Indian cuisine: The most ethnically diverse in the world

When visiting a country, one of the many things to look forward to is getting a taste of the local cuisine. India, however, offers a unique experience because countless people consider the country as having the most diverse and unique cooking styles.

It can be attributed to the large diaspora of the country, which is the second most populous in the world and has varying religious beliefs and culture. The large-scale interactions of India with neighboring countries have also contributed to the diversity of Indian cuisine.

Basically, there are four geographical varieties that each have their distinct flavor; though they do share a common theme of heavy reliance on blends of spices and seasonings, which is also known as masala.

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North: India’s northern region experiences cool weather, which contributes to the hearty texture and warm, subtle flavors of the dishes there. Meats and bread are prepared in cylindrical-shaped, clay ovens called tandoors. North Indian cuisine also typically uses a relatively high amount of dairy for sauces or gravies.

East: This area is surrounded by different bodies of water, making the Eastern Indian cuisine fish-based. Rice is the staple grain in this region because its climate is conducive for cultivating different varieties of rice. This cuisine is also well-known for its desserts.

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West: Western Indian cuisine has three primary food groups: Gujarati (predominantly vegetarian), Maharashtrian (heavily uses coconut), and Goan (seafood-based cuisine). Many say that this cuisine is where the Northern, Eastern, and Southern cuisines meet.

South: Primarily vegetarian, the cuisine in Southern India has an of abundance spice-intense and meatless dishes. The meals also make heavy use of soup and tamarind.

Cox and Kings Global Services is a specialist BPO company focused on serving the consular sections of diplomatic missions worldwide. To learn more about the Indian culture, subscribe to this blog.

India’s awe-inspiring modern structures every traveler must see

India should be on the bucket list of every architect. It has a long history of structural marvels that can inspire innovative ideas among artists. Many modern monuments are influenced by the country’s heritage of ancient architecture. True enough, these newer structures uphold the country’s rich legacy of artistic masterpieces.

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Lotus Temple, New Delhi. The award-winning structure features three sets of nine marble petals arranged to form the shape of a half-open lotus flower. It is a Bahai Temple open to people of different faiths.

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Akshardham Temple, New Delhi. One of the world’s largest Hindu temples, Akshardham was completed in 2005 and involved around 11,000 artisans. The massive structure features intricate images of scenes from Indian mythology, carved on pink stone and white marble.

i Flex Building, Karnataka. This futuristic, iconic building is a steel-colored asymmetrical structure with its suspended floors as the highlight. The building, which spans 144,000 square feet, can accommodate as many as 1,500 employees and is now operated by Oracle Financial Services.

Cox and Kings Global Services is a specialist BPO agency that provides administrative and management support to consulates. CGKS oversees tasks related to the lifecycle of the visa, passport, and consular application process. For more information about the company, visit this website.

The six-month rule: Why it is a must to renew passports before they expire

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When a person leaves and enters a country, he or she will be required to present a valid passport so immigration officials can check their identity. In the United States, most passports have a ten-year validity from the date they were issued. While a lot of people think it’s okay to use their passport until its month of expiration, it is advisable that they have it renewed months before their planned trips.

Governments, airlines, and cruise lines have rules regarding passport validity. For example, all foreign travelers bound for China should have a passport that is valid for six months before they are allowed to enter the country. If the person’s passport will expire in less than six months, they may be denied entry to their country of destination.

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When planning for a trip, it is best to check the country’s passport or visa requirements. Renewing passports at least six months before they expire is safe enough for tourists to have peace of mind before they plan their travel.

Passport renewals in the United States usually take up to four to six weeks of processing. Expedited applications can take two to three weeks. However, the time it takes to mail applications is not included in this frame. Americans who live outside the United States can have their passports renewed by visiting their local consulate offices.

Cox and Kings Global Services provides consulates and diplomatic missions an assortment of business processing outsourcing services. Learn more about its services by visiting the company’s website.

Touring India? Securing a tourist visa

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Foreigners visiting India need to have a passport with a valid visa. The visa can be taken from any Indian Mission or Post. The signed application form should be completed and subsequently, submitted to the nearest Indian Visa Application Center.

There is another way, however – the e-Tourist Visa. The process of obtaining an Indian e-Tourist Visa is entirely online. As convenient as this may seem, the applicant is still highly recommended to exercise caution when giving his or her personal details over the internet.

The process itself in applying for an e-Tourist visa is straightforward. There are four steps: applying online by uploading a photo and a passport page, paying the visa fee online via a credit or debit card, receiving an e-Tourist visa online (email), and printing the e-Tourist visa to bring along during the trip.

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As for Indian tourist visa eligibility, here are the parameters applicants need to remember:

• All foreign visitors who want to visit India can have the following reasons for touring the country: to go sight-seeing, to visit friends or relatives, to undergo a short-term medical procedure, or to attend a casual business meeting.

• Passports should be valid for at least six months — from the time the passport owner touches down in India.

• Immigration Officers will need to stamp on the passport. There should be two pages in the passport for this.

• Foreign visitors should have either return or onward journey tickets to show at immigration, and enough cash to sustain them during their stay in the country.

