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Utilities

MONEY: The currency in usage in India is Rupee. It is divided in 100 paise. Coins are available in denominations of 25 paise, 50 paise, Rupee 1, Rupee 2 and Rupee 5. Currency notes available are Re 1 and Rs 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Rs 1000 currency note is more convenient for it occupies less space of your wallet. However, travelling it is advisable to keep change in smaller denominations since getting change sometimes becomes difficult.
Ensure that the notes are not torn or defaced in any manner before accepting. You are not allowed to bring in or take out Indian rupee from the country. You can bring as much foreign currency as you wish but any amount above $10000 or equivalent has to be declared.

MONEY EXCHANGE: All banks exchange foreign currency at the rate prescribed for the day by the Reserve Bank of India. Authorized moneychangers are also located at strategic market places and hotels.
If you are travelling to remote area it is advised that you change your money before hand. American Express and Thomas Cook Traveller cheques are also well accepted. At cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, ATMs are conveniently available. ATM accepts Cirrus, Maestro, Master Card and Visa. However, all ATMs may not accept all the cards. All major shopping establishments, hotel and restaurants accept credit cards. But budget hotels, restaurants and small shops may not accept credit cards.

POSTAGE: India has well established postal service. A post card is an cost effective means of communication in India. A standard mail is charged as per weight and distance. It is advisable to get the parcels stitched by a tailor or a parcel vendor, normally available just outside the post offices to avoid pilferage.

COURIER: Courier services are available throughout the country for sending articles within or outside India. Some international couriers have offices in Jaipur while most others have associates.

RECEIVING MAILS: Post can be received as poste restante with your surname written first addressed care off GPO or General Post Office of any town you intend to visit. While looking for your mails check both for surname and first name on the communicaton as it could be filed under either of them. Make sure, the senders write their return address so that the mails, if uncollected, can be returned to the sender.

TELEPHONES: Even in small town you will find abundance of phone booths called PCOs or Public Calling Offices. You can make local calls or Subscribers Trunk Dialing (STD call), or International Subscribers Trunk Dialing (ISD calls) from these booths. You can spot such booths by the glow sign, in most cases it is just written on a metal sheet displayed outside the booth saying PCO/STD/ISD. You dial yourself and pay as per the print out of metered bill only.
These are cheaper options than direct dialing from hotels. The phone service is usually good and you can get connected instantly. Most of the phone booths also offer fax services

CYBER CAFES: Cyber Cafes exist all over with easy Internet and e-mail access. The Cyber Cafes with leased line or ISDN lines are generally faster. However, Internet can be very slow between 5 pm and 9 pm but is generally faster in mornings, early afternoons and late nights. The rates can vary between Rs 10 to Rs 50 per hour.

NEWSPAPERS: Newspapers in English language presenting high quality international and national coverage of news are easily available. India's leading newspapers like The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu and The Statesman are available. Selected bookstalls may have some international newspapers too.

DRINKING WATER AND BEVERAGES:
The Indian loves tea, locally called 'chai'. It forms an essential part of the social milieu and is served as a hospitality brew. Tea is available all over in roadside teashops or restaurants and even on railway platforms and bus stands. A very hygienic tea service available largely in railway stations is in disposable clay pots or in disposable plastic cups. Tea served by renders at railway stations or bus stands is generally too sweet. In order to get tea according to your liking, you may indicate your requirement in advance. Coffee though less freely available can be found in more exclusive joints. Now coffee vending machines of popular international brands are also gaining popularity and some places also have espresso machine.

There is an apparent over dose of international Cola and carbonated drinks like Coca Cola and Pepsi, which are available in abundance at every corner. These are supplemented by local brands like Thums UP and Limca. Masala Soda, a peculiar concoction of rock salt and lime with soda can be a pleasant surprise and is a good digestive. A variety of fresh and canned fruit juices and local drinks (particularly good for summer) like 'khus' and 'rose' are also available. A diluted and churned curd drink called 'lassi', which is lightly salted and sweetened and often topped with cream can be a good refreshment besides being a remedy to sun stroke.

A variety of alcoholic drinks like whiskey, gin, rum, brandy or vodka an available in good measure. Blended whiskeys with Scotch are also available but are generally more expensive. Wines and Champagne are confined to major towns. Bottled and canned Beer generally chilled is easily available. Bars are licensed by the government and will be found only in mid-range and expensive hotels. There are plenty of liquor shops but public drinking is banned.

TIME ZONE
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