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History of India

Nearly five thousand years back flourished India's first major civilization along the Indus River valley. The twin cities of Mohenjo-Daro & Harappa now in Pakistan were ruled by priests and held the rudiments of Hinduism. These civilizations are known to possess a sophisticated lifestyle, a highly developed sense of aesthetics, an astonishing knowledge of town planning and an undecipherable script language. The Indus Civilization at one point of time extended nearly a million square kilometers across the Indus river valley. It existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of Egypt & Sumer but far outlasted them. Surviving for nearly a thousand years the Indus Valley Civilization fell to tectonic upheavals in about 1700 BC, which caused a series of floods.

The coming of the Aryans around 1500 BC, gave the final blow to the collapsing Indus Valley civilization. At the dawn of Vedic ages the Aryans came in from the North and spread through large parts of India bringing with them their culture and religious beliefs. The Four Vedas or the important books of Hinduism were compiled in this period.

In 567 BC the founder of the Buddhist Religion Gautama Buddha was born. During this time lived Mahavira, who founded the Jain Religion. The Indian subcontinent is full of caves & monuments devoted to these religions and are worth a visit.

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History of India

Nearly five thousand years back flourished India's first major civilization along the Indus River valley. The twin cities of Mohenjo-Daro & Harappa now in Pakistan were ruled by priests and held the rudiments of Hinduism. These civilizations are known to possess a sophisticated lifestyle, a highly developed sense of aesthetics, an astonishing knowledge of town planning and an undecipherable script language. The Indus Civilization at one point of time extended nearly a million square kilometers across the Indus river valley. It existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of Egypt & Sumer but far outlasted them. Surviving for nearly a thousand years the Indus Valley Civilization fell to tectonic upheavals in about 1700 BC, which caused a series of floods.

The coming of the Aryans around 1500 BC, gave the final blow to the collapsing Indus Valley civilization. At the dawn of Vedic ages the Aryans came in from the North and spread through large parts of India bringing with them their culture and religious beliefs. The Four Vedas or the important books of Hinduism were compiled in this period.

In 567 BC the founder of the Buddhist Religion Gautama Buddha was born. During this time lived Mahavira, who founded the Jain Religion. The Indian subcontinent is full of caves & monuments devoted to these religions and are worth a visit.

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Geography of India

India - a land of dreams and romance
, A land blessed by the Sun, Shimmering Waters, Landscapes Painted golden with its rays, Silhouetted maintained, And a warm glowing welcome A land of enormous contrasts from north to south & east to west. India unfolds for you, a Series of diversities. The People, The Culture, The Languages, The Costumes, The Religions, Their art, architecture, forms of dances and music all amazingly different from another, The land of remarkable assemblage of the traditional hospitality and irresistible magnet for visitors through the ages.
Every year millions of people visit India from all over the world and discover more than a culture as old as time. So make your travel plans now and have a memorable experience of a lifetime with Recreation.
India is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest, youngest and still evolving mountain chain on the planet. The subcontinent as it is leftly called, touches three large water bodies and is immediately recognizable on any world map. This thick, roughly triangular peninsula defines the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the India Ocean to the south.
Himalayas, the world's highest mountain chain and Nepal as its Neighboring country dominate India's northern border. Following the sweeping mountains to the northeast, its borders narrow to a small channel that passes between Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, then spreads out again to meet Burma in the "eastern triangle." Apart from the Arabian Sea, its western border is defined exclusively by Pakistan.

NORTH INDIA

North India has an amazingly varied topography. In the far north, the Himalayan Mountains, snow covered sentinels, separate India from the rest of Asia. Nestling in their lower ranges are the picturesque hills and valleys of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab/Haryana.
Rajasthan is the desert state of India. It is also a land which successfully combines burning sands with shimmering lake palaces.

WEST INDIA

The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh constitute West India. Extending from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, the west coast is lined with some of India's best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush with rainforests. The Western Ghats separate the verdant coast from the Vindya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland.
Mumbai - India's Western gateway and capital Maharashtra, with a major international airport and harbor. Aurangabad, 400 kms from Mumbai is famous for spectacular rock cut caves - Ajanta & Ellora of 2nd/3rd century B.C.
Goa - the most comprehensive beach resort in the country.
Bhopal, the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh is famous for Udaygiri, Sanchi for Buddhist art and architecture. One can also visit Mandu, Gwalior with excursion to Orchha, Shivpuri and Khajuraho.

