India is the largest country in the South Asia Region, located primarily in the center of South Asia, and shares International borders with Pakistan to the north-west, China and Nepal to the north, Bhutan to the north-east, and Bangladesh and Myanmar are to the east. Sri Lanka lies to the south, Maldives to the south-west and has maritime boundary 8 Indonesia to the south-east of India in the Indian Ocean. The Republic of India is the seventh largest country in the world by area and, with over a billion people, is second only to China in population, although its much higher birth-rate makes it likely to reach pole position in less than ten years.
It is an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth and a hub of trade in Southeast Asia.
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|Official languages||Hindi English|
|Recognised regional languages||State level and|
|Membership||UN, WTO, BRICS, SAARC, SCO, G8+5, G20, Commonwealth of Nations|
|Government||Federal parliamentary republic|
|Upper house||Rajya Sabha|
|Lower house||Lok Sabha|
|Independence from the United Kingdom|
|Dominion||15 August 1947|
|Republic||26 January 1950|
|Total||3,287,263 km2(1,269,219 sq mi)|
|Density||400.2/km2 (1,036.5/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|Gini (2013)||33.9 |
|HDI (2017)|| 0.640 |
|Currency||Indian rupee (₹) (INR)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN|
The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilization of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia.
In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region’s diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire.
In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India’s independence in 1947.
In 2017, the Indian economy was the world’s sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity.Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialized country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare.
A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. A pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society, it is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
Climate of India
In India, it rains only during a specific time of the year. The season — as well as the phenomenon that causes it — is called the monsoon. There are two of them, the Southwest and the Northeast, both named after the directions the winds come from. The Southwest monsoon is the more important one, as it causes rains over most parts of the country, and is the crucial variable that decides how the crops will do. It lasts from June to September.
The Southwest monsoon hits the west coast the most, as crossing the western ghats and reaching the rest of India is an uphill task for the winds. The western coastline is therefore much greener than the interior. The Northeast monsoon hits the east coast between October and February, mostly in the form of occasional cyclones which cause much devastation every year. The only region that gets rains from both monsoons is North-Eastern India, which consequently experiences the highest rainfall in the world.
India experiences at least three seasons a year, Summer, Rainy Season (or “Monsoon“) and Winter, though in the tropical South calling the 25°C (77°F) weather “Winter” would be stretching the concept. The North experiences some extremes of heat in Summer and cold in Winter, but except in the Himalayan regions, snow is almost unheard of. November to January is the winter season and April and May are the hot months when everyone eagerly awaits the rains. There is also a brief spring in February and March, especially in North India.
Opinions are divided on whether any part of India actually experiences an Autumn, but the ancients had certainly identified such a season among the six seasons ( or ritus – Vasanta – Spring, Greeshma – Summer, Varsha – Rainy, Sharat – Autumn, Shishira – Winter, Hemanta – “Mild Winter”) they had divided the year into.
Culture of India
India’s rich and multi-layered cultures are dominated by religious and spiritual themes. While it is a mistake to assume that there is a single unified Indian culture, there certainly are unifying themes that link the various cultures. India’s cultural heritage is expressed through its myriad of languages in which much great literature and poetry has been written. It can be seen in its music – both in its classical (Carnatic and Hindustani) forms and in modern cinema music. India also has a vast tradition of classical and folk dances. Art and theatre flourish amongst the bustling cities of the country, against the backdrop of the ever expanding western influences.
Vibrant processions are seen going on everywhere, especially during festivals. Ganesh Chatutrthi processions in Mumbai, Dusshera in Mysore etc. are some important processions which have to be seen. Along with these, marriage and religious processions are also seen on the roads. You can see people dance, play music and drums, play with colors etc.
