INDIA

The frozen summits of the Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala. Its expansive borders encompass an incomparable range of landscapes, cultures and people. Walk the streets of any Indian city and you’ll rub shoulders with representatives of several of the world’s great faiths, a multitude of castes and outcastes, fair-skinned, turbanned Punjabis and dark-skinned Tamils. You’ll also encounter temple rituals that have been performed since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, onion-domed mosques erected centuries before the Taj Mahal was ever dreamt of, and quirky echoes of the British Raj on virtually every corner.
The Republic of India, whose capital is Delhi, is bordered by Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) to the east and Pakistan to the west.

It’s the seventh largest country in the world, covering more than three million square kilometres, and is second only to China in terms of population, at more than 1.22 billion. Hindus comprise eighty percent of the population, Muslims 13 percent, and there are millions of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.

Twenty-three official languages are spoken, along with more than a thousand minor languages and dialects. Hindi is the language of more than forty percent of the population; English is also widely spoken.

The caste system is pervasive and, although integral to Hindu belief, it also encompasses non-Hindus. It holds special sway in rural areas and may dictate where a person lives and what their occupation is.

Eighty-two percent of males are literate, compared to 65 percent of females: 74 percent of the total population.

India now boasts more than 400,000 millionaires, with a combined net worth of nearly US$2.5 billion.

Indian Railways is the largest employer on the planet, with around one million workers.

Producing 1100 movies each year and turning over US$4 billion dollars, India’s film industry is the largest in the world, in terms of ticket numbers if not box office receipts.

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Culture

Cultural differences extend to all sorts of little things. While allowances will usually be made for foreigners, visitors unacquainted with Indian customs may need a little preparation to avoid causing offence or making fools of themselves. The list of do’s and don’ts here is hardly exhaustive: when in doubt, watch what the Indian people around you are doing.

Climate

India is home to an extraordinary variety of climaticregions, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The nation’s climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert.

What season is it in India?
Monsoon or rainy season, lasting from July to September. The seasonis dominated by the humid southwest summer monsoon, which slowly sweeps across the country beginning in late May or early June. Monsoon rains begin to recede from North India at the beginning of October.
How many seasons are there in India?

Traditionally, Indians note six seasons or Ritu, each about two months long. These are the spring season (Sanskrit: vasanta), summer (grīṣma), monsoon season (varṣā), autumn (śarada), winter (hemanta), and prevernal season (śiśira). These are based on the astronomical division of the twelve months into six parts.

How hot does India get?
In most of India summer is very hot. It begins in April and continues till the beginning of October, when the monsoon rains start to fall. The heat peaks in June with temperatures in the northern plains and the west reach 45° C and more.
When does spring season start in India?

In terms of complete months, in most north temperate zone locations,spring months are March, April and May, although differences exist from country to country. (Summer is June, July, August; autumn is September, October, November; winter is December, January, February).

Time & Date: GMT +5.30

Currency:
the currency is the Rupee, abbreviated as Rs. which is divided into 100 paisa. The Rupee notes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupee 1, 2 and 5.
India’s unit of currency is the rupee, usually abbreviated “Rs” and divided into a hundred paise. Almost all money is paper, with notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees, the latter two gradually replacing the paper versions. Note that it’s technically illegal to take rupees in or out of India (although they are widely available at overseas forexes), so you might want to wait until you arrive before changing money. Banknotes, especially lower denominations, can get into a terrible state. Don’t accept torn banknotes, since no one else will be prepared to take them and you’ll be left saddled with the things, though you can change them at the Reserve Bank of India and large branches of other big banks. Don’t pass them on to beggars; they can’t use them either, so it amounts to an insult.

Large denominations can also be a problem, as change is usually in short supply. Many Indian people cannot afford to keep much lying around, and you shouldn’t necessarily expect shopkeepers or rickshaw-wallahs to have it (and they may – as may you – try to hold onto it if they do). Larger notes – like the Rs500 note – are good for travelling with and can be changed for smaller denominations at hotels and other suitable establishments. A word of warning – the Rs500 note looks remarkably similar to the Rs100 note.

Languages:
English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication. The official language of the Indian Union is Hindi, which is the primary tongue of 30% of the people. Besides Hindi, some of the other official languages include Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri and Sindhi.

Food & Drinks:
Indian food has a richly deserved reputation as one of the world’s great cuisines. Stereotyped abroad as the ubiquitous ”curry”, the cooking of the Subcontinent covers a wealth of different culinary styles, with myriad regional variations and specialities, from the classic creamy meat and fruit Mughlai dishes of the north through to the banana-leaf vegetarian thalis of the south. The basic distinction in Indian food is between the cuisines of the north and south. North Indian food (which is the style generally found in Indian restaurants abroad) is characterized by its rich meat and vegetable dishes in thick tomato, onion and yogurt-based sauces, accompanied by thick breads. South Indian food, by contrast, is almost exclusively vegetarian, with spicy chilli and coconut flavours and lots of rice, either served in its natural state or made into one of the south’s distinctive range of pancakes, such as the dosa, iddli and uttapam.

Travel Insurance:
When buying your travel insurance, always check the small print – some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’, which could be anything from scuba diving to horse riding. You should check whether the medical coverage is on a pay first, claim later basis and, more importantly, ensure that your medical coverage includes the cost of medical evacuation.

Visa:
A valid passport and visa are required for travel to India. The Indian government now offers two options for tourists, a traditional tourist visaor an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) issued electronically. A traditional Indiantourist visa is stamped inside the traveler’s passport.

International Airports:
New Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport
Mumbai – Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Kolkata – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
Hyderabad – Hyderabad Airport
Goa – Goa Airport
Chennai – Anna International Airport
Bangalore – Bangalore International Airport
Cochin – Cochin International Airport
Trivandrum – Trivandrum International Airport

Capital: New Delhi
Currency: India rupee
Population: 1.324 billion
Official languages: Hindi and English

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2017-12-01T12:59:12+00:00