The wait is over!

Our newest India packages are hot off the presses with fantastic destinations and sensational itineraries. You may have a variety of questions regarding visas, vaccinations, and more. We’re here to help.

Visas

All visitors entering India require a valid passport, an Indian visa, and a return/onward ticket. Those visiting for less than 30 days need to apply for the ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, prior to arrival. Read More

VISAS.jpg - description

Weather & Clothing

India is known for four seasons: summer, winter, monsoon, and post-monsoon. It is advisable to pack for all types of weather, especially if you are visiting multiple destinations within the country. A raincoat is a safe bet. Lightweight clothing is suggested for summer months, as the temperature is known to climb. Dressing conservatively at all times is encouraged to be respectful of Indian culture and to avoid unwanted attention.

This is especially true when visiting temples and other places of religious significance.

Climate_and_Clothing.jpg - description

Culture

You may be in for a bit of culture shock, regardless of how much you’ve traveled. Interactions, personal space, and greetings may be different from what you’re accustomed to. Trains and meetings may not run on time, and staring is rather common. Public displays of affection are not advised, as it is seen as inappropriate in Indian culture. It is advised to eat only with your right hand, as the left hand is seen as unsanitary.

Khajuraho.jpg - description

Language

English is widely spoken and understood across India, making it the largest English-speaking country in the world. Hindi is also commonly spoken and understood, so it may be beneficial to learn a few simple words and phrases ahead of time. Being the culturally diverse country it is, there are over a dozen languages spoken and understood across the country, so it is also helpful to research the specific places you’ll be visiting to know the local languages.

Language.png - description

Food and Water

Indian food is known for blending different spices and tangy flavors. It varies greatly from the Western food many Americans may be accustomed to, and can therefore contribute to an upset stomach. It is recommended to not consume street food, but opt for a restaurant or cooking for yourself instead. It is also advisable to not consume raw foods, including fruits, vegetables, and salad, as it has likely been washed in water that could upset your stomach. Drinking sealed, bottled water is the best way to avoid becoming ill. This also means no ice cubes in beverages, not brushing teeth with tap water, and keeping mouths closed in the shower. Read More.

Food_and_Water.jpg - description

Medications

To combat the upset stomach you may feel after consuming new foods during your trip, you should definitely stock up on Imodium or Loperamide before your trip to help offset possible symptoms of diarrhea. Bringing electrolytes with you is another way to ensure that you stay hydrated and strong during your trip. Beginning a probiotic regimen prior to your trip is also a good idea! Of course, having the essential medications for headaches and other ailments is always encouraged.

Medication.jpg - description

Vaccinations

The World Health Organization recommends certain vaccinations prior to visiting India. However, the only required vaccination is Yellow Fever and applies to those visiting India from a country or place where there is a risk of Yellow Fever Virus. Recommended vaccinations include Adult diphtheria and tetanus vaccine, Hepatitis A and B vaccines, and Typhoid vaccine, in addition to being up-to-date on Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccinations. For a complete list, click here.

Vaccines.jpg - description

Transportation

India’s transit system was built by the British in the mid-1800s. Over 18 million people travel by train on a daily basis. Their train system is one of the most expansive in the world and is an excellent choice when traveling within the country. Just be sure to make reservations in advance! Air-conditioned buses also run city-to-city, and taxis/Ubers are available for trips within the city. If traveling by car, it is recommended to leave early to account for traffic.

Transportation.jpg - description

SIM Cards

Purchasing an International SIM Card prior to or upon your arrival in India is advised. Having your phone and map handy will make maneuvering the city much easier. Make sure you purchase one with data capabilities so that you can read restaurant reviews, avoid scams, and search on the go!

Packing Essentials

We recommend packing a few additional basic necessities, including sunscreen and antibacterial wipes. Most restrooms will not have toilet paper or hand sanitizer of any kind, so bringing these items is strongly encouraged. Also, bringing flip flops and a lightweight towel will ensure a more sanitary shower experience regardless of where you stay.

Useful Hindi Phrases

 English

Hindi 

 Hi or Hello

Namaste 

 Please

Kripaya   

 Thank You

 Shukhriya, Dhanyavaad 

 Yes

Haan 

 No

Nahin  

 Where can I find

Kahan milenge 

 I want water

Mujhepaanichahiye 

 I want a ticket

Mujhe ticket chahiye  

 Where is the toilet

Bathroom kahanhai   

 I am from Australia

Main Australia se hoon   

 Are you open tomorrow

Aapkalkhulehain 

 Is this very far

Kya ye bahut door hai   

 How much is this

Ye kitne ka hai   

 This is too expensive

Ye bahut mehengahai   

 Make this price less

Bhaavkamkaro  

 How are you?

