India Travel Notes

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Australian Embassy in India

Australian Compound
No. 1/50 G Shantipath,
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi 110-021 India
Tel   +91 11 4139 9900
Fax  +91 11 4149 4490
Email   [email protected]
www.india.embassy.gov.au

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

India is on Greenwich Mean Time +5.5 time making them 5.5 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. India does not practise daylight savings. To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

India uses 230-240 volts. Plugs are of the South African/Indian-style plug with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

The currency of India is the Rupee (RS).  Rupee (RS) = 100 paise.
Notes are in denominations of RS 2000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5.
Coins are in denominations of 5, 2 and 1 rupees, and 50, 25, 20, 10 and 5 paise.

The demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes was a policy enacted by the Government of India on 8 November 2016. All ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series ceased to be legal tender in India from 9 November 2016.

The issuance of new ₹500 and ₹2000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi New Series can be exchanged for the old banknotes. The banknote denominations of ₹100, ₹50, ₹20, ₹10 and ₹5 of the Mahatma Gandhi Original Series remained legal tender and were unaffected by the policy.

You cannot obtain Indian currency anywhere outside India, and you may not carry rupees beyond India’s borders. Indian currency notes circulate far longer than in the West and the small notes in particular become very tatty. Badly damaged or torn rupee notes (of which there are many) may be refused, particularly in larger cities, but less fuss is made over them in small towns. Check the change you are given and avoid accepting these. Don’t let shop owners give you grubby torn notes.

When you change money, ask for some small bills (a wad of Rs 10s and Rs 20s) for tipping or baksheesh. At smaller outlets and vendors, you’ll also frequently be told that there is no change for your Rs 500 note. Keep your smaller bills separate from the larger ones, so that they’re readily accessible.

Changing your money

It’s relatively straightforward changing money, especially in the larger cities. You are supposed to be given an encashment certificate when you change money at a bank or with an official money changer; you’ll need these encashment certificates to change Indian currency back into foreign currency when leaving India (at the international airport). However for exchanges below INR10000 (approx $300) certificates aren’t necessary.

Credit Cards and ATM machines

ATMs (guichets automatiques) are the easiest way to access your money. They are common in all towns and cities. Most accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. ATMs sometimes run dry on weekends in smaller towns.

Please note that using a credit card in a growing number of foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in India and coverage is excellent. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing  (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provider prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is widespread and available in most areas our tour will be covering throughout India. Many hotels and cafes now offer access, some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in India

Banks  10.00 – 14.00 Monday to Friday  & 10.00 – 12.00 Saturday
Post Offices   10.00 – 17.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday
Shops   09.30 – 17.30 Monday to Saturday. Many stores are now open on a Sunday. The opening hours vary according to the season.

Eating and Drinking Precautions
  • do not eat raw vegetables or salad under any circumstances
  • do not eat fish and seafood under any circumstances
  • do not eat or drink from roadside stalls, even though the food is delicious
  • do not drink anything that has ice in it
  • eat only hot, well cooked meat and vegetables
  • avoid milk and dairy products, including ice-cream
  • drink only bottled mineral water or beverages from cans
  • wash your hands scrupulously before eating
Personal Safety
  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents safe. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
  • Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available in large cities and fares should be charged by the kilometre. They do not always have meters but, where they do, visitors should insist on the meter being flagged in their presence. Fares change from time to time and therefore drivers should always have a copy of the latest fare chart available for inspection. Public transport is often crowded and can be uncomfortable.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable.

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • comfortable walking shoes (very important)
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • folding umbrella and/or light raincoat
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • prescription medicines for the full duration of your time away and a written copy of your prescriptions including what they are for, provided by your doctor
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)
  • shorts are considered to be inappropriate for both men and women
  • India is a conservative society and women should be mindful of this when packing

Medication

Pack medications in their original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is very useful. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. If you have a heart condition, bring a copy of your ECG taken just prior to travelling. If you take any regular medication, bring double your ordinary needs in case of loss or theft. You’ll be able to buy many medications over the counter in India without a doctor’s prescription, but it can be difficult to find some of the newer drugs, particularly the latest blood pressure medications.

Etiquette
  • No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. signposted and are there for reasons of national security or cultural propriety. Many people do not like to be photographed. If they object, withdraw. At popular tourist spots, the locals charge to have their photos taken with tourists though they don’t usually tell you that until you have taken their photo. Permits are required to use cameras and videos at most national monuments. They are available for a small fee at the entry ticket office.
  • Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)  Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head covering (ie a scarf) in active churches. Men must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.
  • Remove your shoes before entering a mosque or a temple of any faith. Overshoes are provided and stockinged feet are usually allowed. Avoid taking any article of leather (watchband, belt) into temples as it can cause great offence.
  • A small contribution to the donation boxes at mosques, temples and shrines is customary.
  • The Indian gesture of greeting, the namaste, is made by joining the hands in an attitude of prayer at chin height. Indian men usually greet Westerners with a handshake. Indian women do not shake hands and you should greet them with a namaste.
  • Never eat or pass food with your left hand.
  • Overt public display of affection between couples, including married couples, is offensive.
Useful websites

India Tourist Board
tourism.gov.in
Incredible India
www.incredibleindia.org

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com

Average minimum/maximum Temperatures (˚C)

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Delhi 7/21 9/24 14/31 20/36 26/41 28/39 27/36 26/34 24/34 18/34 11/29 8/23
Darjeeling 2/8 2/9 6/14 9/17 12/18 13/18 14/19 14/18 13/18 10/16 6/12 3/9
Hyderabad 16/29 18/32 21/36 24/38 27/40 24/35 23/31 23/31 22/31 21/31 17/29 15/28
Mumbai 19/28 19/28 22/30 24/32 27/33 26/33 25/29 24/29 24/29 24/32 23/32 21/31
Madras 19/26 20/31 22/33 26/35 28/38 27/38 26/36 26/35 25/34 24/32 22/29 21/29