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India country information

India map
Republic of India
Area: 3,287,590 sq km
Population: 1,147,995,904
Population density: 349 per sq km
Capital: New Delhi
Passport & Visa
Passport Required?
British Yes
Australian Yes
Canadian Yes
USA Yes
Other EU Yes
Visa Required?
British Yes
Australian Yes
Canadian Yes
USA Yes
Other EU Yes

Passports

Passport valid for at least 190 days required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas

Required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa Note

Certain parts of the country have been designated protected or restricted areas that require special permits and in some cases prior government authorisation. Intent to visit a specific restricted region should be indicated when applying for a visa and a permit will be granted to visit that region only. An additional form must be completed. Passengers are advised to check with the tourist board for up-to-date information before departure.

Types of Visa and Cost

Tourist visa: 30 (multiple-entry; six months); 50 (multiple-entry; one year). Business visa: 105 (one year); 160 (more than one year). Transit: 15 (single/double-entry). Restricted/protected area permit: 20. Prices for certain other nationals vary, nationals are advised to contact the embassy to check cost.

Validity

Tourist: six months or one year for multiple entry. Transit: maximum stays of 15 days within three months. Business: three or six months, or up to two years for multiple entry.

Applications to:

Embassy or high commission (or consular section at embassy or high commission). There are also Indian Visa Application Centres in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Working Days Required

Personal applications can normally be processed the same day. Applications made at the visa centres will take at least 2-3 working days. Postal applications take a minimum of 10 working days. Where referrals are required, applications may require 20-25 working days.

Note tour.tk: visa applications in Islamabad take one week to process (September 2007)
Getting there

Getting There by Air

The major national airline is Air India (AI) (website: www.airindia.com ). The other national airline is Indian Airlines (IC) (website: www.indian-airlines.nic.in ). There are also newer commercial airlines adding international destinations to their schedules such as Jet Airways (9W) (website: www.jetairways.com ).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Delhi is 8 hours; to Kolkata (Calcutta) is 9 hours 45 minutes; to Chennai (Madras) is 11 hours, and to Mumbai (Bombay) is 8 hours 30 minutes. From New York to Delhi is 15 hours 30 minutes; to Mumbai is 15 hours.

Main Airports

New Delhi (DEL) (Indira Gandhi International Airport) is 23km (14 miles) south of the city (journey time - 45 minutes). To/from the airport: There are bus and taxi services to the city. Facilities: Duty-free shops, banks/bureaux de change, post office, snack bars and car hire.

Mumbai (BOM) (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) is 35km (22 miles) north of the city (journey time - 50 to 75 minutes). To/from the airport: Taxi and bus services go to the city. Facilities: Bank/bureau de change, post office, restaurant and shops. 

Kolkata (Calcutta) (CCU) (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport) is 20km (13 miles) northeast of the city (journey time - 40 to 70 minutes). To/from the airport: There are buses and taxis to the city. Facilities: Post office, bank/bureau de change, snack bars and duty-free shops. 

Chennai (MAA) (Anna International Airport ) is 14km (9 miles) southwest of the city (journey time - 20 minutes). To/from the airport: Buses and taxis are available. There is a train regularly throughout the day. Facilities: Money exchange facilities, tourist information offices and hotel reservation services.
Departure Tax
None.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Calicut, Kochi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Panaji (Goa) and Rameswaram (the main departure point for the sea crossing to Sri Lanka; passenger services are presently suspended owing to the political situation in Sri Lanka).

Indian ports are also served by several international shipping companies and several cruise lines. There are, however, no regular passenger liners operating to South-East Asia.

Departure tax:
 Seaports levy the following departure tax: Rp500 (for journeys to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka); Rp750 (all other destinations).

Getting There by Rail

This section gives details of the major overland routes to neighbouring countries (where frontiers are open); in most cases these will involve road as well as rail travel. Details should be checked with India Tourism as they may be subject to change.

Connections to Pakistan: From India you can cross into Pakistan at the international Attari/Wagah border. There are bus and train services between India and Pakistan. Approaching the border away from the official crossing point could be dangerous.

Connections to Nepal: The most practical and popular route to Nepal is by train to Raxaul (Bihar) and then by bus to Kathmandu or by train to Gorakphur (or by bus if coming from Varanasi) and then by bus to Kathmandu crossing the border at Sunauli; also, by train to Nantanwa (UP) and then by bus to Kathmandu/Pokhara, or Bhairawa to Lumbini for Pokhara. It is also possible to make the crossing from Darjeeling by bus to Kathmandu across the southern lowlands.

Connections to Bhutan: The best way of reaching Bhutan by land is by bus/train to Siliguri, then bus to Phuentsholing.

