India Travel Tips

India Travel Tips

  • A magnificent country with most picturesque locations, 29 politically divided states each boasting of its own distinct cultural identity, streets brimming with receptive and welcoming people, house to all the world religions which co-exist in perfect harmony, equally abundant in cultural and geographic diversity and yet defining one mainland; that is India.
  • India is both; a contemporary society which boasts of an impressive representation in silicon valley today and an ancient civilization which has survived the trial of time and rage of foreign invaders not once or twice but a number of times which she has lost count of.
  • Sprawling with endless beaches on its west, east and south, plains in the middle and crowned with majestic Himalayas on its north, India has been ruled by many dynasties each of which has left their footprints in the form and shape of vintage architecture that is why this country is a visitor’s paradise a perfect destination to satiate a traveler’s wanderlust.
  • Indians by nature are conformist and as with any traditionalist society there are certain Dos and Don’ts, sometimes more “do nots” than “dos”. It is always a good practice to gain some little knowledge of the destine country before you set off.
    Enlisted here are certain tips for the first time travelers to India
  • Learn some local / regional words. Though English is then preferred Business Language, it is always advisable to learn a few of the local / regional words and phrases most preferably of Hindi which is spoken by more than 60% of the population and in understood by almost all. This might comes handy in emergencies and while dealing with the masses. Learning a few regional salutations is also a good idea
  • Carry a photocopy of all your legal documents like Passport, Visa, Travel Insurance, Identity Card and Driving License where aware you go
  • Validity of Indian visas comes immediately on the day and date of their issue and not on the date of entry into the country. Types of visas offered by India and their validity are as follows:
    • Tourist Visas are valid for 6 months. At a maximum you can stay for 90 days on this visa. This however is subjected to the country of your origin. The time gap between two tourist visits should be a minimum of 2 months.
    • Business Visas are given for 6 months/ 1 year or more and also for multiple entries
    • Student visa – this is valid for 5 years
    • Special Visa valid for upto 10 years [for US citizens only] If planning to stay for more than 180 days or on student, missionary, research or employment visa, get yourself registered with the FRRO or Foreigners Regional Registration Office of the locality wherever you are stationed within 14 days of arriving in the country. If the area does not have a registration office, visit the local police station.
  • Credit and Debit Cards s well as travelers’ cheques are accepted at all big stores and malls; for local shops and bazaars keep enough local currency in your wallet
  • There is a plethora of options available for staying starting from budget hotels, 3 stars and 4 stars to 5 stars, lodges, government guest houses [these are very economic], heritage hotels and airbnbs, explore and ask for all the options from your travel assistant before planning you trip
  • Note down all the emergency helpline numbers beforehand
  • If possible always hire the taxis from pre-paid booths this will save you from paying twice or sometimes thrice the money the local taxi drivers might quote. In case a pre-paid booth is not in close proximity, insist on paying by meter
  • Another feature which is a permanent on Indian roads other than the crowd of people and stray dogs and cows are beggars, they are everywhere and follow you around weather travel on foot or taxi / auto-rickshaw. Though locals and foreigners are equally menaced by them, foreigners attract them like a magnet to iron nails. The best way to deal with them is by totally paying no heed. Do not under any circumstances offer any alms to them out of pity as this would mean inviting an entire army of the others wanting their share of your generosity
  • Indians are a curious lot, sometimes they get overwhelmed when they see a foreigner particularly in small towns so do not be alarmed if they come to you to shake hands or offer to get photographed with you. It is just their way of making you feel welcomed in their land
  • Touching while greeting someone is not the norm here, people here greet each other with a ‘Namaste’ joining both the palms together. Men do however shake hands with or sometimes embrace each other when they meet but any kind of physical touch with the opposite sex is totally dissuaded. Also Public display of affection is considered offensive
  • If you are a man visiting India you are not supposed to offer your hand for a handshake to a woman during salutations unless of course the lady in question offers her first. Likewise a peck on the cheek is a strict no no
  • If you are woman telling a man that you are not interested in having a conversation with him when it makes you uncomfortable is not considered impolite or being disgracious, the louder the better. Infact this is an indication that you possess a good moral character, also it might saves you from further undesired advances
  • Indians are not very liberal when it comes to dressing especially for women. Refrain from showing any skin in public, cover yourself up while going out in small cities and towns
  • Similarly when visiting a religious temple or shrine it is a norm to remove your shoes and cover your head before entering the sanctum sanatorium
  • If your visit correspond with some festivities like Ganpati Puja in West, Durga Puja and Jaggannath Rath Yatra in east, Holi, Diwali or Christmas Eve try staying at your hotel or retire to the isolation of Tibetan valleys or back waters of Kerala as the crowd turns rowdy during these festive processions
  • While shopping you can and you should bargain for the goods you want to buy. Remember negotiation is the key and there in India there is always room or more for a noncitizens
  • Tips are totally acceptable and looked forward to particularly during your hotel stay but do not be fooled to pay after every service just at the end of your stay
  • Many areas are marked sensitive and or controversial even some religious sites too. Photography there is strictly prohibited, seek permission before taking pictures
  • For Hindus eating Beef is blasphemous; similarly for Muslims eating Pork is sinful, learn about the eating habits of the local populace
  • There are no aid or relief service available [other than the Indian Airforce, if whereabouts are known on the mountain treks above 3000 fts. Be very careful when going for trekking
  • Don’t do drugs, they are illegal in India
  • Homosexuality is not a crime as per law but is also not socially welcomed either other than metros and big cities
  • Religion is a sensitive issue here, do not try to convert or you will end up inviting big trouble for yourself
  • Indian summers are very trying try wearing cottons more and more and always carry a bottle of water with you when going out
  • Indian cuisine is a treat in itself. Like the culture and traditions each region has its own specialty which passes from generation to generation and is very well guarded. Not every dish is too hot or too spicy to handle. Rest assured culinary experience will be one of the most cherished part of your journey
  • A word of caution though, avoid drinking water from the taps and eating street food
  • Apart from the four universal seasons India has one over and above which comes twice a year “Monsoons” or the rainy season. Monsoons are generally pleasant and romantic but depending on the intensity of rain and winds they also be the bells of doomsday
  • Southwest monsoon which knocks the western coastal belt lasts from June to September. Northeast monsoon which effects the eastern lasts from October to February. The latter is more devastating and almost every year manifests itself in the form of cyclones causing much damage and destruction
FAQ
What is the best time to visit Jaisalmer?

