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Introducing India

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Travel Alert: On August 5, 2010 heavy rain caused flash flooding and landslides in the northern Indian region of Ladakh. Major infrastructure and transport routes have been affected. Check the most up-to-date information before you go to avoid difficulties.

Bamboozling. There’s simply no other word that convincingly captures the enigma that is India. With its in-your-face diversity, from snow-dusted mountains to sun-washed beaches, tranquil temples to feisty festivals, lantern-lit villages to software-supremo cities, it’s hardly surprising that this country has been dubbed the world’s most multidimensional. Love it or loathe it, and most visitors see-saw between the two, India promises to jostle your entire being, and no matter where you go or what you do, it’s a place you’ll never forget.

Home to more than one billion people, the subcontinent bristles with an eclectic melange of ethnic groups, which translates into an intoxicating cultural cocktail for the traveller. For those seeking spiritual sustenance, India has oodles of sacrosanct sites and stirring philosophical epics, while history buffs will encounter gems from the past almost everywhere – from grand vestiges of the British Raj serenely peering over swarming spice bazaars, to crumbling fortresses looming high above plunging ravines. Meanwhile, aficionados of the great outdoors can paddle in the shimmering waters of one of many balmy beaches, scout for big jungle cats on a blood-pumping wildlife safari, or simply inhale pine-scented air on a meditative forest walk. And then there’s the food! From squidgy South Indian idlis (fermented rice cakes) to zesty north Indian curries, foodies can look forward to savouring a seductive smorgasbord of specialities.

Once you touch down on subcontinental soil, you’ll quickly discover that cricket – India’s sporting obsession – is one of the most spirited topics of conversation, along with the latest shenanigans in the razzle-dazzle world of Bollywood.

However, it is politics – whether at the national, state or village level – that consistently dominates news headlines, with middle- and upper-class India also keenly keeping its finger on the pulse of international events. On the home front, economic matters feature high on the national political agenda. With one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India has certainly made giant strides over the past decade. However, despite averaging an annual growth rate of around 9% in recent years, vast sections of the country’s billion-plus population have seen little benefit from the economic boom. Indeed, the government’s ongoing challenge is to spread both the burden and bounty of India’s fiscal prosperity. Not an easy task given that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is far from shrinking, and poverty is set to spiral upwards if India’s population rate continues to gallop beyond that of its economic growth.

Getting there in india


An onward or return air ticket is a condition of the tourist visa, so few visitors buy international tickets inside India. Only designated travel agents can book international flights, but fares are normally the same if you book directly with the airlines. The cheapest time to visit is generally the monsoon (June to August). The departure tax of Rs 500 (Rs 150 for most South and Southeast Asian countries) and the Rs 200 passenger service fee is included in the price of almost all tickets.

***NB: Conditions have recently changed for Indian tourist visas. For more information, see our Visas section.

Contact a travel agent or surf the web to get up-to-the-minute fares and flight schedules. Advertisements for discount travel agencies appear in the travel pages of major newspapers and listings magazines. Note that fares on airline websites are sometimes just as cheap as going through an agent. Alternatively, try the following international online ticket agencies:

Ebookers ( (

Flight Centre International ( (

STA Travel (

Travelocity (


There are several sea routes between India and surrounding islands but none leave Indian sovereign territory. There has been talk of a passenger ferry service between southern India and Colombo in Sri Lanka but this has yet to materialise. Inquire locally to see if there has been any progress.


Border crossings

Although most visitors fly into India, the overland route from Nepal is extremely popular and smaller numbers of travellers enter India from Pakistan and Bangladesh. For more on these routes, consult Lonely Planet’s Istanbul to Kathmandu, or see the ‘London to India’ section on

If you enter India by bus or train you’ll be required to disembark at the border for standard immigration and customs checks. You must have a valid Indian visa in advance as no visas are available at the border. The standard Indian tourist visa allows multiple entries within a six-month period.

Drivers of cars and motorbikes will need the vehicle’s registration papers, liability insurance and an International Driving Permit. You’ll also need a Carnet de passage en douane, which acts as a temporary waiver of import duty. To find out the latest requirements for the paperwork and other important driving information contact your local automobile association.