Cox & Kings Global Services is a specialist business process outsource agency established to serve consular sections of diplomatic missions. Learn more about what CKGS has to offer by visiting its official website.

Acing the interview: Some tips to get that visa to India

Securing any of the several visas to India would require an interview or a series of interviews at the consulate. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of success.

Don’t be late.

Embassy officers are strict with time. Not coming on time for your appointment might be taken as a sign that you are not seriously committed to visiting India. Respect for time is a very effective way to signify how you intend to behave once you actually reach the country.

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Dress appropriately.

The way you dress is also connected with how much regard you have regarding the opportunity that securing your visa grants you. You should not dress in a way that would be inclined too vulgar. You should dress professionally and in a way wherein the interviewer will see you as an equal.

Be courteous but confident.

Be courteous and well-mannered, but take care that you do not do it to the point that you appear to be rather artificial. Interviewers are trained to identify genuine behavior and the kind that is sincere. Be comfortable in your own skin and be confident about yourself in a manner that would be impressive to your interviewer.

Bring complete documents.

Chances are, you will be required to show your documents. If you have one item missing or if you don’t have them with you at all, you can be sure that your visa will be denied. Embassy officers will not take you seriously if you fail to bring a complete set of requirements.

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Cox & Kings Global Services is an agency that serves consular sections of diplomatic missions. The organization is well-placed to address the needs of diplomatic missions worldwide, as it focuses on addressing concerns regarding security, integrity, speed, and efficacy on the outsourced solution of the business. To learn more about its services, visit its website.

Passport maintenance: Small details which can invalidate your passport

Traveling to India, whether for business or pleasure, is one of the most worthwhile decisions that you can make. However, it is not unheard of for this exciting prospect to be taken away by utterly minor details that have to do with your passport:

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1. Physical wear is a common culprit in your passport’s credibility. Torn pages or peeling lamination can be perceived as signs of fraud. Awkward crumpling and irregular folds can get in the way of the readability of critical passport information. Ink blotches and random stains can give the exact same effects, too.

2. Inconsistencies in personal information have been known to be quite a nuisance when they cast doubt on the minds of the immigration officers. If your appearance is drastically different from what is seen on your passport, this can cause a problem. If you sign a document that does not match fairly with the signature as shown in your passport, the same goes.

3. Validity can cause huge problems too, especially if your travel date is quite close to the date of your passport’s expiration. Often, it is prudent to have your passport valid for not less than the next months to your scheduled travel date.

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Bear in mind that a passport not only serves as your literal pass document once you enter another country’s port. It is expected to be your primary identification when you go around. This is the reason the passport is the most sacred travel document that you should have on your person at all times.

Cox and Kings Global Services is an agency that serves consular sections of diplomatic missions. The organization is well-placed to address the needs of diplomatic missions worldwide, as it focuses on addressing concerns regarding security, integrity, speed, and efficacy on the outsourced solution of the business. To learn more about its services, visit its website.

A newly-wed adventure: Perfect destinations in India for honeymooners

What’s the next thing that couples look forward to after having their dream wedding? The honeymoon, of course.

There is much to be excited about being married, which involves going to places and creating new adventures together, among the many firsts to be experienced as newly-weds. For the honeymoon, although there is the quintessential Parisian getaway or Caribbean escapade, couples may want to consider going to India for a dynamic journey to a land rich in history, culture, and aesthetics.

India is home not only to marvelous temples and palaces but also to beaches and gardens, among other breathtaking views and landscapes, making it an ideal place for honeymooners.

The smell of the beach

Kerala, located in Southern India, tops the list of the perfect destination for a romantic honeymoon getaway by the beach. Kovalam, a small coastal town in Kerala, is known as the state’s most developed resort. Lighthouse Beach is the front-runner in terms of beachfront properties – hotels and restaurants – that couples may consider, especially those who want to wake up to a breathtaking ocean view. If vacationing on a budget, some of the highly recommended hotels to book are Sagara Beach Resort, Hotel Thushara, and Hotel Golden Sands.

Couples who are into more serene settings, but with tons of activities to offer, may opt to go to Lakshadweep, a northern extension of Maldives, boasting of marvelous flora and fauna.

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The sight of greenery

Couples who would rather behold the sight of greenery and appreciate nature at its finest may consider having their honeymoon in Nilgiris District, situated in Tamil Nadu. This part of India is known for its vast mountain range, combined with relaxing climate, which leaves travelers feeling rejuvenated.

Shimla, located in the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, is another option, being one of India’s most popular holiday tourist spot particularly during summer months. Within the same state, there’s also Manali, situated in the high-altitude of 6,726 ft, at the end of Kullu Valley. The place is distinguished for its mountain peaks, soothing weather, and lush greenery, which makes a beautiful and quixotic backdrop for a honeymoon.

Blues, greens, and everything in between

Couples who like a little bit of everything – a view of the lake, mountains, valleys, and even mosques – should head over to Srinagar, Kashmir. Also known as Heaven on the Earth, this place is the summer capital of Jammu, and is considered as one of the most romantic destinations in Asia.

Nainital is also an option. This place offers affordable honeymoon packages, while definitely not shortchanging on scenery, with lake, mountain backdrop and valleys to boot.

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