It is often said that India is not a country at all, but a whole continent. It stretches from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala. It covers an incomparable spectrum of landscapes, cultures and peoples. Being on the streets of any Indian city, you will come across shoulder to shoulder with representatives of many great religions of the world, many castes and outcasts, different skin tones of local residents.
Tours to India will also allow you to get acquainted with temple rituals that date back to the era of the Egyptian pharaohs, the onion-shaped domes of mosques that were erected in India centuries before the dream of the great Taj Mahal, as well as feel the echoes of British rule in India on almost every corner.
It is surprising that so much of the past is still preserved in India, given the rapid pace of development in India today. The country gained its independence only in 1947, but began to develop rapidly economically only in the early 90s of the 20th century. To date, the economic reform in India, which was initiated by Rajiv Gandhi, has turned the country into a new consumer market, in dire need of new goods and technologies, with a new way of life. The land where the Buddha himself lived and taught in the past, whose religious festivals are as old as the rivers that sustain them, is the second largest software producer in the world, has its own satellites and nuclear weapons.
It is difficult to find a more religious country than India. The very landscape of the subcontinent – its rivers, waterfalls, trees, hilltops, mountains and cliffs – includes a vast sacred geography for adherents of more than a dozen religions rooted here. India’s countless holy sites are a network of pilgrimage routes that tens of thousands of believers can travel on regular trains, buses specially decorated with festive tinsel, bicycles, barefoot, individually or in groups.
However, India’s biggest problem is still the poverty of its people. It remains a harsh fact of life for about a quarter of the inhabitants. No other nation in the world has slums on the scale of Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta. Doesn’t have as many malnourished children, uneducated women, and homes without access to water treatment and waste management.
Nevertheless, despite all its shortcomings, upheavals and sometimes insoluble paradoxes, India remains one of the most colorful and vibrant countries in the world. It combines simplicity and high spirituality, cult love, legendary Bollywood and incredible music. India is a country that the traveler will remember forever.
When preparing for a trip to India, you must prepare a package of documents necessary for a tourist (a voucher from a hotel or a sending travel operator in India, a medical insurance policy, an air ticket, a foreign passport with a visa). You must arrive at the airport two hours before departure to check in for the flight and check in your luggage.
Arriving in India, you must understand that India is very multinational and has a very large number of common religions. The people of India themselves are very hospitable and good-natured, smiling and tolerant of foreigners.
India: locations. According to Thesciencetutor, India is located on the western coast of the Indian subcontinent. The area of the territory is 3287263 km2. The capital of India is Delhi.
India: capital. The official capital of India is the city of New Delhi, which is actually a small area of the city of Delhi, a huge metropolis of 13 million with dozens of attractions and a very busy life – office and shopping centers are combined with small houses and traditional markets. The contrasts of Delhi amaze tourists! From what is worth visiting, at least: the minaret of Qutub Minar, the Temples of the Lotus and Lakshmi Narayan, the Presidential Palace and the tomb of Humayun.
India: language. The main languages of the country are Hindi and English, although in different states of the country from one to 3 languages are recognized as official (in total, 23 languages are official in the country).
India: visa. The price for a visa to India is $130. A visa to India for Ukrainians is issued online and is valid in India for 60 days. You can get it by filling out a questionnaire, providing a scan of your passport and an electronic photo. A visa for a period of more than 60 days is issued in person at the Consulate of India. Tour operator in India Sitis Travel provides all necessary assistance in obtaining a visa.
India: features of customs control. Customs regulations in India impose a limit on alcohol – up to 0.95 liters of spirits. For tobacco products above the amount of 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, you will have to pay a duty. Of course, the import of drugs, weapons and ammunition, explosive materials is prohibited. Knives, scissors, lighters and other dangerous items are prohibited in hand luggage. In addition, the export of skins and products from rare animals, birds and reptiles is prohibited. As for jewelry, the export is limited to jewelry worth more than 2,000 rupees (except those bought in duty free).
