It’s illegal to bring Rupees in to India, so your best starting point is to change money from Sterling/Euros to Rupees at one of the bureau de change at your arrival airport.
The climate in Rajasthan varies significantly depending on your location. Much of the State has a desert climate, meaning that in summer it is hot and dry, with mild evenings. In winter, nighttime temperatures can drop significantly, making items of warm clothing a must.
As you travel around India you will certainly see that in tourism, people make it as easy as possible for you to spend money! Most restaurants and tourist shops will accept major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
As in most countries, possession of most drugs in India is a criminal offence carrying up to a 10 year prison sentence. This being said, drugs are often part of religious ceremonies here, such as the opium tea ceremony performed by the Brahmins of the Bishnoi, and the smoking of marijuana in the holy city of Pushkar.
The Indian electricity network operates on 220v at 50hz, and is comparable with Europe. Most places will have sockets which cover a multitude of plugs - including the two or three pin European versions, but not standard UK plugs. It’s best to bring adaptors with you as they might not be easy to find once you are here.
Embassies and Consultates are there to provide assistance to citizens from their respective countries in the event of a serious problem. In general, this means run-ins with the police, losing your passport, serious illness or worse.
There is little to no censorship of the internet in India and therefore sites like GayRomeo, Gaydar, Manjam, etc are freely accessible. However, due to the limited gay scene and general social conventions here, you might not find a huge number of local people online.
Homosexuality in India is both a contentious and somewhat taboo subject. Until the end of 2009, homosexuality, or at least homosexual intercourse was illegal in India, despite ongoing campaigns from groups in the more cosmopolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.
Highspeed wired internet access and wifi is available in most medium to large size hotels and guesthouses, but of course chargeable as an extra. The price will vary depending on the accommodation and can range from nominal to astronomical, but does provide the safety of using your own laptop.
India has a quite modern healthcare system, which means that most western medications are available - although potentially not under the brand name you might be used to. For medication that you use regularly, find out the active ingredients as this will help the pharmacist locate exactly what you need.
Nightlife in Rajasthan is definitely more sober than in Europe, but that’s not to say that there isn’t fun to be had.
One of the greatest things about Rajasthan is the inherent feeling of safety, wherever you go. Unlike other areas of India, Rajasthan remains conflict free - Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs live in and amongst each other in harmony.
There are a number of very common scams that tourists encounter when visiting any part of India - most offering a cut of a very lucrative business deal.
So, you’ve found the perfect piece of furniture, or a stunning piece of artwork. Not to be missed - but too large for your suitcase?
There is no strict convention on tipping like in many places (particularly the USA) and so you should use your own discretion.
In India, the term “Hijra” refers to what is know as the third gender - males (or sometimes females) who dress and behave like the opposite sex, or those of intersex gender. Strangely enough, even though this third gender features regularly in Indian history and culture, it is still one of the lowest and most undesirable castes.
Because the health risks vary from season to season, and from location to location, we suggest that you contact your GP, or local travel clinic to establish which vaccinations you actually need. It’s worth bearing in mind that some immunisations need to be taken a minimum amount of time before you leave.
All tourists require a visa to visit India and this is usually issued at the Indian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission in the country in which you are resident. If you are applying from a country outside your country of origin (the country who’s citizenship you hold), you must have been resident in that other country for a minimum of two years.