India is a vast country stretching from the frozen summits of Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala, incomparable range of landscapes, culture and people. The lifestyle and culture is totally different from most of the countries. It's hardly surprising that this country has been dubbed the worlds most multidimensional. India promises to be a place you’ll never forget. The following information is a genuine effort on our part to make your stay as pleasant as possible, but we regret we cannot accept any responsibility for any changes to the advice or information given.
All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa obtained from an Indian Mission or Post abroad.
All Individual visa seekers are requested to apply for the Indian Visa through Online application link , in order to make an application for getting the Indian visa.
The duly signed physical copy of the application form completed in all respect and submitted successfully, is to be submitted at the concerned Indian Visa Application Center (IVAC) or directly to Indian Mission/ Post, on the scheduled date of interview along with the requisite supporting documents. The instructions for filling the form and scheduling the appointment can be seen at Instructions for Regular Visa Application. Important technical information for filling online Indian visa application can be referred at Technical Instructions.
The status of Visa Application can be seen on the link for Visa Enquiry. The applicants are also requested to visit website of the Indian Mission concerned for detailed information about Indian visa.
E-Tourist Visa to India is also avalaible for the nationals of many countries. Following are eligible for E- Tourist Visa :
- International Travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation , sight seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.
- Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
- International Travellers should have return ticket or onward journey ticket, with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India.
- International Travellers having Pakistani Passport or Pakistani origin may please apply for regular Visa at Indian Mission.
- Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders.
- Not available to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport.
Governement of India issues the following visas: Business Visa, Conference Visa, Diplomatic Visa, Employment Visa, Emergency Visa, Entry Visa, Journalist Visa, Medical Visa, Missionaries Visa, Permit to re-enter within 2 months, Research Visa, Student Visa, Tourist Visa, Transit Visa. Please follow the link for details on Visa Provision and supporting documents.
Climate and Clothing
India is a vast country with complex seasonal and geographical variations in climate. In general, in the months of November - February the climate in North India is pleasant and cold, with daytime temperatures on average in the range of 16 – 30 degrees centigrade.
If you want to keep your cool in the Indian sun, a good supply of cotton clothing is essential along with a comfortable pair of open sandals. An effective pair of sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat will protect you against the strong rays, and it is advisable to use a high factor sun cream. For visits to the Game Parks, we recommend wearing heavier clothing during the winter months of November to February. Khakis, browns or olive greens are best for blending into the environment, binoculars are also highly recommended.
Visit to holy places
When visiting places of worship and mausoleums there are certain religious customs to be observed. As a token of respect, it is customary to remove your footwear before entering all temples (a pair of light socks is useful if you prefer not to go barefoot), and dress should be fairly conservative, i.e. shorts are not really acceptable.
When you enter a mosque, step your right foot first into the courtyard. It is the ‘right’ thing to do. Since most Hindu and Jains are veggies, it isn’t surprising that leather products like shoes, belts, handbags, camera cases etc. are prohibited. Some temples prohibit photography in the main hall and the inner sanctum. Usually, signboards announce this. Be prudent and ask if there are no such indications. Some temples and other monuments levy a fee for photography.
Visiting India, there is much to see, smell, sense and naturally there is a photo to be taken at every possible corner. India has big, exciting and crowded markets. Most of the Indians are friendly and hospitable. Almost all the city dwellers understand and speak in English, even you will find most of the hoardings, signages etc written in English.
It is obvious that beggars will be attracted to tour parties but we suggest not to give them as this will only enhance their practice.
Photography could be an issue at some places. For places of military importance like railway stations, bridges, airports, defense installations and sensitive border regions, you would require to seek permission from the authorities concerned. A few wild life sanctuaries levy a much higher fee. The Archaeological Survey of India issues special permits for shooting at monuments with tripods and artificial lights. Yet, Indians love posing for a picture. But, in some traditional societies, take care before focusing your lens on women.
India is a shopper's paradise with the promise of some excellent buys! However, as a measure of precaution, always check on the levels of import duty levied for items that you wish to purchase. Many local shopkeepers may claim that there is no duty levied, but this could be incorrect information. If you are planning major shopping, please seek information and advice from customs authorities before departing on your tour. When shopping for expensive items such as precious stones, carpets etc, the shopkeepers may guarantee the authenticity of the item, but expert knowledge is essential to ascertain their true value.
For general shopping we recommend the Government Emporiums, and the shops in the hotels. There the prices are fixed and the quality is certified. 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. 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.
Note : Please note that Jubilant Travel cannot be held responsible for any purchase that you make, nor can we take up any correspondence on your behalf if you are not satisfied with your purchases or if goods are not delivered on time.
Although there are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to India. But it is advisable to get all the routine vaccinations when travelling to any place. Some of these vaccinations are DPT, MMR, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever. There is no risk of yellow fever in India. The government of India requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US.