Foreigners can use four of the land crossings between Bangladesh and India, all in West Bengal or the Northeast States. Exiting Bangladesh overland is complicated by red tape – if you enter by air, you require a road permit (or ‘change of route’ permit) to leave by land. This free permit can be obtained in Dhaka at the Directorate of Immigration and Passports (02-9131891/9134011; Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Agargaon Rd; 9am-5pm Sun-Thu) in two to three working days; bring several passport photos. Some travellers have also reported problems exiting Bangladesh overland with the visa issued on arrival at Dhaka airport.

Heading from India to Bangladesh, tourist visas should be obtained in advance from a Bangladeshi mission. Delhi’s Bangladesh embassy (011-24121389; EP39 Dr Radakrishnan Marg, Chanakyapuri; applications 9.30am-11pm Mon-Fri) issues visas in two working days with two passport photos; fees vary depending on nationality. Visas can also be obtained from the Bangladeshi missions in Kolkata and Agartala.

Heading from Bangladesh to India, you must pre-pay the exit tax at a designated branch of the Sonali Bank, which may be some distance from the border post.

Kolkata to Dhaka

There are daily bus services from Kolkata to Dhaka, crossing the India–Bangladesh border at Benapol. Plans for a train link between Kolkata and Dhaka have dragged on for years – inquire locally for progress reports.

Siliguri to Chengrabandha/Burimari

This minor northern border crossing is accessible from Siliguri in West Bengal. You must take a private bus from outside Tenzin Norgay central bus station to Jalpaiguri (Rs 40, two hours) and change there for the border post at Chengrabandha.

Shillong to Sylhet

This little-used crossing offers a handy back route from northeast India to Bangladesh. Share jeeps run every morning from Bara Bazaar in Shillong to the border post at Dawki, where you can walk or catch a taxi to the bus station in Tamabil, which has regular buses to Sylhet.

Agartala to Dhaka

The Bangladesh border is 4km from Agartala and several daily trains run on to Dhaka from Akhaura on the Bangladesh side of the border.


Phuentsholing is the main entry and exit point between India and Bhutan; you now need a full Bhutanese visa to enter the country, which must be obtained at least 15 days before your trip from a registered travel agent listed under the Department of Tourism, Bhutan (

Bhutan visas for non-Indians require a prepaid tour (minimum US$200 to US$240 per day, all-inclusive). Tour and visa can be arranged within two days through RCPL Travels (24400665; ; ; 5/4 Ballygunge Pl, Kolkata).

Siliguri/Kolkata to Phuentsholing

Buses from Kolkata and Siliguri to Phuentsholing are run by Bhutan Transport Services. From Kolkata, there’s a direct bus at 7pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (Rs 300, 20 hours). There’s also a rail route from Siliguri via Alipurduar (on the main train line between Siliguri and Guwahati) connecting with local buses to the border.


The security situation in Nepal has improved massively since the ceasefire in 2006. Nevertheless, it makes sense to check the security situation before crossing into Nepal by land – local newspapers and international news websites are good places to start.

Political and weather conditions permitting, there are five land border crossings between India and Nepal:

Sunauli in Uttar Pradesh to Bhairawa in central Nepal

Raxaul in Bihar to Birganj in central Nepal

Panitanki in West Bengal to Kakarbhitta in eastern Nepal

Jamunaha in Uttar Pradesh to Nepalganj in western Nepal

Banbassa in Uttaranchal to Mahendranagar in western Nepal

Two-month single-entry visas for Nepal (US$30) are available at all the border crossings but payment is due in US dollars and you need two passport photos. Alternatively, obtain a single-entry or six-month multiple-entry visa (US$80) in advance from a Nepalese mission. In Delhi, the Nepal embassy (011-23327361; Barakhamba Rd; applications 9am-noon Mon-Fri) issues visas in one day with two passport photos. In Kolkata the Nepal consulate (033-24561224; 1 National Library Ave, Alipore; 9am-4pm Mon-Fri) issues visas while you wait.

