It goes without saying, India invites you to surrender, to let go of your ego and to be mesmerised by the beauty and variety of its culture. Modern comfort and ancient tradition: Unity in diversity. Allow India to introduce you to a variety of yoga retreats, traditional ashrams and picturesque yoga shalas. Mix yoga and Ayurvedic treatments for the ultimate holistic experience in India. Meditate, chant, breath and cleanse. Begin again, rebirth with a yoga retreat in magical India.
While discussing the weather might traditionally make for mundane small talk, it is an important factor when planning your trip to India. Scroll down to find out information regarding India’s currency, dominant languages, and national holidays. We also have you covered on the best times to visit, visa requirements and, of course, the weather.
Hindi and English
Important dates in India
- January 26 – Republic Day when the Constitution of India was adopted
- Diwali – the Festival of Light occurs in either October or November, on the 15th day of Kartika (the Hindu and Jain holy festival) and is determined by the position of the Moon. It celebrates the triumph of light over darkness.
- October 2 – Mahatma Ghandi’s Birthday
- August 15 – Independence Day from the British Empire
- Holi – the Festival of Color is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of Spring and good triumphing over evil. People gather in the streets and traditionally celebrate by throwing colored powder all over each other and the streets. The exact date changes each year.
- India has the second largest population in the world, with over 1.34 billion people, and 17% of the world’s total population.
- White tigers can only be found in India.
- India is home to the largest population of vegetarians in the world.
- 70% of the world’s spices come from India.
- In 2004, Indian farmers used Coca-Cola and Pepsi instead of pesticides because they were cheaper and as effective.
- Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
- Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest gathering of humans, occurring every six years.
- Bridges in Meghalaya are made of living trees.
Good to know
Unless you are from Bhutan or Nepal, you will need a visa to enter India. Home countries offer multiple-entry tourist visas for anywhere from a month to ten years, but all visitors are only allowed to stay for six months at a time.
India allows visa handling to be done by private entities in each country. There are also separate permits required to enter some protected areas, called the Protected Area Permits. It is advisable to have a plan for the places you would most like to visit and check with the list of Protected Areas to see if you will require a Protected Area Permit in advance. At the least, it will take two weeks for your visa to process so plan with ample time in advance.
For complete information of visas check out here.
Culture and Etiquette in India
First and foremost, pay attention to dress code. Your appearance introduces you before you even say a word, so this cannot be understated.
Many Westerners are accustomed to handshakes to introduce themselves, but you may opt for hands together at your heart center with a bow and ‘Namaste’ to say hello and show respect for customs.
Men may shake other mens’ hands when leaving, but it is a custom for Indian men not to touch women. Public displays of affection are not appropriate.
The left hand is traditionally considered unclean, so use your right when handling money.
Avoid pointing with one or two fingers and instead use your whole hand, chin or thumb.
The side-to-side hand wave many Westerners are accustomed to as ‘hello,’ in India means ‘no,’ or ‘go away’.