India can be a culture shock, especially for newbies. To help you adjust, we’ve put together 50 quick tips for first-time visitors
On my first trip to India, I was a relatively inexperienced traveller. I was overwhelmed by its beauty and allure. But I was also taken aback by the assault on the senses often reported by first-time visitors. On my second visit – this time with my father who lived in India for several years – I expected to be more familiar with the country’s various vagaries. In reality, I was just as overwhelmed as the first time round.
That said, I did manage to avoid making some of the same mistakes. Once again, I’m planning to go back to India (more on that in a moment) and when I do, I hope to make even fewer mistakes. While I may never fully understand this vast and contrasting land (that’s what makes it so alluring), I have gathered some wisdom I can share – some obvious, some not.
Kia and I were all set to go to India in December 2022. We were booked onto a 15-day tour visiting Delhi, Rajasthan and Varanasi when we realised that eVisa applications had been stopped for UK citizens. While no official reason was given, it was generally assumed that this was in reciprocation for Indian citizens who faced significant bureaucracy to secure a visa for the UK. After all, there were 156 countries that were eligible for online visas for India.
It meant we would have to complete a paper application, submit it and then book an interview in one of the centres to get a physical visa as opposed to an eVisa. Unfortunately, the post-pandemic backlog meant the waiting time for interviews was running into months. Alas, we had to cancel our trip.
Fortunately, the politicking is over and in December, the Indian High Commission in London announced that the India eVisa has been reinstated for UK travellers. This came a little too late for our visit, so we postponed our trip until winter 2023. In the meantime, we’ll be crossing our fingers that politicians don’t scupper our plans again!
Regardless of the latest good news, the eVisa application process is still confusing and can be frustrating to complete. There are a lot of questions to be answered, several documents to be uploaded and fees to be paid. We recommend using a guide on how to apply for the India eVisa and…