Permit to India

How to Gain Access to Restricted Areas in India?

According to the Protected Areas Act for foreigners, the foreigners visiting India need to acquire PAP or Protected Area Permit in order to gain access to some of the areas in this country. Apart from the necessity of an Indian visa, the permit is an additional requirement. This type of restriction has been implemented because of security purpose.

There are some areas within the country which are restricted for Indian citizens too. For citizens who do not reside in that particular area, the ILP or Inner Line Permit is required. Because it is within the Indian boundaries, getting an ILP is comparatively easier. But ILP is not applicable to OCI holders, PIO card holders and NRIs (Indians who are staying away from the country for a period exceeding 6 months). In that case, you need a usual PAP.

Although many restricted regions are away from the normal traveler spots, certain tourists are attracted to the restricted areas owing to beautiful landscapes and fascinating sites. Currently, PAP is no longer applicable for visiting Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and the Darjeeling region in West Bengal.

Prerequisites and Concerns
As a tourist, it is essential for you to travel in a group of minimum 4 individuals. In certain areas of Nagaland, this limitation does not hold true for married pairs. It is advisable that an authenticated travel agent should accompany the tourists. Some restricted places have specific entrance and departure spots. Again, certain areas are not at all accessible to foreigners. The span of a PAP is 10 days with an extension of 7 days. The Ministry of Home Affairs mainly issues the PAP but it can also be issued by overseas Indian missions, FRROs and some offices within the state in question. However, if you are a citizen of Myanmar, China, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the PAP will be issued to you solely at the consent of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

UFor maintaining the security and conserving the culture of the concerned region, foreigners are barred from permanently inhabiting the restricted places. The same is true for persons originally from India, but non-residents now.
Where Do You Need to Possess a Permit?

Read through to gain information about some of the main restricted areas requiring permit. There are specific authorities to issue permit in each area.

Uttaranchal: Main restricted areas are Nanda Devi and Niti Ghati. MHA and Uttaranchal government can issue permit.
Sikkim: Gangtok and Zongri are partially restricted. Permit issuers include MHA and FRROs amongst others.

  • Rajasthan: The region west of NH 15 serving as India-Pakistan border is restricted. MHA and DM can issue permit.
  • Nagaland: Kohima and Dimapur are two restricted places. MHA, FRROs and some other authorities can issue permit.
  • Mizoram: Protected regions are Aizawl, Thingdawl and Vairangte. FRROs and Mizoram government are two of the permit issuers.
  • Manipur: Imphal and Lohtak Lake are two main restricted areas. Some permit issuers include overseas Indian missions, MHA and FRROs.
  • Lakshadweep Islands: The restricted places are Bangaram and Suheli Islands. Lakshadweep Administration can grant permission.
  • Kashmir: Nyona, Nubra and Khaltse are the restricted sub-divisions. You can get PAP from District Magistrates and MHA.
  • Himachal Pradesh: Poo and Morang are mainly restricted. MHA, ITBP and others can grant access.
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Itanagar and Ahong are two of the restricted regions. Overseas Indian missions, FRROs, State government can issue permit.
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Port Blair and Havelock Island are two of the numerous restricted regions. MHA and FRROs are the main permit issuing authorities.

How to make your Indian Holiday hale and hearty

Blessed with a multifaceted history and immense cultural diversity, India has much to offer to travelers from every nook and corner of the world. In order to enjoy the diversity of India from the snow enveloped serenity of Kashmir to the legendary piety of KanyaKumari, you need to keep yourself in the best of health. Any traveler travelling to a different country might face some health problems due to change in climate which can easily be wave off through proper precautionary measures and the same holds true for India.

Tips for enjoying a chilled ambience
The winter period from mid November to late February is very popular among tourists for a visit to India. However, you may face certain health hazards during the winter months like chest complaints, especially those who suffer from asthma. The healthiest decision that you can take to face the winter is to dress to kill the chill. Dress sufficiently to avoid the cold and do not forget to carry weatherproof boots, scarf, hat and warm coat. You can also carry gloves, winter lotions and ski masks as complementary winter accessories. Eat healthy and drink a lot of water.

