If one had to choose a single word to describe India, the word “exotic” would instantly spring to mind. The Indus Valley Civilization of ancient times was an integral part of all the historic trade routes and home to vast empires. In those times it seemed that everything of value either came from, or at least traveled through, India. It is a country of vastly different landscapes, religion, and people and in some ways remains as much of a mystery today as it did hundreds of years ago.
India, or the Republic of India, as it is officially known, is located in the southern part of Asia and by area is the world’s 7th largest country. It ranks 2nd in terms of population, with just above 1.2 billion people and the people are a large part of what makes India such a fascinating country. The Indian people can trace their roots to almost every corner of the globe and form one of the most complex and mysterious races in the world. The languages alone in India are varied and diverse, with 22 languages recognized officially and over 2000 different spoken dialects.
Religion plays a large part in Indian culture and no less than four of the world’s religions find their origins there. Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, can be traced to ancient India, whereas Christianity, Judaism, and Islam came later, but have still helped to shape the diverse culture of the region.
From the snowy Himalayas to the arid land of the Thar Desert, India’s geography is as diverse as its people. The climate of India is strongly influenced by both of these geographic landmarks and can be categorized into four predominant types climate: tropical dry, tropical wet, montane, and subtropical humid. The Himalayas help to keep the cold winds of Central Asia from blowing in, making the majority of India warmer than many other locations that are similarly placed in latitude. The Thar Desert, by contrast, attracts the moisture carrying southwest winds that bring the summer monsoons between June and October. These monsoon winds provide a large portion of India’s total rainfall each year.
From the culture to the geography, India is a land of diversities and mystery. From the grand opulence of the Taj Mahal to the poorest city streets, it is a land full of vibrant color and traditions that make one want to delve further into the mystery that is India.