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Tipping

Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary. Where this is not done, a tip of 10% is customary. If you are in a big group and the food bill is high, the tip on the total can come down to 5%.
The porter who takes your baggage to your room is usually tipped Rs.5 per bag or Rs.10 to Rs.20 per trolley. (These estimates are for 5 and 4-star hotels and are proportionately less in 1, 2 or 3 star hotels.)
Tipping to taxi drivers for airport/railway station transfers not customary. However, Tour guides and drivers do expect tips depending on the assignments and number of days they are engaged for.

Shopping

India is a big country with a lot of shopping possibilities. Traditionally bargaining is an accepted norm. Big stores and Malls have generally fixed prices. Bargaining at other shops is recommended

Currency

The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100Paisa equal 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2 and 5. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers checks a tourist may import, provided a Declaration form is completed on arrival. This will facilitate the exchange of imported currency as well as the export of unspent currency on departure. Cash, bank notes and traveler’s cheques up to US $ 10,000 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money in the form of traveler’s cheques, drafts, bills, cheques, etc.which tourists wish to convert into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized money- changers.

Please change money only with the authorised money changers or at hotels and banks. Changing money through unauthorized persons is not only illegal but also involves the risk of receiving counterfeit currency. To exchange foreign money other than through banks or authorized money- changers is an offence. Please note that no Indian currency whatsoever can be imported or exported, except for Rupee travelers` cheques. Banks abroad to keep Rupee balances with their agents in India and are able to draw upon these balances to issue Rupee travelers` cheques to intending tourists. There are 24-hour exchange facilities available at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai international airports.

Photography

For amateur photography of national monuments, there are no restrictions on taking photographs with a still camera (with flash inside the camera synchronized with exposure) or an 8mm.movie camera. It is prohibited to photograph places of military importance, i.e. airports, bridges, sensitive border regions. Certain temples may prohibit interior or exterior photography. Charges may be levied to photograph some monuments, forts or temples. Inside museums, or when photographing art works, flash cameras are prohibited.

Photography inside the Taj Mahal is prohibited but prior permission can be requested from the Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi, 110 001. If tripods or other outside aids such as props or floodlights are used, or for professional and commercial photograph, special permission must be obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India. Similar permission must be obtained for movie cameras other than 8mm and for video cameras.

Some Important do’s and dont’s

Foreign nationals have to pay their hotel bills in foreign currency only, in cash, travelers` checks or by credit cards. (However, Indian rupees are accepted if supported by proof of certificate of encashment in India of foreign currency or travelers` checks).
Don’t exchange money on the black market-it’s not worth the risk. Keep currency exchange receipts if you wish to reconvert your unspent money.
Don’t accept damaged or torn local currency notes, as they may not be accepted by others. You may also find that large banknotes may not be accepted for small purchases because of a shortage of small notes.
Concessional- tickets like Indrail Pass, Youth fares, Discover India Fares and Air Fares are to be paid for in foreign exchange only.
We do not recommend purchase of air/ rail/ bus tickets through strangers or unauthorized travel agents/ tour operators.
For your safety, we suggest that you do not hire transportation from unlicensed or unapproved operators. We can provide you all types of transportation at very reasonable prices. Self- drive cars though available are not recommended as it is not advisable for you to drive on the Indian roads with all the traffic.
While shopping, sightseeing or going to and from transportation terminals avoid touts and brokers. Be aware of unscrupulous shopkeepers; if you feel that you are being abused do not hesitate to consult the proper authorities.
Taxi and auto-rickshaws fares keep changing; therefore, they do not always conform to readings on meters. To avoid confusion, insist on seeing the latest fare chart available with taxi/ auto-rickshaw drivers and pay accordingly. Taxis and auto-rickshaws do not have meters in all cities, but where they do, insist on the meter being flagged in your presence. Incase the driver refuses to cooperate, seek the assistance of a policeman. Where there are no meters, ask assistance at your hotel and agree on the taxi fare in advance.

General Information

TIME EST plus 10hrs 30min` IN winter, EST plus 9 hrs 30 MIN` in summer.
HOURS OF OPERATION these sometimes vary from region to region, but generally: Banks From 1000 to 1400 hrs Monday through Friday, 1000 to 1230 hrs Saturdays.
The Hotel Ashok in New Delhi and all international airports have 24hour exchange facility. Post Office From 1000 to 1630hrs Monday through Friday, 0930 to 1230hrs on Saturdays Administrative Services 0930 to 1700hrs Monday through Friday, 0930 to 1230 hrs on Saturdays.

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