Marrying and Sponsoring an Indian Citizen

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Marriage to an Indian Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Indian citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

You must demonstrate to Indian officials that they are not currently married to anyone else – either you have never been married or all divorces are finalized – that your identity is proven, and that you have never committed any crimes in India. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the Indian government either in India or via an Indian embassy.

If you want to bring your Indian spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Indian Marriage Basic Requirements

All marriages involving a foreigner in India fall under the Special Marriages Act 1954. This means that the couple will have to apply to the marriage registration office in their local area of residence to get married.

The process under the Act is as follows:

  • At least 30 days, but no more than three months, before the couple intends to get married the couple will need to go to the marriage registration office in their area and submit a Notice of Intention to get married.
  • There is a 30 day residency requirement, which means that either the bride or the groom has to be living in the locality for at least 30 days prior to submitting the Notice of Intention to get married. This is usually evidenced by address on passport or ration card. Otherwise, a certificate needs to be obtained from the local police station.
  • At the registry office, along with the above requirements, the couple will be required to submit certified copies (by a notary public) of passports and birth certificates, and two passport sized photographs each.
  • In addition, evidence of eligibility to be married is usually required for foreigners. Anyone who hasn’t been married before should obtain a single status affidavit, a Certificate of No Impediment, or Certificate of No Record. If one of the parties to the intended marriage is divorced, he/she will need to produce the Decree Absolute, or if one party is widowed, a copy of the death certificate.
  • If no objections to the marriage are received within 30 days of the Notice of Intention being submitted, a civil ceremony at the registry office can then take place. This is called solemnizing the marriage. Three witnesses are required. They have to provide passport sized photographs, as well as identification and proof of address.
  • The marriage certificate is usually issued a couple of weeks after the wedding.

In Mumbai, there are two marriage registration offices — one in Fort for people who live in south Mumbai, and one in Bandra for people who live in the suburbs.


Family Members

If your Indian spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Indian Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Indian citizen.


List of Indian Consulates in Canada

Click here


Calling India from Canada

Dial 011 – 91 – area code – local number

  • 00 is the exit code for Canada
  • 91 is the country code for India
  • India has over 400 area codes

Area Codes for major centres in India:

Agra 562 Ghaziabad 120 Mysore 821
Ahmadabad 79 Gorakhpur 551 Mumbai 22
Aligarh 571 Guntur 863 Nagpur 712
Allahabad 532 Gurgaon 124 Nasik 253
Amravati 721 Guwahati 361 Noida 120
Amritsar 183 Gwalior 751 Patna 612
Asansol 341 Hubli-Dharwad 836 Puducherry 413
Aurangabad 240 Hyderabad 40 Pune 20
Bangalore 80 Indore 731 Raipur 771
Bareilly 581 Jabalpur 761 Rajkot 281
Belgaum 831 Jaipur 141 Ranchi 651
Bhavnagar 278 Jalandhar 181 Saharanpur 132
Bhilai 788 Jammu 191 Salem 427
Bhiwandi 2522 Kannur 497 Siliguri 353
Bhopal 755 Jamshedpur 657 Solapur 217
Bhubaneswar 674 Jodhpur 291 Srinagar 194
Bikaner 151 Kanpur 512 Surat 261
Calcutta 33 Kochi 484 Thrissur 487
Calicut 495 Kollam (Quilon) 474 Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) 431
Chandigarh 172 Kota 744 Tiruppur 421
Coimbatore 422 Lucknow 522 Trivandrum 471
Cuttack 671 Ludhiana 161 Vadodara 265
Dehradun 135 Madurai 452 Varanasi 542
Delhi 11 Malappuram 483 Vasai-Virar 250
Dhanbad 326 Mangalore 824 Vijayawada 866
Faizabad 5278 Meerut 121 Visakhapatnam 891
Faridabad 129 Moradabad 591 Warangal 870

Cells use the prefixes 7x, 8x or 9x ahead of the eight digit number.

Calling Canada from India

Dial 00 – 1 – Canadian Area Code – local number

Area Codes of Canada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Time Difference

India has its own special time zone, much like Newfoundland. Indian Standard Time is GMT+5.5. India does not participate in Daylight Saving Time.

