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India travel guide - Travel S helper


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India is a nation in South Asia. Its official name is the Republic of India. It is the seventh-largest nation in terms of land area, the second-largest in terms of population (with over 1.2 billion people), and the world’s most populous democracy. It is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the west by the Arabian Sea, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. It has land boundaries with Pakistan on the west, China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh on the east. India lies next to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean; furthermore, India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia. New Delhi serves as the capital of India; other major cities include Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata.

For most of its lengthy history, the Indian subcontinent has been associated with its economic and cultural richness as the home of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a location of historic trade routes and great empires. Four faiths developed here: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism; Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam came in the first century CE and influenced the region’s varied culture as well. From the early 18th century, India was gradually annexed and brought under the administration of the British East India Company, before being administered directly by the United Kingdom following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. India gained independence in 1947, following a struggle for independence marked by nonviolent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.

In 2015, India’s economy was the seventh biggest in the world in terms of nominal GDP and third largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). India became one of the fastest-growing global economies in 1991, after market-based economic reforms; it is classified as a newly industrialized nation. Nonetheless, it continues to suffer poverty, corruption, hunger, and insufficient public healthcare. As a nuclear weapons state and regional power, it possesses the world’s third biggest standing army and ranks sixth in terms of military spending. India is a federal republic with a parliamentary system, including 29 states and seven union territories. India is a multiethnic, pluralistic, and multilingual society. Additionally, it is home to a diverse range of species that thrives in a variety of protected environments.

Geography of India

With mountains, jungles, the desert and endless beaches, in India you can find it all one place. It borders in the north and northeast on the snow-covered Himalaya, the highest mountain range in the world. They not only protect the land from invaders, they also feed the perennial rivers Ganges, Yamuna (Jamuna) and Sindhu (Indo), on whose plains Indian civilization flourished. Although most of the Sindhu is now in Pakistan, three of its tributaries flow through the Punjab. The other Himalayan river, the Brahmaputra, flows northeast mainly through Assam.

South of Punjab lies the Aravalli Range, which divides Rajasthan into two parts. In the western side of Rajasthan is covered by the Thar Desert. The Vindhyas cross central India, especially Madhya Pradesh, and mark the beginning of the Deccan Plateau, which covers almost the entire southern peninsula.

The Deccan Plateau borders the western Ghats (called Sahyadri in Maharashtra) in the west and the eastern Ghats in the east. The plateau is drier than the plain, as the rivers that feed the region, such as Narmada, Godavari and Kaveri, dry up in summer. Northeast of the Deccan Plateau there was once a dense forest area that included the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, the eastern border of Maharashtra and the far north of Andhra Pradesh. This area is still forested, poor and populated by tribes. This forest served as a barrier to the invasion of South India.

India has a long coast. The west coast is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the east coast by the Bay of Bengal, two parts of the Indian Ocean.

Biodiversity in India

India is part of the Indomalaya Environmental Zone and contains three hotspots for biodiversity. It is one of the 17 countries listed in the megadiverse and is home to 8.6% of all mammals, 13.7% of all birds, 7.9% of all reptiles, 6% of all amphibians, 12.2% of all pools and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. About 21.2% of the country’s territory is covered by forests (crown density> 10%), of which 12.2% are medium to very dense forests (crown density> 40%). The endemism is high in plants with 33% and in ecoregions such as Shola forests. Their habitat extends from the Andaman rainforest, the western Ghats and Northeast India to the Himalayan coniferous forest. Between these extremes is the humid salty deciduous forest of East India; the dry teak deciduous tree in Central and South India; and the thorn forest dominated by the Babuls of the central Deccan and the western Ganges plain. Heilneem, which is widely used in medicinal herbs in rural India, is a key tree in India. The lush fig tree depicted on the Mohenjo Daro seals obscured Gautama Buddha when he sought enlightenment.