Take extra care if you are planning to visit hill stations or places with even higher altitudes. You may suffer from acute mountain sickness characterized by fatigue, anorexia, headache, vomiting and nausea. If these symptoms happen, take precautions like avoid sleeping at higher altitudes; pack your bag with medications like acetazolamide and other anti-inflammatory as well as anti-nauseating medicines.

Beat the heat
Given the tropical climate, India faces the peak summer from around April to October. Even though the monsoons begin by end or mid June, the hot and humid climatic conditions continue till November ushers in the winter. It is important for summer visitors to take precautionary measures to shun heat strokes and dehydration, especially when you are visiting places like Rajasthan which is away from the sea shore. Carry cotton clothes, light colored hat to avoid the sun rays. Consume lots of water, fresh lime juice and other fluids to prevent dehydration.

Other regular health tips to follow
  • There are certain safeguards which you need to follow irrespective of the weather. Please read through to find some good regular health tips:
  • Consume bottled water : If you drink sealed water, you can keep your health secure by avoiding the body incompatibility towards the regional variations in the composition of water.
  • Medicines : Almost all the required medicines are available in India. Still it is advisable to carry simple stuff like bug repellants, antiseptics, band-aids, rehydration salts and medicines for motions and insect bites.
  • Maintain personal sanitation : A must do for every travel, carry hand wash soap or liquid, do not keep long nails and dress small wounds without delay.
  • In case you get traveler’s diarrhea : A gentle bout of traveler’s diarrhea or Delhi Belly, as it is commonly known in India, can be cured easily by a couple of days rest and consuming lots of fluids (without alcohol) and rehydration salts.
  • Consume safe food : If you area freshet it is good to keep away from street food at first. Eat freshly prepared food and avoid too much spice or oil.
  • Stay away from mosquitoes : Every tropical country will have its share of mosquitoes which can be easily evaded through using mosquito repellants, bed nets and prescribed anti malarial drugs.
  • Suggested vaccinations : Go in for at least few of the recommended vaccinations like MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis.
  • The overwhelming diversity of India is something to treasure. Keep yourself healthy and get immersed in the splendor of the land of Taj Mahal.

Beat the Heat When Traveling In India

Are you planning to visit India during the summer vacations? You need to know how Indian summers are like. Summers in India are hot and a good portion of the country reels under a severe heat wave as temperature of majority of the Indian states lies above 40 degrees in the Celsius scale during summers. Ofcourse hill stations are a respite and ideal for a summer visit.
Following a few simple tips you can stay as cool as a cucumber and can enjoy your trip to India and take back wonderful memories of a lifetime.
Here are a few guidelines that will help you beat the heat of Indian summers.

Some General Tips
Do apply sunscreen (preferably with an SPF 15 and above) before going out in the sun and always keep a tube in your handbag. Use sunglasses Avoid deep colored synthetic clothes. Wear light, lose fitting cotton clothes instead. Indian kutis along with leggings or Tshirts and cargos are ideal. Drink plenty of water and always carry a water bottle with you. Eat plenty of salads and fresh fruits because they will help you to regain the moisture you lose through sweating. Avoid oily food as they reduce the percentage of water in the body. Indian foods, especially the street foods have lot of deep fried items Avoid moisturizers in this weather especially, if you have an oily skin, and do not forget to put on talcum powder as they help to lock moisture. Frequent cool showers are the best way to refresh yourself and get rid of all the sweat and dirt.

