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India is a land of rich cultural heritage and geographic beauty. There are many
places of tourist interests in India and every year many foreign tourists from
different parts of the world come to explore the eternal beauty of this Nation.

Tourists come for different purposes such as tourism, business, education,

family reunions, etc.

Foreign nationals planning to visit India for tourism, vacations or business

should check the travel advisory bulletins of their respective countries. Before
finalising your plans to travel to India it is advisable to check the travel
advisory notifications of your country.

These travel advisories are posted with specific information regarding the
health and safety for prospective travellers.

Cited below are some facts and points that can be really helpful to the foreign

India Facts
The first thing one can notice about India is its rich culture and unique
diversity. Truly India is a potpourri of various traditions, cultures, rituals,
religions, casts, etc. Read on further to explore other facts and information on

Other facts and information on India

Name India, also known as Bharat or Hindustan.
Area 3,287,263 sq. km
Population 1,028 million (as per 1 March 2001)
Capital New Delhi
Religion India is a secular country where many religions co-exist.
7,600 km
There are 22 National Languages that have been recognized
by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi and English are
Official Languages. Besides these, there are 844 different
dialects that are practiced in various parts of the Country.
India experiences three major seasons - winters, summers and
States and
Union India has 28 states and 7 Union Territories
Government Democratic form of Government
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh
President Mrs Pratibha Devisingh Patil
Currency Rupees
Jan Gana Mana
Replica of the Lion Capital of Sarnath
Horizontal tricolour in equal proportion of deep saffron on the
National flag top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom. In the
centre of the white band is a wheel in navy blue colour.
National animalTiger
National bird Peacock
National flower Lotus
National tree Banyan
National fruit Mango
The Indian time zone, Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5.5 hours
Time Zone (5 hours and 30 minutes) ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time

Indian Visa
To get a visa for India, you need to submit a number of documents, which are:

• Visa application form

• Passport, having a minimum validity of six months on the date of
• Two identical passport sized photographs
• Supporting documents, depending upon the type of visa
• Visa fee

Visitors also need a valid permit to visit certain restricted/protected areas.

They must fill up their Disembarkation/ Embarkation cards on
arrival/departure. Foreigners visiting India, who hold long-term visas (more
than 180 days), are required to obtain a Registration Certificate and
Residential Permit from the nearest Foreigners' Registration Office (FRRO)
within 15 days of arrival. The foreigners registered at FRRO are required to
report change of their addresses. Certificates of registration issued by the
Registration Officers should be surrendered to the immigration officer at the
port/check post of exit from India. Passengers embarking on journeys to any
place outside India from a Customs airport / seaport are required to pay a
Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs 500 to most countries and Rs 150 on journeys
to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
the Maldives.
Clothes to wear
Indian summers are too hot, thus foreigners who plan their visit from March to
July, they can carry light cottons. Wear clothes that are not very revealing.
Winters fall in the months of October to February in India are quite cold,
especially in the Northern India. Visitors who wish to come during this period
are advised to carry sufficient warm clothing. Monsoons in India fall from
July to September, and these months make the weather extremely humid.
Some religious places in India have dress codes, like covering your head,
being barefoot, etc. Tourists are advised to comply with them, so as not to
seem offensive towards the religious sentiments of the concerned community.

Indian Money
Indian currency is known as Rupee abbreviated as INR. The Indian money is
available in denominations of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100,
Rs 500 and Rs 1000. One rupee consists of a hundred paise which are in
denominations of 10p, 25p and 50p. However, these paise are rarely used.
Coins are available for Re1, Rs 2 and Rs 5.

Changing money in India can be a very cumbersome process especially in

small towns, thus the visitors are advised to change a substantial amount at
one time. All the banks do not accept Travellers' cheques. Make sure to
change the money at accredited bureaus only; changing at any other place is
illegal and also runs the risk of being counterfeit. Foreigners have no
restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travellers' cheques and they
can import any amount, provided he/she has filled a declaration form on
arrival. This will help in exchanging your currency at the time of arrival as
well as the taking back your unspent currency at the time of leaving. Money
can be easily changed at the airport, some hotels and several branches of
International foreign exchange providers.

Travel Vaccinations
Before embarking on your India vacation, the foreigners must get familiar
with different diseases that are common in Indian climatic conditions. Here is
a comprehensive list of the most vaccinations for those visiting India.

• Hepatitis A: This vaccination is recommended for all travellers to

• Hepatitis B: Travellers who may have intimate contact with local
residents should take this vaccination, especially if their period of stay
is more than 6 months.
• Typhoid: All travellers are recommended to take Typhoid vaccination.
• Yellow Fever: Vaccination for this is required only for travellers
arriving from or passing through any yellow-fever-infected area like
• Japanese Encephalitis: This vaccine is recommended for travellers
staying for more than 1 month and travelling to rural areas or travellers
engaging in extensive unprotected outdoor activities in rural areas,
especially after dusk.
• Rabies: Any traveller who may have direct contact with animals should
take this vaccination.

There are some health risks in India like Cholera, Dengue Fever, Dysentery,
Malaria and Meningitis. Travellers are advised to take precautionary measures
against the same.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is necessary for travelling to India and it also acts as an
additional security in the case of unanticipated contingences like cancellation
or interruption of travel plans, lost or damaged luggage, travel delays,
accident, etc.

Foreigners, who are not covered by travel insurance, shall be compounded by

a financial burden in case of any personal tragedy. Though each and every
mishap is not covered by travel insurance, still, it covers most of the
unfortunate circumstances. Check the small print of your insurance policy
carefully to see if there is any exclusion. If anything goes wrong, you need to
file a claim. For the purpose, keep your boarding passes, ticket copies and
receipts for expenses paid during your trip as a proof.

Traffic Rules
There are some Indian traffic rules you need to follow while in India. Given
below is a list of some guidelines for ensuring traffic safety in India:

Indian government recognises the International Driver's License (IDL) though

it is safer to rent a car with a professional driver. If you are planning to stay in
India for a long time and have a valid driver's license (not necessarily an IDL)
issued by any competent authority in your country, then getting a driver
license in India is no big problem. If your International Driver's License (IDL)
has expired, you can easily get a local driving license in India by submitting
your expired license, along with a letter of introduction from your country's
Embassy. Traffic in India moves on the left side. So, be extra cautious while
crossing the road, especially if your country follows right side driving.
Wildlife Trade
The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade.
Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and
imprisonment. Foreigners are therefore, advised not to buy any wild animals
or their products and derivatives like articles of ivory, fur and skin.

Tourists should seek permission from the authorities concerned before taking
photographs of places of military importance, railway stations, bridges,
airports, military installations, metro trains, tribal areas and sensitive border
regions. It is prohibited to take photographs in some of the temples, historical
monuments, forts, palaces, tombs and monasteries. Visitors are required to
take special permits from the Archaeological Survey of India for
photographing monuments with tripods and artificial lights. Camera fee is
charged extra in some historical monuments.

Protected Areas in India

There are certain places in India where entry is restricted. Tourists are required
to take special permits from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), New Delhi
for visiting these places. These places include certain areas of Assam, North
Eastern Frontier States (Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal
Pradesh) border areas of Jammu & Kashmir, selected areas of Uttar Pradesh
and Rajasthan, Union Territories of Andaman and Lakshadweep Islands.

One can visit in person or inquire on phone the details of getting special

Foreigners' Division
Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block,
Central Secretariat, New Delhi - 110 001
Phone: 23092011.
Fax: 23093750, 23092763.

Any one interested to learn about the various facets of Indian Culture can join
various short term courses conducted by:

Academy of Indian Culture
Phone: +919929767600