India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress during the last 64 years of its Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
India is a pictorial kaleidoscope of landscapes, opulent historical and royal cities, golden beaches, misty mountain retreats, colourful people, rich cultures and festivities. A trip to India is exceptional for the tourists, as this wonderland has always offered something new.
Fast Facts Climate - The climate of India can broadly be classified as a tropical monsoon one. But, in spite of much of the northern part of India lying beyond the tropical zone, the entire country has a tropical climate marked by relatively high temperatures and dry winters. There are four seasons:
Coastline - 7,516.6 km encompassing the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Population - India's population, as on 1 March 2011 stood at 1.2 Billion
Languages - There are 22 different languages that have been recognised by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is an Official Language. Article 343(3) empowered Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes.
Indian Standard Time - GMT + 05:30
Telephone Country Code - +91
India wrested its independence from Britain in 1947 after a long freedom struggle led largely by the Indian National Congress and its visionary leaders, especially, Mahatma Gandhi. From 1920, the freedom movement leaders began highly popular mass campaign against the British Raj using largely peaceful methods. India's acquisition of independence resulted in the formation of two countries, India and Pakistan. Following the controversial partition of India, rioting broke out, leaving some 500,000 dead. Also, this period saw one of the largest mass migrations ever recorded in modern history, with a total of 12 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims moving between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan.
North - Himalayas, the world's highest mountain chain and Nepal as its neighbouring country, dominate India's northern border. Following the sweeping mountains to the northeast, its borders narrow to a small channel that passes between Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, then spreads out again to meet Burma in the "eastern triangle". North India is the country's largest region begins with Jammu and Kashmir, with terrain varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests near Srinagar and Jammu. Moving south along the Indus river, the North becomes flatter and more hospitable, widening into the fertile plains of Punjab to the west and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh and the Ganges river valley to the East. Located between these two states is the capital city, Delhi.
South - India reaches its peninsular tip with South India, which begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Kanyakumari. The states in South India are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range-the Eastern Ghats, sloping down to the Indian Ocean.
East - India is the home of the sacred River Ganges and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begins with the states of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last area of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border.
West - The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh constitute Western India. Extending from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, the west coast is lined with some of India's best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush with rainforests. The Western Ghats separate the verdant coast from the Vindhya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland. Apart from the Arabian Sea, its western border is defined exclusively by Pakistan.
Central - Vindhyachal mountain range defines central India, located as they are almost in the middle part of Indian sub-continent. The mountain range of Vindhyachal extends from the state of Gujarat to Bihar, passing through the central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Sonabhadra and Narmada rivers originate from the Vindhyachal, the mountain range that divides India or Bharat into two distinct halves: northern India and peninsular India.
North East - Northeast India refers to the easternmost region of India consisting of the contiguous Seven Sister States, Sikkim, and parts of North Bengal (districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Koch Bihar). In the far northeast, the Chin Hills and Kachin Hills, deeply forested mountainous regions, separate India from Myanmar. The Bangladesh-India border is defined by the Khasi Hills and Mizo Hills, and the watershed region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Patkai, or Purvanchal, are situated near India's eastern border with Myanmar, made up of the Patkai-Bum, the Garo-Khasi-Jaintia and the Lushai hills. The Garo-Khasi range lies in Meghalaya. Mawsynram, a village near Cherrapunji , located on the windward side of these hills, has the distinction of being the wettest place in the world.