Special Ones Just for the Indian weather
The searing heat waves of varying intensities grip the entire country during this time. So, a few special tips can help a lot to survive these waves. Don’t drink liquids containing alcohols or sugar as they drain fluid out of your body. Also avoid cold drinks as they may cause stomach cramps. Don’t wait to feel thirsty. But ensure that you buy only bottled water. Avoid water or juices from street side shops. Try to stay in an air-conditioned space. If you are planning to go out in the city hire an ac cab. People who live in India enjoy a spicy meal even when it’s hot, since the capsaicin in the hot peppers will make them perspire and when the sweat evaporates it makes one feel quite cool! So do try a spicy dish on a hot summer day in India to experience this magic!
Must and Must-not Visit Suggestions
There is nothing better than going to a hill station in this hot summer. India has lovely and beautiful hill stations which not only provide a mesmerizing scenic beauty but also immense relief from the hot and humid climate of the plains. Darjeeling and Gangtok are hill stations in east India, which are good choices if you want to feel the cool and fresh mountain air, see some of the world’s highest peaks like the Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest etc. Nainital is a hill station in Uttarakhand, famous not just for the snow-capped mountain peaks or beautiful lakes but also for its ancient temples, myths and legends. Other recommended hill-stations to visit during the Indian summers include Dehradun, Shimla, Khandala, Ooty etc. Avoid cities in the plains like Jaipur, Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Ajmer, Kolkata and some regions in south India including the Kerala backwaters as they turn extremely hot and humid in summers and also experience heat waves of high intensity. Follow these tips and you can have a vacation you will cherish forever.

Beware of Transport Scams

India and Indians- both are really welcoming, hospitable and heart warming. Home to colourful and diverse places in so many ways, tourists find India a highly attractive location to delve into the architectural beauty, natural landscapes and sceneries.

Travelling is a major concern for a tourist across a country, which spans 3214 kms from North to South and 2933 kms from East to West. There are various modes of travel available, right from airways to railways and roadways. For local travel, one might look at taxis, autos, buses and rickshaws.

Travelling Scams
Though India is a safe country, for a tourist of foreign nationality who doesn’t know the local language, it never hurts to be extra careful and stay on constant vigil against transport scams. Travel scams form a major chunk of mishaps that occur across the country to a tourist of foreign nationality. One should remain vigilant about luggage, money and one self.
Be careful about the place you have chosen to travel. Choose the places to go out partying with extreme caution and don’t get carried away. Check out the recent news to rule out any risk at the destination as a few areas around the country might be considered as sensitive for terrorist attacks and anti-social unrest.

What you might have to face?
There are a lot of ways that a tourist can get travel scammed. The drivers are good with words and their faces give nothing away. But a slight heads up in this regard will put your guard on and you will get through it. However, it goes without saying that wherever you go, you will always find good people who are honest and happy to help.
Mid way through your journey from the airport/railway station, the driver of your auto or taxi might reveal that he does not know the way to your hotel or might try and convince you that it gets full house during this time of the year. He will then persuade you to try other places around the city. A lot of people have fallen to these stories because they don’t know what to expect on their arrival or they are just too tired to argue with the driver. But try and stick to the hotel that you have pre-booked or want to go to. If there would be an accommodation problem in that hotel, then the alternate options could be looked into. A suggestion here- travel light.
An inconsistent meter is one of the major problems. Some taxi or auto drivers manipulate their meters to tick faster than the normal. The traveller should be on the watch out, at least for the first few minutes to check that the meter is running at a constant pace, and not too fast.

Rule out Middlemen as far as Possible
The country has a reasonably nice network of online services. Railways, roadways and airways are well-connected and almost every state tourism department have their own online booking forums, so that the customers can manage their way through reviewing and booking travel/reservation tickets or tour packages and do not have to go through the trouble of looking for a middleman and coughing up the extra bucks. The packages and all the other details are easily available online for reference and information.

Be Careful About What You Chose To Eat
A lot of times, travelling in local transport can be vexing for being more than just tiresome. Local cons and thieves often drug eatables and offer them and later escape with the money, luggage and any other gadgets.
There is police patrolling and protection at all the stations and major stops, but it is better to take your own precautions and protective measures against the petty thefts.
And most importantly, book your tour with reliable tour operators only. Check the details and authenticity of the tour operator with whom you are booking your travel.

