Our guests ask us many questions about travel in India. Here are just a few of the most frequent queries. When planning your itinerary please feel free to ask your travel consultant any other questions you may have.
How can I select and book a tour to India? Is there a list of tours I can choose from?
First we recommend that you go through ’Tour by Themes’ or through different regional folders viz. North India, South India, West India, East India, Kerala and Rajasthan, which include various tours that we have been organizing successfully since a very long time for our guests. The tours under ’Tour by Themes’ are listed under different categories like India for first timers, Trip for Business Travelers, Adventure, weekend gateways, special Interest etc. and you can select them as per your likings. Further, you are most welcome to provide your valuable inputs to customize the tour packages perfectly to your needs. Our travel experts will get back to you shortly with necessary changes and the amended tour program after hearing back from you.
How do we settle the payment? Is there an advance deposit required?
We accept payments through a wire transfer to our bank account or through vide a banker’s cheque or a demand draft etc. We insist on 25% of the total tour amount to be sent to us as soon as the tour itinerary has been finalized. This is an authorization for us to go ahead with the reservations. The balance however has to be settled 45 days prior to the tour commencement date.
Do I need a Visa to enter India?
All visitors to India require a Visa which must be obtained before arrival in the country. The usual visa is valid for 6 months from the time of issue and is good for multiple entries to the country. Visas are issued by all Indian embassies and consulates and can take up to 2 weeks to process. However, the citizens of France, Germany and Russia can obtain India visa (as per VOA scheme) upon their India arrival.
Where can I apply for an Indian Visa?
You are requested to get in touch with the nearest Indian Embassy/ Commission who will appraise you with the other formalities required.
Are there any India Tourist Offices near my home?
The Tourist Offices of Government of India are located all over the world for any information that you may require pertaining to India as a destination. You may get in touch with them for any queries you have prior to booking your holiday with us. List of Govt. of India Tourist Offices
What are the monument entrance fees in India and are they included in the tour cost?
Many of the monuments in India are being preserved primarily by the Government. Most of the monuments have entrance charges. The entrance charges for Indians and foreign nationals are different. Monument entrance fee at most of the places is very nominal and ranges from USD 1 to USD 4 per monument depending on the sights you are visiting. The highest entrance charge in India is at Taj Mahal which is approximately USD 15 (for foreign nationals) per person per visit. The still camera fee at many monuments remains included in the entrance charge. Where it is not included it is very nominal ranging from USD 1 to USD 2. The video camera fee normally doesn’t remain included in the tour price. At the city monuments it normally ranges from USD 3 to USD 6 per visit. Pan India Tours usually does not include the monument charges in the India tour package cost. You can directly purchase the monument entrance tickets from the tourist counter or your guide can take it for you on your behalf. We will provide you a detailed list of monuments with the entrance fees and camera charges several days prior to your India arrival.
What kinds of accommodations are available in India?
India possesses some of the world’s finest hotels, with all services at par with international standards. The leading hotel chains of India are the Taj group, Oberoi group, Accor group, Le Meridian group, The Leela group and the Welcome Group (Sheraton) etc. Most luxury hotels are situated some distance from city centers.
For those on limited budgets, medium-grade accommodation of verifying standard but always with private shower/toilet is available.
An increasing number of Rajasthan palaces owned by former maharajas are being converted into hotels. These “Heritage Hotels” (Palaces/Forts/Havelis turned into luxury hotels) provide a unique experience and mostly, although not all, are operated by the larger hotel groups. An accommodation is naturally more limited than in the purpose-built hotels and should be reserved in advance if at all possible.
What are the different room categories in Indian Hotels?
Generally hotels tend to place their bedrooms within five different categories viz. Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Executive, Suite
The actual differences between the bedrooms vary from one hotel to another, with executive being the highest standard of room.
Single Room: A single room is designed to accommodate one person only. The room contains one single bed or twin bed.
Double Room: A double room is designed to accommodate two people only. The room contains one queen bed or king size bed.
Twin Room: A twin room is also designed to accommodate two people only. The room contains two single beds.
