You should also check out marriedtoindia.com
Lots of members there, mostly americans married to Indians.
We face this, although DH's family is Egyptian, not Indian. His Mom has had major health issues since we were married--and because she is prone to blood clots, visiting us is just not a good idea.
We also face the gifts thing. I think our first visit, we spent over $2000 on gifts--and to be honest, I have no idea if they were appreciated or not. Each trip, we've cut down. We did buy his Mom a new washing machine--which I think was a better use of our money.
One thing that might help is just to let your DH see you trying to save money for an emergency fund/visit fund. Even something as simple as dropping all of your lose change can add up. I know we were shocked to find out DH had almost $200 in change in his money jar. See if you can take out $5-20 from your grocery budget each week and add it to the jar. If you can do more, do more. If you guys are planning to go out, try and make it at home--and put the money you save in the jar. Let DH see that you're just as concerned about his family, and it might help. Maybe you could even surprise him with a ticket sometime.
At this point, all of us visiting is no longer practical. (5 plane tickets plus an infant's fare). So, DH takes one kid at a time. Although I'd like to visit, realistically it's more important that DH visit more often--and the grand kids as well.
The $10,000 thing sounds like a green card requirement, not a tourist visa thing. As somebody else mentioned, I'd check with travel agents within the Desi community. It's also the best place to get good deals on flights.