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About India

India's first major civilization flourished along the Indus River valley nearly five thousand years ago. In India, wherever you go the network of amazing destinations follow you in order to give you the ultimate travel experience of ‚ÄúIncredible India‚ÄĚ. A turn of your eye in India brings you face to face with the diversity of a different kind. Every place here bears no resemblance with the other and is an entity in itself offering rich heritage and culture.

As India is a land of different languages and states, its culture varies from state to state. Indian culture is so diverse that even a very few Indians are aware of all the customs, traditions and rituals of the nearby regions. However, it has become very difficult to maintain the old customs in the recent time with people settling in big cities reason being the growth of India at a very rapid pace.

India has made huge progress since independence and has developed its industry and agriculture, and has maintained a system of government which makes it the largest democracy in the world.

India is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest, youngest and still evolving chain of mountains on the planet. The Indian subcontinent as it should be rightly called, touches three large water bodies and is immediately recognizable on any world map.

Home of the sacred River Ganges, India holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable. A rich abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something and everything for everyone.

North India which is the country's largest region begins with Jammu and Kashmir having terrains varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests. Moving south along the Indus River, the North becomes flatter and more hospitable, widening into the fertile plains of Punjab to the west and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh and the Ganges river valley to the East. Situated between these two states is the capital city, Delhi.

Western India includes the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive central state of Madhya Pradesh. The Western region extends from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, the west coast is embodied with some of India's best beaches. The typical lush rainforests cover the coastal areas.

East India begins with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. The entirely distinct area of eastern triangle also falls in East India. Extending beyond Bangladesh and Culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border, the Eastern Triangle is the last gulp of land from India Southern India India reaches its peninsular tip. It begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Cape Comorin. The states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala constitute South India and offer a favourite leisure destination to the people all over the globe. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range--the Eastern Ghats.

The motherland of art, culture and architecture all across the globe ‚Äď India is where each historical monument in the country like the forts, palaces, caves, temples, mosques and churches reflect the glory of the era to which they belonged.

India is a land of diverse cultures. The cultural divisions of India have always been determined and dominated by the great river systems, the watersheds of the Indus and Ganges, the Deccan plateau and South India.

The history of India and its art has been so bound up with the geographic nature of this vast continent that something must be said of these physical characteristics. India has a kind of impregnable geographic isolation.

The Culture of the different regions is greatly influenced by the variations in physical, climatic conditions and the extent of exposure to other cultures

Climate, apart from geography has also played its part in the development of the peculiarly indigenous traits of Indian history, art and culture. All the races of martial character have grown up in the dry and hilly districts of north-west and centre, whereas the fertile plains of Bengal and South have been inhabited by peaceful and unwarlike cultivators.

One can say that the Indian symbols of art voiced the same truth as Indian philosophy and myth. The mystery of Indian myths and Indian art lies partly in the fact that it suggests rather than states.

Folk Dancers IndiaTheological, hieratic, or, perhaps best of all as truly traditional. This is what we can call the ‚ÄúIndian Art & Culture‚ÄĚ.

Temples show the greatness of the ancient arts of India. Temples were raised to house the Gods and started to become the focal point for the community. They also became centers of learning and contributed to the advancement of arts such as sculptures, paintings, music and dances. The huge temple buildings were mostly built by Kings, who were also the patrons of arts, encouraging continuity and enriching rituals of worship which were the earliest basis of the classical performing arts.

The variety of customs and styles is visible in all aspects - music, dance, painting, sculptures, and architecture.

Indian traditional art forms are the most evolved and cultured systems in the world where carnatic music, classical dance styles like Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Kathak, Manipuri etc, theatre and various drama forms including Harikatha and folk arts are amongst the traditional and ancient art and entertainment forms today.

The mystery of Indian myths and Indian art lies partly in the fact that it suggests rather than states. It could truly be said that Indian symbols of art voiced the same truth as Indian philosophy and myth.

In India, all art, like all life, is given over to religion. Indian art is life, as interpreted by religion and philosophy.

As diverse as the land, the Colorful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs is an eternal expression of the spirit of celebration.

The Indian Culture is crowned by the extraordinary gems consisting of fairs and festivals which ornament the crown. In the mundane routine of life, India celebrates fairs and festivals all round the year.

With the main characteristics of the Festivals of India such as color, contribution, enthusiasm, prayers, rituals etc, the travelers are always attracted to the scale and elaboration of the merrymaking that populate the cultural scene of the country.