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours India is Ahead # of Hours during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 13.5 hours 12.5 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 12.5 hours 11.5 hours
Saskatchewan 11.5 hours 11.5 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) 11.5 hours 10.5 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 10.5 hours 9.5 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 9.5 hours 8.5 hours
Newfoundland 9 hours 8 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in India

High Commission of Canada in New Delhi

7/8 Shantipath
New Delhi 110 021

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 5207, New Delhi 110 021, India

Telephone: 91 (11) 4178-2000
Fax: 011-4178 2023
E-mail: [email protected]

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Consulate General of Canada in Chandigarh

SCO 54 Sector 17-A
Chandigarh 160 017

Telephone: 91 (172) 505-0300
Fax: 91 (172) 505-0341
Email: [email protected]


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Consulate of Canada in Kolkata

Duncan House
31 Netaji Subhas Road
Kolkata 700 001

Telephone: 91 (33) 2242-6820
Fax: 91 (33) 2242-6828 E-mail: [email protected] Website:


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Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai

Tower 2, 21st Floor, Indiabulls Financial Centre
Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone Road West
Mumbai 400 013

Telephone: 91 (22) 6749-4444
Fax: 91 (22) 6749-4454 E-mail: [email protected]

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Emergency Numbers in India – 112

Dial 112 in India to call a medical ambulance in case of a medical Emergency situation, or to call fire brigade in case of a fire Emergency situation, or to call police in an Emergency situation.


Canadian Government’s Travel Alerts for Indian

For travel alerts, click here


Indian Money

The Indian rupeeis the official currency of the Republic of India. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India

The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa), although this division is now theoretical; as of 30 June 2011, coin denominations of less than 50 paise ceased to be legal tender. Banknotes are available in nominal values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees. Rupee coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 100 and 1000; of these, the INR100 and INR1000 coins are for commemorative purposes only; the only other rupee coin has a nominal value of 50 paise, since lower denominations have been officially withdrawn.

The Indian rupee symbolINR(officially adopted in 2010) is derived from the Devanagari consonant “र” (Ra) with an added horizontal bar. The symbol can also be derived from the Latin consonant “R” by removing the vertical line, and adding two horizontal bars (like the symbols for the Japanese yen and the euro). The first series of coins with the rupee symbol was launched on 8 July 2011.

The Reserve Bank manages currency in India.The Reserve Bank derives its role in currency management on the basis of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.



The first decimal-coin issues in India consisted of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 naye paise, and 1 rupee. The 1 naya paisa was bronze; the 2, 5 & 10 naye paise were cupro-nickel, and the 25 naye paise (nicknamed chavanni; 25 naye paise equals 4 annas), 50 naye paise (also called athanni; 50 naye paise equaled 8 old annas) and 1-rupee coins were nickel. In 1964, the word naya (e) was removed from all coins. Between 1964 and 1967, aluminum one-, two-, three-, five- and ten-paise coins were introduced. In 1968 nickel-brass 20-paise coins were introduced, and replaced by aluminum coins in 1982. Between 1972 and 1975, cupro-nickel replaced nickel in the 25- and 50-paise and the 1-rupee coins; in 1982, cupro-nickel two-rupee coins were introduced. In 1988 stainless steel 10-, 25- and 50-paise coins were introduced, followed by 1- and 5-rupee coins in 1992. Five-rupee coins, made from brass, are being minted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Between 2005 and 2008 new, lighter fifty-paise, one-, two- and five-rupee coins were introduced, made from ferritic stainless steel. The move was prompted by the melting-down of older coins, whose face value was less than their scrap value. The demonetization of the 25-(chavanni) paise coin and all paise coins below it took place, and a new series of coins (50 paise – nicknamed athanni – one, two, five and ten rupees, with the new rupee symbol) were put into circulation in 2011. Coins commonly in circulation are one, two, five and ten rupees. Although it is still legal tender, the 50-paise (athanni) coin is rarely seen in circulation.



After independence, new designs were introduced to replace the portrait of the king. The government continued issuing the 1-rupee note, while the Reserve Bank issued other denominations (including the 5,000- and 10,000-rupee notes introduced in 1949). During the 1970s, 20- and 50-rupee notes were introduced; denominations higher than 100 rupees were demonetized in 1978. In 1987 the 500-rupee note was introduced, followed by the 1,000-rupee note in 2000. One- and two-rupee notes were discontinued in 1995.

