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The seventh largest country by geographical area, second-most populace country in the world and world’s biggest democracy-India is indeed an enigma that is to be visited, experienced and seen to be believed. For many it is difficult to fathom that a country pulsating with steaming streets, crammed with people and vehicles has a soul that needs to be explored and felt. As hidden amidst this chaos lays:
For a first-timer the experience of India tour is a cultural shock to begin with. Many
find it difficult to comprehend how so many people can exist and survive and yet
become a force to reckon with that world is today looking up to. Everything in the
country seems unexpected and beyond words, but over a period of time, the same
chaos grows on you and seeps in your soul. As a result, the same India tour
package becomes the journey of a lifetime and the traveller ends up having a liking
for the country to such an extent that it never ever ends with just one visit.
People describe India as mesmerising, beckoning, mystical, frustrating, confusing
and chaotic-all in one breath. But as time progresses, the country enwraps every
traveller in its warmth and what unfolds and unravels is a unique soul-searching
experience aptly described in the words of Mark Twain as "one land that all men
desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse
for the shows of all the rest of the world combined."
Some of the fast facts of the country are as given below:
If planning to visit the country in near future here are some helpful Visa facts:
Mostly all foreign tourists travelling to India, barring nationals of seven countries,
need to possess a valid visa. Government of India has started the practice of visa on
arrival for Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore on
experimental basis; whereas the nationals of Nepal and Bangladesh don’t require a
visa to travel to India. Visa is given to citizens of these countries on arrival by the
immigration officers at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports (on arrival) for a
maximum period of 30 days with single entry facility.
The cost of the visa is approximately:
Kindly contact the Indian Embassy/ consulate in your country for document
requirements as these may vary from country to country.
A tourist visa is usually valid for three to six months, whereas a Transit visa is
granted by the Indian Missions abroad for a maximum period of 15 days. A multiple
entry Tourist visa on the other hand simplifies your visits to the neighbouring
Foreign tourists in groups of four or more arriving by air or sea, sponsored by
recognised Indian travel agencies and with a pre-drawn itinerary may be granted a
collective landing permit for a specified period of time on the written request of the
travel agencies at least 06 months prior to the proposed date of travel. In such cases
the Immigration Officer needs to have the complete details-personal and passport of
the group members, the itinerary, an undertaking to conduct the group as per the
itinerary and an assurance that no individual will be allowed to drop out from the
group at any place.
As a rule, no extension of stay is granted on a Tourist Visa. Tourist visas are
available for a maximum period of 180 days. No charges are levied for visa
extension within this period.
However, in the case of an extension beyond 180 days, which is allowed only in exceptional cases, an extension fee (varying for different nationalities) is charged. In case a foreign tourist has obtained extension beyond three months of stay in India, the tourist need to surrender Certificate of Registration and Residential Permit before leaving India.
To begin with, like any other country, you need to submit a disembarkation card on
arrival, which is submitted at the Immigration counters at the port of entry.
Once in the country, foreigners on a 180 days visa, or a shorter period are not required to register anywhere. They can move about freely in the country, except to the restricted/protected areas and prohibited places unless and until a special permit is obtained to visit these (restricted) areas.
Only Nationals of Bangladesh are exempt from registration for up to six months. If their stay exceeds six months, they have to register themselves with the concerned authorities.
India has major international airports in different parts of the country and depending
on area to be visited one can enter India from either Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi,
Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras), Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore and Kochi.
It may also help to know that travelling from India to neighbouring countries can be at times very cheap.
Tips for travelling smart:
Unlike other countries, it is difficult to give a specific best time to visit India. This is
primarily because different parts of the country have different climates. But broadly
speaking any period between October to March is pleasant to visit the country;
whereas, in the southern India, owing to the monsoon pattern, January to September
are more preferable.
Some other region specific most suitable time periods are as follows: