India tour operator, Superb India Tours, is collating frequently asked questions (Faqs) related to India tours and travel and answering each question. Most aspects of India travel have been included into the vast gamut of FAQs. Being an old civilization and culturally different but colourful country, India tours impart incredible lifetime experiences to a visitor exploring India. But, like other cultures and countries, Indian culture is imbedded with unique nuances and Indian nation has different laws. FAQs address these aspects of India tour.
Welcome to India. Superb India Tours congratulates you for visiting our website and feels proud to be your India Tour Guide.
India, as an exotic tourist destination, offers you plethora of experiences which will put indelible mark on your memory for the whole life. Any tourist who is on first time India travel package needs some important information regarding India.
Various "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS" on your travel to India will be covered into the document. Kindly go through the same and if there are other unanswered questions and clarifications, it would be our pleasure to address the same too.
- What medical concerns should one keep in mind before & during travel in India?
- What cultural considerations should one take care of while touring in India?
- Some detailed information about passport & visa:
- Where to shop and how to be sure of the product & the price? Should we be confident of going with the guide?
- How is one sure of the authenticity / qualification / credentials of the guides?
- Are the monument entrance fees included in the tour cost?
- What kinds of accommodations are available in India?
- General information for a tourist on India
- Indian Festivals and Holidays
- Food Vocabulary
Currently, it is recommended that visitors to India are injected against typhoid, paratyphoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. During the dry season, few mosquitoes are seen north-west India, and malaria is rare, nevertheless, many may wish to take precautions. Seek advice on the current situations some weeks before leaving from a pharmacy or a general practitioner. Drugs such as chloroquine and proquanil offer 70 percent protection, but take insect repellent -and use it. If visiting the remote areas, insect repellent coils may prove useful. The majority of visitors to India return home with perfect health having had no problems at all.
The most common complaint is a stomach upset for a day or two-usually the result of a change of diet, different Beer, or simply the change of lifestyle, most case are rarely serious and recovery is swift. Most stomach upsets in India are caused by an excess of chillies, and quickly disposed of by proprietary medicines, such as Immodium. It is best that these are brought by the visitors so that action can be taken as soon as discomfort is experienced. Tap water should be rigorously avoided outside the luxury hotels, as should any fresh fruit and salad vegetables that many have been rinsed in it. Check with the establishment to ensure that the water that they provided has been purified. Ice made from unpurified tap water can also be dangerous, as the freezing process does not kill the microbes which caused the problems. Indians have developed the immunity to them and can drink most water without fear. Bottled mineral water is readily available in tourist area, but should be brought in advance if travelling elsewhere. It is recommended that teeth are brushed in purified or mineral water whenever possible. Purifications tablets should be brought for use in an emergency.
Visitors are recommended not to pat dogs or hand-feed monkeys. If bitten, seek medical advice immediately.
Travellers, prone to dust-related allergy, coughs, colds and sore throats, we advice you to take preventive medicines with you as larger cities suffer from smog pollution. You must keep your remedial medicines with you in case you are suffering from bronchitis.
If you are over 60 or you think you have any physical disabilities, then you should talk to your doctor about the trip to ensure it is suitable for you. Once on the trip please tell us any concerns you may have regarding health concerns, we can then ensure your specific needs are met.
We do reserve the right not to accept any traveler who is found to have withheld any information relating to their state of health that might affect the trip, even after a booking has been accepted.
If you are undergoing specific medical treatment please inform us. It is your responsibility to ensure you have an adequate supply of any medication they may be taking.
India is country of continental size and home to varied cultural streams and religious value systems. Though the people of India are very tolerant and respectful to different lifestyles and behavioral patterns, we suggest the guests to dress modestly, to cover their heads while visiting religious places, to avoid expressing love and affection publicly and to remove shoes while entering temples, mosques, gurudwaras and places of religious worship or private homes. Many Hindu temples are not open to non-Hindus. Always ask permission before entering. Mosques may have limited visiting times for non-Muslims.