In September 2009, the Reserve Bank of India decided to introduce polymer banknotes on a trial basis. Initially, 100 crore (1 billion) pieces of polymer INR10 notes will be introduced. According to Reserve Bank officials, the polymer notes will have an average lifespan of five years (four times that of paper banknotes) and will be difficult to counterfeit; they will also be cleaner than paper notes.

Banknotes in Circulation

The Mahatma Gandhi series of banknotes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India as legal tender. The series is so named because the obverse of each note features a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Since its introduction in 1996, this series has replaced all issued banknotes. The RBI introduced the series in 1996 with 10 and 500 banknotes. At present, the RBI issues banknotes in denominations from INR5 to INR1,000.

As of January 2012, the new Indian rupee sign has been incorporated into banknotes in denominations of 10, 100, 500 and 1,000

Each banknote has its amount written in 15 languages. On the obverse, the denomination is written in English and Hindi. On the reverse is a language panel which displays the denomination of the note in 15 of the 22 official languages of India. The languages are displayed in alphabetical order. Languages included on the panel are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.


5 rupee

The Indian 5 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts a farmer ploughing)


10 rupee

The Indian 10 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts Wild Animals


20 rupee

The Indian 20 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts seashore view


50 rupee

The Indian 50 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts Indian Parliament


100 rupee

The Indian 100 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts the Himalayan Mountains


500 rupee

The Indian 100 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts Gandhi’s followers


1000 rupee

The Indian 100 rupee Banknote depicts Mahatma Gandhi on the front while at the back it depicts the Economy of India


Indian Wedding Customs

Indian people are stern believers of religion and ancient practices. As a result, Hindu marriages in India include a number of rituals and customs. These are age old practices, which form the foundation of the Indian society and are therefore followed by generation to generation, owing to the deep faith and believe of the Indian people. Wedding is undoubtedly the most important event in one’s lifetime and is thus solemnized with utmost sanctity. Hindus believe that once married the couple is bound with each other for seven birth cycles. Such is the depth and intensity of their faith in the institution of marriage. This is attributed by the various rituals they observe.


Generally, Traditional Indian brides wear pink and red saris on their wedding day, adorning themselves extravagantly with as much jewellery as possible. Henna staining, a customary art form, is still practised by Indian brides to be. On the eve of her wedding vows, following a traditional ceremonial cleansing, the bride-to-be will have her hands and feet painted with henna, in beautiful paisley or medallion patterns.


Sweets, eggs, and money are woven into to wedding themes of India. They symbolize, respectively, a sweet life, fertility, and prosperity. The Hindu wedding ceremony includes customary rituals to ward off evil spirits. After the wedding vows have been exchanged the groom’s father or brother showers flower petals on the newlyweds; then he holds a coconut over the bride and groom’s heads and circles it around them three times. An Indian groom often wears a turban with a veil of flowers streaming down in front of his face to protect him from evil spirits.


Engagement Ceremony
Indian weddings are known for their elaborate ceremonies and opulent celebrations. Besides, they are held in a very traditional manner, commemorating numerous rituals as per the ancient Vedic era. The first ceremony and ritual is Misri – the ring ceremony. This will take place several days before the wedding and calls for seven married women to draw the sign of Lord Ganesha in red powder spread above a bowl of rock sugar. Prayers are said by the couple and their parents and they will exchange flowered garlands and gold rings in the presence of the priest. The groom’s parents will place on the lap of the bride to be a basket of fruit or other gifts to welcome her in symbolizes the feeding of the family misri, rock sugar – confirming the engagement and promising a life full of sweetness ahead.



This elaborately adorned canopy supported by four pillars is one of the most important features for the nuptials. Beneath it, the bride and groom, along with their immediate families, sit before a sacred fire and perform religious ceremonies to signify their new union. The mandap is decorated in shades of red, maroon, orange, purple, silver and gold, traditional colours believed to radiate happiness and prosperity. According to Hinduism, the pillars of the mandap symbolises the support of the couple’s parents, as well as the four Vedas, or texts.


Wedding Barat
Barat is one of the most fun filled traditions in the entire wedding ceremony. It is basically the procession, which proceeds from the house of the groom, towards the wedding venue. The procession is attended by the all the relatives and friends from the groom’s side.



