RAIL

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to see India is not on a plane at 35,000 feet, but at ground level on the incredible Indian railway system. In fact, no visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of Indian railway stations and a safe & comfortable journey on an Indian express train with the tea seller's welcome cry of 'Chai, chai, garam chai' coming down the aisle. You can safely forget media images of overcrowded suburban trains with people sitting on the roof. On a long distance express in an AC Chair car or an AC1 or AC2 sleeper, all seats and berths are reserved and it’s a safe, civilised, cheap & comfortable way to get around India. Even long distances such as Bombay to Delhi, Delhi to Varanasi or Delhi to Udaipur can be covered more time-effectively than flying, using overnight AC Sleeper trains, city centre to city centre, saving a hotel bill in the bargain. For all train related information in India please click on the following links

For Online reservation of railway tickets, visit IRCTC

For enquiry regarding arrival, departure, reservation status etc., visit Indian Rail

For indrail passes for international tourists, please visit Indrail Passes

BUS

Traveling by buses forms the most common mode of transportation in India. All cities are interconnected through a huge bus network generally run by state owned corporations. In general, the bus service is available between larger cities at short intervals and are very cheap when compared with other countries.

Nearly all cities and towns have their own "bus stand" (a common term used for bus station, where all buses congregate to move further to their destinations). The buses are the preferred vehicle of choice for the common man. They are quick, travel over large distances and are very light on the pocket. You can very well calculate, a 5-hr journey for around 250 kms will cost you only around €4.

Generally speaking there are three kinds of bus services that are commonly available for commuting between cities or towns.

The first is what we call an “Ordinary Bus Service”. This is the cheapest of the lot (we mean real real cheap). It makes stops in between the destinations and there can be people standing in the bus, even if there is no seating available.

At some places, this will be your only mode of transportation, especially for short distances or in some interior regions or less frequented places.

If you have none of the above reasons to travel by ‘Ordinary Bus’ then we recommend you step up and go for the “Deluxe Bus Service”.

“Deluxe Bus Service” is nearly 50% or sometimes even more expensive than ‘Ordinary Bus Service’. However it is worth its price in gold (comparatively speaking). Also the price is not much when converted into US Dollars.

‘Deluxe’ Buses always carry a fixed number of passengers, which is not greater than the number of seats available. The seats are comfortable; there is a luggage space at the back of the bus, which is locked by the bus driver before it leaves. Generally there is a nominal charge to keep your luggage into bus storage or for that matter when it’s taken out. The charge is very nominal, not more than $0.25 per piece.

‘Deluxe Buses’ sometimes also have a TV with video player, which generally shows an Indian Movie during the journey. This practice seems to have reduced or nearly eliminated (barring some private operators), much to the delight of the night travelers who want to catch on some sleep and not want to be disturbed by the loud noise.

The crowd in "Deluxe Buses” is mainly middle class and could very well be conversant in English, to say the least.

Deluxe buses are generally on time and only seldom you would need a booking in advance (we would suggest just getting at the bus stand half hour in advance).

Deluxe buses are safe and recommended for short or over night travel. Although not as comfortable as train where you can stretch your legs, they still form a good alternative in times of non-availability of train or hurry.

These days some state owned corporations and private operators have also started with a bus service named “VOLVO” Bus Service, mainly due to the make of these buses (2x2 buses manufactured by Volvo).

These are termed as “luxury buses’ and are air conditioned. They are priced more than the deluxe buses but are very comfortable.

The only hitch with ‘Volvo’ is that they may or may-not be available from the general bus-stand. Moreover they are not as readily available as ‘ordinary’ or ‘Deluxe’ buses and do not run on an extensive destination network. It is advisable to ask your hotel or tour operator about where to get these “Volvo” buses in the city from.

Lastly it is always advisable to call and find about the bus service in the local town or ask your host/hotel. It always helps to ask someone, people are always willing to help in India.

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

There are certain numbers, which are kept same throughout the nation so that people know the way to get out of the trouble whenever and wherever they are in trouble. These numbers are no ordinary numbers and are known as emergency numbers. The main characteristics of these numbers are that they are very short and could be accessed from any phone in this country. There are certain emergency numbers in India, which provides relief to the people-facing emergency. Some of the major emergency numbers are:

Dial 100 or 1090
This is one of the most important emergency numbers. It is the number to call the police. Nowadays with the increase of crimes in the society this number has found its use and it helps also. Apart from criminal emergencies this number can also be used for any sort of other emergencies where the police can help.

Dial 101
This is the number for fire emergency.

Dial 102
This is the number for medical emergency.

Dial 1099 - Accident & Trauma Service

Dial 1098 - Child Helpline

Dial 1091 Women's helpline

So these were some of the India Emergency phone numbers which help out the people of India in times of emergency. However, though out India Emergency phone numbers are simple and short people tend to forget in times of emergency. So it is better that we write it down in something and help ourselves.

GETTING YOUR VISA

Visa Application Form

Visa application form is available online on the website of the Indian Embassy/ High Commission/Consulate in the country where the applicant resides. Visa form for nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh are generally different. All applicants, including children need to apply for Visa in separate visa forms. Please click on this link to get all the required information

Visa Application Netherlands

Visa Application Belgium & Luxembourg

Requirements for Visa

Generally the following documents are required for obtaining Indian Visa. However, the requirement may vary from country to country.
• Original passport valid for at least 6 months
• Visa fee
• Two passport size photographs
• Supporting documents, where necessary
• Duly completed application form

Visa for NRIs and PIOs

Persons of Indian Origins and Non-Resident Indians who possess either OCI - Overseas Indian Citizenship or PIO card don't need to apply separately for an Indian Visa. OCI and PIO cards give them the freedom to visit India without visa within rules. However, those NRIs and PIOs who don’t have OCI or PIO card can apply for and get Indian visa through the procedure mentioned above.

Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days - a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders.

The Consular Passport and Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuing Indian visas to foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.

For more information check for The Netherlands http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/netherlands/

and for Belgium and Luxembourg http://in.vfsglobal.be/

Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The Embassy/High Commission/Consulate reserves the right on granting and deciding the type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making the application. The granting of a visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities.

Conference Visa
For the duration of the conference or seminar Letter of invitation from the organiser of the conference.

Medical Visa
Upto one year or the period of medical treatment whichever is less. Visa can be granted to Attendant who is a blood relation to the patient and is co-terminus with the Medical Visa. Documents from registered medical institutions/ doctors supporting the need for medical treatment along with letters from Indian medical institution.

Visa on Arrival
Only for citizens of Finland, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.

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