Triple Room: A triple room is designed to accommodate three people only. The room will contain either one king size bed with an extra bed or Three single beds.
What immunizations do I need before visiting India?
Here is a comprehensive list of all the vaccinations that may be needed to travel India.
Diphtheriais a serious throat infection, which infects from person-to-person through the air. The vaccination should be less than 10 years old otherwise a booster is needed.
Hepatitis-A:Infectious hepatitis infects through contaminated food and water. Vaccination consists of two injections about 12 months apart, which protects for up to 25 years. The first vaccination protects for 12 months. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travelers to India.
Tetanus:Tetanus is a complication to wounds contaminated by soil. If there has been a vaccination within the past 10 years it is not necessary to give a booster in case of wounds and accidents. Tetanus vaccinations are usually given in combination with diphtheria vaccine. If you are previously vaccinated, the vaccine can be given right up to departure.
Typhoid:All travelers are recommended to take Typhoid vaccination.
Yellow Fever:Vaccination for yellow fever is required only for travelers arriving from or transiting through any yellow-fever-infected area like Africa. Person arriving from a country without yellow fever, there is no requirement for a yellow fever vaccination.
Rabies:Any traveler who may have direct contact with animals should take this vaccination.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): If any person born after 1956 has not previously taken this vaccination, he/she should take two doses of the same.
Major Diseases in India
Diarrhea: The most common ailment of travelers is diarrhea. The main cause of it is unclean food and water. It is advised to carry an antibiotic and an anti diarrhea drug if significant diarrhea occurs. In case of diarrhea, good amount of fluid intake is required. However, if diarrhea gets severe you should immediately call a doctor.
Malaria: Prophylaxis with mefloquine (Lariam), atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) or doxycycline is recommended throughout India, except at places located at high altitudes (2000 m/6561 ft). Long-term travelers coming to India may not have access to medical care all the time; they should bring along medications for emergency self-treatment in case they develop symptoms indicative of malaria, such as fever, headaches, chills and muscle aches. It is important to note that symptoms of malaria sometimes may not occur for months or even years after exposure.
Altitude Sickness: Altitude sickness may occur in travelers ascending altitudes greater than 2500m. This specifically includes the mountain areas of northern India. Those with a history of heart disease, lung disease, or sickle cell disease are advised to avoid high altitudes.
Whom I shall meet when I arrive in India/How I will be assisted upon my India arrival?
Our representative would remain present at the arrival lounge of the airport and would be holding a placard in your name. He will also assist you during your hotel check in. The same procedure will be followed whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from India.
What is the climate like and what is the best time to visit India?
India has a wide range of climatic conditions from tropical in the South to alpine in the North. Most of the country except Himalaya region is best to travel between October and March. During this time, days are pleasant to cooland rain is very rare. The summer season begins in April and ends in September. It is interrupted by the south-west monsoon which arrives around the mid of June. In the winter season i.e. from November to March, woolens are needed from early evening to mid-morning.
April - June: Hot, dry and dusty with temperature 35-42 degree centigrade
July - August: Hot, Humid and rainy
Sep - Mar: Pleasant days and could get cooler in the night
April/May & Aug/Sep: Hot and Humid with average temperature 38 degree centigrade
June/July/Oct/Nov: Hot and Heavy rains
Dec - Mar: Hot but less humid
GENERAL INFORMATIONS FOR A TOURIST ON INDIA TRAVEL
Money Exchange, Credit Cards and ATM’s in India
With regards to the exchange currency, it is recommendable to carry adequate US dollars. US dollars are widely accepted and would be hassle free to get it changed. It is also advisable to carry adequate local currency i.e. Indian Rupees while travelling in India especially in small towns, remote and wildlife destinations as you will find no ATM there.
Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops, but not usually in hotels in the wildlife parks. Do not allow your credit card to be taken out of your sight in restaurants and shops. ATMs are available in major cities and towns.
Things to carry/packing for India Travel
Little woolens will be needed in India and hotels provide a fast, reliable laundry service. So, it is unnecessary to pack a large amount of clothing. The standard allowance permitted by most Indian domestic airlines is 20 Kg plus hand baggage. A medical kit, toiletries and camera should be brought. All clothing is economical throughout India and much of it of excellent to good quality, particularly in the large towns.