EAST INDIA

India is the home of the sacred River Ganges and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begins with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last gulp of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border.
The entire eastern region is one of the great natural beauty and variety. The snow clad mountains of Sikkim give way to lush, green hills where bamboos and orchids flower in great profusion. Towards the south the forests and lakes of Orissa teem with an abundance of wildlife. The state is full of temples. Still further, scattered in the Bay of Bengal, lie the tropical Andaman and Nicobar Islands. With rain forest, beautiful beaches of clean lagoons edged by the north east is composed of seven states whose natural beauty has earned them the sobriquet 'seven sisters'.
Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya have been generously blessed by nature.
Bihar is another state in North East where one can visit Patna, Gaya, Bodhgaya, Nalanda and Rajgir - Buddhist places.

SOUTH INDIA

The states of South India have much in common. Located in Peninsular India, Andhra Pradesh Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. All four southern states have extensive coast lines and remain mainly tropical areas, except for the day scrub of the Deccan Plateau.
Start from Hyderabad, the city of Nizam’s, in Andhra Pradesh or Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Visit the vibrant city of Bangalore in Karnataka, an exciting mixture of the traditional, colonial and modern. Move on to the gracious ambience of Mysore with its air of still living in a royal past. Bandipur National Park, Belur, Halebid, Hampi & Badami are other worth-seeing places. Visit historic port town of Kochi and explore Kerala's warm beaches and magical Backwaters/House Boat for a perfect holiday experience of South India.


Art & Culture

ART

  · Fine Arts
  · Contemporary Indian Art
  · Early Paintings

As an Art form, painting has been a part of India since very early times. The earliest example of painted pots was found in 3rd century BC as part of the Indus valley civilization. The cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora are among the earliest paintings using colored dyes, and the paintings in our ancient temples of Thanjavur and Vidarbha show a tremendous improvement in technique and processes.

Forms of Indian Art

Contemporary Indian Art is available in the standard forms, of oil on canvas, acrylic, paper or wood, water color paintings on paper and a large range of lithographs, oleographs, and screen prints, as well as mixed media works that could include indigenous materials like natural dyes, clay, metal chips and a variety of items. The traditional craft forms such as Miniatures, Tanjores and Madhubanis are also being adapted to modern techniques and to the requirements of the discerning buyers.

Contemporary Indian painting can trace its roots to the beginning of the 20th century and to art schools in Calcutta and other centres of India. The fight for independence also saw the emergence of a very highly individualized style of Indian painting. Raja Ravi Verma is considered to be the father of modern Indian painting. His visual representation of Indian women, their clothes and jewellery have become masterpieces and are valued collectors items. Abindranath Tagore played a major role in bringing the Bengal School of painting to the forefront. Among the other renowned painters of this series were Jamini Roy, A.K.Haldar, Sarada Charan and Nandlal Bose. Rabindranath Tagore developed his own style of painting and was among the first modern Indian painter to hold an exhibition in Paris.

Folk Art

Folk art everywhere in the world is real and catches the steady thud of the earth's heartbeat. At its purest it is true, uninfluenced, and expressing the rawest concerns of its people and forging the closest links to a people's environment and its underlying economy. There is no dressing up, no false note.

An Unabashed Paean to Color

The most vibrant and festal wall paintings are found in Rajasthan. The interior and exterior walls of palaces as well as ordinary dwellings are an unabashed paean to color. They are made over completely with huge frescoes of elephants, horses, and camels, scenes of royal processions and exciting hunts as well as depictions of mythological characters and stories. Painted wet on lime plaster in mineral colors the paintings slowly became embedded in the wall giving the effect of inlay work of colorful stone on white marble, another specialty of the region.

The temple and monastery paintings in Tamil Nadu and Andhra as well as the murals at the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kerala reflect their regional skills. The Rathva tribals of Gujarat and the Bhilala tribal’s of Madhya Pradesh in central India paint on the mud walls of their houses the myth of creation. Sometimes airplanes and clocks also make their appearance in this essentially tribal worldview.

The Art of Mehndi

The wedding season is on! It's May already, which means the wedding season's in full swing! Indian weddings are noisy colorful family get-togethers, which wouldn't be complete without certain things - the religious ceremonies, the feast for the guests, and of course, the beautiful mehndi designs adorning the hands and feet of the bride and her friends. Read about mehndi, the ancient Indian body art that's reinvented itself as a modern fashion accessory.

It's safe and painless since it does not require the skin to be pierced. It's completely natural and non-toxic. It's fun, exotic, beautiful, and as simple or complicated as you want it to be. It can last for a couple of days or as long as a month. It's a 5000 year old tradition and a modern craze. It was used by our grandmothers and their grandmothers and their grandmothers ... but our daughters and granddaughters also think it's “cool ". It goes by the name of mehndi, and it's the ancient Indian art of adorning the hands and feet with intricate designs and patterns, using a paste made from the finely ground leaves of the henna plant.

