Contact points

india fact file
tourist office
Government of India Tourist Office, 7 Cork Street, London, WC2B 4NA. indian consulate in
London: India House, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA british embassy in
New Delhi: i50 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 +91 11 2687 2161 or Emergency Duty Officer: +981105 2217 Calcutta: 1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Calcutta 700071 population
1 billion officially (estimated to be closer to 3 billion if all responded to the census) language
The official language is Hindi in the Devangari Script with about 30% literacy in it. The states are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are about 14 official languages widely spoken. English is very widely spoken. It is usual to tip waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Service charge is not included. bank opening hours Monday to Friday 10.00 – 14.00 and 10.00 – 12.00 on Saturdays.
All International hotels have 24hr money changing facilities. post office hours
Monday to Friday 10.00 – 17.00, plus Saturday mornings. This varies in different cities. shops opening hours Monday to Saturday 09.30 – 18.00.
time (+/- GMT)
5½ hours ahead of GMT (Winter). 4½ hours ahead of GMT (Summer). electricity
Voltage in most places is 240v AC/DC. Sockets take mainly round 3 pin plugs or in some cases round 2 pin. public holidays
26th January – Republic Day, 15th August – Independence Day, 2nd October – Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, 25th December – Christmas Day. telephone
The international direct dialling code for India is 91. Telephone booths are available in all towns/villages. (24hr service is available in large hotels). Please check with your mobile phone provider if your network & contract enable you to have coverage in India. photography
Photography is permitted in wildlife sanctuaries and reserves upon payment of a prescribed fee. Do not photograph military installations. Photography at some civil airports is also forbidden as they are shared with the Indian Air Force. The Indian postal and poste restante services are generally excellent. Expected letters are almost always there and letters you send almost invariably reach their destination. currency
The currency is the Rupee, abbreviated as Rs. For up to date currency exchange, go to: currency regulations Foreign currency regulations are strict. $USD and £Sterling are the easiest currencies to change. Any
money NOT exchanged via a bank is a criminal offence, not to mention a risky affair. Only change money at banks or legal foreign exchange dealers. Keep and look after your transaction receipts as you may be required to provide proof that you obtained your rupees legally. NO Rupee currency may be imported or exported except in the form of a cheque without the prior permission of the Reserve Bank of India. Baggage and Foreign Currency may come within US$2,500 by oral declaration. You may be able to purchase rupees from some UK exchanges prior to travel; however, please note importing currency must exchange
As of September 2011 GBP£1 = 77.22 Rs. and USD$1 = 46.05 Rs credit cards
A growing number of hotels, restaurants and shops in the major cities are beginning to accept credit cards, the well-known and more accepted ones being American Express, Access/MasterCard, Diners Club and Visas. However, credit cards are not the most convenient form of payment or cash withdrawal. passport/Visa
You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your challenge, and
at least one blank page for your visa and entry/exit stamps.
All foreign nationals require a visa
to enter India – tourist, transit, and entry visas. If you arrive without
a visa you can expect to be sent back. As a tourist the maximum stay is 6 months within each 12-month
period. Visas cost £30 (plus visa application service fees etc.) and are valid for 6 months. We will provide
you with a visa application form or you can download one from the
Instructions on applying for a visa are contained in your 3 month information letter. The theft of passports
and other belongings is on the increase. Replacing a passport will take time and money.
Important note: British passport holders of Pakistani origin may have difficulty in obtaining a visa
for India and should check the requirements with the Indian High Commission before signing up
to this challenge
gifts and souvenirs
These may be imported free of duty up to a value of Rs 4000 / £50.00 duty free
200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco, 1 litre of wine and 1 litre of liquor. vaccination and
Nomad Travel Stores & Medical Centre recommend the following vaccinations: diphtheria; tetanus; poliomyelitis; hepatitis A; typhoid. Vaccines sometimes advised: hepatitis B; rabies; tuberculosis; Japanese B encephalitis; Meningococcal meningitis; cholera. It is necessary to take precautions against malaria in Delhi and Rajasthan. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks at dawn and dusk. You should also wear plenty of insect repellent. Chloroquine together with proguanil is usually recommended for risk areas. The water is NOT safe to drink in India. Also see Health notes. *Requirements change and these are recommendations only* Theft of valuables, especially passports, is a particular risk at major railway stations and on trains. Confident tricksters (particularly in Agra and Jaipur) promise a substantial cash reward for delivery of jewellery abroad but only in return for an initial financial deposit. The jewellery is invariably worthless and the deposit is lost. Crime in Delhi is rife, so be aware! hospitals/pharmacies There are state-operated facilities in all towns and cities, as well as private consultants and specialists in
Homosexuality is illegal in India. We advise therefore not to show same sex public displays of affection as penalties can be severe, including jail sentences. The water is NOT safe to drink in India prior to being sterilised with iodine or any other purification method. Bottled & sterilised water is provided. If you need to purchase more, check the bottle top has not been tampered with. Also see Health notes. India is so vast that the climatic conditions in the far North have little relation to those of the extreme South. While the heat is building up to breaking point on the plains, the people of Himachal, high in the Himalayas, will still be waiting for the snow to melt on the high passes. Basically, India has a three-season-year: the hot, the wet and the cool. Please see the Q&A for your trip for specific details. temperature
Because of the unusual topography of the land, climatic conditions are widely diversified on both a seasonal and regional basis. The coolest weather lasts from November to mid-March, with cool, fresh mornings and evenings and dry, sunny days. Really hot weather – when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant – is between April and June. The mean temperature is approx. 29oC - 84oF. geography
India is located in South Asia, with China, Nepal and Bhutan in the North, Bangladesh and Burma to the East, the Indian Ocean to the South and Pakistan and the Arabian sea to the West. It is the 7th largest country in the world, covering 3,287,590 sq. km’s, less than one-fifth the size of Russia. do’s & don’ts
 Do exchange money only through authorised banks or moneychangers; insist on a receipt when  Do cover your head when entering Sikh shrines. Don’t wear footwear or shorts, sleeveless tops or revealing clothes inside Hindu, Sikh, Muslim or Jain places of worship. Both men and women need to keep their shoulders and legs covered, especially in temples and it is handy for women to carry a scarf they can use to cover their heads if necessary. While Indian attitudes to informal European styles of dress are generally tolerant, local religious or other sensibilities should be borne in mind. If in doubt take local advice especially with regard to topless bathing. Nude bathing is illegal, even in holiday resorts such as Goa.  Do be wary of approaches by strangers.  Do keep your money and passport in a safe place.  Don’t purchase the skins of animals, snakes, etc.  Do not walk in isolated spots on your own, especially after dark.  Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. The penalties for smuggling, possession and use are severe (10 – 20 years jail plus fine) and detention of up to three years awaiting trial. Second offenders can receive the death sentence.



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