Bangalore has an international airport, with direct flights to/from Singapore, the Middle East, London, Paris, New York and Chicago at present, all through Air India. Other common ports of entry into India are Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Chennai (Madras) and Calcutta. If coming in through these cities, it is advisable to get direct fares for Bangalore, since add-on sector fares from Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta can be expensive. According to Air India policy, travel to India in the month of August falls into the low season period. Current estimates of round-trip airfare are $1200-$1400 from the USA, 800 Euro from Europe, and $800 from Japan. Special excursion fares/group travel rates may be arranged, but such details will depend on quantity of tickets from each departing city. For a list of travel agencies offering discounted airfares, please follow this link.
Indian local time is ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) by 5:30 hours. International flights to/from India arrive/depart typically between midnight and early morning, while Indian domestic flights are mostly during the daytime. This makes getting good connections difficult. Only from Mumbai to Bangalore, there are early morning flights by Air India and Jet Airways. Other domestic flights start around 6am. If you do not have a direct flight to Bangalore, you will have to clear immigration/customs formalities at your entry-point in India.
In Mumbai and in Delhi, the international and domestic flight terminals are at different locations, though the flights use the same runway. All airlines other than Air India require a change of terminals, and they offer free bus service between the two terminals running around the clock once every hour. The bus-stops are not clearly marked, so please ask the airport authorities to direct you to the location of the bus-stops.
For persons who would like to take a break (particularly to recover from jetlag or to have a nap), and not mind the price, a convenient retreat is the Centaur group of hotels, with branches just next to the airports in Mumbai and Delhi. For an overnight stopover at Mumbai/Delhi/Chennai, we have made an arrangement with the Ashok group of hotels. They will pick you up from the airport at night, take you to the hotel, and bring you back to the airport the next day. The total cost (double room+breakfast+taxes+transport) is $115(Centaur hotel, Mumbai)/$75(Samrat hotel, Delhi)/$75(3-star hotel, Chennai). To avail of this facility, you should send your arrival/departure information by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will confirm your reservation. Reservations in less expensive hotels close to the airports are not easily available, but you may still ask for them in your e-mail.
We shall have a round-the-clock "Lattice 2000" desk at the Bangalore airport, to help participants on their arrival. It will certainly be open from 05:00 on 15 August until 11:00 on 17 August. (We will extend these hours, if we find a large number of participants arriving outside this interval). Please look for it in the area after the baggage claim but before the building exit. We are making arrangements for all the local transport. The people at the symposium desk will guide you to the vehicles for going to different hotels and guest houses. If you do not find the symposium desk when you arrive, please take a pre-paid taxi (which also has a desk in the same area) to your destination.
All the major Indian airports offer pre-paid taxi service (advisable if you don't want to argue with the driver later), and hotel/tourist information. Bangalore city railway station also has a service counter for pre-paid vehicles.
The Indian currency is Rupee (1 US$ = 45 Rupees at the beginning of August 2000; more recent information can be found at the Universal Currency Converter). Currency conversion is possible at airports and banks, although many of them deal only with US-dollars and British-pounds. At the end of the trip, rupees can be converted back into foreign currency, only if one has receipts demonstrating that a larger amount of foreign currency was converted into rupees earlier during the trip.
If you are carrying large amount of foreign currency (not travellers cheques but cash), that should be declared at the customs when entering India. Travellers cheques do not have to be declared and are easier to carry. Expensive equipment liable to custom duty (e.g. laptop computers and video cameras) should also be declared at the customs. Such items will be entered in your passport, and you don't have to pay any duty provided that you take them back when you return.
International credit cards are accepted at major hotels and shops, but not everywhere. The HDFC bank close to the conference venue has a 24-hour ATM, where you can use international credit cards to get Indian currency. The logos of acceptable credit (and debit) cards are shown alongside. The ATM provides a better exchange rate than that offered by hotels and shops. (The HDFC bank charges the credit card company Rs.55 per transaction. The amount charged by the credit card company to you will depend on the agreement between you and your credit card company.)
Avoid accepting currency notes of denominations Rupee 1,2 and 5; ask for the corresponding coins instead. The government has stopped printing these notes, but old damaged and soiled notes are still in circulation.
India uses the metric system of measurements (it is after all the birthplace of the decimal system). The electricity supply in India is 220 Volts and 50 Hz. Appliances requiring 110 Volts would need a voltage adapter. The electrical sockets require three (or two) round pin plugs.
Telephone booths with international call facility and internet cafes, accessible with cash payment, can be found at many street corners in the cities. Card-operated telephones (magnetic cards or electronic accounts) exist at many public places (e.g. airports, hotels, IISc guest house). The cards are issued by the Telecom Department of Government of India, in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 units. 1 unit costs approximately 1.20 rupee, and works for about 1 minute for local calls and for about 1 second for calls to the USA.
For further travel within India, assistance can be sought from the participating hotels. Some useful links to various travel services are provided on the travel services page. Additional tourist information links are provided on the local information page. Indian participants will also offer their help on individual basis. The conference organisers, however, cannot take responsibility for these travel arrangements.Last modified: 1 August 2000 Tanmoy Bhattacharya