India: Useful Facts and Information. (Geographical Special Promotion)

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Getting there

British Airways (0845 77 333 77, www.britishairways.com) has daily services to Delhi and Mumbai and twice-weekly services to Mumbai and Calcutta. Virgin Atlantic (01293 450 150, www.virgin-atlantic.com) flies directly to Delhi. Air India (020 8560 9996), www.airindia.com) flies to destinations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh via Delhi or Mumbai.

Visa requirements

All foreign nationals need a visa to enter India; applications must be accompanied by a passport valid for at least six months. Visas can be obtained from the High Commission of India, India House, Aldwych, London (020 7836 8484, www.hcilondon.net) or from the Indian consulates in Birmingham (0121 212 2782, cgi@congend.fsnet.co.uk) and Edinburgh (0131 229 2144, www.consulategeneral ofindia-edinburgh.org).

Health

Most visitors aren't required to be inoculated, but vaccinations against meningitis, typhoid and hepatitis A are recommended, as are boosters for tetanus and polio. Visitors originating in Africa, South America and Papua New Guinea must have a yellow fever certificate. Make sure to consult your GP before travelling.

Tourist office

The India Tourist Office (020 7437 3677, www.indiatouristoffice.com) can advise on accommodation and travel. In India, the International Tourist Bureau, located at New Delhi railway station, is open 7.30am-5pm every day except Sunday and is able to offer a wide range of services to tourists (+91 11 373 4164, www.indianrailways.com).

Online sources of information

To find out more about southern India's history, culture and attractions visit the state-specific websites below:

* www.travel-kerala.com

* www.travel-tamilnadu.com

* www.travel-karnataka.com

* www.travel-andhrapredesh.com

Recommended reading

* Lonely Planet's Southern India

* No full stops in India by Mark Tully

* The Wonder that was India by AL Basham

* The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Booker Prize, 1997)

* A History of India by Hermann Kulke

Climate and geography

India has a generally hot tropical climate, although with considerable variations depending on the region. Southwest India experiences its most pleasant weather from November to March. The monsoon season stretches from late April to July. …