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Home>> Wold City Guide >> India

India

Area: 3,287,590 square kilometers Capital: New Delhi
Big Cities: Bombay, Calcutta, Bangalore, Madras, Ahmedabad Currency: Indian Rupee
Language: Hindi, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi. Religions: Hindu 81%, Islam 13%, Christian 2%, Sikh 2%
Industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software. Leaders: Mahatma Gandhi,Jawaharlal Nehru.
Resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land. Exports: textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures.
 
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History : One-third the area of the United States, the Republic of India occupies most of the subcontinent of India in southern Asia. It borders on China in the northeast. Other neighbors are Pakistan on the west, Nepal and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east.True to the haphazard ambiance of the country, the discovery of India's most ancient civilization literally happened by accident. British engineers in the mid-1800's, busy constructing a railway line between Karachi and Punjab, found ancient, kiln-baked bricks along the path of the track. This discovery was treated at the time as little more than a curiosity, but archaeologists later revisited the site in the 1920's and determined that the bricks were over 5000 years old. Soon afterward, two important cities were discovered: Harappa on the Ravi river, and Mohenjodaro on the Indus.India carries a rich cultural legacy, it was few of the early centers which saw the emergence of civilization along with Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. The period of early civilization was followed by the Vedic Age, the period of Janapadas, the emergence of Mauryas, Guptas and the Deccan kingdoms. The 16th century saw the emergence of Mughals who were overthrown by the might of British imperialistic powers. Islam spread across the Indian subcontinent over a period of 500 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established sultanates in Delhi. In the early 16th century, descendants of Genghis Khan swept across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal (Mogul) Dynasty, which lasted for 200 years. From the 11th to the 15th centuries, southern India was dominated by Hindu Chola and Vijayanagar Dynasties. During this time, the two systems--the prevailing Hindu and Muslim--mingled, leaving lasting cultural influences on each other.On August 15, 1947, India became a dominion within the Commonwealth, with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. Enmity between Hindus and Muslims led the British to partition British India, creating East and West Pakistan, where there were Muslim majorities. India became a republic within the Commonwealth after promulgating its constitution on January 26, 1950.

Geography : India is basically a peninsula, with the Arabian Sea on the west, the Bay of Bengal on the east, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The Himalayan Mountains separate India from much of the rest of Asia and China. The Himalayas have many of the tallest mountains in the world. The tallest mountain in India is the Kanchenjunga at 28, 208 feet.Three main geological regions: Indo-Gangetic Plain and Himalayas, collectively known as North India; and Peninsula or South India. Ten physiological regions: Indo-Gangetic Plain, northern mountains of the Himalayas, Central Highlands, Deccan or Peninsular Plateau, East Coast (Coromandel Coast in south), West Coast (Konkan, Kankara, and Malabar coasts), Great Indian Desert (known as Thar Desert in Pakistan) and Rann of Kutch, valley of the Brahmaputra River in Assam, northeastern hill ranges surrounding Assam Valley, and islands of Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Climate and Weather : Climate varies significantly from Himalayas in north to tropical south. Four seasons: relatively dry, cool winter December to February; dry, hot summer March to May; southwest monsoon June to September when predominating southwest maritime winds bring rains to most of country; and northeast, or retreating, monsoon October and November.Northern India, especially in the Himalayas, has seasonal temperatures with cool winters. Most of southern India, particularly inland, is hot and dry. Temperatures can reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Monsoons during June through September produce severe storms with rain. The western and north-eastern coasts hit by monsoons get considerable rain, some areas getting over 100 inches per year.It is possible to identify seasons, although these do not occur uniformly throughout South Asia. The Indian Meteorological Service divides the year into four seasons: the relatively dry, cool winter from December through February; the dry, hot summer from March through May; the southwest monsoon from June through September when the predominating southwest maritime winds bring rains to most of the country; and the northeast, or retreating, monsoon of October and November.India has hot tropical weather with variations occurring region to region. While the coolest months are from November to mid-March, hottest are from April to June. From mid-July to September one can experience Monsoon rains. Winters in India are pleasant with plenty of sunny days. Most of the North India remains dry, dusty, and unpleasant during the summer months. For a tourist, India provides ample opportunities to participate in diverse activities in different parts of the country.

