Mumbai airport functions 24 hours a day, and most facilities there, including banks, are open through the night. International participants will very likely arrive late at night or in the early morning. This poses no particular problem, though the airport may be rather crowded.
Mumbai airport is designated "Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport" and has two terminals, the International Terminal at Sahar and the Domestic Terminal at Santa Cruz, about 2 kilometres apart. From the airport you can take a taxi to your hotel, or else arrange in advance with your hotel to send a car to meet you at the airport. More specific information for Oberoi guests is provided below.
The Oberoi Towers is located at Nariman Point, within the downtown area, about 25 km from the airport. The Tata Institute is another 4 km south of this, at the southern tip of the island city. It is in the area called "Navy Nagar", just beyond the Navy Nagar Bus Terminus, at the end of Homi Bhabha Road. In case you need to ask for directions within the area, please note that the Tata Institute is more commonly known here as "TIFR". A simple map of central and south Mumbai is available on our website.
For those arriving by train on Central Railway, the station in South Mumbai is CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). If your train terminates at an earlier station, you can continue to CST by local train. For those arriving on Western Railway the train will terminate at Mumbai Central or earlier, and you can continue by local train to Churchgate station in South Mumbai. From these stations you can get a direct bus to the Tata Institute, or take a taxi. In either case, specify "Navy Nagar" as your destination.
IMPORTANT: Please note that Navy Nagar is a protected area and photography in the area is not permitted until you are inside the Tata Institute campus.
Please make sure the hotel where you are staying is aware of your arrival and departure dates and times. International travellers, please note that many airlines require you to reconfirm your return booking after arrival in Mumbai. You should find out if this is applicable to you.
For any other travel that you might be planning to carry out within India, it is also advisable to confirm your itinerary in advance, as December-January is peak tourist season in India and it can be very difficult to get hotel and travel bookings at the last moment. However, in case you do want to try for a last-minute rail booking, there is a "tourist quota" for foreign residents on Indian Railways, which can be availed of at the booking office in Mumbai.
Strings 2001 will start on Friday, January 5 2001 at 9:30 AM in the Homi Bhabha Auditorium of the Tata Institute.
A registration desk will be set up in the lobby of the Oberoi Towers on January 4. Those who are unable to register on that day should register on January 5 in the Foyer of the Homi Bhabha Auditorium, during any of the breaks. If you are receiving any financial support from the conference beyond a fee waiver, you will receive a printed "Record of Support" from us, stating the nature and amount of this support, when you register. Please read this carefully and contact us immediately if you need clarification.
Mumbai taxis come in two varieties. The standard ones are black and yellow, while the "Cool Cabs" are air-conditioned and painted blue. The latter cost around 25 percent more, but may be preferable, particularly in the day time, to avoid vehicular pollution. If you are taking a taxi from the airport, make sure you do so at the official taxi rank at each exit, and do not accept offers from touts. A policeman is usually on duty at the taxi rank.
When using taxis, specify your destination as "Nariman Point" for the Oberoi. The hotel is a prominent landmark in this area. To go to the Tata Institute, ask the driver to take you to "Navy Nagar". The Institute is located at the end of Homi Bhabha Road, just beyond the Navy Nagar Bus Terminus. The charge for a taxi is inclusive of upto four passengers, with a small additional charge for luggage. Currently it costs around Rs. 320 for a regular taxi from the airport to the Oberoi Towers, and the trip takes between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours depending on traffic. A taxi from the Oberoi to the Tata Institute costs Rs. 35 and takes 15 to 20 minutes.
You will have to pay at the end of the ride. As the taximeters in Mumbai taxis have not been recalibrated for many years, the fare that they show needs to be converted to the actual fare by a multiplication factor that is revised periodically. Currently this conversion factor is around 14, and the driver has an official conversion table that has to be shown to you on request. There is a small extra charge for luggage. Tipping is optional, and in any case need not exceed 10 percent of the fare.
The unit of currency in India is the Rupee, divided into 100 paise. Currently the exchange rate is about 47 Rupees to a U.S. dollar. It is recommened that you change money at the airport on arrival. U.S. dollars and other foreign currencies cannot be used directly in India except at authorised establishments such as hotels. Major Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard etc.) are accepted at many major shops and restaurants, but you will need cash to pay for taxis and for small purchases. Currency can be converted at Thomas Cook or American Express in the downtown area during business hours, or at the Oberoi (for Oberoi guests only), 24 hours a day. ATM machines are located at several places in the downtown area, including the Air India building next to the Oberoi, and Visa/Mastercard credit cards carrying the "Cirrus" logo can be used there to withdraw cash in rupees.