Many Indian species are descended from taxa native to Gondwana, from which the Indian plateau was separated more than 105 million years before the present. The subsequent movement of the Indian mainland and the collision with the Laurasian land mass led to a massive exchange of species. Volcanism and climate change 20 million years ago forced mass extinction. Mammals then reached India from Asia via two zoogeographical passes flanking the emerging Himalayas. Although 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians being endemic, there are only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds. Among them are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and the Western Ghats Beddome toad. India contains 172 endangered species designated by the IUCN, or 2.9% of endangered forms. These include the Asian lion, the Bengal tiger, the snow leopard and the Indian white-backed vulture, which have all but disappeared when cattle carcasses containing diclofenac were swallowed.

The omnipresent and ecologically devastating human intervention in recent decades has seriously endangered the Indian wildlife. In response to this, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, has been considerably expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and the Tiger Project to protect critical wildlife. The Forest Protection Act was passed in 1980 and amendments were added in 1988. India is home to over 500 game reserves and thirteen biosphere reserves, four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are 25 wetlands that are registered according to the Ramsar Convention.

Demographics of India

India is the second most populous country in the world, with 1,210,193,422 inhabitants listed in the preliminary 2011 census report. The population increased by 17.64% in the period 2001-2011 compared to a growth of 21.54% in the last decade (1991-2001). The human gender ratio is 940 women per 1,000 men according to the 2011 census. The average age at the 2001 census was 24.9 years. In the first census after colonialism, which was carried out in 1951, 361.1 million people were counted. The medical advances of the last 50 years and the increase in agricultural productivity brought about by the “Green Revolution” have led to rapid growth in the Indian population. India continues to face various public health problems.

Life expectancy in India is 68 years, with a life expectancy of 69.6 years for women and 67.3 years for men. There are about 50 doctors for every 100,000 Indians. The number of Indians living in urban areas increased by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001. In 2001, however, more than 70 % lived in rural areas. The degree of urbanization decreased from 27.81% in the 2001 census to 31.16% in the 2011 census. The slowdown in overall population growth is due to the sharp decline in the growth rate in rural areas. since 1991. According to the 2011 census, India has over 53 million urban agglomerations; including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad in descending order of population. The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% for women and 82.14% for men. The literacy gap between rural and urban areas, which was 21.2 % in 2001, declined to 16.1 % in 2011. The improvement in literacy rates in rural areas is twice as high as in urban areas. With 93.91 % literacy, Kerala has the highest literacy rate in the country, in contrast to the lowest rate in Bihar (63.82 %).

India has two large language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asian and Chinese-Tibetan language families. India has no national language. Hindi, which has the most speakers, is the official government language. There is widespread use of English in commercial and administrative circles and English has the status of a “subsidiary official language”. It is important in education, especially as a means of higher education. Each state and territory of the Union has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognizes 22 “programmed languages” in particular. The Constitution of India recognizes 212 programmed tribal groups, which together make up about 7.5% of the country’s population. The 2011 census revealed that Hinduism (79.8% of the population) is the largest religion in India, followed by Islam (14.23%). Other or no religions (5.97% of the population) are Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the Bahá’í Faith. India has the largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian and Baha’i population in the world and the third largest Muslim population and the largest Muslim population in a predominantly non-Muslim country.

Religion in India

Religion in India has been characterized by a variety of different religious beliefs and practices. The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of four of the most important world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. In the entire history of India, the religion has been a integral part of the country’s cultural life. Religious diversity and religious tolerance are defined in the country by laws and customs. The Indian constitution has declared the right to religious freedom to be a fundamental right.

