Before you go to India, try to get a proper visa. Its types depend on the purpose of your trip. You can apply for a visa through either an intermediary company from India – BLS International Visa Services – Poland or through a Polish intermediary company such as Aina Travel .
Since 2015, the visa application process has been significantly simplified, as the option of applying for an e-visa is available. Thanks to this, during the application, simply attach a scan of the passport and scan the passport photo. You can apply for e-visas in the case of tourist trips, visits, short-term medical care or a short-term business trip for business purposes. In other cases, a traditional visa, that is, pasted into a passport at the consulate, is still valid. In addition, if you are going to India on an e-visa, you can enter only selected airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi and Vishakhapatnam; or by boat and you shoot at one of these 5 ports: Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Chennai. If you intend to cross the border in another place, you will need a traditional visa.
Only people who enter multiple-entry visas in India are valid. The registration obligation should be made up to 14 days after arrival. If you do not do it, you will be turned back at the border when you try to leave the country. You will be able to leave India only after checking in.
There are no mandatory vaccinations before going to India, but it is worth getting vaccinated as standard against hepatitis A and B and tetanus. Depending on which region of India you are going to, check current information on vaccinations in sanitary and epidemiological stations.
Take care of the policy, it will be useful if you need medical help. Definitely, the insurance should provide reimbursement of medical expenses and cover in the event of accidents. Also, if you plan to do sports in India, make sure that the insurance you have will guarantee you the right help. If you intend to climb the mountains, make sure that the policy is extended to extreme sports.
WHEN TO GO?
The middle of the season for trips to India runs from December to April, during this period you will avoid monsoon rainfall and huge heat, but you will not avoid the crowd of tourists. It is equally crowded during religious ceremonies, so if you do not want to get stuck, check beforehand when pilgrims and holidays are organized in a given place.
During our summer, it is worth visiting Ladakh, which is not monsoon, and the temperature during this period is quite pleasant.
Because of multiculturalism in India, you can count on participation not only in traditional but also Muslim (Muharram, Eid ul fitr, eid ul Adha) and Christian (Easter and Christmas) holidays. National holidays are: Indian Republic Day, which falls on 26 January and Independence Day of India – 15.08. India also celebrates Gandhi’s birthday, which falls on 02/10. Moving holidays include: Holi – a festival of colors (spring) and Diwali – a festival of lights (autumn).
HOW TO NAVIGATE THE COUNTRY?
Cars and Motorbikes:
If you are mad enough to drive such vehicles yourself, then you should have an international driving license in the first place. Remember, however, that driving in India is extremely collisive. They contribute to this: disastrous condition of roads, non-compliance of drivers with traffic rules, poor technical condition of vehicles, disregarding the basic principles of using mechanized vehicles. The statistics are alarming: over 130,000 people die annually on roads people (for every 100,000 inhabitants of this country, 11 people are killed on the roads! If you do not get an accident yourself, but for example you will cause an accident in which a man or a cow will suffer, you have to face legal consequences.
Metro: In the capital of India, Delhi operates underground, although it is relatively new and is still being expanded. Blue fences with the Delhi Metro sign inform about the entrance. The price for a trip varies from a few to a dozen or so rupees, depending on the zone.
Bus: There will be a bus where the railway will not reach. This is a choice for people with strong nerves. Bus drivers are real crazy people who do not know what is common sense, and survival instincts are very limited. When choosing a bus you have to reckon with: delays in travel time, extra charge for luggage carried inside the bus, confusing the road or burning drivers.
Minibus / shared taxi: These means of transport are especially useful in mountainous regions.
Taxi: The principle to remember always and everywhere. We set the price in advance! It is also worth haggling. And definitely choose it instead of the bus right after the arrival. First of all, it is more convenient than a bus, and secondly it will take you to the hotel.
Rickshaw: A great way to get around the city. Usually, the fair price for a bike rickshaw is 15 rs / 1 km. Motorists are even cheaper in theory. Remember that the rickshaw owners earn in this way their own and family’s maintenance, so if you overstate the price of the course only twice, you should be satisfied. You can always not discuss the price at the start. Estimate the price based on the distance and after reaching the place, enter the amount deducted. This method, however, is good for people with iron nerves.
Air transport: It is amazing that India has a well-developed network of air connections not only within the country, but also with other countries. There are as many as 19 international ports. Currently, plane travel in this country is the fastest means of movement, although not the cheapest.
