Quick facts about India

Territorial boundariesNorth-East: China and Nepal; North-West: Pakistan; South: Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka); East: Bangladesh and Bay of Bengal

West: Arabian Sea

Area: 3 287 263 km2

Most important waterways: Indian Ocean and the Ganges River 

Capital: Delhi (New Delhi) 

Important cities (main aiports): Delhi (New Delhi), Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras) 

Highest point: Kanchenjunga (8 598 meters)

Lowest point: Sea level (0 meter)

Time zone: Indian Standard Time (IST) (10-10h30h ahead of Montreal)

Environment – current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and run off of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources

Climate: Huge variations from the south to the north; varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north

Best time to travel: North, central and East: October-November (end of March-April: ok) ; Extreme North: June to August ; South: December-January

Political regime: Federal republic 

Population: 1 287 652 800 (1 new-born every second : http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/india-population/)

Language: English is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people;

There are 14 other official languages: 8.1% Bengali, 7.2% Telugu, 7% Marathi, 5.9% Tamil, 5% Urdu, 4.5% Gujarati, 3.2% Malayalam, 3.7% Kannada, 3.2% Oriya, 2.8% Punjabi, 1.3% Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit;

Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language

Ethnic minorities: 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian 25%, 3% other

Religions: 80.5% Hindu, 13,4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.9% Sikh and 1.8% other

Main sources of revenue: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software (call center), pharmaceuticals, tourism (Rajasthan)

Currency: Indian roupies INR (1 CAN $ = 54 Indian roupies) – xe.com

Gastronomy: One of the best food in the world. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices. Food prepared by Hindu and Jain is mainly vegetarian, which is a common dietary trend in Indian society There has also been Islamic influence from the years. Meals are mainly “in sauce” and curries. Most of them are spicy or very spicy.

Accessibility from Montreal (main airlines): A wide range of flights is offered as is a very popular leisure and business destination – Delhi and Mumbai are important hubs – Most of the bigger airlines flight to India.

Entry requirements:

Valid passport

Tourist Visa: Required, valid 6 months from the date of issue and apply prior to departure (at least 3-4 weeks in advance) – Consular service in Montreal OR the High Commission of India in Ottawa

Safety issues:

There is a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout India at all times, including attacks targeting public transportation and places frequented by foreign visitors and expatriates.

Be particularly vigilant during the Indian holiday period between October and January, as well as in the lead-up to and on days of national significance, such as Diwali, Republic Day (January 26) and Independence Day (August 15), as militants have used such occasions to mount attacks.

Maoist extremist groups are most active in areas identified by the Government of India as Left Wing Extremist states, which include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Violent crime against foreigners is NOT common. Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching, is common. Pay attention to the security of your passport and personal belongings, as passports and valuables have been stolen from luggage on trains and buses.

Foreign women are often a target for unwanted attention. Reports of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreign women have increased. Women should avoid travelling alone.

Political rallies and demonstrations are frequent throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly around elections.

Scams involving the export of jewels and/or carpets have occurred.

If you intend to trek, never do it alone.

Health issues: Tap water is not good to drink

The sun can be very strong, risk of insolation – Recommend use of a sunblock 30 – Wear a hat

During the monsoon, mosquitos can be very annoying and carry malaria in certain areas – Recommend a mosquitos repellent with at least 30% of DEET

Reminder about food: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it! 

Vaccines to consider:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Influenza (flu)

Rabies – Dogs are mainly active at night

Typhoid 

Good medication to bring for:

There is no malaria in most of the regions, except sometime in Kerala during rainy season

Antibiotic to treat diarrhea (Cypro)

Antibiotic to treat salmonella

(Ariane)

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