The northwest of India was home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Indus Valley Civilization. Today India makes up about 90% of the Hindu population of the world. The majority of Hindu temples and shrines is located in India, as are the birthplaces of most of the Hindu saints. Allahabad is the site of the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, Kumbha Mela, where Hindus from all over the world gather at the confluence of India’s three sacred rivers: Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. Many aspects of Hindu philosophy have been popularized by the Indian diaspora in the Western world, such as yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic medicine, divination, karma and reincarnation. The impact of the Indian religious beliefs has also been significant around the world. Several Hindu organizations like the Hare Krishna movement, Brahma Kumaris, Ananda Marga and many others have spread Hindu spiritual beliefs and practices.

According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the Indian population practice Hinduism and 14.2% practice Islam, while the remaining 6% belong to other religions (Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islamism). ethnic origin). The Christianity represents the 3rd largest religion in India. Zoroastrianism and Judaism also have an ancient history in India and each has several thousand Indian followers. India has the largest population of people belonging to Zoroastrianism (i.e. Parsees and Iranians) and Bahá’í beliefs in the world, although these religions are not originally from India. . Several other world religions also have some relation to Indian spirituality, for example the Bahá’í Faith, which considers Buddha and Krishna to be the manifestations of the Almighty God.

India has the third largest Shiite population in the world and, as the birthplace of Ahmadiyya Islam, is one of the countries in the world with at least 1 million Ahmadi Muslims. The shrines of some of the most famous Sufi saints like Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya are located in India and attract visitors from all over the world. India has some of the most famous sights of Islamic architecture, most notably the Taj Mahal and the Qutb Minar. The civil affairs of the community are subject to Muslim personal rights and the constitutional amendments of 1985 have established its priority in family matters.

Economy of India

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy had a nominal value of USD 2.183 billion in 2015. In terms of market exchange rate, it is the seventh largest economy and the third in terms of purchasing power parity or PPP, at $8,027 billion. With an average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% for the last two decades and 6.1% for 2011-2012, India has become one of the fastest-growing economies of the world. However, India ranks as the 140th in the world for nominal GDP per capita as well as the 129th for PPP per capita. Until 1991, all Indian governments pursued protectionist policies influenced by the socialist economy. Widespread intervention and state regulation have largely isolated the economy from the outside world. A severe balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the country to liberalize its economy. Since then, it has slowly moved towards a free market system, with both foreign trade and direct investment flows being the main focus. India’s newest economy model is predominantly capitalist. Since 1 January 1995, India is a member of the WTO.

India’s labor force is the second largest in the world, with 486.6 million workers in 2011. India’s service sector represents 55.6% of GDP, while the industrial sector generates 26.3% and the agricultural sector 18.1%. India’s remittances in 2014 amounted to US$70 billion, the largest in the world, and contributed 25 million overseas Indian workers to the economy. The main agricultural products are rice, wheat, oilseeds, cotton, jute, tea, sugar cane and potatoes. The most important sectors of the Indian economy include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transportation, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery and software. In 2006, India’s percentage of foreign trade was 24% in comparison with 6% in 1985; in 2008, India’s percentage of world trade was 1.68%; in 2011, India was the 10th largest importer in the world as well as the 19th largest exporter. The main export goods include petroleum products, textiles, jewelry, software, technical products, chemicals and leather goods. Major imports include crude oil, machinery, precious stones, fertilizers and chemicals. Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemicals and technical products to total exports increased from 14% to 42%. India was the second largest exporter of textiles to the world after China in calendar year 2013.

With an average economic growth of 7.5% for several years before 2007, India more than doubled its hourly wages in the first decade of the 21st century. Around 431 million Indians have left poverty behind since 1985; India’s middle class is expected to reach around 580 million by 2030. Although India ranks 51st in global competitiveness, India ranks 17th for the sophistication of financial markets, 24th for banking, 44th for corporate sophistication and 39th for financial market sophistication. For innovation ahead of several advanced economies since 2010. With 7 of the top 15 IT outsourcing companies based in India, the country is considered the second cheapest outsourcing destination in 2009 after the US. India’s 11th largest consumer market is expected to be fifth in 2030.

