India is 7th largest country in the world which touches borders with Nepal, Pakisthan, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. It is enormously miscellaneous country, with vast differences in geographical condition, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse with known by largest democracy country on earth. India is administratively divided into 28 states and 7 union territories.
India is rich in culture and heritage from past and also in present state. India offers Tourist a view of interesting religions and ethnography, more than 438 verity languages, and monuments that have been present for thousands of years. As it opens up to a globalised world, India still has a depth of history and intensity of culture that awes and fascinates the many who visit there.
India is a Parliamentary Democracy modeled on the British Westminster system. The President, indirectly elected, is the Head of State, but his or her position, while not entirely ceremonial, has limited powers. In practice, the Prime Minister is seen to wield the most authority, and runs the government with her/his cabinet . The Parliament is bi-cameral. The Lok Sabha, the lower house, is directly elected by adult franchise, while the Rajya Sabha, or the upper house, is indirectly elected. The Lok Sabha is the more powerful of the two, primarily because a majority in the Lok Sabha is required to form a government and pass budgets. India has a vast number of political parties, and in recent times, no party has secured a majority in the Lok Sabha, leading to unstable governments and raucous politics. However, unlike neighbouring Pakistan, transition of power has always been peaceful and always constitutional. India has a strong and independent judiciary and a free press.
India is also a Federal Republic, divided into states and union territories. Each of these have their own legislatures, with government run by a chief minister and a cabinet.
Street demonstrations and political agitations occur, as they do in any democracy, though there is also occasional low-level violence. A visitor has a vanishingly small chance of getting caught in those.
Mountains, jungles, deserts and beaches, India has it all. It is bounded to the north and northeast by the snow-capped Himalayas, the tallest mountain range in the world. In addition to protecting the country from invaders, they also feed the perennial rivers Ganga, Yamuna (Jamuna) and Sindhu (Indus) on whose plains India’s civilization flourished. Though most of the Sindhu is in Pakistan now, three of its tributaries flow throughPunjab. The other Himalayan river, the Brahmaputra flows through the northeast, mostly through Assam.
South of Punjab lies the Aravalli range which cuts Rajasthan into two. The western half of Rajasthan is occupied by the Thar desert. TheVindhyas cut across Central India, particularly through Madhya Pradeshand signify the start of the Deccan plateau, which covers almost the whole of the southern peninsula.
The Deccan plateau is bounded by the Sahyadri (Western Ghats) range to the west and the Eastern Ghats to the east. The plateau is more arid than the plains, as the rivers that feed the area, such as the Narmada,Godavari and the Kaveri run dry during the summer. Towards the northeast of the Deccan plateau is what used to be a thickly forested area called the Dandakaranya which covers the states of Chhattisgarh,Jharkhand, the eastern edge of Maharashtra and the northern tip ofAndhra Pradesh. This area is still forested, poverty stricken and populated by tribal people. This forest acted as a barrier to the invasion of South India.
India has a long coastline. The west coast borders the Arabian Sea and the east coast the Bay of Bengal, both parts of the Indian Ocean.
Climate in India is like also in Nepal. But the Temperature in summer is more higher than Nepal in some states of India. India experiences at least three seasons a year, summer, Rainy Season and winter, though in the tropical South calling the 25°C (77°F) weather “Winter” would be stretching the concept. The North experiences some extremes of heat in Summer and cold in Winter, but except in the Himalayan regions, snow is almost unheard of.
November to January is the winter season and April and May are the hot months when everyone eagerly awaits the rains. There is also a brief spring in February and March, especially in North India.
India’s rich and multi-layered cultures are dominated by religious and spiritual themes. While it is a mistake to assume that there is a single unified Indian culture, there certainly are unifying themes that link the various cultures. India’s cultural heritage is expressed through its myriad of languages in which much great literature and poetry has been written. It can be seen in its music – both in its classical (Carnatic and Hindustani) forms and in modern Bollywood music. India also has a vast tradition of classical and folk dances. Art and theatre flourish amongst the bustling cities of the country, against the backdrop of the ever expanding western influences.
Indians value their family system a lot. Typically, an Indian’s family encompasses what would be called the extended family in the West. It is routine for Indians to live as part of the paternal family unit throughout their lives – i.e. sons live together with their parents all their lives, and daughters live with their parents till they get married. The relationship is mutually self-supporting. Parents may support their children for longer than is common in the West, brothers and sisters may support each other, and sons are expected to take care of their parents in their old age. “Living with parents” does not carry the same stigma as it does in the US. Naturally, the arrangements are not perfect and there are strains and breakups, especially by the time the third generation grows up. Also, it has now become common for children to move away from the parental house for education and employment. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the joint family is still seen as the norm and an ideal to aspire to, and Indians continue to care about their family’s honour, achievements and failures even while they are not living together.
Despite the weakening of the caste system, India remains a fairly stratified society. Indians care more about a person’s background and position in society than is the norm in the individualist US. This attitude, when combined with the legacy of colonial rule, results in some rather interesting, if unfortunate consequences. People with white skin are placed high on the societal totem pole, and they may find that Indians are obsequious towards them to the point of embarrassment. People with dark skin, however may find that they are discriminated against. If it is any consolation, Indians display similar prejudices based on skin colour and ethnicity among themselves and not just towards foreigners. (See more in the Stay Safe and Respect sections)
There are three national holidays: Republic Day (26 January),Independence Day (15 August), and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October) which occur on the same day every year. In addition, there are three major nationwide festivals with shifting dates to be aware of:
§ Holi, in February or March
This festival is known for the festive of color and water.
§ Durga Puja / Navarathri/Dussehara, Sep-Oct
This festival is known as the time to victory over demons. This festival celebrates for 9 regular days and these days people pray to Goddess Durga.
§ Diwali (Deepavali), Oct-Nov
This festival is also known as the festival of Light. People were lighting their house and garden with different lights.
Apart from these, different festival in different states celebrates like Onam for Kerala or Sankranti for Andhra Pradesh or Pongal for Tamil Nadu or Baisakhi for Punjab, which is celebrated as public holiday in respective states.
Religious holidays occur on different days each year, because the Hindu and Islamic festivals are based on their respective calendars and not on the Gregorian calendar. Most of them are celebrated only locally, so check the state or city you are visiting for information on whether there will be closures. Different regions might give somewhat different names to the same festival. To cater to varying religious practices, offices have a list ofoptional holidays (called restricted holidays by the government) from which employees are allowed to pick two, in addition to the list of fixed holidays. This may mean thin attendance and delayed service even when the office is officially open.
Foreign visitors will quickly encounter different rates than for local. This applies to some tourist attractions, some high end hotels and some airlines. Although this may seem discriminatory and unfair to some, all countries do this to some extent.
These rates are prominently posted at the entrance and ticketing booths. The rates for foreigners may be as many as five to ten times those for Indians. Likewise, if you are reserving a hotel room or an airline ticket over the internet, you may find that paying in dollars costs significantly higher
This is understandable due to the much lower average cost of living in India.