India is one of the most beautiful & colourful 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.
Foreign Nationals visiting India are required to possess a valid Indian Visa. Citizens of Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar can get a single entry tourist visa on arrival for validity of 30 days upon arrival at international airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi & Trivandrum. Visa fee is $60.00. We still suggest that you do check with the nearest Indian mission for latest information on Indian visa before you undertake your journey to India.
Customs on Arrival
There are two customs clearance channels. The green channel is for travellers carrying non-dutiable items while the red channel is for visitors carrying dutiable items. Duty Free include items such as clothing and other articles which may reasonably be required during the stay, provided that, if not consumed in India, they are re-exported on departure. Professional materials, which have a high value, can only be imported duty free if the traveller gives a written undertaking that these articles will be re-exported. This formality should better be done in the home country in consultation with Indian Mission. Take care to obtain an Export Certificate for these items if you are travelling to neighbouring countries and intend a multiple entry. Visitors are generally required to make a declaration in respect of Foreign Currency in their possession; if it is more than the permitted limit (cash or travellers cheques over US$ 10,000 or equivalent), they will have to obtain a currency declaration form before leaving customs. The import of Prohibited Articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. Possession of narcotics is strictly prohibited. Separate regulations govern the importation of Commercial Samples and Merchandise. This travellers should consult with High Commission/Embassy before departure.
As regards, Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco and Alcohol, tourist may import the following without paying any duty: (a) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; and, (b) 1 litre of wine; and (c) 1 litre of alcoholic liquor.
The import or export of Indian currency is forbidden without the prior permission of the Reserve Bank of India.
Exchange money only through authorised banks or moneychangers. Insist on a receipt when exchanging money and retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. Foreign tourists can make payments through travellers cheques, credit cards or foreign currency. Indian rupees can be used in case of proof of legal currency exchange.
Best Time to Visit
Although India is a 365 days destination still it is best to visit Indian plains during cooler months from October to March and mountainous regions of India during the months of April to September.
Domestic Flight Luggage
Prior to boarding your domestic flights in India as you leave the main terminal, please ensure that you “identify your checked baggage”. Free baggage allowance on most of the domestic airlines in India is 15kg. in economy and 30 kg. in business class.
Food and Health
It is advisable to drink only mineral water (bottled water). Avoid spicy food.
Indian cuisines are bit spicy hence 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.
When you visit places of worship, you will need to take off your shoes prior to entry. You are free to wear your socks, but may find that the floor is wet, thus it may be prudent to take off your socks also. Make sure that you bring comfortable and well supporting walking shoes. You will be walking a lot in the ruins of old temples and forts, and they normally do not have a clean and clear path with upturned stones, and steep narrow and broken steps.
Consider bringing your swimming trunks, air brush to clean the dust from your cameras and lens, a telephoto lens if your camera supports one, lots of clean wipes for your face and hands because of the dust. Traditional 35 mm film is available in plentiful, however the new Advantix type is not freely available.
Prior to start of your journey, send yourself an e-mail with all important passport and other numbers. Thus should you lose any documentation, then you can retrieve your mail and have all necessary information.
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. Shopping is recommended from Government Emporia and suggested shops on the list of the Department of Tourism. Information on these can be obtained from tourist offices in India.
Be aware of roadside peddlers trying to sell you semi-precious and precious gems and jewellery. 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.
Even with a visa foreign nationals are not allowed everywhere in India. Check with us if you are planning to journey on your own.
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. Photography is not always permissible. 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.
If you are happy with some services and would like to reward in that case you can tip according to your will. It is not compulsory but totally by your discretion.
In India, public toilet facilities are few and far between. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you go.
Most museums in India are closed on Monday and Site Museums i.e. those near archaeological monuments are closed on Friday.
As per the directive by the government of India, all Indian / Foreign Nationals are required to produce photo-identity on or before arrival. Valid Identification documents are as below :-
Foreign nationals Passport along with valid Visa
Indian National Passport, Current Driving License, voter’s ID card or PAN Card.