As a result of growth, India’s nominal GDP per capita has risen steadily, from $329 in 1991 at the start of economic liberalization to $1,265 in 2010 and is expected to rise to $2,110 in 2016. However, it has remained lower than that of other developing countries in Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. However, it is superior to Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and others.

According to a 2011 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, India’s GDP could exceed that of the US in 2045 at purchasing power parity. Over the next four decades, India’s GDP is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 8%, which could make it a large economy that will grow by 2050. The report highlights the main drivers of growth: a rapidly growing young working-age population; growth in manufacturing due to increasing technical education and skills; and continued growth in the consumer market, led by a rapidly growing middle class. The World Bank warns that in order to realize its economic potential, India must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, lifting labour regulations, education and  energy, public health and nutrition.

In 2016, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) published a list of the 10 cheapest cities in the world, based on the cost of 160 products and services, including four in India: Bangalore (second), Mumbai (third), Chennai (second) 6th) and New Delhi (8th).

Things To Know Before Traveling To India

Touts in India

Smugglers are ubiquitous, as they are in many developing countries, and you should assume that anyone who tries to “proactively” help you has a hidden agenda to separate you from your money. However, in areas where there are few, if any, tourists, it is not at all uncommon for people to go out of their way to “proactively” help you when you approach, without expecting anything in return. During your travels in India, you will be inundated with touts trying to get you to buy something or visit certain establishments.

There are a variety of common scams, ranging from claiming your hotel is out of business (of course they will know of one that is open and has vacancies), to giving you false directions to a government rail ticket office (the directions will lead to your friend’s travel agency), to trying to get you to take diamonds back to your home country (the diamonds are worthless crystal), to getting you to take diamonds back to your home country (the diamonds are worthless crystal), to “poor students” who will offer you hours of sightseeing and then, out of pity, get you to buy textbooks for them (hugely overpriced by a bookshop they are connected to). There will also be more obvious touts who “know a very good place to eat” or want to sell you a chess set on the street.

In the face of such an attack, it is very easy to get into a siege mentality where the whole of India is against you and is out to squeeze you. Needless to say, such a mentality can affect any true appreciation of the country. Dealing with touts is very simple: assume that anyone who offers surprising information (such as “your hotel is closed”) is a tout. Never be afraid to get a second or third answer to a question. To get rid of a tug:

  • Ignore him completely and go about your business until he is gone. This may take quite a while, but patience is the key to dealing with India.
  • Tell him “NO”, very firmly and repeatedly.

It is also an advantage to have a steady Indian friend whom you can trust. If he shows you around, he will help you ward off such touts.

A basic strategy will help you:

  • Don’t let yourself be pressured, consider every problem and every joy as your experience, that’s why you are travelling. Isn’t it?
  • Hiring a qualified guide, if you can find a trustworthy one, will sort out most, almost all, problems.
  • If you still have questions or want to have a friendly chat with an Indian, find an Indian tourist or another pedestrian or passenger, but never accept unsolicited guidance or help that might turn out to be unpleasant. He/she may be able to help you if he/she knows English, but he/she probably knows less than you about the place you are visiting.

Price discrimination in India

Foreign visitors will quickly come across the special foreigner rates they are charged at some places in India. This applies to some tourist attractions. This may seem discriminatory and unfair to many visitors, but it is practised in most developing countries in Asia and Africa.

Some tourist attractions run by the Archaeological Survey of India have different tariffs for Indians and foreigners. These rates are clearly displayed at the entrance and ticket counters. The rates for foreigners can be five to ten times higher than those for Indians. Even if you book a hotel room or a plane ticket over the internet, paying in US dollars may be much more expensive. You can get an Indian friend to book in rupees and in most cases no one will ask you about it when you check in.

India – FAQ

How To Get in India

The main entry points are Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. The airports in these cities are either new or under construction.

How To Get Around in India

India is big and there are many interesting ways to travel, most of which can't exactly be described as efficient or punctual. Plan a considerable amount of buffer time for any trip with a fixed date (e.g. your return flight) and try to remember that getting there should be...

