|A Division of ||Travel Spirit||International Pvt. Ltd.|
For foreigners, visiting India can be a thrilling experience , but they
also need to be well prepared for it.Dont be beset with fears of
living conditions in India. Hotels, especially the 4 and 5-star ones, are of
international standard and the comForts and cuisine they provide are as good
as any you can find anywhere in the world. The deluxe and Palaces hotels are
a world apart, each unique. The 3-star hotels are there for the medium
budget traveller, and 1 and 2-star hotels, Travellers Lodges, Tourist
Bungalows, Holiday Resorts. Do make all tour arrangements in advance,
especially between the months of October and March(the high tourist season)
and in May-June, the Indian tourist season. When planning your tour , ask
your Agent to include an Indian fair or festival in your itinerary.
Witnessing the light and gaiety of these celebrations is, you will find, a
great experience. Here are some travel tips to keep in mind.
Except for nationals of Bhutan and Nepal, all foreigners need to possess a
valid Passport and obtain a Visa for visiting India. A Tourist Visa is valid
for 6 months from the date of issue and is usually a 90-day visa. A Tourist
Visa does not permit the holder to do business or academic or research work
in India. Extension of tourist visa may be granted by the Foreign
Registration Officer. Tourist staying for more than 90 days have to register
themselves with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the
Superintendent of Police of the district within a period of one week from
their arrival. They also have to report changes of address and any intended
absence from the given address for 15 days or more.
Foreigners in India need to get special permits to visit various restricted
and protected areas in some states.
Foreign currency above US$ 10000 brought into the country need to be
declared in a Currency Declaration Form. Currency should be changed only at
the authorised dealers.Airports, most banks and many hotels fall under this
category.They will issue an encashment certificate which is later required
to reconvert local currency into foreign currency. Local currency cannot be
legally be taken out of the country due to exchange regulations. Banks at
International Airports, as well as some authorised money changers, are open
24 hours a day. Travellers Cheques in the local currency are a safer option
than cash. Credit cards like Visa and Master cards, as well as Amercian
Express and Diners, are accepted in many establishments in the major towns
and cities. All foreign nationals have to pay their hotel bills in foreign
currency only, in cash or by travellers cheques. (However Indian rupees are
accepted if supported by proof of certificate of encashment in India of
foreign currency or travellers cheques).
In the cities, offices are generally open from about 9.30am to 5.30pm on
weekdays. Saturdays May be off, half-day or full worKing days. Banks are
open to the public from 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. on weekdays and 10:00a.m. to
12:00p.m. on Saturdays. Shops open - in theory - at 9.30a.m., but often are
not really active till an hour or so later.Closing time is usually 7.00p.m.
Insome shopping complexes there is also a lunch break for some time between
2.30p.m. to 3.30p.m. Unlike offices, shops do not invariably close on
Sundays. Different areas are closed on different days of the week. The banks
in these areas also observe the same day off
Typhoid vaccination, Polio booster and anti-Tetanus are advisable before
coming to India. No vaccinations are essential for foreign tourists entering
India, except Yellow Fever vaccination for tourists coming from African or
South American countries. Tourist are requested to get themselves vaccinated
against Hebetates - B & C. If you have a weak stomach, stick to mineral
water, bottled drinks, coffee, tea, beer or wine during meals. Tap water is
not always chlorinated. Bring your own medicines, as all medicines in India
are locally manufactured and you may not find the same brand names.(The
chemist can always advise you, however , on the best substitute.) There are
good doctors and chemist shops(also called Pharmacies) every where. Ask your
hotel to recommend a doctor if ever you need one.
Food & Drink
Indian cuisine is a part of the Indian Culture and, as such, it should be
sampled. But watch out for the especially spicy dishes. Becareful that you
eat non-vegetarian dishes only at good restaurants, as the quality can be
dubious at the small, cheap establishments. Beef is not generally eaten in
India.Pork, too, is rarely eaten. Curd or yoghurt is an effective and
natural aid to digestion. It is advisable to stick to only cooked food and
to eat fresh fruits whose skin you can peel off or remove, especially if you
have a queasy stomach.
There are various dry days in the year, when liquor cannot be purchased by
Indian nationals. However, foreign nationals can purchase liquor on proof of
nationality. A few Indian states are completely dry.
