Population: 1.2 billion
Capital: New Delhi
Language: Hindi, English. 22 official languages are recognized with hundreds of dialects.
Religion: Hindi, Muslim, plus Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and others.
Emergency numbers: 100 (police), 101 (fire), 102 (medical)
Who needs one?
Most nationalities require a visa. Citizens of Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and a few other countries are eligible to apply for visas on arrival.
Getting it sorted in Singapore
The High Commission of India does not process tourist visas. You must go to a designated visa application collection centre (visit www.hcisingapore.com and click on “How to Reach Us”) with all required documents, photographs and information. We recommend the 24-hour one on Rangoon Road. Costs vary by duration, purpose and nationality. Processing time is normally five working days
- Malaria is prevalent throughout most parts of the country, and be aware that Chloroquine is not an effective antimalarial drug in India
- Be careful with food and water. Drink bottled water, be wary of street food and take anti-diarrhoeal medicine
- If you visit the Himalayan mountains, ascend gradually; adjusting to high altitudes can give you insomnia, headaches and nausea
Learn the Lingo: HINDI
Yes/ no: Haan/ nahi
I don’t understand: Main samjha nahi
How much is this?: Kitneh paise?
The bill please: Bill de dijiyeh
Hot Spots: Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Kerala, Goa, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Bangalore
- “The Golden Triangle”: Delhi – Agra (Taj Mahal) – Jaipur
- Beaches: Mumbai – Goa – Kochi – Allepey – Kerala backwaters
- Mountains: Delhi – Leh – Himalayas
- Culture & Religion: Kolkata – Bodhgaya – Varanasi
Times & Dates
4 to 5 ½ hours
Time difference from Singapore
2.5 hours behind Singapore
When to go
India is large, but October to March tends to nice in most areas. January to September is pleasant in the south, while northeastern India tends to be enjoyable between March and August. Kashmir and the mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh are most accessible between May and September. Skiing is popular from January through March, while trekking in the Indian Himalayas is recommended from April to November. Beach-goers tend to head to Kerala and Goa from December to May, while the weather is clear and dry. Delhi and the Golden Triangle of Agra and Jaipur are best visited when it cools down between October to March.
25 May: Vesak Day. Celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
3 November: Deepavali, or Diwali. The festival of lights is a five-day Hindu festival, which includes the lighting of lamps, plenty of firecrackers and sharing of sweets.
Before you go, watch…
Gandhi. The story of the leader of the Indian revolt against British rule and his philosophy of non-violent protest. A Passage to India. Based on the novel by E. M. Forster, the film focuses on doomed friendship and colonial distrust.
Before you go, read… A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. One of the longest books ever to be published, it follows four families over 18-months as a mother searches for a suitable boy for her daughter. Life of Pi, by Yann Martell. A fantastical novel with a dark underbelly.
While you’re there, please don’t… Eat food or pass objects with your left hand; the left hand is used to perform bathroom functions, and is therefore traditionally considered unclean.
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