalities eligible under the scheme:
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Malaysia, Mongolia, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia and Spain, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turks & Caicos Island, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.
For the complete list of nationalities covered under the e-Tourist visa scheme, please visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
All cities in India are located in the same time zone, GMT + 5 hours, 30 minutes.
The climate in India varies dramatically. While the southern tip of India is being lashed by tropical monsoon rain, the north will be blanketed in thick snow. Therefore, the best time to travel to India depends greatly on the destinations to be visited and the climate experience there. In northern India, the weather during the late fall and winter months of October through March is dry with temperatures averaging 7 °C (45 °F) in the early morning and evening, and 21 to 25 °C (70 to 75 °F) during the day.
On arrival at International Airport and after clearing all the immigration and customs formalities you will be greeted by our airport Representative, who will be holding a paging board with your name. Please move very slowly so that you can spot by our airport Representative in midst of the crowd. In the rare event that the airport representative cannot be located, please contact the emergency number mentioned in the contact details. This procedure will be followed for domestic flights as well, which however, does not involve customs and immigration counters.
CUSTOMS & DECLARATIONS
You should familiarize yourself with India’s specific required customs declarations before you travel. Every passenger entering India has to pass through a Customs check. All passengers who have dutiable goods in their possession or goods in excess of their eligible Duty Free Allowance must fill up the Customs Declaration Form clearly mentioning the quantity and value of goods that he has brought. On his/ her arrival the passenger is first cleared by Immigration Officer. Thereafter the passenger takes the delivery of his/her baggage from the conveyer belts & passes through Customs. The passenger has the option of seeking clearance through the Green Channel (for passengers not having any dutiable or prohibited goods) or Red Channel (for passengers having dutiable or prohibited goods) subject to the nature of goods being carried.
For details on Baggage Rules, please visit India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs at www.cbec.gov.in/travellers.htm.
Any person can bring into India from a place outside India foreign exchange without any limit. However, declaration of foreign exchange/currency is required to be made in the prescribed Currency Declaration Form in the following cases:
(a) Where the value of foreign currency notes exceeds US$ 5000/- or equivalent.
(b) Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange (in the form of currency notes, bank notes, traveler cheques etc.) exceeds US$ 10,000/- or its equivalent.
Baggage allowances are the limits imposed by airlines on luggage amounts that can be stored by passengers. Additional charges may be applied for excess baggage. With the regulations on air travel and baggage allowances changing constantly – you MUST check the most recent regulations before you take any trip or holiday. It’s worth noting any differences between airlines if your journey involves multiple carriers and also the type of flight ticket you have purchased as the baggage allowance can vary.
It is also important to note that restrictions for luggage number, weight and size may vary with the same airline based on the class of service you select. First and Business Class ticket holders may have different restrictions than Economy Class travelers.
Luggage exceeding maximum restrictions may require expensive overage fees, frustrating and hurried re-packing at the ticket counter, or even risk being left behind. On the Domestic front, many carriers require Checked Baggage not exceeding a weight of 15 kgs per person in the Economy class. Only one piece of hand baggage per person is permitted. Airlines revise luggage policies frequently and often without notice; therefore, it is advisable to check with the Airlines beforehand about it.
It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance and to cover any unforeseen incidents. It is also advisable to insure the valuable against loss and theft. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.
Your safety and health are essential, especially if you want to enjoy your trip to the fullest. This is why you need to get the right advice-based on your medical history, duration and season of travel. Anyone travelling overseas should visit their doctor or travel health clinic to find out what vaccinations they need.
Vaccinations are not mandatory but you may be required to provide proof of vaccination against certain diseases in order to enter the country. These requirements are subject to frequent change as outbreaks occur and subside in different areas, and it is therefore crucial that you obtain the very latest information on entry requirements as you prepare for your journey.
VISITING RESTRICTED AREAS
A person visiting India requires, in addition to an entry visa, special permits to visit certain areas of across the country. The North Eastern Frontier states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh are out of bound for foreign nationals. Travellers, who intend to visit the restricted areas, must apply for a permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs, at least four weeks in advance.
Indian trains range from Passenger trains that stop at all stations to Mail / Express / Superfast trains which stop only at major stations. Apart from these there are specialized trains with better facilities which run faster such as Rajdhani / Duronto / Shatabdi / Jan-Shatabdi. Recently a few ‘No-frills’ air-conditioned trains have also been introduced by Indian Railways for the general masses which are called Garib Rath and Yuva.
We recommend that you travel in trains having air conditioned coaches in them, for convenience and comfort. Air-conditioned coaches have four classes – 3 Tier AC; 2 Tier AC, and 1st class AC, (suitable for overnight travel). You can travel in AC Chair Car or Executive Class for travel, which commences and terminates on the same day, which are available in Shatabdi or Jan-Shatabdi trains.
India doesn’t have four seasons like much of the world. Instead, there are six. In addition to the four you already know, India has monsoon season, called Varsha (July and August) and pre-winter, called Hamanta (November and December).
The actual weather depends where you’re visiting, since the country is so climatically diverse, but here are a few general weather guidelines to help shape your India packing list.
We suggest you select a wardrobe that is adaptable and allows for layering. Plain cotton or cotton and synthetic blend clothing is the most practical and is the coolest in summer. It is best to avoid synthetic fabrics that do not “breathe”. In India, delicate fabrics do not stand up well to laundering facilities except at deluxe hotels.
A hat with a wide brim will help protect you from the harsh sun. During the fall season, a collapsible umbrella comes in handy. During the winter months, sweaters and light jackets are necessary.
There are 15 major languages 544 dialects spoken in India. English is widely spoken, especially in areas that are used to tourists, though accents and grammar may vary considerably. Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country, but it also has regional variations and accents.