When you buy rupees, please keep the receipt carefully, as you may need it in case you want to convert some rupees back to foreign currency prior to leaving the country.
If you are staying at the conference hotel "Oberoi Towers", please take note of the following services that the hotel is offering as a courtesy.
Check-in/Check-out: The normal check-in/check-out times are 1200 hours. For conference participants, the hotel is offering more flexible hours as below:
Shared Rooms: If you are planning to share a room with another conference participant, please inform the hotel clearly that you want a double occupancy room. Tell them your preference for a room-mate, otherwise you will be assigned a roommate by the hotel. A list of participants is available on our website and is updated regularly.
Airport Pick-up: The Oberoi Hotel staff should be on hand to assist you at the airport. If you need pick-up from the airport, please supply your flight information in advance to the hotel, by sending email to Sudha Narayan at email@example.com. Her Fax number is: +91-22-285 7882, and her mobile phone number is +91-22-98200 40238. A hotel car with chauffeur costs Rs 1500 and can be shared by upto three people.
Pre-registration: Participants staying at the Oberoi Towers are urged to register for the conference at the Strings 2001 desk there on January 4. This will be open for most of the day. Those who do not register on January 4 can do so from January 5 at the Tata Institute.
Transportation to and from the venue: Free buses will be arranged to transport participants between Oberoi Towers and Tata Institute during the conference. Participants who miss the arranged transportation can easily reach the Tata Institute by taxi, the travel time is 15 to 20 minutes. Those staying anywhere other than the Oberoi will have to make their own arrangements to commute.
The conference will start at 9:30 AM every day. The following is the approximate schedule of buses. The actual timings will be adjusted to suit the convenience of the participants to the extent possible. Additional buses may be arranged, and will be announced from day to day.
|Date||Oberoi to TIFR||TIFR to Oberoi|
|5th||8:30 AM to 9 AM||9 PM (after Welcome Dinner)|
|6th||8:30 AM to 9 AM||2 PM (after Lunch)|
|7th||8:30 AM to 9 AM||9:30 PM (after Cultural Program)|
|8th||8:30 AM to 9 AM||5:30 PM (after lectures)|
|9th||8:30 AM to 9 AM||5:30 PM (after lectures)|
|10th||8:30 AM to 9 AM|| 2 PM (after lunch)|
Also at 6 PM (after Spl. Lecture Program)
Flight Reconfirmation: The front desk at the Oberoi Towers will be happy to assist hotel guests with reconfirmation of their return flight booking.
Currency Exchange: The Oberoi Towers has a currency exchange counter that is open round the clock, exclusively for use by hotel guests. The hotel informs us that their exchange rate is the same as the bank rate, with no extra charges.
If you are staying anywhere other than the Oberoi Towers, you will have to find your own way to your place of accommodation. You will also have to take care of your own transportation to and from the Tata Institute every day. This is a simple matter using public buses or taxis. In particular, buses No. 3, 11 and 137 terminate at the Navy Nagar bus terminus.
The few participants who are being accommodated in the TIFR Guest House should go there directly on arrival, it is located within the TIFR Housing Complex which is right opposite the Institute.
It is best that you consult your own medical practitioner and/or guide book about the desirable health precautions to take when visiting India. According to our information, it is advisable for international visitors to take a course of anti-malaria tablets, which may need to be started a week or two before arriving here. It is also a good idea to be careful about the water consumed while in India. Beyond this, we are not aware of any precautions that are considered essential. Most medications that are standard in the rest of the world are easily available here, though if you plan to travel, you may want to bring some basic medicines with you.
In case you need medical assistance during the conference, please contact the Strings 2001 secretariat. The Oberoi also has 24-hour medical assistance (on payment) for its guests.
You can make long-distance calls from your hotel, however, it is always advisable to enquire in advance about any surcharges. At many places in the city you will see the sign "STD/ISD/PCO", this indicates an assisted telephone booth from where you can make long-distance calls at the basic rate. It is common for these phone booths to be attached to small shops. Usually the cost of the call in rupees is displayed while you talk, and you pay after the call is over. Local calls may be made from the Tata Institute.
Tata Institute (TIFR)