The ancient diamond-shaped country of India, the largest part of the Indian Subcontinent, extends from the Himalayan Mountains in the north, south into the tropical reaches of the Indian Ocean. It’s the second most populous country on the planet, and certainly one of the most intriguing.
This diverse and fertile country, which once included the lands we now call Bangladesh and Pakistan, was plundered over eons of time.
It was subsequently colonized and controlled by Britain during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Then, in 1947, India declared independence and formed its own country.
It’s home to some of the most significant natural and man-made wonders on the planet, and thus, a powerful exotic tourism magnet. The modern open-door policies of India have put the tourist industry here on the fast-track, as luxury hotels and beach resorts are constantly under construction.
With numerous major languages (hundreds of dialects), dozens and dozens of large cities and over 700,000 villages – somehow India works, both in the classic, traditional methods of its many cultures, and in the fast-moving world of the 21st century.
(long form) Republic of India
Capital City New Delhi (10.8 million)
Currency Indian Rupee (INR)
Languages Hindi, Bengali and 13 other (official) languages, including Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit. Hindustani is widely spoken in the north, and English is, for the most part, the language of modern business.
National Day January 26
Religions Hindu (80%), Muslim (13%), others
Latitude/Longitude (Capital City)
28� 37′ N, 77� 13′ E
Relative Location India is in both the eastern and northern hemispheres. It’s positioned on the Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia. It’s bordered by the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Gulf of Mannar, Indian Ocean, and the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Burma (Myanmar).
Coastline 4,350 miles (7,000 km)
(land) 1,147,955 sq miles (2,973,190 sq km)
(water) 121,390 sq miles (314,400 sq km)
(TOTAL) 1,269,345 sq miles (3,287,590 sq km)
Landforms The Himalayas form the highest mountain range in the world, and slope southward into a large fertile plain that covers much of India.
Three mountain ranges extend from the Indus River in the northwest, to the Brahmaputra River in the east, including the Himadri, Himachal and Shivaliks – all with deep canyons gorged by the fast-flowing water.
The land rises slightly into two plateaus, bordered in the central and south by lower mountains (Ghats), that gently slope into narrow coastal plains.
Numerous rivers drain the land, and without question, the Ganges is the heartbeat of India and one of the most significant rivers on the planet.
Highest Point Kanchenjunga – 28,208 ft. (8,598 m)
Lowest Point Indian Ocean – 0 ft. (0 m)
Land Divisions 28 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab and Rajasthan.
In addition, there are 7 union territories; including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman, Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.