India boasts of a rich culture and various traditions that vary as per the region. This seventh-largest country (in terms of geographical area) has seen major growth in various fields, and is home to people belonging to different religions and cultures. Currently, India remains the world's 12th-largest economy, and although this magnificent place is growing in large proportions; poverty and illiteracy remain the major problem areas in this country. India has had a glorious history, and is known for its diversity; the people of this country are particularly known for their hospitality and friendly nature.
India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the southern side. To the west lies the Arabian Sea, whereas the Bay of Bengal lies on the eastern side. India shares its border with Pakistan on the west. To the northeast, lie China, Bhutan, and Nepal. Bangladesh and Burma lie on the eastern side.
The earliest signs of human life in this country can be traced to the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. Experts say that the earliest settlements were seen during the Indus Valley Civilization.
The major rivers that flow in India are the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Mahanadi, Indus, Narmada, and Tapti.
India not only has diverse cultures, this beautiful country has very diverse weather patterns as well. One can enjoy different types of weather conditions. Besides, it also has a very varied topography, which experiences varieties of seasons as well. In India, one can see deserts to the west, glaciers in the north, and rainforests towards the southwest, that also have humid tropical regions. Therefore, one can witness four seasons, which are the warm summers, wet monsoons, a post monsoon period, and cool winters.
Indian music is very varied and consists of a variety of styles. India's classical music is like a tradition passed on from generations. This classical music is also based on several religious inspirations and beliefs. Apart from traditional classical music, India also has a very interesting mix of folk and pop music as well.
India boasts of a many traditional styles of dancing. Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Sattriya, and Mohiniattam are some of the various styles of Indian classical dance. Apart from these classical based dances, folk dances are equally interesting and also have a variety of colorful costumes for the dancers.
In terms of architecture, India has many historically significant landmarks that stand as a strong testimonial to the rich history of this very diverse land. Hindu temples go way back to the 5th century. Many Hindu and Buddhist temples are entirely rock cut; this was especially noticed during the medieval period. One can also spot a fine blend of Islamic architecture along with monuments that show Buddhist and Jain influences.
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, Taj Mahal, the various beautiful churches in Goa, monuments of Hampi, Qutub Minar, etc.
There are many languages that are spoken in India, with Hindi being the official language. The millions of native languages spoken here also depend upon the specific region, but Sanskrit and Tamil remain the classical languages according to the Government of India. India has around 22 languages that are officially recognized.
Rabindranath Tagore is a highly regarded Bengali writer from India, who also received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1931). He also penned the national anthem of India―'Jana Gana Mana'.
The national flag was adopted in 1947. The orange color 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 the central motif.
Indian cuisine is typically spicy with a generous helping of various spices and herbs. Indian food is, therefore, considered to be among 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 the main food items with various pulses; along with interesting types of pickles. Indian curries are really unique and most sought after in this country.
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). Bollywood refers to the Indian film industry based in Mumbai and churns out an amazing number of movies every year (800 films per year approximately). The charm of Bollywood movies has spread out of India to other countries including the likes of Pakistan, which has enforced a Government ban on films belonging to India.
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 attire for women, and the varied designs of the Indian sarees differ as per region. Apart from sarees, women also wear salwar kameez with a dupatta, which is most preferred as daily casual or even formal wear. The ghagra choli is a traditional outfit worn on special occasions. Traditional attire for men consists of a dhoti and kurta, or even a lungi in South India. Men also have the option of wearing sherwanis for formal occasions. Currently, the Indian streets would reveal a curious mix of western and Indian attire, with the youth preferring to opt for jeans and other forms of stylish western attire as casual wear.
Although hockey is the national sport of India, yet Indians are crazy for cricket. 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 top favorites.
Despite the advancements in various fields, one of the major setbacks of India is poverty. India, being the second-most populated country, a vast majority of people are known to live below the poverty line. One can note a stark difference in the various lifestyles out here from the filthy rich to the downtrodden and poor section of society.
This information is only a glimpse into this magnificent land; there is more to discover and know about the very incredible India.