India is a soulful, soul-stirring country, overflowing with cultural treasures, spiritual wonder, and natural beauty. A wondrous land of crowded megacities, Himalayan monasteries, and ancient fishing villages, India sweeps you up in a confounding and beautiful tide of humanity. Float along Kerala's famous backwaters, take a camel ride through Rajasthan, or find peace at the holy Ganges. And whether you drink chai (tea) from the source in Munnar, or savor Marwari cuisine in Jaipur, the land of spices and its remarkable people will linger long in your memory.
Major international carriers serve New Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM) with connecting flights from the main Canadian cities. At least one connection is necessary to get to India.
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The weather is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end of November to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days.
The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.
In the larger cities (Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore) and areas where there are hoards of tourists (Goa, Kerala, Agra), you can generally get away with less conservative clothing. This means that you can bare your shoulders and knees but not much more than that. No matter where you are, you'll receive lots of attention in spaghetti straps and short shorts. Bathing suits are obviously okay at the beach, but be aware that while you're sunbathing there may be lines of Indian men leering at you from the palm trees. In small villages, holy sites and any destination that sees even moderate tourism, dress conservatively. Never wear shorts or a short skirt. Capris are okay, as are skirts that fall below the knees. Keep your shoulders covered, either by wearing a shirt with sleeves or by draping a shawl around you—even in the heat.
Traveling in India
India's domestic airline is Indian Airlines (IC). The network links over 70 cities. Indian Airlines also flies to the neighboring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Middle East. Domestic airlines include Sahara Airlines (S2) Jet Airways (9W), and Alliance Airlines (3A), a subsidiary of Indian Airlines. The Indian domestic railway system is state-run by Indian Railways. It is the largest system in all of Asia and the second largest in the world. Traffic drives on the left. A far reaching network of bus services links all regions of the country, and is especially useful for the mountainous areas where there are no rail services. However, public transport is usually over crowded and uncomfortable. There are a many chauffeur-driven tourist cars (some air-conditioned) operating in the main tourist centers. These un-metered tourist cars operate at a somewhat higher rate than the regular taxis, and are approved by India Tourism. Self-drive vehicles are not usually available. Driving in India is not recommended because of the erratic nature of Indian driving standards
English language is the commonly used official language of India. It enjoys a special status and remains the additional official language of India. It is also the authoritative legislative and judicial language. Apart from the more widely spoken English and Hindi, there are the various regional languages as well. In fact, each state of India has its own official language, apart from the numerous dialects. However, the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India lists 22 such regional languages only, giving them official status.
India Time Zone
India Standard Time (IST) is 5:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). It is 10:30 hours ahead of Canadian Eastern time and 13:30 hours ahead of Canadian Pacific Time. India does not use Daylight Saving Time.
North India includes the states Jammu, Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Visit the major cities of Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow and Kanpur. Explore the pilgrimage sites like Varanasi, Ayodhya, or the Sikh Golden Temple. Don't miss the renowned historical Taj Mahal, the Valley of Flowers and the Red Fort. Taste the Punjabi food and explore the Himalayas where you can find many hills stations like Leh, Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Dharamsala, Palampur, Mussoorie and Dehradun.
To see, to do
West India includes the states Gujarat, Maharashtra Rajasthan and Goa. This region is highly industrialized, with a large urban population.
The famous cities in this region are Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Thane, Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Kota. Some of the famous hill stations in this region are Mount Abu, Lonavala-Khandala, Matheran and Mahabaleshwar. Mumbai is the most famous city and the financial hub of India. Bollywood is the city of fashion. The famous Muslim pilgrimage Dargah Sharif in Ajmer is situated in this region. Udaipur city, also known as "the lake city of India", is famous for its nature tourism. Nasik is the famous Hindu pilgrimage center.
To see, to do
South India includes the states Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu. The classical dances of India like Bharat Natyam and Kathakali have South Indian origins.
This part of India has enormous beaches, water falls, forests, lakes, and wild life sanctuaries. The famous cities in this region are Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad, Mysore, Bangalore (Bengaluru), Kochi (Cochin), Trivandrum (Thiruvananthpuram), Chennai (Madras) and Kanyakumari (Nagercoil). Some of the famous hill stations in this region are Kodaikanal, Ooty (Ootacamund) and Munnar.
To see, to do
East India includes the states West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and the seven eastern states Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
The famous cities in this region are Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhubneshwar, Puri (Konark), Kolkata, Gawhati, Imphal, Shillong, Aizawl, Gangtok, Agaratala and Itanagar. It also houses famous hill station Darjeeling and all these eastern state also houses hill stations which are worth to visit. This region has mesmerising scenic beauty. It has captivating tea farms, from where the tea is exported to other part of India as well as abroad. The ruins of ancient Nalanda University can be found near Rajgir. This region includes many pilgrimage centers for Jain and Buddha communities. Bodhgaya and Puri are the most famous pilgrimage centers in this region.
To see, to do
Central India includes the states Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The main cities in this region are Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain and Gwalior. Madhya Pradesh is often called the Heart of India.
This part of India is famous for its temples and for its historical heritage. Some of the famous places in this region are Gwalior Fort, Sanchi Stupa in Sanchi and Khajuraho Temple. Indore is one of the fastest developing cities in India. It has huge shopping malls, industrial establishments and a lot of monuments that are worth the trip. There are a lot of ayurvedic and yoga centres in this region, which brings peace and meditation for tourists. This region is home of Wild Life Sanctuaries like Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, Sanjay National Park, Madhav National Park, Van Vihar National Park, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Panna National Park and Pench National Park.
To see, to do