Depending upon your India Tour Package, Superb India Tours representative will offer you more specific suggestions and guidance. So, contact Superb India Tours regarding any India Travel related query. Superb India Tours will feel honored to serve you.
All visitors to India must have a full passport, valid for 6 months after their return date. Holders of India passports are not permitted to travel to India on chartered flights, which virtually rules out most packages tours to India for them. A Visa for India is required by all visitors. It should have two clear pages for entry and exit stamps as well as your visa. A wise precaution is to carry a photocopy of your passport kept separately, extremely useful in the event of loss or theft.
All foreign passports holders need a visa to entre India. It is advisable to make postal applications for visas at least 2 months in advance, although personal applicants are usually able to collect their visas on the same day-after a lengthy queue, a wait, and then a return. Tourist can specify 1 or 6 month visas, a 6 month visas is always recommended, and it is essential to specify multi-entry validity if trips to Sri Lanka or Nepal are envisaged. Business visas are available for a 12 months period but can rarely be obtained on the same day.
The validity of the Visa commences on the date that it is stamped, not the date of arrival in India. Would-be visitors to India without a valid passport and visa will not be permitted to board the plane nor can any refunds be expected. Travel agents are able to advise on the current producers. Visas must be obtained from the High Commissioner for India, India Houses. Three passport-sized photographs are required. If a visa is needed urgently and personal application is difficult, passport and visa courier services exist which will simplify and speed up the process for a free, a visa can generally be obtained in 7 days by this means. You would need to use two addresses in India and ,in that case, do let us know for the same as it is normal to give Superb India Tours and our director's address on the same.
India can be described as a shopper's paradise with products such as hand-woven rugs, inlaid marble, semi-precious stone jewelry, silk fabrics, brassware, etc. India's diversity is expressed though the creation of master craftspeople. Each state has a unique handicraft to proudly reflect the inherited and improved skills to near perfection. Souvenir shops and art & craft emporiums are to be found everywhere.
Consult your guidebook or the local guides and people. Usually the "pavement markets" do not guarantee the products and they do not accept credit / debit cards. Genuine products can only be guaranteed at a government showroom or branded showroom, i.e. Cottage Industries, etc.
Shopping can be one of the ways to interact with a local. For people who like to bargain, shopping is a true pleasure. For others, fixed priced stores are a relief. Whatever transaction you prefer, we hope your purchase that was made in India, will remind you of your trip.
Yes, the guides do take you to shops and showrooms, while you are on tour. You can say "no" when you don't want to visit the shops or not interested in shopping with a guide. But when you do visit the store with the guide, you do not necessarily pay a higher price for a substandard product. As this is a worldwide phenomenon, we accept it too with its "blues". What we have done is, selected a few stores both privately owned & government owned but in both cases Government recognized) at important destinations, where we are sure of two things;
- » Quality of the product
- » The product if too heavy should be delivered at your doorstep without any extra cost even if the extra cost needs to be added to the price of the product.
As for price, some are fixed price & some are bargain shops. So go ahead and have FUN!!!
For lists of authorized shops do let us know.
We, in Superb India Tours, understand the important role of a guide during your India travel. Guide plays a pivotal role in introducing India to a traveler on his first India tour, therefore Superb India Tours has panel of guides who are accredited and licensed by the Government. Their wages are fixed by the Government. But, instead of providing information and detailed description, guide needs to connect with the guest. If our guests find at any moment that the guide is not to their expectation, on your suggestion, we replace them at the earliest. It is not an obligation to buy him/her lunch.
Many of the monuments in India are being preserved primarily by the Government. Most of the monuments have entrance charges. The entrance charges for Indians and foreign nationals are different. Superb India Tours usually does not include the monument charges in the India tour package cost. In order to purchase entrance tickets, you need to have change for the same. The entrance tickets you can take either yourself or your guide can take it for you on your behalf. We also have detailed lists of monuments with the entrance fees and camera charges. Do request us for the same if you want to have a good idea when the same is not included in your tour cost.