The festivals bring out the true spirit of the Indian people and their society. The Indian festivals find their roots in the traditions, religious beliefs, myths and the seasons of the country.

The national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social grounds categorize the various festivals in the country.

Many festivals celebrate the various harvests; commemorate great historical figures and events, while many express devotion to the deities of different religions.

The Colorful fairs and festivals of India are major reflection of the country’s lively atmosphere. Such events occupy a prime place in the Indian tourism industry as many people visit the country in order to participate in them.

That's not all! Festivals are a time to rejoice, in celebration of life. Every single season brings along new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of the rich traditions followed for time immemorial.

That's not all! The birthdays of Gods and Goddesses, saints and prophets, great historical happenings and the advent of the New Year, all find expression in colorful festivities. The same festival, though celebrated differently in the various parts of the country, exhibits an eternal harmony of the spirit of celebration.

Showcasing excitement and fun, festivals serve as an occasion to clean and decorate houses, to get together with friends and relatives and to exchange gifts. New attire, dance, music and rituals - all add to their joyful rhythm. Whether it is a time for prayer, for pageantry and procession…Indians always get an opportunity to rejoice, in celebration of life.

India is divided into twenty-nine states (including Delhi) and six union territories (UTs). States have their own government, whereas union territories are administered by the Central government.

Andhra Pradesh Assam Arunachal Pradesh Bihar  Chhatisgarh
Delhi Goa Gujarat Haryana Himachal Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir Jharkhand Karnataka Kerala Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra Manipur Meghalaya Mizoram Nagaland
Orissa Punjab Rajasthan Sikkim Tamilnadu
Tripura Uttarpradesh Uttrakhand West Bengal  

A potpourri of different cultures, religions and beliefs & being a vast country, India has lot of cultural and geographical diversities. A number of different languages are spoken across the country.

All the languages have originated from the great languages of the past. Some of these languages are accepted nationally, while others are accepted as dialects of particular regions.

The earliest language of India was the language of Indus Valley civilization, but due to very less availability of their script, it has not been deciphered properly.

Indian languages have a long literary history. Eighteen languages are officially recognized in India of which Sanskrit and Tamil share a long history of more than 5,500 and 3,200 years respectively. Some of the ancient languages in India do not have written forms.

All these languages have originated from the great languages of the past. Indian languages come from four distinct families. These languages are: Indo-European, Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of Indian population uses Indo-European and Dravidian languages. Indo-European is spoken by approximately 72% Indians while Dravidian language is spoken by 22% Indians.

The language families divide India geographically too. Indo-European languages dominate the northern and central India while in south India; mainly languages of Dravidian origin are spoken. In eastern India languages of Mon-Khmer group is popular. Sino Tibetan languages are spoken in the northern Himalayas and close to Burmese border.

Population of Tribal or Aboriginal speaking language in India may be more than some of the European languages. For instance, Bhili and Santali both tribal languages have more than 4 million speakers.

The vividness is such that schools in India teach more than 50 different languages; there are Films in 16 languages, Newspapers in more than 90 languages and radio programs in approximately 71 languages!

English language enjoys a special status and remains the additional official language of India. Officially English has a status of assistant language, but in fact it is now the most important language of India. It is probably the most read and written language in India. After Hindi, English is the most commonly spoken language in India

English symbolizes in Indians minds, better education, better culture and higher intellect. Indians who know English often mingle it with Indian languages in their conversations. It is also usual among Indians to abruptly move to speak fluent English in the middle of their conversations. English also serves as the communicator among Indians who speak different language.

Requirement of Visa:
passportAll the foreigners who wish to visit India for any purpose require valid Visa. The Visa is issued by the Government of India or the Indian Consulates situated in the respective countries for the specific purpose as mentioned by the applicants.

Before the issuance of Visa, visitors must possess the valid passport issued by the Governments of their respective countries from where they belong to as Citizens.

As an exception India does not issue the Visas at the port of entry as issued by the other countries.

Rules Pertaining to the Issuance of Visa:
Depending upon the situation and circumstances, the rules and regulations differ from country to country and time to time

The visas can be obtained by the foreigners for the period of six months, one year and ten years depending on the requirements and purpose of the visitors under the normal situation as declared by the Government

The validity of the visa will count from the date of issue and not from the date of entry. Post-dated visas are not issued by Government of India.