The day before the wedding, the bride and her female friends and family members paint their hands, wrists, palms and feet in elaborate patterns with henna, a vegetable dye, to bestow luck upon the bride. Mehndi is the overall ceremony of applying the dye. Often, the design on her palm includes a hidden inscription of the groom’s name. The belief is if the groom fails to find his moniker within the intricate detail, the bride will be the more dominant one in their marriage. It’s also said the deeper the colour of the tattoo, the stronger the love between the bride and groom will grow.


Sangeet Ceremony
Sangeet ceremony as the name suggests is all about dance and music. It is one of the most enjoyable ceremonies before the wedding and is exclusively for women.

Var Mala Ceremony
Var Mala ceremony is an important main wedding day ceremony. It is also known as Jaimala and basically involves exchange of garlands between the bride and the groom. .

Reception Ceremony
Indian weddings have a charm of their own. As per the tradition the wedding is primarily organized by the bride’s family, however, the reception might be an exception.

Vara Satkaarah: This refers to the reception accorded to the bridegroom and his kinsmen at the entrance of the wedding venue where the groom receives blessings from the bride’s mother who applies a tilak of vermilion and turmeric powder on his forehead.

Madhuparka Ceremony: The groom is accorded another welcome, this time by the father of the bride at the wedding mandap.

Kanya Dan: One of the most pure sacrifices ever, the bride’s father gives away his daughter to the groom to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred mantras.

Vivah-Homa: The sacred fire ceremony is kindled by the priest presiding over the marriage ritual to ensure the commencement of all auspicious activities.

Pani-Grahan: The bride’s right hand is placed in the groom’s left hand whereby he accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.

Pratigna-Karan: With the bride leading, the couple walks around the sacred fire while taking vows of loyalty, steadfast love and life-long fidelity to each other.

Shila Arohan: The mother of the bride assists her to step onto a stone slab and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.

Laja-Homah: The couple offer puffed rice into the sacred fire as a symbol of offering to the Fire God, whereby the bride stands in front of the groom and keeps her palms over those of the groom.

Parikrama/ Pradakshina/ Mangal Fera: The most important aspect of a Hindu wedding ceremony, taking these seven rounds around the sacred fire legalizes the marriage according to the Hindu Marriage Act as well as traditional customs.

Saptapadi: Saptapadi indicates the seven steps taken by the couple that represents nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively. This is done after the groom’s scarf has been tied to the bride’s dress.

Abhishek: Abhishek entails sprinkling of water, meditating on the sun and the pole star by the couple.

Anna Praashan: The couple gives oblations in the fire and then feed a morsel to each other as an expression of their mutual love and affection.

Aashirvadah: The couple receives blessings from all the elders in the family who wish them a successful married life

Rite of Brahmana (Brahma): This rite involves the father of the bride inviting the prospective groom who is now considered to be a man to learn in the Vedas and in his house good conduct and thereafter handing his daughter to him after decking her with jewels and costly garments.

Then a special wedding gift is given to the bride, a necklace signifying her married status


Wedding Gifts

If you got married in India within three months before coming to Canada or if you plan to marry no later than three months after arriving in the country, you can bring in your wedding gifts free of duty and taxes. However, you must have owned and possessed the gifts while in Iran and before you arrived in Canada. At this instance, the requirement to have used the goods does not apply. These same conditions apply to household goods you bring in as part of a bride’s trousseau from India.


Ownership, possession and use requirements

To import goods duty- and tax-free, settlers must have owned, possessed and used the goods prior to their arrival in Canada and Former Residents must have owned, possessed and used the goods for at least six months before returning to resume residency from India.

It is important that you meet these three requirements. For example, if you owned and possessed the goods without using them, the goods will be subjected to duty and taxes. Please note that leased goods are subject to duty and taxes because the Canada Border Services Agency does not consider that you own them. If you have bills of sale and registration documents, they can help you prove that you meet these requirements.


Declaring your goods

You must give your list of goods to the border services officer when you arrive at your first point of entry in Canada from India even if you have no goods with you at the time. The officer will complete a Form B4 , Personal Effects Accounting Document, assign a file number to it and give you a copy of the completed form as a receipt based on the list of goods you submit. To claim free importation of your unaccompanied goods when they arrive, you will need to present your copy of this form.  Goods to follow may be subject to import restrictions before you can import them.