November to March is the perfect time to visit Jaisalmer, since it constitutes the winter season, when the weather is pleasant. It tends to get very hot in Jaisalmer, especially during April to August, and thus tourists tend to avoid these months. September to October is the monsoon season, but the city doesn't receive much rainfall, but the weather does get a little humid.

When in Jaisalmer, what sort of food options can travelers hope for?

November to March is the perfect time to visit Jaisalmer, since it constitutes the winter season, when the weather is pleasant. It tends to get very hot in Jaisalmer, especially during April to August, and thus tourists tend to avoid these months. September to October is the monsoon season, but the city doesn't receive much rainfall, but the weather does get a little humid.

What is the best time to visit Jaisalmer?

November to March is the perfect time to visit Jaisalmer, since it constitutes the winter season, when the weather is pleasant. It tends to get very hot in Jaisalmer, especially during April to August, and thus tourists tend to avoid these months. September to October is the monsoon season, but the city doesn't receive much rainfall, but the weather does get a little humid.

When in Jaisalmer, what sort of food options can travelers hope for?

November to March is the perfect time to visit Jaisalmer, since it constitutes the winter season, when the weather is pleasant. It tends to get very hot in Jaisalmer, especially during April to August, and thus tourists tend to avoid these months. September to October is the monsoon season, but the city doesn't receive much rainfall, but the weather does get a little humid.

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