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Republic of India

Bhārat Gaṇarājya
Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
"Truth Alone Triumphs"
Anthem: "Jana Gana Mana"
"Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People"
National song
"Vande Mataram" (Sanskrit)
"I Bow to Thee, Mother"
Image of a globe centred on India, with India highlighted.
Area controlled by India shown in dark green; regions claimed but not controlled shown in light green
Capital New Delhi
28°36′50″N 77°12′30″E / 28.61389°N 77.20833°E / 28.61389; 77.20833
Largest city
Official languages
Recognised national languages None
Recognised regional languages
Native languages 447 languages
Religion
(2011)
  • 79.8% Hinduism
  • 14.2% Islam
  • 2.3% Christianity
  • 1.7% Sikhism
  • 0.7% Buddhism
  • 0.4% Jainism
  • 0.23% Unaffiliated
  • 0.65% Others
Demonym(s) Indian
Membership
Government Federal parliamentary constitutional republic
Ram Nath Kovind
Venkaiah Naidu
Narendra Modi
Legislature Parliament
Rajya Sabha
Lok Sabha
Independence 
• Dominion
15 August 1947
26 January 1950
Area
• Total
3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi) (7th)
• Water (%)
9.6
Population
• 2018 estimate
Neutral increase 1,352,642,280 (2nd)
• 2011 census
1,210,854,977 (2nd)
• Density
413.4/km2 (1,070.7/sq mi) (19th)
GDP (PPP) 2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $10.207 trillion (3rd)
• Per capita
Increase $7,333 (122nd)
GDP (nominal) 2021 estimate
• Total
Increase $3.050 trillion (6th)
• Per capita
Increase $2,191 (145th)
Gini (2011) 35.7
medium · 98th
HDI (2019) Increase 0.645
medium · 131st
Currency Indian rupee (₹) (INR)
Time zone UTC+05:30 (IST)
DST is not observed
Date format
  • dd-mm-yyyy
Mains electricity 230 V–50 Hz
Driving side left
Calling code +91
ISO 3166 code IN
Internet TLD .in (others)

India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is second largest country in population and seventh largest country by land area. It is also the most populous democracy in the world, bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It has seven neighbors: Pakistan in north-west, China, Nepal and Bhutan in north, Bangladesh an Myanmar in east and Sri Lanka in south.

The capital of India is New Delhi. India is a peninsula, bound by the Indian Ocean in the south, the Arabian Sea on the west and Bay of Bengal in the east. The coastline of India is of about 7,517 km (4,671 mi) long. India has the third largest military force in the world and is also a nuclear weapon state.

India's economy became the world's fastest growing in the G20 developing nations in the last quarter of 2014, replacing the People's Republic of China. India's literacy and wealth are also rising. According to New World Wealth, India is the seventh richest country in the world with a total individual wealth of $5.6 trillion. However, it still has many social and economic issues like poverty and corruption. India is a founding member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and has signed the Kyoto Protocol.

India has the fourth largest number of spoken languages per country in the world, only behind Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Nigeria. People of many different religions live there, including the five most popular world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity. The first three religions came from the Indian subcontinent along with Jainism.

History

Taj Mahal in March 2004
The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is thought to be of "outstanding universal value".

Two of the main classical languages of the world Tamil language and Sanskrit language were born in India. Both of these languages are more than 3000 years old. The country founded a religion called Hinduism, which most Indians still follow. Later, a king named Chandragupt Maurya built an empire called the Maurya Empire in 300 BC. It made most of South Asia into one whole country. From 180 BC, many other countries invaded India. Even later (100 BC  AD 1100), other Indian dynasties (empires) came, including the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pallavas, and Pandyas. Southern India at that time was famous for its science, art, and writing. The Cholas of Thanjavur were pioneers at war in the seas and invaded Malaya, Borneo, Cambodia. The influence of Cholas are still well noticeable in SE Asia.

Many dynasties ruled India around the year 1000. Some of these were the Mughal, Vijayanagara, and the Maratha empires. In the 1600s, European countries invaded India, and the British controlled most of India by 1856.