Visa & Passport Requirements for India

The rules and validity of the visa vary according to nationality. Check the website of the Indian embassy, consulate or high commission in your country, which you can find on this list.Nationals of Nepal and Bhutan may enter India without a visa and live there indefinitely.Depending on the purpose...

Destinations in India

Regions in IndiaIndia is administratively divided into 29 states and 7 union territories. The states are broadly demarcated along linguistic lines. They vary in size; the larger ones are bigger and more diverse than some countries in Europe. The union territories are smaller than the states - sometimes consisting...

Accommodation & Hotels in India

The choice varies greatly depending on your budget and location. Cheap travel hotels are plentiful in big cities, where you can get a room for less than ₹ 450. Rooms in guesthouses with a double bed (and often a bathroom) can be found in many tourist locations for ₹150-200....

Things To See in India

To see all the places worth seeing in India, even a 6-month visit is probably insufficient. There are more tourist destinations in India than can be mentioned in a full-length book, let alone in a summary. Almost every state in India has more than ten major tourist destinations, and...

Food & Drinks in India

Food in IndiaIndian cuisine takes its place among the great cuisines of the world. Chances are you have tasted "Indian food" in your country, especially if you are a traveller from the West, but what India has exported abroad is only part of its extraordinary range of culinary diversity.Indian...

Money & Shopping in India

Money in IndiaThe currency in India is the Indian rupee (sign: ₹; code: INR) (रुपया - rupaya in Hindi and similarly named in most Indian languages, but taka in Maithili and Taakaain Bengali and Toka in Assamese). The rupee is divided into 100 paise. 5 rupees 75 paise would...

Things To Do in India

Fairs and festivals in IndiaGoa Fair (Carnival). February heralds the carnival in Goa. The streets were buzzing with colour for 3 days and 3 nights. The week-long event, held in mid-February, is a time for lively parades, floats, guitar sounds, graceful dances and non-stop festivity. One of India's most...

Festivals & Events in India

There are three national holidays: Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2 October), which take place on the same day every year. There are also three major nationwide festivals with alternate dates to be observed:Diwali (Deepavali), Oct-Nov - The festival of lights celebrates the...

Traditions & Customs in India

Religion and rituals in IndiaAt the temples and mosques, you must take off your shoes.There are special areas where your footwear can be kept for a small fee or free of charge. It may also be customary to take off your shoes when entering houses, to follow the example...

Language & Phrasebook in India

There are 22 official languages in India at the federal level, which include: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri , Marathi, Nepali, Odia ,Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.There are also hundreds of other, less prominent languages such as Tulu, Bhojpuri...

Internet & Communications in India

Phone in IndiaThe country code for India is 91. India is then divided into area codes known locally as STD codes. See individual city guides for area codes.In acronym-happy India, a phone box is known as a PCO (Public Call Office) and they usually offer STD/ISD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing/International...

Culture Of India

Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years. During the Vedic period (ca. 1700 - 500 BC), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices that still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga and mokṣa, were established. India is characterised...

History Of India

The first humans are thought to have migrated to the Indian subcontinent around 70,000 BC, and there are several archaeological sites for Stone Age India. One important one is in Mehrgarh (Pakistan), with the oldest known evidence of agriculture on the subcontinent, around 7000 BC.The Indus Valley Civilisation (3300-1300...

Stay Safe & Healthy in India

Stay safe in IndiaAs a rule, India is quite safe for foreigners, apart from cases of petty crime and theft, which occur in any developing country, as long as certain basic precautions are observed (e.g. female travellers should avoid travelling alone at night). You can check with your embassy...

Weather & Climate in India

The rain in India only falls at a certain period of the year. The season and the phenomenon that causes it is called monsoon. There are two, the southwest and the northeast, both named after the direction of the wind. The monsoon in the southwest is the most important...



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