Aapkaisehain?   

 Sorry

Maafkijiye   

 What

Kya?   

 Where?

Kahan?   

 How?

Kaise?   

 When?

Kab? 

 Who?

Kaun?   

 Why?

Kyoon? 

 What is the price?

Iskakyadaamhai?   

 I don't understand

Mai samjhanahi 

 Tell me the way please

Kripyaraastabataiye   

 What is your name?

 Aapka naam kyahai? 

 My name is

 Mera naam hai 

Magic of Indian Spices

They made ancient India, the richest nation in the world, 
Ancient Romans bartered slaves for them,  
Arabs risked their lives trading them, 
Columbus discovered America while searching for them, 
The Dutch and English Empires fought over India for them, 
The British ruled India for centuries & made a business of them,
It was not for Gold, Pearls or Diamonds...history was created with the magic of Indian Spices!

India is known the world over as 'the Home of Spices'. No country in the world produces the amount of spices that India does - close to 3 million tones of spices valued at more than US$ 4 billion a year. Today, India is one of the largest exporting nations of spices in the world.

The climate of India is ideal for the growth of almost all spices. Garlic, ginger, and caraway seeds come from North India, while fenugreek, red chilies, and fennel originate in West India. East India is abundant with ginger, turmeric, and large cardamoms. South India is known for cardamom, mace, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and even vanilla.

There is a popular belief that spicy foods are bad for health. Contrary to this belief, Indian history supports the medicinal properties of spices and considers them good for health. Spices are well known as appetizers and digestives and are considered essential in culinary art all over the world. Some of them have anti-oxidant properties, while others have preservative properties and are used in some foods like pickles and chutneys. Some spices also possess strong anti-microbial and antibiotic capabilities. Many of them possess medicinal properties that have a profound effect on human health since they affect many functional processes. For example, ginger is believed to prevent dyspepsia, garlic reduces cholesterol and hypertension, pepper serves as an antihistamine, and turmeric acts as a natural cosmetic and an antiseptic for internal and external injuries.

Although every state in India uses spices in their daily cooking, some spices are more posh than others and come at a higher price. From the north Indian state of Kashmir comes the world's most expensive spice - 'saffron'. Saffron appears like orange strands, which are the stigmata of the Crocus Sativus. One gram of saffron requires the stigmata of 1500 flowers and the spice is so dear to Indians that its vibrant orange color is represented in the Indian flag!

The various Indian spices together create that typical Indian aroma and the delicious Indian flavor loved worldwide. Indian celebrity chefs seldom talk about their secret ingredient, 'the garam masala', which adds a special zest to any Indian dish. Simply spoken, garam masala is the magic created by the combination of cardamom ('ilaichi'), cinnamon ('dal chini), cloves ('laung'), dry coriander powder ('dhania'), black pepper ('kali mirch'), and cumin ('jeera'). Indians believe that garam masala is the key ingredient in any special Indian dish. So next time you try your hand on Indian cooking, don't forget this magical spice powder, called 'garam masala'! 

India Travel Information

Indian Visa

  • Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. The principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below. Please contact the High Commission of India for further details if you are visiting India for purposes other than tourism. The visa application form is, however, the same. Separate forms are available for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals.
  • Visitors to restricted/protected areas need Special Permits and for this purpose, an additional form has to be completed. Please contact the High Commission of India, in your country if you wish to ascertain whether any of the places you intend to visit fall in the category of restricted/protected areas.

Requirements for Visa

  • Original passport valid for at least 6 months
  • Appropriate Visa Fee
  • Two Passport size Photographs (5 photographs in case of Pakistani Nationals)
  • Supporting Documents, where necessary
  • Duly completed Application Form (Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals need to apply on special application forms)

Additional requirements for different types of Visa are given below:

  • Tourist Visa: Tourists wishing to visit India will normally be granted a Tourist Visa, effective from the date of issue. Tourist Visas are non-extendible and non-convertible. People who have to visit India frequently may be granted a tourist Visa for a longer duration.
  • Business Visa: Business Visas are normally granted for 3 or 6 months. However, multiple-entry Business Visa for up to 2 years validity may be granted to technicians/experts going to India in pursuance of bilateral agreements or joint venture projects, having government approval.
  • Student & Employment Visa: Student Visa can be obtained on furnishing proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India. Employment Visa can also be obtained on furnishing of proof of employment with companies in India.
  • Transit Visa: Transit Visas are valid for halts of up to 72 hours in India. The visa remains valid within 15 Days from the date of issue and must be obtained before departure. Transit Visa cannot be obtained from immigration counters at ports of entry in India. Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India is required.
  • Entry Visa: Entry Visas are issued to persons of Indian origin for a duration of up to 5 years. These can be obtained, depending on the purpose of visit and eligibility, on a case by case basis.

