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Visas for India

All visitors, except for nationals of Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, need a Visa to enter India. Get your Visa as soon as you have your travel planned.  We recommend the e-Tourist Visa because you can apply up to a year before entering India and it is valid for multiple entries. DO NOT choose the e-Conference Visa.  That is for government-sponsored conferences, and we cannot supply the MEA government letter of invitation.

The Indian Government e-Visa website is here:  https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

A private service that seems reputable is here:  https://www.indianimmigration.org.in/  They charge a Service Fee of $69 USD for normal processing (3 business days) plus the Government Fee which is based on your citizenship:

Government fee

Country you are a citizen of

Free

Indonesia, Kiribati

US$25

Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka

US$80

Australia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Canada, China (including Hong Kong, Macau), Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam

US$100

USA

Payment is processed via PayPal.  

Before applying, have ready:

  1. A photo (.jpg format) of the information page in your passport
  2. A recent photo of you which is square (same height and width) and meets their specifications (.jpg format)
  3. Arrival and departure dates, arrival airport location, and hotel where you will stay.


Hotels Near MRIIRS

The conference will be held at Manav Rachna International Institute of Research Studies, Faridabad, India, which is marked by a black rectangle on the map below.  This map is from Agoda.com, and shows the hotels in the area as price tags which indicate the price per night in US dollars.

The conference hotel is the Vivanta by Taj (which is marked by a "sold out" tag on the map), a 5-star hotel known for comfort and elegance.  Listed on hotel booking websites as $136 USD per night, APCDA guests have the very special price of $104 per night.  See reservation instructions below. A free shuttle bus will be available between this hotel and the conference venue. 

Other large hotels in the area include the Park Plaza Faridabad ($88, behind the $25 tag) and the Goldfinch ($63).  There are many OYO Hotels in the area (apartment houses with a few units converted to hotel rooms costing $45 to $20).  Some OYO locations are restricted to Indian citizens only.  Other relatively large hotels in the area are the Hotel Sewe Grand Faridabad ($41) and Vibe By The LaLiT ($47).  Please note that the prices refer to the locations marked on the map above and may differ when you try to reserve a room.  To reserve a room at any of these hotels, we recommend using Agoda.com.

Unfortunately, The Vivanta by Taj has another conference arriving on March 14.  But they will move our suitcases (and will transport you, if you wish) to the Ambassador Hotel in the Embassy section of New Delhi on March 14, so we can enjoy the tour on March 15.  The Ambassador Hotel is more centrally located, but slightly more expensive. Click here for more information about these hotels.

To reserve a room for the nights March 7  —  14 at INR 7250 (about $104 USD), click here.

To reserve a room for the nights March 14  —  16 at INR 9000 (about $128 USD), click here.

When you click on these links, you will see the reservation form at the right.  Click on "Adults" to change the number of people in the room and on Check In or Check Out to change these dates.  When your dates are within the ranges listed, the prices will decrease to the ones listed.  Note that the Ambassador charges an extra fee for breakfast for a second person (one person is INR 8000 and two people is INR 9000).  Taxes will be added to the price you pay.

Transport in India

The Indira Gandhi International Airport is on the south west side of Delhi, and our venue is on the south east side.  Depending on traffic, it could take as little as 50 minutes or as much as 2 hours or more to reach the conference venue.  Plan to arrive early.

An excellent article on transportation from the airport to your hotel is published by TripSavvy

Uber can be used in India, and there is also a local alternative to Uber called Ola.

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Historical and Cultural Sights in Northern India by Chavi Sharma

There are many historical and cultural places in the area around the 2020 conference in Faridabad, India. Some include fabulous food and shopping, too. Many of these fascinating sites are in Delhi, but others are in Agra, Jaipur and Amritsar. One popular tour visits the Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Here are some of the top tourist sites in Delhi:


Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

The golden-domed Gurudwara is the most important temple for Sikhs in Delhi. It has intricate carving and a healing pool with fish. The Gurudwara distributes sanctified water to devotees seeking its healing properties. Non-Sikhs are welcome. Visitors can listen to hymns from Granth Sahaib or take prasad, the Sikh equivalent to Communion. You also can visit the cooking area of the temple's free community kitchen. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is near Connaught Place (see below).

Qutub Minar

Its base is India's first Mosque, Quwwat ul-Islam Masjid. Its soaring 240 foot (73 meter) high tower of victory is made of sandstone. Building began in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi by the Mughals.

Humayun's Tomb

Is a 16th century garden tomb that inspired the design of the Taj Mahal, 100 years later. Humayun's Tomb is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage and the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent. The red sandstone and marble structure sits within a symmetrical square garden divided into four parts.