To facilitate the clearance process, you can complete Form B4, before your arrival at the first port of entry in Canada.


Religion in India

India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religious traditions; namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Throughout its history, religion has been an important part of the country’s culture. Religious diversity and religious tolerance are both established in the country by law and custom. A vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion.

According to the 2001 census,Hinduism is the majority religion with 80.5% of the population of India. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%) and Jainism (0.4%) are the other minor religions followed by the people of India. This diversity of religious belief systems existing in India today is a result of, besides existence and birth of native religions, assimilation and social integration of religions brought to the region by traders, travelers, immigrants, and even invaders and conquerors.

Zoroastrianism and Judaism also have an ancient history in India and each has several thousand Indian adherents. India has the largest population of people adhering to Zoroastrianism and Bahá’í Faith anywhere in the world.  Many other world religions also have a relationship with Indian spirituality, like the Baha’i faith which recognizes Lord Buddha and Lord Krishna as manifestations of God Almighty.



The underlying doctrines of Hinduism cannot be easily defined. There is no unique philosophy that forms the basis of the faith of the majority of India’s population. Hinduism is perhaps the only religious tradition that is so diversified in its theoretical premises and practical expressions as to be called a “museum of religions”. This religion cannot be traced to a specific founder nor does it have a “holy book” as a basic scriptural guide. The Rig Veda, Upanishads and the Bhagwad Gita can all be described as the holy text of the Hindus.

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism does not advocate the worship of one particular deity. One may worship Shiva or Vishnu or Rama or Krishna or some other gods and goddesses or one may believe in the ‘Supreme Spirit’ or the ‘Indestructible Soul’ within each individual and still be called a good Hindu. This gives an indication of the kind of disparities this religion is marked by. At one end of the scale, it is an exploration of the ‘Ultimate Reality’; at the other end there are cults that worship spirits, trees and animals.

There are festivals and ceremonies associated not only with gods and goddesses but also with the sun, moon, planets, rivers, oceans, trees and animals. Some of the popular Hindu festivals are Deepawali, Holi, Dussehra, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pongal, Janamasthmi and Shiva Ratri.These innumerable festive occasions lend Hinduism its amazing popular appeal and make the Indian tradition rich and colorful.


BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is a 100-acre Hindu temple complex in New Delhi, India. It aims to showcase Hinduism’s ancient art, culture and spiritual heritage.

Since its opening in November 2005, Swaminarayan Akshardham has become a popular landmark of India’s cultural and religious landscape, attracting more than five million visitors a year. It featured in the 2009 edition of the Guinness World Records book for being the largest Hindu temple in the world.


Khajuraho Temple

Khajuraho is one of the India’s best temple showing the Indian architecture.


Lakshmi Narayan Hindu temple


Jagannath Temple at Puri in eastern India


A Hindu temple in Goa, India


The temple of Vedic Planetarium, Mayapur, India


Hindu Temple complex in Delhi India



The Sikh religion emerged during the early 16th century in the state of Punjab in North India. The founder of this faith was Guru Nanak, who from his childhood was attracted to both Hindu and Muslim saints. Born a Hindu, but also inspired by the teachings of Islam, he began to preach the message of unity of both religions. According to him, the basic teachings of both faiths were basically the same. Nanak attracted many followers and came to be known as a Guru or a teacher. His disciples came together to form a new religious tradition called Sikhism.

The Gurus who followed Nanak contributed to the association and spread of Sikhism. The teachings of Guru Nanak were incorporated in the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, the Holy Book of the Sikhs which became a symbol of God for Sikhs. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjun built the Golden Temple at Amritsar which became the holiest of Sikh shrines. The tenth Guru, Govind Singh imparted military training to the Sikhs to help them defend themselves.

On Baisakhi day of 1699 at Anandpur, Guru Govind Singh ordered his Sikhs to assemble before him as was customary and created a new brotherhood of Sikhs called the Khalsa (Pure Ones). Five men selected for their commitment to the Guru were called Panj Pyares and given nectar (amrit) for initiation into the brotherhood of Khalsa. Later the Guru himself received initiation from Panj Payares as did others.

