Visa & Entry Requirements
All visitors to India are required to possess a valid passport and visa. Check with your local Indian Embassy or Consulate regarding visa travel requirements. Please make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months upon arrival in India. Participants in FSM4 should apply for a single entry business visa as soon as possible.

Please email the following information, referencing FSM4, to Kalyani K. Sahu at IIT Madras at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  •          Full name as it appears on Passport
  •          Organisation
  •          Designation/Business Title
  •          Passport Number
  •          Country of Issue
  •          Date of Expiry
  •          Duration of your stay in India 

Additional Notes:  Visitors who intend to travel to India’s neighbouring countries, returning to India, will be required to apply for a transit visa.  We recommend that all visitors travel with a copy of passport and visa, held separately from your original documents, in the event of theft or loss of your passport.

Money & Currency

The unit of currency is the Rupee where Rs 1 is made up of 100 paisa (paisa have virtually no value). You will find that the currency is identified as INR or Rs. Bank notes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000 rupees. We recommend that you only change money for Indian currency at banks or recognised foreign currency exchange organisations. Counterfeit currency remains a problem in many informal areas.

Here are some further notes concerning money:

  • Most international airports in India have foreign exchange counters for easy exchange
  • Most major hotels, including the ITC Grand Chola, have currency exchange facilities
  • It is recommended that you carry small notes with you for minor purchases or tipping
  • Chennai has many ATMs, which accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express
  • Banking hours at most commercial banks are: Mon-Fri 9:30am-2pm and Saturday 9:30am-noon
  • Be sure to carry newer notes as very old/torn notes are not often accepted
  • Proof of identity may be requested in some instances when using a credit card. It is useful to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times. Credit cards are not accepted at petrol/gas stations. Be careful with your credit card. Wherever you use it, try to keep it within sight and ensure you have it returned to you when making purchases.
  • Taxation values are different and complicated in the various states of India
  • For current currency exchange estimates, go to www.xe.com.
Weather & Climate
February is one of the best times of year to visit Chennai. The weather is hot, but pleasant, with highs of 31C (87F) and lows of 22C (71F). February is also dry with virtually no rain.
Time in Chennai
Indian Standard Time is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
It is also 12.5 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.
Voltage in India is 220 to 240 volts, 50Hz. Hotels usually provide dual voltage razor sockets, 110 to 210 volts or 220 to 250 volts. Outlets generally accept 2 round pins or 3 round pins arranged in a triangle. Many hotels provide international adaptors, but it is best to carry your own.
Dress & Etiquette
Dress is business casual for meetings and evening events. We recommend that all participants bring comfortable walking shoes, especially for field trips, as some areas will be muddy. Sidewalks are uneven, and due to large amounts of construction in the city, some areas do not have sidewalks. If you plan to travel pre or post conference, here is a suggested packing list:
  • Casual trousers and/or skirts
  • Cotton shirts (long and short sleeved)
  • Jacket or sweater for cool weather in the evenings
  • Slip-on shoes for temple or mosque visits
  • Any special medicines, especially anti-malaria and diarrhea medications, if needed
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunhat, suntan lotion and sunglasses
  • Tissues, wet wipes, and toilet tissue – good to carry when travelling around the city or country (not always available in public restrooms)

Dress conservatively when visiting religious sites. You may be required to cover your head and shoulders. Shoes should always be removed before entering a place of worship or a person's home. Some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises. Certain temples are not open to non-Hindus.

Visitors should be careful not to use the left hand for giving, receiving, eating or pointing.

may not be permissible at some railway stations, bridges, airports, and all military installations. If in doubt, it is best to ask.
is not allowed in public places including hotels, restaurants, railways and railway stations. These strictly non-smoking zones have stiff penalties for violations.
In general, tipping is not mandatory, but if you are happy with the service, tips are gratefully received and always appreciated. Here are some general guidelines for tipping:
  • Visitors are not to be expected to tip taxi drivers
  • Hotel, airport and train station porters should be tipped approximately INR 50/bag 
  • If a service charge is not included, tip guides INR 200, drivers approximately INR 350/day, or 10 percent where appropriate
  • In restaurants, if the service was good, tip anything between approximately 5-10% of the bill
  • Receipts will often include a "Service Charge"; this is NOT an automatic tip charge on your bill. It is a government issued tax that has nothing to do with the service your waiter provided you
Health & Safety
The information below serves as a guideline only and reference is made to general precautions only. We strongly encourage you to consult with your physician prior to departing from home.

Medical Precautions – Vaccinations are not required when you travel to India. However, anti-malaria medication is strongly recommended. If you have visited or transited a yellow fever area ten days prior to your scheduled trip, a yellow fever inoculation certificate is mandatory.

Emergency Medical Cover & Comprehensive Travel Insurance – Before you travel to India, we highly recommend you subscribe to comprehensive travel and emergency medical insurance. Medical services in India are readily available and usually of a good standard, but they are usually private and therefore costly. Always bring an ample supply of specialised medication.

Drinking Water – Do not drink tap water while in India. Consumption of bottled water is always advisable. Check that the bottle is sealed before you purchase it, and please remember to dispose of it properly. Do not buy water from side street vendors. We also strongly advise against buying food from side street vendors.

Travelling in India is usually relatively safe, but it is best to use the following precautions:

  • Use the hotel safe to store valuables and travel documents
  • Avoid wearing ostentatious jewellery or carrying large amounts of cash during sightseeing as tourists are easy targets for pickpockets
  • Avoid giving money to beggars as you will be flooded with requests
  • Do not accept food or drinks from strangers during travel
  • Do not walk in deserted areas at night
  • Most stray dogs are feral, so it is best to avoid them
  • Use care when crossing roads in India
  • Luggage and bags should be secured with locks where possible
  • Do not leave electronic equipment unattended
Getting Around
In a city of over 8 million, traffic congestion is often high. We advise you allow more than enough time to get from one point to another. Traffic is heavy throughout the day, especially during peak hours. Road conditions are often poor. Buses, taxis, motorcycles and bicycles clog the busy streets. 

Public buses for longer distances, auto rickshaws for short distances, and private cars/taxis are the most convenient means of getting around. Here are some tips for using these forms of transportation:

  • If you use a taxi, be sure it is prepaid
  • Tourist air-conditioned buses are recommended; they are less crowded than government buses, which also frequently break down
  • If you use an auto rickshaw, be sure it contains a meter – auto rickshaws are legally required to have meters
  • Auto rickshaws start at a minimum fare of INR 25 for the first 1.8km
  • Discuss getting a lower price when using auto rickshaws












  • _Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • _Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • _BORDA
  • _Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination Society
  • _Eawag-Sandec
  • _GIZ
  • _Indian Institute for Human Settlement
  • _Indian Institute of Technology Madras
  • _Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India
  • _Municipal Administration & Water Supply, Government of Tamil Nadu
  • _National Insitute of Urban Affairs
  • _Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
  • _University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • _Water Research Commission
  • _World Bank-WSP