The term refers to the powder and paste, the design on the skin, as well as the party or ceremony. It originated in Egypt and in Middle Eastern countries during ancient times and it slowly spread to India and other hot climates like Malaysia, Persia, Syria, Morocco, Sudan and North Africa

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People & Life Style

In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian according to five thousand years of recorded history.

From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography. The food, clothing and habits of an Indian differ in accordance to the place of origin.

Indians believe in sharing happiness and sorrow. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. The whole community or neighborhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. A lot of festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id, Christmas, and Mahaveer Jayanthi are all celebrated by sharing sweets and pleasantries with family, neighbors and friends. An Indian wedding is an occasion that calls for participation of the family and friends. Similarly, neighbors and friends always help out a family in times of need.

Ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, eat the most diverse varieties of food all of which add to the rich Indian culture. The beauty of the Indian people lies in the spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a composition of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colors and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to the garden – India.


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Music & Dance

DANCE
- If dance is the spirit made visible, then the first swaying of the spirit blossomed in an infinite variety of dances in ancient India. The expression of joy was sanctified by the submission of this happiness at the altar of the Creator. After all Indians do believe that it is creation itself that is the dance of the creator. All Indian dances - folk, gypsy, classical or simply ritual - have a mad riot of color and an internal geometry of forces that is entirely beguiling. All of them have elaborate costumes and jewelry that are unique and visually alluring.

Dance evolved in India both as sheer exuberance and orgiastic self-expression and later as a structured offering to the Gods of the best in the human spirit. Folk dances, like the Bhangra or the Maharashtrian Lavani, embody wild happiness, whereas classical dances, like Bharatnatyam and Odissi, have a stylized form that needs a certain amount of familiarity to pick out its nuanced eloquence. The gypsy and tribal dances of India are repetitious movements that lull you by their sheer beat.

Classical Dance and Music

Indian Classical Dance "abstraction of Upanishad thought which is assiduously translated in to well designed concrete language of artistic media.  

Said to be written 2000 years ago by Bharata Muni, it is the seminal source book for dancers and performers. The mammoth book covers all technical and aesthetic aspects of the art of the Indian Theatre and Dance.

From the purpose of natya, to the architectural format, stage rituals, Rasa, Bhava, Abhinaya, gestic communication, music, types of instruments. 37 chapters that together form the nucleus of this fascinating performing art. Later century works like Abhinaya Darpana, Abhinaya Chandrike, also have great relevance to the dancer today.

Indian Folk and Tribal Dances

Indian folk and tribal dances are simple, and performed to express joy. Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movements. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels.

The northeast part of the country is the home for over 60 tribes. Each tribe has its own range of tribal dances. The exciting dances of the Nagas and the Bihus of Assam are performed to celebrate spring and harvesting.

The chief folk dance of Gujarat, the Dandiya, is performed using sticks. Each performer holds two sticks, which they strike alternately to the left and left while the group dances. They also move diagonally, clockwise, anti-clockwise, as they strike the sticks.

The Bhangra dance of Punjab is performed by men, to the rhythm of the drum. The dance includes a wide range of leaps and jumps. Dancers stand on each other's shoulder while dancing to the music.

There are hundreds of Indian folk and tribal dances. Each region of India has its own folk dance. Both men and women perform the bamboo dance of Mizoram. While the men hold the bamboo, the women folk dance between the bamboos. In this performance, the sound of the bamboo hitting each other is the rhythm. Though dangerous if a rhythm is missed, these experienced dancers perform with grace and with care.

In the south, the dummy horse dance or the Poikalkuthirai, is very famous. Dancers fit dummy legs to their legs and dance to the tune of the music. Both men and women perform this form of art. In Tamil Nadu, dancers place a karagam or a decorated jug, on their head and dance while balancing the karagam.

While there are numerous folk and tribal dances, they are constantly improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.

MUSIC - Indian music has developed within a complex interaction between people of different races and cultures. Today, Indian classical music can be classified into two broad traditions, North Indian and South Indian. The North Indian tradition is known as Hindustani Sangeet. The different forms of Hindustani Music are Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tappa and Thumri. The South Indian tradition of music is called Carnatic Sangeet. Both traditions are fundamentally similar but differ in nomenclature and the way they are performed.


