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Incredible India !

Incredible India...A roller coaster ride of paradoxes...guaranteed adventures and experiences that will shock you, thrill you or pleasantly surprise you but never leave you indifferently uninterested. A nation that is a collective university that helps one grow up and not just grow old horizontally! When they said 'travel broadens the mind' they surely meant India. The subtle mystic vibe in the air unleashes the boundaries of one's consciousness. Captain Kirk's starship- 'Enterprise'- may take you on voyages to the boundaries of outer space, but India provokes one to enter a world, where, Not many men have gone before- The Inner Space of Consciousness and Bliss. Incredible India! A vast symphony of Diverse People, varied landscapes, art, cultures, cuisines, and faith systems that will enrich one's inner world and thrill the outer senses! Truly a Cradle of Civilization.

The magnificent palaces and forts, sand dunes and exotic fairs of Rajasthan, the sandy beaches of Goa, the temples and gardens of South India, and the wonders of the Himalayas, all form the beautiful tapestry that is India. A magical land of high mountains, deep seas, golden deserts and splendid plains, India’s natural beauty is uniquely blended with the country’s deep-rooted heritage and culture, making India a destination that is pleasing to the eyes and soul.

The Indian Subcontinent is often perceived as a daunting place to travel, with long journeys, primitive accommodation and a strange culture, but a vast rail network and a myriad of flights now connect the far flung corners from the Himalaya to the languid backwaters of the tropical south, allowing you to experience an astonishing diversity of landscapes and cultures.

Anywhere you go, discover an energetic mélange of culture, aroma and flavor. India abounds in attractive and well-preserved historical sites, ancient monuments of architectural grandeur and not-so-ancient mosques/dargah’s, churches and places of worship of other diverse faiths.

Taj Mahal at Agra with a romantic story behind it is known the world over for its treasure of architecture. Besides Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Sikandra, Rambagh and the Imperial ruins of the Mughal city at Fatehpur Sikri are some of the finest examples of architecture combining both Hindu and Muslim elements.

Ajanta and Ellora Cave temples with spectacular cave paintings contain some of the world’s most exquisite sculpture. Some of the other places of cultural interest are the Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, The Konark Sun Temple and the Jagannath Temple in Orissa, the Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh, Golden temple at Amritsar in Punjab, Temples of Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, monuments in Karnatka etc.

India is also known for some of its fine beaches like Goa, Mamallapuram, Kovalam, Pondicherry, Puri-Konark etc. In addition island tourism has been developed at Andaman/Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.

All across the country are wildlife sanctuaries whose areas extend over several thousands of square kilometers, where wildlife can be observed in their natural surroundings. Each sanctuary supports several species of wildlife, being well known for one particular species. In some cases, there are rare or even endangered species. Thus, the Gir Forest in Gujarat is the only surviving home of the Asian lion, Manas and Kaziranga in Assam have a significant population of one horned rhinos, Periyar in Kerela is best known for wild elephant viewing. Thamin deer at Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur, Hangul or Kashmir stag at Dachigam, Srinagar and blackbuck at Velavadhar in Gujarat are the only homes of these species.

India’s vast geographical diversity provides a wealth of outdoors adventure. All tastes are catered for - from the gentlest to the fast-paced, and there is something for every level of competence - the beginner and the expert. The major adventure tourism activities in India are trekking and skiing in Himalayas, river running in Gangas, water skiing in Goa, Trout fishing in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Heliskiing in Himachal Pradesh, wind surfing, scuba diving and yatching in Andamans & Lakshadweep islands etc. India is a land of fairs and festivals with atleast one fair in each day of the year. These fairs and festivals add colour to the social life of Indian people. Some of the important fairs and festivals are Pushkar fair in Rajasthan, Crafts Mela at Surajkund, Holi in North India, Pongal in Tamilnadu, Onam in Kerela, Baisaki in Punjab, Bihu in Assam, Dance festivals at Khajuraho and Mamallapuram etc.

India has a rich cultural heritage with several forms of art and handicrafts. Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam are some of the most popular forms of classical dances which have their origins in various States across the country. Every dance form has a precise vocabulary of emotions - love, yearning, sorrow etc. - and these are displayed by gestures that involve the body, arms, fingers face and eyes.