Swaminarayan Akshardham

Is a complex of Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality and architecture. There are a lot of things you can do in the complex. There is a great theme show, diorama and Imax presentation. The buildings are surrounded by a large garden for relaxation and enjoyment.

India Gate

Built in 1931 and designed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, India Gate is a 138-foot (42 meter), war memorial in the heart of New Delhi. It is reminiscent of Paris' Arc de Triomphe.


Lotus Temple

Is one of the most attractive temples in India and received several architectural awards. Inspired by the lotus, the national flower of India, it took 6 years to construct this temple.


Mughal Garden

Is the soul of the Presidential Palace. Sir Edwin Lutyens, the designer of gardens, finalized the design in 1917 but plantings were not begun until 1928. The gardens combine two different horticulture traditions: the Mughal style and the English flower garden.


Red Fort

Is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone. It was built as the palace of the first Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Its planning and design was the culmination of architectural development initiated in 1526 and refined by Shah Jahan with a fusion of four traditions namely: Persian, Timurid, Hindu and Islamic. The architectural style of the building and the design of the garden influenced the buildings and garden in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra, and the surrounding area.


Connaught Place

Is the largest commercial center of the region. Built in the early 20th century in Georgian-styled architecture, it was named after the Duke of Connaught and Stratheam. The center houses famous restaurants and bars, food chains and international brand stores.

Leaving Delhi and traveling to nearby cities, there are many other famous sights including:

Taj Mahal

Is one of World Heritage's most admired masterpieces. It is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India that was built between 1631 and 1648 in memory of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's favorite wife, who bore him 16 children. Those who are in a hurry can visit the Taj Mahal in an afternoon from our conference venue and see the Taj Mahal lit by the setting sun.


Fatehpur Sikri

Is an abandoned city that was built in the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar. It served as the capital of Mughal Empire for some ten years. Fatehpur Sikri is a complex of monuments and temples including the largest in India, Jama Masjid. Apparently, it was abandoned a few years after it was built due to lack of water.


Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind

This stunning palace is made of red and pink sandstone with marble trim. The sandstone is carved into a lacy pattern that allowed the women of the palace to see the world outside without being seen.


Amer Fort

Is a majestic fort in Amer, Rajasthan, the ancient capital of the Kachhawaha Rajputs. It stands on a mountain next to Maota Lake and contains a mix of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Much of Amer's current buildings were started or expanded during the reign of Raja Man Singh in the 1600s.

Jantar Mantar

Is an observatory constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur. It has 13 architectural astronomy instruments. The observatory helps predict the time and movements of the sun, moon and planets.



Amritsar Golden Temple

The Golden Temple in Amritsar opens its doors to millions of devotees irrespective of caste, creed, community, race, gender or ethnicity. It is a mesh of sublime peace, utter religious tolerance, outstanding natural beauty and enormous faith and belief in God. It was founded by the fourth guru Ram Das in the year 1577. Elegant marble work with flower and animal motifs incorporate Hindu and Islamic architecture. The shimmering second level of the gurudwara is encapsulated in gold panels with a gold dome at the top. Guru Granth Sahib, the holiest text of the Sikh religion is kept inside its main hall. The water of the Sarovar surrounding the Gurudwara is not only clean and pristine, but also sacred and filled with healing powers.

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Exploring India – APCDA’s 2020 Conference, March 10 – 15 by Rahul Nair, South India Representative

There is a lot to experience in India while you are visiting in March for APCDA’s upcoming 2020 Conference. Consider including some days before and after the conference to explore. The country not only is one of the most diverse lands found anywhere in the world, it is the 3rd largest Asian nation, covering an area of over 3.2 million square km (1.269 million square miles). Currently, it has 29 states, each with their own unique languages, traditions and religions. ‘A sethu Himachalam’ denotes that India stretches from the southern tip of Kanyakumari to the northern Himalayas. From Kashmir in the North to the Indian Ocean on the South, the Sub-continent is about 2,000 miles long. Additionally, India has a population of more than 1.324 billion individuals, making it the second most populated country in the world. The country makes up the vast majority of the Indian Peninsula and has coastlines along the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Inland, it is home to a variety of habitats, including the Thar Desert in the west, the Himalayan mountain range in the north, and the Indo-Gangetic watershed region in the north and east.

Beyond its geographic diversity, it can be said that there are many Indias within India. This statement is from the standpoint of the nation’s diverse cultural, lingual, geographical and economic perspectives. India is among the most miscellaneous societies with a plurality and diversity of cultures which marks it out as perhaps the largest multicultural society in the world. People from all the major religions in the world—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis) constitute its vast population. Although Hindus constitute the majority of the population, India is home to the second-largest population of Muslims in the world. The diversity is coupled with enormous cultural variations from one state to another, including different languages, cultures and traditions. Religion plays an important role
According to the 1991 census, there are 114 spoken languages in this country; of these, 22 were spoken by more than one million people.


