Travel Tips


Passports & Visas

All foreign nationals require visa to enter India. However, there are some relaxations for Bhutanese and Nepalese nationals. Details and types of visa and the fee may be obtained from Embassy of India in your country.

Tourist Visa is normally valid for 120 days. Visa extensions can be got by applying to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi. The letter should be handed over at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office at Hans Bhavan, Tilak Bridge, near ITO. It is open from 0930 hrs to 1330 hrs and 1400 hrs to 1600 hrs. It is closed on weekends and national Holidays.

Those wishing to visit a neighbouring country like Sri Lanka or Nepal, and then coming back to India, should obtain a double/multiple entry Visa.

Registeration

All foreigners are required to get themselves registered with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office(FRRO) which is situated in Hans Bhavan, Tilak Road, New Delhi.

Information for Tours which offers trekking and mountaineering expeditions to India

  • Where the proposed tour includes any point above 6000 meters, visa may be given only after receiving the formal clearance from the Indian Mountaineering Federation.
  • Where the proposed tour is for areas below 6000 meters. the visa applications should be accompanied by an itinerary indicating days and places to be visited along with their height, a map of the proposed area with the distinct markings of the places to be visited and a copy of the brochure outlining the tour highlights. These details are required to ensure that the proposed tour does not violate the mandatory conditions laid down by the IMF.

Restricted & Protected Areas

Certain parts of the country need special permits before they can be visited.

Foreign Tourists can visit Nagaland

In order to promote tourism in the North-east region, the Government of India has decided to allow foreign tourists to visit Nagaland. Until recently the entire state of Nagaland was a restricted area. However the Government of India has decided to allow foreign tourists to visit the districts of Dimapur, Kohima, Mokokchong and Wokha for a maximum period of 10 days and in a group of 4 or more. this restriction of group is not valid for married couples.

These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003

  • Directorate of Tourism, Nagaland, Kohima
    Phone- +91 (370) 21607/ 22214/ 21945
  • Secretary, Tourism, Nagaland, Kohima
    Tele-Fax- +91 (370) 33067

http://www.nerdatabank.nic.in/

Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram : These States/Union Territories have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003 at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit. Certain areas of Sikkim like Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang and Zongri in West Sikkim and Pamayangtse have been excluded form the inner line and declared as restricted areas. Individual tourists are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek and Phodang. Tourists are permitted to visit Zongri and Pamayangtse. The duration of stay has been raised from 7 to 15 days. Permits can be issued by all Indian Missions abroad, all FRROs, Immigration Officers at Airports at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi. Manipur. Manipur has also been opened to foreign tourists; permits can be issued by all Missions abroad, all FRROs, Home Commissioner, Manipur, Imphal. The duration of stay has been raised from 3 to 5 days.

Permits are no longer required for These States/Union Territories have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Loknayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003 at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit.

Certain areas of Sikkim like Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang and Zongri in West Sikkim and Pamayangtse have been excluded form the inner line and declared as restricted areas. Individual tourists are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek and Phodang. Tourists are permitted to visit Zongri and Pamayangtse. The duration of stay has been raised from 7 to 15 days. Permits can be issued by all Indian Missions abroad, all FRROs, Immigration Officers at Airports at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi. Manipur. Manipur has also been opened to foreign tourists; permits can be issued by all Missions abroad, all FRROs, Home Commissioner, Manipur, Imphal. The duration of stay has been raised from 3 to 5 days.

Permits are no longer required for Darjeeling, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
    Individual foreign tourists can visit Port Blair Municipal Area, Havelock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Rangat, where a night halt is allowed and Jolly Buoy, South Cinque, Red Skin, Mount Harriet, Madhuban where only day visits are allowed. Prior permit is necessary.
  • Manipur
    Loktak Lake, Imphal, Moirang, Keibul Deer Sanctuary and Waithe Lake.

Health Regulation

  • Yellow fever
    Any person (including infants) arriving by air or sea without a certificate is detained in insulation for a period up to 6 days if arriving within 6 days of departing from an infected area.
  • Malaria
    Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country excluding parts of the States of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim. No certificate required, but a course of anti-malaria pills is recommended.
  • Drinking water
    Bottled water is available and usually provided in flasks in hotel rooms. For people with delicate digestive systems. It is advisable to use bottled mineral water, this is widely available.
  • Facilities
    It is advisable to bring specific medicines. There are state operated facilities in all towns and cities and private consultants and specialists in urban areas.