Connections to Bangladesh: The most convenient route to Bangladesh is Kolkata (Calcutta) to Dhaka by bus. Another route is from Darjeeling via Siliguri, then train or bus from Jalpaiguri to Haldibari.

Currently, no land frontiers are open between India and Myanmar or India and China (PR).

Getting There by Road

The overland route from Europe to India remains popular, but travellers should have accurate up-to-date information about border crossings, visa requirements and political situations en route. Some of the most popular border crossings into India are Sunauli (for Delhi and northwest India), Birganj (for Kolkata (Calcutta) and east India) and Kakarbhitta (for Darjeeling). Several adventure holiday companies arrange overland tours and buses to India.

A bus service operates between Lahore (Pakistan) and New Delhi. The journey takes about 12 hours. For information on this and other overland routes to neighbouring countries, contact the India Tourism office.

Useful link: www.amritsar-overland.com Amritsar resources for overlanders
Cycling & Maps
Cost of living
India: all prices in Indian Rupees (INR)
drinks and snacks food: local markets; restaurants; and stores

water

juice
soft drink (can)
soft drink (bottle)
lassi

1 litre
2 litre
200ml
300ml
600ml
glass
6-12
20
7-12
10-12
20
25

chapati
naan plain / garlic
paratha (stuffed)
toast (white)
bread (white)
plain rice

each
each
each
4 pieces
half loaf
per serving

2-5
5-12
15-25
10-20
13-5
10-15
beer-lager / -strong
wine
650ml
750ml
60-80 / 75-85
375
vegetarian curry
biryani
kofta
thali
eggs (boiled-fried etc)
pizza - italian style
one serving
one serving
one serving
per person
per 2 eggs
med
20-45
30-60
30-50
30-80
10-20
250
masala tea

coffee
coffee - ground
cup
pot
cup
500g
3-10
20-30
12-20
195
milk
yoghurt / curd
cheese
Magnum icecream
1 litre
180g / serve
kg
each
25-35
14 / 10-20
180+
30-40
rice (basmati)
pasta (spaghetti)
eggs
tinned tomatoes
kg
500g
per 10
250g
70
28
25
90
bhujia snacks
samosa
pakora / bhaji
roasted peanuts
100g
piece
100g
100g
5-10
2- 4
3- 5
5-6
potatoes
onions
tomatoes
spinach
kg
kg
kg
kg
13
10
14 - 20
30

cornflakes

375g pack 105 apples
oranges
bananas
bananas
kg
kg
small
large
30-40
30-40
8 for 10
2 each
biscuits- plain/cream
chocolate
100g pack
100g block
4-20
35
 
accommodation personal
dormitory
budget city hotel
mid-range hotel
50+ per bed per night
150-300 doouble with ensuite
350-600 double with ensuite
deodorant - roll-on
soap
shampoo
toothbrush
toothpaste
disposable razor
toilet paper
50ml
150g bar
200ml
each
150ml
each
each
100+
15+
60
20+
40-70
10-15
30-40
camping
not really advisable unless you don't mind being surrounded by curious faces all the time
internet 20-40 per hour

* tba = price to be announced
* January 2009: at time of writing 1.00 USD =49.23 INR
all prices have been taken from internet resources such as wikitravel, hostel world, leading supermarket chains, travel blogs, forums and of course our own travel experiences and purchases of everyday products in food markets, bazaars and local shopping facilities. They are only an indication and designed to give you a general impression of the cost of living in India. Items are geared towards the budget conscious traveller with an occasional craving for a bit of luxury.
Accommodation
Acommodation we used while in India (September - December 2007): (prices based on two people sharing)
Star system explained: from 0 to ***** where 0 is a total disaster and ***** is luxurious (and out of our price range)
         
City / town: Name accommodation: Our experience: Price: Stars:
         
Agra Hotel Sheela decent, restaurant to be missed INR 400 **½
Bareilly Hotel Pathik avoid at all cost INR 400 0
Bilaspur Kwality Hotel almost lives up to its name INR 200 **½
Budaun Regency Hotel very small rooms INR 400
Bundi Heveli Riya ok, for the price INR 200

Click here to see the other accommodations we used while in...
         
City / town: Name accommodation: Our experience: Price: Stars:
         