Taj Mahal

India's rich heritage is embodied in its architecture as well. The Taj Mahal, Jain caves at Khandagiri and Udayagiri, Bhubaneswar, Sun Temple Konarak, Jagannath Temple, City of Puri, Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar, Red Fort of Agra, Delhi‘s Qutub Minar, Mysore Palace, Jain Temple of Dilwara (Rajasthan) Nizamuddin Aulia‘s Dargah, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Gurudwara Sisganj of Delhi, Sanchi Stupa, Christian Church in Goa, India Gate etc., are all important places that have been passed down to the present ages to denote how varied the people and customs in this land have been.


Besides the architectural creations, monuments and material artefacts, the intellectual achievements, philosophy, treasures of knowledge, scientific inventions and discoveries are also the part of Indian heritage. In Indian context the contributions of Baudhayana, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya in the field of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology; Varahmihir in the field of Physics; Nagarjuna in the field of Chemistry; Susruta and Charak in the field of Medicines; and Patanjali in the field of Yoga; are profound treasures of Indian Cultural heritage. Indian culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. The ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. were destroyed with time and only their remnants are left. But Indian culture is alive till today. Its fundamental principles are the same, as were in the ancient time.

Yoga


Indian literature and scriptures namely Vedas, Upanishads Gita and Yoga System etc. have contributed a lot by way of providing right knowledge, right action, behavior and practices as complementary to the development of civilization. One can see village panchayats, caste systems and joint family system. The teachings of Buddha, Mahavira, and Lord Krishna are alive till today also and are source of inspiration. Indian society accepted and respected Shaka, Huna, Shithiyan, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist cultures. The feeling of tolerance towards all religions is a wonderful characteristic of Indian society.

Vasudaiva Kutumbakam

Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) is the soul of Indian culture. Indian culture has always answered and activated itself by receiving and adjusting to the elements of foreign cultures. Indian culture has received the elements of Muslim cultures and has never hesitated in accepting useful things from foreign cultures. Therefore, its continuity, utility and activity are still there today. Spirituality is the soul of Indian culture. Here the existence of soul is accepted. Therefore, the ultimate aim of man is not physical comforts but is self-realization. The philosophy that Hinduism as a religion teaches and India as a nation preaches is that of tolerance and acceptance.


Geography seems to have played an important role in engendering Indian unity and the sense of Indianness. Shut off from the rest of Asia by the inaccessible barriers of the mighty Himalayas on the north, seas on both sides, to Cape Comorin on the south, India is clearly marked out to be a geographical entity. Thus, Indian geography has facilitated unity and continuity of her history as a country. Attempts either to divide the country or to expand it beyond its natural frontiers have mostly failed. The great variety in landscape, climate and conditions of life prepared in the mind a readiness to accept differences. Besides, the vast spaces offered room for slow infiltration by newcomers and allowed each locality unhampered scope of development along its own lines. A Cape Cormorin
permanent and characteristically Indian expression of unity is found in the network of shrines and sacred places spread throughout the country. The visit to holy places as an imperative religious duty has made travelling a habit for Indians.


Krishna River With all this diversity India is a unique place to visit and live in. The Indian subcontinent is separated into two by the Krishna River. The northern part of India is more explored and known and hence this article focusses on the southern part of India with its myriad fascinating stories and places. I, myself, hail from the southern part of Indian state, called Kerala. Kerala is known as God’s own country owing to the natural beauty and ecological diversity. Its enchanting beaches, backwaters and timeless tradition lulls both residents and visitors. Etymologically, the word, Kerala, could be interpreted in a number of different ways. Basically, ‘Kera’ means coconut tree and ‘alam’ means land or location. Coconut tree are abundant in Kerala and a main source of livelihood of the people from a very early age. While the mythological origin of the state revolves
around Parasurama, who was the sixth avatar of Mahavishnu, ‘the Preserver’, there are a number of variations of this legend. The difference among them being the identity of the main character. However, one basic fact on which all the stories share a common ground. After a weapon, an axe or a spear, was thrown into the sea, the land of Kerala emerged. Subsequent to its emergence, the land was ruled by King Mahabali ,whose benevolence resulted in the land being an embodiment of prosperity and happiness.


Kerala is most famous for its scrumptious food. Healthy and tasty, using spices to enhance flavor and tantalize the mouth, delights foodies all over the world. Kerala is also known for the Sadya, a traditional feast with rice, sambar, thoran, olan and varieties of pickles and coconut chutneys. If you get the opportunity, do sample the yummy Appam, Iddiappam, which is served as breakfast throughout the state. With so much to serve on one banana leaf, Kerala is sometimes referred to as “God’s own country”. Kerala is also known for some sports events. One of the most famous sports in Kerala is the Snake boat race.