All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (Cash, Traveller’s Cheque or by Credit Card). The bill can be paid in Rupees, provided the visitor has a receipt to show of the currency exchange.
Major Credit Cards are accepted at larger establishments in major towns and cities. When making a purchase, we would caution you against allowing your Credit Card to be handled outside your direct visual supervision and recommend that you double check your charge-slip entries and amounts.
SOME DO’S AND DON’T
EATING – In India, people often eat with the right hand. The left hand is considered unclean and is generally not used to eat or to handle food and money.
FEET – Feet and shoes are considered dirty. It is also customary to remove your shoes when entering a private home in addition to places of worship and burial.
DRESSING SENSE – Dress modestly. Women, in particular, should avoid revealing clothing. This means no sleeveless or low cut shirts or tank tops, and no shorts especially when you visiting any religious place. Make sure your knees are covered. Indians adopt a very conservative standard of dress, particularly in rural areas. You will get more respect by dressing conservatively.
SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed at Public areas. There are stiff penalties if you get caught while smoking in public area.
GREETINGS – The Indian greeting is to put your hands together in front of your chin (as for praying) and incline your head forward, saying “Namaste”.
LANGUAGE – The official language of India is Hindi in the Devanagri script. The individual states are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are 18 official languages spoken throughout the country. English is widely spoken in India.
MAP AND PHRASE BOOK – Carry proper maps of the places proposed to visit in India so that you can easily roam around without being lost. It is advisable to carry print form of maps because internet connections are not available in rural and remote area.
RELIGIOUS PLACES – Most temples and mosques prohibit shoes inside the building and signs are sometimes posted when this is the case. Some Hindu temples do not permit non-Hindus to enter. A visitor should ask if there is any doubt and observe other visitors for guidance. In Sikh temples, called Gurdwaras, head coverings for both men and women are required (and sometimes provided). Priests in Gurdwaras also offer the visitor blessed food, which should be accepted with both hands to avoid giving offense. The food should either be eaten or given to someone else. It is customary to enter any religious place with the head slightly bowed.
STREET SCENES –You will encounter people, including children, begging on the streets. You will see street scenes which may be unusual, including animals sifting through garbage in the streets.
VISITING PLACES OF WORSHIP
While entering the religious places (e.g. Temples, Mosques, Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) in India, make sure you are not wearing shoes. This may hurt religious sentiments of people here. Leather articles of any kind (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes are forbidden to be carried into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear black clothes while visiting a Jain Temple. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.
Extraordinary patience, talent and imagination goes into the making of Indian products, whether dazzling silks, hand knotted carpets, bronze statues of Hindu gods, jewellery, shoes / sandals, handbags, men’s and women’s clothing, musical instruments or perfumes. The list is inexhaustible and the prices reasonable. Each region of the subcontinent has its own specialties. The bazaars are the places to find the best bargains, but one must be prepared to haggle.
We had done an extensive research to find out authorized sellers (and makers) of the handicraft items all over the country. We maintain a list of such shops per city. During or after the sightseeing tours our Guides and Escorts might suggest you to visit such a shop in case any particular souvenir or general shopping interests you. This suggestion is not to be construed upon as an insistence to visit such an enterprise since it is at your discretion to choose to or refuse to visit our designated shop in any city.
FOOD & DRINK
Indian food is as varied as the country itself, with every region having its own mouth-watering specialties. It therefore, does not always have to be “hot” nor can any one dish be labelled a “curry”. Most dishes with a gravy are normally called curries but are prepared with a different ‘masala’ or combination of spices containing among other things coriander, cumin, garlic, onions ginger, turmeric. To enhance the taste of curry and richness of meat dishes is called “garam masala” and is made from different combinations of a variety of spices like cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves cinnamon, bay leaves, saffron and mace.
For an Indian, a drink with a meal usually means water! Imported wines and liquors are now available reasonably easily though not in great variety. The quality of Indian wines is improving steadily and is almost of international standards. Indian beer and rum are considered excellent, while gins and vodkas are good, the Indian whisky is an acquired taste. Gujarat is the only dry state in India at present. However, foreigners visiting India can obtain liquor permits either from embassies / missions / tourist offices abroad or at a Government of India Tourist office at Bombay, Delhi, Madras or Calcutta.
Drinking water could be a problem in India, and apart from the flasks of water in the hotel rooms, tea/coffee, mineral water and bottled aerated drinks, one should use purifying tablets. If one is out sightseeing or on an excursion it may be a good idea to carry a bottle of mineral water or to consume aerated soft drinks through a straw.
Useful Phrases in Hindi:
English » Hindi
Hi or Hello » Namaste
Please » Kripaya
Thank You » Shukhriya / Dhanyavaad
Yes » Haan
No » Nahin
Where can I find » Kahan milenge
I want water » Mujhe paani chahiye
I want a ticket » Mujhe ticket chahiye
Where is the toilet » bathroom kahan hai
Are you open tomorrow » Aap kal khule hain?
Is this very far » Kya ye bahut door hai
How much is this » Ye kitne ka hai
This is too expensive » Ye bahut mehenga hai
Make this price less » Bhaav kam karo
How are you? » Aap kaise hain?
Sorry » Maaf kijiye
Ok » Theek hai
What? » Kya?
Where? » Kahan?
How? » Kaise?
When? » Kab?
Who? » Kaun?
Why? » Kyon?
I don’t understand » Mai samjha nahi
Tell me the way please » Kripya raasta bataiye
What is your name? » Aapka naam kya hai?
My name is » Mera naam …
Right » Dahine
Left » Bayen
One » Ek
Two » Do
Three » Teen
Four » Chaar
Five » Paanch
Six » Cheh
Seven » Saat
Eight » Aath
Nine » Naun
Ten » Das
One hundred » Ek sau
Two hundred » Do sau