Visas to India can be obtained in two ways:
1.) eVisa - by far the easiest and quickest method. South Africans are eligible to use India's new e-Tourist Visa facility As the name suggests, it may only be used if you are applying for a tourist visa, a "casual business visit" or a "short-duration medical procedure". You'll require return tickets, and to have sufficient funds to support you during your stay in India. Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages in it, and be valid for at least 6 months after your date of arrival in India.
2.) VFS Global - alternatively, if you don't want to use the online e-Tourist visa, or if you can't because it doesn't cater for your requirements, then you can do it the old fashioned way by applying through VFS Global.
India outsources the administration of its visa application service in South Africa to VFS Global, to whom all documentation must be submitted. Important contact details for assistance are:
Note that VFS Visa Processing SA only collects the information, and they then submit it to the Indian Mission, who then decide whether you are accepted or rejected.
Now that you've made the very excellent decision to travel to India and join us on one of our retreats, we think it's a possibility you may want to extend your stay in India a little and as such have worked with our Travel Guru to help with an itinerary for your travel.
sample Itinerary for North india
Golden Triangle Tour
Day 01: Arrive Delhi (By Flight)
On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Delhi was the capital of Indraprastha and capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. This magnificent city has been inhabited from the 6th century BC and has been a capital of many kingdoms. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times and is called the "city of cities". Delhi's culture has been influenced by its different rulers and the city is full of beautiful monuments. The Mughal rulers influenced the food habits of the residents and Mughlai cuisine originated here. Due to the proximity of different states, all festivals are celebrated here. Old Delhi is a maze of small lanes and old buildings and New Delhi has large road with huge buildings. Delhi is the capital of India and is the hub for politics. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 02: Delhi
Your morning tour starts with Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD. You will visit the Raj Ghat where father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You will be visiting the museum that was built to commemorate him. You will be driven past the iconic Red Fort and Chandni Chowk, a very popular and a busy market in Old Delhi to the next stop - Jama Masjid, one of the iconic, historic and largest mosques in India - built by Shah Jahan. A rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk could be quite interesting as this part of the city is quite crowded as it is full of shops. These numerous shops sell delicious mouth-watering food, clothes, jewels, household, etc. and are virtually a shopper's paradise.
In the afternoon, visit Qutub Minar, touted as India's largest Minaret. Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1192 by Turk ruler Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldier. You will be driven past the Parliament House, President's House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your destination which will be Lakshmi Narayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 03: Delhi to Agra (By Road approx. 3.5 hrs. drive)
After breakfast, leave for Agra. Agra the former capital of Hindustan is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna. Agra is a major tourist destination of India and a part of the Golden Triangle tourist circuit along with Delhi and Jaipur. Agra also known as Akbarabad went through its peak during the time of Mughals and was the capital of under the Mughal rulers Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjehan. In the visit of Agra, you will be taken to Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world. This beautiful building is elegantly built with white marble by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1631 to 1648 and it was built in the memory of his favorite beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. Standing majestically on banks of Yamuna River, this breathtaking, immensely beautiful monument is a synonymous to romance and love.
Your next stop Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its architectural structure and was built in the 16th century during the Mughal Empire. This place comprises of several fairy-tale palaces like Khas Mahal and Jahangir Palace. Over here you will also get a chance to see Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khas, which are also known as private audience hall and public audience hall. Afternoon can be spent visiting more places of interest or shopping. Agra is famous for inlaid marble work and handicrafts made of marble, wood and metal. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. TAJ MAHAL IS CLOSED ON FRIDAYS. Overnight is in Agra.
Day 04: Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur (By Road approx. 6 hrs. drive)
This morning, you are transferred from Agra to Jaipur visiting Fatehpur Sikri on the way. Fatehpur Sikri built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century holds exceptional testimony to Mughal civilization and is one of well-known UNESCO World heritage site of India and has various historical monuments. You will visit the Jama Masjid, followed by the Tomb of Salim Chishti, the five storied Panch Mahal and Buland Darwaza a graceful monument and stupendous piece of beautiful architectures. It is central portico with a total of three arched entrances and is locally known as Horseshoe gate. You will visit the other graceful buildings of this place such as Ibadat Khana, Mariam-uz-Zamani's palace, Naubat Khana and Birbal's house.