India has a treasure trove of handicrafts for any discerning shopper, in truly remarkable variety of styles and prices. In India, the shopping experience runs the gamut of multi-storeyed, air-conditioned stores selling a hand-picked assortment of crafts from every corner of the country, to whole streets of shops selling speciality goods, in local fairs, where stalls, set up overnight, stock a variety of exotica.

Over the years, India has developed world standard accommodation infrastructure for entertaining the visitors. Some of the major hotel chains in India are the Oberoi Group, Taj Group, Welcome Group, Hilton Group, Le Meridien, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Leela Hotels, The Park, Holiday Inn, Ramada, Country Inn, Royal Orchid etc. Exhilarating landscapes, the filigreed splendors of world-famous cities, and a unique spiritual heritage stretching back for millennia make India the perfect choice for an exotic, inspiring PCTI journey.


We strongly recommend that all travelers purchase adequate trip cancellation and interruption, medical and baggage insurance and carry the details of their coverage on tour. You should check with your private insurance carrier regarding the terms of your coverage (or lack of coverage) outside your home country, including emergency medical evacuation.


There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to India, although it is strongly recommended that you protect yourself against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Cholera and Malaria. We advise you to consult your Doctor or the British Airways Travel Clinics, allowing at least 4 weeks before the date of travel for all medical advice. Some areas including Bhutan and Nepal may be at high altitudes so please check with our staff before confirming your itinerary. An inoculation against Yellow fever is required if you have visited any infected areas within 5 days prior to your arrival in India. We strongly recommend that you carry mosquito repellent lotions / cream.

Passport & Visas

You require a valid passport from your country and a visa from an Indian mission abroad to enter India. For more details visit: (link ) Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days (a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders).

The Consular Passport and Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuing Indian visas to foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.

Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The Embassy/High Commission/Consulate reserves the right on granting and deciding the type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making the application. The granting of a visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities.

Specific visas are granted for different purposes:



Documents Required

Tourist Visa

6 months

Documents supporting the applicant’s financial standing

Business Visa

One or more years

Letter from the sponsoring organisation

Student Visa

For the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years whichever is less

Proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India

Transit Visa

Maximum For 15 Days

Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India

Conference Visa

For the duration of the conference or seminar

Letter of invitation from the organiser of the conference

Medical Visa

Upto one year or the period of medical treatment whichever is less. Visa can be granted to Attendant who is a blood relation to the patient and is co-terminus with the Medical

Documents from registered medical institutions/ doctors supporting the need for medical treatment along with letters from Indian medical institution

Visa on Arrival

Only for citizens of Finland, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar




India is a tropical country. Nevertheless, there are huge variations according to the region and the season. The coolest months are from mid-November to mid-March, which also happens to be the tourist season. In the south, and on the coasts, day time temperatures even in the cool months can be in be the mid-20s centigrade, though the nights are cool. In central India, and in the hills in the southern part of the country, night temperatures can drop to under 10°C in winter. In the north, winter temperatures can approach 0°C even in the plains, and of course it drops below freezing in the Himalayan region. Summers are very hot, with some parts of south and central India, and the plains in the north, getting temperatures over 40°C. The monsoons, the rainy season, stretch from June until October, with different levels of intensity in different parts of the country. The West Coast and the north-east get the heaviest rain (two towns in Meghalaya vie for the title of the place with the most rainfall in the world). Clothing Winter - In the south, in the hills, you may need a light jacket in the evenings and early morning, or on overcast days. In the north, you may need to dress warmer, with light woolens even during the day. Consider dressing in layers and carrying a small day-pack to stow away some clothes as the day gets hotter. Summer - Light cotton tropical clothing, sun hats or caps, and sunglasses are recommended. For those travelling in the hills or mountainous areas light woolens may be needed for the nights. Monsoon - Light, quick-drying clothing, and either a raincoat or an umbrella or both (especially in places where there is a heavy monsoon).

