Indian Srandard Time
India is 5 ½ hours ahead of GMT/UTC, 4 ½ hours behind
Australian EST, and 10 ½ hours ahead of American EST.
¤ Women Travellers
Once upon a time, women travelling alone used to be frowned upon in
India, but times are slowly changing. Proper dress code in accordance
with the Indian social matrix serves to an extent. In mosques, women
should be fully covered, and in temples and
gurudwaras, they have to
cover their heads. One needs to be on the right side of caution while
entering into conversations with strangers, accepting invitations to
drinks and late night dinners. Remember that the more you move away
from touristy areas, the lesser problems you are likely to have.
The southern and the eastern parts of the country are more fun to
travel for the women traveller.
and as a bonus, there are ladies queues for train tickets,
ladies compartments in trains and even ladies seats in
buses. So you see, it is not just caution all the way.
¤ Senior Travellers
Elders are respected and revered all over India. Thus senior
travellers will not have any problem in touring India. Unless you have
poor vision or are otherwise challenged, there shouldnt be any
reason for not visiting India. All senior travellers have senior
citizens quotas in trains and senior citizens queues for
train tickets. Your stay in India will be a memorable one. So, enjoy
it while it lasts.
¤ Physically Challenged Travellers
Travelling in India for the physically challenged is not easy. Few
buildings in India are geared up for the wheelchair. Sometimes even
footpaths cannot be used by the physically challenged. Restrooms have
not been designed with the wheelchair in mind. Nevertheless, many
physically challenged travellers are daring a head-on encounter with
¤ Travel With Children
Travelling with children is a real joy as it often increases the
chances of having interesting encounters with the local people.
Children are easily welcomed everywhere and hospitality is extended to
those accompanying them. One of the reasons for this might be that
children are not self-conscious and they do not feel cultural
differences as acutely as some adults are likely to. It is thus easier
for them to make friends with the locals.
However, travelling with children can also be exhausting, for they
fall sick very easily. In big hotels, obtaining safe baby food is not
a problem. Disposable nappies are available in all major towns and
cities. Most big hotels provide babysitting facilities.
Extra care should be taken to protect children from the Indian heat by
avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day. Cool showers and
baths always help. Dehydration can be remedied by drinking plenty of
water that is either boiled or purified with tablets. Diarrhoea can
best be avoided by staying away from uncovered street food. If
travelling with children, it is best to visit India in the cooler
¤ Dangers & Annoyances Theft
Nothing could be more annoying than to discover that you have lost
something important. It is always preferable to carry important things
on yourself and never leave them behind in your room. Be extra
vigilant about your baggage at airports, on trains and other means of
public transports that you might take. However, if anything is stolen
or lost, it should immediately be reported to the police. Finally, a
good travel insurance policy may help to some extent in making good
the loss or damage.
¤ Stolen Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques can easily be stolen or lost, but the good
thing about them is that they are replaceable. It is best to buy them
from American Express, Visa, Thomas Cook, Citibank and Barclay.
Instant replacement may be difficult. However, the best way to deal
with such a crisis is to keep an emergency amount aside. Those
availing of American Express TC facilities can seek help at the 24
hour helpdesk in Delhi at (011) 687 5050. The loss of TCs should be
reported to the company concerned within 24 hours of the loss.
Carrying the receipts of the missing TCs would ensure a speedy
replacement. It is advisable to keep the receipts in a separate place
and a photocopy of the same in another.
¤ Business Hours
Government offices are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from Monday through
Friday. Banks are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday through
Friday and from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Saturday. However, major
cities have been divided into zones where banks remain closed on
particular days of the week. You must check that up before you
actually go to one for a transaction. Travellers cheque
transactions usually cease 30 minutes before the official bank closing
time. The Reserve Bank of India has a half-yearly closing on 30th
June and 31st December. Other banks have it on 31st
March and 30th September. Shops also remain closed on
particular days of the week according to their location. offices are
usually closed on Sundays and public holidays.
India is a multicultural, multilingual country and thus has a great
number of holidays and festivals. Most of these festivals follow the
Indian lunar calendar. Therefore they are likely to fall on different
days each year in the Gregorian Calendar. Muslim holidays and
festivals follow the Islamic calendar. So they too fall on different
days every year. Numerous religious festivals are celebrated
throughout the country, although the manner in which they are
celebrated may vary from state to state. Amongst those that count as
public holidays are 26th January: Republic Day, 15th
August: Independence Day, 2nd October: Mahatma Gandhis
Birthday and 25th December: Christmas.
January Republic Day on 26th
January ,Pongal ,Id-ul-Fitr
March-April Mahavir Jayanti ,Ramanavami ,Good Friday
,Gangaur ,Id-ul-Zuhar , Muharram
May-June ,Buddha Jayanti
June-July ,Rath Yatra ,Teej , Milad-un-Nabi
July-August ,Raksha Bandhan
August ,Independence Day on 15th August
August-September Janmashtami .Ganesh Chaturthi
September-October ,Durga Puja ,Dussehra ,Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd
November-December ,Nanak Jayanti ,Christmas on 25th
Every kind of film is available in the Indian markets. Always check
the expiry date printed on the film rolls as the heat and humidity of
India can take their toll on them. Each city has its own camera and
film market, so if you are looking for a large stock, it is better to
get it from these markets as youll get it much cheaper here.
However, it is better to bring your own positive films as they are not
readily available in smaller towns. Kodak and Fuji have their labs all
over the country, including in small cities. You should try to store
both your exposed and unexposed films in a cool place to protect them
from the summer heat. and if youre travelling during the
monsoon, it is better to have waterproof cases for your equipment.
A UV filter permanently fitted to your lens will not only cut down
the UV rays but also protect your lens from the heat and dust of
India. UV and polarising filters will also help shoot better
photographs in high altitudes. Professional photographers should carry
their tripods as well, for India has a lot to offer through its
historical monuments. Fast films (400 ASA) are also useful while
photographing the interiors of Indias numerous temples, forts
In India, photographs are best taken early in the morning and late in
the afternoon. The midday sun tends to eliminate the shadows of
objects cutting down on the depth to your shots.
Indians could be very touchy about what you photograph. To photograph
places of military importance including railway stations, bridges,
airports, military installations, tribal areas and sensitive border
regions, you would require to seek permission from the authorities
concerned. Some temples prohibit photography in the main hall and the
inner sanctum. Usually such temples have prohibitory signboards on
their premises. It is always prudent to ask if there are no such
indications. Some temples, forts, palaces, tombs and monasteries levy
a fee to bring a still or video camera into the premises. A few wild
life sanctuaries levy a much higher fee. The Archaeological Survey of
India issues special permits for photographing monuments with tripods
and artificial lights.
People in India are ever willing to pose for complete strangers. In
places where tradition and conservatism rule the society, care should
be taken before training your lens on women.
¤ Shopping Tips
The most important rule while purchasing handicrafts is to get the
right bargain. It wouldnt hurt to first look around to know the
fake from the real. It is always beneficial to get an idea of the
quality and price of items by visiting the various state emporia and
the Central Cottage Industries Emporia in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai,
Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Here the prices are fixed and will
give you a fair idea of how much you could expect to pay while
purchasing similar items from regular dealers.
Again, be careful when buying items that include delivery. You
may have to pay additional customs as well as the handling charges.
Beware of buying gems and carpets unless youre an expert.
Export of items such as ivory, fur and skins, antiquities is banned.
Hence it is mandatory to obtain a certificate of legitimate sale and
permission for export before trying to take any of these items out of