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Special New Year Packages
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Taj with Mystic South India
Diversity of Ladakh
Buddha on Sight
Call of Dalai Lama
Discover South India
Gangotri Yamunotri Yatra
Excursion of Chennai
Wonders of Gujarat
Honeymoon in Kerala
Golden Triangle Tour
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Honeymoon in White Sand
Legacy of India
Moon Land Ladakh
Orientation tour of India
Rajasthan Best Tour
Rajasthan Holidays Tour
Tamilnadu & Kerala Temple
Temple Tour & Back Waters
Darvidian Tour
Temples of South India
World Heritage Tour
Trail of Buddha
Treasured of Deccan
Vally of Gods
Birding in Corbett National Park
Wild Life tour
Travel to Goa
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Travel to Banglore
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Hotels In India
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Tips to India
Climate & Weather
Indian Currency
Money Changer & ATM
Visa Formalities & Customs
Special Permits
Custom Rules
Things to Remember
Do's & Dont's
Social Decoram
Smart Shopping
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                              Tips to India

Official Name : Bharat Ghantantar (Hindi), Republic of India (English)
Capital : New Delhi
Population : 1, 027, 015, 247 (2001 Census)
Area : 3.3 million square kilometers
Languages : India has two Central administrative languages. They are English (associate official) and Hindi (in the Devanagiri script). The Indian Constitution also officially recognizes 22 regional languages.
Major Religions : Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Jew
National Currency : Rupee

Climate and Weather
India is a very large country with varying climatic conditions in different parts of the country. The travelers to India can always find a suitable place as per their choice of climate. If one is traveling during the summer months, the Northern India is considered to be pleasant. Besides this, the Southern India has a number of hill stations and most certainly the mountains of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North Uttar Pradesh are ideal to escape from the scorching heat of the summers. The famous hill resorts of the South like Kodai Kanal, Ootacamund and Croog, beside Darjeeling, Sikkim are recommended in summer.

India is characterized by all four seasons namely Winter, Summer, Monsoon and Autumn. Winter season falls between the months of November and March and are bright and pleasant, with snowfall in the northern hills. Summer season lies between the months of April and June in most regions of the country, and it is during this time that one can escape from the severe summer heat and go to the various summer resorts in the country. During the monsoon, rainfall is heavy along the west coast between June and September, and along the east coast between mid-October and December.     

Indian Currency

India's currency is the Rupee whose abbreviated form is Rs.

One Rupee is equal to hundred paise. Notes are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. (Denominations less than Rs. 10 bill are rare.)

Coins of denomination of below 20 paisa are not in circulation these days. 25 and 50, paisa as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees coins are in circulation.

Do not accept torn or disfigured notes. In case you do get torn notes you can change them at the Reserve Bank of India or large branches of other big banks.

Working hours and holidays
The working hours in the Indian government offices is generally between 9 a:m to 5 p:m.

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Money Changing, ATM Facilities and Credit Cards

With the computerization and the entry of private and international banks, the Indian banks have come at par with the international standards. The services offered by the banks in India are excellent and are in fact becoming better by the day except for the fact that the smaller cities still lack the banking options available in the metros like on-line banking and ATMs.

It will be worthwhile to remember that banking hours are usually from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday and from 10 am to 12 noon on Saturdays. Bank holidays vary though it is unlikely that a bank will be closed for longer than two days in a row.

Most private and international banks have made "changing money process" in India a less tedious process today when it can be done in few minutes now. Since banks in small tourist destinations are wary of travelers' cheques, try to change as much of your money as possible from moneychangers at the airport or authorized places. There is an advice fir the travelers to preserve all your exchange receipts (encashment certificates) since they would be required for visa extensions and other formalities, as well as when you want to convert Indian rupees to US dollars, the Euro, or British Pound sterling at the end of your trip. An authorized moneychanger is the right choice to ensure the safety of your transaction.

All the major banks in the country provide the ATM or Anytime Money facility. This further adds to the convenience of the travelers to India who can withdraw a desirable amount of money anytime and anywhere. Some of the important banks in the country are Standard Chartered, HDFC, ICICI, UTI and many more.

Most of the Credit cards are accepted at all major outlets and business establishments

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Indian shopping areas have always been attracting the shoppers from all around the world. You can find almost all types of items from pin to ship building items in the markets of India. Go to any part of this vast and vibrant country and you will be offered with varied types of items reflecting the culture and tradition of that region.

In India the best buying items are - textiles, handicraft items, handloom items, stone carved items, marble made items, jewellery, both precious and semi precious stones, stone jewellery, bamboo & cane made items and furnitures, leather products, etc.

The major metropolises are the best places to search for your choice of items, as they showcases almost all types of items in their state emporiums

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Smart Shopping
Bargaining is the norm in local bazaars selling products without a written price. Resist the urge to buy without comparing prices from shops selling similar stuff.
Be wary of roadside peddlers trying to sell you semi-precious and precious gems and jewelry. Visit state emporia and the Central Cottage Industries Emporia (most major cities have one) for fixed prices and a fair idea of the cost with a regular dealer.
Trading in ivory, fur, animal skins, antiquities and the like is illegal. If you must have it, obtain a certificate of legitimate sale and permission for export before leaving the country.