Government of India also makes the provision to issue the Visas to non-residents. The civil authority of the Government of India may stop any foreigners on the ground of invalid passport, insane, convictions or prejudicial to the interest of the country, suffering from communicable diseases etc. The visitors shall have to furnish true information in the ‚ÄėD‚Äô Embarkation Card.

Registration of Foreigners:
All the visitors who wish to stay beyond 180 days shall have to register themselves at the Foreigners Registration Officer within 2 weeks of arrival failing which may cause the prosecution under section 5 of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939. However, children of the foreigners under the age of 16 years residing in India need not register their name as they are exempted from Registration (Exemption) Order 1957 with the condition that they will be issued a residential permit for their stay in India. They should obtain extension for their stay from time to time.

Types of Visas
Specific Visas are issued according to the requirement and purpose of the applicant. However, the principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below.

For other purpose like yoga, voluntary work, mountaineering or other expeditions, the applicant has to contact the High Commission of India for further details.

1. Tourist Visas: Foreigners who enter India should have a valid passport, visa or other accredited travel documents valid for the period of 180 days.

All foreigners are only allowed to enter into India through authorized check post or airport only. The Indian Parliament passed Acts from time to time that regulate and define the stay, movements and departures of the foreigners depending upon the situations and circumstances.

2. Collective Visas: The facility also exists for the issue to group tours consisting visas of not less than four members and sponsored by a travel agency recognized by the Government of India.

3. Transit Visas: For the issuance of Transit Visas, the applicant must satisfy the general requirements like evidence of airline tickets for onward journey and valid visa for the final destination.

The Indian Mission abroad granted this Transit Visa for 72 hours within 15 days from the date of issue.

4. Business Visas: This is multiple-entry Business Visa which is valid for up to the period of 6 months that can be extended up to five years, however, each visit is limited to 180 days depends on the nature of business

5. Employment Visas: This Visa is especially issued to skilled and qualified professionals who are appointed by organizations on the condition that the applicant has to submit proof of employment like Appoint Letter, Contract Letter etc.

6. Student Visa: This Visa is issued to the genuine students to pursue their higher studies at the recognized institutions in India for the maximum period of 5 years..

7. Entry Visas: This multiple-entry Visa is issued only to the persons of Indian origin valid for six months to five years stay.

This visa is also given to members of the family of a person employed in India.

8. Conference Visas: This Visa is issued to the persons who are attending conferences in India that may take up to four weeks. For attending the international conference, the Visa will be issued only after getting the clearance from the Government of India of the said conference.

9. Journalist Visas (J-Visa): Journalists can obtain a J-Visa for initial duration of 3 months which can be extended further from a Consular Office on submission of documentary proof of status. For shooting and documentaries in India one requires prior approval from the concerned office.

10. Research Visas: This visa is issued only after the getting the approval from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (Department of Education), New Delhi by the Local Indian Mission.

11. Missionary Visas: The Missionary Visa is a Single entry visa valid for a duration as approved by the Government of India.

India is peninsular land in the Asian sub-continent that means it has three water bodies in the Southern region and the Himalayas stand tall in the north. It greatly affects the weather conditions in India.

Being a land of geographic diversities, India also has diversified weather conditions across the land. One can experience extremely hot areas at some places while others places are extremely cold. The living of the people, their adaptation and lifestyles are vastly affected by weather conditions.

Summer, Winter and Monsoon are three major seasons in India.

The summer season is from April to June and it is very hot in most parts of the country.

Places of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat experience hot and dry summers with hot air and hot winds blowing ferociously during the summers. States like Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have hot and humid weather during summers. You feel extremely hot, humid and sticky during this season at these places. It is one of the most difficult seasons in India to bear due to high temperatures and arid weather.

Tourists can visit principal Hill Stations of India during Summer season. The popular Hill Stations are Leh-Ladakh, Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Kullu and the Kashmir Valley (North India), Darjeeling & Shillong (North East), Ooty, Yearcaud and Kodaikanal (South India), Panchmari, Mount Abu & Khandala (central & western India) provide cool respite.

Monsoon arrives in India by June and ends in September. The southwestern winds traveling from the sea to the land hit the mainland starting with Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. These states also receive rains during November and December by north East Monsoon winds. India is mainly an agricultural country and relies on its rainfall for the crop and harvesting. The Eastern states of the country like West Bengal, Assam and Orissa experience extremely heavy rainfall and conditions of flood most of the time during the year. On the other hand, the Deccan plateau receives very light rainfall and the Thar Desert only has scanty rainfall.

