India is located in the Asian continent and is currently the seventh largest country in the world and slightly bigger than one third of the USA. The country is surrounded by the Himalayan mountains located in the Northern sector while the peninsula is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. She shares borders with seven countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. India has a population of 1.38 billion people with 22 official languages but Hindi is the most commonly spoken language as more than half of the country speaks this.
Around 7000 BCE the first settlements were built in the area. The Indus Valley civilization developed as the first urban culture in South Asia. During the 8th century “The Islamic conquest” of India started, according to Historian Will Durant it was the bloodiest conquest of all time. Around the twelfth century, Muslim settlers from Afghan tribes began to occupy Indian territory, fending off attacks from other invaders, and establishing kingdoms that stretched all the way to Bengal in the east of the subcontinent, and to the Deccan in the south. Europeans arrived in India in the 18th century and gradually took over the country. However in 1857 there was a rebellion of the Indians against the British governors, after which Queen Victoria of England took over the crown rule of India and between 1858 and 1947, the British Raj (kingdom) was established in India. There was still a high resistance against British rule led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
The Thar Desert is a large region in the north west of the country and forms a natural border between India and Pakistan. Also the longest and most sacred (to the Hindus) river in India is the Ganges River. The country is also home to many large mammals such as the snow leopard, the Indian rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger or the Asian elephant, water buffalos and many different antelope species. Since India is a large and very diverse country, the food and cooking styles are different from region to region. But the most typical dishes are butter chickens, “vindaloo”-spicy meat (pork, lamb or chicken) marinated in vinegar mixed with potatoes and “biryani”– rice dish with chicken and vegetables, herbs and spices.
- The name ‘India’ is derived from the river Indus which also flows through Indus
- Cars drive on the left side of the road as they do in the UK and Australia and road signs on national highways are in English and Hindi.
- Family values are important in traditional families and arranged marriage still play a big part especially in rural regions.
- The India Gate which stands in Delhi is a war memorial, which was built in remembrance of over 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the First World War.
- Cows are considered as sacred by the Hindus and thus these animals are highly respected and honored as they symbolize strength and provide life-giving milk.
- Experience the Mumbai Gateway to India
- Also check out the breathtaking Red Fort in Delhi
- Take a walk through the Taj Mahal in Agra