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Travel Guide > Asia > India

India Good to Know

  
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Addresses

If you need to get anywhere, call in advance and ask for detailed directions. Postal addresses are often stated in terms of other landmarks, as in "Opp. Prithvi theatre" or "Behind Maruti Showroom", etc. Unlike the western system of address, the Indian system uses municipal ward number, plot number, house number, land mark and the location instead of street name and block number. Finding a place will usually involve some searching, but you will always find someone out on the streets to guide you. Unlike many other countries, Indians usually do ask passers-by, nearby shopkeepers or cops for guidance on street addresses. It is usually safe to ask a cop or traffic-policeman for guidance.

Communications

Phone

The country code for India is 91. India is then divided into area codes, known locally as STD codes. See individual city guides for the area codes.

In acronym-happy India, a phone booth is known as a PCO (Public Call Office) and they usually offer STD/ISD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing/International Subscriber Dialing), or national and international long distance respectively. These are usually staffed, and you dial yourself but pay to the attendant after the call is over. Metering is done per pulse and a service charge of Rs 2 is added to the bill. Larger cities also have Western-style unmanned public phones, which are usually red in colour and accept one rupee coins.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5 to 8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9'. The following table explains how to dial:

Toll-free numbers start with 1-800 , but are usually operator-dependent: you can't call a BSNL/MTNL toll-free number from an Airtel landline, and vice versa. Often, the numbers may not work from your cellular phone. Other National Numbers that starts with 18xx or 19xx may attract special charges.

To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00. E.g a US number will be dialed as 00-1-555-555-5555. Calling the USA/Canada/UK over the normal telephone line will cost you about Rs. 7.20 per minute. Calls to other countries, particularly to the Middle East, can be more expensive.

Mobile

India uses both GSM and CDMA and mobile phones are widely available, starting from Rs. 500. (3G networks are only starting to be rolled out.) Major operators with India-wide networks include Uninor,Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular Reliance,Vodafone,TATA DOCOMO,BSNL. Local calls cost as little as Re. 0.50 per minute, although going to a different state within India is considered roaming and additional charges of Rs. 1-3/min for both incoming and outgoing calls may apply. International calls are comparatively cheap, with most destinations under Rs.10/min, the same as you'd pay at a PCO booth.

Fully loaded prepaid starter kits are available for around Rs. 500, including several hundred rupees of call time. You will need identification and a passport photo, although some shops will also insist on a local address in India; try the next one if they're not accommodating.

Beware that talk time (unexpired minutes of talk time) and validity (the date that the SIM card expires) are considered separate and you have to keep both topped up, or otherwise you may find the Rs.500 you just recharged disappearing in a puff of smoke when the one-month validity expires. Usually, when you extend the validity, you will also get extra minutes but you can buy minutes for less without extending the validity.

Internet

Internet kiosks are everywhere nowadays and they charge as low as as Rs. 10 to 20 per hour (the cost being a compromise for speed). Beware of using your credit cards online as many cases have come forward regarding credit cards thefts using keyloggers. More reliable chains include Reliance World (formerly Reliance Web World) and Sify iWay.

Calling overseas is also very cheap if you use the many booths that advertise Net2Phone service. The quality ranges from tolerable to excellent, and the price is very good, with calls to the USA ranging from Rs. 2 to Rs. 5 per minute.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around Rs. 60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. Most Cafe Coffee Day and Barista stores in the larger cities offer free wifi. This often comes with a cover charge, which may be used on the coffee/drinks/snacks.

Most internet users in India do not rely on wifi too much. GPRS datacards/USB modems are widely used, but these require signing contracts with operators and thus not a practical option for short-term visitors without a residential address in India. The better companies such as Airtel (GSM) and Tata indicom (CDMA) do not rent datacards, which means that you have to buy them outright. Reliance charges Rs 650 per month (1GB downloading free, Rs2/mb) for a datacard/USB modem. The cheap price also means a 256kbps connection, by the way.

Essential Places in India

Bank/ATM State Bank of Mysore ATM
in Mysore
Bank/ATM HDFC Bank ATM
in Mysore
 
Bank/ATM Axis Bank ATM
in Mysore
Bank/ATM Syndicate Bank ATM
in Mysore
 
Moneychanger Andhra Bank
in Mysore
Moneychanger State Bank of India
in Mysore
 
Moneychanger Bank of Baroda
in Mysore
Moneychanger Indian Overseas Bank
in Mysore
 
Moneychanger Canara Bank
in Mysore
Moneychanger Weizmann Forex Limited
in Mysore
 
These are just 10 of 26 Essential Places in India. Show more.




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