The Republic of India is located in South Asia, and is the seventh largest country in the world, as well as being the world’s second most populous country. The name ‘India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers.
The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu. India borders by the northeast with China, on the west with Pakistan and Arabian Sea, Nepal and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east and by the south with the Indian Ocean.
India is the largest democracy in the world, one of the most ancient civilizations with 34,000 years old of rich legend and historically significant landmarks that stand as a strong testimonial to the rich history. India got its independence on August 15th, 1947.
The entire freedom struggle involved a lot of political organizations, non violent movements, philosophies and other acts. India got its independence after almost hundred years of struggle. Its flag, the orange colour signifies courage and sacrifice by the people who laid down their lives for the country, white symbolizes peace and green stands for faith and prosperity. The Ashok Chakra remains to be the central motif.
In India, religion and culture play a very important role. Religion is an essential part of most Indians. India is the birthplace and cradle of four popular religions of the world, namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Jainism and Buddhism were founded in India between 600 B.C.-500 B.C. Islam is India’s and the world’s second largest religion. There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.
The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million to the temple everyday.
The Hindu temples go way back to the 5th century. Many Hindu and Buddhist temples are entirely rock cut. One can also spot a fine blend of Islamic architecture along with monuments that show Buddhist and Jain influences. The largest religious building in the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple in Cambodia built at the end of the 11th century.
India has very diverse weather patterns as well. Besides, it also has a very varied topography, which experiences varieties of seasons as well, which are the warm summers, wet monsoons and cool winters.
The country can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Himalayan region in the north, which contains some of the highest mountains in the world, the Gangetic Plain, The Great Indian Desert lies in the west, but eastern India receives some of the highest rainfall in the world during the monsoon season (June to October), rainforests towards the southwest that also have humid tropical regions.
Indian economy is the fourth largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity and is the world’s second fastest growing economy. This has opened up many new business opportunities in India for foreign and multinational companies.
Agriculture is not only the dominant occupations of the people of India but is also one of the most important economic sectors for the country.
Almost two-thirds of the working population of India is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. India has industry like textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, etc., and exports textile goods, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures and exports software to 90 countries.
There are many languages that are spoken out here with Hindi being the official language. The millions of native languages spoken here also depend upon the specific regions but Sanskrit and Tamil remain to be the classical languages according to the Government of India. India also has around 22 languages that are officially recognized.
India has many important places of interest, which are now classified, as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the monuments that are included under this category are the Ajanta Caves, Elephanta Caves, Ellora Caves, the Taj Mahal, as well as the various beautiful churches in Goa, monuments of Hampi, Qutub Minar etc.
Indian music is very varied and consists of a variety of styles. India’s classical music is like a tradition out here, passed on from generations. This classical music is also based on several religious inspirations and beliefs. India also has a very interesting mix of folk and pop music as well.
Indian cuisine is typically spicy with a generous helping of various spices and herbs. Indian food is therefore considered to be amongst the most diverse of all cuisines with every region having its own unique technique and methods used to prepare an assortment of dishes. Rice and rotis form to be the main food items with various pulses; along with interesting types of pickles. Indian curries are really unique and most sought after in India.
The Indian film industry is known to be the largest film industry in the world. It is also referred to as Bollywood (this is a blend of the following words-Hollywood and Bombay) with 800 films per year approximately. Indian clothing has definitely made a mark on the global market with a rising demand for typical Indian attire.
Sarees are the traditional form of Indian attire for women and yet another interesting fact about India remains to be the varied designs of the Indian sarees, which differ as per region, salwar kameez with a dupatta, which is most preferred as daily casual or even formal wear.
The ghagra choli is also one of the traditional outfits worn for special occasions. Traditional attire for men consists of dhoti and a kurta or even a lungi in South India. Men also have the option of wearing sherwanis for formal occasions.
India is rapidly gaining ground in the international scenario as a popular destination for foreign travellers, international students, and even for some others who opt to migrate to this mystical land for health and medical tourism.
India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution. Hockey is the national sport of India. Cricket is known to attract fans in every little alley be it a domestic match or one that is played on an international level.
Apart from cricket, tennis, soccer and even chess remain to be top favourites. Some curious facts are: the value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus also originated in India, Chess was invented in India and Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries. Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.