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Languages in India

India's official language is Hindi in the Devanagri script. It is the primary tongue of 30% of the people.
The States are free to decide their own regional languages for internal administration and education, so there are 18 official languages spoken throughout the country. Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri and Sindhi, are among the official languages which are also widely spoken. Sanskrit though an official language is hardly ever used except in rituals and ceremonies.
While English enjoys associate status, it is widely spoken and is one of the most important languages for national, political, and commercial communication.
In all there are 24 different languages, each spoken by a million or more persons; as well as millions of other languages and dialects.
Tribal or Aboriginal language speaking population in India may be more than some of the European languages. For instance Bhili and Santali both tribal languages have more than 4 million speakers. The vividness can be ascertained by the fact that schools in India teach more than 50 different languages; there are Films in 15 languages, Newspapers in 90 or more languages and radio programmed in 71 languages!
Indian languages come from four distinct families, which are: Indo-European, Dravidian, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. Majority of Indian population uses Indo-European and Dravidian languages. The language families divide India geographically too.
Indo-European languages dominate the northern and central India while in south India; mainly languages of Dravidian origin are spoken. In eastern India languages of Mon-Khmer group is popular. Sino Tibetan languages are spoken in the northern Himalayas and close to Burmese border. In terms of percentage, 75% of Indian population speaks languages of Indo-European family, 23% speak languages of Dravidian origin and about 2% of the population speaks Mon-Khmer languages and Sino-Tibetan languages.

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Indian Cuisine

The unforgettable aroma of India is not just the heavy scent of jasmine and roses, it is also the fragrance of spices so important to Indian cooking especially to preparing curry. Broadly speaking, meat dishes are more common in the North. Mughlai cuisine is rich creamily, deliciously spiced and liberally sprinkled with nuts and saffron.

The essence of good Indian cooking revolves around the appropriate use of mixed aromatic spices. Base ingredients of such mixed spices are elements such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, red pepper, nutmeg, mustered, saffron, cinnamon, card0amon, ginger powder etc. the skill lies in the subtle blending of these spices to enhance rather than overwhelm the basic flavor of a particular dish. These spices act as appetizers and digestives.

The Indian cuisine boasts of an immense variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala - a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice.

Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavor. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs sharply from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but the same can be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation.

The unique and strong flavors in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavor. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices.

In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavor in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavor and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.

Although a number of religions exist in India, the two that have influenced Indian cooking and food habits the most are the Hindu & Muslim Traditions. Each new wave of settlers brought with them their own culinary practices. How ever, over time they adopted a lot of specialties and cooking methods from the Indian Cuisine and blended the two perfections. The Portuguese, the Parsians and the British made important contributions to the Indian culinary scene. It was the British made important contributions to the Indian. 

No meal is complete without a Paan (betel leaf). The green leaf is rolled with an assortment of digestive spices like aniseed, cloves, arecanut, and cardamom. To make it more palatable sometimes it is stuffed with sweetened rose petals locally known as Gulkand. Paan is considered to be an ideal round off for any Indian meal.

The food in all over South India is dominated by rice and curries. Tamarind, coconut and spices are important ingredients. As the sea and rivers are an integral part, sea food is the most common preparation. Specialties to look out for are Dosa, Sambar, fish curry etc. On the west coast there is a wide choice of fish and shellfish; Mumbai duck and pomfret are just two. Fish is also a feature of Bengali cooking in East. The variety of Indian cooking is immense, it is colorful and aromatic Indian cuisine is the most popular cuisine in the world.


Religion In India

In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian.

From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography. The food, clothing and habits of an Indian differ in accordance to the place of origin.

Indians believe in sharing happiness and sorrow. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. The whole community or neighbourhoods is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. A lot of festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id, Christmas, and Mahaveer Jayanthi are all celebrated by sharing sweets and pleasantries with family, neighbors and friends. An Indian wedding is an occasion that calls for participation of the family and friends. Similarly, neighbors and friends always help out a family in times of need.

Ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, and eat the most diverse varieties of food all of which add to the rich Indian culture. The beauty of the Indian people lies in the spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a composition of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colours and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to the garden - India!

Categories of Religion in India

•        Hinduism - about 82%
•        Islam- about 12%,
•        Christianity - about 2.5%
•        Sikhism-about 2%
•        Buddhism - about 0.7%
•        JAINISM - about 0.5%
•        Zoastrianism - about 0.01%
•        Judaism - about 0.0005%

Hinduism in India

Hinduism is a religion with various gods and goddesses. According to Hinduism, three Lords rule the world. Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer. Lord Vishnu did his job of preserving the world by incarnating himself in different forms at times of crisis.

