Country information India Nepal Sri Lanka Maldives

Country information India Nepal Sri Lanka Maldives

India

Time zone GMT + 5.30hrs

Population – 1.2 billion

When to Travel – Most travellers visit India between Oct – Mar, but India has a great deal to offer throughout the year and the climate varies according to regional factors and geography.

Telephone – International dial 00, Country code 91  Capital – New Delhi Government: Republic. Democracy

Languages– Hindi and hundreds of local dialects; English is widely spoken, especially in the tourist industry and by the educated classes.

Main Religions: Hindus (80% of overall population), Muslims (13%), Sikhs (2%), Christian (2,5%), Jains and Buddhists.

Money – Indian Rupee.

US Dollars, UK Pounds and Euros can easily be converted in banks and cashier desk of hotels. ATMs are available in major cities and credit card accepted in major shops and hotels. Visitors may not bring in or take out any Indian currency, except in the form of travelers cheques. Do not use unauthorized moneychangers for exchanging foreign currency. You run the risk of receiving forged rupees or being cheated.

Health
Depending on length of stay and itinerary, immunization against hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and typhoid may be necessary. Malaria and dengue fever exist around the country; take precautions against mosquito bites and consider taking anti-malarial medicine. Tuberculosis is still present in India. Tap water is not safe to drink; always buy bottled water and check the seal is intact. Also, care should be taken when eating as few western travelers escape without a bout of diarrhea. Sunscreen and a hat should be worn in hot weather.

For detailed health information please visit the following website:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/india.htm

Food
Each region has its specialties, but the basic division is between north and south Indian cuisines. In the south, food tends to focus on spicy vegetarian and fish dishes, usually served with rice. In the Muslim-influenced north it is more meat and bread-oriented and less spicy; often Tandoori ovens are used for cooking chicken and naan or roti bread. Restaurants always advertise whether they are “veg” or “non-veg”. Chilli, turmeric, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and cinnamon are commonly used, ground into a masala or mix for each dish. Thalis are a wonderful way of sampling lots of dishes – usually economical too. Snack food includes masala dosa (filled pancakes), samosas and pakoras. Those who crave western food can find it in tourist restaurants but it is often more expensive and inauthentic.

What to buy:  Fabric, jewellery, Ayurvedic healthcare and cosmetics, carpets, paintings, cooking spices, tabla drums, English-language books, CDs…etc.

Major events: March: Jaipur Holi Festival; the festival of colour is celebrated with elephant shows, cultural performances and parades. July: Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama; celebrated most spectacularly in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, site of the Tibetan government in exile. September: Festival of Ganesh, Mumbai; the city’s patron deity is honoured with celebrations across the city and clay idols of the elephant god are immersed in the water at Chowpatty Beach. Dussehra: important Hindu festival celebrated all over India, it commemorates various gods’ victories over evil with reenactments. November: Pushkar Camel Festival; hugely popular fair around Pushkar lake, with camel races, dancing and food stalls. Divali: important Hindu festival of lights, celebrated across the country.

Embassies and visas

For UK Citizens UK: Indian High Commission India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA (020 7836 8484).

India: The British High Commission Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi (+91 11 6872161). Deputy high commissions in Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras) and Calcutta (Kolkata), plus a consular office in Goa.

For Irish Citizens

Ireland: EMBASSY OF INDIA, IRELAND 6 Leeson Park, Dublin Tel.: 01-4970843

India: Embassy of Ireland 230 Jor Bagh New Delhi 110 003 – Tel: +91 11 2462 6733

For American Citizens:

United States  Indian Embassy in Washington DC Chancery 2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20008. Telephone: (202) 939-7000 Fax: (202) 265-4351

India: US Embassy in New Delhi Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi – 110021 Tel: +91-11-2419-8000 Fax: +91-11-2419-0017

For Canadian Citizens

Canada: Consulate General of India in Toronto, 365 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor, Toronto, ON M4W 3L4, Telephone: 416-960-0751

India: High commission of Canada in New Delhi. 7/8 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi 110 021, India. Telephone: 91 (11) 4178-2000

Visa requirements:

Visa & Immigrations: All visitors, except those from Nepal and Bhutan, must have valid passports stamped with current visas. There is no provision for visa on arrival in India. Contact the nearest Indian embassy or consulate in your home country before making your travel plans. In most countries visas can now be obtained through VFS Global. Business travelers should apply for a multiple-entry business visa which is valid for one year. Special visas are also issued for trekking, botanical expeditions and sports and journalism related activities. Visitors may move freely throughout the country, except to restricted or prohibited areas.

