India lies in south Asia, taking up most of the Indian subcontinent land mass. From its northern tip along the Chinese border, India stretches 3200 km (2000 miles) to its southern most point. The inland of Sri Lankan sits here like a giant tear drop washing out of India. The country’s northern neighbours are made up of Nepal and the Himalayan Mountains, while Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Burma lie to it northeast. The western border is taken up by Pakistan.
India is made up to 26 states that provide a wide range of landscapes. It can also be divided into a few well defined regions. The Himalayan region of the north is made up of some of the highest mountains on the planet. Its three major river systems, the Ganges, the Indus and the Brahmaputra all rise from these mountains and form extensive delta system in the country. The Indo-Gangetic plain and the desert region lie in the central portion of the country while the Southern Peninsula makes up the south of the country. An abundance of national parks and mountains offer plenty of eco-tourism options with something of interest for everyone.
It is next to impossible to define Indian culture in a few lines. The ethnic groups are made up of Bengalis, Punjabis, Gujaratis, Nagas, Soras and a host of others making it the second most populated country in the world. Four significant religions of the world Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism originated in India while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam appeared the first millennium C.E., helping to shape the extensive culture of the country.
While English language is employed for trade and politics, there are actually fourteen other official languages and over twenty-four total languages spoken by the people. This does not encompass the countless dialects. The people of India practice seven major religions and a large number of minor ones. Hinduism is the dominant religion, practiced by eighty percent of the population. It can be observed in every aspect of the daily life.
Indians value their family system, and extended families are the norm. Sons live with their parents all their lives while daughters leave when married. Even though the caste system is breaking down, the country is still fairly stratified. The background of an individual and position in society are still held in high regard.
Capital: New Delhi
Government: Federal republic
Area: 1,147,949 sq mi (2,973,190 sq km)
Largest cities: Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore
Monetary unit: Rupee
Official Languages: Hindi, English
Dialing Code: +91