Sunauli to Bhairawa

The easiest crossing for Delhi or Varanasi, with connections on to Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini. There are daily buses to Sunauli from Varanasi (Rs 172, 10 hours) or Delhi (Rs 1400, 36 hours), or you can travel by train to Gorakhpur and take a local bus to Sunauli from there.

Banbassa to Mahendranagar

This intriguing back route into Nepal provides access to the little-visited western Terai. However, the route is often blocked by flooding and landslides in the monsoon and it’s sensible to check the political situation before you travel. Daily buses to Banbassa leave Delhi’s Anand Vihar bus stand (bookings 011-22141611) hourly until late (Rs 210, 10 hours).

Raxaul to Birganj

This crossing is convenient for Kolkata, Patna and the eastern plains, and there are onward connections to Kathmandu. Daily buses run to Raxaul from Patna and Kolkata, but it’s more comfortable to jump on the daily Mithila Express train from Kolkata’s Howrah train station – see the entry under Raxaul and the boxed text for information on crossing the border.

Panitanki to Kakarbhitta

The handiest crossing for Darjeeling, Sikkim and the Northeast States. Buses and share jeeps run to the border from Siliguri and several other towns in West Bengal, and you can explore the eastern Terai as you travel on to Kathmandu.

Jamunaha to Nepalganj

Plenty of domestic tourists cross into Nepal at Jamunaha in Uttar Pradesh, but most foreign travellers stick to more convenient crossings. However, Nepalganj is a useful gateway for Nepal’s Royal Bardia National Park and there are regular onward flights to Kathmandu. Buses run regularly from Lucknow to Rupaidha Bazar (Rs 160, seven hours), a short rickshaw ride from the Jamunaha border post. Alternatively, you can take a train to Nanpara, and change to a bus or taxi for the 17km trip to the border.


Crossing between India and Pakistan by land depends on the current state of relations between the two countries. Militants regularly slip across the porous border from Pakistan to carry out attacks in India and transport between the two countries often stops in the aftermath of any attack. Assuming the crossings are open, there are routes into Pakistan from Delhi, Amritsar and Rajasthan by bus or train. The much-celebrated bus route from Srinagar to Pakistan-administered Kashmir is currently only open to Indian travellers.

You must have a visa to enter Pakistan, and it is usually easiest to obtain this in the Pakistan mission in your home country. At the time of writing, the Pakistan embassy (24676004; 2/50G Shantipath, Chanakyapuri; applications 8.30am-11.30am Mon-Fri) in Delhi was issuing double-entry, two-month tourist visas for most nationalities in around two days, but this office may stop issuing visas at times of political tension. If you apply within India, you’ll need a letter of recommendation from your home embassy as well as the usual application forms and passport photos.

Attari to Wagah (Amritsar to Lahore)

The main transit point between India and Pakistan is the border post between Attari, near Amritsar, and Wagah, near Lahore. Regular buses run from Amritsar to the border and there are regular onward connections from Wagah to Lahore. There are also through bus and train services all the way from Delhi. Try to coordinate your crossing with the spectacular closing of the border cere¬mony.

Delhi to Lahore

If you prefer to keep things simple, there are direct bus and train services between Delhi and Lahore. However, these services are extremely crowded and clearing the border formalities can take anywhere between two and five hours – compared to one or two hours if you travel independently. Security is also a serious concern – the Delhi–Lahore train was bombed by militants in February 2007, killing 67 people.

The Lahore Bus Service leaves from Delhi’s Dr Ambedkar Bus Station office (011-23318180 or 23712228; Delhi Gate; 9am-7pm Mon-Sat) at 6am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving in Lahore 12 hours later. The fare is Rs 1250 one-way (advance bookings are essential). The baggage limit is 20kg per person (Rs 60 per extra kg, maximum 15 kg) plus one piece of hand luggage.