The members of the new brotherhood were instructed to wear the five symbols (the five Ks )- uncut hair, a comb, a steel wrist guard, a sword and breeches. The initiated men took the name Singh (Lion) and the women Kaur (Princess). The Guru also decided to terminate the succession of gurus and was thus the last of the Sikh Gurus.

Sikhism advocates monotheism, i.e. worship of one God. It also opposes the caste system and believes that all men are equal. However the ideas of karma and rebirth from Hinduism are accepted. Today, many Sikh practices are common to Hindus. Intermarriages between the two communities are also common. However the Sikh community has its own unmistakable identity. Though the Sikhs constitute less than 2 percent of the Indian population, they have become a discrete element in the conformation of the Indian religious tradition and the Indian society.



Buddhism originated as an offshoot of Hinduism in India, but ultimately it became popular all over Asia. The personality and teachings of Gautam Buddha, the founder of this faith, have illumined the lives of millions of people in Japan, China and Southeast Asia.

There are strong lines of similarity between Buddhism and the basic teachings of Hinduism. Buddhism is based on the principle or the law of impermanence. According to this, everything is subject to change, although some things may last longer than others. The other basic principle of Buddhism is the law of causation, according to which nothing occurs due to pure chance. Besides natural forces, it is the karma which leads to the occurrence of all events. The popular notions of the indestructible soul and the cycle of rebirth emerge from these two basic philosophies.

Buddha advocated the Middle Path, in which he offered a balanced, harmonious way of life, steering between two excesses of self-indulgence and total abstinence. Buddhism rests upon four Noble Truths: (i) suffering is universal, (ii) it is caused by desire and yearning (iii) suffering can be prevented and overcome and (iv) eradication of desires can lead to removal of suffering. To prevent suffering one has to overcome craving and desire and this conquest leads to the attainment of nirvana or complete enlightenment.



The Arab traders brought Islam to India in the early 8th century, but it was not until the 12th century that it became a force to reckon with in the Indian sub-continent. Unlike Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which emerged as offshoots of Hinduism, the concept, customs and religious practices of Islam were unique to this faith which professed universal brotherhood and submission to Allah – the God Almighty.

The Muslim invaders in the 12th century and the Mughal rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries helped in the spread of Islam in India. In its first phase, Islam was hostile. But the mystics of Islam, or the Sufi saints, helped in spreading the message of peace and universal love.

The spirit of brotherhood advocated by Sufi saints and preachers like Kabir and Nanak helped in loosening the rigidity of the caste system. The interaction of the two faiths led to a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic elements in almost every sphere of life and culture. After an initial period of conflict and confrontation, today the two religions have accommodated and enriched each other.



Christianity first came to India by way of St. Thomas.  He came to Kerala, in southwestern India, and founded the first church.  Ironically, Shankaracharya, a Hindu activist and seer, was born in Kerala some five hundred years after St. Thomas.  St. Thomas ended up dying in the Chennai region (then known as Madras) of the Tamils.

Most Christians in India are Catholic (over 60 percent) and a majority of them are found in the south, particularly Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.  Approximately on third of Kerala’s population is consists of Christians and they are involved in all aspects of society.

Contrary to popular belief, British rule had little to do with the growth of Christianity in India.  The missionaries generally tended to turn public opinion, even those of the Indian Christians, against foreign rule.  Bengali Christians in Calcultta were fairly important in their respective areas, whether it was in education, as a leader or an opinion-maker.

By tradition, Christianity is said to have arrived in India with Saint Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, who spent some years in South India and possibly died there. However, others believe that the first missionary to arrive in the country was Saint Bartholomew. Historically, Christian missionary activity started with the advent of Saint Francis Xavier in 1544. He was followed by Portuguese missionaries at first and finally by missionaries from other countries like Denmark, Holland, Germany and Great Britain. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries Catholic as well as Protestant missionaries preached Christian doctrines in India and also made important contributions to social improvement and education in India.

Much of the modern influences in the Indian society can be credited to the role of Christianity in India. Christian missionaries helped in setting up schools and colleges all over India and also spread the message of faith and goodwill in the country. Christianity and its teachings influenced a number of scholars and thinkers in India, including Mahatma Gandhi.

Today, the Christians in India number about 30 million and consist of people from every denomination of Christianity.