In the early 1900s, millions of people peacefully started to protest against British control. One of the people who led the freedom movement was Mahatma Gandhi, who only used peaceful tactics, including a way called "ahimsa", which means "non-violence". On 15 August 1947, India peacefully became free and independent from the British Empire. India's constitution was founded on 26 January 1950. Every year, on this day, Indians celebrate Republic Day. The first official leader (Prime Minister) of India was Jawaharlal Nehru.

After 1947, India had a socialist planned economy. It is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. It has fought many wars since independence from Britain, including the wars in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999 with Pakistan and in 1962 with China. It also fought a war to capture Goa, a Portuguese-built port and a city which was not a part of India until 1961. The Portuguese refused to give it to the country, and so India had to use force and the Portuguese were defeated. India has also done nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, and it is one of the few countries that has nuclear bombs. Since 1991, India has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Government

New Delhi government block 03-2016 img3
Parliament of India.

India is the largest democracy in the world.

India's government is divided into three parts: the Legislative (the one that makes the laws, the Parliament), the Executive (the government), and the Judiciary (the one that makes sure that the laws are obeyed, the supreme court).

The legislative branch is made up of the Parliament of India, which is in New Delhi, the capital of India. The Parliament of India is divided into two houses: the upper house, Rajya Sabha (Council of States); and the lower house, Lok Sabha (House of People). The Rajya Sabha has 250 members, and the Lok Sabha has 552 members.

The executive branch is made up of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers. The President of India is elected for a period of five years. The President can choose the Prime Minister, who has most of the power. The Council of Ministers, such as the Minister of Defence, help the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India on May 16, 2014. He is the 19th Prime Minister of India. The president has less power than the prime minister.

The judicial branch is made up of the courts of India, including the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of India is the head of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court members have the power to stop a law being passed by Parliament if they think that the law is illegal and contradicts (opposes) the Constitution of India. In India, there are also 24 High Courts.

Geography and climate

Indiarivers
Rivers of India

India is the seventh biggest country in the world. It is the main part of the Indian subcontinent. The countries next to India are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, and Nepal. It is also near Sri Lanka, an island country.

India is a peninsula, which means that it is surrounded on three sides by water. One of the seven wonders of the world is in Agra: the Taj Mahal. In the west is the Arabian Sea, in the south is the Indian Ocean, and in the east is the Bay of Bengal. The northern part of India has many mountains. The most famous mountain range in India is the Himalayas, which have some of the tallest mountains in the world. There are many rivers in India. The main rivers are the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, the Godavari, the Kaveri, the Narmada, and the Krishna.

India has different climates. In the South, the climate is mainly tropical, which means it can get very hot in summer and cool in winter. The northern part, though, has a cooler climate, called sub-tropical, and even alpine in mountainous regions. The Himalayas, in the alpine climate region, can get extremely cold. There is very heavy rainfall along the west coast and in the Eastern Himalayan foothills. The west, though, is drier. Because of some of the deserts of India, all of India gets rain for four months of the year. That time is called the monsoon. That is because the deserts attract water-filled winds from the Indian Ocean, which give rain when they come into India. When the monsoon rains come late or not so heavily, droughts (when the land dries out because there is less rain) are possible. Monsoons normally come around July - August.

Biodiversity

A 1909 map showing India's forests, bush and small wood, cultivated lands, steppe, and desert
A 2010 map shows India's forest cover averaged out for each state.

India is a megadiverse country, a term employed for 17 countries which display high biological diversity and contain many species exclusively indigenous, or endemic, to them. India is a habitat for 8.6% of all mammal species, 13.7% of bird species, 7.9% of reptile species, 6% of amphibian species, 12.2% of fish species, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. Fully a third of Indian plant species are endemic. India also contains four of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots, or regions that display significant habitat loss in the presence of high endemism.

