* Population: 1.1 billion (UN, 2005)
* Capital: New Delhi
* Area: 3.1 million sq km (1.2 million sq miles), excluding Indian-administered Kashmir (100,569 sq km/38,830 sq miles)
* Major languages: Hindi, English and 17 other official languages
* Major religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism
* Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
* Monetary unit: 1 Indian Rupee = 100 paise
* Main exports: Agricultural products, textile goods, gems and jewellery, software services and technology, engineering goods, chemicals, leather products
* GNI per capita: US $720 (World Bank, 2006)
* Internet domain: .in
* International dialling code: +91
Group Landing Permits (Visa on arrival)
Foreign tourists in groups of four or more arriving by Air or Sea, sponsored by recognised Indian Travel Agencies and with a pre-drawn itinerary can be granted collective landing permit for a specified period of time (maximum for 30 days) on the written request of the Travel Agencies to the Immigration Officer giving full personal and passport details of the group members, itinerary and undertaking to conduct the group as per the itinerary, and an assurance that no individual would be allowed to drop out from the group at any place.
Foreign Travel Tax
- Passengers embarking on trips to any place outside India from a Customs airport/seaport will have to pay a Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs. 500 and Rs. 150 on trips to Afganistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Srilanka and Maldives. No tax is payable on trips performed by ship from Rameshwaram to Talaimanar and in case of transit passengers, provided they do not leave the customs barrier. Transit passengers travelling by air who have to leave the airport on accout of mechanical trouble but continue their jouney by the same aircraft and the same flight number by which they arrive are also exempt from FTT. Transit sea passengers leaving the ship for sightseeing, shopping etc. during the ships' call at any of the Indian ports will not be required to pay FTT.
Currency Allowed In India
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travellers' cheques a tourist may bring into India provided he makes a declaration in the Currency Declaration Form given to him on arrival. This will enable him not only to exchange the currency bought in, but also to take the unspent currency out of India on departure. Cash, bank notes and travellers' cheques up to US$ 1,000 or equivalent, need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money in the form of travellers' cheques, drafts, bills, cheques, etc. in convertible currencies, which tourists wish to convert into Indian currency, should be exchanged only through authorised money changers and banks who will issue an encashment certificate that is required at the time of reconversion of any unspent money into foreign currency. Exchanging of foreign currency other than banks or authorised money changers is an offense under Foreign Exchange Regulations Act 1973.
General Timings to Visit Places
Delhi observes numerous national and religious holidays, in such cases the commercial places are closed. Most government and private banks are open weekdays 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM and on Saturdays 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon, they are closed on government holidays. Business hours of market places, shops, bazaars vary from place to place.
Customs To Keep In Mind
Visiting a religious monument demands respect.
Points to Remember
With all sects, removing shoes is a must before entering a shrine, though sometimes cloth overshoes are provided for a small charge. Drinking alcoholic beverages on the premises or speaking in a raised voice is not permissible. Some structures are off-limits to visitors who don't practice the faith. One should not try to force or bribe to enter such places. Women should always be properly dressed and should cover their head before entering a Sikh gurudwara or a mosque. When you enter a mosque, you are supposed to step right foot first into the courtyard. In some Hindu and Jain temples all leather products inside a shrine like shoes, belts, handbags, camera cases etc. are prohibited. Many temples also expect visitors to purify themselves by washing their hands and feet under a tap or tank available there before entering. No visitor in a gurudwara should keep his feet pointing towards the Holy Book or step over any one sitting in prayer or meditation. Usually try sitting on the floor of a Hindu or Sikh temple with cross-legged or with feet tucked beneath is best.
In a Buddhist monastery always remember to follow a clockwise direction while spinning a prayer wheel, going around the interiors and exteriors of the monastery itself, stupa or mani wall. Inside the monastery, cushions and chairs are reserved for lamas (monks). Sit on the steps outside or on the floor. Incase one gets the opportunity to meet a rimpoche (head lama) or a respected monk, it's polite not to turn one's back on him while leaving. Also removing the hat and lowering an umbrella within the confines of a monastery is advised. This courtesy is also observed in the presence of a lama.
The units of Indian currency are the rupee and the paisa (100 paise is equal to one rupee). Paper money comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 rupees. Coins are in denominations of 25, and 50 paise, one rupee, two rupees, and five rupees.
Importing and exporting the currency is strictly against the rules. International airports have currency-exchange booths that are always open for arriving or departing overseas flights.A good idea would be to change certain amount of money in small denominations.
Always change money from an authorized money-changer and donot forget to take the encashment slip. Some banks now charge a nominal fee for this slip, which is necessary for paying hotel bills or travel expenses in rupees. The encashment slip is also required when reconverting rupees into another currency.
Electronic Gadgets For electric-powered equipment, bring a converter and an adapter. The electrical current in India is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC), wall outlets take plugs with two round prongs.
Health Precautions And Other Related Information
Foreign tourists should carry their Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate conforming to International Health Regulation, if they originate or are transiting through Yellow Fever endemic countries.
Cholera, dengue fever, dysentery, hepatitis, malaria, meningitis (trekking areas only) and typhoid.Travellers with respiratory ailments may wish to take precautionary measures.
Citizens and travellers coming from the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom, do not require any vaccination certificate or innoculations. Though normally an International Health Certificate is not asked for by immigration officials, its better to carry one.It contains valuable information incase one needs medical attention.
As a precautionary measure vaccination against Hepatitis B is recommended, if staying for a longer duration.To avoid Malaria, Dengue, carrying mosquito repellents, nets, clothes covering the body and using sprays against insects in rooms is sufficient.