India at a glance India is a large, triangular-shaped peninsular country located in South Asia, with the Himalayan Range in the North, Arabian Sea in the West, Indian Ocean in th South & Bay of Bengal in the East.It is bordered by Pakistan in the northwest region, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka is an island country located off its southern tip. India happens to be the seventh largest country in the world with a land area of approximately 3,287,000 sq km (1,281,930 sq m), though disputed borders with Pakistan and China render the figure arbitrary. The boundary separating India and Pakistan is known as the Line of Control,and the one separating India and China is known as the 'Line of Actual Control'. Diverse culture India, officially the Republic of India, is the second most populous country in the world.It is also known by its ancient name of Bharath. New Delhi is India's capital and Bombay (Mumbai) it one of its largest cities. India's ethnic composition is complex, but two major strains predominate: the Aryan, in the north, and the Dravidian, in the south. India is a land of great cultural diversity, as is evidenced by the enormous number of different languages spoken throughout the country. Although Hindi (spoken in the north) and English (the language of politics and commerce) are used officially, more than 1,500 languages and dialects are spoken in the country. Rich history The Indian constitution recognizes 15 regional languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Ten of the major states of India are generally organized along linguistic lines. With its long and rich history, India retains many outstanding archaeological landmarks; pre-eminent of these are the Buddhist remains at Sarnath, Sanchi, and Bodh Gaya; the cave temples at Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta; and the temple sites at Madurai, Thanjavur, Abu, Bhubaneswar, Konarak, and Mahabalipuram. Other aspects of Indian culture are Hindustani music; Indian art and architecture; Indian literature; Mughal art,Murals,Prakrit literature; Sanskrit literature and poetry,etc. Urban rural divide Economically, India often seems like two separate countries: village India, supported by primitive agriculture, where tens of millions—one fourth of the population—live below the poverty line; and urban India, one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world, with an increasingly middle-class population. Agriculture (about 55% of the land is arable) makes up some 25% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs almost 70% of the Indian people. Vast quantities of rice are grown wherever the land is level and water plentiful; other crops are wheat, pulses, sugarcane, jowar (sorghum), bajra (a cereal), and corn. Cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, and jute are the principal nonfood crops. There are large tea plantations in Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The opium poppy is also grown, both for the legal pharmaceutical market and the illegal drug trade; cannabis is produced as well. Constitution India is a federal state with a parliamentary form of government. It is governed under the 1949 constitution (effective since Jan.1950). The president of India is elected for a five-year term by the elected members of the federal and state parliaments. Theoretically the president possesses full executive power, but that power actually is exercised by the prime minister (head of the majority party in the federal parliament) and council of ministers (which includes the cabinet), who are appointed by the president. The ministers are responsible to the lower house of Parliament -Lok Sabha and must be members of Parliament. The upper house, Rajya Sabha consists of delegates chosen by the state. Heritage Robert Clive's defeat of the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey in 1757 traditionally marks the beginning of the British Empire in India,recognised in the Treaty of Paris of 1763. Warren Hastings, Clive's successor and the first governor-general of the country, did much to consolidate Clive's conquests. By 1818 the British controlled nearly all of India south of the Sutlej River and had reduced to vassalage their most powerful Indian enemies, the state of Mysore and the Marathas. India received her independence in the year 1947 on August 15th under the leadership of Mahathma Gandhi, who is known as the " Father of the Nation". Teeming with rich cultural heritage, architectural wonders and varied forms of art , India is a country which has mesmerized many a people from far and near for centuries. People and LifeStyle : Indians are greatly bound by religion and family. These ties run deep into the cultural framework of the nation. The ancient culture of South Asia, going back at least 4,500 years, has come down to India primarily in the form of religious texts. The artistic heritage, as well as intellectual and philosophical contributions, has always owed much too religious thought and symbolism. The listing of the major belief systems only scratches the surface of the remarkable diversity in Indian religious life. The complex doctrines and institutions of the great traditions, preserved through written documents, are divided into numerous schools of thought, sects, and paths of devotion. In many cases, these divisions stem from the teachings of great masters, who arise continually to lead bands of followers with a new revelation or path to salvation. The local interaction between great traditions and local forms of worship and belief, based on village, caste, tribal, and linguistic differences, creates a range of ritual forms and mythology that varies widely throughout the country. There are many diverse ethnic groups among the people of India. The 6 main ethnic groups are as follows. Negroitos . Proto - Australoids or Austrics . Mongoloids . Mediterranean or Dravidian . Western Brachycephals. Nordic Aryans . Negroitos/Brachycephalic: The people belong to Negroitos or the Brachycephalic are (broad headed) people from Africa were the earliest people have come to India. They have survived in their original habitat in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese and the Great Andamanese are few examples and some hill tribes like Irulas, Kodars, Paniyans and Kurumbas are found in some patches in Southern part of mainland India. Pro-Australoids/Austrics: Pro-Australoids/Austrics were the next group come to India after the Negritos and laid the foundation of Indian civilization. They cultivated rice and vegetables and made sugar from sugarcane. They are people with long headed with low foreheads and prominent eye ridges, noses with low and broad roots, thick jaws, large palates and teeth and small chins with wavy hair lavishly distributed all over their brown bodies, The Austrics of India represent a race of medium height, dark complexion with long heads and rather flat noses but otherwise of regular features. Miscegenation with the earlier Negroids may be the reason for the dark or black pigmentation of the skin and flat noses. Now these people are found in some parts of India, Myanmar and the islands of South East Asia. Their languages have survived in the Central and Eastern India. Mongoloids: These people are found in the North eastern part of India in the states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura. They are also found in Northern parts of west Bengal, Sikkim, and Ladakh. Generally they are people with yellow complexion, oblique eyes, high cheekbones, sparse hair and medium height. Dravidians: These are the people of South India having different sub-groups like the Paleo-Mediterranean, the true Mediterranean, and the Oriental Mediterranean. They have been believed to come before the Aryans. They appear to be people of the same stock as the peoples of Asia Minor and Crete and pre- Hellenic Aegean's of Greece. They are reputed to have built up the city civilization of the Indus valley, whose remains have been found at Mohenjo- daro and Harappa and other Indus cities. Western Bracycephals: These include the Alpinoids, Dinarics and Armenoids, The Parsis and Kodavas . They are the broad headed people living mainly on the western side of the country such as the Ganga Valley and the delta, parts of Kashmir, Kathiawar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Nordics/Indo-Aryans: This group was the last one to immigrate to India somewhere between 2000 and 1500 B.C. They are now mainly found in the northern and central part of India. Festivals and Feasts: India is a land of festivals and feasts. Every season brings along new festivals, each a true celebration of the bounties of the rich traditions followed for time immemorial. There are innumerable national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social festivities. This is not surprising considering the fact that India is the land of gods, goddesses, saints, gurus and prophets.