Visas are required by all visiting foreign nationals.

e-Tourist Visa Facility for India is available for nationals of following countries/territories
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Here is a Link to get your e Visa  please Click on this  https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

Other formalities:
Customs: Visitors possessing more than US $10000 (or the equivalent in travelers cheques or bank notes) must fill in a currency declaration form. If you plan to bring to bring any expensive electronics/cameras, ask for a re-export permit from customs officials when you arrive. The permit will be written into the back of your passport, and unless you can present the item to Customs while leaving, duty will be levied.

India restricts the export of antiques, including foreign-made artifacts and items more than 100 years old. The Archaeological Survey of India is the authority that determines whether items are restricted. Visitors may not bring in or take out of India anything made from endangered animal species.

Travel advice to be consulted before your departure:

UK citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/

Canadian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website : http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

American citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html

Australian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Sri Lanka
Time zone: GMT +5.30

Land Area: 65,525 Sq. Km Highest Peak: Pidurutalagala -2524 meters Longest River Mahaweli 335 km Capital : Colombo Population: 19.043 million Density per sq/km 304.

Government: Republic, democracy.

Literacy (%) : Male 90.5 Female 82.4

Ethnic group (%) : Sinhala 74 Tamil 18 Moors 7 Others 1

Administrative Units 9 Provinces, 25 Districts, 256 Divisional Secretariats, 160 Electorates

Religion(%) Buddhism 69 Hinduism 15 Christianity 8 Islam 7

Climate
The southern and western regions have only two seasons, wet and wetter. Despite being a tropical island some parts of the country can almost be mistaken for deserts. Other regions experience rainy and dry seasons. The dry zone looks really wonderful just as the rains start to ease.

People
Most of the country’s 18.5 million-population speaks Sinhala, Tamil or English. Sinhala is the most widely spoken language and the Sinhala people make up the largest ethnic group. Interestingly this language is not spoken anywhere else in the world, other than by a few traders in Chennai.

A good twenty percent of the population lives in the western province which is the home of capital Colombo. (Strictly speaking Sri Jayawardanapura is the political capital of Sri Lanka and Colombo the Commercial center. But Sri Jayawardanapura is a miniature city within Colombo).

Health
Vaccination may be needed against Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B and rabies. Malaria and dengue fever are present; consider taking anti-malarial medication and protect against mosquito bites. Routine immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria, polio and measles should be up to date.

For detailed health information please visit the following website:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/sri-lanka.htm

Food
A red-hot curry made with chilli, coconut, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, and served with rice, is the typical Sri Lankan meal. Curries are made with either vegetables, meat or fish. Indian-style dishes are also common and Chinese, Malay and western-style food is available in main centres. A hopper is a cross between a muffin and a crumpet, typically served with a soft-cooked egg on top. Sri Lankan tea is renowned the world over; other drinks include toddy, made from palm tree sap, arrack, a fermented (thus alcoholic) version of toddy, and beer.

Money – Sri Lankan Rupee. US Dollars, UK Pounds and Euros can easily be converted in banks and cashier desk of hotels. ATMs are available in major cities and credit card accepted in major shops and hotels. Visitors may not bring in or take out any Sri Lankan currency. Do not use unauthorized moneychangers for exchanging foreign currency. You run the risk of receiving forged rupees or being cheated.

Major Events
January Colombo: Duruthu Perahera; procession marking Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. February 4 Colombo: Independence Day; huge parade. July Kataragama: Buddhist festival in southern jungles, culminating in spectacular performances such as fire walking. July-August Kandy Perahera: 10-day Hindu pageant with parades, acrobats, decorated elephants and feats of the flesh.

What to buy: Tea, spices, fabric (batiks, silk, lace), gems, ceramics, silver jewellery, traditional masks.