Indians value their family system a lot. Typically, an Indian’s family encompasses what would be called the extended family in the West. It is routine for Indians to live as part of the paternal family unit throughout their lives – i.e. sons live together with their parents all their lives, and daughters live with their parents till they get married. The relationship is mutually self-supporting. Parents may support their children for longer than is common in the West, brothers and sisters may support each other, and sons are expected to take care of their parents in their old age. “Living with parents” does not carry the same stigma as it does in the US.
Nowadays, most indian families are becoming more nuclear. Naturally, the arrangements are not perfect and there are strains and breakups, especially by the time the third generation grows up. Also, it has now become common for children to move away from the parental house for education and employment. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the joint family is still seen as the norm and an ideal to aspire to, and Indians continue to care about their family’s honour, achievements and failures even while they are not living together.
Despite the weakening of the caste system, India remains a fairly stratified society. Indians care about a person’s background and position in society as is the case elsewhere in the world. This attitude, when combined with the legacy of colonial rule, results in some rather interesting, if unfortunate consequences. Paler skin is deemed desirable but there is no discrimination on the basis of color.
List of Regions of India
India is administratively divided into 29 states and 7 union territories. The states are broadly demarcated on linguistic lines. They vary in size; the larger ones are bigger and more diverse than some countries of Europe. The union territories are smaller than the states—sometimes they are just one city—and they have much less autonomy.
|1. Andhra Pradesh||19. Nagaland|
|2. Arunachal Pradesh||20. Odisha|
|3. Assam||21. Punjab|
|4. Bihar||22. Rajasthan|
|5. Chhattisgarh||23. Sikkim|
|6. Goa||24. Tamil Nadu|
|7. Gujarat||25. Telangana|
|8. Haryana||26. Tripura|
|9. Himachal Pradesh||27. Uttar Pradesh|
|10. Jammu and Kashmir||28. Uttarakhand|
|11. Jharkhand||29. West Bengal|
|12. Karnataka||A. Andaman and Nicobar Islands|
|13. Kerala||B. Chandigarh|
|14. Madhya Pradesh||C. Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
|15. Maharashtra||D. Daman and Diu|
|16. Manipur||E. Lakshadweep|
|17. Meghalaya||F. National Capital Territory of Delhi|
|18. Mizoram||G. Puducherry|
These states and union territories are grouped by convention into the following regions:
|Himalayan North (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand)|
Mountainous and beautiful, a tourist destination for the adventurous and the spiritual. This region contains some of India’s most visited hill-stations and religious places. Includes the exquisitely scenic states.
|The Plains (Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh)|
The country’s capital Delhi is here. The rivers Ganga and Yamuna flow through this plain. Many of the events that shaped India’s history took place in this region.
|Western India (Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan)|
World’s second largest Salt Flat, Great Rann of Kutch. Miles and miles of the Thar Desert. Home to the colorful palaces, forts and cities of Rajasthan, the country’s most vibrant and biggest city Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), wonderful beaches and pristine forests of Goa and Bollywood.
|Southern India (Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu)|
South India features famous and historical temples, tropical forests, backwaters, beaches hill stations, and the vibrant cities of Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Amaravathi. The island groups of Andaman & Nicobar (on the east) and Lakshadweep on the west are included in this region for convenience, but they are far from the mainland and have their own unique characteristics.
|Eastern India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal)|
Economically less developed, but culturally rich and perhaps the most welcoming of outsiders. Features Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), once the capital of British India, and the temple cities of Puri, Bhubaneswar and Konark. Geographically it stretches from the mountains to the coast, resulting in fascinating variations in climate. It is also the mineral storehouse of India, having the country’s largest and richest mines.
|North-Eastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura)|
insular and relatively virgin, the country’s tribal corner, with lush, beautiful landscapes, endemic flora and fauna of the Indo-Malayan group and famous for Tea Gardens. Consists of seven tiny states (by Indian standards, some of them are larger than Switzerland or Austria) popularly nicknamed as the Seven Sisters.