Language

The official language is Hindi but English is widely spoken, understandable & used in day to day work. Even most of the government, bank, airport, procedures & forms are in English & Hindi both. The States are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are 18 official languages spoken throughout the country.

Tip

It is usual to tip waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bill.

Guides

Trained English speaking guides are available at fixed charges at all important tourist centers. The Govt. of India Tourist Offices can be contacted by tourists for the services of approved guides. French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese speaking guides are available at some cities. Please consult the nearest Govt. of India Tourist Office. Unapproved guides are not permitted to enter protected monuments, and tourists are, therefore, advised to ask the guides for the identity card issued by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of India.

Opening hours

These may vary from region to region. All international Hotels have a 24 hours money changing facility.

  • Banks
    10.00 to 14.00 (Mo. to Fr.), and 10.00 to 12.00 (Sat.)
  • Post Offices
    10.00 to 17.00 (Mo. to Fr.) and Sat. mornings, In big cities often longer.
  • Shops
    09.30 to 18.00 (Mo. to Sat.).

Time

GMT + 5 1/2 hours.

Time Difference

The standard time for India is calculated from Allahabad and is common to all cities. Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of London, 4 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Paris, about 10 hours 30 minutes behind New York, 3 hours and 30 minutes behind Tokyo and 4 hours and 30 minutes behind Sydney.

Credit Cards

American Express, Master Charge, Visa and Diners Club credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments including hotels, shops, and airlines.

Electricity

Voltage in most places is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, although some areas also have DC supplies.

Photography

Travelers to India find ample themes with varied subjects for photography from faces to monuments, wildlife, festivities, scenic beauty, etc. However, formalities in respect to protected monuments and the wildlife sanctuaries are:

  • Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light.
  • Photography in the wildlife sanctuaries is allowed on payment of a prescribed fee. Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Communications

  • Fax/Telex/Telegram
    International 24-hours service from large hotels and telegraph offices in major cities.
  • Telephone
    Telephone calls to most countries are now direct. There are telephone facilities between the most cities and towns.
  • Internet
    Internet facilities are available in most hotels otherwise every city has cyber cafes and cyber clubs which charge less than $1 per hour.

The international direct dialing code for India is +91 plus city code.

Money Currency

Rupee = 100 Paise. Coins are in denominations of 10, 25 & 50 Paise & l, 2 & 5 Rupees. Notes are in denominations of Rs 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000.

Currency Regulations

Foreign Currency. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers’ cheques a tourist may import, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival, This will facilitate the exchange of imported currency as well as the export of unspent currency on departure. Cash, bank notes and travelers’ cheques up to US$2.500 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money in the form of traveler cheques, drafts, bills, cheques, etc. which tourists wish to convent into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized money changers. Tourists are warned that changing money through unauthorized persons is not only illegal but also involves the risk of receiving counterfeit currency. To exchange foreign money other than through banks or authorized money changers is an offence. Please note that no Indian currency what so-ever can be imported or exported, except for Rupee traveler cheques. Banks abroad do keep Rupee balances with their agents in India and are able to draw upon these balances to issue Rupee traveler cheques to intending tourists. There are 24 hour exchange facilities available at all big cites and international airports.

Custom Regulations

All personal objects which are required in India are free from duty. Under this heading fall personal jewelry, presents up to a value of Rs. 600, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 0.95 l alcoholic beverages. Professional material and articles which have a high value can only be imported duty free if the traveler gives a written undertaking that these articles will be re-exported.

Those without any dutiable goods or high value articles or foreign exchange more than US $2,500 or unaccompanied baggage which need to be declared, can walk through Green Channel. All others need to pass through the Red Channel. Goods up to Rs 750 (Rs. 12,000 for persons of Indian origin) for personal use or as gifts are exempt from duty. Beyond the free baggage limit, the duty rate is 52% plus 2% special duty.

Airport Tax

Passengers embarking on journey to any place outside India will have to pay an airport tax of Rs. 300. For journey to Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives = Rs. 150.

Public Holidays

There are many festivals and special events in India, but only a few of these are full public holidays. These are: 26 Jan Republic Day, 15 Aug. Independence Day, 2 Oct. Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday. For dates of other holidays and festival please contact Tourist Offices in India.