Taste of India

Indian Cuisines

  • The finest of India's cuisines are as rich and diverse as the country's civilization! Indian cooking is a form of art that has flourished through generations purely by word of mouth. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies, is wide-ranging in variety, taste, and flavor.
  • Given the geographic diversity of the country, each region has its own cuisine and distinct style of preparation.

North Indian Cuisine: 

  • North Indian flavors have become an important part of international cuisine. Beloved for its specialized 'Tandoori' dishes, North Indian cuisine is popular worldwide, be it with the Asians, Brits, Americans, Aussies, and now even the Kiwis! The conventional Indian Tandoor is now widely used and advocated by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.
  • Food from North India is characterized by its thick and tasty gravies. Bread is preferred over rice. North Indians love chilies, saffron, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ghee (clarified butter), and nuts. Their meals are hearty and often include several specialized non-vegetarian Mughlai dishes (especially chicken) and famous vegetarian delicacies. Sweets, especially those made of milk and ghee (like mithai, rus-malai, kheer, rabri) are a huge favorite too!

West Indian Cuisines:

  • West Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are largely vegetarian, owing to their hot and dry climate. Due to the peculiar climate conditions, vegetables are preserved as pickles and chutneys, so they last longer and can be consumed throughout the year.
  • The state of Maharashtra, which includes the city of Mumbai (land of Bollywood) is famous for its coastal food and extravagant meals prepared with strong Gujarati influence. Peanuts and coconut are important ingredients as they are freely available in the region.
  • On the extreme west, the Indian beach paradise, Goa, specializes in fresh fish and exotic seafood. The local Goan dishes have a strong Portuguese flavor, with extensive use of chilies (like the famous Nandos Peri-Peri) and coconut.

East Indian Cuisine: 

  • Simple is the keyword for the food of this region of India. Steaming and frying are popular methods of cooking. In coastal regions fish is the non-vegetarian food of choice. The people of no other region in India can rival the love for sweets and desserts that Eastern Indians have!
  • The geographical location of this region means its food bears the strong influence of Chinese and Mongolian cuisine.

South Indian Cuisines:

  • South Indian cuisine is perhaps the hottest of all Indian food. Meals are centered around rice or rice-based dishes and dosa (south Indian crepe made from rice and lentils).
  • Rice and/or dosa is combined with Sambar (a soup-like lentil dish tempered with whole spices and chilies) and rasam (a hot-sour soup-like lentil dish), dry and curried vegetables and meat dishes, fish and prawn dishes, and a host of coconut-based chutneys and poppadums (deep-fried crispy lentil pancakes).
  • South Indians are great lovers of dark filter coffee.

Tourist Info - India

Location
South Asia.
Area
3,166,414 sq km (1,222,582 sq miles).
Capital
New Delhi
Government
Republic since 1947
Language
The main language is Hindi which is spoken by about 40% of the population; English is also enshrined in the constitution for a wide range of official purposes. In addition, 17 regional languages are recognized by the constitution. These include Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, and Punjabi, which are widely used in the north, and Tamil and Telugu, which are common in the south. Other regional languages include Kannada, Malayalam, and Marathi. The Muslim population largely speaks Urdu.
Religion
About 79% Hindu, 15% Muslim, with Sikh, Christian, Jain, Parsi, and Buddhist minorities.
Time
GMT + 5.5
Electricity
230-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Some areas have a DC supply. Plugs used are of the round two- and three-pin type.
Telephone
Country code: 91
Mobile Telephone
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is limited to major towns but is increasing all the time.
Internet
E-mail can be accessed from an increasing number of hotels and from Internet cafés across the country, many now with Wi-Fi.
Post
Airmail service to Western Europe takes up to two weeks.
Post office hours
Regional variations, but generally Mon-Sat 1000-1300 and 1330-1630 in bigger towns and cities.
Contact Information:
Indian Ministry of Tourism in India
88 Janpath, New Delhi, 110001, India
Tel: (011) 2332 0008.
Website: www.incredibleindia.org

Useful Telephone Numbers

Emergency Numbers

  • Police :  100
  • Fire : 101
  • Ambulance : 102
  • Crime Police : 1090 

General Telephone Numbers

  • Railway Enquiries :  131
  • Indian Airlines : 140
  • Telphone Directory : 197
  • Hindi Service : 177