The Samjhauta Express train leaves the Old Delhi train station (purchase tickets here) on Wednesday and Sunday at 10.50pm and arrives at the Indian border crossing of Attari at 7am, where passengers disembark for customs checks and visa procedures, before reboarding for the 30 minute trip to Lahore. Tickets cost Rs 209 in sleeper class. However, services may be disrupted following the February 2007 bomb attack.

Rajasthan to Pakistan

After 35 years of wrangling, the 4889 Thar Express train from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to the border crossing at Munabao/Khokraparand onto Karachi in Pakistan resumed in early 2006. Unfortunately, services were suspended almost immediately because of flood damage to the track during the 2006 monsoon. A limited service resumed in February 2007, with a maximum of 400 passengers in each direction. However, schedules are erratic so check locally in Jodhpur for departure times.

Entering the destination

Entering the country

Entering India by air or land is relatively straightforward, with standard immigration and customs procedures.


To enter India you need a valid passport, visa and an onward/return ticket. If your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact your country’s representative. It’s wise to keep photocopies of your airline ticket and the identity and visa pages from your passport in case of emergency. There are restrictions on entry for some nationalities.


Airports & airlines

India has four main gateways for international flights, and international flights also land in Bengaluru (Bangalore), Guwahati and Amritsar – for details, see India is a big county so it makes sense to fly into the nearest airport to the area you want to visit.

Chennai (Madras; MAA; Anna International Airport; 044-22560551;

Delhi (DEL; Indira Gandhi International Airport; 011-25652011;

Kolkata (Calcutta; CCU; Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu International Airport; 033-25118787;

Mumbai (Bombay; BOM; Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport; 022-26829000;

India’s national carrier is Air India ( and the state-owned domestic carrier Indian Airlines ( also offers flights to 20 countries in Asia and the Middle East (though it has a poor safety record). The more reliable private airlines Jet Airways ( and Air Sahara ( offer flights to Colombo, Kathmandu and the Maldives. Jet has recently started longhaul flights to London, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Other airlines flying to and from India (websites have contact details) :

Aeroflot (code SU; Hub: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow.

Air Canada (code AC; Hub: Vancouver Airport.

Air France (code AF; Hub: Charles de Gaulle, Paris.

Air India (code AI; Hub: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.

Alitalia (code AZ; Hub: Fiumicino International Airport, Rome.

American Airlines (code AA; Hub: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Austrian Airlines (code OS; Hub: Vienna International Airport.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (code BG; Hub: Zia International Airport, Dhaka.

British Airways (code BA; Hub: Heathrow Airport, London.

Cathay Pacific Airways (code CX; Hub: Hong Kong International Airport.

Druk Air (code KB; Hub: Paro Airport.

El Al Israel Airlines (code LY; Hub: Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv.

Emirates (code EK; Hub: Dubai International Airport.

Finnair (code AY; Hub: Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Gulf Air (code GF; Hub: Bahrain International Airport.

Japan Airlines (code JL; Hub: Narita Airport.

Kenya Airways (code KQ; Hub: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.

KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines (code KL; Hub: Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

Kuwait Airways (code KU; Hub: Kuwait International Airport.

Lufthansa Airlines (code LH; Hub: Frankfurt International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines (code MH; Hub: Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Pakistan International Airlines (code PK; Hub: Jinnah International Airport, Karachi.

Qantas Airways (code QF; Hub: Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney.

Qatar Airways (code QR; Hub: Doha International Airport.

Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (code RA; Hub: Kathmandu Airport.

Singapore Airlines (code SQ; Hub: Changi Airport, Singapore

South African Airlines (code SA; Hub: Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

Sri Lankan Airlines (code UL; Hub: Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo.

Swiss International Airlines (code LX; Hub: Zurich International Airport.

Thai Airways International (code TG; Hub: Bangkok International Airport.

Departing India

Most airlines no longer require reconfirmation of international tickets, though it’s still a good idea to call to check that flight times haven’t changed. Most airlines ask you to check in three hours before international departures – remember to factor in the Indian traffic when planning your trip to the airport.

