India

Population

The statistic shows the total population of India from 2004 to 2014. In 2012, the estimated total population in India amounted to approximately 1.22 billion people. India currently has the second-largest population in the world and is projected to overtake top-ranking China within forty years.

Local Time

India Standard Time (IST) is 5:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This time zone is a standard time zone and is used in: Asia. India Standard Time is a half-hour time zone. Its local time differs by 30 minutes from the usual one-hour time zone interval. This time zone is often called Indian Time.

Language

There are several languages in India belonging to different language families, the major ones being the Hindi and other Dravidian languages. The official languages of the Union Government of the India are Hindi and English.

Visa Requirements

Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days (a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders). Tourist Visas for India can be applied for and purchased online in advance of travel: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html 

e-Tourist Visa available for the following countries/territories:
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.

VALIDITY

The Visa on Arrival is valid for a single entry into India for a period of upto 30 (thirty) days. This Visa is non-extendable and non-convertible and will be issued at arrival only at the designated international airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Only two visits on a Tourist Visa-on-Arrival shall be permissible in a calendar year and there shall be a gap of at least two months between each visit.

FEE

The fee for the visa on arrival is USD 60 (Sixty United States Dollars) or equivalent amount in Indian Rupees per passenger (including children).

Currency

The Indian rupee (INR) is the official currency. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India. For official and up to date currency conversion, please refer to: http://www.xe.com/ The Currency can be exchanged at money exchangers at airports, hotels, authorized banks and money exchange. All major Indian cities have easily accessible Automatic Teller Machines. All towns and cities have many banks where you can change Travellers checks, US Dollar, Euro and other currencies. Credit cards are widely accepted in all cities, usually for amounts greater than Rs. 250 or so.

Electrical Current

India uses 230 Volts, 50 Hz alternating current as the power source. Plugs and sockets have either grounded/earthed 3 Pin connections (Type D) or ungrounded 2 pin connections (Type C). The two pin plug is also called the Euro plug. It has two round 4 mm (0.157 in) pins. It can be inserted in either way into the socket. Hence there is no fixed live (hot) and neutral (cold) terminals.

Weather

For detailed Indian weather conditions, consult the Indian Meteorological Department. There are detailed predictions for all Indian states available from the MET department. Weather base has annual high, low and average temperatures and rainfall (precipitation) for many Indian cities. India has a large number of climatic regions, tropical climate in the south to temperate and alpine in the north Himalayan regions. The elevated Himalayan regions receive snowfall in the winter months. Himalayas and the Thar Desert substantially influence the Indian climate. The Himalayas block the cold winds from Central Asia. This keeps the Indian subcontinent warmer than places with similar latitudes. Thar Desert attracts the south west monsoons during the June to October post summer months, providing most of the rainfall in India.

Summer: March to June, are considered the summer months in most parts of India. North Western India has April to July as the summer months. Average temperatures in India during summer are around 32 to 40 °C (90 to 104 °F)

Rainy Season: Also called the South West Summer monsoons, the rains last from June to September. South India receives more rainfall than the North. India has some of the world’s wettest places.

Winter season: lasts from December to February end / early March. December and January are the coldest months where average temperatures in the North West are 10 to 15 °C (50 to 59 °F) while the South East part of the country has a maximum of 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F).

Religions

India is a secular country and home to many religions .Major ones are the religions that originated in Indian subcontinent that is Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Many western religions like Islam and Christianity are widely practiced too. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%) and Jainism (0.4%) are the other major religions followed by the people of India. There are also numerous minor tribal traditions, though these have been affected by major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.

Attire

Clothing in India varies from region to region depending on the ethnicity, geography, climate and cultural traditions of the people of that region. Historically, men and women clothing has evolved from simple Lioncloths to cover the body to elaborate costumes not only used in daily wear but also on festive occasions as well as rituals and dance performances. In urban areas, western clothing is common and uniformly worn by people of all strata . India also has a great diversity in terms of weaves, fibers, colours and material of clothing. Colour codes are followed in clothing based on the religion and ritual concerned. For instance, Hindu ladies wear white clothes to indicate mourning, while Parsis and Christians wear white to weddings.

Values and Traditions

Religion, education and social class all influence greetings in India. The Eldest have to be greeted first. Shaking hands is common .Men shake hands with other men and women with other women.

Indian names vary based upon religion, social class, and region of the country.. Indians believe that giving gifts eases the transition into the next life.

Gifts of cash are given to friends and members of the extended family to celebrate life events such as birth, death and marriage.It is not the value of the gift, but the sincerity with which it is given, that is important to the recipient.

Indians entertain in their homes, restaurants, private clubs, or other public venues, depending upon the occasion and circumstances. Although Indians are not always punctual themselves, they expect foreigners to arrive close to the appointed time.

Cultural Considerations

Modern India is a country of very diverse cultures with many languages, religions and traditions. Children begin by coping and learning to accept and assimilate in this diversity. Some of important considerations to be kept in mind are:

  • Take off your shoes before entering the house or a religious place such as Temple or Mosque.
  • Dress modestly and conservatively.
  • Politely turn down the first offer of tea, coffee, or snacks. You will be asked again and again. Saying no to the first invitation is part of the protocol.

Food Water and Alcohol

Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available produce. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions.

Around 35% of Indians are strict Vegetarians while another 30% are regular meat eaters. While it is difficult to describe Indian cuisine with our linking it to the geographic regions, It is true to say the Indian food is generally spicy

Renowned for exotic gravies and spicy kababs, Indian cuisine has something to satisfy every palate. The strong flavors of Indian cuisine are because of the seasonings, spices, and the basic ingredients which include grains, pulses, leafy vegetables, fruits, and meat. According to Indian food theory, there are six different tastes: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. An Indian meal is a well balanced combination of all the six tastes. Often one or two of them will stand out and it is not often that all six are employed in a dish.

Enjoying the local cuisine is one of the greatest pleasures of travelling. One the other hand if we are not careful with what we eat or drink it may cause various ailments.

Some Do’s and Don’t’s:

Drinking

Do Drink:

  • Boiled water
  • Bottled water is usually safe but do check that the seal is unbroken, as refills from the tap are not unknown!
  • Purified Water Modern water purifiers such as the Pur Voyageur are transportable and very effective. Used correctly, they will eliminate any organic material and organisms from water and render it about as safe as you can possibly get.
  • Cans of soft drink, especially international brands, are low risk. Local beer is similar in risk.
  • Wine and spirits are usually imported and safe but do not order your whisky 'on the rocks', as ice is to be avoided. (And no, the alcohol will not kill the germs in the ice!)

Do Not Drink:

  • Any other water. Presume all other sources of water are contaminated. This includes brushing the teeth. Use bottled water for this. Ice. Freezing preserves germs; it does not kill them.

Eating

Do eat:

  • Freshly cooked (fried, boiled, steamed) food
  • Peelable fruits -bananas, citrus fruits, etc
  • Food of acceptable brands in cans or sealed packs
  • In well patronised, busy restaurants serving local food
  • Off clean plates with clean cutlery (consider taking your own cutlery)

Do not eat:

  • Uncooked, undercooked food or reheated food
  • Salads or unpeelable fruit and vegetables
  • Ice cream (unless it is an internationally packaged and labelled brand) and dairy products
  • Oysters, clams, mussels, barbecued prawns or mudcrabs
  • Food that has been left around exposed to flies
  • Dishes requiring a lot of food handling to prepare.

Information Courtesy of India Ministry of Tourism.

For more information - www.incredibleindia.org/en

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