India possesses some of the world's finest hotels, with all services well up to international standards. Pre-eminent are those run by the Taj group, Oberoi group and the Welcome Group (Sheraton). Most luxury hotels are situated some distance from city centers. During the hotel season (April to October), air-conditioning is a definite boon, and in the cold season (November to February), heating is certainly welcome from sundown to sunrise in west Rajasthan.
For those on limited budgets, medium-grade accommodation of verifying standard but always with private shower/toilet, is available.
An increasing number of Rajasthan palaces owned by former maharajas are being converted into hotels. These "Heritage Hotels" (Palaces or havelis turned into luxury hotels) provide a unique experience and most, although not all, are operated by the larger hotel groups. An accommodation is naturally more limited than in the purpose-built hotels and should be reserved in advance if at all possible.
Climate of India
The hot season begins in April and ends in October. It is interrupted by the south-west monsoon which should arrive in mid-June. Apart from the years in which it fails, torrential rain can be expected for 3 months. In Rajasthan, rainfall is always much less than in Delhi and often peters out completely as the monsoon proceeds westward.
The climates of Delhi and Agra are virtually identical, but Rajasthan is significantly dryer, with greater extremes of the day and nights temperatures. In the cool season, November to March, a jacket or cardigan will often be needed from early evening to mid-morning.
- North India
- April - June : Hot, dry and dusty with temperature 35-42 DEG C
- July - August : Hot, Humid and rainy
- Sep - Mar : Pleasant days and could get cooler in the night
- South India
- April/May & Aug/Sep : Hot and Humid with average temperature 38 DEG C,/
- June/July/Oct/Nov : Hot and Heavy rains
- Dec - Mar : Hot but less humid
Credit Cards in India
Leading credit cards are accepted in most of the higher rated hotels, restaurant and tourist agencies but check in advance if unsure. It is always safer to carry sufficient cash for small purchases, but practically all shops accept cards for major items.
Currency Regulations in India
Earlier a maximum of 250 rupees may be brought into or taken out of the country. In theory, amounts of foreign currency or travelers cheques in excess of US$1,000 should be declared on arrival in India, but in modern days in practice this appears to be unnecessary. Visitors staying more than 90 days have to apply for an income tax exemption certificate to obtain this; currency exchange forms must be produced.
Customs Regulations in India
One bottle of sprites and 200 cigarettes may be brought into India. Valuable items, such as cameras, transistors, etc may have to be entered in a Tourist Baggage Re-Export form to ensure that they are not re-sold in India. The form and the items concerned must be shown on departure.
Electricity in India
Throughout India, Voltage is 230-240 AC. Varying types of sockets are used and an adaptor may be necessary. Men should always take razors (and blades) in cases of difficulties. A current stabilizer is recommended. Good hotels have their own generators.
Insurance for India Travel
It is imperative that adequate insurance is taken out, particularly healthy cover of personal travel insurance nature which may incorporate an unlimited amount for medical, hospital and additional health associated costs.
Though the insurance policies are of various genres and mostly those cover loss of baggage, personal money (usually limited) delay and curtailment. Though this is good but Superb India Tours suggests you to take up an insurance policy that covers unexpected cancellation of your trip in any unlikely event.
A copy of insurance policy related details must be kept separately as well with a photocopy of your passport.
Map & Measurement in India
An metric system is used throughout India.Spirits are poured in 'fingers', which almost equal an English triple measure. The following conversions apply.
Money/ Currency Practices in India
The basic Indian currency is the rupee, which is divided into 100 paisa (pronounced pies). Formerly, the rupee was also divided into sixteen annas, but the anna is no longer in use. It should be remembered by all visitors that to exchange money with non-authorized dealers is a punishable offence. American dollars, Euro and British Sterling are the simplest currencies to exchange in India, whether they be in note or traveler cheque form.