The three Lords that rule the world have consorts and they are goddesses. Consort of Brahma is Saraswathi; goddess of learning. Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi; goddess of wealth and prosperity. Shiva's consort is Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga. Along them there are a number of other gods and goddesses. To name a few of them, there is Ganesh, who has an elephant's head and he is also a son of Shiva and Parvati. Hanuman, who is an ape. Surya, Lord of sun. Ganga Ma, goddess of river Ganges. Samundra, Lord of the sea. Indra, king of the gods (but he isn't an important god). Prithvi, goddess of earth. Shakti, goddess of power. The Hindus call their goddesses 'Ma' meaning mother.

Islam in India

The Muslims are about 12% of India's population. But their influence on the Indian society was much stronger. The main reason was that there were many Muslims rulers in different parts of India. Most of the Muslim rulers of India were invaders from the west.

Islam was established in Saudi Arabia. But most of Islam's spreaders in India arrived from non-Arab countries (It must be noted that Arab traders and travellers had arrived into India even before Islam was established in Arabia. These Arabs probably had their own places of worship, later on transformed into mosques.). The first spreaders of Islam in India were individuals who saw in spreading Islam a holy precept. They began coming to India from the 11th century. They arrived in India from Bukhara, Turkey, Iran, Yemen and Afghanistan. The most famous preacher of Islam in India was Khwaja Chishti, who arrived from Iran and his sect is called Sufism. But the accepted assumption in India is that most of India's Muslims were converted to Islam through the sword. Meaning the Indians were given an option between death or adopting Islam. The third option was getting examined in Islam religion along with heavy taxes- Jeziya (poll tax) and Kharaj (property tax).

Christianity in India

About 2.5% of India’s populations are Christians. Christianity arrived in India almost about the same period as it arrived in Europe, meaning about 2000 years ago. Christianity originates in Israel. The first Christians were Jews and in the beginning Christianity was seen as a Jewish cult. Most of the Apostles of Christians acted in Europe to convert the Europeans to Christianity. But one of the Apostles, St. Judas Thomas, arrived in India and converted Indians to Christianity. St. Thomas was a carpenter and a disciple of Jesus. He was brought to India by a merchant to build a temple. St. Thomas arrived in Kerala, in south India in 52 AD. He succeeded in converting local Indians to Christianity. His converts were called Syrian Christians. One assumption says that some of the Syrian Christians were actually Jews converted by St. Judas Thomas to Christianity. The disciples of Jesus at first intended to convince the Jews to adopt the philosophy of Jesus as new Judaism. Later on other Christian saints arrived to India as missioners. But most of the Indian were converted to Christianity by the missionaries who arrived in India with the European powers from 15th century.

Sikhism in India

About 2% of India's populations are Sikhs. Even so, the Sikhs, because of their unique appearance sometimes stand for India. Traditionally the men keep their hair and do not shave their beard or moustache. They gather their head hair in a turban.

Sikhism is comparatively a new religion in India. This religion was established by Guru Nanak. Nanak was born into a Hindu family in 1469 in the Punjab region. Since childhood he loved to travel, learn and preach humanity. In those days people who taught and preached were titled Guru meaning teacher, his followers became to be known as Sikhs meaning learners. And so Guru Nanak developed a new religion and it also included beliefs from the two dominant religions in the Punjab region, Hinduism and Islam. Some claim that Guru Nanak tried to developed a new religion and included in it what he thought were the good beliefs of these two religions. Like in Islam the belief in the existence of one invisible God. Like in Hinduism the belief in Karma and reincarnation, meaning your actions in this life will decide your fate in the next incarnation. The Sikhs also cremate their dead ones as is done in Hinduism.

Buddhism in India

Buddhism evolved in India. There were periods in India's past when Buddhism was dominant in India. Today less then 1% of India's population is Buddhist. Buddhism has more followers in countries east of India.

Buddhism was established in about 500 BC. Buddhism began with a prince called Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha belonged to an aristocratic family. As a prince he had lot of wealth. He never left his palace. At some point Siddharta began to leave his palace and behold for the first time poverty, sickness and misery. After seeing this Siddharta lost interest in his spoiled life and left his palace forever and gave his rich personal belongings to the needy. He joined a group of ascetics who were searching for enlightenment. In those days people searching for enlightenment believed that this could be gained only by people who were capable of resisting their basic needs. These people almost did not eat anything and almost starved themselves to death. Siddharta also adopted this path of searching enlightenment. But at some point he came to a conclusion that this was neither the way towards enlightenment nor the spoiled life he had as a prince was the left path towards enlightenment. According to him the left path was somewhere in the middle and he called it the 'middle path'.