Business Hours

Government Offices / Shops : Monday - Friday, 10:00 - 17:00 hrs. Banks : Monday - Friday, 10:00 - 14:00 hrs, Saturdays, 10:00 - 12:00 hrs. Some commercial offices operate on a five-day week, with Saturdays and Sundays off. Others work a half-day on Saturdays. Office hours tend to be 09:30 - 18:00 hrs. Shops do not have any standard timing. In major metros, you may find malls and department stores open until 20:00 hrs, seven days a week. Shops in business areas tend to close a little after office closing time. In tourist areas, you will probably find small stores open late into the evening. In many small towns, shops would tend to close around 20:00 hrs. Restaurants and bars have different legally-enforced closing hours in different states. In most parts of the country, this would be around midnight or even earlier. The only food establishments legally open 24 hours a day are coffee shops in five-star hotels. Note: Some government and commercial offices are open on alternate Saturdays.

Airport & Customs

International airports operate the conventional green and red channels, with officials liable to carry out sudden spot check on passengers passing through the green channel. If carrying items of high value such as cameras, laptops and the like for your personal use during your trip, you may be asked to fill in a Tourist Baggage Re-export Form (TBRE) when you enter the country, which allows you to bring items into India free of duty, provided you take them back with you when you are leaving. Personal allowances are one litre of spirits, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms of tobacco per passenger over the age of 18 years. For more details visit:


The Rupee, which is divided into 100 paise.
Abbreviations: Re. (singular), Rs. (plural)
Currency code: INR
Coin denominations: 25 and 50 paise, and 1, 2, and 5 rupees.
Note denominations: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees.
Exchange Rate (as of November 19 Aug 2013): USD 1 = INR 62.3461, EUR 83.0686, GBP 97.3721 (see Reserve Bank of India site link for current figures.)

There are no restrictions on the importation of foreign currency by tourists, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival. The import and export of the Rupee is, however, prohibited and may not be spent in Duty Free Shops or on board aircrafts. Receipts for all currency must be kept, as it may be reconverted on departure.

It is advisable to carry money in the form of travellers' cheques, preferably in US Dollars, as it is widely recognized and accepted.
Changing money through unauthorized persons is illegal as well as risky in respect of receiving counterfeit money.


In domestic flights in India, penknives and other sharp objects, liquids, matchboxes and lighters, batteries and some electronic items are not allowed in your cabin baggage, so pack them into your check-in luggage, or they will probably be either confiscated or taken away from you only to be returned at the other end of the flight. As with airports all over the world in this era, security checks are stringent, and you and your luggage may be searched more than once before you get on the plane. It may be necessary to identify your baggage on the tarmac before it is loaded on to the aircraft.

Baggage Allowance

The normal free allowance while flying he government-owned Indian Airlines is 30 kg in Economy and 40 kg in First Class. For the private airline operators it is 20 kg in Economy and 30 kg in First Class, where available. You can carry only a single piece of hand baggage (within certain size specifications) on domestic flights.

Airport Departure Tax

Airport departure tax is usually included in your international tickets and does not have to be paid at the airport.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and some shops accept major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Mastercard. They will usually display signage to that effect. Time UTC + 5 hours and 30 minutes.


The electric current in India is 230-240V and electricity is widely available in the main towns, cities and tourist destinations. Sockets are the three round-pinned variety, similar (but not identical) to European sockets. European round pin plugs will go into the sockets, but as the pins on Indian plugs are somewhat thicker, the fit is loose and a connection not always guaranteed.


India is a land of a variety of linguistic communities, each of which share a common language and culture. Though there could be fifteen principal languages there are hundreds of thousands dialects that add to the vividness of the country.

18 languages are officially recognized in India of which Sanskrit and Tamil share a long history of more than 5,000 and 3,000 years respectively. The population of people speaking each language varies drastically. For example Hindi has 250 million speakers, while Andamanese is spoken by relatively fewer people. Tribal or Aboriginal language speaking population in India may be more than some of the European languages. For instance Bhili and Santali both tribal languages have more than 4 million speakers. The vividness can be ascertained by the fact that schools in India teach more than 50 different languages; there are Films in 15 languages, Newspapers in 90 or more languages and radio programmes in 71 languages!