Many hotels in India are able to change money for their guests, and the rate given is now very little less than that obtainable from banks. Currency can be converted in Indian banks as well but many a times a simple transaction may take several hours. Banking hours are: Monday to Friday 10am-2pm, Saturday 10am-12noon. Always insist on plenty of low-value notes, as no-one ever has any change. Never accept torn or damaged notes, because Indians are averse to take them. Most banks in small towns or cities will not be able to change travelers' cheques. The most welcome travellers cheques in India are those issued by American Express and Thomas Cooks, both in dollars.
Packing for India Travel
A little warm clothing will be needed in India and hotels provide a fast, reliable laundry service. So, it is unnecessary to pack a large amount of clothing. The standard allowance permitted by most tour operations is 20 Kg plus hand baggage. Toiletries, a simple medical kit and camera should be brought. All clothing is cheap throughout India and much of it of excellent quality, particularly in the large towns. Jackets and trousers, for example, can be made to measure in the couple of the days, so leave plenty of the rooms or bring items that can be discarded. A particularly useful buy, soon after arrival, are leather sandals which can easily be removed before entering religious buildings or tombs.
If police assistance in Delhi is urgently required, telephone 100, however, it is initially preferable to seek advice from the hotels.
After India liberalized its economy and became more globally connected, several aspects got changed like the postage. Private companies are well entrenched into it and delivery is quite efficient and quick.
The postal service (Government controlled) is remarkably quick, efficient and honest. Mail send home should arrive in one week. Post officers are open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-12noon.
Practices in Religious Buildings in India
In general mosques can be visited daily from dawn to dusk, only on special occasions will non-Muslims be refused entry. In general, tombs and mausoleums (always Muslim) can be visited at any time during the day, when this is not so, opening times are shown.
Hindu and Jain temples are most restricted in their opening times, many of them closing throughout the afternoon. Wherever possible, such restrictions are referred to.
When visiting mosques, tombs or temples shoes must always be removed at the entrance. Sometimes socks and leather articles must also be left outside (particularly in Jain temples). Slip-off footwear is advisable, in order to avoid repeatedly trying and untying shoelaces.
India is now the fastest growing telecom market and mobile telephony has changed the very lifestyle. If you are coming to India for a longer duration or want stay connected to back home while on India tour, you can purchase a local sim card by providing all documents required by the company as per the Government rules and regulations. Mostly, it will require photocopy of your passport and 3 photographs.
India is 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT and 9 ½ hours ahead of USEST.
Tipping (backsheesh) is widely practiced in India. Only very small amounts are usually expected, so carry plenty of low -denominations notes and coins to give for minor services. It is usual for the service change to be including in restaurant bills, if not, tip the waiter 10 per cent. Taxi driver and auto-rickshaw operators will always quote an inclusive price, but for good service, a small additional tip is appreciated. Kindly note that you are not obliged to tip and it is entirely to your discretion. Usually it is "what you feel is appropriate".
A general idea would be as follows:
- Bellboys: Rs. 10 - 20 (1/4th US$) per bag
- Drivers: Rs. 250 (5 US$) per day
- Day Guides: Rs. 750 to 1500 (15 - 35 US$)
- Restaurants: 5% of the bill amount could be left.
- Room boys / Maid: It is not recommended
Much information can be obtained from the representative of Superb India Tours. Information Centers will be found all in Indian cities and major towns frequented by tourists. There is a 24 hours counter at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
All kinds of transport and commuting facilities are available in India. Superb India Tours will arrange on your behalf the air and train tickets and surface transports.
Air Travel in India
Most visitors to the area will arrive at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. Those traveling with Superb India Tours will automatically be met by representative of Superb India Tours to take them to their accommodations.
