500 Things to Know About India

India is a country of natural and historical wonders. There are so many things to know about India. India is home to plenty of rivers, mountains, mountain passes, tribes and clans, and geological territories. India is a country that truly features "unity in diversity". With so many races and cultures, India ranks as one of the culturally diversified countries of the world. Rich in flora and fauna, the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks amaze the tourists. The snow-clad mountains, waterfalls, and picturesque rivers charm the visitors.

India: An Overview

India, also known as Bharat and other names in Hindi and other languages, is an independent country in South Asia. It is officially called the Republic of India. In terms of geographical territory, it is the seventh biggest nation in the world and in terms of population, it is the second most populated country in the world (after China). India is famous for being the most densely inhabited democratic state in the world. India is home to approximately 1.2 billion people. The Indian territories are bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south, the People's Republic of China, Bhutan, and Nepal to the north, the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and Burma to the east, and Pakistan and Arabian Sea to the west. The population of India comprises Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews. The Lakshwadeep Islands and Indian mainland are closely located to Maldives and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. At the same time, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India share their marine frontier with Sumatra Island of Indonesia in Andaman Sea and Thailand. The length of the shoreline of India is 7,517 km (4,700 miles).

India is recognized all over the world for the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indian subcontinent was an area of ancient trade itineraries and huge kingdoms. The traditional and cultural affluence characterizes the extensive history of India. Four of the key religions in the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism have their origins in India. At the same time, other religions such as Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Christianity came to India in the first millennium common era and created the varied culture of India. India was subject to Company Rule by the British East India Company since the early 18th century and occupied by the United Kingdom from the middle of the 19th century. The country achieved its independence on August 15, 1947. The Indian independence struggle is characterized by non-violent resistance guided by Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.

India is a federal constitutional republic. The country follows the parliamentary democracy system, comprising 29 states and seven union territories. The society of India can be referred to as a multilingual, pluralistic, and cosmopolitan society and over 400 languages are used in the country. India is home to a variety of flora and fauna in a range of protected areas.

Geographical features of India

India is home to a range of mountains and rivers. Important mountain ranges include the Himalayas, the Satpura and Vindhya Mountain Ranges, and the Eastern and Western Ghats Mountain Ranges. The rivers of India can be broadly categorized into the following:

Himalayan Rivers

The Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, and Saraswati are the important Himalayan Rivers.

The Ganga Rivers

Ganga (also Ganges) and its tributaries like the Yamuna, Chambal, Kosi, and Damodar form the Ganges River System.

Brahmaputra Rivers

The Brahmaputra and its tributaries like the Tista, Subansiri, Tsang-Po, and Jamuna create the Brahmaputra River System.

Peninsular Rivers

The Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery, Narmada, and Tapi or Tapti are the major peninsular rivers.

The climate of India can be broadly categorized into the following groups:
  • Tropical dry climate
  • Tropical wet climate
  • Montane (mountainous climate)
  • Subtropical humid climate
Indian peninsular plateau encompasses a huge area and comprises the following regions:
  • The Punjab plain
  • The Assam Plain or Brahmaputra Plain
  • The Malwa Plateau
  • The Aravallis
  • The Deccan Plateau
There are also a number of mountain passes in India that help tourists travel in the hilly regions.

Administrative divisions of India

The administrative divisions of India are as follows:


  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Goa
  • Gujarat
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Jharkhand
  • Karnataka
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Manipur
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Orissa
  • Punjab
  • Rajasthan
  • Sikkim
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Tripura
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • West Bengal

Union Territories

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Chandigarh
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  • Daman and Diu
  • Lakshadweep
  • National Capital Territory of Delhi
  • Puducherry (Pondicherry)

Biodiversity of India

India is also famous for its unique biodiversity. There are a number of ecoregions in India. It is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. India is the natural habitat of reptiles, mammals, avian, fishes, and amphibians. Almost 1/3rd of the plant species in India are indigenous plants. The forests of India can be categorized into the following:
  • Tropical rainforest
  • Coniferous forest
  • Moist deciduous forest
  • Dry deciduous forest
  • Thorn forest
Some of the plants are used as herbs or for manufacturing medicines. India is recognized across the world for its diverse range of wildlife including indigenous species like Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Leaf Monkey. The Asiatic Lion, the Royal Bengal Tiger, and Indian White-Rumped Vulture are some of the animals that shape the diversity of Indian wildlife. In order to protect wildlife in India, the Government of India has established a number of protected areas and national parks. Project Tiger and Wildlife Protection Act are two important initiatives taken by the Indian Government to conserve wildlife. There are more than 13 biosphere reserves, 500 wildlife sanctuaries, and a number of wetlands that have been included into the list of Ramsar sites as per the Ramsar Convention.

Last Updated on 02 February 2011



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