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India or Bharat, in Hindi, is the world's largest democracy, and is home to the descendants of the world's oldest civilization, the Indus Valley civilization which is in fact situated in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It is a country showing many contrasting shades in every aspect of life. Right from snake charmers to farmers to high-tech engineers there is oppulence of variations. If in one part rice is staple diet than a few thousand miles away, it might be wheat bread. If there is desert in the west then the world's rainiest place lies in the east. The country has rich natural resources, a civilized history, and now acclimatizing to the growing technology. To know about this country for traveller, let us divide it into 5 regions and throw some insight about each region. If on one side we have snow clad mountains, to the other there is a hot desert and if on one side we have the mountain ranges then we have coastal plains too.
If one can look beyond the dirt, pollution and the poverty,one can find that it is a country of profound vibrations with centuries of austerities practiced, a thirst quencher for the spiritual seeker, the nature lover, and for those, who come here for a beautiful, yet, a unique experience.
First to the North, we have Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttaranchal which are at the foot of Himalayas. Known for scenic beauty, flowers, gardens, lakes, snow covered hill stations like Shimla (Simla), Kulu, Manali and Mussourie. There are plenty of oppotunities for snow games like skiing. Also river rafting, mountaineering, trekking are some other sports of interest. Apples, saffron (flower) and apricots are grown in this region.
Other Northern states are Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Rajasthan is mostly a desert and temperature running to 50 degrees Celsius during summer. Even to this day, camels are used for transportation. Jaipur, called the Pink city, Udaipur, Ajmer are places of interest. Jaipur is called the Pink City because a variety of Pink Stone is used for the Palaces constructed by the olden days Kings. Udaipur is called the City of Lakes. People are called Rajputs here.
Punjab is rich and fertile. Chandigarh, a well planned city with Nek Chand's Rose Garden and a park /sculptures made of broken porcelain/glass pieces are worth seeing. Mostly the people here are Sikhs. Amritsar, the Golden Temple is situated in this state which is a holy place to Sikhs like Mecca to Muslims.
Uttar Pradesh, though no longer a visitors paradise, is still Home to India's most seen tourist spot, the Taj Mahal'. Uttar Pradesh is also the heritage heartland of India, with many Hindu pilgrim spots.
Then we move on to the Western region of India, with major states like Gujarat. Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat...is a flourishing business centre with the people belonging to a very rich community. It is famous for textile industry. Dwaraka, is the place of Lord Krishna, Surat is the city of cloth manufacturing and Ship building makes this State very rich in resources. Perhaps these are the richest community in India.
Maharashtra the financial hub of India and is also famous for its film Industry in state capital Mumbai. Bollywood, Indian version of Hollywood is world's largest film Industry by number of movies made every year, many times more than Hollywood. It is popularly known as the Hollywood of India.
It is said that people who come to this city never return empty handed because Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, resides here. The beautiful Marine Drive is also called as the Queen's Necklace is worth seeing in the night when it is lit. There are many island caves near Mumbai. Elephanta caves are very famous in this regard. Konkan region in Maharashtra has got tremendous tourist potential. Ratnagiri district in this region has come on to the world map becuase of its Alphonso mango. Many beaches including religious places attracts many tourists all over the world to Konkan region.
Goa is a small state which was ruled by portugese until 1961 and so one can find their influence on every street of this state. Known for its beaches and churches, Goa , the name itself is a boost for tourism.
Then we move on to the Eastern part of India. We have many smaller states like Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. Most of these states are rich with tea plantations. Kolkata (Calcutta) in West Bengal, the capital is the first city where the British established their East India Company. Even to this day, we can see the buildings in British Style on many streets of Kolkata. Darjeeling, with its a century old narrow-gauge train is one of the main attraction hill stations. Then we have thick forests with rhinos, tigers and one will be surprised to find that the grass in these forests are more than 7 to 8 feet, almost covering vehicles on the move. Sikkim is a land of Buddhists with many monasteries while the other smaller states like Tripura, Mizoram have Christians. Manipur was called the "Switzerland of India" by Lord Irwin, a viceory of India in the 1920s. This small state has the largest freshwater lake in eastern India, called Loktak. And the world's endangered brow antlered deer plays in the world's only floating park Keibul Lamjao. The state is famous for the Ima Keithel or "Mothers' Market where more than 3, 000 women controls the daily market to sell vegetables, fruits, fish and other essential products. Two well tended Commonwealth War Graves Cemetries are located built in memory of soldiers fought in World War II.
Bihar (birthplace of Buddhism), Jharkhand and Orissa are other states in Eastern India. Puri in Orissa, is a holy place for Hindus with Lord Jagannath's temple, the Sun God temple and a vast stretch of beaches. Asia's largest lake called the Chilka lake is in Orissa where many birds migrate from other parts of the world.
Now the Central India. here, we find the Vindhya mountain range across three states comprising parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Vidharbh (North Eastern Part of Maharashtra).
Finally, to the Southern part comprising of the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Tamilnadu is famous for many stone sculptured temples. Karnataka is once again a land with greenery and a combination of Hindus, Muslims and Jains. Being the largest producer of Sandalwood, Mysore is called the city of sandalwood. Then we move on to Kerala, the land of coconuts, backwaters, beaches and ayurvedic centre for medical treatment and health spa.
Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra, also known as one of the twin city, the other being Secunderabad. This part of the country is dominated by Muslims who live in utter harmony with the Hindus. Hyderabad pearls are world famous. Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara is here and it is this temple which brings in the most revenue in comparison to any other place in India. It is actually the second richest religious organisation in the world after the Roman Catholic Church of Vatican.
There is too much to see in India to speak of in this brief introduction. In order to make the information more easily accessible, we have divided India into regions according to the 25 states of India. Check out the different states for the most interesting places and set out on a trip that gives you a touch of everything for the time being and be willing to accept your defeat: you’ll have to come back to India again and again to understand this beautiful country of vividity.
Diversity is the hallmark of southern India. Traditional palaces, gardens,temples and churches built over thousands of years will attract anyone.
KERALA, the south western lush green State of India is one of the 'must see destinations' of the World (National Geographic Magazine) and offers a variety of rich experiences to visitors. This totally literate state has high living standards comparable to several industrially developed nations. Beautiful tropical weather, abundant greenery, lavish back water cruises, house boats, excellent accommodation, rich sea food and traditionally hospitable people are unique experiences one would never forget. Infact without visiting Kerala your India trip will be incomplete. Besides it is a rejuvenating exercise for many. here you can feel the invigorating touch of authentic Ayurveda from the masters.