The Indian rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa), though as of 2011 only 50-paise coins are legal tender. Banknotes in circulation come in denominations of ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹2000. Please note that as of November 2016, the older ₹500 note is no longer valid legal tender and only new ₹500 notes will be accepted.
The older Rupee coins are available in denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹25, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1000; the coins for 20 and above are for commemorative purposes only; the only other rupee coin has a nominal value of 50 paise, since lower denominations have been officially withdrawn.
The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. However, amounts exceeding US$5,000 or equivalent in cash, or US$10,000 or equivalent in all forms of currency must be declared. The export of foreign currency is allowed up to the amount imported and declared.
Currency can be changed at banks, airports or authorized money changers. Many hotels also have facilities to change money but this is a more expensive option. It is illegal to exchange money through unauthorized money changers. US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange.
Banking hours: Monday-Friday 10h30-15h30; Sat 10h30-13h00.
Strictly speaking, you can neither import nor export Indian currency, but you can get some at the airport straight away to at least get you transport to your accommodation. There are Authorized Foreign Exchange dealers in most big cities, and banks will also change your currency at a fair rate if you have time for the paperwork.
A good way of getting your travelers currency is via an ATM but beware of hidden bank charges, both from the bank providing the ATM and the card-issuing bank – you also do not know what exchange rate you are getting. ATMs are found in most towns and are recommended for cash withdrawals.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are usually accepted in tourist hotels and many other shops. Debit cards are also widely accepted.
Travelers cheques are widely accepted and may be changed at banks and larger hotels. The most widely accepted currencies include US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands of traveler’s cheques whilst others may exchange quite happily.