50 Popular Tourist Places Must Visit in India
1. Taj Mahal : Iconic domed Mughal mausoleum 17th-century, Mughal-style, marble mausoleum with minarets, a mosque & famously symmetrical gardens.
2. Amber Palace : 16th-century hilltop fort & palace.Structure known as both Amer and Amber, with Hindu & Muslim elements & offering elephant rides.
3. Hawa Mahal : Pink/red sandstone ‘Palace of the Winds’Palace built in the form of a high wall to screen royal ladies as they watched street festivities.
4. Red Fort : Iconic 1600s imperial residence & museum.Landmark 17th-century Mughal fortress built in towering red sandstone, now a complex of museums.
5. Agra Fort : Mughal stronghold on ancient siteRichly decorated semi-circular red sandstone fort complex with double ramparts and monuments.
6. Ganges : Rivers, rafting, tigers, yoga, and glaciers.The Ganges, or Ganga, is a trans-boundary river of the Indian subcontinent which flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian
7. Ranthambore National Park : Large reserve best known for its tigers.Major destination for seeing tigers in their natural habitat plus other wildlife, with scenic ruins.
8. City Palace, Jaipur : Lavish 1700s palace complex & museum.Opulent 18th-century palace of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, now a museum & royal residence.
9. Qutub Minar : 5-storey victory tower with balconies.73m tapering tower built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak after defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom.
10. Humayun’s Tomb : Palatial 16th-century tomb of Humayun.Opulent red-sandstone tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun, built in 1572 & surrounded by formal gardens.
11. Jantar Mantar – Jaipur : Instruments for astronomical observation.18th-century park & heritage site with fixed instruments for making astronomical observations.
12. Mehrangarh Fort Museum : Massive historic site with preserved art.Built circa 1460, one of India’s largest forts offers a lift & galleries, plus guided tours & shops.
13. Jama Masjid : Vast, 17th-century Mughal-style mosque.17th-century, red sandstone Mughal-style mosque with a 25,000 capacity & 40m high minarets.
14. India Gate : 1920s triumphal arch & war memorial.Imposing Arc de Triomphe-style gate commemorating the Indian soliders killed in the First World War.
15. Ajanta Caves : UNESCO site with Buddhist decorations.Richly decorated caves dating from 2nd & 1st centuries BC, home to masterpieces of religious art.
16. City Palace : Lakeside complex built over 200 years.The palaces of 11 separate rulers sit together in this sprawling complex that was started in 1559.
17. Ellora Caves : Cave, buddhism, and archaeological site.Ellora, located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India, is one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple cave complexes in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring Buddhist
18. Thekkady : Tigers, wildlife refuge, and elephants.Thekkady is the location of the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in the Kerala state of India.
19. Jim Corbett National Park : Historic wildlife sanctuary with safaris.India’s oldest national park, opened in 1936, with a Bengal tiger reserve, visitor centre & safaris.
20. Harmandir Sahib : Gilded temple & Sikh pilgrimage site.Central worship place for Sikhs around the world, built from white marble overlaid with gold leaf.
21. Gateway Of India Mumbai : Waterfront Indo-Saracenic triumphal archGrand, Indo-Saracenic-style, 26m-tall triumphal stone arch, built on the waterfront in 1924.
22. Periyar National Park : Scenic game & ecotourism reserve.Reserve with a mountain, forests and lakes making a habitat for protected tigers and elephants.
23. Lotus Temple : Temple with a flower-like design.Religious site also known as the Lotus Temple, opened in 1986 and open to those of all religions.
24. Havelock Island : Far-flung island with scenic beaches.This remote island features picturesque, white sand beaches, a lighthouse & various small villages.
25. Umaid Bhawan Palace : Regal hotel with a spa & free breakfast.Luxurious rooms & suites, some with balconies, plus complimentary breakfast & a serene spa.
26. Kaziranga National Park : Protected marshland teeming with nature.Protected habitat of elephants & two thirds of the world’s remaining Great One-Horned Rhinoceros.
