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Discovering the India currency: Information about the Rupee

by Pilar Dujan | August 28, 2023
You need India currency to tour the attractions in the country

India is a magnificent country located in Asia. With a history that spans millennia, India tourism is an experience that’s not for the faint hearted, but it is something that no traveler is likely to forget. The things to do in India include attractions known all over the world like the Taj Mahal, but also natural wonders like national parks or beaches. 

For traveling internationally, a currency exchange is usually in order. In this case, you will learn everything about the India currency: the rupee. Apply for your India Visa before traveling and prepare to enjoy the trip.

What is the currency in India?

Knowing the local currency is always important before traveling. So, what is the currency of India? The India currency is the Rupee (INR). Its symbol is ₹, whose origin can be traced back to the Indian flag: it’s supposed to represent the orange and green horizontal stripes of the flag. The India currency is divided into 100 paise

There are bills of the following denominations of the currency in India: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1.000 rupees. The coins are of 10, 25 and 50 paise; and 1, 2 and 5 rupees.

How to exchange currency in India

First, it’s important to note that the India currency is partially convertible. This means that it’s virtually impossible to get rupees outside of India and, if you do manage to find a place that will exchange it, it will very likely be at very expensive rates. Therefore, the best way to exchange currencies is doing it once you arrive

You can exchange all your remaining rupees at the airport at the end of the trip if you didn’t manage to do it in the last city you visit.

Bills with the face of Mahatma Gandhi, India currency

Exchange rate: India currency to USD

The exchange rate for the India currency to USD is 1 rupee = 0,012 USD.

Exchange rate: Dollar US to India currency

The exchange rate from USD to India currency is: 1 USD = 82,53 rupees.

Exchange rate: India currency to Euro

The exchange rate between the India currency and the Euro is:

  • 1 rupee = 0,011 euros.
  • 1 euro = 89,58 rupees.

Use of ATMs and bank cards while traveling in India

India is a technologically modernized country, especially around the bigger cities. In those areas you won’t have any problems finding ATMs or shops that accept credit or debit cards

It’s recommended to travel with Visa or Mastercard, they’re the brands most widely and easily accepted. 

As in every instance of international travel, you should inform your bank about your visit to India. That way you won’t run into the risk of having your card blocked. Also, you should check the limit for extractions in case it’s too low for the entirety of your trip.

In terms of ATMs, as we said, they’re easily found around the metropolitan areas of India. The ATMs of Citibank, HSBC, Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI and the State Bank of India are the easiest to use for tourists. Other brands may not accept your international card.

However, before picking an ATM, you should check the current commissions for extractions so you can choose the one that suits you best. 

A bengal tiger in India

Is having cash in the currency of India necessary?

You could probably get around comfortably without cash in the big cities if you have a functioning bank card. However, if your itinerary includes small villages, you will need to have some India currency in cash, and it’s better if the bills are of smaller denomination.

Even if you don’t plan on visiting remote places, having a small amount of bills and coins will come in handy for small transactions or for tipping, but remember to exchange them to your own currency before leaving the country.

If you go into an exchange office, under no circumstances should you accept dirty or damaged India currency. Bills in poor states are going to be hard to place, they won’t accept them. Don’t be ashamed to ask them to change a damaged bill for another! 

Estimated budget for traveling to India

The average cost for a trip to India will depend on the level of luxury you expect out of your holidays. Your budget could start around 3000 INR and get as high as 9000 INR, or more!

For example, a cheap accommodation could go for about 500 INR, but a hotel usually costs between 1500 and 5000 INR. Just to give you an idea, to stay in a luxurious hotel you would have to pay 20.000 rupees. 

In terms of food, Indian street food is delicious and it’s always a good (and cheap) option for eating on the move, although you should try to avoid sketchy meats to protect yourself from Delhi Belly. A restaurant meal goes for about 1000 INR, but it will always depend on the type of establishment you pick.

For transportation, the cheapest option is always the public network. Renting a car or taking a taxi are more comfortable than taking a train, but the cost is also a lot higher. 

If you’re curious about tipping, you should read our India travel tips. You will learn everything about tipping, haggling and more.