Traveling to India – What You Should Know -Part1

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

India which is considered South Asia, is the largest country within that region.  India defines itself with an ancient backdrop filled with rich culture, incredible cuisine, many languages, religions, and within the country, over a billion people. 
While visiting India, especially first time travelers, it’s essential that you plan your trip wisely, keeping in mind, religious principles, controversial territories, traditional customs, language and your safety. 
Here’s an overview to assist you in planning a trouble-free and pleasant trip to one of the most diverse and vibrant places on earth!

Preparing For Your Trip

All travelers visiting India will need to possess a Passportand Indian Visa
It is vital that you contact your local consulate so that they may advise you on the proper application process as it may vary depending upon the country in which you reside. 
In addition, once a foreigner to the country visits, you will not be able to return for two months, afterwards.
Malaria and/or sickness can be a problem in any foreign country so it is important that you visit your private physician or travel health clinic to receive the necessary shots, preferably 4-8 weeks prior to travel.

Here are recommended vaccinations you should consider prior to travel:  Meningococcal, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio, Yellow fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and Tetanus-diphtheria.
It is also recommended that you take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance.  If you have insurance, check with your provider to see what your policy covers while you are visiting a foreign country.  


India is vastly open to four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October to December.)
Most of the region consists of a warm to hot climate.  


Prior to visiting any foreign territory it’s beneficial to research the current temperament of the region. 
In certain parts of India, there exists civil unrest.  According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, travel alerts have been issued in these areas:  Rural areas of Jammu; Kashmir; areas bordering with Pakistan; Manipur; Srinagar; and Imphal.

If you are hiking or trekking in the areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, always do so within a group.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also suggests that you take precaution while visiting during Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), Eid (20 August) and Diwali (13 November.)
In addition, while visiting India be sure to secure your Passport, and ATM/Credit cards.  Make a copy of your Passport, Visa and flight itinerary, and secure it separately from the originals. 
Never leave your baggage unattended; always eat and drink from well established Points of Interest (POA);be careful to walk in streets alone at night.

Currency, Credit Cards and ATMs

The Reserve Bank of India controls India’s currency which is called “Indian Rupee” also known as INR. 
When exchanging currency, always do so at an authorized dealer such as a well known bank.  You can also exchange currency within the Airport. 
There are a few different booths which will assist you.  Also, be sure to request a currency exchange receipt.  This will establish your currency exchange within India. 
Currency exchange rates will vary depending upon who exchanges your currency.
Major credit cards and traveler’s checks are broadly received in India, specifically in tourist friendly locations. 
Though, it’s best to exchange your foreign traveler’s checks into Indian Rupee.
Generally, ATMs available in cities, big towns as well on most of the tourist destinations.
If you are planning to travel ruler areas as well some
interiors area's make sure to carry sufficient cash as ATM's are available in very less numbers.

In the second part  we will try to cover  Language, cuisine and ways of communication.

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Night Viewing of Taj Mahal

Monday, June 18, 2012

There is hardly anyone in the world who has not heard of Taj Mahal, a marvel of architecture, a UNESCO world heritage site, one of the world’s wonders and above all a true symbol of eternal love.
When you visit India, Taj Mahal is definitely on your must-see sights. Depending on the time of your visit you can discover a very different Taj Mahal for yourself.
One color melts into the other throughout the day. In the morning the colors of Taj Mahal are pinkish, the afternoon shines with milky white and in the night, when the moon shines, Taj Mahal is all golden.
Taj Mahal is open to visit on any day except for Friday. But the most unique experience is to visit this beautiful marble mausoleum in the night. However, you should plan your trip accordingly if you don’t want to miss this opportunity.
Night viewing of Taj Mahal is available only 5 days each month, i.e. in the night of the full moon night and two nights before and after that.
Tickets for the night entrance are available only 24 hours (1 day) before the night viewing itself.
You can purchase tickets between 10.00 am and 6 pm at

Archaeological Survey of India (A.S.I)
22, Mall Road
Agra (Uttar Pradesh)

Phone: +91-562-2227261, 2227263
Fax:  +91-562-2227262

Night viewing is allowed from 08:30 pm to 12.30 am. Usually only 8 batches of people (max. 50 persons) are let inside. You can stay there for not more than half an hour.
Full moon dates are calculated by the Archaeological Survey of India based on the Astrological data. This information is published well in advance for your convenience so that you can plan your unforgettable experience by checking with the latest updates on their website. 
Detailed information about times of Taj Mahal visits (as approved by the UP Tourism State Tourism Department) you can find here.
Things to Remember:
  • Night viewing will not be allowed on Friday as well in the month of Ramadan so plan your trip accordingly.
  • You can either purchase your tickets independently (use the contact data provided above) or you can use assistance of a numerous travel agents (in and around Agra), though in this case you will have to pay an extra fee.
We are sure you will enjoy your visit to Taj Mahal (day or night) and feel the power of true love while you are there. In any case share your experience with us!

For more information abut Taj -Mahal, read  our other article Taj Mahal

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