Chandigarh Greenview Hotel overpriced, but modern INR 400 **
Delhi Ajay Guesthouse little box room, ok restaurant INR 300 **
Gangapur Hotel Devanshu clean aircon box, no windows INR 550
Hathras Shilpa Guesthosue what a dump INR 350 ½
Jaipur Cocoon Guesthouse what a find, great food too INR 250 ****
Joginder Nagar Top in Town nice food, decent room INR 250 **
Kasganj Krishna Palace rodents galore INR 300 *
Kekri Tirupati White Resort block those peep holes INR 400 *
Kishangarh Bhat Guesthouse basic, basic, basic INR 250
Kurukshetra Hotel Heritage good if you like rats in your room INR 350 0
Mandi Partap Palace below average INR 250
McLeod Ganj Green Hotel decent rooms, good food, WiFi INR 250 **½
Pilibhit Rama Palace Hotel friendly staff, ok room INR 300 ***
Pushkar Hotel Diamond overrated, overpriced food INR 200 **
Roopnagar Hotel Vikram filthy hovel INR 300 ½
Sawai Madhopur Hotel Pink Palace decent rooms INR 300 **
Shahjahanpur Tokas Midway rooftop room, bit pricey INR 500 **
Shahpura Hotel Milan double pricing for food... INR 400 *
Food & drink
Bike shops
   
Firefox Bikes has quite a few bike shops, or stations as they call them, around the country.
   
Bangalore

BOTS
#327, III Floor
15 Cross, 2 Block
Jayanagar, Bangalore
website: www.bumsonthesaddle.com
e-mail: cycle@bumsonthesaddle.com

 
Bangalore Wheelsport
1, Mehta Arcade No. 14
15th Cross, 100ft Road
J.P. Nagar, 6th Phase
Bangalore 560078
Tel: 9379951610 / 9341232940 / 9844020861
website: www.wheelsports.in
   
Mumbai

Fatima villa,
29th road, Pali Naka,
Bandra west, Mumbai 400050
Tel: 022-26409139 / 022-26403565
website:www.gearindia.in
email: gearedride@gmail.com

Climate

climate chart Agra India climate chart Amritsar India
climate chart Calcutta India climate chart Goa India
climate chart Jaipur India climate chart Madras Chennai India
climate chart Mumbay India climate chart Nagpur India
climate chart New Delhi India climate chart Trivandrum India

Road distances
India road distance chart

Rajastan road distance chart

       
Detailed distance chart from our trip through India 2007    

 

 
km
total km
Amritsar - Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj)
Dharamsala - Chandigarh
Chandigarh - Delhi
as cycled by us (altitude in brackets)    
       
Wagah border (Attari) Amritsar
33
 
       
Amritsar Jaintipur
29
Jaintipur Batala
11
40
Batala Gurdaspur
33
73
Gurdaspur Dinanagar
14
87
Dinanagar Pathankot
25
112
Pathankot Kandwal (12km. diversion:bridge collapsed)
31
143
Kandwal Jassur
7
150
Jassur Nurpur
4
154
Nurpur Shahpur
39
193
Shahpur bridge / turn-off minor road Dharamsala
6
199
bidge McLeod Ganj
25
224
   
McLeod Ganj Yol (1130)
18
Yol Chamunda turn-off (945)
12
30
Chamunda t.o Pulampur (1230)
18
48
Pulampur Baijnath Paprola (980)
15
63
Baijnath Paprola Joginder Nagar 1206)
23
86
Joginder Nagar climb 1 (1500)
6
92
climb 1 climb 2 (1646)
8
100
climb 2 Mandi (822)
44
144
Mandi Sundernagar (904)
24
168
Sundernagar Koldam turn-off (620)
20
188
Koldam t.o. Bilaspur (664)
22
210
Bilaspur climb 3 (1203)
39
249
climb 3 Kiratpur (420)
23
272
Kiratpur Roopnagar (414)
30
302
Roopnagar Chandigarh (514)
43
345
   
Chandigarh Ambala
52
Ambala Kurukshetra
44
96
Kurukshetra Karnal
34
130
Karnal Panipat
37
167
Panipat Sonipat turn-off
41
208
Sonipat turn-off Delhi
55
263
       

Road distances India:

Delhi - Jaipur
Jaipur - Bundi (via Pushkar)
Bundi - Gangapur

as cycled by us (altitude in brackets)
km.
total km.
   
Delhi Dharuhera
70
Dharuhera Sjahjahanpur
43
113
Sjahjahanpur Bahror
21
134
Bahror Shahpura
69
203
Shahpura Jaipur
71
274
       
Jaipur Dudu
65
Dudu Kishangarh
40
105
Kishangarh Pushkar
46
151
Pushkar Shawar
76
227
Shawar Kekri
26
253
Kekri Deoli (via Sawar)
44
297
Deoli Hindoli
26
323
Hindoli Bundi
22
345
       
Bundi Lakheri
68
Lakheri Sawai Madhopur
52
120
Sawai Madhopur turn-off to SH-1A
30
150
turn-off Gangapur
46
196
   

Road distances India:

Agra - Banbasa (border with Nepal)

as cycled by us (altitude in brackets)
km.
total km.
   
Agra Hathras
61
Hathras Kasganj
66
127
Kasganj Budaun
58
185
Budaun Bareilly
50
235
Bareilly Pilibhit
58
293
Pilibhit Banbasa border with Nepal
60
353
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