We have put together a couple of simple general guidelines for you to follow, to make your trip to India a truly pleasant one. India is a land of diversities, quite different from any other country. Each State in India has its own distinct culture, language, traditions and food habits quite different from the rest of the states country - so it is advised that you read the following guidelines carefully to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey.
Clothes & Accessories – India due to its huge geographical size does not fit a particular climate zone. Generally speaking you must include cotton outfits, sunglasses, hats, mosquito repellant cream/lotion, shoes/ light sandals, moisturizing lotion and sun-block lotion mandatory, while planning your trip. If you are traveling to hill stations or the Himalayas do ensure that you carry woolen outfits with you. When in public places, care must be exercised to ensure your clothes are within the purview of decency to avoid unwanted attention.
Carry a bottle of mineral water with you at all times. Do ensure that the seal is not tampered with when buying mineral water bottles. Do not drink water from public taps or road-side vendors. If you feel like having a juice, please have it from a hygienic restaurant than from a road-side shack.
Buses are the cheapest option, auto-rickshaws, cabs and trains come next in the line. When traveling on a rickshaw or cab do ask the rates before you board the vehicle to avoid any problems and confusions. Also it is advisable to check the rates with some authority figure beforehand. When traveling in a train for long-distance reserve your tickets in advance, you can also get reserved tickets for short-distance which is the best way to avoid the heavy rush in un-reserved compartments. If you don’t get your tickets through the regular way you can get them through the “tatkal’ quota by paying a little extra charge. Do ensure to carry toilet paper with you when you are going on a long distance journey in train. Most of the train-stations have a pre-paid rickshaw counter, which is the best way to avoid bargaining and squabbling with the rickshaw driver.
India is a very orthodox country and doesn’t accept any show of affection in public places especially hugging, kissing etc.
This may come as a surprise to many; most places in India has a strict ban on smoking in public places. Smoking in public places is considered a punishable offence under law.
Foreign exchange including foreign currency, traveler’s cheques, drafts drawn on banks in India or letters of credit can be brought into India without any limit. However, if the gross amount brought into India in any form at one time exceeds USD 10,000/- or its equivalent, it is required to be declared by the holder to the Indian customs authorities on arrival on a Currency Declaration Form. The forms of which are available with the airport/seaport customs department.
The nationalized banks are open for business from 10.00 in the morning to 14.00 hrs in the afternoon. A couple of private banks are open for business between 8.00 in the morning to 8.00 in the night. There is also an extensive number of ATMs spread across the metros, towns and villages of India.
India is a land of celebrations and festivals. In the Northern parts of India Diwali, Baisaki, Pushkar fair, Holi, Kumbh Mela, and Goa Carnival are some of the prominent ones. Down South, it’s an altogether different set of celebrations - Pongal, Diwali are some of the prominent ones. Kerala has a set of exciting festivals and events like Onam, Thrissur Pooram, Alleppey Boat Races to mention a few, so there is no time limit, 365 days in the year you can visit and explore India.
Most of the prominent hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards.
Carrying or found possessing drugs is considered a grave criminal offence punishable under law.
Do make it a point to savor some of the authentic Indian cuisines, garnished with exotic spices and herbs, while you are here. North Indian cuisines are quite different from their Southern and Eastern counterparts. In fact, each region has different types of cuisines and methods of cooking, quite distinct from the other. Do make it a point to savor the regional specialties when you travel.
If you are visiting a temple, please do ensure that you understand the rules and regulations concerning that particular temple before going in. Each temple has its own rules and codes of conduct that must be strictly adhered to. In general, non-Hindus are barred from entering most of the temples. Wearing footwear and particular type of clothes inside the temple premises are also strictly banned.
Nowhere in India is nudity allowed in public places. Nudity is strictly banned in all the beaches in India.
Tourists flock to Kerala for Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies. A lot of fake Ayurvedic centers have mushroomed across the state of the late, so care must be exercised to check the authenticity of the place before you book your therapy. You must consult a certified Ayurvedic practitioner before you enter into any sort of Ayurvedic treatment. To avoid any serious side effects, the treatment must be properly customized based on your medical history and body conditions.
Do carry your medical prescriptions and enough medicines to make your journey hassle-free. Also ensure that you have taken proper vaccinations and precautions before you enter the country.
The standard voltage of electric supply in the whole of India is between 220 – 240 Volts. Two and three pin plugs are widely used and you will have to get a voltage converter if the devices you carry do not accept 240 Volts at 50 Hertz. Voltage converters are easily available in the electrical stores. The voltage converters that are adaptable to the Indian voltage are Resistor Network Converters (50-1600 Watts), Transformers (50-1000 Watts) and Combination Converters.
It is advised that you have a medical/dental/optical check-up as a pre-departure precaution for the trip. Make sure that you have any recommended shots for India – the standard recommendation is a booster to Tetanus and TB (a hepatitis shot if you don’t have a current one).
Ensure that your passport is valid for at least months after your arrival date in India, also check that you have enough spare pages for visa stamps.
India’s time zone is GMT/UTC +5.30, so chances of jet lag cannot be ignored. It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
Check your travel insurance papers whether they offer any medical coverage to meet any unforeseen incidents in a foreign land.
Banks are open for transaction from 10:00 - 14:00 hrs on week days and from 10:00 - 12:00 hrs on saturdays. Sunday Holiday and other famous festival days are holidays.