India is among the most colorful nations of the world and boasts of a rich history, culture and heritage. To get the most of your trip to India, it would be a good idea to equip yourself with useful information before you set out for a journey of a lifetime.
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.
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.
It is best to visit Indian plains during cooler months from November to March.
For a visit to mountainous regions of India, the months of April to October are better suited.
Food and Health
Indian cuisine is a tad too spicy for European and American taste buds. Indulge in the gastronomical delights only if you have the stomach for it. Also, there are plenty of non-spicy cuisines and delicacies to choose from.
You may occasionally need insect repellent cream. If you are allergic to dust, be sure to carry medication with you. Sunscreen is another must-have.
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.
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.
Do's and 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.