About India

India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress during the last 70 years of its Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

India is a pictorial kaleidoscope of landscapes, opulent historical and royal cities, golden beaches, misty mountain retreats, colourful people, rich cultures and festivities. A trip to India is exceptional for the tourists, as this wonderland has always offered something new. India offers a different aspect of its personality – exotic, extravagant, elegant, and eclectic - to each traveller to the country. With this section, we aim to help you choose that particular experience which will shape your vision of the country.

Capital New Delhi
Largest city Mumbai
Official language and national language Hindi & English
Area 3,287,263 km2
Population 1,326,572,000
Currency Indian rupee (INR)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Calling code +91

Best Time to visit

The best time to visit India is from October to March. India is large with diverse weather patterns. The Himalayas stop cold winds from reaching most of India so winters remain warm and summers can get very hot. The majority of India is tropical and is affected by three main seasons; summer, winter and monsoon.

Visa

Below is the link for applying India Visa.
https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

Languages

India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by 24% of the population). India has no national language. Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government. English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language.

Religion

Hinduism - 79.8%

Islam - 14.2%

Christianity - 2.3%

Sikhism - 1.7%

Buddhism - 0.7%

Jainism - 0.4%

Others - 0.9%

Culture

Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years. During the Vedic period (c. 1700 – 500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga, and mokṣa, were established. India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions. The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement, and by Buddhist philosophy

Climate

The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons. The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane

Currency

There are approximately 92 Indian rupees to a pound and 60 to a US Dollar. Being a partially controlled currency rupees are not reality available outside India. All ports of entry in the country have a 24-hours bank exchange counter immediately after customs and immigration. Keep the encashment certificate that are given by hotels / banks when your convert foreign currency into rupees. Rupees so converted, as evidence by the encashment certificates, are deemed to be foreign exchange when paying local bills. (Some hotels and restaurants accept payment only in foreign exchange from tourists). These are also necessary for converting the Rupees into foreign currency when you return. Cash withdrawals on credit from dispensing machines should not be relied on for funds.

Healthcare

Avoid drinking tap water and taking ice in drinks. Stick to bottled water (or boiled / UV treated water available at the hotels) and ensures that the seal is opened by you / in your presence. Aerated water (bottled soft drinks) are fine. Eat moderately for the first few days. Allow your system to get used to the changes. Yogurt (Locally called “Curd “ ) is advisable for weak constitutions or after a hot curry. Indian beer, gin and rum are fine. Your may not find some ofthe local whiskey very good. Wine, if available, would generally be expensive. Check the price before ordering. Imported liquor is available but very expensive. We recommend you to carry with you a small supply of basic health care medication such as a travel sickness tablets, anti-diarrhea tablets, insect repellent, sun creams and general purpose antibiotic. Although most of these items are available in India, the security provided by brands one is used to, reassuring. We strongly recommend that all travelers are properly insured for the holiday. If you have taken your own travel insurance, please check that it includes repatriation costs

Clothing

During the day it is best to wear light, comfortable cottons with a pair of good ventilated walking shoes (Open-toed sandals let in dust and pebbles and cottons socks). For the sightseeing session you may find a good pair of sunglasses and sun-hat handy. At some of the Monuments/ temples. Mosques, It is advisable to avoid sleeveless tops and shorts skirts. Your may also be asked to remove your shoes: in such cases airline socks are useful.

Laundry

Most hotels and resort offer same days laundry service. A portable iron can be handy when pressed for time. In remote areas laundry service may not be available.

Airports

For reasons of security you may asked to remove batteries from your camera.

Shopping

India provides splendid opportunities for the shopper especially for skill and cotton, gemstones, carpets, bed linen, handicrafts in all types of medium, miniature paintings and much more. If asked our local agents will advise on where best to buy particular items. When purchasing an expensive item, always check the level of duty payable in the UK on your import. Please remember VAT is payable on all goods above the value of $145 per person, even if an item is exempt from other import duties. Most hand woven carpets used to be exempt from duty: this is no longer the case. Be prepared for the occasional pressure selling from some guides/ drivers. Although they will generally take you to respectable establishment offering reasonable quality likely that they have vested interest. If you are not interested, and if the guide/ driver is particularly insistent, do not hesitate to refuse and bring it to the attention of our associate offices/ agents in India. However, please note that we, or any of the associate offices and agents in India, are not responsible for any shopping and related problems, although we assure you of any help that we can provide.

Voltage

The electric voltage in India is 220 volts. Most English Appliances work well in India but a universal adapter is needed. Many deluxe hotels provide hair dryers but it is advisable to carry your own, if you use one regularly.

Tipping & Gifts

Tipping is common, particularly if you are happy with the service. Please note that tips are in addition to (and not the same) porter age, which unless otherwise specified, is included in your holiday price. Some suggested amounts for tipping are:

Drivers / Reps who help you with the transfers Rs. 200 - 250
Bell boy who carry your baggage to your room Rs. 100-150
Drivers / Guides for half day / Full day sightseeing trips Rs. 300 - 500
Drivers / Guides for long trips spread over many days Rs. 250 – 300
Per traveler / day

(The above amounts are mainly indicative. It is often customary to pay higher sums depending upon the quality of service.)

Waiters in restaurants (If service charge not included) 5 - 10% of billed amount. IF visiting a village a supply of pens or sweet come in handy to distribute among the curious children who may follow you but you need to be careful in case the children out number pens/ Sweets.
IF you wish to do something to charity in India, we support a couple of charitable organization/ orphanages who accepts both financial and material support (like clothes both new and old) if you are interested to do something & you have some extra luggage Spaces you may bring some clothes for this needy people., we would like be happy to take any of these organization to distribute the same yourselves . We believe this humble step towards charity.

