All non-residents require visas for India, which must be obtained prior to departure. Tourist visas are usually valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Passports must have at least 2 blank pages and be valid for 6 months after your return from India. Two passport photographs are also required at the time of application. In case you are travelling to neighboring country and are coming back to India after that visit again, ensure you have double entry visas.
Recommended vaccinations are Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Hepatitis. You may also need to take anti-malarial tablets. Please consult your doctor or a travel clinic for the latest medical advice at least one month prior to your departure. For advice on vaccination and immunizations you may please visit www.masta.org
Adequate travel insurance is vital. Mountain and other adventure sports enthusiasts should have insurance that covers trekking, climbing and mountain biking. Most insurance offered by credit cards does not provide sufficient cover. Please check before you travel that you are fully covered.
Modesty in dress is an important aspect of Indian life and, away from beaches, one should respect the local customs. This is especially important when visiting temples and religious sites, where trousers or full-length skirts should be worn and shoulders should be covered and in Sikh temples, your head must also be covered. Shoes that can be slipped on and off easily are also very useful as they must always be removed at all religious sites. On game drives clothes should be in muted jungle shades of beige, brown and green. A wind proof jacket over layers and even a woolen hat may be required on early morning drives since the open vehicles can be rather chilly in the early morning and at dusk - even in the warmer months. Formal clothes are not necessary but something elegant is always appreciated. For general day wear, we recommend light cottons and loose clothing, with jumpers or fleeces and sturdy shoes for those travelling to hill stations and desert locations. In many hotels, restaurants and trains, the air conditioning can be rather chilly, a light jumper or pashmina is very handy in these situations.
India's currency is 'Rupee', abbreviated as 'Rs'. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 50 Paise & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.
You can exchange money at international airports through banks and approved money changers, where 24-hours exchange facilities are available.
You can also change money at nationalized banks and other banks in the country. You will find international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hours ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.
Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1600 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1200 hrs on Saturdays. However, you may find it easier to change your money at the city hotels where you are staying. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travelers cheques particularly in small towns.
Exchange money only through authorized banks or money changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India.
Travelers Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Major credit cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc are generally accepted by large establishments, including hotels, shops and airlines.
: All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler's Cheques or even by Credit Cards). They can also be paid in rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.
It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills: whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, tip of about 10% of the bill is acceptable.
In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters available from most electrical stores.
The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country - any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.
Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:
Removing one's shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras ( Sikh Temple ) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted and remember that shoulders and knees must be covered.
It is always advisable to obtain travel insurance from the companies of repute to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.