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India, Geography, States and Union Territories part I

The Republic of India is more commonly known as India. It is a sovereign country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country in the world by geographical area, as well as the 2nd highest populated country, and the most populous liberal democracy in the world.

Surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of over 7000 kilometres. It borders Pakistan to the west; Nepal, China and Bhutan to the north-east; and Myanmar and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is near the Maldives, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Home to the Indus Valley civilization (c. 3300-1700 BC, flourished 2600-1900 BCE), as well as a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was associated with its commercial and cultural wealth for a lot of its long history.

4 major world religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism have their routes here. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism arrived in the first millennium CE and formed the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early 1700’s and colonised by Great Britain from the mid 1800’s, India changed into a modern nation-state in 1947, after a struggle for independence that was distinguished by widespread use of non-violent resistance as a means of
social protest.

With the world’s 12th largest economy by exchange rates and the 4th largest in buying power, India has made fast economic progress in the last 10 years. Although India’s standard of living is projected to ascend sharply in the next half-century, it currently battles high levels of poverty, persistent malnutrition, illiteracy and environmental degradation. A pluralistic, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic culture, India also boasts a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

India, Geography, States and Union Territories part 2

India, Geography, States and Union Territories part 2

Geography

India makes up the major portion of the Indian subcontinent, which sits on top the Indian Plate and the north-westerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate. India’s north and north-eastern states are to a degree located in the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, eastern and central India comprises of the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain. In the west, bordering south-eastern Pakistan, the Thar Desert is located. Southern India is almost entirely composed of the peninsular Deccan plateau, which has 2 hilly coastal ranges on either side, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats.

India has several major rivers, including the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Brahmaputra, the Godavari, the Narmada, the Kaveri and the Krishna. India has three archipelagos (a large group of islands) – Lakshadweep, which lies off the south-western coast; the Sunderbans in the Ganges Delta of West Bengal and the volcanic Andaman and Nicobar Island chain to the south-east.

The climate of India varies greatly – tropical in the south to more temperate in the Himalayan north, where higher regions receive continuous winter snowfall. India’s climate is heavily influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert. The Himalayas, together with the Hindu Kush Mountains, stop cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in. This keeps the greater portion of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The Thar Desert is accountable for attracting the moisture-laden summer monsoon winds that, between June and September, are responsible for most of India’s rainfall.

The Administrative Divisions of India

India is a union of 28 states and 7 federally governed union territories. All states, as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the union territory of Puducherry, have elected governments. The other 5 union territories have centrally designated administrators.

The States

1 – Andhra Pradesh
2 – Arunachal Pradesh
3 – Assam
4 – Bihar
5 – Chhattisgarh
6 – Goa
7 – Gujarat
8 – Haryana
9 – Himachal Pradesh
10 – Jammu and Kashmir
11 – Jharkhand
12 – Karnataka
13 – Kerala
14 – Madhya Pradesh
15 – Maharashtra
16 – Manipur
17 – Meghalaya
18 – Mizoram
19 – Nagaland
20 – Orissa
21 – Punjab
22 – Rajasthan
23 – Sikkim
24 – Tamil Nadu
25 – Tripura
26 – Uttar Pradesh
27 – Uttarakhand
28 – West Bengal

The Union Territories

1 – Andaman and Nicobar Islands
2 – Chandigarh
3 – Dadra and Nagar Haveli
4 – Daman and Diu
5 – Lakshadweep
6 – National Capital Territory of Delhi
7 – Puducherry

Both the states and union territories are subdivided into districts. In the larger states, districts are sometimes grouped together to form a division.

28 States, 29 languages!

RELATED LINKS:

India’s Amazing Diversity

India climate, when to travel and where not to travel part I

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel Part II

The Main Tourist Season

Sometime close to October the monsoon finishes for most of the country. This is when India receives most of its tourists – however, it is now too late to visit Ladakh. For this, May to October is the best period. During October and November it is generally neither too hot, nor too cold, although October can still be hot and/or humid in some areas.

Deep into the winter season, around mid-December to mid-January, Delhi and other northern cities can turn surprisingly cold, especially at night. In the far north it is freezing cold. In the far south the temperatures are comfortably warm over this time.

Festivals

It’s worth finding out the dates of particular festivals – you may be attracted or repelled by the chaos and over-pricedness of everything at these times. There are virtually no festivals during May and June. The wedding season is between November and March, when you’re likely to witness at least one lively procession through the streets.

Areas of Conflict

There are several Indian regions which are prone to occasional conflict. Jammu and Kashmir (as district from Ladakh) are subject to political violence and travellers should seek consular advice before entering any area bordering Pakistan in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab.

Consular advice should also be sought if considering to travel to Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur in northeast India. Militant groups operate sporadically in some rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa.

It is advisable to check out the following website for more information on this:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india

Following the death of Hizbul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Wani, there have been widespread violent protests in the Kashmir Valley since 9 July 2016, resulting in a number of deaths and serious casualties. Protests and demonstrations are ongoing across the valley. An indefinite curfew remains in place in Srinagar with continued military patrols in operation. All markets, shops, restaurants and tourist sites are closed, but hotels remain open. Mobile and internet telecommunications are suspended, all transport and local infrastructure have been severely disrupted by the protests.

Flight schedules are disrupted and travellers may need to provide proof of travel to access the route to the airport. The Amarnath Yatra which was suspended on 9 July 2016, re-opened on 12 July 2016. If you’re travelling in or through Srinagar you should remain vigilant, avoid protests or large gatherings, follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company and monitor the local media.

India – climate, when to travel and where not to travel part I