Hindi and English are the two national official languages of India, although 21 other tongues are also regionally recognized. In Goa, Konkani is the official language, although English, Hindi, Marathi, and Portuguese are also common. English is commonly used in education, business and government and is often understood in tourist areas.
The Indian rupee is the official currency (INR), but removing rupees from the country is illegal so money should be exchanged upon arrival and departure. Most banks and the larger hotels will change money or travelers’ checks. ATMs are common in most areas, except smaller airports. Credit cards are widely accepted in large department stores, retail chains, restaurants and hotels, particularly in major cities. Small businesses such as guest houses often accept only cash, particularly in rural areas.
India is on Indian Standard Time Zone (IST), five-and-a-half hours ahead of GMT (GMT +5.5).
India uses electricity at 50-220V with Type C, D and M plug sockets. Electrical appliances operating on other voltages will need a transformer. Many of India’s power outlets are universal so they will accept plugs without adaptor, however type D is the more standard in the country so you should bring one just to be safe.
The dialing code for India is +91. Area codes are in use, with Mumbai being 22, and New Delhi, 11. Many mobile operators (even national brands) are actually regional, so assistance numbers don’t work outside the SIM card’s home state. Pricing also differs between states. Top national providers include Airtel, Bharti, TATA, MTNL, and Vodafone. Most states have reasonable coverage except Jammu and Kashmir where foreigners cannot use their cells. Internet cafés are common and cheap although speeds can vary; WiFi is rarely free or available. Reliance World and Sify-iWay are two of the more well known chains. Don’t use credit cards online as keylogging has been known to be a problem.
International travelers may purchase up to 200 cigarettes or 250 gm of tobacco, one liter of alcohol, one liter of wine, and gifts up to the value of 8,000 rupees duty-free.
India Tourism, New York office: +1-212-586-4901 or http://tourism.gov.in/.
Consulates in India
Embassy of United States, New Delhi: +91-11-2419-8000 Consulate General of United States in Chennai: +91-44-2857-4000 Consulate General of United States in Kolkata: +91-33-3984 2400 Consulate General of United States in Mumbai,: +91-22-2363-3611 British High Commission in New Delhi,: +91-11-2687-2161 High Commission of Canada in New Delhi: +91-11-4178-2000 Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai: +91-22-6749-4444
Police: 100 Fire: 101 Ambulance: 102 Emergency services: 108 (Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi)