India is, indeed, incredible nation of extraordinary diversity, the second largest in Asia and the seventh largest and second most populous country on Earth. It is the giant of the Indian subcontinent, which comprises fully one third of Asia. India supports one seventh of humanity and this population is continuing to increase at an astonishing rate. The demands of these 800 million people, the vast majority of whom, being agriculturalists, are concentrated in the same areas as India’s principal wetlands, place incredible pressure on the nation’s natural resources; the survival of the sites described in this inventory depends upon the attitudes and awareness of these people.
Within the continent-of-a-country are the many mountains and multi culture. Here is the great Indian desert, the Thar; deep jungle where the tiger roam and rhinos run wild; sylvan beaches, among the longest in the world; one of the most ancient settlements – the Indus Valley Civilization – with a recorded past of five thousand years; the cradle of some of the oldest religions on the globe – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism.
Equally enthralling monuments – forts, palaces, temples, memorials – line its historic face. Dances from the past survive as living arts even today. There is vibrancy to the culture, both ancient and modern.
The geography of India is one of huge contrasts. It’s the seventh largest country in the world and sits on the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, between the tropics of Cancer and North of the Equator. At its highest, the peak of K2 in the Himalayas it’s 8611 meters tall. From bottom to top it’s almost 2000 miles, around 1900 miles wide and covers an area of 1,269,219 square miles. It’s bounded by 4671 miles of coastline, to the South west, by the Arabian Sea, to the South-east by the Bay of Bengal and to the South, the Indian Ocean. In the North it borders China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan along 9445 miles of land frontier.
India has one of the most diverse, mixed and complicated populations in the world claiming almost 2000 social and religious groups, 18 registered national and regional languages and at an approximate guess, a population set to overtake China within three generations at nearly one Billion 350 Million inhabitants and growing fast!
India’s territories stretch all the way over to the Andaman Islands about 780 miles away in the Bay of Bengal and to the West, the Lakshadweep Islands lay nearly 200 mile of the coast of Kerala in Arabian Sea. India geography
Asia is a continent going through some amazing changes at the moment with some even bigger ones to come. India is a land of incredible diversity in every aspect but it’s also one of the most crowded, over-populated and impoverished countries in the world and as its population soars and begins to overtake China’s, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Where do you put all those people?
Move around India
By Air: The best way to reach India is by Air as it is well connected to all the major international locations of the world. There are 12 international airports in India and the national carrier ‘Air India’ in addition to a score of private airlines facilitate the air traffic movement in India.
By Sea: Getting to India is made easy by its prominent sea ports like the ones at Kochi, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Panaji, Calicut and Rameswaram.
Moving Around By Train: India has one of the strongest and biggest Railway Infrastructure in the world. Moving around the country is made easy by the vast reach of the Indian Railways. Railways is the lifeline of the nation when it comes to moving from one destination to the other.
Food in India
Indian food is different from rest of the world not only in taste but also in cooking methods. It reflects a perfect blend of various cultures and ages. Just like Indian culture, food in India has also been influenced by various civilizations, which have contributed their share in its overall development and the present form.
Foods of India are better known for its spiciness. Throughout India, be it North India or South India, spices are used generously in food. But one must not forget that every single spice used in Indian dishes carries some or the other nutritional as well as medicinal properties. Also the Indian food is divided into the four different verities:
North India Food
Food in the north India, to begin with, Kashmiri cuisines reflect strong Central Asian influences. In Kashmir, mostly all the dishes are prepared around the main course of rice found abundantly in the beautiful valley. Another delicious item cooked here is the ‘Saag’ that is prepared with a green leafy vegetable known as the ‘Hak’.
But on the other hand states like the Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh show high consumption of chapatis as staple food. Again, these chapatis are prepared with a variety of flours such as wheat, rice, maida, besan etc. Besides chapatis other closely related breads baked in these regions include Tandoori, Rumaali and Naan etc. However in the northern region impact of Mughlai food is quite obvious.
West Indian food
In western India, the desert cuisine is famous for its unique taste and varieties of food. Rajasthan and Gujarat are the states that represent the desseert flavor of Indian food. Here an immense variety of dals and achars (pickles/preserves) is used that simply substitutes the relative lack of fresh vegetables in these areas.
In the states like Maharashtra, the food is usually a mix of both north as well as south cooking styles. Here people use both the rice and the wheat with same interest. Along the coastline of Mumbai a wide variety of fishes is available. Some of the delicious preparations include dishes like the Bombay Prawn and Pomfret.In Goa, that is further down towards south, one can notice Portuguese influence in the cooking style as well as in the dishes. Some of the major dishes of this regiun are the sweet and sour Vindaloo, duck baffad, sorpotel and egg molie etc.
East Indian Food
In the eastern India, the Bengali and Assamese styles of cooking are noticeable. The staple food of Bengalis is the yummy combination of rice and fish. Usually the Bengalis love eating varieties of fishes. A special way of preparing the delicacy known as ‘Hilsa’ is by wrapping it in the pumpkin leaf and then cooking it. Another unusual ingredient that is commonly used in the Bengali cooking is the ‘Bamboo Shoot’. Various sweets prepared in this region, by using milk include the ‘Roshogollas’, ‘Sandesh’, ‘Cham-cham’ and many more.
South Indian Food.
In the southern India, the states make great use of spices, fishes and coconuts, as most of them have coastal kitchens. In the foods of Tamil Nadu use of tamarind is frequently made in order to impart sourness to the dishes. It simply distinguishes the Tamil Food from other cuisines.The cooking style of Andhra Pradesh is supposed to make excessive use of chilies, which is obviously to improve the taste of the dishes.
In Kerala, some of the delicious dishes are thelamb stew and appams, Malabar fried prawns, Idlis, Dosas, fish molie and rice puttu. Another famous item of this region is the sweetened coconut milk. Yet another dish is Puttu, which is glutinous rice powder steamed like a pudding in a bamboo shoot.
Traditional Indian clothing has come into prominence once again. Well, if you notice the trends in fashion industry, you’ll realize that modern fashion has aped the styling and designing of the bygone eras, the period of royalty, when Maharajas and Ranis used to spend extravagantly on their clothing. Whatever the royals chose to go in for was reminiscent of splendor and luxury. The creative fashion designers of today are in a lookout for ethnic designs that take us close to our cultural roots and remind us of the glorious past. Well, in this section, we will provide you with information on the different kinds of traditional clothing in India, so read on.
Indian Ethnic Wear
Dhoti kurta is the traditional Indian clothing of men. Unlike other dresses, it is an unstitched piece of cloth usually 5 yards long that is tied around the waist and legs. The knot is tied at the waist. Dhoti is known by different names at different places such as Laacha in Punjabi, dhuti in Bangla.
Kurta is a term used to refer to a long loose shirt, the length of which falls below or may be just above the knees of the wearer. In the olden times, it was primarily worn by men, but today, it has become a unisex dress that both men and women can wear.
Indian Salwar Kameez
Salwar kameez is the traditional Indian clothing for women. Due to its high popularity in the region of Punjab, shalwar kameez is commonly referred to as Punjabi suit. The fashion of Shalwar Kameez in India is not new. Since the past many few centuries, women have been wearing this wonderful attire.
Sari is one of the most wonderful dresses worn by Indian women. Infact, when one thinks of a typical Indian woman, the first thing that strikes the mind is a woman clad in sari, who is wearing the solah shringar including bindi, chudi, kajal etc.
Sherwani for Men
Sherwani is a long coat resembling achkan in styling. It is buttoned upto the collar and lengthwise it is usually below the knee. It adds to the charm and grace of men, especially the taller ones. Indian men spend lavishly on buying the sherwani suit for the special occasion of their wedding.
In India, one can spot many men wearing turban. Well, turban is tied not for the sake of fashion, but because it has a lot of significance in the lives of Indians. The hair turban is a headdress that basically consists of a long piece of unstitched cloth, which is wrapped around the head.
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