Travel in India

   
Time: Local time is GMT +5.5.
   
Electricity: 240 volts, 50Hz.
   
Language: Hindi is the official language and is spoken by about 30 percent of the population. English is generally used for official and business purposes. Various other languages are spoken in different parts of the country.
   
Health: There are a number of health risks associated with travel to India, including malaria and dengue fever, and travellers should take medical advice on vaccinations at least three weeks before departure. Outbreaks of dengue fever and Chikungunya virus occur, both transmitted by mosquitoes. Those travelling from an infected area should hold a yellow fever certificate. Food poisoning is a major risk in India; all water and ice should be regarded as contaminated and visitors should drink only bottled water and ensure that the seal on the bottle is intact. Health facilities are adequate in the larger cities but limited in rural areas. Travellers are advised to take out medical insurance.
   
Customs: India is generally a fairly tolerant society however visitors should be aware of religious and social customs. When visiting temples visitors will be required to remove their footwear and cover their heads. In general women should dress conservatively both to respect local sensibilities and to avoid unwanted attention. Topless bathing is generally illegal. Travellers should not get caught with drugs, as jail sentences are long.
   
Safety: The vast majority of visits to India are trouble-free, however in light of the dispute with Pakistan most governments advise against travel to the Jammu and Kashmir regions, all but essential travel to Srinagar (fatal attacks continue), and anywhere near the border with Pakistan, with the exception of Ladakh via Manali or by air to Leh, as well as to Jaisalmer and Amritsar. Violent extremist groups are active in Bihar, Jharkland, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa where attacks and violent crime has caused fatalities.
   
Business: Business hours are usually from 9.30 to 5.30pm (weekdays) with a lunch break from 1pm to 2pm, and Saturdays from 9.30am to 1pm.
   
Communications: The international access code for India is +91. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)11 for Delhi. International calls can be quite expensive and there are often high surcharges on calls made from hotels; it is cheaper to use a calling card. Alternatively, there are telephone agencies in most towns which are identifiable by the letters STD for long distance internal calls and ISD for the international service. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main cities and resorts.
   
Duty Free: Travellers to India over 17 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; one bottle of alcohol; medicine in reasonable amounts; 59ml of perfume and 250ml eau de toilette; and goods for personal use. Prohibited items include livestock, bird and pig meat products.