India Travel Guide
World’s oldest surviving and flourishing civilization, India is a popular tourist destination. Its vibrant culture, rich heritage, colorful landscape, glorious history and mind-boggling diversity of flora & fauna attract tourists from all across the glove. To explore various facets of this sub-continental country browse our India travel guide.
India, the second largest country in the world population-wise and seventh territory-wise, is north of the equator, between 8°4* to 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' to 97°25' east longitude. The country’s land surface is flanked by the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, along the south-east and along the south-west respectively. On the western border is situated Pakistan and in the east, Bangladesh (which is surrounded by the Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram) and Myanmar. Along her northern boundary are Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and Sinkiang region of China. The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits separate India, at its southern end, from Sri Lanka. From north to south, India measures about 3,214 km and, from east to west, about 2,933 km. The total land area is 32,68,090 sq. km. Its land-frontier is 15,200 km and coastline 6,103 km. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea are parts of the Indian territory.
The four major geographical regions of India are: the great Himalayan range, the Indo-Gangetic plain, the desert regions and the Deccan Plateau and Peninsula. The Himalayan ranges are interspersed with wide plateaus and valleys like Kashmir and Kullu. Some of the world’s highest peaks are in the Himalayas. The near-level Indo-Gangetic Plains, among the greatest stretches of the flat alluvium in the world, are formed by the basins of three distinct river systems: the Sindhu, the Ganga, and the Brahmaputra. The desert regions are: the ‘Great Desert’ extending from the edge of the Rann of Kutch beyond the Luni river northward, embracing the whole of Rajasthan-Sind frontier, and the ‘Little Desert’ extending from the Luni river between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur up to the northern wastes. The Deccan Plateau and Peninsula, extending south of the Vindhya mountains, are geologically the oldest portion of the Indian land, perhaps once a part of a huge continent.
Climate: The Indian climate is a cycle of six seasons. There are areas where the distinctness of a season can be felt, but generally the six seasons overlap each other. The approximately equivalent of the Indian seasons in the Christian calendar will be: Vasanta or Spring — mid-February to April; Grishma or Summer — May and June; Varsha or Monsoon — July to September; Sharada or Autumn — September to mid-November; Hemanta or pre-Winter — mid-November to mid-December; Shita or Winter — mid-December to mid-February. However, the three major seasons are the winter, summer and the monsoon. The winter (November-March) is more or less pleasant throughout the country, marked by bright sunny days. In the northern plains the temperature at times drops steeply; there is snowfall in the hills. In the western, southern and eastern India the winter is pleasantly cool. The summer (April-June) is hot in the greater part of India. But the country has her charming hill resorts to provide cool retreats for the tourists. The south-west monsoon begins on the west coast in early June and spreads to other parts. In most of India it rains during June to September. But the south-eastern region experiences the greater rainfall of the year during November to January, due to the advent of the north-east monsoon.
Population and Religions: The population of India is 124 crores or 120 million. Hindus formed 79.80 per cent, Muslims 14.23 percent, Christians 2.30 per cent, Sikhs 1.72 per cent, Buddhists 0.70 percent and Jains 0.37 per cent of the population, according to the 1971 census.
Government: India is a secular country. India, a union of States, is a Sovereign Democratic Republic, governed by a constitution which came into force on 26 January 1950. The constitution, federal in structure with unitary features, defines the powers exercised by the States and the Union. The President of India is the constitutional head of the executive of the Union. He acts according to the advice of the Council of Ministers with Prime Minister at the head — the real custodian of the executive power — which is responsible to the Parliament consisting of two Houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Languages: India, according to a recent census, has 1,652 dialects! Needless to say most of them are only, spoken dialects. The principal languages with rich literary heritage are (in alphabetic order): Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
States in India: For administrative ease and addressing linguistic and cultural diversity, India is divided into 28 states and 9 union territories.
Complete List of States in India
1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Arunachal Pradesh
9. Himachal Pradesh
13. Madhya Pradesh
23. Tamil Nadu
26. Uttar Pradesh
28. West Bengal
Complete List of Union territories in India
1. Andaman & Nicobar
3. Daman & Diu
4. Dadar & Nagar Haveli
5. New Delhi
6. Jammu & Kashmir