Luxury hotels also meet individual guests. International return flights from India on scheduled (not chartered) aircraft must be confirmed, usually one week in advance of departure. Check the situations immediately on arrival in India, as it can be almost impossible to contact international airlines, apart from Air India, by telephone from outlying areas. It is imperative to remember that a departure from India tax of INR300 (amount is subject to change by the Government) is levied at all Indian airports. Airports for internal flights are located at almost all major tourist destinations like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Udaipur etc.
Earlier Government of India used to control the aviation sector, but after the economic liberalization in 1991, private players also jumped into this sector and are successfully operating and flying in India. Prominent airlines are, in the order of service and punctuality, Jet Airways, Indigo, Spice Jet, Kingfisher airlines, Sahara Airlines, Indian Airlines, Jet Konnect, Jet Lite etc.
Bus Travel in India
Only the most intrepid of foreigners will use public buses. The bus services in the major cities routes are confusing, vehicles jam-packed and services can also be infrequent outside the rush hour.
Never expect a 'luxury' bus to approach the standard of ordinary buses in the west, the descriptions is merely comparative. This does not, of course, apply to most vehicles provided for escorted tours.
Tickets for longer distance are usually purchased at bus station, not on the vehicle. Ask for the window seat, preferable in the centre, so that some reductions of the crackling noise of ethnic music is gained, it is often played at full blast-even through the nights. Party for this reason, night travel by train is always preferable.
Train Travel in India
First-class, air conditioned compartments offer the best accommodations on Indian railways. Standard second-class should be avoided wherever possible. Reservations are essential for all sleeping accommodations. Always book a super-fast or express train-other will be infuriatingly slow.
Trains are lifeline of India in terms of coverage, economy and safety. If a tourist wants to enjoy his India Travel with open mind, he must have at least one train journey to enjoy and experience true India. The best trains that could be booked and Superb India Tours uses them where ever possible. The prominent trains are Palace on Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duranto. You could check the various classes in the following site: http://www.indiarail.co.uk/class.htm
http://www.indiarail.co.uk/class.htm Taxi Services in India
Vehicles hired in the manner of taxi are in three categories, these are, in descending order of cost: taxi, auto-rickshaw (in Old Delhi, Agra and Jaipur only). When you travel in India with Superb India Tours, transportation aspect is completely managed by the company and that too with air-conditioned luxurious but affordable cars and coaches.
Superb India Tours has a fleet of cars for various travel needs and guest profiles. TATA INDIGO, a small sedan with good air-conditioning, is normally used for one or two persons. TOYOTA INNOVA & TATA SAFARI are utilized for 3 to 5 travellers. These vehicles are luxury MUVs. For more than 5 persons, Superb India Tours we use Force Tempo Traveller, Mini Coaches and Volvo Buses. For a guest demanding for Luxury is offered services of CHEVY OPTRA, TOYOTA COROLLA, TOYOTA CAMRY, HONDA ACCORD & MERCEDES (C, E & S).
All except cycle-rickshaw have meters but, on spotting a tourist, their drivers are almost always loath to use them-'meter is not working'. Ask for usual fares at your hotels receptions to avoid being fleeced too badly. For long distance it is always essential to bargain.
Indian festivals are many and most of them are held on dates which vary each year, according to religious calendars. Ascertain precise dates on arrival. If you are interested in viewing a particular Indian festival in any part of India, let us know and Superb India Tours will provide you all relevant information and make all arrangements regarding that. The most picturesque festivals in Rajasthan and their dates are given (but these dates change every year due to lunar calendar followed by the religious scriptures) in the additional information section that follows each centre.
