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Overview of India

■ Housing

International students are likely to find a flat for themselves or live in a guest house. Living in a University dormitory or hostel is cheap, but there are many rules that may not match western students’ behavior pattern.
The institution you are going to study might help you finding a good place to stay, generally close to the campus, since traffic in India is very crowded and living far from the campus could result in long hours commuting.
If you are planning to rent a flat by yourself, we suggest you to find a real estate agency, despite the fees. It is much more secure than dealing directly with the landlord. If you are a single man, it might be difficult to find an apartment, so try to find someone to back you up.

■ Transportation system

Road traffic in India is very problematic and not very safe.
Commuter rail services are available in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabab and Pune. Minor cities public transportation is based on buses. Other modes of public transportation are taxis and cycle motorized rickshaws.

■ Shopping

Shopping in India tend to be very affordable. Food and clothes are good deals there. Each region has its own special product and it is nice to meet many places and discover their unique goods. But, if you can’t, Delhi may have anything you want, from any part of the country. Enjoy buying typical textiles, pashmina shawls, shoes, scented goods, tea, arts and ayurvedic cosmetics – these you are probably only going to find in India or only there for a good price.
While shopping in India, take your time to check the quality and bargain when possible.

■ Cuisine

India is a country with many different ethnic groups, and the different soil and climate conditions also lead to the diverse variety of food as. Spice trade between Europe and India has also contributed towards Indian cuisine.
For regional food, we could quote here at least 35 types of them, but they share some ingredients, although it varies depending on the geographical location. Some staple foods are pearl millet, rice, whole-wheat flour and lentils, which are cooked using vegetable, peanut or other natural based oils, and spiced with chilli pepper, black mustard, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and many other.
Expect drinking a lot of tea, coffee in some regions, lessi (yogurt-based drink) and sharbat (cold drink prepared with flower petals or fruits), lemonade and almond milk. Alcoholic beverages are usually expensive, but the market is growing more every year.
Western style food is generally expensive, so try to get used to Indian food little by little if you want to save money. Cheap places to eat include fast food chains such as Jumbo King, Darshini, Saravana Bhavan and KaatiZone. All these restaurants serve Indian cuisine inspired fast food.

■ Culture

India is a country rich in culture due to the different ethnic groups across the whole country. It is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, and is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Due to its multi-cultural and multi-religious society, there are many different holidays and festivals celebrated by its people. Though each religion usually has its own festivals, there are also festivals celebrated by multiple religions, for example Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

Indian dance, music and theatre all have very long histories, with Sanskrit documents related to all three dating back to approximately 2000 to 2200 years ago. Current pop-culture includes Bollywood movies, which have also taken the world by storm.

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