Railway: Indian railway is a real transport power. Currently, it is the most popular means of moving around the country, which is extremely well developed. The scale of popularity can be attested by statistics that inform that around 8,2 billion passengers travel around the year (around 22.7 million passengers) on an Indian railway, and 1.3 million employees work for it. Either, you can take the Palace on Wheelswhich is the most famous luxury train run by Indian Railways.
Ferries and Ships: When traveling around India, you can also choose sea transport. Ports and terminals can be found in: Chennai, Haldi, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Calcutta, Mormugao, Mumbai, New Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam.
HOW TO SURVIVE IN INDIA?
The first and basic rule applies to hands . Remember that the right hand is for eating, and the left hand is impure and is for personal hygiene. We should follow this principle in everyday life, for example, we only give money in stores with the right hand! we do not touch food with our left hand, we do not touch other people with it! Follow this rule and it will be good.
Watch out for how you shake your head . Turning it from right to left means consent, consent, confirmation, etc., generally “yes”.
Before you enter the Hindu temples and mosques, take off your shoes. Dear Lord, do not forget about headscarves and shoulders.
Bargain for everything. From transport to serious shopping. Especially for the latter, you can sometimes devote up to several hours.
Before you take a photograph , ask for permission. Only the kids willingly walk in front of the camera, but they ask for money. Often when you take a photo, you can be asked to enter.
Remember that when traveling to India, you are not only looking for cultural contrasts, but for the Indians you are also exotic . You have to get used to the signs of curiosity and treat with humor.
Ghee rice, navaratna kuruma, birijani, chiapatti, parathas, seafood and just fruits – mango, shit . These are just some of the things to try. Although Indian cuisine is quite spicy, it is very tasty and healthy. Spicy spices accelerate the metabolism, and in the case of turmeric it was found that it has a clear impact on the prevention of cancer. Inhabitants of India love to eat, and each region has a specific cuisine. If you decide to eat from street stalls, follow the principle that the best food is where there are a lot of locals. It means no less than that the food is tasty and safe for your stomach there.
Here are some examples of Indian Cuisine:
Masala Dosa – a dish typical of southern India, served most often for breakfast. Base pancakes are thin dosa filled with various additives.
Dal is a dish of lentils, peas or beans. Grains are cooked for a long time, and then crushed into thick mush and seasoned with spicy spices.
Samosy , or dumplings fried in hot fat with spicy vegetable stuffing.
Biryani – its basic ingredient is Basmati rice, to which various types of spices are added, for example cardamom, ginger, chili, garlic and saffron and vegetables or meat (usually lamb).
Lassi is a drink based on natural yogurt (curd) and spices: mint, salt, pepper. It is also prepared sweet with fruit.
Chicken tikka or baked chicken seasoned with a mix of curry.
Lemon & Honey & Ginger tea – as you can easily deduce from the name, it is a tea with ginger, lime juice and honey.
Curd – is a proposal of cold sweet rice dessert with milk and cardamom.
If you like Indian cuisine, necessarily buy spices – they are here much better quality than those that we buy in our stores. An excellent souvenir will also be prepared masala by the seller in the store with spices.
THREATS IN INDIA, THAT IS, DO NOT TRAVEL ALONE!
Of course, as everywhere you can fall victim to common crime, pickpockets do not sleep so you do not lose your guard. Also watch out for dishonest taxi drivers and rickshaw drivers. It’s best to use pre-paid taxi or taxi taxis. If you want to ride a rickshaw or other taxi, set the price and currency at the beginning of the trip.
The danger of terrorist attacks is definitely more serious, especially in typical tourist towns and regions.
Be sure to bring a copy of your passport and entry visa to India with you. If you lose the originals, the copies will be helpful when making new documents.
If you are a woman and are going on a journey through this beautiful country alone, be very careful. Unfortunately, sexual crimes are also mentioned among the threats. It is best to travel with a partner or a group of friends after India.
WHAT NOT TO DO IN INDIA?
Due to the different bacterial flora, you can not drink unbounded water or drinks with ice of unknown origin, do not eat fruit and vegetables from stalls without disinfection, avoid eating at street food outlets and inferior categories. If, despite adherence to the above recommendations, you have stomach problems, local medications will be more effective than those imported from Poland. Pharmacies are quite well-equipped, so you should not have problems buying medicines.
