Explore India

Geography of the country

The largest democracy on earth and the seventh largest country in the world in respect to area, India is one of the most diverse countries on the map if we talk about its climate, culture, geography and ethnicity. That’s why India Tourism fascinates everyone. In terms of population, India that is also known as the Republic of India, is second to China and has over a billion people currently.

Geographically speaking, India is located in the centre of South Asia and is the largest country in the region. It is surrounded by China and Nepal in the North, by Bangladesh and Myanmar in the east, Bhutan in the North-East and Pakistan in the North-West. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea are also parts of the Republic of India. Sri Lanka and Maldives towards the south of India form its Island neighbors.

The country, India, is politically divided into 29 states and 7 Union Territories including the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The political divisions are unaltered by the geographical transitions and follows linguistic and ethnic boundaries instead. While the states are governed
by their respective elected government, the Union Territories are governed by an administrator that is appointed by the Union government.

Climate and Culture

The climate in India is primarily hot for a major part of the year and there are significant variations in the weather from one region of the country to the other. The cold weather starts from the end of November and lasts up to the beginning of the month of March.

On the contrary, hot weather starts from the month of March to the month of June when it is hot, humid and unpleasant and the winds are dry and dusty. Monsoons hit the country around summers and can last from anywhere between June to the beginning of October, depending on
the region. So the best time to visit is practically different for each region. It would not be wrong to call India a land of extreme temperatures.

If India as a country is known about anything, it has to be its culture. It is the main attraction of India Tourism. The Indian culture is basically an amalgamation of different cultures of the different communities and religions that form an in formidable part of the country. The present
Indian culture has been influenced by its rich history and other elements such as the different religions, cuisines, philosophies, music, dance, art etc.

Demographics (religions and languages)

The most popular religious groups according to the population following them are Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. As per the 2001 census, 82 percent of the population is Hindus, 12.1 percent Muslims, 2.3 percent Christians and 1.94 percent Sikhs. The other religious minorities in India are Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis. The religions that originated in the Indian
Subcontinent, often referred to as Eastern Religions, are Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

While the official language in India is Hindi, there are about 387 languages that are popularly spoken in the country. Hindi is an Indo-Iranian language that makes use of the Devanagari script for writing. It is spoken by almost half of the country, especially the states in the North. English as a language is as popular as Hindi and is also popularly used in official proceedings like in the parliament etc.

Apart from Hindi, there are 21 languages that have an official status in the local states where they are used. These are Assamese, Kashmiri, Bengali, Konkani, Maithili, Sanskrit, Santali, Malayalam, Meithei, Nepali, Oriya, Marathi, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Eastern Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
Of all the official languages, the most popular ones are Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu. Sanskrit is the least popular language and is often also referred to as a dead language.

Important cities
There are several metropolitan cities of India; these are famous due to their cultural, economical and political background. There is a long list of India Tourism’s main attractions; however, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune top this list. The 10 largest cities in India are Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad,
Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat and Jaipur. The city of Mumbai has the highest population with over 18.4 million inhabitants. It is the capital of the State of Maharashtra and is often referred to as the commercial capital of India as
well. The total wealth of the city also surpasses that of any other city in India. New Delhi is a Union territory and its official name is the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The city is governed by the Central government of India and is ranked second after Mumbai, both in population and wealth.
The third most populous city of India is Kolkata that was called Calcutta until 2001. It is the capital of west Bengal and is regarded as the cultural hub of the country. It is the go to place for anyone interested in art, literature, drama, film and theatre.

Among the other large cities of India, Chennai is regarded as the ‘Health Capital’ of India for a high number of health tourists that visit the place. Bengaluru, previously called Bangalore has the highest number of IT firms; Hyderabad is the capital of the state of Telangana and is known for the pearl trade. Ahmadabad, the largest city in Gujarat has been tagged the third fastest growing city in a decade by Forbes. Pune, Surat and Jaipur come close in the list of the largest cities in India.

Religious attractions

India is a country where nothing else is more religious than the religion itself! A secular country, India has sheltered several religions with peace and harmony. The country is known to have fascinated people from around the globe who were in search of peace, salvation or an escape from all worldly affairs. While there are religious and pilgrimage places in every corner of the country, here is a list of top 10 religious places that are a must visit in India:

One of the most popular and visited pilgrimage sites in India Tourism is the Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir. It is located in the Trikuta Hills in Jammu and one has to trek the way to the temple that is located in caves. Beautiful landscapes and thrilling adventure complete the spiritual journey.

Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is one of the most important Sikh pilgrimage sites in India. The temple was built by Ramdass Sahibji, the fourth guru of the Sikhs.

Jagannath Temple in Puri is another important pilgrimage site in India. The deities that are worshipped in the temple are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra. Even though the temple is visited by a large number of pilgrims all round the year, it has a special significance around the annual Rath Yatra.

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh is another name for the term ‘popular’. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that around 60,000 pilgrims visit the temple everyday! Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped in this temple.

Some of the other religious attractions of the country worth mentioning are Ajmer Sharif in Ajmer, Velankanni church in Tamil Nadu, Amarnath Caves in Jammu and Kashmir, Rishikesh, Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh among several others.

Wildlife attractions

People looking for some wildlife adventure in India do not have to be disappointed at all. From the mountain ranges in the north to Kanyakumari in south, there are a number of wildlife attractions ranging from conservation parks to sanctuaries.