The winter season is from November to February and is pleasant throughout the country. However, the regions of North India remain moderate to extremely cold during winters. One can see the snowfall and extreme winter in the northern region of India like Himachal Pradesh & Jammu and Kashmir. Temperature falls down to even zero degrees at times in these areas. In the states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab, there are chilly winters but coastal states usually have pleasant weather.

November to February extending up to March is the best time to visit India. Most of the winter season falls in the period and most of the places are cool and pleasant which makes the overall traveling experience a comfortable and pleasant one. Winter is at its peak during January and February so traveling to North India and the hill stations can be little difficult as they are extremely chilly and cold. If you are planning to visit North India during this time, you will need light woolen jackets or warm clothing. However, travel to the rest of the country is quite comfortable and bearable. It does not pose any severe health risk problems as well.

India is a shopper’s paradise. Shopping is one of the major things to do for tourists visiting India. While exploring the colorful market areas of India, you are sure to be attracted towards the handicrafts on offer in India. With an individual appeal, the products are unique in each manner and shoppers always get unique shopping experience all over India.

The specialization of each region in a particular industry has been handed down over generations. Some of the famous places for shopping in India are Rajasthan, Agra, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

Rajasthan is a very popular spot for Colorful textiles embroidered with mirror work to offer in terms of shopping. Jaipur is the best place to buy precious and semi-precious gemstones. The cities and towns of Rajasthan are the treasure trove of the art and crafts of the state and have a centuries old tradition of making hand-woven carpets and miniature paintings also. Also look out for some precious local products such as ethnic wears, Pichwai paintings, buy puppets of Udaipur, camel leather items, hand woven jackets and traditional jewelries, which showcase great heritage and culture of the place.

On heading towards Uttar Pradesh, you get to see a wide range of copper and brass items. Getting inspiration from Taj Mahal, you will witness extraordinary variety of Marble products made in exquisite detail, inlaid with semi-precious stones. Uttar Pradesh is famous all over India for leatherwork. Kanpur is the main production center for leather items. However, these products are easily available all over the state.

The most popular place in North India to buy silk is the holy city of Varanasi. However, it is always important to check the quality and purity.

East India is the hub in the production of terracotta wares, including bowls, figurines, and wall hangings. Kolkata being the cultural capital of India, also offers a fine range of traditional Indian instruments. Further north, around Darjeeling and Kalimpong, is the territory of India's tea plantations. This is where to head for delicious, aromatic tea.

Shopping in South India is as exciting as touring the mystical place. Apart from its local crafts, one can easily find a traditional touch in each & every craft item of this place.
Kanchipuram in Chennai is famous all over world for its silk products. It shows the varieties in silk products and really good colors and designs can be bought here.

Kerala is famous for gold and every road in major cities has big jewelry shops. Kerala is also well-known for its ivory carvings, pottery, brocade fabrics and earthenware products. It is always an unforgettable experience to shop for small traditional items in Kerala. Indian spices are also famous from Kerala and are easily available in the hopping Places. Kerala has carved a niche of its own in the global spice market for its different varieties of spices such as turmeric, pepper, ginger powder and other exotic spices that are available only in Kerala. Spices are used in medicines, preservatives, perfumes and above all in cooking.

You are assured that you will leave the glorious land of India with the colorful souvenirs and a bagful of sweet memories.

If traveling to India, please follow some of the health precautions as under:

1. Don't drink water from tap or roadside vends. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Also, buy water from respectable and decent looking outlets. Check the seal before buying the water to make sure that it is intact.

2. Never eat cut fruits sold by the roadside vendors. Always eat fruits you can peel. Wash the fruits properly with water well before eating them.

3. It is advisable to keep a mosquito repellent ointment with you always.

4. Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need. Especially medicines for upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc. Also, keep some band-aids, antiseptic ointments, etc with you.

5. Avoid fountain drinks and ice cubes.

6. Avoid eating food from the roadside vends. If, by chance, you are forced to eat from there, make sure that the food is well cooked and is served hot.

7. Try to avoid spicy dishes, especially in the initial stages of your travel.

8. Avoid eating salads, especially at small restaurants and small hotels.

9. If you are visiting India in summer time, drink lots of water, cover your head with scarves or caps or hats, wear sunglasses and use sunscreen lotion. Try to stay indoors in the afternoon.

10. If you fall very sick, it is better to visit a doctor. However, ask the hotel authorities or the people at whose house you are staying to refer a good doctor to you