Citizens of all countries, except Nepal and Bhutan, require a valid national passport or valid travel documents and a valid visa granted by Missions abroad for entering India. Nepalese or Bhutanese citizens need no passport or visa but should carry suitable documents for their identification when proceeding from their respective countries.
For visitors to the country, visas are available from the Indian missions in each country. Six month multiple-entry visas are now issued to most nationals regardless of the intended duration of stay. Generally a tourist visa is given for 6 months while a business visa can be issued for one or more year with multiple entries. Transit visas are issued for a maximum period of 15-days with single/double entry facilities to bonafide transit passengers only. Conference visas are issued for attending conferences, seminars, or meetings in India. A letter of invitation from the organizer of the conference needs to be submitted along with the visa application.
Do's and Doníts
- All foreign nationals have to pay their hotel bills in foreign currency only, in cash, travelersí checks or credit cards. (However, Indian rupees are accepted if supported by proof of certificate of encashment in India of foreign currency or travelersí checks).
- Concessional- tickets like Indrail Pass, Youth fares, Discover India Fares and Air Fares are to be paid for in foreign exchange only.
- Do not purchase air/ rail/ bus tickets through strangers or unauthorized travel agents/ tour operators.
- Do not hire any type of transportation from unlicensed or unapproved operators. Leave this to us to organize. Self- drive cars are available for hire from recognized International firms.
- While shopping, sightseeing or going to and from transportation terminals avoid touts and brokers. Be aware of unscrupulous shopkeepers, if you feel that you are being abused do not hesitate to consult the proper authorities.
- Taxi and auto-rickshaws fares keep changing, therefore, they do not always conform to readings on meters. To avoid confusion, insist on seeing the latest fare chart available with taxi/ auto-rickshaw drivers and pay accordingly. Taxis and auto-rickshaws do not have meters in all cities, but where they do, insist on the meter being flagged in your presence. Incase the driver refuses to cooperate, seek the assistance of a policeman. Where there are no meters, ask assistance at your hotel and agree on the tax fare in advance.
- The dry summer heat can drain you completely. Drink lots of water and fluids. The sun is strong. Remember to use sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Wear sunglasses to screen out harmful rays.
The currency is the Indian Rupee, approximate value being US$ 1.00=INR 45.00 ( rate of exchange is subject to change)
Credit cards are widely accepted in Indian cities and larger towns, particularly American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Credit cards can also be used to get cash advances in rupees.
Delhi observes numerous national and religious holidays; in such cases the commercial places are closed. Most government and private banks are open weekdays 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM and on Saturdays 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon, they are closed on government holidays. The international airport and some luxury hotels have 24-hour money-changing facilities.
The major offices of American Express that offer check-cashing facilities also have extended hours. Most of the five star deluxe hotels will also change money for their guests. Post offices are open Monday-Friday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM and are closed on government holidays and Sundays. Most museums are closed on Mondays and site museums (near archaeological monuments) are normally closed on Fridays. Museums are also closed on government holidays. Business hours of market places, shops, bazaars vary from place to place.
Removing shoes is a must before entering a shrine with all sects. Drinking alcoholic beverages on the premises is not permissible. Some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises. Women should always be properly dressed and should cover their head before entering a Sikh gurudwara. When you enter a mosque, you are supposed to step right foot first into the courtyard. In some Hindu and Jain temples all leather products inside a shrine like shoes, belts, handbags, camera cases etc. are prohibited. Many temples also expect visitors to wash their hands and feet under a tap or tank available there before entering. No visitor in a Gurudwara should keep his feet pointing towards the Holy Book or step over any one sitting in prayer or meditation.
Food and drink
India being a country of all religions and castes, boasts not one or two but about as many cuisines as the number of communities. One can broadly categorise the foods of India into North Indian and South Indian for the purpose of simplicity. But that is a simplistic categorisation, youíll realise, for even within every state in India one finds great culinary variation.
Drink only bottled water. Buy it only from respectable or known outlets. In restaurants insist that they bring a sealed bottle to your table. Try Indian Beer - it is quite drinkable. Beef is not served in India. Pork is also not easily available. Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants. The meat in cheaper and smaller places is generally of dubious quality. Vegetarian food is easily available, cheap, and of excellent quality. Curd or yoghurt is served with most meals. It is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food. As far as possible, avoid drinking any kind of water or juices from roadside carts and vendors.