India is the largest democracy. The country has great contrasts. It has nuclear power and satellite communications network yet most of the people's lives has not change for century.
India is the seventh largest country by area. and only China has more than its 900 million people.
Its shape is a giant triangle jutting out into the Indian Ocean. Across the north are the Himalayas with some of the highest peak in the world. At the south of the Himalayas spreads across the country a broad and fertile land.
From Kashmir to the most southern tip, the cape Comoran, it is nearly 3000km.
There are many great rivers like the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and several tributaries such as the Indus, flow across the northern plain and add to India's most fertile land.
A huge plateau in the south called the Deccan runs from the Arabian Gulf to the Bay of Bengal.
Mountain areas in the north have a cool climate in summer and freezing temperatures in winter. The rest of northern India is very hot in summer. Temperatures can rich 48oC (120oF). The heat during the day is so intense people die of sunstroke. It last until the monsoon or the rainy season arrives.
Monsoons start on the cost in June and spreads across the north in July and August. In some parts this follows by a mild winter. but in the north. In Punjab and Bihar it can fall to freezing at night. The south and east has a humid climate for most of the year.
The Shillong plateau, just north of Bangladesh, is the second rainiest place in the world with 1.143cm (450 inches) a year. It is an important tea growing region.
LANGUAGES AND RELIGIONS
India has officially 16 languages and hundreds of locally spoken ones and over thousand dialects.
Children speak one language at home and become fluent in several more at school.
Hindi is the national language but many people in the south do not like to use it. English is often used at an official level.
The majority of Indians follow Hinduism. It is an ancient religion introduced by the Aryans nearly 3500 years ago. The river Ganges is sacred to Hindus, and many bathe in its waters at Varanasi.
There are also large numbers of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist.
The majority of Indians live in villages and most of them are very poor. They mostly work on the land but villages have a carpenter, shopkeeper and potter.
Wheat is the main crop in the northern plains while rice is mostly grown in the south. As well as rice, wheat. maize, millet and many other vegetables are grown there. India is one of the world largest producers of bananas, groundnuts, lentils, sugar cane, pepper, tea, coffee and cotton and jute for textiles.
India has the fourth largest railway network in the world with 62,000km of track. In some places it is still the only reliable transport since the roads are badly maintained. Most of the passenger trains are diesel and some electric.
There are still a great number of steam engines used and a joy to see for railway enthusiasts. They still run a incredible number of steam engines and all in immaculate conditions. Another remarkable point; they arrive dead on time even they have been travelling for 24 or even 48 hours. India has three class system. To travel in the first class is an absolute, enjoyable and affordable luxury.