India's forest cover is 701,673 km2 (270,917 sq mi), which is 21.35% of the country's total land area. It can be subdivided further into broad categories of canopy density, or the proportion of the area of a forest covered by its tree canopy. Very dense forest, whose canopy density is greater than 70%, occupies 2.61% of India's land area. It predominates in the tropical moist forest of the Andaman Islands, the Western Ghats, and Northeast India. Moderately dense forest, whose canopy density is between 40% and 70%, occupies 9.59% of India's land area. It predominates in the temperate coniferous forest of the Himalayas, the moist deciduous sal forest of eastern India, and the dry deciduous teak forest of central and southern India. Open forest, whose canopy density is between 10% and 40%, occupies 9.14% of India's land area, and predominates in the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan Plateau and the western Gangetic plain.

Among the Indian subcontinent's notable indigenous trees are the astringent Azadirachta indica, or neem, which is widely used in rural Indian herbal medicine, and the luxuriant Ficus religiosa, or peepul, which is displayed on the ancient seals of Mohenjo-daro, and under which the Buddha is recorded in the Pali canon to have sought enlightenment,

Panthera tigris tigris Tidoba 20150306
India has the majority of the world's wild tigers, nearly 3,000 in 2019,

Many Indian species have descended from those of Gondwana, the southern supercontinent from which India separated more than 100 million years ago. India's subsequent collision with Eurasia set off a mass exchange of species. However, volcanism and climatic changes later caused the extinction of many endemic Indian forms. Still later, mammals entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes flanking the Himalayas. This had the effect of lowering endemism among India's mammals, which stands at 12.6%, contrasting with 45.8% among reptiles and 55.8% among amphibians. Notable endemics are the vulnerable hooded leaf monkey and the threatened Beddom's toad of the Western Ghats.

A Chital (Axis axis) stag attempts to browse in the Nagarhole National Park in a region covered by a moderately dense forest.

, commonly known as the Indian banyan, or Indian fig, is indigenous to India, and is one of the largest trees by canopy coverage. It has aerial roots which form new trunks once they reach the ground and propagate.]]

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Clinotarsus curtipes-Aralam-2016-10-29-001
The vulnerable Malabar frog (Clinotarsus curtipes) is a species of frog endemic in the Western Ghats of India.

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Bank myna (Acridotheres ginginianus)
The bank myna is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent.

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North Sentinel Island
A NASA satellite image of North Sentinel Island, a part of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is covered by a very dense tropical moist forest.

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Vultures in the nest, Orchha, MP, India edit
Indian vultures, (Gyps indicus), in a nest on the tower of the Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh. The vulture became nearly extinct in India in the 1990s from having ingested the carrion of diclofenac-laced cattle.

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Pahalgam Valley
The Pahalgam valley in Jammu and Kashmir is covered with a temperate coniferous forest.

|7=

Axis axis (Nagarhole, 2010)
A Chital (Axis axis) stag attempts to browse in the Nagarhole National Park in a region covered by a moderately dense dry deciduous teak forest.

}}--> India contains 172 IUCN-designated threatened animal species, or 2.9% of endangered forms. These include the endangered Bengal tiger and the Ganges river dolphin. Critically endangered species include: the gharial, a crocodilian; the great Indian bustard; and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which has become nearly extinct by having ingested the carrion of diclofenac-treated cattle. The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was expanded substantially. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial wilderness; the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980 and amendments added in 1988. India hosts more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries and thirteen biosphere reserves, four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.

Defence

The Indian Armed Forces is the military of India. It is made up of an Army, Navy and Air Force. There are other parts like Paramilitary and Strategic Nuclear Command.

The President of India is the Commander-in-Chief. However, it is managed by the Ministry of Defence. In 2010, the Indian Armed Forces had 1.32 million active personnel. This makes it one of the largest militaries in the world.

The Indian Army is becoming more modern by buying and making new weapons. It is also building defenses against missiles of other countries. In 2011, India imported more weapons than any other nation in the world.

From its independence in 1947, India fought four wars with Pakistan and a war with China.