India: climate. The climate in India is quite diverse – most of the country can be classified as a territory with a tropical climate, but in the north of India there is a pronounced tropical monsoon climate, and in the southern part of the country – a subequatorial climate.
Also in India there are areas with a cold climate of the Himalayas with a pronounced seasonal difference in weather – in these areas in winter the temperature can drop to -2 degrees. During the same period, the temperature will be +28 degrees in the south of the country, and +15 degrees in the center. India is also diverse in terms of precipitation – in the desert regions in western India there are no more than 100 mm per year, in the center of the country up to 400 mm of precipitation per year, but there is in India the wettest place on the planet – the Shilong Plateau, where up to 12,000 mm of precipitation falls. The climate in Goa is very comfortable all year round – subtropical. There is no sweltering heat due to the proximity to the ocean, but there is a lot of humidity from April to October. The most comfortable in Goa will be a vacation from October to March.
India: time. The time zone of India differs from Ukrainian and 2.5 hours in summer and 3.5 hours in winter.
India: dress etiquette. Over the past century, the clothes of the inhabitants of India have not changed much. The most popular women’s clothing is a sari (usually it is a single piece of any fabric, having a length of 5 – 9 meters). Women wrap themselves in saris in a special way. Indian men mostly prefer to wear shirts and trousers. There is a bottom general rule for Hindu clothing – it should cover the arms, legs and shoulders (this is especially true for women’s clothing).
India: hygiene. To visit India, special vaccinations are not required, but remember that India is a tropical country and there are a lot of foci of various diseases, and you need to be very careful about food, drink and general hygiene in India (you only need to drink bottled water, eating on the street is not allowed wash your hands frequently). We do not recommend drinking milkshakes, various drinks with ice. Also, please note that it is necessary to be careful about food in cafes and restaurants, as the body of a European cannot always calmly endure peppered food with the use of many spices. Take care in advance of the presence of a first aid kit with preparations for insect bites, disinfectant wipes, and a supply of products that improve digestion.
India: currency. The official currency here is the rupee. One dollar can be exchanged for approximately 65 rupees.
India: tips. Tipping in India is at your own discretion. Usually, in restaurants, you can leave about 10% of the bill for tea or say not to bring change, and, for example, boaters, porters, drivers can be left from 10 to 60 rupees.
India: telephone. It will be most profitable to buy a local SIM card in India (it costs approximately 500 rupees). For example, Airtel (good coverage) or Idea (good rates for mobile internet). It is better to choose a suitable tariff before traveling on the official website of the operator or ask the seller on the spot. But the card is only valid in the state where it was purchased. In others, roaming will operate. To purchase, you will need a copy of your passport, visa and photo card. You can also make calls via Skype or through telephone call centers, as well as machines.
Emergency numbers in India: 100 for police, 101 for firefighters and 102 for ambulance.
India: electrical network. In India, the mains voltage is 230 V, and the sockets are standard European ones without or with grounding (an additional third plug on the plug).
India: official holidays. There are a lot of holidays and festivals in India. The most interesting will be such festivals in India:
- Holi Festival (in March, in 2017 – 13.03, in 2018 – 2.03, in 2019 – 20.03) – a celebration of the beginning and awakening of spring! Thousands of residents of the country and tourists, wishing happiness, sprinkle each other with colored paints, colored spices or tinted water. Tens of thousands of people take part in the colored “battles” on the streets, and the festival itself gives millions of emotions and is the most favorite among tourists.
- Diwali (October-November, 07.11 in 2018) is celebrated by most of the country, the celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. During these 5 days of the holiday, you can see thousands of lanterns, fireworks, flowers, songs and dances.
- Ganga Mahotsava (November, in 2018 – from November 11) – a holiday of the sacred river Ganges, also lasts 5 days. These days in Varanasi, on the banks of the river, there are dances, songs, washing in the river (“washing away of sins”), and at night – an incredibly beautiful launch of lanterns on the water.