Passport & Visa
You must have a valid passport and Indian Visa to enter India!
You will need to have a passport that is valid for a minimum of at least 6 months.
Download a Visa form with instructions and addresses for the Indian consulate in your area.
The Government of India has an online directory of the Indian Consulates around the world.
The name of this site is GOI Directory, to find it on line go to http//:goidirectory.nic.in
Please read the consular jurisdiction document so that you know from which consulate you need to get your Visa.
You will need to request a 6 month Tourist Visa or an ETV (Electronic Tourist Visa)
In order to get your Indian Visa you will need to provide 2 passport sized pictures (2”x 2”) of yourself along with your passport and the Visa application. (It is a good idea to keep a Xerox copy of your passport for your own records!) You will also need to provide a copy of your ticket. On the Visa application they ask for references in India – you may use our Hotel for this. If you hold a non-U.S. passport there are special instructions included with the Visa form.
If you cannot go to the Consulate in person to get your visa and you have to mail in the documentation, be sure to send it through a trackable service (Fedex or similar) and include an additional self-addressed, postage paid return envelope for the Consulate to return your passport to you.
Many independent companies offer Trip Insurance. If you choose to obtain such insurance, ensure that the policy has, as a minimum, high levels for Medical Expenses and Emergency Transportation, and coverage for cancellation due to a Travel Advisory issued by the U.S. State Department (many policies do not have this clause). You may research insurance policies online at www.insuremytrip.com
Customs Clearance & Immigration
You are allowed to bring in all personal effects “which may be reasonably required” without any customs charges. Official custom allowance includes a camera (with 20 rolls of film) , a pair of binoculars, a laptop computer, one music system (e.g. a CD player or MP3 player), jewelry, a video camcorder (with 12 video cassettes), any special camera equipment and lenses, one cell phone and one electronic diary. You must take all of these items out of the country when you leave . They may check upon departure and if any items are missing it is a serious offense. Items that are prohibited to import are drugs, live plants, unstitched cloth, gold coins, gold and silver bullion and silver coins not in current use. These are either banned or subject to strict regulation. It is illegal to import firearms into India without special permission.
Money & Valuables
Leave your valuables at home. Only bring what you are willing to carry with you at all times.
The currency in India is the rupee. For the current exchange rate check an internet site such as www.x-rates.com. It is not necessary to bring all of the money that you will need as most banks have ATM machines that will give Indian rupees when you use a USA or European bank ATM card. However, most ATM’s won’t take a pin number over 4 digits.
There is a Thomas Cook’s currency exchange in the arrival hall of the New Delhi airport. As you wait for your luggage to come in, it might be good to take a moment to exchange some of your dollars there. Any foreign exchange should only be done in a bank or at a hotel. The commission will be higher at a hotel, but the exchange rate is so good that a few rupees won’t matter and the convenience will be worthwhile. If someone approaches you and says they can give you a higher rate than the banks, do not do business with that person. It is called exchanging on the black market and is highly illegal. You can be arrested for doing this.
Try to pack as lightly as possible and remember to leave room for shopping. Most airlines allow you to check only two pieces of luggage and bring one small piece of hand luggage on international flights. However, check with the airline you are flying on to confirm their policy. It is good to have locks for your luggage once we are in India and on the road.
India is a very modest society and it is appropriate to dress accordingly. It will be winter while we are there and will be cold, so bring warm layers to keep warm.
In Delhi it is fine for men to wear tank tops and long shorts but not for women. No tank tops, undershirts, low cut shirts, tight tee shirts, sheer shirts or pants, or short skirts. If you can see any of your undergarments in any way, it’s inappropriate in India . Yoga pants, leggings and t-shirts or tunics are perfect. Ready-made Indian clothing will be available for purchase at reasonable prices. Bring a long scarf that you can drape over your shoulders.
Please note that head coverings are required not only for meditating, but also for entering temples and Gurdwaras. It’s a good idea to bring a head covering that you’re used to and that will easily stay on your head.
In India shoes are taken off very frequently, so sandals and slip-ons are the most convenient footwear. Remember, your feet will get very dirty wearing sandals. Though it is not very fashionable, sandals and socks are a good combination. Flip-flops are considered more of a shower shoe, so not so good to wear them in public. Tewas with straps are a good call. You will also want a a closed toe type of shoe that is comfortable for walking and easy to get on and off. Some people like Dansko clogs.
Travel as light as possible without depriving yourself of your needs. Here is a compiled list of things one might bring to India.
- Bathing suit (one piece with shorts for the ladies)
- Athletic shoes or broken in hiking boots
- Sandals or slip-ons
- Small locks for your bags
- Ear plugs
- Feminine hygiene necessities
- Small flashlight or “torch” as it is called there. Headlamps are very handy.
- Batteries or “cells” as they are called there.
- Head covering (required in all Gurdwaras and temples)
- Kleenex packets or toilet paper (carry some with you at all times)
- Liquid cold water laundry soap (little packets are good; you can by dry laundry soap easily in India)
- Travel pillow
- Reading material and music
- Rubber or plastic shoes for the shower (cheap flip flops; you will throw these away before you come home)
- Sunglasses, visor
- Lip moisturizer
- Swiss army knife (do not pack in your carry on for the plane or it will be confiscated.)
- Toiletries and sundries
- Travel alarm clock
- Sleeping eye mask
- Travel sewing kit
- Plug adaptor for India if you are bringing electronics (check the voltage; it is 220v in India)
- Wet wipes
- Yoga mat and/or sheepskin
- Shawl (very easily purchased there, but good to bring one)
- Medical supplies (you can also get in India, but you want to have a few on hand)
- Snacks (trail mix, power bars, granola and such)
- Water bottle or Camelback (water pouch back-pack contraptions)
- Warm coat (down, waterproof is good)
- Rain gear (pancho w/hood, rain parka, small umbrella)