At hotels and restaurants, tipping is the norm.About 10% of the bill is
usually acceptable.It is not mandatory to tip cab drivers. Porters are
usually tipped at the end of your stay,though tipping at the beginning may
result in a higher standard of service. If you are in a big group and the
food bill is high , the tip on the total can come down to 5%
India is a shoppers dream. Shopping is recommended from Govt. Emporia
and from suggested shops on the list of the Department of Tourism. All these
shops have fixed prices. Information on these shops can be obtained from
your Agent.(Most of large stores will ship your purchases for though , for
convenience and to avoid postal delays, it is advisable to carry your
shopping with you or to book it as unaccompanied baggage). In small shops,
and in small towns and cities, bargaining is a standard practise,and is
enjoyed by all concerned. Do not crowd to many places in your itinerary.Make
sure that you get a free half-day at every major centre for shopping or to
explore and wander around on your own.While Shopping avoid touts and
Mosques and Temples are not always open to foreigners or women.Dress codes
for religious places can include covering your head, being barefoot, etc. If
travelling in scorching summer heat, remember to drink enough water and use
Sunglasses and a wide rimmed hat. Photography is not always permissible and
at many places is permitted only at a fee. There is usually a higher fee for
video cameras. Museums and monuments are usually closed one day in a week.
Photography at airports is prohibited.
India is the ultimate destination of the tourist in search of adventure.
Mountaineering, trekking and rock climbing, ballooning and hang-gliding,
camel treks and desert safaris, white-water running and river exploration
are some of the exciting possibilities. For the tourist in search of fun or
sports holiday, there is skiing, scuba diving and underwater coral viewing,
angling, wild life and bird viewing. For the sportsman there is golf,
tennis, badminton, riding, polo, swimming and motor rallies etc. Tourist who
are in search of Sun, sea and surf, there are Beaches on the western &
eastern coasts. The larger ones provides water sports and an unforgettable
holiday in the Sun.
The greatest adventure of all is scaling the Himalayan peaks. These mighty
mountains stretching across the northern borders of India, from west to
east, have hundreds of peaks, many yot unscales, inviting the intrepid
mountaineer. The states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim offer
bases for mountaineering expeditions. For information and arrangements you
are requested to contact with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (Benito
Juarez Road, New Delhi-110021 Phone # ). Your agent will make all the
arrangements including transport, food, porters, camping equipments etc. and
will also process and clear all formalities. The IMF will assist in liaising
with the Indian Air Force (for helicopters) in case of accidents, in
conveying weather forecasts to the expeditions etc. The best season for
mountaineering is from May to October
Mugging is not a common crime in India, but tourist should guard against
pick-pocketing , bag-snatching and eve-teasing. A few precautions should be
sufficient to ensure your safety.Always keep the photocopy of the Passport
and visa safe. Carry original with you while travelling around. In case you
need to make a report to the police, obtain a copy of the First Information
Report(FIR) and keep it with you. Foreigners can always get in touch with
your respected Embassy or High Commission in New Delhi, if they need help.
Foreigners are requested to be careful while purchasing Railway or Air
tickets from unauthorised agents. They are requested to get their tickets
from Travelling Agents who are recognised by the Govt. of India and who is
member of IATA and other recognised Institutions.
The import of certain articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold
coins, gold and silver bullion and silver coins not in current use. The law
provides heavy penalties for infringement of this restriction. The export of
antiquities and art objects more than 100 years old from India is banned.
Skins of all animals, snakes etc. and the articles made thereof used or
unused , as personal baggage, whether accompanied or unaccompanied are
Export of Articles
Re-export of all articles, in full, brought into India temporarily with the
permission of custom authorities. The following articles can be exported
without any export trade control restrictions:
a) All articles including travel souvenirs brought in from outside the
country by the tourist.
b) Souvenirs including Indian silk, wool, artware etc.
c) Arms & ammunition for personal use.
d) Articles made of peacock feathers in reasonable quantities.
e) Gold Jewellery: Any person not ordinarily resident in India may take out
from India Jewellery made mainly or wholly of gold without limit provided
that the Jewellery was previously brought by him into India from abroad,
with the permission of the Customs authorities. Such a person may also take
at any one time out of India, Jewellery made, mainly or wholly of gold up to
Rs. 2,000/- in value purchased by him in India. INCOME-TAX CLEARANCE:
All visitors who are not domiciled in India are exempted from income-tax
clearance certificates at the time of leaving the country provided that the
total period spent in India does not exceed 90 days and that they were not
engaged in gainful employment. All other visitors are required to obtain an
income-tax clearance exemption certificate from the Foreign Section of the
Income Tax Department in Delhi, Mumbai(Bombay), Calcutta or Chennai(Madras).