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About India - Top Destinations in India

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India is the seventh largest country in the world. The countrys official name, India is derived from the Old Persian version of Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the river Indus. The Constitution of India and general usage also recognises Bharat, which is derived from the Sanskrit name of an ancient Hindu king, whose story is to be found in the Mahabharata, as an official name of equal status. A third name, Hindustan, or land of the Hindus in Persian, was used from Mughal times onwards, though its contemporary use is unevenly applied due to domestic disputes over how representative it is as a national signifier.

Location

The Republic of India is a country in South Asia which comprises most of the Indian subcontinent. India has a coastline which stretches for over seven thousand kilometers and shares its borders with Pakistan on the northwest, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the east. On the Indian Ocean, it is also adjacent to the island nations of the Maldives on the southwest, Sri Lanka on the south, and Indonesia on the southeast. India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of over one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. The distance from India's southern tip to its northernmost point is 3214 kms. Its distance from east to west is 2933 kms. It has 7,516 kms of coastline on three bodies of water: the Arabian sea off its western coast, the Indian Ocean to the south and the Bay of Bengal on its eastern side. India is a vast expanse of cultural, traditional and religious diversity. The Indian Subcontinent is separated from the rest of Asia by the Great Himalayan range. Indian subcontinent occupies an area of 3,268,000 sq. km which is roughly a third of the land mass of continental United States. Its geographical features are as diverse, ranging from perpetually snowcapped peaks to torrid deserts, form tropical rainforests to huge fertile plains & from rock escarpments to gentle rolling downs. Occupying most of the Indian subcontinent, India's entire north and northeast states are made up of the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain.

Climate

Because of India's size, its climate depends not only on the time of year, but also the location. In general, temperatures tend to be cooler in the north, especially between September and March. The south is coolest between November to January. In June, winds and warm surface currents begin to move northwards and westwards, heading out of the Indian Ocean and into the Arabian Gulf. This creates a phenomenon known as the south-west monsoon, and it brings heavy rains to the west coast. Between October and December, a similar climatic pattern called the north-east monsoon appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. In addition to the two monsoons, there are two other seasons, spring and autumn.

Occupation

India is mainly an agricultural country, though it also has a large iron and steel industry and produces every type of manufactured goods. In the last few years India has gotten more and more involved in information technology and every year over 100,000 software professionals leave India to work in other countries, mainly the United States. India produces the world's highest number of films annually. The most recognisable face is that of Bollywood, based in Mumbai, which produces mainly commercial Hindi films. Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic strata. India is also known for it's beautiful jewelry and fashion

Population

India is also home to a large and diverse population that has added to its vibrant character since ages. Its population is one billion (one thousand million), making it the second most populous country after China. It is more than three times the population of the United States though its area is only about one-third. It is the largest democracy in the world. India, it is often said, is not a country but a continent. From North to South & East to West the people are different, the culture is different, the moods are different. A pluralist, multilingual and multicultural society, Indians are largely tolerant and peaceful. Religious practices of various faiths are an integral part of everyday life in society. In 2001, India had 35 cities / urban areas with a population of more than one million people. In total, some 108 million Indians, or 10.5 per cent of the national population, live in the country's 35 largest cities. Mumbai (Bombay) with a population of more than 16 million is now the world's fourth-largest urban area followed by Kolkata (Calcutta) in fifth place. The United Nations now estimates that by 2050 India will have overtaken China as the most populous country in the world. Today, Indians make up 16.7 per cent of the world's population with an annual growth rate of close to two per cent while the world population is growing at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent. In 2001, the sex ratio for the whole of India stood at 933 females to 1,000 males. Based on their physical type and language, we can easily divide Indian people into four broad classes. First, a majority of high class Hindus, who live in North India and whose language is derived from Sanskrit. Secondly, those who live in that part of India that is south of the Vindhyas and whose languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam - are entirely different from Sanskrit. These are known by the generic name of "Dravidians". Thirdly, primitive tribes living in hills and jungles of India, who as mentioned above constitute eight percent of the total population in India. The Kols, Bhils and Mundas belong to this class. Fourthly, there are a people with strong Mongolian features inhabiting within India the slopes of the Himalayas and mountains of Assam. The Gorkhas, Bhutiyas and Khasis are striking examples of this. It is impossible to speak of any one Indian culture, although there are deep cultural continuities that tie its people together. English is the major language of trade and politics, but there are fourteen official languages in all. There are twenty-four languages that are spoken by a million people or more, and countless other dialects. India has seven major religions and many minor ones, six main ethnic groups, and countless holidays.