The currency used in India is the rupee.1 Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Rupees are available in the following denominations: Notes: Rs 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000. Coins: Rs 1, 2, 5, 10.
Strictly speaking, you can neither import nor export Indian currency, but you can get some at the airport straight away to at least get you transport to your accommodation. There are Authorized Foreign Exchange dealers in most hotels, big cities, and banks will also change your currency. Always keep your receipts, as you will need them at the end of your trip if you wish to convert your rupees back to your own currency.
A good way of getting your travellers currency is via an ATM but beware of hidden bank charges, both from the bank providing the ATM and the card-issuing bank - you also do not know what exchange rate you are getting. In the UK, it is worth checking charges with your bank as fees differ.As with any country, it is not a good idea to rely solely on taking your bank card as, if this gets lost or stolen, you could be stuck without funds far from home.
Travel insurance tends to insure you only for £200-worth of lost currency so it is safer to take the rest in travelers cheques, as these are insured (certainly American Express ones) and will be replaced (usually) in 24 hours of reporting the loss.All major credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants and government shops, as are travellers’ cheques in US dollars or Sterling.
ATMs are found in most towns and are recommended for cash withdrawals. The average daily limit for withdrawal of money from an ATM is Rs 10,000 (as on March 2015). In India when using as ATM insert your card and then take it out (in most cases) You will be then asked to enter your pin and carry on with your transaction. Although note that in some ATMs you will have to insert your card and keep it in until the end of the transaction.
- Tipping in Restaurants :
If eating a small meal where the bill amounts less than INR 300, then a 10% tip is expected/appreciated.On bill amounts ranging between INR 300 to INR 1000, you can tip around 7% to 10% of bill amount. On bill amounts above INR 1000, tip amount of INR 5 to 7% is sufficient.
Restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai often charge a ‘service charge’, not to be confused with ‘service tax’ (which is a government levied tax). When a ‘service charge’ is levied no tip is expected.
- Tipping in Hotels :
In hotels, the room service attendants and porters are usually tipped at the end of the stay, although an early tip is likely to get you the better services during your stay. As a rule we encourage whenever possible i.e. you see a central tip box and then tip cumulatively. Cumulative tip should be between 5 to 7% of the hotel tariff per night into number of days.
- Tipping Car Drivers :
If you are happy and satisfied with the services of the car driver , an acceptable amount would by INR 200 – 500 per day.
- Tipping guides :
You should tip a guide between INR 200 to INR 300 per day depending on his or her services with their guided tour. If this is a personalized tour. If it is group tour INR 30 - INR 50 is a fair tip.
Food and Drink
Perhaps the most defining element of Indian food is the herbs and spices used during the cooking process. Indian dishes can be fiery by Western standards, incorporating peppers, garlic, turmeric, cumin, ginger and curry leaves. Additionally, Indian chefs often infuse food and drinks with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
Vegetable dishes are more common than in Europe, particularly in the fruity, coconutty dishes of southern India, while northern India has an entirely different but equally satisfying cuisine to sample. Breads like paranthas, chapatis, naans and rotis are also part of the main diet in several states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Sweets or mithai too have regional specialities.
While care should be taken in where one eats. Avoid eating highly spiced foods when you first arrive in India, however tempting. Instead, allow your system at least a day or two to get used to them, introducing one Indian dish with each meal for the first couple of days. After that it is best to stick with cooked foods, and remember to peel fruit before eating it. The best drinks to enjoy with your meals or to quench your thirst are the bottled mineral waters, other bottled drinks, coffee and tea. Indian beer is very good, along with Indian gin and vodka. Indian wine is growing in reputation and can be most palatable, especially in the hotel restaurants. We recommend both the ‘Grover’ and ‘Sula’ vineyards. Local whiskey needs an acquired taste, and the imported scotch whiskey is very expensive, as is imported wine. Avoid drinking tap water at all costs!! The jugs of water supplied in hotel rooms is purified, but not guaranteed to be safe. Mineral water is very cheap and a far safer option for drinking and even cleaning your teeth, although do check the seal on the bottle is intact.
Though India is amongst the safest countries for foreign tourists, it is always advisable to get a travel insurance done before you start your journey anywhere in the world. Travel insurance is indemnity that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial default of travel suppliers, and other losses incurred while travelling, either within one's own country, or internationally. Some policies exclude potentially dangerous activities such as scuba diving, skiing, motorcycling, paragliding and even trekking: read the fine print. Check in advance whether your insurance policy will pay doctors and hospitals directly or reimburse you later (keep all documentation for your claim).
It’s crucial to get a police report in India if you’ve had anything stolen; insurance companies may refuse to reimburse you without one.