Embassies and visas:

UK Citizens
UK: Sri Lankan High Commission 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London (020 7262 1841)
Sri Lanka: British High Commission 190 Galle Road, Kollupitiya (PO Box 1433), Colombo 3. (+94 1 437336-43)

US Citizens
US: Embassy of Sri Lanka in USA – 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008. T.P. (202)-483-4025
Sri Lanka: Embassy of the USA Sri Lanka and The Maldives 210 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Phone: +94(11)249-8500

Canadian Citizens
Canada: Consulate General of Sri Lanka No 36, Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto Ontario M4R 1A1 Canada
Tel. : 416 323-9133

Sri Lanka: High Commission of Canada in Colombo 33A, 5th Lane, Colpetty
Colombo -03 Sri Lanka. Tel.: 00 94 11 522 62 32

Visa requirements: from January 1, 2012. it is mandatory to have a visa to visit Sri Lanka. It can be obtained on arrival or online on the following link: Visa Sri Lanka

Travel advice to be consulted before your departure:

UK citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/

Canadian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website : http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

American citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html

Australian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Nepal

Location: Between India and Tibet Area: 140,800 sq km Population: 26 million Capital city: Kathmandu (2 million) People: Brahmins, Chhetris, Newars, Tibetans, Gurungs, Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas etc

Language: Nepali Religion: 80% Hindu, 15% Buddhist, rest others Government: Parliamentary democracy

Time: GMT +5.45 hrs Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz

Climate: Summer in Nepal (June-August) can get very hot, with temperatures in the lower-lying areas reaching 40C. Winter temperatures drop to 0-10C, and below that in the mountains. Trekking season is from September to May and the rainy season is from June to September.

Food: Owing to the influx of tourists, lots of “traveler-style” restaurants have sprung up in towns, offering staples such as taco, pizza and chocolate cake. Nepalese food is, sadly, uninspired by comparison with its neighboring countries’ cuisines and consists of lots of lentils, rice and a few vegetables thrown in. The meat on offer is goat, chicken, pork and buffalo. The most popular drink is chiya, or tea brewed with sugar, milk and spices; also much drunk is chang, a beer made with barley and rye. Other local spirits are strong and of varying quality.

Money: Nepalese Rupee. Hard currency (including the Indian rupee) is an acceptable means of payment and the only possible one in some establishments. Flights, hotels and trekking passes should be paid for in US$. US Dollars, UK Pounds and Euros can easily be converted in banks and cashier desk of hotels. ATMs are available in major cities and credit card accepted in major shops and hotels. Visitors may not bring in or take out any Nepalese currency, except in the form of travelers cheques. Do not use unauthoriszed moneychangers for exchanging foreign currency. You run the risk of receiving forged rupees or being cheated.

Health: Depending on length of stay and itinerary, immunization against hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and typhoid may be necessary. Malaria and dengue fever exist around the country; take precautions against mosquito bites and consider taking anti-malarial medicine. Tuberculosis is still present in India. Tap water is not safe to drink; always buy bottled water and check the seal is intact. Also, care should be taken when eating as few western travelers escape without a bout of diarrhea. Sunscreen and a hat should be worn in hot weather.

For detailed health information please visit the following website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/nepal.htm

Major Events : January: Maghe Sankranti – Hindu Nepalese have a mass bathing session to welcome in the month of Magh. February: Tibetan New Year – celebrated at Bodnath Stupa and other Buddhist sites. March: Holi festival – hashish is legally sold and people throw paint over each other. The festival is low key in comparison to the way North Indians celebrate it. April: Nepalese New Year, accompanied by Hindu festivities. May: full moon: Buddha’s birthday, on which his statue is carried through the streets by monks. September-October: Bada Dasain – major Nepalese festival lasting 10 days, with activities as diverse as throwing garlands, gambling and animal sacrifices. October/November Diwali – Hindu Festival of Light lasting five days, when the country is lit by thousands of candles, while crows, dogs and cows are appeased in turn.

Embassies and visas: 

UK Citizens
UK: Nepal Embassy – 12A Kensington Palace Gardens London W8 4QU Tel:+44 (0)207 229 1594

Nepal: British Embassy – P O Box 106 Lainchaur – Tel.: (977) (1) 4410583

US Citizens
US: Embassy of Nepal – 2131 Leroy Place, NW Washington, DC 20008 – Tel: 202 667 4550
Nepal: US Embassy – Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal – Tel.: 977-1-400-7200

Canadian Citizens
Canada: The Canadian Cooperation Office – G.P.O. Box 4574, Lazimpat, Kathmandu – Tel: Tel: 977-1-4415193
Nepal: Nepal Embassy – 408 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Post Code: K1R 5A7 Phone No: 613 680 5623

Visa requirements: All foreign nationals, except Indians, need a visa to enter Nepal. They can be bought on arrival at Airport  for around $30, But purchasing one in advance saves time at the airport. Visas last for 30 to 60 days and can be extended to 90 days; for longer stays, contact the local consulate. Passports should be valid for at least six months after the date of arrival.

