Incredible INDIA— This is a holy land with vast plains and deserts, High Himlayas, sacred rivers like Ganges , Brahmaputra and Indus that has nurtured religion, culture and art since the dawn of civilization. India’s story is one of the grand epics of the world history. Throughout thousands of years of great civilizations, invasions, the birth of religions and countless cataclysms, India has proved itself to be, in the words of its first prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, “A Bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads”.

The name India is derived from Indus  river. The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River. India as a country is a home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, with cities and villages, cultivated fields, and great work of art dating 4000 years back. India was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history.  It was one of the richest countries, known as “The Golden Bird of the East”.

Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the British Empire from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation on 15 August, 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance and led by Mahatma Gandhi. People from different background and culture participated in India’s struggle for freedom. The national leaders, particularly Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Shubash Chander Bose, Bhagat Singh , Lala Lajpat Rai coined the slogan of ‘Unity in Diversity’.  In 1947 The British India was divided into two parts one as India and the Northwest India was formed into what is now Pakistan. As a result of the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971.

Today’s India shares land borders with Pakistan to the west, Tibet / China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east, Burma and Bangladesh to the east. It lies to the north of the equator between 8°4' and 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, with a total land area of 3,287,263 square kilometres India has 29 states and 7 union territories, stretching some 3,214 km north to south and 2,933 km east to west. India’s total land area is 32, 68,090 sq.km, land frontier is 15,200km and coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) approximately, in length.

India is divided into 5 major regions,  1.North India,        2. South India,  3. East India,  4. West India  & 5.  North East India. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts.  The districts in turn are further divided into the tehsils and ultimately into villages.

India is the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people. The Indian economy is the world’s tenth-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world. The literacy rate in 2011 was recorded 74.04% — 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males, with the rural areas reporting a literacy rate of 68.9 % and the urban areas registering 85 %  literacy  Kerala is the most literate state in India with 94 % of literacy. India has 1652 languages and dialects. Hindi is the official language while English is the secondary official language.

India’s major religion, Hinduism is practiced by approximately by over 800 million adherents, 82 % of the population. Along with Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism, it is one of the world’s oldest extant religions, with roots extending beyond 1000 B.C.

Islam was introduced to Northern India by the invading armies (Mughalas) from Persia in the 16th century and by the Arab traders in South India, is practiced by 12% of the Muslim population.

Christians comprise around 2.3% of the population with around 75% living in South India, while the Sikhs estimated around 1.9 % of the population and Punjab the northern state of India is considered as their home land. Around 0.8 % of the population is Buddhist who mostly lives in the Himalayan regions of India.

Jainism is followed by about 0.5% of the population, with the majority of Jains living in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Mumbai, followed by Zoroastrianism and the Bahai Faith followers 0.5%.

A country, with a perfect fusion of tradition and modernity, with a rich history and myriad of cultural and geographical diversities, India is perhaps the most diverse country in the world. Whether it is the historic palaces, cultural heritage sites, monuments, majestic temples, colorful market places, sea beaches, desolate deserts, forested mountains, snow capped peaks, yoga, meditation, people, festivals, religions, and languages. Modern India presents a picture of Unity in Diversity where people of different faiths and beliefs live together in peace and harmony.  Each and every state or region of the country portrays different religions, people, festivals, customs, traditions, climate, and though people speak different languages yet we are all Indians.  To live peacefully has been the motto of the Indians. The great Indian culture comprises of Indian music, Indian Dance, Indian cuisine, costumes, Indian Festivals , art and craft, unlimited natural resources, vegetation the rivers like Ganges and Brahmaputra , mountain range like the Himalayas, not to forget it’ s exotic spices those all make e it the country a wonderful place to visit.

National Language is Hind,  National flower is  Lotus, National fruit is Mango , National river is Ganga / Ganges, National tree is Indian Banyan tree, National animal is Royal Bengal Tiger, National aquatic animal is Gangetic Dolphin ,  National bird is Peacock,  National game is  Field hockey.

The Indian National Flag.

The National flag of India is having three horizontal stripes – Saffron, White and Green. In the center is a navy blue colour of small ‘chakra’( a wheel) with 24 spokes. The design of the wheel is based on the emblem, which appears on the Lion capital of Emperor Ashoka of Sarnath (Bihar state in India). The Indian flag was made using ‘khadi’ cloth, a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton  made popular by Mahatma Gandhi.Saffron colour represents spirituality, courage and sacrifice, White is for peace and truth and Green means fertility and prosperity. The spinning wheel symbolizes the hope of the Indian masses.