A first timer’s guide to visiting India

Discovering India is one of the world’s great travel adventures but it pays to be prepared – especially if you’re visiting this incredible country for the first time…

1. How hot is India?

The temperature should be very pleasant if you’re travelling to India in late autumn or early in the new year, with a daytime average of between 15 and 25C, cooling to around 5 to 10C in the evenings.

2. Do I need a visa?

Yes, UK passport holders do need a visa to visit India and fortunately it’s now possible to apply for an e-visa online. Visit indianvisaonline.gov.in for more information.

** Our exclusive Marigold Hotel tour of India includes a visit to the Taj Mahal, exclusive talk from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel author Deborah Moggarch, a night at the real hotel – and lots more! See the details **

3. Do I need to get special vaccinations before I travel?

There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to India. However, you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. Malaria is present in some parts of India, so we recommend seeking advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.

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4. What should I wear in India?

Opt for long and loose clothing, preferably in cotton or linen fabrics. Anything tight-fitting or skimpy will unfortunately encourage unwanted attention, and you’ll need to keep knees and shoulders covered in sacred/religious locations anyway.

Keep it cool and covered (Alamy)

A pair of linen trousers with a long, loose top will be perfect – plus a light scarf to cover your head if you’re heading to temples or mosques. Keep footwear comfortable – sandals or light trainers are ideal.

** Discover Kerala’s beautiful coastline, fragrant spice gardens and tea plantations on our new 13-day holiday in South India – with tours of Mumbai and Cochin, a traditional houseboat cruise, beautiful boutique hotels, and a cooking lesson in Alleppey. See the details **

5. Do I need a plug adapter or voltage convertor?

The voltage in India is 220 volts, alternating at 50 cycles (Hertz) per second. This is the same as, or similar to, most countries in the world including the United Kingdom, Australia and mainland Europe.

So if you’re travelling from the UK (or other countries that use 220-240 volt electricity) you will only need a plug adapter to use your electrical appliances in India.

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6. How do I stay healthy in India, and avoid the dreaded ‘Delhi Belly’?

While travelling in India it’s always best to follow this simple advice: drink bottled or boiled water; stick with hot, freshly cooked food and peelable fruit; wash your hands and use anti-bacterial hand gel, especially at mealtimes.

On our Real Marigold Hotel Tour of India, we will dine at some of our travel experts’ personally-selected local restaurants, as well as hotel restaurants, where the standards are high.

7. What time zone is India in?

The India time zone is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) +5.5 hours and is referred to as Indian Standard Time (IST). Surprisingly, there is only one time zone across the whole of India. Also, changes to Daylight Saving Time don’t apply in India.

In general (and without factoring in any changes made by Daylight Saving Time), the time in India is 5.5 hours ahead of the UK, 12.5 hours ahead of the west coast of the United States, 9.5 hours ahead of the east coast and and 4.5 hours behind Australia.