St. Thomas Cathedral in Santhome, India


Saint Philomena Cathedral in Mysore, India


St Cajetan Church – Assagao, Goa, India


Attur Church, Karkala, Karnataka


Romantic, Historic and Scenic Places in India


The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge – Jaipur

This heritage lodge was the former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Jaipur.

The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge is located 36 km from Jaipur and is situated amidst lush gardens. The lodge was the former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Jaipur. It makes for a perfect holiday destination.

In addition to a restaurant, The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur features an outdoor pool. Other amenities include a bar/lounge and an arcade/game room.

Televisions come with cable/satellite channels. Guest-rooms also feature balconies, fireplaces, and refrigerators.


Heritage Retreat – Jaipur

Heritage Retreat is situated in the historical district, this luxury resort is in the same area as Amber Palace, Amber Fort, and Jaigarh Fort. Area attractions also include Jal Mahal.

In addition to 4 restaurants, Heritage Retreat features a golf course. Other amenities include a bar/lounge and spa services.All guest-rooms include slippers, bathrobes, and phones


Movenpick Hotel and Spa Bangalore

Conveniently accessible in just 30 minutes from the airport, the Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore embodies Indian hospitality delivered with Swiss passion. This brand new 182 room five star hotel of Bangalore city also offers a variety of dining experiences to choose from.

The 7 meeting rooms along with an outdoor venue can host meetings and events for up to 500 people. The gym and swimming pool along with the Spa offers that ideal relaxation after a long day at work.


The Raj Palace – Jaipur

The Raj Palace Hotel is situated near the airport, in the city centre, this luxury hotel is close to Gaitor, Jal Mahal, and Hawa Mahal. Also nearby are City Palace and Jantar Mantar.

In addition to 3 restaurants, The Raj Palace features an outdoor pool. Other amenities include a poolside bar and a bar/lounge.

Guest-rooms open to patios with courtyard or garden views and feature LCD televisions with premium satellite channels. Other amenities include premium bedding and air conditioning.


Shiv Vilas Palace – Jaipur

Situated in the city centre, this luxury villa is in the same area as Amber Palace. Regional attractions also include Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort.

In addition to 4 restaurants, Shiv Vilas Palace features an outdoor pool. Other amenities include a full-service spa and a poolside bar.

Plasma televisions come with premium satellite channels. Guest-rooms also feature refrigerators, air conditioning, and slippers.


Tree of Life Resort & Spa – Jaipur

Situated in Kukas, this luxury resort is in the same region as Amber Palace, Amber Fort, and Jal Mahal. Regional attractions also include Samode Palace and Gaitor.

In addition to 6 outdoor swimming pools, Tree of Life Resort & Spa, Jaipur features a restaurant, a full-service spa, and a poolside bar.

Guestrooms open to balconies or patios with mountain, courtyard or garden views and feature deep soaking bathtubs and LCD televisions with premium satellite channels.


Swissotel Kolkata

Swissotel Kolkata is the newest luxury address in Kolkata and offers a distinct mix of leisure and business facilities. The hotel has 147 contemporary guest rooms & luxury suites with some of the rooms with spectacular Jacuzzis, four restaurants and bars, a fitness centre, a rooftop swimming pool, and over 1261 square metres of meeting space, featuring the largest pillar-free banqueting facilities in the city.

The hotel has separated smoking (7th & 8th floors) & non-smoking floors (4th, 5th, 6th, 9th & 10th floors), and is part of a new urban development with an attached mall featuring shops, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.

Durbari, the Indian speciality restaurant and the in-house spa have recently been launched.


Rajasthali Resort and Spa – Kookas

Situated in Kukas, this luxury resort is in the same area as Amber Palace, Amber Fort, and Jaigarh Fort. Regional attractions also include Jal Mahal and Gaitor.

At Rajasthali Resort and Spa recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a spa tub. The resort also features a full-service spa and a poolside bar.

Plasma televisions include premium satellite channels. Guest rooms also feature beds with memory foam mattresses, refrigerators, and signature bedding.


The Imperial New Delhi

The Imperial, New Delhi is a landmark Hotel located on Janpath, the erstwhile Queensway. The restored 1930’s Victorian – style building is a perfect confluence of old-world charm and modern day conveniences. A unique four – story, low rise, The Imperial Hotel is just steps away from the renowned shopping and commercial district, Connaught Place. Museums, theatres, monuments, parks and cultural centres are within close proximity of the Hotel and provide for interesting entertainment options. The Viceregal Lodge, now the President’s Palace, Parliament House and the North and South block, nerve centre of the offices of Government of India are also located close to the Hotel.