Jainism in India

Jainism was born in India about the same period as Buddhism. It was established by Mahavira in about 500 B. C. Mahavira like Buddha belonged to the warrior caste. Mahavira was called ‘Jina’ meaning the big winner and from this name was derived the name of the religion.

In many senses Jainism is similar to Buddhism. Jainism like Buddhism developed as a dissention to the Brahmanic philosophy that was dominant during that period in north- east India. Mahavira just like Buddha isn’t the first prophet of his religion. In Jainism like Buddhism there is a belief in reincarnation which eventually leads to liberation. Both these religions don’t center in religious philosophy around Almighty worship. But Jainism is different than Buddhism in its ascetic beliefs. Both these religions emphasis on non-violence, but in Jainism non-violence is its main core.

Jains believe that every thing has life and this also includes stones, sand, trees and every other thing. The fact that trees breathe came to be known to the science world only from the 20th century. Mahavira who believed that every thing has life and also believed in non-violence practically didn’t eat anything causing his self- starvation to death. Mahavira was also extremely ascetic and walked around completely naked because of his renouncement of life.

Zoroastrianism in India

A small religious community, which exists mostly in Mumbai, is Zoroastrianism. The follower is called Parsi because the religion arrived in India from Persia. This religion was established by Zarathustra in 6th or 7th century BC. The followers of this religion exiled from Iran in the 7th century AD. Because of religious persecutions by the Muslims. They arrived in Gujarat region of India.

The Parsis believe in the existence of one invisible God. They believe that there is a continuous war between the good forces (forces of light) and the evil forces (forces of darkness). The good forces will win if people will do good deeds think good and speak well. God is represented in their temples through fire, which symbolizes light. The holiest place for them is the village of Udvada in Gujarat, India. The holy language of the Parsis is an ancient language spoken in Iran, Avesta. The Parsis believe that fire, water, air and earth are pure element to be preserved and therefore they do not cremate or bury their dead ones but leave them on high towers, specially built for this purpose, to be eaten by hawks and crows.

Jews in India

The Jews of India aren't one singular community. Among themselves they are divided into different communities. Each community has its own different culture, background and origin. Each community claims its arrival in India in different ways and it is not always clear how they really came to India. The three main Jewish communities of India are: Bene Israel, Cochini and Baghdadi. Besides there were Ashkenazi Jews and a community in east India which claim Israeli origin and call themselves Bne Menashe. The first three communities had some social religious connections with each other but most of the social religious connections of each community were within their own community and they regarded the other as ‘outsiders’.


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Indian Etiquette

India is a vast country with different customs in different parts of the country. You may find the metros more liberal and cosmopolitan, whereas in the hinter land you may come across various unusual customs preserved over thousands of years. You may also find that, in general, the attitude to life is very different from that in the western world.

An irresistible magnet for visitors through the ages - where people are friendly and are known for their hospitality. India continues to lay the red carpet for tourist from all over the world. Nevertheless, certain situations may arise where deviating from the accepted customs will be considered as a sign of disrespect. These are the situations you need to know about.

• Always remove your shoes before entering a holy place - a temple, Gurudwara or a mosque. Gurudwara (Sikh temples) will also require you to cover your head. A good rule is to dress conservatively while visiting a place of worship.

• Feet and the left hand are considered impure so do not touch any holy object with these. It is also considered impolite to give, take or point at anything with the left hand.

• Refrain from using the left hand in case you are required to eat with your fingers at any place.

• Public show of affection is generally disapproved, more so in smaller cities and villages.

• Avoid wearing clothes that bare your arms and legs - in the small cities and villages in particular. Metros are fairly permissive in this particular respect.

• Pay attention to instructions written on notice boards at holy places. These will inform you of what items may be inappropriate e.g. 'leather objects not allowed', 'cameras not allowed', 'menstruating women not allowed' and so on.

• Tipping is customary, though not mandatory. At restaurants, the usual rule of 10 per cent of the bill amount applies.

• Bargaining for a lesser price is a fairly common practice, especially at local bazaars and for fare with rickshaw and auto drivers (if not paying by meter reading). However, recognized and larger shops and departmental stores usually charge fixed.