Expenses for a Trip to India
Traveling across India- Let’s Look at the Pocket Pinch
India is one of the most favorite among tourist spots all over the world. Given the culture, the heritage, the history, the cuisine, the Taj Mahal, the hospitality, the warmth and so much color- how can anybody give preference to anywhere else over India?
The other factor which works in favor of India being one of the most preferred tourist spots is the bracket of wallets that it caters to. From an average pocket to a high budget luxurious visit, India has it all in store. The extensive public transport system and a large English comprehending population make the trip a fun filled bonanza.Travelling and Accommodation
For local travel there is a wide variety of modes of public transport, ranging from buses, taxis, autos and rickshaws. Rickshaws are the slowest, but there is nothing like it when you want to have the benefit of sightseeing while commuting. The bus journey is the cheapest as one can take a tour around the whole city for as low as INR 45 for general buses and INR 100 for a Volvo bus.
When travelling by taxi or auto, there are two best available options:
Opt for a pre-paid vehicle, where you are handed over a receipt underlining the amount that you have to pay up for the decided destination.
Fix the rate before hoping on to the vehicle. A little trick of getting reasonable price can be by beginning from half of what they ask for and taking it upwards from there.
For travelling to longer distances, opt for a sleeper bus which comes to you in semi-sleeper or sleeper either with the luxury of A/C or without it. Another viable option could be travelling by train. Here you have the luxury to choose the kind of service you would like to enjoy – from lockable air conditioned compartments in AC-1 to general sleeper compartments or chair car coaches.
For accommodation, there are a range of hotels starting from as low as INR 1000 for 24 hours check out period. But the service and other infrastructures may not make the cut for comfort. For a little higher range- starting from INR 2000-3000 per day, the rooms and services will be good. Then of course there are the best luxury hotels in almost every city, where the budget will be higher.

Food and Shopping

All the regions of India have their own traditional food, so a Thali or a meal is the safest and the cheapest bet. There are abundant snack stalls on the road sides all over the country that serve hot beverages like tea and coffee for as low as INR 5-10 and snacks for a similar range.
You can easily spot a cafe or a food joint which serves beverages, snacks and meals for reasonable rates too. Food budget is quite similar to that of accommodation. For a higher budget, you can gorge on expensive delicacies at the best hotels and restaurants of any city.
All the major tourist spots have shopping malls for purchase of branded products. For local shopping and souvenirs your bargaining skills could be up for test. Here too a little head up could do the trick for you.

How to Carry Money across the Country
You can find an ATM at every nook and corner of every city of India. There are enough foreign currency exchange counters too. But you should be a little wary of middlemen or agents and learn to do it on your own. The best way to carry money would be through a combination of cash, card and travelers’ cheques.

Average Budget
For an average budget of INR 15,000-20,000 per week for a week, India offers comfortable travel, good stay and amazing meals and snacks. If the budget were to look upwards at an average of around INR 25,000-30,000 per week, a nearly luxurious travel, stay and a taste of amazing Indian cuisine can be enjoyed.

Clothing In INDIA
Look your Best in Indian Attire
Being the land where unity prevails in diversity, India offers variety in every aspect, be it culture, climate, geography or ethnicity. The diversity is well discernible in the different types of attire people adopt as per the region, religion, customs and culture. Indians are very colourful people and the same is reflected in the clothes they wear.

Conventional clothing in India
In order to enrich your traveling experience, you need to get mingled amongst the Indian population. For that you need to know how Indians conventionally dress up.Traditional clothing for Indian women includes Sari, Salwar Kameez and Lehenga and Dupatta. The quintessential sari, appearing like a dress, in fact a five to six yard long fabric cloth that can be worn in different ways. This national costume is worn with a closely knit choli and petticoat.

Next to sari, comes the Salwar Kameez which is also worn in numerous parts of India. The Salwar is a loose-fitting trouser worn tight at the waist and ankles. Trousers are worn along with an elongated top known as kameez. Salwar kameez is most popular in Punjab and is often worn with a Dupatta. Lehenga and Dupatta is a traditional costume with a touch of elegance. It constitutes a top, a long skirt and a Dupatta.

