At the onset we
would like to thank you for visiting our website for your travel to
India. We all hope that you will enjoy India as and when you visit the
The different "FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS" on travel to India
have been answered in the following document. Kindly go through the same
and if there are other unanswered questions and clarifications, it would
be our pleasure to address the same too.
What cultural considerations should one take
care of while touring in India?
India has a very traditional and religious
society. Its cultures and customs are very different to western cultural
ideas. We ask you as guests in this amazing country to respond to these
sometimes-bizarre differences with sensitivity and respect.
We do request you to dress conservatively - both men and women should
wear clothing that covers knees and shoulders (when visiting mosques and
temples). Nudity is totally taboo, when swimming please do wear a
Try to avoid any public display of affection. When entering mosques,
temples and places of religious worship or private homes - please remove
your shoes. Many Hindu temples are not open to non-Hindus. Always ask
permission before entering. Mosques may have limited visiting times for
Some detailed information about passport &
You must be in possession of a valid passport,
which will not expire for at least six months after your journey is due
to end. It should have to clear pages for entry and exit stamps as well
as your visa.
A wise precaution is to carry a photocopy of your passport kept
separately, extremely useful in the event of loss or theft.
All visitors to India require a visa that must be
obtained from an Indian High Commission or Consulate. You would need to
use two addresses in India and do let us know for the same as it is
normal to give our company's (COMPASS
our director's address on the same.
For postal applications passports should be sent
by registered post and include a registered post paid return addressed
envelope. Applications should be on the official visa form available
from a local travel agent. Alternatively in some countries the form can
be downloaded from the Embassies' official
WEBSITE. All applications should
include 3 passport-sized photographs. Your local travel agent or nearest
Embassy will be able to inform you of the latest application fee.
Where to shop and how to be sure of the product
& the price? Should we be confident of going with the guide?
India can be described as a shopper's paradise
with products such as hand-woven rugs, inlaid marble, semi-precious
stone jewelry, silk fabrics, brassware, etc. India's diversity is
expressed though the creation of master craftspeople. Each state has a
unique handicraft to proudly reflect the inherited and improved skills
to near perfection. Souvenir shops and art & craft emporiums are to be
Consult your guidebook or the local guides and people. Usually the
"pavement markets" do not guarantee the products and they do not accept
credit / debit cards. Genuine products can only be guaranteed at a
government showroom or branded showroom, i.e. Cottage Industries, etc.
Shopping can be one of the ways to interact with a local. For people who
like to bargain, shopping is a true pleasure. For others, fixed priced
stores are a relief. Whatever transaction you prefer, we hope your
purchase that was made in India, will remind you of your trip.
Yes, the guides do take you to shops and showrooms, while you are on
tour. You can say "no" when you don't want to visit the shops or not
interested in shopping with a guide. But when you do visit the store
with the guide, you do not necessarily pay a higher price for a
substandard product. As this is a worldwide phenomenon, we accept it too
with its "blues". What we have done is, selected a few stores both
privately owned & government owned but in both cases Government
recognized) at important destinations, where we are sure of two things;
As for price, some are fixed price & some are
bargain shops. So go ahead and have FUN!!!
For lists of authorized shops do let us know.
How is one sure of the authenticity /
qualification / credentials of the guides?
We have a panel of guides with ranks and only use
them, and in most cases they would be satisfactory. Government licensed
guides are always preferred by Compass India Inc. There are training
courses and exams for the same and chances are less that you will be
unhappy if you go with one. Their daily rates and wages are Government
fixed. Note that the guide usually is there during lunch and it is not
an obligation to buy him/her lunch. If there are ever any problems 9The
Guide cannot speak the language well, too fast while you would like to
spend more time at the monuments, etc. do let us know so that we can
change the guide.
Are the monument entrance fees included in the
The monument entrance fees are usually not
included in the tour cost. It is not a problem when the same is included
but when it is not, you need to keep small change for the same. Usually
you need to take the tickets yourself but can request the guide who
would be happy to oblige. We also have detailed lists of monuments with
the entrance fees and camera charges. Do request us for the same if you
want to have a good idea when the same is not included in your tour
While traveling in India it is important that you
obtain good personal travel insurance from an insurance agent in your
country. A suitable policy will include an unlimited amount for medical,
hospital and additional health associated costs.
Most policies cover loss of baggage, personal money (usually limited)
delay and curtailment. Do make sure your policy covers you for
unexpected cancellation of your trip in this unlikely event you will
then be covered for financial cost.