The Hotel has a total of 233 guest rooms including 43 suites, each with a distinct interior overlooking the lush, verdant gardens. All rooms offer total privacy. It also has breathtakingly designed suites, some with an area of 850 sq. ft., making them one of the largest in India and perhaps Asia.


The Oberoi New Delhi

Located in New Delhi, India’s capital city, The Oberoi, New Delhi reflects the city’s spirit in a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary sophistication. Located close to the city center near business, commercial and shopping districts, the luxury hotel overlooks Delhi’s prestigious Golf Club on one side and the heritage site of Humayun’s Tomb on the other. Exquisite interiors, impeccable service and fine cuisine combine to make this the Capital’s most graceful and elegant hotel. The award winning hotel is ideal for business travel or holidays to explore the cultural wonders of Delhi.

The Oberoi New Delhi, a full butler service hotel enjoys a well-deserved reputation for service excellence, luxurious accommodation and fine dining cuisine.

The new Business Centre at The Oberoi, New Delhi combines stylish, yet minimalist décor with state of the art corporate facilities. Unrivalled in meticulous appointments, refined design details and impeccable service, it offers the best in up-to-date technology.

The 24-hours Business Centre offers open and private meeting spaces with a focus on comfort and convenience. A palette predominantly of beige, caramel and chocolate tones imbues the space with a sense of calm.


Wildflower Hall – Shimla

Situated at 8,350 feet in the magnificent Himalayas, Wildflower Hall is a fairytale luxury resort set in 23 acres of virgin woods of pine and cedar. The former residence of Lord Kitchener, rebuilt to a new magnificence, Wildflower Hall recreates the grand style of the colonial era. Enjoy beautiful views of mountains and valleys from the rooms, restaurants, outdoor Jacuzzi and the heated swimming pool. Nature lovers can explore the Himalayas and enjoy adventure sports. For the ultimate in pampering the luxury spa pavilions are said to be tranquil havens for revitalizing the body and soul.



Marari Beach – Alapuzha

Little known Marari Beach, not far from Alleppey, is perfect for those people exploring the Kerala backwaters who likes spending some time at the beach as well. This beach is relatively quiet and undeveloped.


Baga Beach – Goa

Baga Beach is located in the north part of Goa. The beach is suitable for Water sports, para sailing, and dolphin sightseeing trips. There is also beach shacks, bars, clubs, and fine dining restaurants near the beach.


Palolem Beach – Goa

Picturesque Palolem Beach, enclosed by a thick forest of coconut palms in far south Goa, is arguably the state’s most beautiful beach. This mile long, shady, semi-circle shaped beach continues to grow in popularity every year, and it’s become very lively with the diverse crowd that it attracts.


Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach – Gujarat

Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach is situated on the coastline of the state of Gujarat, India. It is located in Ahmedpur Mandvi, near Diu (Union Territory of Daman and Diu) in Junagadh District. It is one of the 14 beaches chosen by the state to promote beach tourism.


Gopnath Beach

Gopnath Beach is a beach situated in the Talaja Taluka of Bhavnagar district of Gujarat state of India. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Kambhat, at a distance of 75 km from the city of Bhavnagarand 22 km away from Talaja. Gopnath is a pristine beach known for its natural beauty. There is nice fort of king of Gohilvad in Gopnath.


Tithal Beach

Tithal Beach is a beach along the Arabian Sea located 5 km west of Valsad town in Indian state of Gujarat. This beach is famous for its black sand. It is a popular tourist destination in south Gujarat. Apart from the beach, places of interest at Tithal including two major temples- the Shri Sai Baba temple located 1.5 km south of the main beach and Shri Swami Narayan temple located 1.6 km north of the main beach. Both the temples overlook the Arabian Sea.


Varkala Beach – Kerala

Varkala beach lies around one hour north of Trivandrum in Kerala, and provides a relatively peaceful alternative to the now commercialized Kovalam. The setting of this beach is striking enough to take visitors breath away, with a long winding stretch of cliff and views that extend over the Arabian Sea.


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