Most Indian airports have free luggage trolleys, but porters will eagerly offer to lug your load for a negotiable fee. For flights originating in India, hold bags must be passed through the X-ray machine in the departures hall and baggage tags are required for the security check for all cabin bags, including cameras.


There are direct flights to India from South Africa and East Africa. Return fares to Mumbai include US$600 from Nairobi and US$500 from Cape Town or Johannesburg.

There are international ticket agents in most African capitals. Rennies Travel ( and STA Travel ( have offices throughout southern Africa.


There are international travel agencies in capital cities across Asia, including STA Travel (Bangkok 02-2360262; ; Hong Kong 0852-27361618; ; Kuala Lumpur 03-21489800; ; Singapore 67377188; ; Tokyo 03-53912922; Alternatively, book directly with the airlines.


Dhaka is the air hub for Bangladesh. Biman Bangladesh and Indian Airlines offer flights between Dhaka and Kolkata (from US$200 return) or Delhi (from US$500 return).


Tokyo/Narita is the main hub for flights between Japan and India. Flights to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai start from US$540.


A return or onward ticket is a condition of travel to the Maldives. Excursion fares to Malé from Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) on Indian Airlines start at US$200 return.

Myanmar (Burma)

Return flights between Yangon (Rangoon) and Kolkata cost around US$350. Alternatively, you can connect through Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur for around US$500.


Royal Nepal Airlines and half a dozen Indian carriers provide flights from Kathmandu to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Varanasi. One-way/return fares include: Delhi (from US$150/300); Mumbai (from US$230/450); Kolkata (from US$120/240); Varanasi (from US$200/400) and Bengaluru (from US$230/450). You’ll need an onward ticket to enter India on a one-way ticket from Nepal.


Flights between India and Pakistan are often suspended when relations between the two countries sour. At the time of research, return fares from Karachi cost US$300 to Delhi and US$200 to Mumbai. Flights from Lahore to Delhi are marginally cheaper.

Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong & China

There are extensive air connections between Southeast Asia and Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai or Kolkata. Return flights between Singapore, Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur and India start from US$550. Several airlines have recently started flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Delhi or Mumbai (from around US$550).

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Airlines and several Indian carriers provide connections from Colombo. Return fares include Mumbai (US$390), Delhi (US$450), Bengaluru (US$270) and Thiruvananthapuram (US$200).


Bangkok is the most popular departure point from Southeast Asia to India. Return fares from Bangkok include: Delhi or Mumbai (US$500), Kolkata (US$400) and Chennai (US$700).


Qantas has a flight from Sydney to Mumbai via Darwin, or you can fly to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai or Bengaluru with a stop in Southeast Asia. Return fares to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai range from A$1200 and A$1700, depending on the season.

STA Travel (134782; and Flight Centre (133133; have offices throughout Australia. For online bookings, try the website


From eastern and central Canada, most flights go via Europe; from Vancouver and the west coast, flights go via Asia. Return fares from Vancouver or Toronto to Delhi or Mumbai start at around C$1500. Travel Cuts (800-667-2887; is Canada’s national student travel agency, or try the big online agents.

Continental Europe

There are connections to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai or Bengaluru from most European capitals, either directly or with a stop in the Middle East. For discount fares, try the agencies below or visit the big online ticket agencies. STA Travel (Austria 01-401486000; ; Denmark 33-141501; ; Finland 09-68127717; ; Germany 069-74303292; ; Norway 815-59905; ; Sweden 0771-474850; ; Switzerland 0900-450402; and Last Minute ( have regional websites for nations across Europe.


