Fact File: India

India has a hot tropical climate but with variations between regions.There are three seasons in India- summer, winter and monsoon. The best time to visit India is during the winters, i.e., between October to February. The hottest months are April to June. The monsoon period occurs in most regions between June and September.

All foreign nationals including UK and Ireland require visa to enter India. British and Irish nationals must have a valid passport with a validity of six months prior to applying for a visa. Details and fees can be obtained from the High commission of India in the UK and the Indian Embassy in Ireland.

You can apply online or gather more details on obtaining a visa for India by visiting: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk

The Rupee, abbreviated Rs. One Rupee is equal to 100 Paise. It is advisable to carry a mix of cash and travellers cheques. The US Dollars is the easiest currency to exchange followed by Sterling. Travellers bringing UD$10,000 or more must complete a declaration form on arrival into the country. Please note that no Indian currency whatsoever can be imported or exported, except Rupee travellers cheques. Tourists are advised that changing money through unauthorised persons is not only illegal but also counts as an offence under the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act. There are 24hrs exchange facilities available in all major cities and international airports. Banks are open from 10:00hrs to 14:00hrs Mon to Fri. Most of the banks today have 24hr ATM facilities too.Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants as well as at the airports and Railway stations.

Please visit the Indian Customs website www.cbec.gov.in for important information regarding customs procedures.

GMT + 5.30hrs (Oct to Mar), GMT + 4.30hrs (April to Sept).

No vaccination is required for travelling to India from UK and Ireland. However, inoculations against Typhoid, Hepatitis and Meningitis are strongly recommended alongside precautions for Malaria. Please consult your doctor for more advice. For more information visit www.dh.gov.uk

Always use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and washing your hands. Eat fruits you can peel or wash with bottled water. If you fall ill - Drink plenty of fluids e.g. Coconut water and lassi (yoghurt drink) will kill bacteria. Eat plain rice or simple Khichdi (an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils). Consult a doctor is symptoms persist.

Carry a basic first aid kit with mosquito repellent and an anti-diarrhoeal.

Our advice is travel light ? clothing and laundry is inexpensive in India. Women should avoid sleeveless tops or short skirts/shorts. Loose cotton wear for daytime and warm jackets for evenings (during winter) are recommended. Head scarf and trousers/long skirts and sleeved tops are compulsory for visits to Temples.

With her colourful history and centuries of old skills and artistic skills, India is renowned for crafts and handicrafts. Each region produces handicrafts unique to that region only. Hand printed material, carpets, metal ware and paintings of Rajasthan, Marble in-lay work of Agra, Silks & idols of Varanasi, Pearls and Bidri work of Hyderabad, Antiques, diamond jewellery and high fashion of Mumbai, Handloom fabrics and woodwork of Bangalore are a few of the shoppers delights. Local governments Emporiums are the best places to buy local handicrafts, whilst the new emerging shopping malls are an ideal place for the latest in fashion wear.

Local bazaars are ideal for inexpensive goods and an ideal place to brush your bargaining skills.
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