What to look for/buy
India produces a striking variety of carved wood products that can be bought at very low prices. examples include decorative wooden plates, bowls, artwork, furniture, and miscellaneous items that will surprise you. check the regulations of your home country before attempting to import wooden items.
The Indian Rupee Symbol: Rs. or â¹?
The new Rupee symbol â¹ was introduced in July 2010 to bring the rupee's symbol in line with other major currencies. Previously, "Rs" was used or "Re" for the singular rupee. It is very likely you will continue to see the previous nomenclature in your Indian travels, especially with smaller businesses and street vendors. It will take many years for the new symbol to become universally adopted in the country.
The currency in India is the Indian rupee sign: â¹; code: INR à¤°à¥à¤ªà¤¯à¤¾ — rupaya in Hindi and similarly named in most Indian languages, but taka in Maithili and Taakaa in Bengali and Toka in Assamese. The rupee is subdivided into 100 paise singular: paisa. 5 rupees 75 paise would normally be written as â¹5.75.
Common bills come in denominations of â¹5 green, â¹10 orange, â¹20 red, â¹50 purple, â¹100 blue, â¹500 yellow and â¹1,000 pink. It is always good to have a number of small bills on hand, as merchants and drivers sometimes have no change. A useful technique is to keep small bills â¹10-50 in your wallet or in a pocket, and to keep larger bills separate. Then, it will not be obvious how much money you have. Many merchants will claim that they don't have change for a â¹100 or â¹500 note. This is often a lie so that they are not stuck with a large bill. It is best not to buy unless you have exact change.
The coins in circulation are 50 paise, â¹1, â¹2, â¹5, and â¹10 recently introduced. Coins are useful for buying tea â¹5, for bus fare â¹2 to â¹10, and for giving exact change for an auto-rickshaw.
Indians commonly use lakh and crore for 100,000 and 10,000,000 respectively. In simple words 10 Lacs is equal to 1 Million and 1Crore is equal to 10 million. Though these terms come from Sanskrit, but nowdays these are totaly used as Indian Nomenclature of Currency. Comas are also used as per hundreds, ten thousands, ten lacs and so on. One crore rupees would be written as â¹1,00,00,000. This format is not that difficult but may puzzle you as it is diffrent. You can rectify this when you start thinking in terms of lakhs and crores, after which it will seem natural.
In India, you are expected to negotiate the price with street hawkers but not in department stores and the like. If not, you risk overpaying many times, which can be okay if you think that it is cheaper than at home. In most of the big cities and even smaller towns retail chain stores are popping up where the shopping experience is essentially identical to similar stores in the West. There are also some government-run stores like the Cottage Emporium in New Delhi, where you can sample wares from all across the country in air-conditioned comfort. Although you will pay a little more at these stores, you can be sure that what you are getting is not a cheap knockoff. The harder you bargain, the more you save money. A few tries later, you will realise that it is fun.
Often, the more time you spend in a store, the better deals you will get. It is worth spending time getting to know the owner, asking questions, and getting him to show you other products if you are interested. Once the owner feels that he is making a sufficient profit from you, he will often give you additional goods at a rate close to his cost, rather than the common "foreigner rate". You will get better prices and service by buying many items in one store than by bargaining in multiple stores individually. If you see local people buying in a store, probably. you can get the real Indian prices. Ask someone around you quietly, "How much would you pay for this?"
Also, very often you will meet a "friend" in the street inviting you to visit their family's shop. That almost always meansthat you pay twice as much as when you had been in the shop without your newly found friend.
Baksheesh--small bribes--is a very common phenomenon. While it is a big problem in India, doing it can ease certain problems and clear some hurdles. Baksheesh is also the term used by beggars if they want money from you and may refer to tips given those who provide you a service. Baksheesh is as ancient a part of Middle Eastern and Asian culture as anywhere else. It derives from the Arabic meaning a small gift. It refers as much to charity as to bribes.
Packaged goods show the Maximum Retail Price MRP right on the package. This includes taxes. Retailers are not supposed to charge more than this. Though this rule is adhered to at most places, at tourist destinations or remote places, you may be charged more. This is especially true for cold drinks like coke or pepsi, where a bottle 300 ml is priced around â¹11-12 when the actual price is â¹10. Also, keep in mind that a surprising number of things do not come in packaged form. Do check for the authenticity of the MRP, as shopkeepers may put up a sticker of his own to charge more from you.
The Indian Rupee is not officially convertible, and a few government-run shops will still insist on seeing official exchange receipts if you are visibly a foreigner and attempt to pay in rupees instead of hard currency. Rates for exchanging rupees overseas are often poor and importing rupees is theoretically illegal, although places with significant Indian populations eg. Dubai, Singapore can give decent rates. Try to get rid of any spare rupees before you leave the country.
Outside airports, you can change your currency at any one of the numerous foreign exchange conversion units including banks.
Most ATMs will pay out only â¹10,000 in each transaction. State Bank of India SBI is the biggest bank in India and has the most ATMs. ICICI bank has the second largest network of ATMs and accepts most of the international cards at a nominal charge. International banks like Citibank, HSBC, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro, and Standard Chartered have a significant presence in major Indian cities. It is always worthwhile to have bank cards or credit cards from at least two different providers to ensure that you have a backup available in case one card is suspended by your bank or simply does not work work at a particular ATM.
In many cities and towns, credit cards are accepted at retail chain stores and other restaurants and stores. Small businesses and family-run stores almost never accept credit cards, so it is useful to keep a moderate amount of cash on hand.