Others

If you feel there is a problem, do have faith in our local associates bring it to their attention. It is not good idea to harbor a complaint for redress later rather than seek remedy locally. Above all, retain your sense of humor.

To do and not to do in India for travellers

India is a dream destination that is on the bucket list of many travellers for a huge variety of reasons. India caters to everyone, literally, from luxe travellers to backpackers, from spiritual seekers to fans of the great outdoors. A trip to India can life changing, it will expose you to socioeconomic issues like poverty, population explosion and homelessness on one hand but on the other side you will also experience vibrancy of colours, diversity of culture, exotic food, rich history, beautiful landscapes, warm people and much more.

To do in India

• If you are attending a function and someone is walking around putting a mark on everyone’s head, feel free to accept it. No one will think you have converted to Hinduism. It’s also fine to refuse if you are not comfortable. Non-Indian women can wear a bindi when they are out (especially if they are attending a function like a wedding), but it is best to only wear it with Indian clothes.

• If you are attending a puja, just stand politely. After the puja is finished, you may be offered some food or someone may want to make a mark on your forehead. Both of these are fine for you to accept or reject as you are comfortable, but your Indian friend would prefer you accept. Also, since the home is seen as a kind of temple, remember to take off your shoes when entering temples.

• Adopting a special diet Hindus are very accepting of others eating meat, but it will help build rapport if you order vegetarian when you eat with them, especially if you mention the benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle. If you are hosting a Hindu for a meal, check if they are vegetarian before preparing the menu. Eggs, fish, and things cooked in chicken broth are not considered vegetarian.

• You are welcome to visit a temple, but it is best to do it along with your Hindu friend. Some temples do not allow foreigners into certain places, so be respectful and check before doing anything like taking a picture. When someone goes for a pilgrimage, they will often bring back some sweets from that place. Make sure you eat them as it is considered a service to you that they have done this.

Not to do in India

• DO NOT be offended by intrusive questions: *It isn’t the most comforting situation when someone randomly pops up a question about impending marriage with your travel partner. In India, asking people about their jobs, income or even family matters is considered a “bonding” exercise. You may find it probing and intrusive back home but consider it to be a ice-breaker here and play along. You may choose to be discreet or silent about the question, but do not get offended as it is not the intention

• DO NOT wear skimpy clothing:* Indians are conservative by nature and customs are still given priority over comfort. It doesn’t matter, if it’s sweltering hot outside, if women or men (for that matter) have not much to cover them, they will be stared at. Bikinis have found their way to the beaches of Goa and metro cities are gradually opening up to the right to dress, however these are only a handful of places and it is always better to take precautionary measures. If you are “dressed up” in short or tight clothes, make sure you are travelling in a group of trusted people at all times, better safe than sorry right?

• DO NOT strike up religious/political conversations:* Do not be fooled by the countless Indians you encounter indulging in the same, India may seem united and secular but there are many cracks and crevices and it is best you avoid discussing sensitive topics like Kashmir, religious divide and political affiliation while in India, chances are you’ll either enrage someone, or get a propaganda like response in an attempt to sway your opinion.

• DO NOT display affection publicly:* India is again, slowly opening up to this, but take your risk and indulge in PDA, and as a result you would have made people around you angry to the point that they blame your culture, upbringing and what not. In India, some things are best done behind closed doors, remember that. There are a few places where even holding your partner’s hand is unacceptable.

• DO NOT assume 2 men are gay if they are holding hands:* India still is a somewhat homophobic society and yet you will find men holding hands, this is very evident but it isn’t a sign of their sexual orientation, it is a sign of their friendship. While belonging to the LGBT community is okay and a personal choice, in India, it is a taboo that is slowly being uprooted. Assuming someone is gay if they held another person’s hand is like offending them

• DO NOT think of beef when you see a cow. (You will see many):* Cows are sacred to Hindus, and Muslims don’t like pigs. You are not going to be seen positively if you say you eat beef, typical reactions range from shock, to disgust, to anger. Also note that many restaurants in India are vegetarian, pescetarian or may offer chicken. A few offer steak and the like, but it is almost always buffalo meat and not cow meat

• DO NOT trust people easily:* Like anywhere else in the world, India has it’s fair share of trustworthy people and those who can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, foreigners with open minds and hearts have had a bad time because they trusted the wrong person. Embrace the inner cynic in you when you come here, people will overcharge you for pretty much everything, you may be duped into something like calling a redstone college the Red Fort or even be tricked into going to unsafe places. You are going to be better off if you do your research, travel in a group or at least think twice when you are approached by the overly friendly person. They may be genuine and you will come to know in time, but con men are wandering about everywhere and foreign skin is bait.

• DO NOT drink tap water: *Where tap water is safe, like 5-star hotels and the like, it will be explicitly stated. Otherwise, you are safest sticking to bottled water. Be careful though, buy bottled water only from a stall or an established store and not from a hawker on the street. Brands trusted here are Aquafina, Kinley, Bisleri, Himalayan and Oxyrich

• DO NOT give “new-age” gifts:* In India, a vast society of so many different cultures, you never know when you offend someone. Alcohol as a gift should be used only when you know the person consumes it, similarly, white flowers are not to be gifted because they are used at funerals in India. Here, your best bet is taking a box of sweets or something related to your culture

• It is generally considered as good manners to remove shoes and sandals before you enter someone's temples. In some temples, people are not allowed to enter into holy areas with their shirts on.

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