Where is India
India is a constitutional republic consisting of 29 states, each with a substantial degree of control over its own affairs; 6 less-fully-empowered union territories; and the Delhi national capital territory, which includes New Delhi, India’s capital. With roughly one-sixth of the world’s total population, India is the second most-populous country, after China.
India is everything, and more, all at once. It's a visual explosion of bright saris, bumbling cows, marigolds and bursts of sunlight. It is a constant dissonance of beeping horns, high-speed Hindis and cawing crows.
|Name of the country||Republic of India||Abbreviation||India|
|Major language||Hindi and English||Major religions||Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism|
|Major cities||Delhi and Mumbai||Currency||Rupee|
|President||Ram Nath Kovind||Famous figures||Jawaharlal Nehru (1st Prime Minister of India); Mother Teresa (nun and missionary)|
|Time Zone||UTC+ 05:30 (IST)||International call code||+91|
India on the Map
India is a country occupying much of the continent of Southern Asia. It covers 2,973,193 square kilometers of land and 314,070 square kilometers of water, making it the 7th largest nation in the world.
India shares borders with 6 other countries. It is nicely surrounded by Pakistan to the northwest, Nepal, Bhutan, and China to the north, and Myanmar to the east. Bangladesh is on the east, and it in turn is surrounded by India to the east, west, and north.
New Delhi is the capital of India. It has a population of 21.75 million, and is located on latitude of 28.64 and longitude of 77.22. It is the political center of India, which is a Republic, and home to its ceremonial head of state.
Landscape of India
India’s landscape is extremely diverse. It has busy cities, dense jungles where tigers roam, populated deserts where people live and farm, and backwaters where people live in houseboats.
Divided into rocky terrain, lush forest, extensive coastline, stunning desert, exotic islands and main highlands, the true magnificence of the country can be witnessed through the following amazing landscapes.
The Himalayan Landscape
The Himalayas of northern India comprise a series of mountain ranges, including the Siwaliks, Lesser and Greater Himalayas and Transhimalaya. The region is amongst the most dynamic geomorphically on the planet.
Renowned as an “abode of snow”, the Himalayas offer the most incredible mountain landscapes in India.
The Arid West
The hot arid western region of India is found in the western part of Rajasthan State, which contains the predominantly sandy Thar Desert. The desert has sand dunes averaging 10-30 m in height, interspersed with inter-dune plains of different sizes covering more than 60% of the area.
It is a vast rocky-gravelly upland, with isolated hills cutting through the dune landscape.
The Gangetic Plains
Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range, the Indo-Gangetic Plains (or Northern Plains) contain the subcontinent’s richest and most densely populated areas. Much of the area is covered by alluvial soil, deposited by the three main rivers and their tributaries.
The plain becomes progressively drier towards the west, where it incorporates the Thar Desert.
The Deccan Plateau
Located in the southern part of the peninsula south of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the Deccan Plateau can be considered the cultural and historical heart of India, defining the subcontinent.
This upland is drained by a series of rivers, notably the Godavari, Krishna, Penner, and Kaveri, most of which start near the Arabian Sea and flow eastward to the Bay of Bengal.
Combining the western and eastern coastlines of India provides appealing spots for witnessing some of the best landscapes in the country.
Extending from Gujarat to Kerala in the west and from Tamil Nadu to West Bengal in the east, India’s stunning coastline passes through exotic destinations which are often sought by honeymooners.
The Greater Himalayas
The Greater Himalayas, also called Higher Himalayas or Great Himalaya Range, are the tallest and northernmost section of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
The name Himalaya comes from Sanksrit: Hima-laya means ‘Abode of snow’, and has, over time, transformed into the plural, Himalayas, because of the many mountain ranges.
High-Altitude Desert and Glaciers
The Himalayas are the origin of many glaciers and important rivers in Asia. The range has many different kinds of glacier. The most important is Siachen, the largest glacier outside the north and south poles.
Other glaciers include Baltoro, Biafo, Nubra, and Hispur.
Flora and Fauna
The Himalayan region, with its diverse climatic conditions, is home to many uncommon, endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna.
Here, you can find thousands of species of fungi, and animals that have adapted to the cold, like mountain goats, Tibetan yak, rhinoceroses, bison, and elephants.
Traditional Himalayan Dwellings
The Himalayans have a distinctive traditional way of building known as kath-khuni. It has become part of the regional culture, a natural outworking of the forbidding landscape, harsh climate, and availability of local materials and tools.
Walk the Northeastern Himalayas
India’s little patch of northeastern Himalayas is squeezed in between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. This spectacular region was historically the home of several ethnic tribes.
Ethnically, culturally and linguistically these tribes were closer to people from India’s eastern neighbors, than those of the Indian mainland.
The Ganges River
The Ganges River, or Ganga (in Hindi), is the great river of the plains of the northern Indian subcontinent. It flows 2,700 km from the Himalayan Mountains to the Bay of Bengal in northern India and Bangladesh.
Although officially as well as popularly called the Ganga in Hindi and in other Indian languages, internationally it is known by its more traditional name, the Ganges.
Rituals Performed in the Ganges
The Ganges is considered a tirtha, a crossing point between heaven and earth.
The river is the location of the extraordinary Kumbha Mela ritual, where Hindu pilgrims of all social status will perform a ritual bathing in the river, said to purify body and soul, wash away karma, and bring good fortune.
The Ganga Aarti is performed every evening, where a small diya with a candle and flowers is floated down the Ganges River.
