Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Be Prepared! Indian Tourist Visa Changes are NOT Common Knowledge Worldwide!

On December 4, 2012, the Government of India lifted the restriction for tourist visas and no longer requires a two month gap between visits for most foreign nationals. Apparently, the word has been slow getting out to other countries. You may want to print out a copy of the Dec. 4th press release from the Indian Government (found below) if you leave India and plan to return in less than two months as proof of the change. It may lessen the hassles experienced when checking in with airlines worldwide who haven't been updated on the new rules for Indian tourist visas.

I just received a comment from one of my readers concerning his frustrating experience re-entering India after a trip of less than two months out of the country. 

"I advise readers to print this post (Indian Government Eases Tourist Visa Restrictionsand those of the government websites listed therein. On 21 Jan (about 1.5 months after the change took effect), I went to the Silk Airways (the regional carrier for Singapore Airlines) Check-In Counter at the Mactan (Cebu) International Airport to return to India. I waited a very long time. I was eventually informed that because I was on a tourist visa I could not normally return to India within 2 months after leaving. (Although they were in the process of getting special permission.) I then provided a print-out of the Press Information Bureau link. It was then obvious that they were not informed of the change. I assume that other airlines and other airports are also not aware of the change, and may make travelling difficult for you unless you provide the verification."

Thanks for sharing this, Micky!!

Here's the information again:
Updated Info - Official Indian government websites concerning the easing of restrictions:

Government of India Press Information Bureau:

http://www.pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=89835

Embassy of India, Washington, DC:

http://www.indianembassy.org/prdetail2070/important-notice-restrictions-on-tourist-visa-re-entry-within-2-months-lifted

Here is the announcement which was posted on the Travisa website for Indian tourist visa applications for US citizens:

Permit to Re-Enter Restriction Lifted

Travelers on a Tourist visa were previously required to have a gap of at least 2 months between two separate visits to India. The restriction has now been lifted except for nationals of China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origin and stateless persons.

You can find more information here concerning the new rules on Indian tourist visa: https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/homepage

Here's another link from Netglobers.com regarding the easing of the two month wait for tourist visas.

lhttp://www.netglobers.com/asia/indian-government-eases-tourist-visa-restrictions--35773.html

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Arunachala Animal Sanctuary

Winnie, the compound dog,  in front of our rice paddy
This past week week has been a blur of working from home on technical documents, tending to David who is still hobbling around on his now recovering leg, and making sure the shopping and other 'needfuls' got done around the house. We live on a compound of about 12 acres so there is always much to be done to keep the place running. My husband is the primary person who takes care of the garden, does the daily run into town for veggies and milk, and is the one who keeps tabs on so many other details. Is the internet down?  Is the power off for longer than normal and who do we call to check on this? Do we need to pump more water? Since he was under doctor's orders NOT to move around much, I was on duty to do the things that he normally takes care of; I must say that I have a new appreciation of all that he does around the compound while I am working in Chennai during the week.

This week one of our dogs seemed less than energetic and upon a close examination of her coat, I found two pretty deep bite marks most likely from the other dogs on the compound. Winnie, a small ginger colored dog, is the low dog on the dog totem pole and gets bullied if we don't watch out for her. Since we were at the hospital all of the previous week, she did get bullied and seemed to have an infection on her back leg.

One of the great things about a small town like Tiruvannamalai is that it attracts a variety of people with a multitude of talents - like veterinarians. One of the best kept secrets here is the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary down the road from Ramanasramam. The doctors are wonderful and the medicine is dispensed without charge. When I phoned the vet on duty to ask about Winnie's infected leg, he said to try some antibiotics that would be waiting for me when I arrived. Since I didn't think Winnie would appreciate a ride on the back of my moped, I got the drugs without her being examined by the vet, hoping for the best. I always leave a donation even though they do not charge any fees for their services.

Their website is http://www.arunachalasanctuary.com/index.html. If you are an animal lover, you might want to read more about this fine organization in India.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Return to India

Bullocks Decorated for the Upcoming Pongal Festival

It has been nearly three weeks or more since my last entry. My time in Boulder with my daughters and the rest of my family was wonderful. Boulder was cold, snowy and beautiful as always.

Unfortunately, while I was in the US, my husband contracted malaria and a staph infection in his left leg and had to be hospitalized at a hospital in Pondicherry. I flew home several days early to be with him. After a week of continuous IV antibiotic drips and other medications at the hospital, we are back in Tiruvannamalai. His leg is still red and swollen from the staph infection, but his energy level is up and he is eating again.

I will write more about the experience but am just getting settled back into our routine so it may be a few days. In the meantime, Happy Pongal!