It is hard to generalise in a country that runs from the Himalayas to
the beaches of the Indian Ocean but broadly speaking October to
March tend to be the most pleasant months in India, when it is
relatively dry and cool.
In the far south the best months to visit are between January and
September, while northeastern areas of India tend to be more
comfortable between March and August.
The deserts of Rajasthan (west of Jodhpur) and the northwestern
Indian Himalayan region are at their best during the monsoon
season (July to September).
The mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Zanskar and
Kashmir should be visited over the summer months (May to September).
Although English is generally used for official and business purposes,
Hindi is the official state language and is spoken by about 30 percent
of the population. There are 17 other official languages and
hundreds of local dialects..
The currency is called Indian Rupee (Rs), which is divided into100
paisa. Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised
bureaux de change. It is usually difficult to obtain rupees outside
India, but no matter what time you arrive in India there will be an
exchange office open at the airport. It is illegal to exchange money
through the black market and it is advisable to refuse torn notes, as
no one will accept them apart from banks. It is best to change money
into small denominations. Travellers cheques and major credit cards
are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments.
ATMs are also widely available in major cities and major
India has a single time zone (GMT +5.5)
India is generally a fairly tolerant society however visitors should be
aware of religious and social customs. When visiting temples and
other religious sites, visitors will be required to remove their
footwear and cover their heads.
The international access code for India is +91. The outgoing code is
00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United
Kingdom). International calls can be expensive especially if made
from hotels; it is cheaper to use a calling card. Alternatively, there are
telephone agencies in most towns which are identifiable by the
letters STD for long distance internal calls and ISD for the international service.
The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have
roaming agreements with most international operators.
Internet cafes are available in the main cities and resorts.
Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped, however all other services
expect small tips, including porters, guides, hotel staff, and waiters in
small establishments. In tourist restaurants or hotels a 10% service
charge is often added to the bill.
To minimise the risks associated with travel to India, including
malaria and dengue fever, travellers should take medical advice on
vaccinations at least three weeks before departure. Those travelling
from an infected area should hold a yellow fever certificate.
Drink only bottled water and ensure that the seal on the bottle is
intact. Meat and fish should be regarded as suspect in all but the best
restaurants and should always be well cooked and served hot.
Salads and unpeeled fruit should be avoided. Health facilities are
adequate in the larger cities but limited in rural areas.
Travellers are advised to take out medical insurance.
240 volts, 50Hz. A variety of power outlets are used in India, but most
plugs have two or three round pins.
Passport & Visa information (www.passport.nic.in)
Wikitravel - India Travel Guide (wikitravel.org/india)
Indian Embassies and Consulates (www.meaindia.nic.in)