The offering is made to the Goddess Ganga, or Maa Ganga, goddess of the holiest river in India. The aarti takes on special significance on the occasion of the descending of Maa Ganga from heaven to earth.
Boat Rides (or River Cruise)
You can book a cruise on the Ganges River. Tours on the Lower Ganges offered by American and British tour operators generally run from October to March.
Most cruises start or end in Kolkata, which sits on a tributary of the Ganges called the Hooghly, named after the first European settlement established in Bengal in the late 1500s.
National Park and Wildlife Safari
India's great geographical diversity makes it a haven for certain wildlife and adventure. You can see a great variety of flora and fauna across its plains, deserts, mountains, rivers, valleys, tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves, Himalayan foothills and snow-clad regions of the Upper North.
India’s varied landscape and climate support a huge range of wildlife and a multitude of bird species. The country has many wonderful national parks and sanctuaries, each offering a distinctive wilderness experience.
Different wildlife safaris allow you to witness different kinds of animal, including the Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, rare one-horned rhino, jackal, rhesus macaque, langur monkey, and many species of deer and antelope, as well as a wealth of birdlife.
According to the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, there are a total of 103 national parks in India. The most popular include Gir Forest National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Sundarbans National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, and Bandhavgarh National Park.
Best Places to Visit in India
The choice of vacation destinations in India seems to be endless; from scenic destinations to those more associated with history and culture, from cities bustling with chaos and confusion to destinations offering laid-back and relaxed stays. Below are some recommended places to visit in India.
Delhi is a city with a rich history saturated with old stories, reflected in beautiful heritage buildings tucked away around the sprawling city. It is a haven for gourmets.
Ranging from traditional Mughlai recesses tucked behind Jama Masjid to fancy world-class restaurants, Delhi has something for everyone.
Some must-visit attractions in Delhi include the Red Fort, the India Gate, and the Bahai Temple (commonly called the Lotus Temple).
Agra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. It is as loved by Indians as it is by foreigners, who swarm there in large numbers to admire its beauty.
Right from the epic Mahabharata (400 AD) to the Mughal dynasty (1526-1857), Agra has been monumental and has played a significant role in shaping India’s history.
Agra is most renowned as the home of three UNESCO world heritage sites: the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and the abandoned city "Fatehpur Sikri". There are, however, many other places to visit in Agra, including the Mehtab Bagh and the Kinari Bazar.
The 'Pink City' of Jaipur was named after Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who founded the city on November 18, 1727. Along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur forms India's Golden Triangle, the most popular tourist circuit in the country.
The city’s attractions include the Amer Fort, the City Palace, the Birla Mandir, the Sisodia Rani Garden, and the Johari Bazaar.
Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the names Kashi or Benaras. It is well-known for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University and Avimukta of ancient days. Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage venue for Hindus.
The Assi Ghat, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Ramnagar Fort & Museum, the Man Mandir Observatory, and the Brown Bread Bakery are among the places you should visit in Varanasi.
Jodhpur is one of the most enchanting cities of Rajasthan. It is called the Blue City, as it looks completely blue from the air, because of its blue walls and blue houses.
Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in Rajasthan, the Umaid Bhawan Palace, the Jasant Thada, the Mandore Gardens, and Kailana Lake are among the tourist attractions the city has to offer.
An idyllic place for romantics at heart, Udaipur is undoubtedly the best place to holiday in Rajasthan. Adorned with pretty palaces and dazzling lakes, this popular tourist place has so much to offer to honeymoon couples and history lovers.
Udaipur’s tourist attractions include the City Palace, Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, and Jagdish Temple.
Beyond the dazzling royal cities of Rajasthan lies Jaisalmer, the gateway to the Thar Desert and a popular tourist destination in India. The city, also dubbed the “Golden City”, was established in the mid-12th century by Rawal Jaisal, filled with many artistic structures, monuments of local historical importance and abandoned villages.
The city is renowned for Jaisalmer Fort, the Bada Bagh, the Sam Sand Dunes, the Thar Heritage Museum, and the Gadisar Lake.
Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is one of the most populous and biggest cities of Maharashtra. Also the biggest metropolis of this state, Mumbai is popular as the entertainment and financial capital. It is the largest city in India and fondly called the city of dreams.
Here you can visit the Gateway of India, the Banganga Tank, the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, the Haji Ali, and Bollywood in Mumbai.
Fun Facts about India
Despite being the second most populated country in the world, India is not a common household name. There are a lot of things the general overseas public doesn’t know about the country; some of them may even be mind-blowing.
Firstly, India has the second largest English-speaking population in the world. For a country that is often seen as extremely foreign and far removed from the western world, India’s large population of English speakers might seem surprising. It only trails behind the USA.
Over the course of history, some Indian inventions have changed the world forever. The most notable include The Zero, buttons, cotton cultivation, chess, shampoo, binary code, fiber optics, Ayurveda medicine, yoga, rulers, and radio/wireless communications.
India is the world’s largest tea producer. The notable Chai tea is the number one beverage in the country. India produces various other kinds of tea as well. Some of the most famous include Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Kangra.
India has the largest population of vegetarians in the world. It also has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world, with 30 to 40% of the Indian population being vegetarian. This is a huge percentage given that most other countries have a total of less than 5% vegetarians.
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Explore India with Asia Highlights
While India, with her 1.32 billion inhabitants, can inspire, astonish and enlighten those who tread her soil, her innumerable challenges and chaotic madness can also overwhelm and exhaust unprepared first-timers.
At Asia Highlights, we can make sure your trip to India will be a fun and memorable one.