Indian languages come from four distinct families, which are: Indo-European, Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of Indian population uses Indo-European and Dravidian languages. The language families divide India geographically too.

Indo-European languages dominate the northern and central India while in south India; mainly languages of Dravidian origin are spoken. In eastern India languages of Mon-Khmer group is popular. Sino Tibetan languages are spoken in the northern Himalayas and close to Burmese border. In terms of percentage, 75% of Indian population speaks languages of Indo-European family, 23% speak languages of Dravidian origin and about 2% of the population speaks Mon-Khmer languages and Sino-Tibetan languages.


The Indian craftsman has been perfecting his art for centuries, passing down traditions and techniques from generation to generation. Each region has its own specialities, each town its own local craftsmen, its own particular skills. The results is a consummate blend of ancient skills and modern aesthetics. Silks, spices, jewellery and many other Indian products have long been famous and widely desired, and merchants would travel thousands of miles, willingly enduring the hardships and privations of the long journey in other to make their purchases.

CARPETS : India has one of the world's largest carpet industries, and many examples of her ancient and beautiful craft can be seen in museums throughout the world. Kashmir has a long history of carpet making, influenced by the Persians. Pure wool and woven and silk carpets are exquisitely made, and can be bought for a fraction of the cost that one would pay in the west. Each region will have its own specialty; such as the distinctive, bright coloured Tibetan rugs, available mainly in Darjeeling.

CLOTHES : Clothes are very cheap to buy, and can be tailor made in some shops, usually very quickly. Choose from an unmatchable range; silks, cottons, himroos, brocades, chiffons, chignons, touched with streaks of silver and gold thread, set with sequins or semi-precious gems. JEWELLERY : Particularly of Rajasthan (Kundan), is traditionally heavy and stunningly elaborate. Indian silverwork is world-famous. Gems can be bought and mounted. Apart from diamonds, other stones include lapis lazuli, Indian star rubies, star sapphires, moonstones and aquamarine. Hyderabad is one of the world's leading centers for pearls.

HANDICRAFTS AND LEATHERWORK : Once again, each area will have its own specialty; the vast range includes fine bronzes, brasswork (often inlaid with silver), canework and pottery. Papier Mache is a characteristic Kashmir product, some decorated with gold leaf. Marble and alabaster inlay work, such as chess sets and ornamental plates, are a specialty of Agra. Good leatherwork buys includes open India sandals and slippers.

WOODWORK : Sandalwood carvings from Karnataka, rosewood from Kerala and Madras, Indian walnut from Kashmir. These are often exquisite and make excellent presents.

OTHER BUYS : Foods such as pickles, spices and Indian tea, perfumes, soap, handmade paper, Orissan playing cards, musical instruments- anything that takes your fancy.

NOTE : It is forbidden to export antiques and art objects over 100 years old, animal skins or objects made from skins. While India offers a stupendous variety of items for the shopper, we do not assume any responsibility for defective or substandard merchandise, or delay or damages when your purchases are shipped. Please also keep in mind any import regulations that may apply in your home country. We also do not bear any responsibility for customs duty levied on receipt of the consign-ment at the port of disembarkation or port of shipment. Export of most wildlife and their products is either banned or strictly regulated. Export of the few permissible items even as passengers' personal luggage is allowed only under an export permit. It is thus advised to be cautious when buying animal products. Insists on getting a certificate for the legitimate sale of a particular animal product and permission for its export to avoid inconvenience on departure.


The Indian cuisine boasts of an immense variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala - a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice.

Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs sharply from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but the same can be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makke di Roti. In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation.

The unique and strong flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavour. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices.

In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavour and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.

Gratuities & Tipping

This is entirely at your discretion. However, the following may be helpful. If service is not included in the bill, 10% is usually the accepted amount. Hotel and railway porters will expect about 50 rupees for one piece of luggage and about 200 rupees for a trolley full. At the end of your stay if you wish to tip your sightseeing guide and driver, an acceptable amount for the guide would be approximately between 400 - 500 rupees per day; and for the driver, it would be approximately between 200 - 400 rupees per day.