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Facts about India

The name India essentially means people of Indus. India got its independence on 15 August 1947, after ending British rule that began in 1858. With independence, India was also separated from Pakistan. Later, East Pakistan or East Bengal became Bangladesh.

As of 2015, India comprised of 36 states and union territories. Its capital city is New Delhi, while the financial capital is Mumbai, with the other major cities being Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Chennai.

India has a total area of 3,287,250 square kilometers and is the seventh largest country in the world. India has a population of over 1.302 Billion [as of 1 December 2015], which is the second largest in the world. Although India occupies around 2.5 percent of the world's land mass, it supports about 17.4 percent of the world's population. Besides, more than 65% of the populace is below the age of 35, and 50% of the populace is below the age of 25. By 2020, it is projected that the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, and India's dependency ratio would be just over 0.4 by 2030.

India belongs to the Asian sub-continent, and is bordered by the countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Burma, Pakistan, and Nepal. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, and the Arabian Sea on the south-west. India is next to Maldives and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The highest mountain in India is Kanchenjunga, standing at 28,169 feet, and is the third highest mountain in the world.

Like all other tropics, India also has four seasons, that comprise of winter, summer, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. During the summers in most parts of India, temperatures can exceed 40 degrees centigrade during the day. The highest temperature recorded in India was 50.6 degrees centigrade in Alwar, Rajasthan, and the lowest was minus 45 degrees centigrade.

The longest river in the country is the Ganges followed by Brahmaputra. It covers most of the central, northern, and eastern India.

The four main religions in India are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. The nation also has many Parsee’s (Zoroastrians, Christians, and Muslims in addition to many smaller religions. However, India has more than two thousand ethnic groups.

Although a variety of languages are spoken in India, the main ones comprise of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

The national symbol of India is the endangered Bengal Tiger. It is also home to Indian lions, python, deer, wolves, bears, foxes, crocodiles, monkeys, wild dogs, snakes, and varieties of bison and the Asian elephant. Other well-known large Indian mammals include the rare wild Asian water buffalo, gaur, and several species of antelope and deer. Some members of the dog family, such as the Bengal fox, Indian wolf, and golden jackal, and the wild dogs are also widely found. The region's rich and diverse wildlife is preserved in over 120 national parks, 18 Bio-reserves and over 500 wildlife sanctuaries across the country.

Many travellers prefer to opt for vegetarian food while traveling through India. It is a wise decision, as a bit of dodgy meat may end up doing more harm than slightly undercooked vegetables. Besides, a lot many Indians are vegetarians, so there is an absolute wide range of vegetarian food available. However, in cosmopolitan cities, where meat eating is common, be sure to eat from good restaurants, and ensure that the meat is well cooked. Small pieces of advice, if in doubt, always eat at a place that is packed with local people. In addition, there are visitors who brag about how good the street food is. It is, in fact, there are many street joints that serve wonderful food, but be sure you are acclimatized with the local cuisine. Otherwise, you may just end up with a bad stomach. Fresh, tender coconut juice is extremely good as it boosts your electrolytes, stops dehydration, and also fills an empty stomach.

Although the national sport is hockey, and there are varieties of sports and games played in India, the most popular sport of all is cricket, with the Indian team winning the World Cup twice. Although India hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, it has never hosted the Olympic Games.

Television began in India in 1959, and was a state-run medium until the state monopoly ended in the 1990s. Today, industry estimates indicate that there are over 550 million TV consumers, 462 million with satellite and cable connections. There are over 355 million internet users India as of June 2015, with over 134 million social media users. The number of users is projected to cross 500 Million by 2018. India is larger than the US in terms of number of Internet users and the second largest after China as of June 2015. The mobile penetration of active internet users is around 220 Million.

The world's most-watched cinema is the Indian film industry. There are cinemas basically in every established regional language. However, it is the south Indian cinema industry that brings in over 75 percent of the national film revenue. There are many heritage sites and historical spots throughout India. They include the Taj Mahal, the Qutub Minar, Gol Gumbaz, Humayun’s Tomb, the Golden Temple, Red Fort and Sun Temple to name a few. There is also the Bodh Gaya, Hampi, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Khajuraho, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, to name a few of the heritage sites. These are all a must visit places in addition to hundred such spots throughout the country.

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