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An entry visa is essential for all foreigners visiting India. A visitor's Visa or Visa for attending the workshop / conference can be obtained from your nearest Indian Embassy / consulate / high commission on producing valid passport, travel documents and sufficient means of support. If you are planning to visit neighboring countries and re-enter India, please obtain a multiple entry visa. Please write to the secretariat if you need any help such as an invitation letter for obtaining the visa. It is advisable to apply for the visa at least two months ahead of the event.

Click here to view details of Indian Embassies

Bangalore has an international airport. Airlines flying into Bangalore include Air India, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. You can also come to Bangalore via Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi or Kolkata. There are a number of public and private airlines operating between Bangalore and the above cities. Customs and immigration clearance will be at Bangalore only if you fly directly to Bangalore. Otherwise it will be at the port of entry. Since flights to and from India are full most of the time, it is recommended to book your ticket several months in advance of your journey date.

Indian local time is ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by 5:30 hours. International flights to/from India arrive/depart typically between midnight and early morning, while Indian domestic flights are mostly during the daytime. This makes getting good connections difficult. Only from Mumbai to Bangalore are there early morning flights by Air India and Jet Airways. Other domestic flights start around 6am. If you do not have a direct flight to Bangalore, you will have to clear immigration/customs formalities at your entry-point in India.

In Mumbai and in Delhi, the international and domestic flight terminals are at different locations, though the flights use the same runway. All airlines other than Air India require a change of terminals, and they offer free bus service between the two terminals running around the clock once every hour. The bus-stops are not clearly marked, so please ask the airport authorities to direct you to the location of the bus-stops.

For persons who would like to take a break (particularly to recover from jetlag or to have a nap), and not mind the price, a convenient retreat is the Centaur group of hotels, with branches just next to the airports in Mumbai and Delhi. Reservations in less expensive hotels close to the airports are not easily available, but you may still ask for them in your e-mail. All the major Indian airports offer pre-paid taxi service (advisable if you don't want to argue with the driver later), and hotel/tourist information. Bangalore city railway station also has a service counter for pre-paid vehicles.

The Indian currency is Rupee (1 US$ = 45.88 Rupees at the beginning of July 2004; more recent information can be found at the Currency Exchange). Currency conversion is possible at airports and banks, although many of them deal only with US-dollars and British-pounds. At the end of the trip, rupees can be converted back into foreign currency, only if one has receipts demonstrating that a larger amount of foreign currency was converted into rupees earlier during the trip.

If you are carrying large amount of foreign currency (not travellers cheques but cash), that should be declared at the customs when entering India. Travellers cheques do not have to be declared and are easier to carry. Expensive equipment liable to custom duty (e.g. laptop computers and video cameras) should also be declared at the customs. Such items will be entered in your passport, and you don't have to pay any duty provided that you take them back when you return.

International credit cards are accepted at major hotels and shops, but not everywhere. The HDFC bank close to IISc has a 24-hour ATM, where you can use international credit cards to get Indian currency. The ATM provides a better exchange rate than that offered by hotels and shops. (The HDFC bank charges the credit card company Rs.55 per transaction. The amount charged by the credit card company to you will depend on the agreement between you and your credit card company.)

Avoid accepting currency notes of denominations Rupee 1,2 and 5; ask for the corresponding coins instead. The government has stopped printing these notes, but old damaged and soiled notes are still in circulation.

India uses the metric system of measurements (it is after all the birthplace of the decimal system). The electricity supply in India is 220 Volts and 50 Hz. Appliances requiring 110 Volts would need a voltage adapter. The electrical sockets require three (or two) round pin plugs. Telephone booths with international call facility and internet cafes, accessible with cash payment, can be found at many street corners in the cities. Card-operated telephones (magnetic cards or electronic accounts) exist at many public places (e.g. airports, hotels, IISc guest house). The cards are issued by the Telecom Department of Government of India, in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 units. 1 unit costs approximately 1.20 rupee, and works for about 1 minute for local calls and for about 1 second for calls to the USA.




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