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International Airports in India

S.No.
State or Territory
City Served
Airport




01
Andaman & Nicobar IslandsPort BlairVeer Savarkar International Airport
02
Andhra PradeshHyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International Airport
03
AssamGuwahatiLokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport
04
DelhiNew DelhiIndira Gandhi International Airport
05
GoaWhole StateDabolim Airport
06
GujaratAhmedabadSardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport
07
Jammu & KashmirSrinagarSrinagar Airport
08
KarnatakaBengaluruBengaluru International Airport
09
KarnatakaMangaloreMangalore International Airport
10
KeralaKochiCochin International Airport
11
KeralaKozhikodeCalicut International Airport
12
KeralaThiruvananthapuramTrivandrum International Airport
13
MaharashtraMumbaiChhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
14
MaharashtraNagpurDr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport
15
PunjabAmritsarSri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport
16
RajasthanJaipurJaipur International Airport
17
Tamil NaduChennaiAnna International Airport
18
Tamil NaduCoimbatoreCoimbatore Airport
19
Tamil NaduTiruchirapalliTiruchirapalli International Airport
20
Uttar PradeshLucknowChaudhary Charan Singh International Airport
21
Uttar PradeshVaranasiLal Bahadur Shastri International Airport
22
West BengalKolkataNetaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
 
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World Heritage Sites in India

The World Heritage Sites in India are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as on 29, as of 2012. These are places of importance of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Of these 29 sites, 23 are cultural sites & the other 06 are natural sites. A tentative list of further sites/properties submitted by India for recognition includes 33 sites.

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List of Heritage Sites
S.No.
Name
Region
Period




01
Kaziranga Wild Life SanctuaryAssam20th century
02
Manas Wild Life SanctuaryAssam20th century
03
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
Bihar3rd century BC, 5th & 6th century AD
and 19th century AD
04
Humayun’s TombDelhi1570
05
Qutb Minar & its MonumentsDelhiLate 12th century
06
Red Fort ComplexDelhi1546
07
Churches & Convents of Old GoaGoa16th & 18th century
08
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological ParkGujarat Prehistoric & 8th to 14th centuries
09
Group of Monuments at HampiKarnataka14th & 16th centuries
10
Group of Monuments at PattadakalKarnataka8th century
11
Buddhist Monuments at SanchiMadhya Pradesh2nd & 1st centuries BC to the 12th century
12
CE Rock Shelters of BhimbetkaMadhya Pradesh2nd & 1st centuries BC
13
Khajuraho Group of MonumentsMadhya Pradesh950 AD to 1050 AD
14
Ajanta CavesMaharashtra2nd century BC to 6th century
15
Ellora CavesMaharashtra600 to 1000 AD
16
Elephanta CavesMaharashtra5th & 8th centuries
17
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
(formerly Victoria Terminus)
Maharashtra1887–1888
18
Sun Temple, Konark
Orissa13th century
19
Keoladeo National Park, BharatpurRajasthan1981
20
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Rajasthan1727 & 1734
21
Great Living Chola Temples
•  Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram
•  Airavateshwarar Temple, Darasuram
•  Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
Tamil Nadu11th & 12th-century
22
India Group of Monuments at MahabalipuramTamil Nadu7th & 8th centuries
23
Agra FortUttar Pradesh16th century
24
Fatehpur SikriUttar Pradesh16th century
25
Taj Mahal, Agra
Uttar Pradesh17th century
26
Nanda Devi & Valley of Flowers National ParksUttaranchal1939 & 1982
27
Mountain Railways of India
•  Kalka-Shimla Railway (2008)
•  Nilgiri Mountain Railway (2005), Ooty
•  Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1999), Darjeeling
Himachal Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
West Bengal
19th & early 20th century
28
Sundarbans National ParkWest Bengal1939 & 1982
29
Western Ghats

•  Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster

•  Periyar Sub-Cluster

•  Anamalai Sub-Cluster

•  Nilgiri Sub-Cluster

•  Talakaveri Sub-Cluster

•  Kudremukh Sub-Cluster

•  Sahyadri Sub-Cluster

2012

Tentative List
Apart from the 29 sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, India has also maintained a list of tentative sites for recognition which has been submitted to UNESCO Committee for evaluation and acceptance.