South Indian cities differ from her North Indian sisters in a variety of ways. There are several states in South India region and all of them offer their own wonderful culture and attractions. The richness of South India culture beautifully reflects in its attractions like rituals and beliefs, temples, architectural masterpieces, art and craft, cuisine and monuments. Some major cities from South India stand out as prime tourist destinations. Cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad offers a bird’s eye view into the vastness of South India.

Bangalore (officially known as Bengaluru) is the capital of Karnataka and located on the Deccan plateau in the southeast part of Karnataka. Bangalore is the 5th largest city in India. It is witnessing a tremendous growth in industry, trade and commerce; leading to a rapid growth of the city and large-scale urbanization. It is a multi-cultural city; permeating class, religion and language. Even though it is a cosmopolitan city, Bangalore holds on to its traditional features. There are a lot of festivals & events hosted in Bangalore. The city is a fine mix of work and leisure. It is the hub of where you can witness the vibrant youth of the India. With several pubs and restaurants, architectural marvels and natural getaways, Bangalore can be a traveler's delight. It is India’s third most populous city after Mumbai and Delhi. Due to its crucial role as the country’s leading IT exporter, it is

Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bengaluru

also called as the “Silicon Valley of India”. It is located over 3000 feet above sea level. Being a metropolitan city, Bangalore offers various entertainment opportunities to a busy city. The city virtually never sleeps; activities and functions continue until late at night. Bangalore enjoys a very good climate throughout the year. The city if full of huge lung spaces of trees which allow people a quiet getaway from the crowd. Relaxing in the lap of nature will surely rejuvenate any tired mind. The best food from both the south and north meets here. You can get any food according to your tastes. Bangalore is filled with ancient monuments and temples that are preserved and located right in the center of the city.


Tamil Nadu Temple Architecture

Chennai, formerly known as Madras City, is the capital of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India. Tamil Nadu is known for its temple architeture and encompasses a large part of southeast India. Chennai and its suburbs have more than 600 temples. The oldest is the Parthasarathi temple built in the 8th century by Pallava Kings. The first British church in India, St Mary’s Church, is situated here. The city is also considered as the cultural hub of South India which is famous for its affluent heritage in classical dance, music, architecture, sculpture, crafts, etc.


Chennai keeps many of its riches in its kitchens, and the city is famous for its elaborate, spicy cuisine. With street-side sizzling, hot-plate griddling, frenzied lunchtime ‘messes’ (canteens), and a skyrocketing fine-dining scene, Chennai, the increasingly cosmopolitan capital of Tamil Nadu, continues to stake its claim as the capital of South Indian dining. Vegetarians are in for a treat because Tamil cooking is mostly meat-free and bursts with

the flavors of chilies, curry leaves and coconut. But Chennai also packs in enough top-notch non-vegetarian treats to keep even the most devoted carnivore happy. Breakfast brings out Chennai’s favorite foods, too. If you visit, consider starting with the humble idli – a steamed, spongey rice cake, dunked into tasty sambar (lentil broth) or coconut chutney. Also plan to sample Dosas, a savory South Indian breakfast crepes made with rice flour. Similar, but thicker, is the uttapam, chock-full of coriander, green chillies and tangy onion. And do try to include tasting some vadas, a deep fried, doughnut shaped lentil meant for snacking. Finally include some of the city’s famous brew, South Indian kapi - filter coffee made with milk, sugar and chicory. It is delicious, addictive and easily available at every street corner. Idli


Rameswaram Temple Rameswaram, an island containing a temple with one of the most venerated of all Hindu shrines, is one of the most popular destinations in Tamil Nadu. The great temple of Rameswaram was built in the 17th century on the traditional site said to be sanctified by the god Rama’s footprints when he crossed the island on his journey to rescue his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana. The temple is built on rising ground above a small lake. The temple is perhaps the finest example of Dravidian architecture. Sacred to both Vaishnavas and Shaivas, it is the most holy place for Hindus in India after the holy city of Varanasi. Adorning the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, the island
provides the perfect getaway for a peaceful seaside saunter. One can't help but marvel at the surreal blue waters that meet the pristine sands of the coast of this and India’s nearby famous and exotic island cluster, the Lakshadweep Islands, nestled amongst the deep turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea.


My description of some major north and south Indian sites provides only a short version of what India has to offer. I look forward to tantalizing you with additional information about India in future Newsletter issues leading to our upcoming APCDA March 2020 Conference.

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