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Indian travel information

  The Golden Thread

 
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Clothes

Loose-fitting lightweight cottons are perfect for travelling all year round in India - a jumper and socks for early mornings and evenings.

Light weight long sleeve cootons and trousers give protection during the evening from mosquitoes. Take very little as you will see so many lovely things to wear and to fill your suitcase with, cool 'Kurta Pajama' for men and 'Shalwar Kameez' for women are excellent options on the plains. It is a good idea to take an extra suitcase.

Women should at all times be dressed modestly

Open shoes or scandals are best in hot weather bearing in mind that blisters and cuts are then are then unprotected. Comfortable shoes, scandals and trainers are useful options.

Not forgetting any sun protection and mosquitoe bites lotions coupled with a good hat.
 
     
     

     
 

Things to bring

Bring an international plug. A torch for power cuts and dark places is very useful. Good wine and spirits are not readily available in India, so if you like a drink its a good idea to bring some with you. I find a jar of marmite is a must.

Mosquitoes can be a hazard in hot countries, especially during the evenings, therefore a good mosquitoe net, preferably impregnated.

Also useful from excessive noise are earplugs, a godsend when festivals carry on into the night and also for the early calls from the mosques.

 
Tourist Office
The Government of India Tourist Office
7 Cork Street, London W1X 2AB.
Tel 0207-437 3677
   
 
     

     
 

Health

It is a good idea to bring some sensible health aids and medication in case if illness.

I recommend the following:
  • Any medication you are currently taking.
  • Bottled water is easily available. but you may wish to take a water purification kit with you.
  • Packets of plasters.
  • Antiseptic cream and liquid.
  • One course of general antibiotics.
  • Immodium or what your doctor advises Against tummy upsets.
  • Sun cream lotion and a sun hat or scarf.
  • Eye drops.
  • Headache pills mosquito repellent plus tube of insect bite relief cream.
  • Malaria pills - the standard advice for this is Paludrine daily, plus Chloroquine once a week.
Ask your doctor about this and other medications.

You should also consult your doctor about any injections that may be recommended before your visit to India. These should have them sometime before your holiday. While there is no set requirements for India I do recommend that you are vaccinated against cholera and typhoid but the final decision should be taken by your GP.

If you plan to be adventurous in eating out, a gamma-globulin injection will give you a measure of protection against hepatitis.

In London these injections can be obtained for a small charge with out an appointment at:

 
Thomas Cook British Airways
156 Regents Street,
London.
   
 
     

     
 

Passport and Visa

A passport with at least 6 months validity is needed. Citizens of the UK and all Commonwealth countries do require a visa. Other passport holders should check with the Indian High Commission at:

 
Indian High Commission,
India House,
Aldwych,
London WC2 B4NA.
Opening hours 1930-1730 Mon-Fri.
   

Visa's for India are now obtained under a new service and I suggest you go online to read the latest information and cost At the time of writing a three month visa now costs 38. The new addresses for the India Visa Application centre are 60-62 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DE, and 142-148 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU and 20-21 Pemberton Street, Birmingham B18 6NY.
Please check the visa website for more up to date information.
 
     

     
 

Security and other hassles

Some India airport security guards insist on the removal of batteries from photographic apparatus carried in hand luggage and many will not allow walking sticks into the cabin.

At most of the main tourist sights, you are required to pay a small fee for a camera and extra for a video camera.
 
     

     
 

Customs

You may take into India 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250gr of tobacco, plus one bottle of wine and 1/3 bottle of spirits or one bottle of spirits. There is a duty- free shop on both arrival and on departure, at both Delhi and Bombay. Duty free still applies on long haul.
 
     

     
 

Currency

The Indian unit of currency is the Rupee, divided into 100 Paise. At the time of writing with the current devaluation of the Pound it is now approx £1 = Rs 70. It is illegal to import rupees. The import of foreign currency in cash or travellers cheques is not limited, but you should preserve receipts of all exchange transactions in order to change surplus Rupees back into foreign currency on departure.

There are 24 hour banks at Bombay and Delhi airports. Elsewhere I would advise you to change your money in hotels as they to provide a far more efficient service than banks. There are ATM's now in most cities.

Do take travellers cheques as visa and access are only able to be used in a few places.
 
     

     
 

Time

GMT + 5 1/2 hours. Turn your watch upside down to give you approximate GMT when in India or vice-versa.
 
     

     
 

Electricity

220 volts AC; 3 round pin (old British style) or 2 pin International razor socket. An element can be useful for an early morning cup of tea.
 
     

     
 

Travel Guides

The following is a list of both fictional and guide books covering the Indian sub-continent. These guides, plus others avaliable on the market, should provide you with an excellent account of the region plus art and cultural events in the within India.

Also included here are references to good quality maps and the establishments that sell them.

Fictional Books

  • Indian Interiors published by Tashen
  • A Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
  • The Great Moguls Bamber, Gascoigne
  • The History of Architecture in India Christopher Tadgell Phaidon
  • India Modern (Traditional forms and Contemporary Design)Phaidon
  • Into India John Keay, Murrays 1973
  • City of Djinns, William Dalyrimple
  • David Gentlemans India Hodder and Stroughton

Guide Books

  • India, a Travel Survival Kit 6th edition. 1996
  • South Asian Handbook 1993, Trade & Travel Publications
  • Hand guide to the Birds of the India Subcontinent Collins 1980
  • India File Trevor Fishlock, Murrays 1983, William Dalyrimple
  • India Companion Louise Nicholson,Century 1991
  • India Lonely Planet
  • Rajasthan Insight guide 1988
  • South India Insight guide 1990
  • India wildlife Insight guide 1987
  • The Last Wanderers Nomads and Gypsies of India
  • Museums of India Shobita Punja

Maps

Nelles regional road maps of the Subcontinent are good. But other good maps are now obtainable.
Books and maps may be obtained from:
  • Stanfords, Long Acre, London WC2
  • The Travel Bookshop, 13 Blenheim Crescent, London W11
  • Trialfinders Kensington High Street
  • Dillans Bookshops (throughout the UK)
  • Waterstons Bookshops (throughout the UK)
 
     

 
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