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Frequently Asked Questions


Question: do I need a visa for India and if so how do I get it?

Answer: India does require a visa to enter the country. There is an online service available that allows you to fill out all the required forms, receive an electronic confirmation and then just get your formal visa on arrival in India. Very safe, and very easy. You do of course need a current passport for this trip.

Question: will I have my own room?

Answer: all of the yoga travel alliance trips offer double occupancy rooming. You can either come with a friend or partner and share a room that way, or we will match you up with another traveler of the same gender for the journey.

Question: what are the bathrooms like?

Answer: all of the hotels and ashrams that we stay in have Western-style bathrooms including showers with hot water. As we move about in other parts of India on day trips or on trekking adventures, the bathrooms are sometimes Indian style, squat, toilets.

Question: what kind of food will we get while in India?

Answer: the vast majority of the food we will eat in India is vegetarian. Meat is relatively more difficult to get and we cannot always be sure of the quality of the meat. Rishikesh is entirely vegetarian, and there are no restaurants serving meat in the entire town. The vegetarian cuisine we will get is delicious, varied, and interesting. We will make sure that what you are presented with is clean, well prepared and safe for you to eat. So far no one who has traveled with us has gotten  :traveler’s belly”.

Question: what about tipping in India?

Answer: tipping in India is somewhat unusual although becoming more common. In restaurants we will typically tip about 10%. If you are doing the panchakarma, at the end of the treatment program you can tip the technician who has taken care of you 10 to 15%.

Question: how will we get around in India?

Answer: we will almost always travel by air conditioned car between cities and on our sightseeing expeditions. The cars will be driven by professional drivers who own and take great pride in the vehicles that they have. For shorter journeys in and around the towns we are in we may take pedicabs or tuk-tukks which are small motorized tricycles.

Question: what if my family or friends back home need to get in touch with me for an emergency?

Answer: we will provide you with multiple phone numbers that they will be able to use to reach you in the event of an emergency. David and Soni carry local Indian cell phones and can be reached at any time. We will also give you the names and addresses of the places where we will be staying over the course of the journey.

Question: do people there speak English?

Answer: many people speak at least some English in the places we are going around India. You will be able to communicate quite well using English, some hand gestures, and smiles with almost everyone you meet.

Question. is India very dirty?

Answer: Indian cities, just like any other city in the world, can be dirty. However, the hotels and ashrams that we stay in our very clean and well cared for. The ashram in Rishikesh  where we stay prides itself on being clean, green, and serene.

Question: is there medical care available?

Answer: Yes. India has world-class doctors throughout the country and very good medical facilities nearby to all of the places where we will be. Inside the ashram in Rishikesh there is actually a free clinic. Pharmacies, or chemists as they’re known in India, can fill almost any prescription that you have. Often times you don’t even need the prescription, just the name of the drug.

Question: will my electrical devices work in India?

Answer: India uses 220 V power, instead of the 120 V power we have here in the US. Most modern appliances including iPads and iPods camera battery chargers and things of that sort support both voltages. Things like hair dryers will likely not support both voltages, but you don’t need those anyway.

Question: what shots will I need before going to India?

Answer: you should always consult your physician or travel clinic prior to taking a trip like this. Typically you will need tetanus, typhoid, and yellow fever inoculations. Additionally your physician may recommend malaria pills to be taken over the course of the trip. Hepatitis A and B are also recommended.

Question: what is the Indian money?

Answer: India uses the rupee or INR. The exchange rate will be around Rs.50 to one dollar.

Question: will I be safe in India?

Answer: yes! Everywhere we will be in India is very safe. Normal city precautions just as you would take while walking around Boston or New York should be observed in Delhi. Rishikesh and the small towns are extremely safe and you will be able to walk around and explore on your own with no worries.

Question what sort of clothing will I need in India?

Answer: none of the places we will be going require any level of fashion. The ashrams, the old markets and the villages are all super casual. Light comfortable cotton clothing is best for longer stays in any of these towns. Easy wash and dry materials are also particularly useful over the course of the trip.

When visiting temples or mosques, you should plan on dressing respectfully. This will generally include having your shoulders covered for women. Indian men virtually never wear shorts except to go swimming or river rafting. Up in the mountains, warm layers are what you will need.

Question: will I be able to get my clothes washed while in India?

Answer: yes. While staying in Rishikesh laundry service is available, or you can hand wash your clothes and hang them out to dry in the sun.

Question: what kind of shopping is available where we will be going?

Answer: in Delhi we will be staying in the old market known as Chandni Chowk. Here you will be able to find goods of all sorts from clothing to jewelry. We particularly enjoy the spice market. Also in Delhi is an amazing handicraft market called Dilli Haat. Here vendors from all over India come to display their unique products.

In Rishikesh and the other small towns we visit there is always shopping available. Clothing, handicrafts, artwork and other things will be available.

Question: what is Panchakarma?

Answer: It literally translates as five actions and is the ancient Ayurvedic detox process. There is also an internal cleanse which happens over the course of the week. The goal of the process is to completely detoxify the body the mind and the spirit. It can be quite intense but at the end of the process most people will feel 10 years younger. Over the one week process you will receive every day a one hour oil massage. You will also have steam treatments, eye treatments, nose treatments, and other treatments as prescribed by the doctor for your unique condition.

Question: will my cell phone work in India?

Answer: your cell phone will work, but you won’t want to use it. Indian telecom companies charge a fortune to connect back to your US based cell phone provider. There are wifi hot-spots in many places where you will have access to Skype,Facetime, etc to talk to people back home.

FAQ - Char Dham