Welcome to India, a triangular shaped country in southern Asia, buttressed by the long sweep of the Himalayas in the north and protruding into the Indian Ocean in the south.
The geographical features of India are varied. Located in the northern parts of India are mostly snow covered mountain ranges. While in the southern and eastern regions of the country it is mostly hilly and plains.
The wildlife of India is almost as varied as the countryside itself. Some of the highlights of India's fauna are its lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, elephants and rhinoceros.
Climate varies greatly, from the arid deserts of Rajasthan to the cool highlands of Assam, allegedly the wettest place on earth. But basically India has a three-season year - the hot, the wet and the cool. The heat starts to build up on the northern plains around February and by April it becomes unbearable. While the monsoons which are huge rainstorms start to begin around the month of June. They help to cool things off throughout the country.
Religion seeps into every facet of Indian life. Despite being a secular democracy, India is one of the few countries on earth in which the social and religious structures which define the nation's identity remain intact. India's major religion, Hinduism, is practiced by approximately 80% of the population. In terms of the number of adherents, it's the largest religion in Asia and one of the world's oldest extant faiths.
The main currency of India is the rupee. If you stay in cheap hotels, always travel 2nd class on trains and learn to subsist on dhal and rice, you could see India on just US$10 a day. If you prefer a few more creature comforts, like a simple private room with a bathroom, a varied diet, and occasional 1st class rail travel on long journeys, count on around US$20-25 a day. One thing to note is that you are not allowed to bring Indian currency into the country, or take it with you when you leave.
Be sure to sample some of the many different types of India cuisine. Although many dishes are spicy it is a true delight to enjoy the many flavors of the food in the country. An Activity that you should look into include trekking trough the countryside on some of the camel tours that are available This will allow you to see the country from a unique vantage point that is available no other way.
If you have any questions while you're there to visit the tourism offices and they can give you up to date information.
Important: Travel to
may require a travel visa depending on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please
be sure to review Travisa's
Full country name: Republic of India
Capital city: New Delhi
Area: 3,287,263 sq km
Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%
Languages: Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1%
Government: federal republic
Chief of State: President Pranab MUKHERJEE
Head of Government: Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH
GDP: 4.421 trillion
GDP per captia: 3,700
Annual growth rate: 6.8%
Agriculture: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, lentils, onions, potatoes
Major industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, pharmaceuticals
Natural resources: coal
Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Trade Partners - exports: UAE 12.7%, US 10.8%, China 6.2%, Singapore 5.3%, Hong Kong 4.1%
Trade Partners - imports: China 11.9%, UAE 7.7%, Switzerland 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.1%, US 4.9%