ABOUT THE CITY
Delhi is a major cultural, political, and commercial center of India. Owing to the migration of people from across the country, Delhi has grown to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid development and urbanization, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed Delhi.
Delhi is India’s main point of arrival, and the major transport hub for destinations in the states of Rajasthan, the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh as well as central north India. Delhi city, the showcase of India, has been the center of political activity from time immemorial. The ancient fortress, majestic buildings and historic ruins find their modern counterparts in the tall skyscrapers, diplomatic enclaves and well-planned townships of New Delhi.
You will discover Delhi is the symbol of old India and new. It is just not a city but it is a book– a book which narrates the history of India. The city was built and destroyed seven times and has been witness to the various events which has brought India through the history books. While you live here you will find the people, their lifestyles, traditions and even the climate are a rich and varied mixture of all that is India.
Delhi is a cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system, and expanding economy. There are more than 160 embassies and an ever-growing expatriate population. Delhi is the second-largest metropolis in India after Mumbai (formerly Bombay) with a population of 13 million
Delhi is an important commercial center in South Asia. Delhi’s service sector has expanded due in part to the large skilled English-speaking workforce that has attracted many multinational companies. Key service industries include information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism.
Telephone & Internet
Telephone service is adequate to excellent in the cities, but may not be as reliable in rural areas. Service has expanded and improved in recent years, but heavy workloads for technicians may cause delays in repairs and installations. During the rainy season, landline service to remote areas often is interrupted. Mobile cellular service is also provided in the major cities.
Human habitation was probably present in and around Delhi during the second millennium BCE and before, as evidenced by archeological relics. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Settlements grew from the time of the Mauryan Empire (c. 300 BC). Remains of seven major cities have been discovered in Delhi.
Time Zone & Electricity
The definition for time zones can be written in short form as UTC±n (or GMT±n), where n is the offset in hours. Here is an example given the local time in Delhi and New York City at 12:00 UTC when daylight saving time is not in effect:
The weather in Delhi can be quite extreme. During the summer months (May, June and July) temperatures can rise up to 48 C (114 F). The days are hot and often accompanied by dust storms, thus making Delhi very dusty. Although the humidity is generally low there is still a dry heat which means that most activities take place indoors.
Population (2005 Est.) 13,850,507
Area 572.59 sq mi (1,483 km²)
Elevation 784 ft. (239 m)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
– Postal 110 xxx
– Telephone 011
– Vehicle DL-xx
The water supply in Delhi is managed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). With falling groundwater level and rising population density, Delhi faces severely acute water shortage. Delhi daily produces 8000 tons of solid wastes which is dumped at three landfill sites by MCD. The daily domestic waste water production is 470 MGD and industrial waste water is 70 MGD.
Driving in India is not for the fainthearted. All manner of vehicles, animals, and other obstacles share the roadways. The unwritten rule of traffic is that smaller yields to bigger. Thus, vehicles have right-of-way over pedestrians, and bigger vehicles have right-of-way over smaller ones. However, another unwritten rule is that the one who has the most to lose will yield.
Public transport in Delhi is provided by buses, auto rickshaws, a rapid transit system, taxis and suburban railways. Buses are the most popular means of transport catering to about 60% of the total demand. The state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is a major bus service provider for the city. As of 2007, the metro operates three lines with a total length of 65 km (40 miles) and 59 stations while several other lines are under construction. Private vehicles account for 30% of the total demand for transport.
Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport is a major gateway to India. Located in the national capital, Delhi, it is a vital link between India and rest of the globe. The airport is situated around 20 km (12 miles) southwest of the city center.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Delhi is the visibility of its historic past. Some of the large portions of the city could be well earmarked as archeological parks because the rulers of successive dynasties between the 13th and the 17th centuries established seven cities in different parts of Delhi.
Sankar’s International Dolls Museum was founded in 1954. More than 6000 Variety representing almost 85 countries of the world are on display in the museum. Dolls of Japan deserves special mention.
Like the rest of India, cricket is a popular sport in the city. There are several cricket grounds (locally known as maidan) across Delhi. The Delhi cricket team represents Delhi in the Ranji Trophy, a domestic first-class cricket championship played between different city and states of India. The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, one of the oldest cricket grounds in India to be granted international status, is situated in Delhi. Other sports such as field hockey, Football (soccer), tennis, golf, badminton, swimming, kart racing, weightlifting and table tennis are also played.
Delhi has hosted several domestic and international sporting events such as the First and the Ninth Asian Games. Sports facilities in the city include the Jawharlal Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. Delhi will be the site for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the largest multi-sport event ever held in the city. It is also bidding for the 2014 Asian Games and 2016 Olympic Games.
India is a shopper’s paradise. Delhi markets specialize in carpets, handicrafts, jewelry, readymade garments and leather goods. It’s best to buy goods only from the more established shops and official Indian Government outlets. Asking for a discount is part of the shopping experience – you might be lucky and the shopkeepers may oblige. Otherwise the prices are more or less fixed at most places. Remember, it’s a game you should both enjoy and if you get “swindled”, you are contributing to the local economy! At Connaught place, Meena bazaar, Palika bazaar and other shopping centers, bargaining is necessary. Begin by quoting half of whatever the vendor quotes.
Most expatriates send their children to international schools, where learning a local language is optional. In the major cities, there are a number of international schools accredited by international educational organizations, such as The Council of International Schools (CIS), the U.S.-based Middle States Association (MSA), and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
There are also many excellent English-language private schools. Most schools’ curricula are based on the English language, although a number of United Kingdom-affiliated schools offer Hindi as a second language.