Travel advice to be consulted before your departure:

UK citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/

Canadian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website : http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

American citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html

Australian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact:
Website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

 

Maldives

Official Name: Republic of Maldives Location: Indian Ocean, Southwest of Sri Lanka Capital: Male’ Area: 90,000 km (of which only 10% is land)

Official Language: Dhivehi Second Language: English Religion: Islam (100% Sunni Muslim) Time difference: +5hrs GMT

Currency: Rufiyaa (Notes) and Laari (Coins). USD is often used for payment in resorts. All major credit cards are accepted in resorts. Island resorts in Maldives are generally expensive and you should bring sufficient funds. There are no cash machines and travellers’ cheques are used infrequently. Major credit cards are accepted at most resorts and hotels. US dollars can be exchanged at the airport, banks or hotels.

Climate: Tropical. Average Temperatures: 30.7 º Celsius (Max) & 25.7 º Celsius (Min) Sea water is at an everage temperature of 30°C throughout the year. Average Rainfall: 1868.9 mm

Major tourist attraction places: national museum, grand Friday mosque, Sultan park, mulee aage palace, Islamic center, fish market and beaches & coral reefs in Maldives.

Best time to visit: December to April. Between May and November the archipelago is affected by monsoon and heavy rains may occur.

Number of islands: 1190 (approx.)

Health: there are no mandatory vaccinations in the Republic of Maldives. Depending on length of stay and itinerary, immunization against hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and typhoid may be necessary. Malaria and dengue fever exist around the country; take precautions against mosquito bites and consider taking anti-malarial medicine. Tuberculosis is still present in India. Tap water is not safe to drink; always buy bottled water and check the seal is intact. Also, care should be taken when eating as few western travelers escape without a bout of diarrhea. Sunscreen and a hat should be worn in hot weather.

For detailed health information please visit the following website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/maldives.htm

Food: most resorts serve a mix of continental fares along with specialties from all over the sub-continent, seafood especially tuna. One of the most famous traditional dishes are mas huni (tuna fish cooked with grated coconut, onions and chilli), theluli mas (fried chunks of fish seasoned with chilli and garlic), roshi bread (unleavened bread).

Banking hours: Sunday to Thursday 8.00 am to 1.30 pm

What to buy: spices, Madras fabric, wood items, paintings, coconut items, ceremonial knives, mats/ Please note that it is strictly forbidden to carry seashells and corals in your luggage.

Embassies and visas:

UK citizens: UK: High Commission of the Republic of Maldives – 22 Nottingham Place London W1U 5NJ United Kingdom – Tel.: 0044 207 224 2135
Maldives: There is no British diplomatic mission in Maldives. Enquiries before travel should be directed to the British High Commission in Sri Lanka. If you need consular assistance while in Maldives please contact the British High Commission in Colombo on 00 94 11 5390639 (24 hours).

US Citizens:
US: Embassy of the Republic of Maldives – Suite:400 E, 800, Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10017. Tel.: 1.212.5996194
Maldives: Embassy of the USA Sri Lanka and The Maldives 210 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Phone: +94(11)249-8500

Canadian Citizens:
Canada: no Maldivian diplomatic mission in Canada.
Maldives: High Commission of Canada in Colombo 33A, 5th Lane, Colpetty Colombo -03 Sri Lanka. Tel.: 00 94 11 522 62 32

Visas: Visitors entering the Republic of Maldives should fulfill the following requirement for the grant of an entry permit into the country. Possession of a valid international travel document issued by the Government of a Sovereign State – Possession of a valid return air ticket to a destination where the passenger has permission to enter, together with necessary visas for the onward journey to the next destination – Possession of minimum of US$30.00 per person per day or confirmed hotel reservation for the intended period of stay in the Maldives. No prior visa is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. Entry permit will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports of entry, based on the immigration requirements. Free 30 days Visa upon arrival for all visitors

Travel advice to be consulted before your departure:

UK citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/

Canadian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website : http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

American citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html

Australian citizens when travelling to these destinations can contact: Website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/