27. Akshardham : Modern temple celebrating Indian arts.Over 11,000 artisans worked on this lavishly decorated Hindu temple complex inaugurated in 2005.
28. Rohtang Pass : Popular mountain pass with scenic views.This well-known hiking & driving pass with Himalayas views can be treacherous depending on weather.
29. Jal Mahal : Historic palace in the middle of a lake.In the middle of Man Sagar Lake sits this grand palace made of red sandstone, most of it submerged.
30. Lake Pichola : Artificial lake with island palaces.Boat rides are offered on this artificial freshwater lake featuring islands with palaces.
31. Golden City Fort Jaisalmer : Majestic desert fort with ornate temples.Massive, 12th-century fortified city featuring ornate Jain temples with idols & stone carvings.
32. Elephanta Caves : Island with sculpted cave temples.Island with an ornately sculpted, 7th-century cave temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
33. Itmad-ud-Daula : Mughal mausoleum known as the ‘Baby Taj’Mughal style white marble mausoleum, inlaid with semi-precious stones & nicknamed the ‘Baby Taj’.
34. Kumbhalgarh Fort : Hilltop fort dating from 15th century.15th-century, hilltop fort and UNESCO-listed site surrounded by a massive, 36km-long perimeter wall.
35. Nahargarh Fort : Hilltop fort offering expansive views.Elaborate fort built in 1734 in the hills above Jaipur, offering sweeping views of the city.
36. Kanha Tiger Reserve : Protected habitat for Bengal tigers.Sweeping meadowland spotted with forests. Home to populations of tigers, sloth bears and leopards.
37. Jaigarh Fort : Historic hilltop fort with a musuem.Built to protect the Amber Fort complex below, this 3-km-long fort offers a museum & views.
38. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station : Ornate Victorian railway for local lines.This high Gothic Victorian landmark is the centerpiece of the city’s suburban train network.
39. Valley of Flowers National Park : Wildlife-rich park with colourful blooms. Hiking trails cross this lush Himalayan valley, known for its bright alpine flora and rare animals.
40. Dudhsagar Falls : 600m-high waterfall on the Mandovi River.3-streamed waterfall, named for its milky waters, with swimming pools surrounded by forest.
41. Old Delhi : Monument, history, and shopping.Old Delhi or Purani Dilli was founded as a walled city of Delhi, India, founded as Shahjahanabad in 1639, when Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor at the time, decided to shift the Mughal capital
42. Nagarhole National Park And Tiger Reserve : Tiger sanctuary with jungle safaris.Animal preserve with a visitor centre & safari tours with tiger- & elephant-viewing opportunities.
43. Mysore Palace : Indo-Saracenic architecture with lights. Indo-Saracenic palace, completed in 1912, with a grand durbar hall and weekly illuminations.
44. Gir National Park : Wildlife-rich area with big-cat safaris.Safari tours of this vast wildlife sanctuary, the only home of the Asiatic lion, plus accommodation.
45. Spiti Valley : Monastery, buddhism, desert, and safariSpiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayas in the north-eastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land
46. Eravikulam National Park : Views & wild goats in a lush setting.This scenic natural area with wild goats & greenery has buses that take visitors up a mountain.
47. Laxminarayan Temple : Expansive Hindu temple with shrines.This large Hindu temple covers 7.5 acres & features numerous shrines, fountains & a garden.
48. Solang Valley : Paragliding, extreme sport, and sports.Solang Nala derives its name from combination of words Solang and Nallah. It is a side valley at the top of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India 14 km northwest of the resort town Manali
49. Keoladeo National Park : National park & World Heritage site.UNESCO-listed national park & former Maharajah’s hunting ground known for its abundant birdlife.
50. Konark Sun Temple : Sculpted, chariot-shaped Hindu monument. Ornately sculpted, 13th-century Hindu place of worship depicting the vast chariot of sun god, Surya.