Conventional Attires for Men mostly include dhoti, a long cloth wound around the waist and legs along with kurta, a tunic. Kurta is also worn with lungi and pyjama, a trouser generally made of cotton. In formal events, especially during weddings, many men wear sherwani, a long buttoned coat which is often accompanied by a turban.

Clothing tips for travelers heading towards India
India has pleasurable weather conditions all through the year. In some places like Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the climate can get extremely warm and arid in the summer season. In almost all the other states in India, the summer season is tolerable, for foreign tourists also. To make your clothing experience is India as comfortable as possible, read through.

Light colored clothes made of cotton will perfectly suit the Indian climate. Once you plan to visit India, it is advisable to carry with you sweat shirts, cargo shorts or trousers and other informal clothes. In case of footwear, it is comfortable to wear sandals, slippers or sneakers.
Remember that you won’t be allowed to wear the footwear inside many religious spots. In many places you will be provided alternative slip-ins and you are advised to use those, rather than walking barefoot.
As a westerner, you might not need warm clothes in India. However, it is good to carry sweater and other casual winter clothes, especially when you are planning to visit Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and other north-east states during the cold winter months. You might require gloves in these areas when there is a considerable drop in the temperature.
It is good to carry an umbrella or a raincoat even when you are not visiting India during the monsoon months. You can come across mild occasional downpours in some areas irrespective of the season.
If you are travelling with kids, carry basic warm clothes and also rainy season accessories for them.
Sweat shirts, shorts and trousers are good attires both for women and men. A number of female westerners also dress in Indian clothes such as like saris and Salwar kameez, which in fact appear very elegant on them. Getting dressed up in Indian clothes while visiting India will help you to mingle with locals better.
India is a land of culture which is also upheld through the different outfits that Indians wear. So, whenever you are visiting India, make sure that the clothes you wear are comfortable and do not go against the conventions of the people.

Medical tourism in India

Benefits of Visiting India for Betterment of Health
Western shores are no longer the first choice of people for a better medical facility, the choice now, is India. Developing countries have turned out to be a better option when it comes to providing good medical facility at affordable costs. The medical tourism industry in India is developing very rapidly, thereby attracting people from all parts of the world. Ranked among the top 5 destinations for medical tourists, India hosts 150,000 medical tourists annually with an annual growth of over 30%. It is assumed that by 2015, it will be worth a $2 billion industry. The major reasons why this has emerged to be one of the fastest developing industries are –

Cost Benefits – As per a recent business report a heart bypass surgery will require $ 25,000 in the US and $24,000 in Thailand but only $ 8,500 in India. The competitive price is the most important factor behind the development of this industry. India offers medical aids which are way cheaper than the ones offered by USA or UK.
Medical Facilities – The quality of medical equipments and med-aids provided by the speciality hospitals are at par with the ones provided by the developed countries. India has the largest number of USFDA (U.S. Food and Drugs Administration) – approved drug manufacturing units outside USA. So Indian hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, Escorts, Max etc. which provide excellent infrastructure and world-class facilities prove to be a better choice than western hospitals. The government is also taking initiatives to improve the health-care infrastructure.

Qualified Doctors – India consists of the maximum numbers of nurses, doctors and medical staff. Moreover, the British influence on the education system makes them fluent in English because of which, there is no communication gap with the foreigners. Almost every doctor is well-trained in top medical institutes in India and abroad and hence has no problem in handling foreign patients. For the record, India produces 30,000 doctors and nurses annually.

Wellness Tourism and Exotic Locations – One of the major trends in the emerging medical tourism is the wellness tourism. The Indian spas provide a blend of Ayurvedic, Thai and Chinese techniques which attracts many foreigners to India every year. India has almost 2500 spas run by 30 spa centres in all the major cities. Moreover the scenic beauty of the hill stations, the soothing backwaters of Kerala, the pristine beaches of Goa and the historical monuments like Taj Mahal add to the charm of this industry, and a rejuvenating holiday to every tourist.

Support of the Government – The government of India has taken several initiatives to boost the medical industry. Since it has a major impact on our GDP, the government of India is promoting many government institutes as a premier spot for medical tourists. Kerala and Andhra Pradesh state governments have also done commendable jobs to promote the industry in their respective states.