The Ranthambore National park in Rajasthan is a famous wildlife conservation park where you can expect to see Tigers, Leopards, Jackals, Hyenas, Indian Foxes and a range of birds. The place was previously regarded as a hunting ground for maharajas.

Experience the unique cruise, together with wildlife spotting at the famous Sunderbans National Park, West Bengal. The park is spread across 54 islands together with a part in the neighboring Bangladesh.

Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand is an extremely popular national park located in the mountains of Nainital. The park is home to a large number of Tigers, including white Tigers.

The Kaziranga National Park in Assam is the place to see Tigers, Elephants, Wild Buffaloes, and Swamp deer along with one-horned Rhinos. The place is believed to have the largest number of one-horned Rhinos in the world.

Some of the other wildlife attractions that are worth a mention here are the Gir National Park in Gujarat; Periyar National Park in Kerala; Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh; Bannerghatta Biological Park in Karnataka; Hemis National Park in Jammu and Kashmir; and finally, The Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh.

World Heritage sites

The world heritage sites are the places that are recognized by UNESCO as the places of cultural importance and the ones that belong to the people across the world, irrespective of their background or nationality. There are currently 36 sites in India that are listed by UNESCO as world Heritage Sites.

Taj Mahal, also one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a world heritage site. It was built by the mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. The structure is also regarded as the ‘Jewel of Muslim art in India’ for its outstanding architecture.

Khajuraho located in Madhya Pradesh is another important world heritage site that is known for Hindu and Jain temples that were built under the Chandella dynasty. The erotic figures and sculptures in the buildings form the center of attraction for one and all. There are 85 temples in all that are spread across 20 kilometers. Out of all the temples, Kandariya temple is the most popular.

Hampi, located in the northern part of Karnataka is another world heritage site in India. What makes it interesting in India Tourism is that they are actually ruins of an ancient kingdom of Vijayanagar. The Virupaksha temple among all the others is the most important one as it serves as a religious center for the Hindus. The site is significant for the Dravidian style of art and architecture.

The other world heritage sites in India that are worth a mention here are Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra; Bodh Gaya in Bihar; Sun Temple, Konark in Odisha; Red Fort in Delhi; Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu and Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuaryin Assam among others.

Tourist attractions

There is a never ending list of tourist attractions in India. These are awe inspiring and fascinating to one and all who visits them:

India Tourism is all about a trip to diversity of the country. From culture to weather, views, food and lifestyle – You will witness the most beautiful days of your life here.

Taj Mahal, a masterpiece of mughal architecture, remains one of the most popular tourist attractions of India. The mausoleum is believed to attract 7 to 8 million visitors per year. The Mysore Palace forms another most popular tourist destination in India. The magnificent palace is awe-inspiring and has an interesting history as well.

The holy city of Varanasi that is situated on the banks of river Ganga is another place that attracts tourists from across the world. The city is sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.

The Kerala backwaters are an equally popular tourist attraction as much as they are a honeymoon destination. The backwaters are actually a series of lagoons that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. The houseboat ride is the most popular tourist activity here that attracts several thousands of tourists to the state annually.

Ellora is one of the largest monastery temple cave complex that is rock cut. It is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. There are 100 caves in total; however, only 34 are open for general public. The caves are devoted to Hindu, Buddhist and Jain deities.

The other compelling tourist destinations in India are the desert town of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan; the golden temple in Amritsar; Palolem beach in Goa; the Lake Palace in the city of Udaipur; backwaters in Kerala; the Meenakshi Ammam Temple in Madurai; Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital; Mysore palace in Mysore and the famous Pushkar Camel fair among a long list of places.

Places to visit for food

India has something to offer to everyone and when it is about food lovers, there is no dearth of variety and flavor here. Every place in the country is famous for something. So, whenever there is a talk on India Tourism, food has to be discussed.

Starting with the capital city Delhi, there is a wide variety of food that you can try here. From the ubiquitous Chole Bhaturey and Butter Chicken to the very accessible road side chaat, everything is worth a try. Do not forget to visit the very famous Parathey waali gali that serves over a hundred varieties of parathas; eat choley bhaturey at Sadar Bazar and Nihari in Chandni Chowk.

Coming to Kolkata, the place is famous for its Roshogullas but it certainly does not end there. The city is a paradise for food lovers! From Kathi rolls to authentic Chinese food at China Town; from puchkas to mughlai parathas and cutlets in the streets of North Kolkatta; from street vendors selling the very usual jhaal murhi and chana jor garam to the melt-in-mouth sweets, Kolkata is a dream come true for every foodie!

Dharamsala, a small town nestled in mountains is famous for its monasteries and treks but the travelers visiting the place fall in love with the food here which is largely influenced by the Tibetan culture. Some of the famous local dishes include momos, thupkas and Shabley that are prepared in the most authentic way. The famous McLeodganj serves you variety from thin crust pizzas to some amazing cheesecakes together with home brewed coffee.

Apart from these, enjoy the traditional fried Kareemeen at Alleppey; a variety of seekh kebabs and the special biryani at Hyderabad; chaat and lassi that is full of flavor at the famous Varanasi; the famous kormas, curries and kebabs in Lucknow; the best Punjabi cuisine in Amritsar and the list can go on and on!

Most Popular Activities in India

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