Top Questions for India


CHATHAM HALL IN INDIA: MARCH 12-24, 2017

Top Questions

What Kind of Documentation Will I Need to Enter India?

Citizens of the USA and nearly all other countries require a tourist visa, issued in advance, in order to visit India. This is a straightforward, easy process.
Ms. Waters will work to coordinate the securing of all visas at once. She will send all passports to ABC1 Visa Services of Washington DC, and ABC1 will obtain all visas from the Indian Embassy. Once you have registered for this program, Ms. Waters will let you know a date on which she’ll need to collect your passport.


What Medical Precautions Should I Take Before Departing for India?
In India, our accommodation, transport, and meals will be of an international standard. For this reason, your possibility of encountering disease is very low. We suggest that you consult your physician regarding your personal medical history. Chatham Hall and Alterra defer to your physician's decisions about vaccinations and the extent to which you’d like take them for this program and for future international travel. If you choose to take vaccinations, the Chatham Hall Health Care Staff will happily facilitate.


Where May I Obtain Medications and Medical Care during the Trip?
In India, many pharmacies remain open until 6:00 PM. Our hotel manager will point out local options to you. If you require emergency or inpatient care, Alterra’s in-country team will recommend from a list of Western-standard hospitals used by our colleagues at the US Embassy School and in the US diplomatic service. Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra all have such world-class facilities. Our team and your hotel manager will help arrange your visit to the pharmacy, clinic, or hospital - and/or will contact the own on-call physician, based on your expressed needs.


What about Flight Check-In at Washington Dulles International Airport?
Our flight departs Washington on Sunday, March 12 in the mid-afternoon, allowing us plenty of time for the transfer from campus that morning. The flight’s destination will be Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Chatham Hall and Alterra recommend that the group be at the ticket counter three hours ahead of flight time. We anticipate a morning arrival into Washington Dulles on Friday, March 24, and we will update these FAQs as soon as we have a confirmed airline selection.


Who Will Meet Us At The Airport in Delhi?
On arrival in Delhi, we’ll proceed through immigration and customs, and then move to claim our bags. Next, we will proceed through directly to the arrivals area. Karan Kohli will be there to offer a warm Indian welcome; Karan is an in-country program manager affiliated with Alterra. He will escort us to our hotel, and will remain with us throughout our stay in northern India. 

 

What Type Of Clothing Will I Need, and What Is the Weather Like in India?
We can expect a mix of sun and rain, with emphasis on sun! The weather is likely to be hot during our stay.
Our clothing suggestions are:

  • T-shirts, sweatshirts, old jeans, shorts, etc. for community service.

  •  One set of "smart casual" wear (e.g., for our school collaborations).

  •  Light, long-sleeve shirt for temple visits and cooler-weather days.

  •  Hat, for protection from the sun.

  •  Sunscreen, sunglasses, and umbrella.

  •  Light jacket for possibly cool early mornings and evenings.

Importantly, do not over-pack! Each hotel will offer laundering, dry cleaning, or pressing for a modest fee. In our view, making use of this service once or twice during the trip is preferable to lugging oversized bags and paying unnecessary airline baggage fees.

 

Is the Water Safe To Drink?

Our hotels will be Western-standard, international-class. Therefore, the taps will be safe for teeth-brushing and showering. This said, all hotels will offer bottled water in our rooms; we suggest that you take advantage of this rather than using the taps for drinking. Bottled and spring water will be readily available for us everywhere, including on the bus, at our service sites, and elsewhere.


What Type Of Food Will I Be Eating?
Breakfast at the hotels will consist of assorted fresh fruit, cereals, yogurts, home-made jams with preserves, tea, coffee, fruit juices, and sausage or bacon with eggs to order. Lunches will be catered daily at the service sites, and will consist of typical Indian fare; this features a range of items from vegetarian to chicken-and-rice dishes, et cetera. Dinners will be a mix of traditional Indian fare, vegetarian specialties, and Western options.


What about Electrical Power?
Power is supplied at 220 volts, operating at 50 cycles per second. You’ll want to plan ahead, making sure to bring an adaptor and power converter with you. A limited supply of these adaptors and converters may also be available at hotel reception.


How about internet access?
Each of our hotels offers reliable wireless access, of course. So if you bring a laptop or tablet with you, you may open your browser in your room or in the hotel’s public areas. We recommend devoting a bit of time each evening at the hotel for posting to the India program blog and communication with friends and family back home.


How Safe Are the Cities for the Overseas Visitor?
For the overseas visitor, India is a safe and comfortable destination. You should feel free at all times to interact with local residents and participate fully in this unique service-learning experience - in the knowledge that that you and your belongings are secure. You will be guests of several local schools and communities; they are happy to have you among them and will embrace you as if you are family. In India, as elsewhere of course, common sense should prevail.


What Should I Know About Access to Money?
The Indian currency is the "rupee". As of this writing, in late July 2016, it is trading at 67 rupees to the US dollar. Locally purchased items, including gifts and meals, are considered to be relatively good value for US citizens and other dollar-earners. You may acquire rupees at Citibank, Standard Chartered, and other banks’ ATM machines throughout Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur by using your credit card or debit card; it is most convenient for you to do so at Indira Gandhi International Airport or near our hotel. Making an ATM withdrawal is easily the most economical way to acquire rupees. Be sure to call your credit card issuer before departing for India, just in case they have an overseas limit, hold policy, or withdrawal ban. With such notification, you can waive any such limits, holds, or bans. Of course, the amount that you choose to take or withdraw will depend on your own personal spending needs.


What Is the Most Economical Way to Make a Phone Call?
We recommend using Skype or WhatsApp with family and friends back home. Of course it is free – as long as both parties have Skype enabled on their computers or mobile devices. This is by far the most economical option.


What Is the Contact Information for our Hotels?
In Delhi we will stay at the Country Inn by Carlson Saket: http://www.countryinns.com/new-delhi-hotel-in-110017/inddesk/
In Agra, near the Taj Mahal, we will stay at the Jaypee Palace: http://www.jaypeehotels.com/jaypee_palace/index.aspx
In Jaipur, we will stay at the Park Inn by Radisson: http://www.parkinn.com/hotel-jaipurin


For Pardada Pardadi’s lovely new guest house, where we’ll stay from March 15 until March 19, Chatham Hall and Alterra will supply the ideal guest-house staff contact prior to our departure for India. May Our Group Use the Hotel’s Public Areas for An Informal Meeting? Of course … Chatham Hall and Alterra will work with all 3 hotels to arrange reasonable accommodation for periodic informal group reflections.

 

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