The name ‘Gujarat’ is said to have been derived from the Prakrit Gujjar Ratta or Gujjar Rashtra – the land of Gujjars – a tribe that entered India with the Huns in ancient time and wandering through Punjab and Rajasthan, settled in western India. Even before the advent of the Aryans, Gujarat had trade links with the ancient civilisation of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and Egypt. The pre-Arayan Harappan culture survived here for over five centures after it was destroyed in Sind and Punjab. The ancient port of Lothal excavated recently has been identified as one of the most important centres of the 4500 years old Indus Valley Civilisation.
Important Destinations in West India
Taxis (cabs)/Auto Rickshaw (3 wheeler) are available from all hotels, and you negotiate the rate before commencing your journey. Use only authorised, properly identified taxis and buses. Avoid taxis that pick up additional passengers. Don’t accept an offer to share a taxi to your hotel unless you know the individual.
Be wary of imposter porters or guides. Assure they are properly uniformed or identified. Never leave your luggage, briefcase or other items unattended.
Train Journey: The image of the Indian Railways is rated poor with common complaints being making reservations is difficult or that the signage is only in Hindi. But the screaming need is for cleaning up the place or that it is just too dirty for comfort. Avoid traveling in the Second Class.
The voltage used is 220 volts (the U.S. uses 120 volts). You can purchase a converter at most hardware stores for appliances that do not switch to 220V.
Current Spikes are common in india so use a spike buster
There are some areas in India where malaria is still prevalent. Prior to your departure, get a prescription from your doctor for some anti malarial tablets.
Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village and you can buy medication. In case you need to see a doctor for a specific condition, ask for help from your hotel (most have doctors on call) or your tour operator. The cost of visiting a doctor is fairly low(less than a dollar) compared to western countries.
Do remember to bring some insect repellent, mosquito coils or even an electronic repellent. Mosquitoes in India can be fierce.
Avoid foods which have been laid out in the open, avoid sweets and candies from local markets.
Wash fruits before eating them.
Do carry sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.
Always respect religious shrines and places of worship, Some places require visitors to observe a decent dress code. Take care not to violate any taboos in a mosque or a temple.
Change currency only from official moneychangers. Remember to retain the currency Exchange receipts after each transaction. You will need them for re-exchange on departure.This are some of the big scams happening with international tourists …
you try to change currency unofficially as the touts and brokers promise to give a better exchange rate and as soon as they get hold of your money..they vanish into thin air
sometimes the police raid while you are exchanging the currency and you payoff the unscruplous cops to get out of it.
Tipping is a matter of personal discretion. Although bills normally include a service charge, it is customary to tip in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.
Photography is prohibited in places of military importance, railway stations, bridges, airports and military installations.
If ever you land in trouble, contact your Embassy and nearest Police Station.
*** In a Indian Police Station always speak with the Senior Inspector in Charge even if you have to wait couple of hours.
American Express, Master Charge, Visa and Diners Club credit cards are generally accepted by large establishments including hotels, shops, and airlines.
In case of complaints against taxi or auto rickshaw for overcharging or cheating, note down the number of the vehicle and lodge a report with Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic). you can get the Contact Phone Nos in Telephone Directory.