While much of the advice here is aimed at foreign nationals, Indian participants may find some information of use here (arrival, taxi, clothing, location of conference and workshop sites).
Visa: Please note that all foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Please contact the nearest Indian consulate and apply for a visa at the earliest. All participants are advised to apply for a tourist visa. This visa is usually granted without much fuss within a few days and requires the minimum documentation. Applying for a so-called conference visa is NOT ADVISED, since this requires not only documentation from you and an invitation from us but also requires Indian government clearances from various ministries for each participant, which have to be sent from the various departments to the relevant consulate. In case you still do require documentation, please contact us at the earliest.
Innoculations: Please consult your doctor about what precautions you should take. The Indian consulate may also require visitors from certain countries to be immunized against certain diseases.
Medication: Please bring with you any medication that you think will not be available here. The main illnesses that visitors to India may be susceptible to are: Malaria, Dengue (vector=mosquitoes), water-borne diseases such as Hepatitis A, and various other diarrhoea and dysentry related illnesses, and viral fevers accompanied with a cough and cold. If you have not been expsed to tropical and sub-tropical bacteria earlier, you may experience indigestion of some kind. You are advised to drink bottled water and avoid street food. Contrary to the advise in many guide books, (well-washed) fruits and packaged yogurt (Amul or Mother Dairy) are quick ways to acclimatize your stomach and avoid a serious case of Delhi Belly.
Please note that common medicines are inexpensive and widely available in India, and doctors are accessible and generally do not charge very much. Common medication --- mosquito repellants, quinine tablets, antacids, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, cold medicine, paracetemol/ibuprufen, vitamins -- are all cheap and widely available here (including at the airport). Strangely enough, alka seltzer and peptobismol are not available, but gelusil and digene are.
Customs: Please remember to fill the customs and immigration forms prior to landing. You may need to fill in details of any portable computer or similar equipment that you carry in with you. You may also need to declare currency in excess of a certain amount. The Indian consulate in your country may be able to provide you with details.
Arrival and Taxis: On arrival at New Delhi airport (Indira
If you have not made arrangements with Gauri Travels or any other agents for a pick-up car at the airport, you can always take a pre-paid taxi from the airport to your destination, which you can book and pay for within the arrival lounge of the airport (after passing through immigration and customs). I'm told there are two prepaid taxi counters -- one is the ITDC tourist taxi booth (expensive, but perhaps more comfortable), the other is the local Delhi taxi booth. The precise fare is predetermined and depends on the destination. For most locations in New Delhi, the fare should be between Rs 200-400, plus a 25% night surcharge. (Note: Taxi fares are being revised upwards). Please be prepared for a degree of chaos outside the arrival lounge in locating a taxi driver. Retain your receipt till your destination when you hand it over to the cab driver (at the airport exit, a policeman may ask to see the receipt as a security measure). You get no receipt for your records.
On arrival at New Delhi or old Delhi Railway Stations
There is a prepaid taxi and autorickshaw (tuk-tuk) service, in the parking lot area. Please be ready for some arguments with the driver especially about misinterpretations over where you said you needed to go, so be over-specific.
What to wear: The temperature in Delhi in mid December is between 4C at night and around 25C in the day. Mornings and evenings tend to be foggy, and there are occasional rainy days, but by and large the weather is good. Light woollens or thick sweatshirts suffice in the day, but be warned that Delhi is a lot colder than the temperatures indicate, because buildings are draughty and there is generally no indoor heating except for small convectors (I often wear a thin sweats and socks to bed). A warm jacket and warm socks are needed in the evenings and at night, for those unused to the cold, gloves, scarves and caps may be needed.
Please be prepared for an outdoor banquet dinner on 14th night, hosted by TCS. There will be coal fires, snacks and cocktails to keep you warm.
Conference Location: India International Centre is in south-central New Delhi, adjoining the historical Lodhi Gardens. It is an active cultural centre with conference and catering facilities. Several historical sites are nearby, such as Humayun's Tomb, Lodhi Gardens, Safdarjang's Tomb, Hazrat Nizammudin's Dargah, Purana Qila (the Old Fort) as well as India Gate, the Parliament House and other houses of government. Cultural sites such as the National Museum, National Gallery of Modern art, the Zoo, various markets and recreational centres and the embassies are also within a 5-km radius.
Workshops: The workshops will be held at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) which is located in Hauz Khas in South Delhi, another historic area. The entrance to IIT Delhi is on the Outer Ring Road (this stretch is named after Gamal Abdul Nasser, I think) about 500m west of the intersection with Aurobindo Marg (the road to Qutab Minar). Please find your way to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, tucked way behind the main high-rise, in Block VI.