After the visit continue to Jaipur. Jaipur, also known as the pink city is the capital of Rajasthan. Many captivating palaces are present here having breathtaking design and architecture. In the 18th century Prince of Wales had visited Jaipur and the entire city was painted in pink color and due to these pink buildings, the city is known as the pink city. Origin of Jaipur lie 260 years back. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh and Jaipur got its name from this king. The rest of the day could be spent visiting the Jaipur bazaars or walking down the crowded colorful streets. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Jaipur.
Day 05: Jaipur
The morning journey starts at the Amer fort also known as Amer Palace, the earlier capital of Jaipur. This magnificent fort was constructed in red sand-stone and marble by Raja Man Singh and is divided into four sections each with a courtyard. The main entrance gate is Surajpol having a fascinating architecture. Near the Ganesh Gate, there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Sila Devi. The Diwan-e-Aam - Hall of public audience, Diwan-e-Khas - hall of private audience, Sheesh Mahal - palace of mirrors and Sukh Niwas are quite beautiful. At the Sukh Niwas, a pleasant climate is created by winds that blow over a water cascade. You could ascend the fort by walking up the steps or on an elephant's back or in jeeps.
In Jaipur you are taken to Maharaja City Palace, a royal palace with seven stories as well as Jantar Mantar, the observatory. This wonderful observatory attracts mathematicians as well as astronomers from the whole world. City palace is perfect blend of all three excellent styles (Mughal, Rajput and European). Drive past to Hawa Mahal which is popular all over the world for its magnificent architecture. You will be taken through Pink Rose Garden as well business centers of Jaipur. A tour of Jaipur is not complete without shopping. Jaipur is famous for clothes, carpets, precious and semi-precious stones and jewelry and various handicrafts made of wood, metals, etc. and for silk paintings and miniatures. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Jaipur.
Day 06: Jaipur- Delhi (By Road approx. 5 hrs. drive)
After breakfast drive to Delhi and on arrival transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Day 07: Leave Delhi (By Flight)
Later you will be transferred to the airport to board flight for onward destination.
sample itinerary for South India
Day 1: Arrive Cochin
Meet and assist on arrival and transfer to your hotel
Evening: evening Kathakali Dance
Stay at Cochin
Day 2: Drive to Cochin for sightseeing
Cochin sightseeing includes fort Cochin, navy museum, St. Francis church, chinese fishing net, Santa Clause basilica, Mattanchery palace, Jewish synagogue, Marian drive, Marine walk way, Tripunitura hill palace.
You will have some time for shopping at Cochin
Day 3: Munnar sightseeing
Sightseeing destinations includes Eravikulam National park (Raja Malai), tea estates, eco point, spice plantation, rose garden, photo point, honey bee tree, tea museum, blossom park, Kundala dam and top station.
Overnight stay at Munnar
Day 4: Munnar to Thekkady/ Periyar (105km/3.5hrs)
Sightseeing in Thekkady includes Periyar wild life sanctuary where you can see wild elephant, boar, deer, the great Indian tiger and more, Mullaperiyar dam and spice plantations tour where one can shop exotic spices. In the evening boat cruise on the lake and experience the wilderness,
Overnight stay at Thekkady
Day 5: Thekkady to Alleppey/ Kumarakom Resort (150km/3.5hrs)
Drive to the resort at Kumarakom. Visit Alleppey beach, sunset and enjoy shopping. Enjoy all the amenities of this resort for a day.
Overnight stay at same resort
Day 6: Alleppey Houseboat
Enjoy the backwaters, scenery and different places for 21hrs in Kerala Style. House boats from 12Noon. In the houseboat you will be greeted with welcome drink, tea, snacks, mineral water, lunch, dinner and breakfast.
Overnight stay in the houseboat
Day 7: Drive to Cochin
Return to Cochin Airport and check in for your onward flight