You should carry your insurance policy with you at all time, preferably
in your relevant details in a separate place, with your passport
Tipping is an inherent part of life in India. It
is one of the most effective ways to communicate how you felt about the
service provided. It is common practice to tip porters, drivers, wait
staff, toilet attendants and guides. It is not necessary to tip rickshaw
drivers. Please note that you are not obliged to tip and it is entirely
to your discretion. Please refer to http://www.tipping.org/tips/TipsPageIndia.html
for tipping standards. Please let us know if you want some guidelines on
the same but usually it is "what you feel is appropriate".
A general idea would be as follows:
Bellboys: Rs. 10 -
20 (1/4th US$) per bag
Drivers: Rs. 200
(5 US$) per day & Rs.100 (2 US$) per half day
Day Guides: Rs.
250 to 400 (6 - 8 US$)
Restaurants: 5% of
the bill amount could be left.
Room boys / Maid :
It is not recommended
In India roads could appear to be pot-holed and
traffic chaotic and hence our guests very frequently get very worried.
We suggest that you catch up on some sleep or read a book or even better
put on your in-flight eye shades and doze off. The drivers are well
trained and they are used to these roads. Very seldom (I must hasten to
add that almost none) are any accidents involving tourist vehicles. The
cars that we use are safe, insured for and routinely checked. Trains
however are much more comfortable ride-wise but could appear dirty and
filthy. Do carry your dry hand wash and tissue always while taking train
journeys. The flights are pleasant and service good.
The transport is broadly classified as:
Cars - In India, the mostly used car for tourists
is, the Ambassador. This is one of the oldest models in the world still
being manufactured and it is still hardy and spacious. We have always
had guests specially requesting for this car. We have a couple of them
in our fleet and they are almost a year old (2003 end model) and we use
them discreetly as they wear and tear fast and could be slow and rickety
if used without rest. Other than these two cars we also use TATA INDIGO
which is a small sedan with good air-conditioning, TATA INDICA which is
a small hatchback and is used for backpackers on a long trip, TOYOTA
QUALIS & INNOVA & TATA SAFARI which are high SUV type vehicles seating 4
- 5 people normally but used for couples also as are very comfortable
and MITSUBISHI LANCERS. On guest's request, the premium cars that we use
are CHEVY OPTRA & TOYOTA COROLLA. We also use TOYOTA CAMRY, HONDA ACCORD
& MERCEDES (C, E & S) when requested for. We have recently launched our
luxury limousine which we use only for top end tours as and when
There are presently four domestic airlines in India other than Air India
which also operates some domestic routes. The local airlines in the
order of service and punctuality are Jet Airways, Sahara Airlines,
Indian Airlines and Deccan Air. Out of all the four Deccan is to be
avoided as they are still facing teething problems.
described above train journeys could be enjoyable if you have an open
mind and just want to enjoy and experience true India. The middle class
and upper middle class (cliché) use Indian Railways and it is a way of
life in India. The best trains that could be booked and we use them
where possible are SHATABDI & RAJDHANI EXPRESS.
Thomas Cook or American Express in American
Dollars, Euro or British Sterling are the only ones that are widely
US dollars, Euro and British Sterling are the best
currency to take. The notes need to be clean, undamaged and if possible
the latest issue.
In major cities Visa, Master and American Express
cards can be used. Please do not rely on your credit card as a source of
finance in small cities though most of the touristic cities have a large
number of ATMs.
The unit of currency is Rupee. (1 rupee is equal
to 43US$ / 80GBP£ / 55€ approximately)
With such a large landmass, India has a wide range
of climates with effects of the altitude and the sea being very string
in certain areas.
April - June : Hot, dry and dusty with temperature
35-42 DEG C
July - August : Hot, Humid and rainy
Sep - Mar : Pleasant days and could get cooler in the night
April/May & Aug/Sep : Hot and Humid with average
temperature 38 DEG C
June/July/Oct/Nov : Hot and Heavy rains
Dec - Mar : Hot but less humid
India is an area of great linguistic diversity
with over 1500 languages and dialect. People associated with tourism
speak English throughout the country. The official language is however
India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT, 6.5 hours behind
New Zealand Standard Time, 4.5 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard
Time and 11.5 hours ahead of Canadian Eastern Standard Time.
For the most of areas, cotton casual clothing that
is light and loose fitting is recommended for daywear. For trips during
Nov-Jan do carry warm clothes as it is cold during early mornings and
evenings. (Only in Northern India) Carry a hat during sightseeing to
keep off the mid-day sun and for the evenings a couple of elegant
dresses would be nice to be worn for dinner at the lovely hotels. You
could also wear trousers and jeans during the day. There is no problem.
Carry a stole or a scarf to cover your head or feet while at the