The Money

One common request I get in these travels is what the money looks like and how it works.  In India the basic currency is the Rupee, which comes in coin and bill.  So far I only have some 500 and 50 rupee notes, but will put up some other pix as I get other denominations.

The rupee is exchanged with the dollar at roughly 43 to $1, so each rupee is a few more than 2 cents.  A bottle of water is 12 rupees, it takes 2 rupees to get a begging child to leave you alone, and a nice biryani entree in the hotel restaurant is 485 rupees, or a bit more than $11.  So some things are cheaper than home, others are comparable. 

There is also a larger denomination called a Lakh, which I think is 10,000 rupees.  I've only seen that shown in newspapers when people are talking about buying cars or property.

We couldn't exchange currency outside the country, and I think it's heavily regulated by the government.  The dollars we gave the front desk clerk he stapled to an exchange form, to be given to whom?

6/25 - Found out more about the money.  While you can exchange dollars for Rupees at certain authorized regulated locations, like many western-style Hotels, the currency goes to the central bank and is credited back to the exchangor in rupees.  You receive an exchange form which you are supposed to save to show where you got your currency, when you exchange it back. The only places you can exchange it back for dollars is at the official locations at the airport.

In addition, I found out what the Lakh is.  India has a traditional decimal numbering scheme which is a little different than we westerners are used to.  Lakh is not a currency denomination, it is simply 10,000 of something.  They have another enumeration called the crore which is 10 Million of something. 

While western maths have generally grouped things in groups of 3 orders of magnitude - tens, hundreds, thousands, etc and then organizing them into thousands, millions, billions, trillions, the Indian way uses the first 3 orders of magnitude grouping - into thousands, then does 2 order of magnitude groupings above that.

What this means is while we in America, as well as the scientific community is used to grouping things like this:
    Thousands  10 to the 3rd (1,000)
    Millions      10 to the 6th (1,000,000)
    Billions       10 to the 9th (1,000,000,000)
    Trillions      10 to the 12th (1,000,000,000,000)
the Indian way goes like this:
    Thousands   10 to the 3rd (1,000)
    Lakh            10 to the 5th (1,00,000)
    Crore         10 to the 7th (1,00,00,000)
and there are more beyond.  A web search on "Indian Numbering System" will give you all you want.

So when we see corporate profits described as Rs 75,3 crore, then that means 75.3 times 1,00,000,000 or 753,000,000 rupees, or about $17.6 million dollars.
Different, huh?

In our travels we have finally gotten all the paper currency, so here's pictures of the whole set.
Currency 1  Currency 2
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