Culture : Indian culture is rich and diverse and as a result unique in its very own way. Our manners, way of communicating with one another, etc are one of the important components of our culture. Even though we have accepted modern means of living, improved our lifestyle, our values and beliefs still remain unchanged. A person can change his way of clothing, way of eating and living but the rich values in a person always remains unchanged because they are deeply rooted within our hearts, mind, body and soul which we receive from our culture.The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. In India, there is amazing cultural diversity throughout the country. The South, North, and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. India is a vast country, having variety of geographical features and climatic conditions. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations, including four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.The Indus civilization or the Harappan civilization, which flourished during the Bronze Age i.e. 2500-2000 BC is ranked among the four widely known civilizations of the old world. Extensive excavation work that has been done since Independence has so far identified more than 100 sites belonging to this civilization. A few prominent among them are Dholavira (Gujarat), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Lothal (Gujarat), Sarkotada (Gujarat), Diamabad (Maharashtra), Alamgirpur (U.P.), Bhagwanpura (Haryana), Banawali (Haryana), Kuntasi, Padri (Gujarat) and Mauda (Jammu). India has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world. It was in early 1913 that an Indian film received a public screening. The film was Raja Harischandra. Its director, Dadasaheb Phalke is now remembered through a life-time achievement award bestowed by the film industry in his name.The Indian film industry, famously known as Bollywood, is the largest in the world, and has major film studios in Mumbai (Bombay), Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Between them, they turn out more than 1000 films a year to hugely appreciative audiences around the world. For nearly 50 years, the Indian cinema has been the central form of entertainment in India, and with its increased visibility and success abroad, it won't be long until the Indian film industry will be well thought-out to be its western counterpart- Hollywood.Whether it's the gathering of the faithful, bowing in prayer in the courtyard of a mosque, or the gathering of lamps that light up houses at Diwali, the good cheer of Christmas or the brotherhood of Baisakhi, the religions of India are celebrations of shared emotion that bring people together. People from the different religions and cultures of India, unite in a common chord of brotherhood and amity in this fascinating and diverse land.

Food : The multiple families of Indian cuisine are characterized by their relatively extensive use of spices and herbs. Indian cuisines vary, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse subcontinent. They are also characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques.Most Indian cuisine are related by the similar usage of spices and the use of a greater variety of vegetables than many other cuisine. Religious and caste restrictions, weather, geography and the impact of foreigners have affected the eating habits of IndiansFor example, Brahmins (one of the highest orders of caste) are strict vegetarians usually, but in the coastal states of West Bengal and Kerala, they consume a lot of fish. Southern Indians generally speaking, have been orthodox in their tastes, probably because eating meat when it is hot all year round can be difficult. In the North, the weather varies from a scorching heat to a nail-biting cold, with a sprinkling of showers in between. So, the food here is quite rich and heavy. Also, the Mughal influence has resulted in meat-eating habits among many North Indians. Also, a variety of flours are used to make different types of breads like chapathis, rotis, phulkas, puris and naan.Many Indian dishes require an entire day’s preparation of cutting vegetables, pounding spices on a stone or just sitting patiently by the fire for hours on end. On the other hand, there are simple dishes which are ideal for everyday eating.Eating from a ‘thali’(a metal plate or banana leaf) is quite common in most parts of India.‘Paan’ is served as a digestive after some meals. The dark-green leaf of the betel-pepper plant is smeared with a little bit of lime and wrapped around a combination of spices like crushed betel-nuts, cardamom, aniseed, sugar and grated coconut. It is an astringent and is believed to help in clearing the system. Mumbai is known to be a good place for connoisseurs of paan.Bengalis eat a lot of fish and one of the delicacies called the ‘hilsa’ is spiced and wrapped in pumpkin leaf and cooked. Another unusual ingredient used in Bengali cooking is the bamboo shoot.In Bombay, the food is a happy combination of north and south. Both rice and wheat are included in their diets.Sweets are very popular all over India and are usually cooked in a lot of fat. ‘Jalebis’, luscious pretzel shaped loops fried to a golden crisp and soaked in saffron syrup can be had from any street vendor in North India.Tea is drunk as a beverage in India.Most of the spices used in Indian food have been used for their medicinal properties in addition to the flavor and taste they impart. Ginger is believed to have originated in India and was introduced to China over 3000 years ago.The most famous indian cousines are curry, Karhai Gosht, Allu Ki Bhujiya,Raitas,Chatnies,Gol Gappas,Dahi Bharay. In sweets Jalibies, Laddu,Gulab Jamun,Ras Gullay.

