Name : Bharat Ghantantar (Hindi), Republic
of India (English)
Capital : New
Population : 1,
027, 015, 247 (2001 Census)
Area : 3.3 million square kilometers
Languages : India has two Central
administrative languages. They are
English (associate official) and Hindi
(in the Devanagiri script). The Indian
Constitution also officially recognizes
22 regional languages.
Major Religions : Hinduism, Islam,
Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism
National Currency : Rupee
India is a very large country with
varying climatic conditions in different
parts of the country. The travelers
to India can always find a suitable
place as per their choice of climate.
If one is traveling during the summer
months, the Northern India is considered
to be pleasant. Besides this, the
Southern India has a number of hill
stations and most certainly the mountains
of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North
Uttar Pradesh are ideal to escape
from the scorching heat of the summers.
The famous hill resorts of the South
like Kodai Kanal, Ootacamund and Croog,
beside Darjeeling, Sikkim are recommended
is characterized by all four seasons
namely Winter, Summer, Monsoon and
Autumn. Winter season falls between
the months of November and March and
are bright and pleasant, with snowfall
in the northern hills. Summer season
lies between the months of April and
June in most regions of the country,
and it is during this time that one
can escape from the severe summer
heat and go to the various summer
resorts in the country. During the
monsoon, rainfall is heavy along the
west coast between June and September,
and along the east coast between mid-October
currency is the Rupee whose abbreviated
form is Rs.
Rupee is equal to hundred paise. Notes
are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10,
20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. (Denominations
less than Rs. 10 bill are rare.)
of denomination of below 20 paisa
are not in circulation these days.
25 and 50, paisa as well as 1, 2, 5 and
10 rupees coins are in circulation.
not accept torn or disfigured notes.
In case you do get torn notes you
can change them at the Reserve Bank
of India or large branches of other
hours and holidays
The working hours in the Indian government
offices is generally between 9 a:m
to 5 p:m.
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Changing, ATM Facilities and Credit
the computerization and the entry
of private and international banks,
the Indian banks have come at par
with the international standards.
The services offered by the banks
in India are excellent and are in
fact becoming better by the day except
for the fact that the smaller cities
still lack the banking options available
in the metros like on-line banking
will be worthwhile to remember that
banking hours are usually from 10
in the morning to 2 in the afternoon
from Monday to Friday and from 10
am to 12 noon on Saturdays. Bank holidays
vary though it is unlikely that a
bank will be closed for longer than
two days in a row.
private and international banks have
made "changing money process"
in India a less tedious process today
when it can be done in few minutes
now. Since banks in small tourist
destinations are wary of travelers'
cheques, try to change as much of
your money as possible from moneychangers
at the airport or authorized places.
There is an advice fir the travelers
to preserve all your exchange receipts
(encashment certificates) since they
would be required for visa extensions
and other formalities, as well as
when you want to convert Indian rupees
to US dollars, the Euro, or British
Pound sterling at the end of your
trip. An authorized moneychanger is
the right choice to ensure the safety
of your transaction.
the major banks in the country provide
the ATM or Anytime Money facility.
This further adds to the convenience
of the travelers to India who can
withdraw a desirable amount of money
anytime and anywhere. Some of the
important banks in the country are
Standard Chartered, HDFC, ICICI, UTI
and many more.
of the Credit cards are accepted at
all major outlets and business establishments
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Indian shopping areas have always
been attracting the shoppers from
all around the world. You can find
almost all types of items from pin
to ship building items in the markets
of India. Go to any part of this vast
and vibrant country and you will be
offered with varied types of items
reflecting the culture and tradition
of that region.
India the best buying items are -
textiles, handicraft items, handloom
items, stone carved items, marble
made items, jewellery, both precious
and semi precious stones, stone jewellery,
bamboo & cane made items and furnitures,
leather products, etc.
major metropolises are the best places
to search for your choice of items,
as they showcases almost all types
of items in their state emporiums
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Bargaining is the norm in local bazaars
selling products without a written
price. Resist the urge to buy without
comparing prices from shops selling
Be wary of roadside peddlers trying
to sell you semi-precious and precious
gems and jewelry. Visit state emporia
and the Central Cottage Industries
Emporia (most major cities have one)
for fixed prices and a fair idea of
the cost with a regular dealer.
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.
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Formalities And Customs
A Visa gives permission to the person
who wishes to stay in a country for
a specific period of time to fulfill
a specific motive. It is usually attached
or stamped in the individual passport.
All travellers to India (except citizens
of India going Nepal and vice versa)
must possess visas.
visas are normally available for a
duration of three months to six months
for multiple entries (important for
side trips to Nepal and other countries).
Other options include a one-year student
visa, journalist visa or business
visa, or five years visa for non-resident
Indians. While applying for a visa
one should make sure that the passport
is valid for 6 months beyond the date
of intended return journey.
one applies for a visa through the
Indian embassy in one's resident country
then the process becomes much faster.
An application form giving one's current
passport with at least two passport
size photographs is required. No cash
or cheques are accepted.
