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The official languages in India are Hindi and English. Other languages spoken in different states and regions include: Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati and Telugu.


The country’s official name is the Republic of India.

Time zone

India is on India Standard Time, which is GMT+ 5:30.

Counting and numbers

Dates in India are written with the day first, then the month, then the year. A common way to write a day would be: 30 April 2008.

With written numbers, commas and decimal points are exactly like in Europe but swapped from what you are used to in US.

India uses the metric system for measurements and Celsius for temperatures. You can find a conversion tool here

Electricity and plugs

The standard electrical voltage in India is 230-240 volts / 50HZ, so you will need an adapter if you don’t come from a European country (which uses the same system). If you come from a 110 volts country – US or Japan – be careful to use both an adapter and a transformer. However most appliances are designed to automatically sense and adjust if they are built to work on both systems.

The plugs accommodate the round prongs, same as in Europe and Asia.


The official currency in India is Indian Rupee (INR). It’s subdivided into 100 paise Denominations include: 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paise coins, 1,2 and 5 and 10 Rupee coins, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 Rupee banknotes.

Check this conversion rate tool before planning your vacation.

Banks and ATMs

Credit cards are accepted all over India particularly in larger cities and towns. MasterCard and Visa are most widely accepted but American Express and Diners Club are accepted as well.

The Rupee is fully convertible so it’s easy to exchange any money but it’s wiser to stick to US Dollars, Euros and Pound Sterling. Thomas Cook or American Express travelers cheques are also widely used and accepted.

There are ATMs all over India and they accept Cirrus, Maestro, MasterCard, Plus and Visa. However, it’s wiser to ask your bank if you can use your credit/debit card in India.

Baksheesh ,which is tipping or better said “bribing”, practically opens pretty much any door and gets things done.

Using the telephone

The country code for India is 91. To call India from US you will first need to dial out of the U.S. and then into India, which means 01+91 + local number. To call an India number from within the city, just dial the number you were given. To call US from India dial 00+1+the US number (make sure to use the area code as well).

You can also ask your mobile carrier to tell you what network to connect to once you get to India (provided you have the roaming activated). The GSM network uses the same standards as Europe, Asia and Australia (GSM 900/1800), but it’s not compatible with US and Japan standards. Another option is to just buy a prepaid card when you get to India, provided your cell is unlocked.

Useful telephone numbers

Police 100
Ambulance 102
Fire 101
From mobile phones: 112 is redirected to the local emergency number

Visa information

All foreign citizens need visa to enter India. The only exceptions are Nepal and Bhutan nationals. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months.