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Shimla, India Hotels and City Guide

Shimla Hotels and Shimla Guide with Shimla maps, top attractions, room reservations and hotel deals at a wide range of the best Shimla hotels

Shimla - Travel Tips

Shimla Travel Tips

Visas

Foreign nationals require a valid passport to enter India. All travellers must obtain a visa from an Indian diplomatic mission to gain entry. Tourist visas can be valid up to six months, while business visas can be valid up to five years (with a multiple entry provision). Foreign nationals require an employment entry visa to work in India. They must also obtain a residential permit from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office at Hans Bhawan, 1st Floor, Bhahadurshah Zafar Marg.
Telephone: 331 9781

Currency

The Indian rupee is the local currency and is divided into 100 paise. Notes are available in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Coins are in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, rupees and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 paise. If a damaged or dirty note is given, insist on having it exchanged for a newer note. Carrying a moderate supply of small bills will be handy as most shops don’t have adequate change. Be vigilant for counterfeit notes as they are common.

Credit Cards

Although major credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard, American Express and Mercard are accepted by large firms, it’s best to always carry Indian currency. Cash advances can be taken in Indian rupees using credit cards.

Health Risks

Eating contaminated food or drinking unclean water can result in typhoid, gastroenteritis, cholera or jaundice. Drink only boiled water or sealed bottled mineral water. Visitors who have travelled across Africa or Papua New Guinea six days prior to arriving in India are required to have a yellow fever inoculation certificate. Those without it may be quarantined for up to six days.

Tipping

Top-class restaurants that don’t add a service charge to the bill can be usually tipped 10% of the bill. Small change is acceptable in modest restaurants. Taxi fares can be rounded off; more can be given for exceptional service.

Business Hours

• Public and private offices are open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Some may be open on Saturdays, but are closed on Sundays

• Shops are open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

• Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

• Banks are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and on Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The State Bank of India at the airport and the Central Bank at Ashok Hotel are open 24-hours

• Restaurants are open until around 11:00 pm, while discos and nightclubs usually close in the early hours of the following morning

Clothing

It’s recommended to dress formally for business meetings, although casual outfits are accepted. A long-sleeved shirt with a tie and jacket are suitable for men, while long skirts, sari or salwar kameez are accepted as the normal attire for women.
As the temperature can suddenly drop below the freezing point, heavy woollen clothing is recommended when visiting Shimla during winter. Light cotton or woollen clothing is suitable to be worn during the summer months as the temperature is mild. April to October is the ideal time to visit.

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz; 2-pin round sockets are available. Sensitive electronic equipment must be safeguarded against regular power failures.

Holidays 2005

Jan 21 Idu’z Zuha / Bakrid (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Jan 26 Republic Day
Feb 10 Muharram (Islamic New Year)
Mar 8 Mahavir Jayanthi
Mar 25 Holi; Good Friday
Apr 18 Sri Rama Navami (Birthday of Sri Rama)
May 23 Buddha Purnima
Aug 15 Independence Day
Oct 2 Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday
Oct 12 Vijaya Dasami / Dussera
Nov 1 Diwali
Nov 3-5 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Nov 26 Guru Nanak’s Birthday
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Things to Remember

• Foreigners hoping to overstay must inform the Sadar Police Station or the closest Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office.

• State hospitals can be found at Recong Peo, Keylong and Kaza, while dispensaries are located in other places.

• Sun-screen lotion and prescription medication should be taken along.

• Information and guide maps can be obtained from the Himachal Tourism Office.

• It’s recommended to check on general road conditions when planning a trip, to make sure that high passes are open to vehicles.

• Only some refilling stations have unleaded petrol

• If travelling to Spiti, Kinnaur and Lahaul refilling stations along the route can be found at Shimla, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur, Powari, Recong Peo, Kaza, Keylong, Manali and Sarchu.

• Additional fuel and necessary spares must be carried if driving. Sturdy jeeps / gypsy and four-wheel drive vehicles are suggested to navigate the sometimes rugged high mountain terrain.

• Good health is vital if crossing high mountain passes.

• It’s recommended to use pre-paid auto-rickshaws or taxis with a metre, and if it’s not displayed, you must request for a fare chart.

• Use only guest houses / hotels registered with the Department of Tourism in India.

• The porter charges are usually fixed at major tourist centres. When hiring pack animals and porters for treks, charges should be negotiated.

• Products are reasonably priced and quality is guaranteed when shopping at government outlets. ‘Himachal Emporium’ shops are situated at Bilaspur, Dharamsala, Jwalamukhi, Palampur, Recong Peo, Bhabanagar, Mandi, Kullu, Manali, Keylong, Nahan, Arki, Shimla, Solan, New Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Chamdigarh, and Chamba. Items can also be purchased directly from craftsmen located throughout Himachal.

• Litter must be carefully disposed; plastic bags are banned in Himachal.

• Local customs and traditions must be observed, especially when visiting religious sites.

Don'ts

• Don’t be influenced by strangers, touts, taxi drivers and guides to shop.

• Don’t be enticed into sightseeing by strangers or touts. Tours can be arranged by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Department of Tourism, approved travel agents, tour operators or your hotel.

• Don’t purchase antiques to be exported; exporting over hundred year old antiques is banned.

• Don’t purchase products made from endangered or rare species, or protected animals.

• Non-biodegradable items should not be left behind.

• Beggars must not be encouraged.

Foreigners visiting Kinnaur and Spiti can obtain permits from:
• Deputy Commissioner, Shimla 171001
Telephone: 0177 2651201 / 4 or 0177 2653535

• Additional District Magistrate, Shimla 171001
Telephone: 0177 2657005

• Sub Divisional Magistrate, Urban, Shimla 171001
Telephone: 0177 2657007

• Sub Divisional Magistrate, Rural, Shimla 171001
Telephone: 0177 2657009





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