S.No. Name Region



01 Golconda Fort, Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
02 Namdapha National Park Arunachal Pradesh
03 River Island of Majuli Assam
04 Tomb of Sher Shah Suri, Sasaram Bihar
05 Excavated Remains at Nalanda Bihar
06 Silk Road Sites in India Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Pondicherry,
Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh
07 Urban & Architectural Work of Le Corbusier Chandigarh
08 Dholavira - a Harappan City Gujarat
09 Rani ki vav (The Queen's Stepwell), Patan Gujarat
10 Wild Ass Sanctuary, Kutch Gujarat
11 Ahmedabad Gujarat
12 The Kangra Valley Railway Himachal Pradesh
13 Great Himalayan National Park Himachal Pradesh
14 Buddhist Monastery Complex, Leh Jammu & Kashmir
15 Hemis Gompa, Ladakh Jammu & Kashmir
16 Mughal Gardens in Kashmir
Chashma Shahi, Shalimar Bagh, Pari Mahal Verinag,
Achabal Bagh & Nishat Bagh
Jammu & Kashmir
17 Mattancherry Palace, Kochi Kerala
18 Mandu, Madhya Pradesh Group of Monuments Madhya Pradesh
19 The Maharaja Railways of India Madhya Pradesh
20 The Matheran Light Railway Maharashtra
21 Churchgate, Mumbai Maharashtra
22 The Victorian & Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai Maharashtra
23 Delhi NCT Delhi
24 Bhitarkanika Conservation Area Orissa
25 Sri Harimandir Sahib (The Golden Temple), Amritsar Punjab
26 Desert National Park Rajasthan
27 Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Chittorgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort,
Amer Fort, Jalor Fort, Bala Kila Fort & Gagron Fort
Rajasthan
28 Kangchendzonga National Park Sikkim
29 Ancient Buddhist Site in Sarnath Uttar Pradesh
30 Oak Grove School, Mussoorie Uttaranchal
31 Temples at Bishnupur West Bengal
32 Neora Valley National Park, Darjeeling West Bengal
33 Santiniketan West Bengal
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Treasures Of India

• The name India is derived from river INDUS. The valleys around the river were home of early settlers.

• India never invaded any country in her last 100,000 year of history.

• When many culture were nomadic forest dwellers over 5,000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).

• Chess was invented in India.

• Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies that originated in India.

• The “Place Value System” and “Decimal System” were developed in India in 100 BC.

• The world’s first granite temple in Brihadeswara temple at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, and the Shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This temple was built between 1004AD and 1009 AD during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.

• India is the largest democracy in the world, the sixth largest country in the world and one of the most ancient civilizations.

• The game of snake & ladders was created by 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called “Mokshapat”. The ladders represented virtues while snakes indicated vices.

• The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, and this cricket pitch is 2,444 meters above sea level.

• India has the largest number of post offices in the world.

• Ayurveda is the earliest schools of medicine know to mankind. Charaka, the father of medicine, consolidated ayurveda 2,500 tear ago.

• India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early in the early 17th century. Christopher Columbus had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.

• Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of year’s before astronomer smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun was 356.258756484 days.

• Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world.(source: Gemological Institute of America).

• Bailey Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in Ladakh Valley between Dras and Suru river in Himalayan Mountains. The India Army built it in August 1982.

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Quick Facts Of India

Capital

:

New Delhi
Area
:
3,287,263 sq km
Time
:
GMT + 5 hours 30 minutes
Seasons
:
Summer  - April to June
Monsoon - July to September
Winter    - October to March
Latitude
:
Between 8’4’ and 37’6’ north
Longitude
:
Between 68’7’ and 97’25’ east
Constitution
:
A Republic; a secular state and the world's largest Democracy
Topography
:
Himalayan Mountain ranges in the north, The Indo - Genetic plain; The Central Peninsular Plateau; Coastal regions in South East and South West
Coastline
:
7516.5 km (Including Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Island
Land Frontier
:
15200 km
Highest Mountain Range
:
Himalayas (altitude more than 7500m)
Highest Mountain Peak 
:
K2 (Kanchenjunga 8,611m above sea level
Largest River Basin 
:
Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin
Longest River
:
Brahmaputra 2,900 km (Ganga 2,510 km)
Boundaries
:
In the North: Tibet, China, Nepal
In the East 
:
Pakistan
In the South
:
Bangladesh, Bhutan
Language
:
Hindi and English are the official languages. 15 regional languages are also spoken in the various parts of the country
National Flag
:
Horizontal tricolor of deep saffron at the top white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportions. In the Central of the White band is a navy blue wheel as Ashoka Chakra with 24 spokes
National Emblem
:
Adaptation of the sarbnath Lion capital of Ashoka
National Anthem
:
Jan-Gana-Mana
National Calendar
:
This is based on saka Era with Chaitra as its First month and a normal year of 365 days. dates of the national calendar have a permanat correspondence with datea of Gregorian Calander: Chaitra 1,generally fall on 22 March and in a leap yaer on 21 March
National Bird
:
Indian peacock
National Animal
:
Tiger
Population
:
1,147,'995,'898
Males
:
591,681,864
Females
:
556,314,034
Banking Hours
:
Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Credit Cards
:
All major International Credit Cards are widely accepted by hotels, airports, leading department stores and shops.
Electricity
:
220 V AC, 50 cycles; Some hotels also offer 110 V AC, 60 cycles
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