Another important thing is to avoid some areas when traveling around the country, even border areas with Pakistan. The border line is not quite visible there and you can unconsciously cross it, so you can have serious unpleasantness.
Also, remember that in the high parts of the mountains you may have a problem with getting help. Commercial units are not flying here, and India’s air force is not obliged to provide rescue services, although in the border areas it happens to them to participate in such actions.
If you buy a hundred-year-old antique, ivory, animal skin or turtle shells, remember that you must not take them out of the country. You can have serious problems.
It is also forbidden to import and use satellite telephones. It is a danger of requisitioning the device, fines and even 3 years imprisonment. Binoculars, telescopes and cameras with strong transfocators also raise suspicions, these objects are better left at home.
And most importantly, possession and smuggling of drugs are severely punished. The crime of possessing drugs is threatened by min. 6 months imprisonment, and for an attempted smuggling of up to 10 and more years in prison.
IT’S WORTH SEEING
Going to Sikkim, Aradalyad Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram , and the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago , do not forget about the special permit you should apply for at the offices of foreigners’ registration or state offices.
Be sure to see: Mumbai – The pearl in the crown, Hampi in the state of Karnataka – it is rather a small town, but very charming located among banana plantations; Jodhpur in Rajasthan – so-called “Blue city”; Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh – unforgettable experiences on the banks of the Ganges, Delhi – be sure to visit the old Muslim part of the city and then the New Delhi ; Srinagar – an old town with wooden buildings and military patrols on the street, here is also the beautiful Dal lake; Leh – the capital of Ladakh- you can meet here Tibetan refugees, and the city itself is a great base for trips to the area, Haridwar – less tourists here than in Varanasi , lots of Hindu pilgrims.
People interested in sightseeing will see:
In Mysore in the evening, the illumination of the Maharaja’s palace impresses, it is also worth taking a few meters of silk offered in tiny shops.
Jaisalamer in Rajasthan – here you can live in a real fort and then go on a safari in the Thar desert.
Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh – famous for its temples, which are decorated with scenes from Kamasutra.
Amritsar in Punjab, or the Golden Temple, is the sacred place of the Sikhs and one of the most beautiful places in India.
Delhi, here, of course , is worth seeing Humayun’s Tomb, Kutab Minar, Nizamuddin Auliji mausoleum, Red Fort and Friday Mosque, which are in the old part of the city, while in New Delhi you will find the Gateway of India, Connought Place and Gandhi’s death place, Indira Gandhi’s house and palace India’s first Prime Minister – J. Nehru.
Agra: It is here that the famous Taj Mahal is located, as well as the Red Fort and Fathepur Sikri – the former Mughal capital that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Jaipur: It is a city of beautiful palaces: Hawa Maral (Palace of Winds) and Moon Palace (headquarters of Maharaja). There is also an astronomical observatory Jantar Mantar.
In Sikandra it is worth visiting the tomb of Emperor Atbara.
As far as nature is concerned, in Varkala you can see dolphins swimming in water in the morning, in Ooty in Tamil Nadu you will come across elephants, and beautiful sunsets delight the Kollam-Allapey backwaters. You will meet the most wild animals in National Parks, eg tigers in Kanha (Madhya Pradesh) and Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh), rhinos and elephants in Khaziranga (Assam), Bandipur and Nagarhole (Karnataka and Tamil Nadu)
Mountain climbing fans will love Leh in Ladakh (3,500 meters above sea level) and the Himalayas, especially the Lehu road to Manali, which provides unforgettable views.
SOUVENIRS FROM INDIA, WHAT TO BRING FROM TRAVEL ?
Depending on the place where you are, you can bring something characteristic for this place, for example from: Agra – marble items, Varanasi – silk, Ladakh – souvenirs from Tibetans, pashmina shawls, Rajasthan – characteristic bedspreads and dolls, Kashmir – carpets or Kerala – souvenirs from sandalwood. Of course, you can also find all these things in Delhi on Main Bazaar, it may happen that they will be cheaper. Must check out the Palace on Wheels train schedule for this season.
It is worth shopping in Delhi in the Pahar Ganj district or on the Palika Bazar near Connaught Place and the Janpat market. Interesting souvenirs can be brought from Lehu, where Tibetan refugees have their stands.