Anyway (0892-302301; in French)

Nouvelles Frontières (0825-000747; in French)

OTU Voyages (01-55-823232; in French)

Voyageurs du Monde (0892-235656; in French)


Just Travel (089-7473330;


CTS Viaggi (06-44-111-66;


Airfair (0900-7717717; in Dutch)


Barcelo Viajes (902-200-400;

New Zealand

Flights between India and New Zealand go via Southeast Asia. Return tickets from Auckland to Delhi start at NZ$1200. Both Flight Centre (0800-243544; and STA Travel (0800-474400; have countrywide branches. For online bookings try

UK & Ireland

Discount air travel is big business in London. Flights from London or Manchester to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru or Amritsar range from UK£350 to UK£600. Good places to find competitive quotes include the following:

Ebookers (0871-2335000;

Flight Centre (0870-4990040;

STA Travel (0870-2300040;

Trailfinders (0845-0585858;

Travel Bag (0800-0825000;


America has plenty of discount travel agents, or ‘consolidators’, particularly in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Fares vary – bank on US$1100 or more from the East Coast and US$1300 or more from the West Coast. Consult travel agents and scan the web for the best deal – Expedia ( and Travelocity ( are good sites.

Other good places to book:

American Express Travel (800-297-2977;

CheapTickets ( (

Orbitz (

STA Travel (800-781-4040;

Money & costs in india

On the financial front, India pleases all pockets. Accommodation ranges from simple backpacker lodgings to sumptuous top-end hotels, with some appealing midrange possibilities that won’t bust the bank. A delicious array of eateries at all prices means you can fill your belly without emptying your moneybelt, and it’s possible to zip around economically, as well thanks to the country’s comprehensive public transport network.

As costs vary considerably nationwide, the best way of ascertaining how much money you’ll require for your trip is to peruse the relevant regional chapters of this book. Be prepared to pay more in the larger cities such as Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi, as well as at popular tourist destinations during peak season.

In relation to sightseeing, foreigners are often charged more than Indian citizens for entry into tourist sites (admission prices for foreigners are sometimes given in US dollars, payable in the rupee equivalent), and there may also be additional charges for still/video cameras.

When it comes to bedding down, hotel tariffs are usually higher in big cities (especially Mumbai) and tourist hot spots and may also be influenced by factors such as location, season and festivals. Given the vast differences nationwide, it’s misleading for us to pinpoint a countrywide average accommodation price. If you’ve got cash to splash, some of India’s top-end hotels are among the world’s finest, but be prepared to fork out at least US$200 per night at the better properties before even getting a whiff of room service. Surf the Web for possible internet discounts.

So how does this all translate to a daily budget? Given the vast accommodation price differences across India, it’s impossible to arrive at one neat figure. However, as an example, in Rajasthan you can expect to pay roughly between US$20 and US$25 per day if you stay in the cheapest hotels, travel on public buses, do limited sightseeing and eat basic meals. If you wish to stay at salubrious midrange hotels, dine at nicer restaurants, do a reasonable amount of sightseeing and largely travel by autorickshaw and taxi, you’re looking at anywhere between US$40 and US$65 per day.

Eating out in India is sizzling-hot value, with budget restaurant meals for as little as Rs40 (even less at the more basic street eateries), and usually from around double that for a satiating midrange restaurant feed. At the more suave urban restaurants, main dishes generally hover between Rs150 and Rs350 to which you’ll need to add the cost of side dishes, such as rice, and (usually) a tax of 10% to 12.5%.

Regarding long-distance travel, there’s a range of classes on trains and several bus types, resulting in considerable flexibility vis-à-vis comfort and price. Domestic air travel has become a lot more price competitive over recent years thanks to deregulation and good internet deals. Within towns there’s inexpensive public transport, or perhaps you’d like to hire a car with driver, which is surprisingly good value if there are several of you to split the cost.


The Indian rupee (Rs) is divided into 100 paise (p), but paise coins are increasingly rare. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paise, and Rs 1, 2 and 5; notes come in Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 (this last bill can be hard to change outside banks). The Indian rupee is linked to a basket of currencies and its value is generally stable.

ATMs linked to international networks are common in most towns and cities in India. However, carry cash or travellers cheques as backup in case the power goes down, the ATM is out of order, or you lose or break your plastic.

Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques. Commission for foreign exchange is becoming increasingly rare; if it is charged, the fee is nominal.


Modern 24-hour ATMs are found in most large towns and cities, though the ATM may not be in the same place as the bank branch. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus. Banks in India that reliably accept foreign cards include Citibank, HDFC, ICICI, UTI, HSBC, the Punjab National Bank and the State Bank of India. Away from major towns, always carry cash or travellers cheques as backup.

