India is the largest country in the Indian
Subcontinent in the south of Asia. Though it's the seventh
largest country in the world by area, it's second only to
China in population. India prides itself on being the largest
democracy on earth (by population). It's also an extremely
diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate,
culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse.
India is administratively divided into 28
states and 7 union territories. The states are broadly demarcated
on linguistic lines. They vary in size; the larger ones are
bigger and more diverse than some countries of Europe. The
union territories are smaller than the states - sometimes
they are just one city - and they have much less autonomy.
These states and union territories
are grouped by convention into the following regions.
Himalayan North - Mountainous and beautiful,
a tourist destination for the adventurous and the spiritual.
This region contains some of India's most visited hill-stations
and religious places. Also includes the troubled state of
Jammu and Kashmir
The Plains - India's Hindi-speaking heartland.
The country's capital New Delhi is here. The rivers Ganga
and Yamuna flow through this plain. Many of the events that
shaped India's history took place here.
The West - deserts and beautiful cities like
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Goa, vibrant and biggest
Indian city Bombay (now known as Mumbai), wonderful beaches
and Bollywood (Indian film industry in Bombay)
The South - colorful Hindu temples, tropical
forests, Backwaters of Kerala, beaches and ghats of Karnataka
and islands off the mainland.
The East - India's mostly rural region, its
largest city Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), the temple cities
of Puri of Lord Jagannath fame and Bhubaneswar, both in Orissa.
The North-East - remote and sensitive, the
country's tribal corner, with beautiful landscapes and famous
for Tea Gardens.