In Mumbai, most children of English-speaking nationalities attend the American School of Bombay. There are also several other international schools catering to students of German, Russian, and French nationality. The American Embassy School in New Delhi accepts students of all nationalities.
The English Medium Indian Schools, where a local curriculum is taught in English, such as Modern School and Delhi Public School, is an option worth considering for secondary students. Some schools offer the possibility of on-campus dormitories for boarding students. Many of the most desirable schools have waiting lists; it is advisable to contact prospective schools as soon as transfer arrangements are decided.
Students applying for admission in upper grades are required to complete pre-admission examinations at some schools. Students can participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities on campus, such as chess and film clubs, sports teams, debating, and dance societies. Transportation usually can be arranged.
Most young children are cared for at home by nannies, or ayah. Early education and kindergarten classes are offered at some international and private schools.
The Council of International Schools (CIS)
International Baccalaureate Organization
Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges
American Embassy School
Department of State/AES
9000 New Delhi Place
Washington, D.C. 20521-9000
Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi-110 021, India
Delhi Public School
New Delhi -110 070
Banks, Office and most shopping areas remains closed on Sunday. Sometimes within the same city different markets close on different weekdays, it may be wise to check from the Hotel before you set out.
Shops usually remain open 9.30 am to 7.00 pm (small tourist shops may close much later) and offices from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.
Many offices observe Saturdays as holidays the Indian calendar is full of festivals and religious holidays. Should one happen to be in India on any such day it is advisable to participate in the festivities, possibly with the help of a guide.
Currency & Banking
1 USD equals about Rs. 43.8600
The unit of the Indian currency is the Rupee. The origin of the word “rupee” is found in a Sanskrit word which means “silver” in many Indo-Aryan languages such as Urdu. The unit of currency is divided into 100 PAISE. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees. Coins are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 25 and 50 Paise. There are also coins with denominations of 1, 2 and 5 Rupees.
The usual banking hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays. Besides the Indian banks, several international banks including Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation operate in major metros. Most have 24-hour ATMs. Money transfers through these banks are also easy.
The cuisine of India is extremely diverse, as ingredients, spices and cooking methods vary from region to region. Rice and wheat are the nation’s main staple foods. The country is notable for its wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine. Spicy food and sweets are popular in India.
Indian cuisine differs from region to region .There is Mughlai food, Tandoor (bar-be-que in clay Oven), South Indian food. For people in the north wheat is the staple, while it is rice in south India. The waiters can be told to make it less spicy.
Embassies & Visas
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
U.S. citizens require a passport and visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Visitors must obtain visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to entering the country as there are no provisions for visas upon arrival. Those arriving without a visa are subject to immediate deportation. Each visitor should carry photocopies of the face page of the traveler’s U.S. passport and the page which contains the Indian visa in order to facilitate obtaining new passports from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and exit visas from the Indian government, in the event of theft or loss of the passport. For the most current information on entry and exit requirements for United States citizens, visit the website listed above.
US Embassy in New Delhi
New Delhi – 110021
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 920
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 516-2000 (not toll-free)
Phone service available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm (EST) M-F
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office serving India is located in Philadelphia, and provides U.S. Federal tax assistance to Americans in India.
The IRS Home Page, www.irs.gov, has a lot of information available to answer many questions. Go to ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Overseas Taxpayers’ you will find a section of FAQ, which will take you to IRS Publication 54. Many questions of overseas taxpayers can be answered from that source.
US citizens’ income tax liabilities are based on worldwide income, so you’re still responsible to pay the IRS on income earned in India or other countries. You do get an $80,000 dollar exemption on money you earn overseas, so the tax burden will be significantly lower. In some countries, you can get foreign tax credits, but that’s only useful if the country you’re in has a higher tax rate than the US.
Men are generally expected to wear a suit and tie for business, although the jacket may be removed in the summer. Women should wear conservative dresses or pantsuits.
When dressing casual, short-sleeved shirts and long pants are preferred for men; shorts are acceptable only when exercising. Women must keep their upper arms, chest, back, and legs covered at all times.
Women should wear long pants when exercising.
The use of leather products including belts or handbags may be considered offensive, especially in temples. Hindus revere cows and do not use leather products.
The head is considered the seat of the soul. Never touch someone else’s head, not even to pat the hair of a child.
Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger can be construed as in insult. Standing with your hands on your hips will be interpreted as an angry, aggressive posture.
Adequate to excellent private health care is available in Delhi and other major cities. Those who can afford to pay have access to well-equipped, modern facilities and highly-trained staff. In the more rural parts of the country, medical care is limited. Private health care is widely available and used by expatriates. However, visitors should consider returning home for conditions requiring highly specialized or lengthy treatment.
U.S. medical insurance policies are not always valid in India. Before departure, check whether you will need supplemental health insurance that specifically covers overseas treatment and keep copies of your policy documents with you. There is no government health insurance in India for which long-term residents are eligible. It is recommended that you have health insurance coverage that covers treatment and health emergencies, including medical evacuation.
The Indian Postal Service provides high quality services for delivery of mail, parcels, and related services. India has the largest postal network in the world. It also caters to specific mailing needs through Speed Post, Express Post, Satellite Mail, Gift Services etc. Delivery of mail takes between two to five days, depending on the final destination.