|Names of Festivals||Dates||Venue|
|Republic Day||26 January||Throughout India, but particularly in Delhi|
|Mahavir Jayanti||March/April||In Jain area of India.|
|Independence Day||15 August||Throughout India, but particularly in Delhi|
|Janmastami||August/September.||Throughout India, especially in Agra & Mathura.|
|Dussehra(Ram Lila in Delhi)||September||Throughout India, but particularly in Delhi|
|Gandhi Jayanti||2 October||Delhi|
|Govardhana Puja||November||Throughout India|
A general review of food and drink in India forms part of the introduction. Superb India Tours is providing you a helpful ready-reckoner to converse more easily to order for what you wish to eat. Please note that spelling of the following will vary widely.
|Names in Hindi||Names in English|
|Aloo Chole||Diced potatoes and chick-peas in a spicy sauce|
|Bangan Bharta||Charred egg plant mixed with onions, tomatoes and chillis|
|Bhaji||Dry, cooked vegetable|
|Bhatura||Leavened bread made from wheat flour and yoghourt, deep-fried, crisp and spectacularly puffed-up.|
|Bhindi||Okra (ladies fingers)|
|Biryani||A combination of steamed, aromatic rice, meats, vegetable and spices (also without Meat)|
|Boondi||Tiny dumpling with yoghourt|
|Chapatti||Unleavened bread of flour and water|
|Chat||A snack of any type|
|Dahi Budi||Wheat flour dumping with yoghourt|
|Dahi Idli||Rice flour dumpling with yoghourt|
|Dhansak||Pureed lentils cooked with meat and vegetable. Traditional Sunday fare for Parsees.(NB not hot and sweet as served in the UK)|
|Dosa||Pancake made from a mixture of lentil and rice batter, it is deep-fried, crisp and puffed-up served either plain or filled with lightly curried potato|
|Firnee||Rice puffed with nuts and dried fruit|
|Gosht (or Josht)||Meat (Usually lamb or goat)|
|Gulab Jamun||Reduced milk and flour dumpling fried in ghee and simmered in sugar syrup)|
|Gushtaba||Spongy meat balls with yoghourt and onion sauce|
|Idli||Steamed rice dumpling|
|Idli Dosa||As masla dosa, but the bread is replaced by dumpling|
|Jalebi||Crisp, fried twirls of flour and milk batter seeped in sugar syrup-sold in the streets.|
|Kachori||Short pastry, fried and usually stuffed with dry lentils.|
|Korma||A Moghalai meat stew with almonds, cashew and whole spices|
|Kulfi||Hard ice-cream, generally pistachio, mango/ malai (cream), Flavored|
|Makhanwalla||A sauce of tomato, cream and butter.|
|Masala||A blend of spices (the base of all curries)|
|Masala Dosa||The dosa id filled with curried potato and served with coconut chutney|
|Mattar Panir||Peas and cottage cheese in a spicy sauce|
|Nan||Leavened bread baked in a clay tandoori oven|
|Pakora (or Bhujia)||Chick-Pea flour fritters, deep fried with onions, potatoes, egg, plant and chillis in various combinations|
|Pani (or papri ) Puri||Small and crisp puffed-up pieces of deep-fried bread filled with a sauce. Sold on the streets, beware of the water (pani) that is added.|
|Paratha||Unleavened, layered bread coked in ghee|
|Papads||Savoury yoghourt with a chopped vegetable or date or tomato|
|Raita||Fried rice with flavorings, often peas or mixed vegetable|
|Rogan||Red sauce used for cooking and previously obtained by skimming the juices of cooked Meats|
|Rumali Roti||Large chapattis folded to resemble handker-chiefs. Sold on the street, particularly around Delhi Jama Masjid|
|Saag||Spinach or a green-leafed vegetable|
|Sambhar||Lentil and vegetable spicy broth with tamarind|
|Seenk Kabab||Skewered, minced lamb.|
|Tandoori||A charcoal-fired clay oven in with is cooked meat previous marinated in herbs and Yoghourt|
|Thali||A large metal platter with compartments for various dishes and accompanying sauces, generally, but not always, vegetarian food|
|Tikka||Boneless pieces of meat|