Travelling : India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity - but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth, and you'll quickly develop an abiding passion for it.India Travel is about its 5000 years of glorious history, heritage grandeur, numerous religious centers, royal retreats, rich wildlife, lofty Himalayas, spellbinding backwaters, breathtaking sand dunes, sunkissed beaches and more. In India, the senses are truly aroused. The colour of the women's clothes, and the abundance of jewellery is a photographer's paradise. You will need plenty of film; not just for the Taj Mahal.Remember that the cow is sacred; and woe betide the driver who doesn't swerve into a field to avoid them. Cows are not penned into fields here, and in the smaller towns and villages they wander wherever they like.India's railway system is the largest in Asia, with over 62,000 km of track passing through 7,000 stations. There's even an availability status for the next seven days .Travel like a king in the Palace on Wheels. The train is built in the style of the salon coaches of the former maharajahs and makes its journey through beautiful Rajasthan.History has spawned palaces, temples and monuments. The most frequently visited part of India is the Golden Triangle. The unfairly maligned great cities of Mumbai and Kolkata have a bustling, colourful charm, while the holy city of Varanasi or the awe-inspiring temples of Tamil Nadu are worthy objects of pilgrimage. For those who prefer more sybaritic pleasures, tackle the palm-fringed beaches of Goa. And for solitude, India ripples with mountains and hills, from the towering beauty of the Himalayas to pine forests, lakes and babbling streams.India is blessed with a huge number of festivals, some so spectacular that you would be a fool to miss them. They start with the secular Republic Day Festival in Delhi each January, which includes elephants, a procession, and plenty of military might and Indian princely splendour. Holi, in February/March, is one of the most exuberant Hindu festivals in the north of India.The 10-day Shi'ite Muharram festival, also in February/March, commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson. It's marked by a grand parade and dedicated penitents scourge themselves with whips in religious fervour.The massive Kumbh Mela festival commemorates an ancient battle between gods and demons for a pitcher (kumbh) containing the nectar of immortality.October/November is the time for the huge and colourful Camel Fair at Pushkar in Rajasthan. Diwali (or Deepavaali) is the happiest festival of the Hindu calendar and is celebrated over five days in October/November

Things to do in India : Shopping can be fun in India. You will find various art pieces, which have great aesthetic value and can be a great keep sake and decoration for your house. You can get pieces from Rajasthani culture, South Indian culture, and East Indian culture. Every culture further has its own diversity and thus the product range turns out to be a galaxy of diversity and craft. India has a great nightlife. It also has great diversity, you can choose from a happening rock party to. Listen to the sounds of Indian music, such as the sitar, sarod and the subtle rhythm of the tabla. See the variety of dance forms, each with its own costumes and elaborate language of gestures.Play golf on the highest golf course in the world, at Gulmarg. From here there are good views of Nanga Parbat, one of the highest mountains in the world. Party in Goa. Although smaller and less authentic than in the heady days of the 1960s, there are still some fabulous full moon parties in Anjuna.

Safety Tips : Some safety guidelines for India are suggested here, so that you don’t face any avoidable problem. Read on to know about the guidelines for traveling in India, Find out about the infectious diseases endemic in India and countries to which you will be traveling, and get the appropriate shots and pills, and take the appropriate medications with you if your doctor thinks it's necessary.Don’t take the advice of taxi drivers for the purpose of accommodation.Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets. Avoid traveling alone at night.Yellow fever: Any person (including infants) arriving by air or sea without a certificate is detained in insulation for a period up to 6 days if arriving within 6 days of departing from an infected area.Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country excluding parts of the States of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Sikkim. No certificate required, but a course of anti-malaria pills is recommended.When hiring a taxi from airports or railway stations get a prepaid taxi. While at airports prepaid booths are inside the airport, at railway station they are located outside the railway station terminals. Check the arriving in India page for more information on prepaid taxi’s in India. Know your limits as India still abides by its age-old traditions and cultures. Don't try to kiss in public places as it may not be acceptable by the Indians. However, you can move arm in arm at least. Do carry sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.