INDIA  |  India Travel Guide
Thursday, December 7, 2023



Miniature (circa 1590) from the Mughal period, India

India Travel Guide

India, officially the Republic of India (Bharat Ganarajya in Hindi), is clearly a land of superlatives. It is the largest democracy and second most populous nation in the world. It is the fourth largest and among the fastest growing economies in the world. It is among the oldest countries with one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. It is also easily the most culturally diverse country in the world, with a pluralistic, multiethnic, multilingual society, where four of the world's major religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - originated.

Geographically, India is a subcontinent and the principal country in South Asia. It is bounded on its south, west and east by the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal respectively, and bordered to the west by Pakistan, to the east by Bangladesh and Myanmar, and to the north by China, Nepal and Bhutan. It is the seventh largest in land mass in the world, and includes, besides its mainland, the islands of Andaman and Nicobar and the union territory of the Lakshadweep Islands.

India is a federal constitutional republic with a parliamentary democracy. It consists of 28 states and nine union territories. Originally fashioned on the British parliamentary system, it has a lower house (Lok Sabha) and an upper house (Rajya Sabha). And like the House of Commons, the Lok Sabha is comprised of democratically elected members of parliament and is the principal legislative body. The head of the government is the Prime Minister, elected by and from the majority party. The head of state is the President, with nominal powers.

Tourism looms large on the Indian landscape, and is both a bargain for Westerners and just as diverse as the country itself - from ancient temples to wildlife preserves, from colorful, crowded bazaars to five-stars hotels and restaurants. Each of India's states is distinctly different and a veritable discovery. And now, besides recreational tourism, India is emerging at the forefront of a new genre of tourism: medical tourism.



Destinations in India (21)

  • Agra, India

    Agra is famous as the home of the Taj Mahal, one of great wonders of the world and among the greatest monuments to love. Agra is of course an ancient city that has been mentioned in both the Mahabharata and in records...

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  • Best Small Towns in India

    Best Small Towns of India. India has no dearth of interesting little towns, many of them in the hills in northern and northeastern India, with a few quite pretty and lively ones inland and down the west and southwest coast of the...

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  • Darjeeling, India

    Darjeeling is a pretty city, synonymous with tea, specifically Darjeeling Tea – a successfully-branded, thin-bodied, aromatic, light-colored yet primarily black or oolong tea with a musky spiciness, harvested from...

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  • Delhi, India

    Delhi is a study in contrasts: it is at once an old city and a modern capital, a city of both chaos and order, a city of narrow, congested market streets and of broad avenues, a city where Mughal- and British-era architecture...

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  • Goa, India

    Goa is India's answer to Hawaii and all the other "tropical paradise" destinations the world over: a picture-perfect coastal pocket, bursting with sunshine. There are glorious sandy beaches here, more than a dozen of them, just...

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  • Jaipur, India

    Jaipur is the capital of the most colorful state in India, Rajasthan. It is a city that amazes and delights, and regales the visitor with its lyrical palaces known as mahals. It is a city where gaudiness triumphs, together with ornate...

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  • Kochi (Cochin), India

    Kochi, formerly Cochin, is also known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea." It is of course an historic town that has been ruled, in turns, by the Portuguese, Dutch and English, and where they've all left their mark. It is also...

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  • Kolkata, India

    Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, is a loud, bustling metropolis, the third largest in India, with a legacy tied, in turns, to British India, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mother Teresa. It is at once a city rich in British-Indian history...

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  • Mumbai, India

    Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is where Slumdog Millionaire triumphs. It is the premiere melting pot of India, a metropolis of gargantuan proportions, a veritable megacity which by the year 2020 is projected to become the...

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  • Srinagar, India

    Srinagar, with a population of approximately one million, is the summer capital of the northernmost state of India, Jammu and Kashmir. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. And for good reason....

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  • Trivandrum, India

    Trivandrum, now known as Thiruvananthapuram (which literally means abode of Anantha the snake god), is a pretty city and the capital of the south Indian coastal state of Kerala. It is a city which, like so many other...

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