Access to India Information

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Domestic airlines
Indian Airlines (IC) network, spans the countrys 8,000 kilometers and covers all places of importance for business and tourism. This state-owned airline also flies to a few neighbouring countries (India's principal foreign air carrier is Air India).You can choose from a host of low fare packages offered by Indian Airlines.

Other domestic airlines
Liberalisation of the aviation sector has meant that a number of private airlines have been formed and are now competing with Indian Airlines.Private airlines too which fly to several important cities in the country. Some of the private airlines are: Damania, Jet Airways, Sahara, Archana Airways and Skyline NEPC among others.

The international airports of the metro cities (Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai) offer a range of services ensuring that the traveler on business can continue working while waiting to board an international connection, or when transferring between international flights. These include restaurants, business centers, rest rooms and handy telephone booths. Business centers are equipped with sate-of-the-art equipment including word processors and telefax. Airports also offer tourist duty free and handicrafts shopping; informal snack bars, nursery and baby care rooms, and even an art gallery. Duty free prices in the airport shops are very competitive, offering you bargains on international merchandise.

India has the world's most extensive railway network, both for long distances and intra-city commuting. The speed of Indian trains however is slow by Western standards. Except for a few super-fast' trains which are most often dot on time, the other trains often reach their destinations a few hours late. This however does not take away from their immense usefulness as a cheap and - with reservation - comfortable train journeys. Railway travel is also an excellent introducer to the people of India as most of them travel by trains. Long-distance railway travel is a superb illustrator of the geographical and demographic diversity of India. It is also very cheap in dollar terms. If you are not in a great hurry for an appointment with the prime minister, forget air travel and go for the trains, but this requires you to make your reservation well in advance. You can do this through any good travel agency.

Most good long-distance trains have their own kitchens. Use their services. Avoid buying food from hawkers or stalls at railway stations. Insist on bottled drinking water even from the railway catering services. Or, play safe, and carry enough bottled water yourself.

Intra-city commuting is quickest by suburban trains. These trains operate at a frequency of every few minutes. But they are almost always over-crowded during peak hours. Foreigners will be in for some delightfully rude shocks if they use suburban trains for intra-city commuting. Many foreigners therefore choose to use taxis to reach their places of business appointments while using the suburban railway for 'experience.' The only exception is the highly efficient Calcutta Metro (Underground) railway in which one can travel comfortably and quickly even during peak hours. Mass rapid transport systems have been planned for the big cities.

Unless it is for experience, avoid the local public bus services.Use taxis or rented cars. Avoid driving yourself. Indian roads can be dangerous if you are not accustomed to them. In addition to human beings walking as if on a suicide mission, motorists also have to encounter stray cows and dogs, some of whom might be having a snooze right in the middle of a busy road even in the capital city of Delhi.

Privately-operated bus services are far better for inter-city travel than the government services. But any bus journey of more than six hours can be trying. Go for inter-city bu

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