Decisions by Doctors – Unlike many countries, doctors in India have the most say in any issue related to medicine. In many countries doctors are afraid to say much because it might be used against them in any law suit.

Lack of adequate health insurance is another major reason for the growth of the medical tourism industry, as the countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia give India a tough competition in this field but still the advantages provided by India will need to be adequately encashed in a sustainable manner.

All these reasons make India an ideal destination for all those who want to escape the expensive medical treatments in their own country.

So come to India for a better health treatment and along with a memorable holiday!

Monsoon Travel in India

Explore and Enjoy the Indian Monsoons
Contrary to the popular belief that the rains are a dampener for enjoying a holiday, traveling in India during the monsoons can in fact be an advantage. The proliferation of wildlife, waterfalls and lush green vegetation in India during the monsoon months combine to provide a memorable experience to every traveler. To add to this, as monsoons are offseason, you will get accommodation at cheaper rates compared to other peak tourist seasons. Off-season discounts are applicable in several shopping areas also.

What you need to know about Indian Monsoons
Triggered by a low pressure caused due to the tremendous temperature of the Thar Desert as well as the adjacent areas during the summer season, the southwest summer winds bring considerable downpour in India during the months of June to September. Once the southwest monsoon strikes India, it divides into 2 entities: one moving northwards along the Arabian Sea down the coast of Western Ghats and the other blowing across Bay of Bengal towards Assam and Eastern Himalayas.

Usually the coastal regions experience tremendous amount of rainfall but as you move more towards the inland areas, the amount of rainfall tends to decrease. Among the metro cities, Kolkata and Mumbai experience heavy downpour. Parts of the eastern Himalayas, especially Shillong and Darjeeling receive maximum rainfall during monsoons. Cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi register lesser amount of rainfall.

Finest Monsoon Destinations in India

  • Konkan in Maharashtra : Enveloped in a dense mantle of greenery, Konkan offers a magnificent spectacle to view during the monsoons.
  • Coorg in Karnataka : Beautifully set against the Western Ghats, this hill station is well known for its charming natural view as well as the coffee plantations.
  • Udaipur in Rajasthan : Differently known as Venice of the East and the city of lakes, this royal city even possesses a Monsoon Palace also called Sajjan Garh Palace.
  • Goa : The place is strikingly beautiful during the monsoon months due to the proliferation of natural beauty.
  • Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand : The name explains everything. The exotic flowers in the valley are at their full bloom during the monsoon months engrossing the region in heavenly beauty.
  • Kerala : Better known as God’s own country, Kerala is the perfect destination for relaxing massages, calm beaches, beautiful rivers, houseboats, coconut trees and lush greenery.
  • Ladakh : Being a rain shadow area, Ladakh is one of the favorite tourist destinations during the monsoon season. A handful of clouds brushing against the Himalayan ranges add a mystical awe to the entire atmosphere.
Guidelines to make the Indian monsoons enjoyable

To make monsoon travel in India a pleasurable experience, you need to follow some simple guidelines-

Do not forget to carry a raincoat or an umbrella during the monsoon, even if the particular day appears to be sunny.

Carry clothes which are light in weight and dry fast.

Under extreme circumstances, due to the downpour, trains and flights might get delayed due to floods and roadblocks, especially in cities like Mumbai. So, travel accordingly keeping enough time in hand.

If you are travelling to Leh, remember that the most travelled road gets closed in October when the monsoon is about to end and winter sets in.

In the monsoon season, landslides are common in the north-eastern areas, particularly the states of Assam and Sikkim. It’s good to avoid those places when there are warnings of serious downpour.

Take care of health concerns like fever and allergic reactions.

To make the monsoons more enjoyable, reach Kerala and indulge yourself in the reviving Ayurvedic diets and massages to increase body flexibility.

Monsoon travel in India is immense fun given all the beautiful scenarios to experience. You just need to have proper information regarding how to travel and which areas to cover.
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