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Visa Formalities And Customs
A Visa gives permission to the person who wishes to stay in a country for a specific period of time to fulfill a specific motive. It is usually attached or stamped in the individual passport. All travellers to India (except citizens of India going Nepal and vice versa) must possess visas.

Tourist visas are normally available for a duration of three months to six months for multiple entries (important for side trips to Nepal and other countries). Other options include a one-year student visa, journalist visa or business visa, or five years visa for non-resident Indians. While applying for a visa one should make sure that the passport is valid for 6 months beyond the date of intended return journey.

If one applies for a visa through the Indian embassy in one's resident country then the process becomes much faster. An application form giving one's current passport with at least two passport size photographs is required. No cash or cheques are accepted.

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Special Permits
Certain regions of India require a special permit in addition to an Indian visa. Permits are issued by Indian High Commissions and Embassy of India abroad, by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi, or by Foreigner's Registration Offices (FRRO's) in Indian cities.

These areas include Northeast India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

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Visitors are supposed to make a baggage declaration and foreign currency (exceeding US$10,000/ -) or equivalent on their possession in the Disembarkation Card. This has to be handed over to the custom officer on arrival.

Custom Rules
On arrival at the airport two channels have been provided for the smooth passage of the tourists. One is green channel, meant for passengers not having any of the dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage. A passenger with dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high-value articles (to be entered on the Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form), the red channel is there at service.

Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE)
The Dutiable articles, unaccompanied baggage, or high-value articles carried along with the passenger must be entered on a Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE). These articles must be re-exported at the time of departure. A failure to re-export anything listed on the TBRE becomes a payable duty levied for each missing item.

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Cash, bank notes, and travelers' cheques up to US $10,000 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. If the amount exceeds the given limit then the passenger has to disclose in the Currency Declaration Form, the amount of foreign currency or travelers' cheques brought by him at the time of arrival. If done then there are no restrictions. This will not only enable him to exchange the currency brought in, but also to take the remaining currency way to home on departure. Any money in the form of travelers' cheques, drafts, bills, cheques, etc., in convertible currencies that tourists wish to convert into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized moneychangers and banks.

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Custom Duties
The following duty-free possessions are permissible: clothes and jewelry, cameras and up to five rolls of film, handicam, binoculars, a portable musical instrument, a radio or portable tape recorder, laptop, a tent and camping equipment, fishing rod, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, .95 liters of liquor, and gifts not exceeding total value of Rs. 8000/-. (approx US$170/-)

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Things to Remember
Please jot down the correct declaration of your baggage. If your baggage is within free allowance limits, walk through the Green Channel.

Passengers caught red-handed with dutiable/prohibited goods in the Green Channel are liable to prosecution/penalty and confiscation of goods, bringing contrabands to India is prohibited.

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Do's & Don'ts
Do carry attested photocopies of your travel documents and keep the originals in a safely locked baggage.
Do fill up a Currency Declaration Form along and a Disembarkation Card besides making an oral declaration of the luggage you are carrying.
Do not smoke in public places.
Do not give money to beggars.

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Getting Around and About
Most cities have means of efficient local transportation such as taxis, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and buses. Private cabs can also be hired.
It is important to carry an International Driving License if you wish to drive on your own.
For inter-city and inter-state transport you can avail services of Indian Railways and domestic airlines. Buses, taxis and cabs also ferry people across cities and states

Getting In and Out
To explore India, you need a valid passport and visa to India. Carry them at all times while enjoying a vacation in India. Notify your country's embassy or consulate in case your passport is stolen or lost.
One needs additional permits to go to certain destinations in India such as Andaman Islands, Gujarat, Ladakh, Kerala, and more. Check with your travel agent or embassy while planning your visit.
15-Day visa extensions are granted under exceptional circumstances. If you intend to stay longer than 3 months on non-tourist visas there is a registration requirement. This registration makes the bearer eligible for domestic ticket prices.

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Social Decorum
Public display of affection is not appreciated and neither is public nudity unless perhaps one is at a beach.
One is expected to cover the head before entering a religious place such as a temple or mosque.
Ask for permission before clicking pictures of women and religious complexes. Some places charge for taking pictures while it is prohibited at a few places as well.

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India is a land of a variety of linguistic communities, each of which shares a common language and culture. Though there could be fifteen principal languages there are hundreds of thousands dialects that add to the vividness of the country.

18 languages are officially recognized in India of which Sanskrit and Tamil share a long history of more than 5,000 and 3,000 years respectively. The population of people speaking each language varies drastically. For example Hindi has 250 million speakers, while Andamanese is spoken by relatively fewer people.

Tribal or Aboriginal language speaking population in India may be more than some of the European languages. For instance Bhili and Santali both tribal languages have more than 4 million speakers. The vividness can be ascertained by the fact that schools in India teach more than 50 different languages; there are Films in 15 languages, Newspapers in 90 or more languages and radio programmes in 71 languages!

Indian languages come from four distinct families, which are: Indo-European, Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of Indian population uses Indo-European and Dravidian languages. The language families divide India geographically too.

Indo-European languages dominate the northern and central India while in south India; mainly languages of Dravidian origin are spoken. In eastern India languages of Mon-Khmer group is popular. Sino Tibetan languages are spoken in the northern Himalayas and close to Burmese border. In terms of percentage, 75% of Indian population speaks languages of Indo-European family, 23% speak languages of Dravidian origin and about 2% of the population speaks Mon-Khmer languages and Sino-Tibetan languages.

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