Taj Mahal - India
Taj Mahal - India

Taj Mahal

It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal with construction starting in 1632 AD and completed in 1648 AD
Photo by Julian Yu

INDIA

Asia

India Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

New Delhi

Location:

Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan

Currency:

Indian rupees (INR)

Area:

3,287,263 sq km

Population:

1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Hindi 43.6%, Bengali 8%, Marathi 6.9%, Telugu 6.7%, Tamil 5.7%, Gujarati 4.6%, Urdu 4.2%, Kannada 3.6%, Odia 3.1%, Malayalam 2.9%, Punjabi 2.7%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.1%, other 5.6%; note - English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; there are 22 other officially recognized languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language (2011 est.)

Religion:

Hindu 79.8%, Muslim 14.2%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.7%, other and unspecified 2% (2011 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+5.5

Tel Code:

+91

Weather

Climate

India is a large country located in South Asia, and it has a diverse climate, with variations ranging from tropical to alpine. Generally, the country can be divided into four main climatic zones: the Himalayan region, the Northern Plains, the Western Ghats and the Coastal region.

The Himalayan region has a cool temperate climate, the Northern Plains have a tropical monsoon climate, the Western Ghats have a tropical climate and the Coastal region has a tropical humid climate.

The temperatures in India generally range between 20-40C (68-104F) throughout the year, with the highest temperatures in May and June and the lowest in December and January.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit India depends on the region and the type of activities you want to do. Generally speaking, the best time to visit the country is from October to March when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. This is also considered the peak tourist season and prices for accommodations and activities may be higher.

The monsoon season, which runs from June to September, can be a good time to visit for those who are interested in experiencing the country's natural beauty and culture. However, this season is characterized by heavy rainfall and flooding in some regions, which can make travel difficult and some attraction may be closed.

It's worth noting that the weather in the Himalayan region is cool and pleasant throughout the year, making it a good destination for trekking and adventure activities at any time.

Transportation

Air travel

India has several international airports, including Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai and Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) in Bengaluru which are the major hubs connecting most of the major destinations in India and around the world. From there, you can take a domestic flight to reach other destinations in India.

Train travel

Train travel is a popular and convenient way to travel around India, with an extensive network of long-distance and local trains that connect most of the cities and towns. Train travel is relatively inexpensive, safe, and comfortable. Indian Railways, the national railway system, offers different classes of travel, including AC (air-conditioned) and non-AC coaches.

Bus travel

Buses are another popular and convenient way to travel around India, with extensive networks of long-distance and local buses that connect most of the cities and towns. Bus travel is relatively inexpensive, safe, and comfortable.

Car rental

Car rental is a great option for those who want to explore India at their own pace, it's widely available in most cities and towns. It's worth noting that the road conditions can be challenging in some remote areas and it's important to have a valid driver's license and insurance.

Auto-Rickshaws and Taxis

Auto-rickshaws and taxis are widely available in most cities and towns and they are a convenient and safe way to get around. It's worth noting that it's best to agree on the fare before starting the journey, and not all taxis have a meter.

Accommodation

Hotels

India has a wide range of hotels, from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. You can find hotels in most of the major cities, towns, and tourist destinations. Many of the hotels in India are eco-friendly and have a strong focus on sustainability.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a popular option in India, as they offer comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations. They are typically run by local families, and they offer a unique way to experience the local culture and hospitality.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals such as apartments, villas, and houses can be rented on a short-term basis. This is becoming an increasingly popular option in India, and it can be a great option for those looking for more privacy and space.

Homestays

Homestays are a great way to experience local culture and hospitality. They are typically run by local families, and they offer comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations.

Resorts

Resorts are a popular option in India, as they offer all-inclusive packages and a wide range of activities and amenities. You can find resorts in most of the major cities, towns, and tourist destinations.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
India Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      India, located in South Asia, is a country of diverse culture and history, known for its beautiful temples, palaces, and monuments, as well as its vibrant festivals and delicious cuisine. From the snow-capped Himalayas to the tropical beaches, there is no shortage of things to see and do in India. Here are the top 10 things to do in India that should not be missed:

      1. Visit the Taj Mahal

      The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can admire the intricate architecture, and the beautiful gardens surrounding the Taj Mahal.

      2. Explore the streets of Old Delhi

      Old Delhi is a maze of narrow streets and bustling markets, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the city's many temples, bazaars and street food.

      3. Visit the Khajuraho Group of Monuments

      The Khajuraho Group of Monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a unique example of medieval Indian architecture and art. Visitors can explore the temples and admire the intricate carvings and sculptures.

      4. Visit the Golden Temple

      The Golden Temple is one of the most sacred shrines in the Sikh religion and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can admire the beautiful architecture and take a dip in the holy tank.

      5. Visit the Ajanta and Ellora Caves

      The Ajanta and Ellora Caves are UNESCO World Heritage Site and a unique example of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture. Visitors can explore the caves and admire the intricate carvings and frescoes.

      6. Visit the Hampi

      The Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a unique example of ancient Indian architecture and art. Visitors can explore the temples and admire the intricate carvings and sculptures.

      7. Visit the Varanasi

      Varanasi, also known as Benares, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the city's many temples, take a dip in the holy Ganges and witness the evening Aarti ceremony.

      8. Visit the forts and palaces of Rajasthan

      Rajasthan is home to a number of impressive forts and palaces, such as the Amber Fort, the City Palace and the Hawa Mahal, which offer a glimpse into the history and culture of India. Visitors can explore the forts and palaces and admire the intricate architecture and decoration.

      9. Visit the beaches of Kerala

      Kerala is a state located in the southern part of India and it is known for its beautiful beaches and backwaters. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beaches and take a boat ride on the backwaters, and also enjoy Ayurvedic massages and treatments.

      10. Visit the Himalayas

      The Himalayas, located in the northern part of India, are the highest mountains in the world and offer a wide range of adventure activities, such as trekking, hiking, and skiing. Visitors can also visit hill stations such as Shimla, Darjeeling and Kullu-Manali to see the beautiful views and enjoy the cool mountain air.

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