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Certain regions of India require a
special permit in addition to an Indian
visa. Permits are issued by Indian
High Commissions and Embassy of India
abroad, by the Ministry of Home Affairs
in Delhi, or by Foreigner's Registration
Offices (FRRO's) in Indian cities.
areas include Northeast India, Andaman
and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
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Visitors are supposed to make a baggage
declaration and foreign currency (exceeding
US$10,000/ -) or equivalent on their
possession in the Disembarkation Card.
This has to be handed over to the
custom officer on arrival.
On arrival at the airport two channels
have been provided for the smooth
passage of the tourists. One is green
channel, meant for passengers not
having any of the dutiable articles
or unaccompanied baggage. A passenger
with dutiable articles or unaccompanied
baggage or high-value articles (to
be entered on the Tourist Baggage
Re-Export Form), the red channel is
there at service.
Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE)
The Dutiable articles, unaccompanied
baggage, or high-value articles carried
along with the passenger must be entered
on a Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form
(TBRE). These articles must be re-exported
at the time of departure. A failure
to re-export anything listed on the
TBRE becomes a payable duty levied
for each missing item.
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Cash, bank notes, and travelers' cheques
up to US $10,000 or equivalent need
not be declared at the time of entry.
If the amount exceeds the given limit
then the passenger has to disclose
in the Currency Declaration Form,
the amount of foreign currency or
travelers' cheques brought by him
at the time of arrival. If done then
there are no restrictions. This will
not only enable him to exchange the
currency brought in, but also to take
the remaining currency way to home
on departure. Any money in the form
of travelers' cheques, drafts, bills,
cheques, etc., in convertible currencies
that tourists wish to convert into
Indian currency should be exchanged
only through authorized moneychangers
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The following duty-free possessions
are permissible: clothes and jewelry,
cameras and up to five rolls of film,
handicam, binoculars, a portable musical
instrument, a radio or portable tape
recorder, laptop, a tent and camping
equipment, fishing rod, a pair of
skis, two tennis rackets, 200 cigarettes
or 50 cigars, .95 liters of liquor,
and gifts not exceeding total value
of Rs. 8000/-. (approx US$170/-)
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Please jot down the correct declaration
of your baggage. If your baggage is
within free allowance limits, walk
through the Green Channel.
caught red-handed with dutiable/prohibited
goods in the Green Channel are liable
to prosecution/penalty and confiscation
of goods, bringing contrabands to
India is prohibited.
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Do carry attested photocopies of your
travel documents and keep the originals
in a safely locked baggage.
Do fill up a Currency Declaration
Form along and a Disembarkation Card
besides making an oral declaration
of the luggage you are carrying.
Do not smoke in public places.
Do not give money to beggars.
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Around and About
Most cities have means of efficient
local transportation such as taxis,
auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and
buses. Private cabs can also be hired.
It is important to carry an International
Driving License if you wish to drive
on your own.
For inter-city and inter-state transport
you can avail services of Indian Railways
and domestic airlines. Buses, taxis
and cabs also ferry people across
cities and states
In and Out
To explore India, you need a valid
passport and visa to India. Carry
them at all times while enjoying a
vacation in India. Notify your country's
embassy or consulate in case your
passport is stolen or lost.
One needs additional permits to go
to certain destinations in India such
as Andaman Islands, Gujarat, Ladakh,
Kerala, and more. Check with your
travel agent or embassy while planning
15-Day visa extensions are granted
under exceptional circumstances. If
you intend to stay longer than 3 months
on non-tourist visas there is a registration
requirement. This registration makes
the bearer eligible for domestic ticket
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Public display of affection is not
appreciated and neither is public
nudity unless perhaps one is at a
One is expected to cover the head
before entering a religious place
such as a temple or mosque.
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
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India is a land of a variety of linguistic
communities, each of which shares
a common language and culture. Though
there could be fifteen principal languages
there are hundreds of thousands dialects
that add to the vividness of the country.
languages are officially recognized
in India of which Sanskrit and Tamil
share a long history of more than
5,000 and 3,000 years respectively.
The population of people speaking
each language varies drastically.
For example Hindi has 250 million
speakers, while Andamanese is spoken
by relatively fewer people.
or Aboriginal language speaking population
in India may be more than some of
the European languages. For instance
Bhili and Santali both tribal languages
have more than 4 million speakers.
The vividness can be ascertained by
the fact that schools in India teach
more than 50 different languages;
there are Films in 15 languages, Newspapers
in 90 or more languages and radio
programmes in 71 languages!
languages come from four distinct
families, which are: Indo-European,
Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan.
Majority of Indian population uses
Indo-European and Dravidian languages.
The language families divide India
languages dominate the northern and
central India while in south India;
mainly languages of Dravidian origin
are spoken. In eastern India languages
of Mon-Khmer group is popular. Sino
Tibetan languages are spoken in the
northern Himalayas and close to Burmese
border. In terms of percentage, 75%
of Indian population speaks languages
of Indo-European family, 23% speak
languages of Dravidian origin and
about 2% of the population speaks
Mon-Khmer languages and Sino-Tibetan
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