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INDIA: Travel Tips

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-The Indian Hindu greeting is to fold the hands and tilt the head forward to namaste. Indian women prefer not to shake hands. All visitors are asked to remove footwear when entering places of religious worship. The majority of -Indians remove their footwear when entering their houses.

-Because of strict religious and social customs, visitors must show particular respect when visiting someone’s home.

-Many Hindus are vegetarian and many, especially women, do not drink alcohol.

-Sikhs and Parsees do not smoke.

-Small gifts are acceptable as tokens of gratitude for hospitality.

-Women are expected to dress modestly. Short skirts and tight or revealing clothing should not be worn, even on beaches.

-Businesspeople are not expected to dress formally except for meetings and social functions.

-English-speaking guides are available at fixed charges at all important tourist centers. Guides speaking French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish are available in some cities. Consult the nearest Incredible India office. Unapproved guides are not permitted to enter protected monuments. Tourists are advised to ask for guides with certificates from the Ministry of Tourism or Incredible India.

-Photography: Formalities mainly concern protected monuments and the wildlife sanctuaries. Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is necessary for the use of tripod and artificial light to photograph monuments. Photography at many places is allowed on payment of a prescribed fee, which varies. Contact the nearest Government of India Tourist Office.

-Tipping: taxis and restaurants do not expect to be tipped, however, hotel and airport porters should be tipped around Rs20, and guides and drivers Rs100 per day where service is not included (equaling roughly 10 per cent where appropriate).

-Always use the services of licensed guides of the Government.

-Use sunglasses, caps and parasols for protection from Sun.

-Carry your swimming gear, if you wish to swim at hotels.

-Shop at Government Authorized Counters/Emporiums i.e. Rajasthali at Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur and Agra.

-Do not exchange money through unauthorized dealers. It may turn out to be more expensive. Also it is illegal.

-The lure of the lavish hospitality extended by strangers should be avoided. Women in particular should be alert!

-Do not accept eatables from strangers.

-Do not encourage beggars, hawkers and shoeshiners.

-Do not carry valuables while on safari.

-Do get an India cell phone rental so you can stay in touch and coveniently get important information during your stay.

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