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.
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