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Country

India, officially known as the Republic of India, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the most populous liberal democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of over 7500 kilometers. With the world's twelfth largest economy by market exchange rates and the third largest in purchasing, India has made rapid economic progress in the last decade. India has become one of the top five industrialized nations of the world, producing every conceivable industrial item as well as consumer goods.

India rewards the traveler with her timeless landscapes, spectacular architecture, monumental history and cultural kaleidoscope. India is a vast land of contrasts that blend, of harmony in variance. To explore India is to discover unending secrets to the mystery of life, to enjoy India is to celebrate the very fact of living.

Language

Although Hindi is the National language, every state has a different regional language. A product of British rule, English is still widely spoken and written in most Indian states 50 years after independence.

Climate

The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography, making generalizations difficult. India hosts six major climatic subtypes, ranging from arid desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates. The nation has four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June-September), and a post-monsoon period (October-December).

Food

Food is an integral part of India's culture, with cuisines differing according to community, region, and state. In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavor in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, lentils and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavor and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.

Clothing

The diversity of climates makes clothing options unlimited. Ask your MediTravels representative to assist you in planning for your specific destination.

Communication

A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for India and foreign customers who are traveling around for work. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range. Most hotels in India are offering fax and e-mail services. Internet access is easily available in cities via India's popular "cyber cafes" that are increasing in numbers around most tourist destinations.

Currency Exchange

The Indian Rupee is divided into 100 units called Paise. You are not allowed to bring Indian currency into India, nor leave with it. If you wish to exchange traveler's checks or bills of other currency into Indian currency, you should do so through authorized banks. These banks will issue encashment certificates required at the time of re-conversion of any unspent money. Please note that if you are carrying more than $2500 US cash, you must declare it upon arrival. Diners' Club, MasterCard, American Express, and Visa are the credit cards widely accepted in major stores.

Visa Requirements

Indian Tourist Visas are valid for six months from the date of issue. If you wish to extend your stay, three-month extensions are routinely issued at the Foreigners' Registration Offices in all metropolitan cities. They are also available through all state and district capitals at the office of the Superintendent of Police. Your passport should have a minimum validity of six months beyond the date of departure from India. If the visa being applied for is other than Tourist Visa, the visa application should include supporting documents for the type of visa applied for.

Immunization Requirements

Indian health regulations require all travelers arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa or other yellow-fever areas to have evidence of vaccination against yellow fever. Travelers who do not have such proof are subject to immediate deportation or a six-day detention in the yellow-fever quarantine center. U.S. citizens, who transit through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, are advised to carry proof of yellow fever immunization.