A Country Guide to India

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Overview

Mysticism and endless festivals throughout the year best describes India to the outside world. The principal religion, Hinduism, reflects not simply religious rites, but it’s a way of life that is evident from the views and lifestyle of Indians.

Hosting one-sixth of the total world’s population, India is a huge and quite crowded country. Its history is laced with fables and tales that have become legends for the countrymen. Starting from at least 2500 BC, when it is estimated that Indus Valley civilization made its mark on the region, India has seen some savage brutality at the hands of Moghuls at different times. The Moghuls came from Central Asia in 1520s and remained in the country till the mid-18th Century. During this time, they plundered, looted, and virtually transformed the ‘Golden Bird’ into an iron one! After the Moghuls, it was the turn of British to rule the country.

The cry for freedom from British rule was made shriller by the entry of Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian National Congress (INC), who with his non-cooperation movement managed to make an effective dent into the British Empire. However, Mahatma’s own INC was divided on the issue of Hindus and Muslims. Led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, many Muslims managed to divide India on religious lines with the creation of Pakistan, at the time of independence in August 1947.

India is a Democratic Republic ever since. With its glorious past still visible in numerous temples, ancient cities, and monuments, the visitors will certainly fall short of time to relish full India. However, the visitors simply can’t skip the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra) from their itinerary for its sheer brilliant history and magnificence. The holy city of Varanasi (Benaras) has traditionally mesmerised the western visitors no end. The metropolitan cities of Mumbai (formerly, Bombay) and Kolkata (formerly, Calcutta), though crowded, still boast of charming life replete with monuments and places of tourists’ interest.

The State of Tamil Nadu in Southern India also has lots of places for pilgrimage. The nearby tiny State of Goa is, perhaps, the best place to enjoy coastal India. From the towering Himalayas to numerous pine forests, lakes, and streams, India presents true diversity one can imagine.

The most striking feature of Indian lifestyle is the way the modern amenities have managed to blend with traditional customs in the Indian way of life. Where the country is known for its mysticism, places like Bengaluru (Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley) reflects the face of modern India. This largest democracy in the world (according to population) is still marvelled at its general unity in diversity, though of late, terrorism related incidents have created tensions between communities.

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