Insurance for India Travel
Most travelers take their trip insurance through the insurance company at their own country. Travel insurance gives travelers coverage for unforeseen problems, from a cancelled flight to a serious illness. We provide the entire necessary documents viz. trip invoice and other receipts which may be required by the insurance companies in order to claim for the travel insurance.
Western food is available in larger hotels. Indian food is delicious and varied, and vegetarian food is widely available. In hotels the spicing is often milder to suit Western tastes. It is recommendable to eat hot and freshly cooked food and to avoid salads, cut fruit, any food which is not cooked. Avoid yogurt and lassi unless milk has been boiled. Ice cream is only safe if produced using a heat treatment method. Rice which is not freshly cooked is a common cause of food poisoning. Hotel buffets can cause problems if food is left standing for a long time (if in doubt, order freshly prepared food from the a la carte menu).
In some locations we will recommend restaurants you may like to try. Food is often excellent but service can be variable. Delays are not unusual, and the component parts of a meal do not invariably arrive together! In some hotels staffs are local people, who may be shy and inexperienced. Even in five star properties staffing may occasionally be unequal to the challenge. Elsewhere you may find service over-attentive, often understood as good service locally! Patience and a sense of humour will help you enjoy your meals.
Dehydration is a common and serious problem in hot climates, especially in children; make sure you drink plenty of water. Tap water is not safe to drink. You should drink only bottled mineral water, which is widely available. You should also use mineral water when brushing your teeth. Ice is not safe unless made with boiled or mineral water, which is rarely the case, so is best avoided.
Most of our guests experience no problem during their tour. A mild upset can sometimes be simply the result of a change of diet, so go easy for the first few days if you are unused to spicy foods. Bring a supply of ORS (oral rehydration salts) and if you do experience any symptoms, take these immediately, rest and drink plenty of water. Seek medical advice for any severe or persistent symptoms. It is useful to bring Loperamide, but this should not be taken unless absolutely necessary. Ciprofloxacin is a good antibiotic for bacterial diarrhea but is not effective against other types so is best taken under medical advice. ‘Preventative’ antibiotics are not effective.
Most temples and monuments charge a fee for a camera permit, (INR 20-50 for still cameras, INR 100-500 for video). This must be purchased at the entrance. Special permits may be needed for tripods and lights. It is not permitted to photograph statues of the deity in temples. Always ask permission before photographing people – the moment may be lost, but photography without consent may cause offence.
At the religious sites you may find lot of beggars. However please don’t get intimidated. The best thing is to avoid them completely and be firm. In India normally, if you make an eye contact it is considered to be a sign of acceptance or consideration so you may avoid making eye contact with the beggars. Please don’t offer them money, food or any other gift.
Dress Code at Religious sites
There is no official dress code at most of the places in India. The best thing is to observe and follow. However as a general understanding one should avoid wearing skimpy clothes like half pants or sleeveless dress during visiting a religious site. Full trousers, jeans, skirt or any other outfit with an appropriate top, t-shirt or shirt is well suggested. Wearing black dress should also be avoided. At many temples leather objects are also not allowed. One should cover his head especially while visiting a mosque or a Gurudwara (Sikh temple). Photographing people is generally welcomed though one should not forget taking permission before clicking a picture. Photographing the deity may not be allowed so please take permission before doing that.
There is specific time of visiting temples so please find it out with your guide or driver before visiting any temple. In South India most of the temples remain open from 0630 hours till 1230 noon and from 1630 hours till 2030 hours. In most of the South Indian temples foreigners are not allowed in the sanctum.
In temple premises shoes, sandals or any other footwear is not allowed. For your convenience you may wear sleepers or sandals and may leave them outside while visiting the temple.
If you don’t have a guide you may check if any of the local priests could act as guide. Normally there are no guide charges but it is better to find out the same before using a local priest. Depending upon your satisfaction a tip of 50 to 150 Indian Rupees should remain appropriate. Kindly note tipping is not obligatory at all.