Bank impose higher charges on international transactions, but this may be cancelled out by the favourable exchange rates between banks. Reduce charges by making larger transactions less often. Always check in advance whether your card can access banking networks in India and ask for details of charges.

Note that several travellers have reported ATMs snatching back money if you don’t remove it within around 30 seconds. Conversely, other machines can take more than 30 seconds to actually release cash, so don’t panic if the money doesn’t appear instantaneously.

Always keep the emergency lost-and-stolen numbers for your credit cards in a safe place, separate from your cards, and report any loss or theft immediately.


Major currencies such as US dollars, UK pounds and euros are easy to change throughout India, though some bank branches insist on travellers cheques only. A few banks also accept Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, and Swiss francs. Private money¬changers accept a wider range of currencies, but Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi currency can be harder to change away from the border. When travelling off the beaten track, always carry a decent stock of rupees.

Whenever changing money, check every note. Banks staple bills together into bricks, which puts a lot of wear on tear on the currency. Do not accept any filthy, ripped or disintegrating notes, as these may not be accepted as payment. If you get lumbered with such notes, change them to new bills at branches of the Reserve Bank of India in major cities.

Nobody in India ever seems to have change, so it’s a good idea to maintain a stock of smaller currency. Try to stockpile Rs 10, 20 and 50 notes; change bigger bills into these denominations every time you change money.

Officially, you cannot take rupees out India, but this is laxly enforced. However, you can change any leftover rupees back into foreign currency, most easily at the airport (some banks have a Rs 1000 minimum). Note that some airport banks will only change a minimum of Rs 1000. You may require encashment certificates or a credit-card receipt, and you may also have to show your passport and airline ticket.

Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted at growing numbers of shops, upmarket restaurants, and midrange and top-end hotels, and you can also use them to pay for flights and train tickets. However, be wary of scams. Cash advances on major credit cards are also possible at some banks without ATMs. MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted cards; for details about whether you can access home accounts in India, inquire at your bank before leaving.

International transfers

If you run out of money, someone at home can wire you money via moneychangers affiliated with Moneygram ( or Western Union (

You’ll need to call someone at home to transfer the money, and a hefty fee is added to the transaction. To collect cash, bring your passport, and the name and reference number of the person who sent the funds.


Private moneychangers are usually open for longer hours than banks, and they are found almost everywhere (many also double as internet cafés and travel agents). Compare rates with those at the bank, and check you are given the correct amount. In a scrape, some upmarket hotels may also change money, usually at well below the bank rate.

Travellers cheques

All major brands are accepted in India, but some banks may only accept cheques from Amex and Thomas Cook. Pounds sterling and US dollars are the safest currencies, especially in smaller towns. Charges for changing travellers cheques vary from place to place and bank to bank.

Always keep an emergency cash stash in case you lose your travellers cheques, and keep a record of the cheques’ serial numbers separate from your cheques, along with the proof-of-purchase slips, encashment vouchers and photocopied passport details. If you lose your cheques, contact the Amex or Thomas Cook office in Delhi.

To replace lost travellers cheques, you need the proof-of-purchase slip and the numbers of the missing cheques (some places require a photocopy of the police report and a passport photo). If you don’t have the numbers of your missing cheques, Amex (or whichever company has issued them) will contact the place where you bought them.

india History

India’s story is one of the grand epics of world history. Throughout thousands of years of great civilisations, invasions, the birth of religions and countless cataclysms, India has time and again proved itself to be, in the words of its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads’. Indian history has always been a work-in-progress, a constant process of reinvention and accumulation that can prove elusive for those seeking to grasp its essential essence. And yet, from its myriad upheavals, a vibrant, diverse and thoroughly modern nation has emerged, as enduring as it is dynamic and increasingly well equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

Come to india today
india is part of this world and india is in this world and india will live like how world live and enjoy the world and enjoy the india and enjoy your life and let the feeling of enjoy must from love and kindness and feith and wisdom of human life. thanks 

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