India is located in South Asia and is internationally renowned for its stunning natural landscape and deep seated cultural heritage. The second most populous country in the world, India is rapidly becoming recognised as a prime tourist destination for those hoping to experience an entirely unique culture. Influenced by multiple religions, a varied history and 22 different languages, each section of India is unique although all contribute to the multi faceted nature of the country. Visitors flock to India each year for entirely different reasons, but all find what they are looking for. Whether it is spirituality, natural splendour, Bollywood heritage or luxurious beaches, all are certain to have the holiday of a lifetime.
India has 22 official languages. 30% of the population prefer Hindu which is most common in Northern India, although it is known throughout the country. If travelling to Tamil Nadu, visitors should note that Hindu is treated with hostility. It is important that visitors research the individual location in order to determine which language will be accepted by the locals. English is widely spoken in major cities, although all will appreciate visitors’ attempts to embrace the local language.
The currency in India is the Indian Rupee. A single Rupee consists of 100 paise and there are a multitude of coins and banknotes.
- £1 GBP = 85 Rupees (October 2006)
- €1 Euro = 58 Rupees (October 2006)
- $1 USD = 46 Rupees (October 2006)
Temperatures in Indian vary; some areas experience extreme heat whilst others are subjected to snow. The Himalayas are probably the coldest location whereas the south is more tropical due to the Thar Desert. Holidaymakers should be aware that the country is subject to two monsoon seasons. The Southwest monsoon affects most of the country from June to September. The north-east monsoon occurs at some point between October and February; sporadic cyclones are renowned for the devastation that they can cause. North-eastern India is the only area in the country which is affected by both, and thus has the highest amount of rainfall in the world.
The Himalyan North is popular with those searching for spirituality and natural beauty. A chance to escape the hectic nature of everyday life, this location is home to a mulitude of the country’s most important religious sites. India has many other sacred spots outside of the Himalyan North; important sites include Amritsar, the Sikh holy city, Bodh Gaya and Gokarna Udupi and Shringeri in the state of Karnataka. Varanasi is the oldest city in the world and is believed by Hindus to be a powerful location of pilgrimage.
The most popular tourist destination is the Taj Mahal in Agra, a beautiful palace whose unique architecture is recognised for its beauty all over the globe. Maharashtra boasts some early examples of Buddhist art, which are located in the Ellora and Ajanta Caves. Goa is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; those hoping to relax and enjoy tropical temperatures will enjoy this spot.
Mumbai is home to the world famous Bollywood film industry and is one of the most modern and important cities in the country. Another city worth visiting is Calcutta, a location immersed in culture and Indian heritage.
Visitors looking for a bargain will not be disappointed as most prices are subject to negotiation. Everyone is expected to barter; those who excel at this task will not come away empty handed. Particular goods to look out for include clothes; women will love the chance to buy an authentic and beautiful sari or a stunning silk scarf. Although more modern items are available, traditional forms of dress provide visitors with the chance to purchase a beautiful, intricate outfit. Jewellery is also a popular purchase; reasonably priced and stunning, no one should miss the multiple opportunities available to update their wardrobe. Wood carvings are on sale throughout India and the different forms of artwork available provide visitors with the chance to purchase a truly unique piece of art.
India is home to a vast array of restaurants celebrating the delicious local cuisine. The degree to which alcohol is accepted depends upon the specific area. Goa, one of the most vibrant cities for nightlife, is more alcohol friendly than the southern states. Some cities do not even sell alcohol; Gujarat fully enforces prohibition. Visitors should be on their guard; some illegally imported drinks can contain poison or other undesirable ingredients.
Visitors will need to possess an International Driving Permit to drive in India, although many choose not to as driving conditions are often chaotic. Roads are normally in poor conditions and there are not many rules and regulations to monitor the way Indians drive. Cars (should) drive on the left hand side of the road and some tourists choose to hire a car and a driver for the length of their stay.
Food and Drink
Currently one of the most popular meals in the world, curry is a must for those hoping to sample authentic Indian cuisine. Many dishes are very spicy, but those with sensitive taste buds should not go hungry. The many different items on offer will astound even those well accustomed with Indian menus in the UK. Cuisine varies depending upon the region; the North is famous for Mughlai and many delicious forms of bread, such as naan and rotis. The South prefers rice and their food is less spicy. Ingredients such as lentils, coconut and chutney are immensely popular. Curry connoisseurs will love the chance to extend their knowledge of local cuisine and try new, exciting dishes.
India is home to many exotic fruits such as mango and other less well known treats such as jackfruit. Vegetarians should not fear; the extensive Hindu community ensures that there is a vast array of dishes for those who avoid meat.
Being such a large country, India has many international and domestic airports. View all the international airports on this map.
- Ministry of Tourism, Transport Bhavan, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110 001
- Telephone: +91 011 23711995
- Website: www.incredibleindia.org (official tourism website)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All car hire locations in India
- Agra Airport
- Bengaluru International Airport
- Biju Patnaik Airport
- Chandigarh Airport
- Chennai International Airport
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
- Cochin International Airport
- Coimbatore International Airport
- Dabolim Airport
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport
- Gandhinagar Airport
- Gaya Airport
- Indira Gandhi International Airport
- Jamnagar Airport
- Jamshedpur Airport
- Jodhpur Airport
- Khajuraho Airport
- Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport
- Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport
- Madurai Airport
- Maharana Pratap Airport
- Mangalore International Airport
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
- New Delhi
- Porbandar Airport
- Pune Airport
- Raja Bhoj International Airport
- Rajiv Gandhi Airport
- Rajkot Airport
- Saint Thomas Mount
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport
- Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International, Amritsar Airport
- Tiruchirapally Civil Airport
- Tirupati Airport
- Trivandrum International Airport
- Vadodara Airport
- Vishakhapatnam Airport