States of India

India is subdivided into 28 states, 6 union territories and a National Capital Territory.

Union Territories

Andaman and Nicobar Islands , Chandigarh , Dadra and Nagar Haveli , Daman and Diu , Lakshadweep , Pondicherry , National Capital Territory , Delhi.

States of India

Jammu & Kashmir , Himachal Pradesh , Punjab , Haryana , Rajasthan , Delhi , Uttar Pradesh , Chandigarh , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu , Kerala , Andhra Pradesh , Gujarat , Maharashtra , Goa ,Daman & Diu , Bihar , Orissa , West Bengal , Sikkim , Assam , Meghalaya , Arunachal Pradesh , Nagaland , Manipur , Mizoram , Tripura , Madhya Pradesh.

North India

Located in the upper part of India in the foothills of the Himalayas, the northern region of India is enriched with different cultures, religions, marvelous monuments, immense wildlife parks and sanctuaries, holy rivers, majestic Himalayas, and diversified climate conditions. The whole of north India borders countries like Pakistan, China, Nepal and Bhutan from northwest to northeast. Geographically north India has great diversity. The towering majesty of the Himalayas, the breathtaking mountainous beauty of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, the agriculturally rich plains of Punjab, Haryana and the Ganga basin of Uttar Pradesh that has nurtured many ancient civilisations form an incredibly rich visual extravaganza. This rich cultural tapestry is woven with brilliant strands of many hues-dance, music, food, costumes, languages, customs, festivals -a variety staggering in its appeal. The origin of sacred river Ganga, Yamuna and sources of many other important rivers are in northern India.

South India

The southern part of India touches the Indian Ocean and is rich in wild life, flora & fauna and temples. South India is a geographic and linguistic-cultural region of India. Geographically, South India is a vast triangular peninsula, bounded on the west by the Arabian Sea, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. The Vindhya and Satpura ranges and the Narmada River are the traditional boundary between northern and southern India. South of the Satpuras, at the center of the peninsula, is the Deccan plateau, defined by the Western Ghats mountain range, which runs along the western edge of the peninsula, and the Eastern Ghats along the eastern edge. The great rivers of south India, the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri (Cauvery), rise in the Western Ghats and flow across the Deccan and through gaps in the Eastern Ghats to empty into the Bay of Bengal. As a linguistic-cultural and political region, South India consists of the five south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry & Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Natives of these states are referred to as South Indians. South India is also called Dakshina Nad (Dakshina = South + Nad = land), Dravida Nad (Dravida = Dravidian + Nad = land), or simply Dravida. The dance forms of South India are Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniaattam which literally translates as 'the dance of the enchantress'. The music of the South Indian people is called as Carnatic music. The dominant features of south India are the tropical climate less harsh than the northern States, lush green tropical vegetation in the coastal areas and the architecture, culture, languages and lifestyle which had remained essentially Dravidian at the core in spite of repeated exposures to alien influences. This is a land of temples, a land of the devout, the profusion of jasmine and 'kanakambaram' flowers and the soft beat of distant drums as yet another festival starts. Main languages includes Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Tulu, among many others. The chief dressing of South Indian women is the Sari and of Men is Lungi, which is also an unstitched drape like the sari. Rice is the staple diet, with fish being an integral component of coastal South Indian meals. Coconut is an important ingredient in many of the dishes of the south Indian people. The people are largely agrarian, dependent on monsoons, as are most people in India. Some of the main crops cultivated in South India include paddy, sorghum, millet, pulses, cotton, chilli, and ragi. South India was and still is the "promised land" as far as spice cultivation is concerned. Areca, coffee, pepper, tapioca, and cardamom are widely cultivated on the Nilgiri Hills and Coorg. Education is highly valued in the south Indian community, and is seen as a gateway to a better livelihood.

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