Indian states

For administration purposes, India has been divided into smaller pieces. Most of these pieces are called states, some are called union territories. States and union territories are different in the way they are represented. Most union territories are ruled by administrators sent by the central government. All the states, and the territories of Delhi, and Puducherry elect their local government themselves. In total, there are twenty-eight states, and nine union territories.

These are the states and territories of India, including 29 states and 7 union territories.

States:

States Capitals Code
Andhra Pradesh Amaravati AP
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar AR
Assam Dispur AS
Bihar Patna BR
Chhattisgarh Raipur CT
Goa Panaji GA
Gujarat Gandhi nagar GJ
Haryana Chandigarh HR
Himachal Pradesh Shimla HP
Jharkhand Ranchi JH
Karnataka Bangalore KA
Kerala Tiruvanananthapuram KL
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal MP
Maharashtra Mumbai MH
Manipur Imphal MN
Meghalaya Shillong ML
Mizoram Aizawl MZ
Nagaland Kohima NL
Odisha Bhubaneswar OD
Punjab Chandigarh PB
Rajasthan Jaipur RJ
Sikkim Gangtok SK
Tamil Nadu Chennai TN
Telangana Hyderabad TS
Tripura Agartala TR
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow UP
Uttarakhand Dehra Dun UA/UK
West Bengal Kolkata WB

Union territories:

Union territory Capital
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Port Blair
Chandigarh Chandigarh
Dadra and Nagar Haveli Silvassa
Daman and Diu Daman
Delhi Delhi
Ladakh Leh
Lakshadweep Kavaratti
Puducherry Puducherry
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar (summer capital) and Jammu (winter capital)

    Trouble with the borders

    There are disputes about certain parts of the Indian borders. Countries do not agree on where the borders are. Pakistan and China do not recognise the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government claims it as an Indian state. Similarly, the Republic of India does not recognise the Pakistani and Chinese parts of Kashmir.

    In 1914, British India and Tibet agreed on the McMahon Line, as part of the Simla Accord. In July 1914, China withdrew from the agreement. Indians and Tibetans see this line as the official border. China does not agree, and both mainland China and Taiwan do not recognize that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India. According to them, it is a part of South Tibet, which belongs to China.

    Economy

    The economy of the country is among the world's fastest growing. It is the 7th largest in the world with a nominal GDP of $2,250 billion (USD), and in terms of PPP, the economy is 3rd largest (worth $8.720 trillion USD). The growth rate is 8.25% for fiscal 2010. However, that is still $3678 (considering PPP) per person per year. India's economy is based mainly on:

    India's economy is diverse. Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment, and textiles.

    However, despite economic growth, India continues to suffer from poverty. 27.5% of the population was living in poverty in 2004–2005. In addition, 80.4% of the population live on less than USD $2 a day, which was lowered to 68% by 2009.

    People

    India population density map en
    This is a map of the population density of India.

    There are 1.21 billion people living in India. India is the second largest country by the number of people living in it, with China being the first. Experts think that by the year 2030, India will be the first. About 65% of Indians live in rural areas, or land set aside for farming. The largest cities in India are Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. India has 23 official languages. Altogether, 1,625 languages are spoken in India.

    Languages

    There are many different languages and cultures in India. The only geographical place with more different languages and cultures is the African continent. There are two main language families in India, the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages. About 69% of Indians speak an Indo-Arayan language, about 26% speak a Dravidian language. Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic group. Around 5% of the people speak a Tibeto-Burman language.

    Hindi is the official language in India with the largest number of speakers. It is the official language of the union. Native speakers of Hindi represent about 41% of the Indian population (2001 Indian census). English is also used, mostly for business and in the administration. It has the status of a 'subsidiary official language'. The constitution also recognises 21 other languages. Either many people speak those languages, or they have been recognised to be very important for Indian culture. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.

    In the south of India, many people speak Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. In the north, many people speak Chhattisgarhi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi, Odia, and Bihari.

    India has 27 official languages. Its constitution lists the name of the country in each of the languages. Hindi and English (listed in boldface) are the "official languages of the union" (Union meaning the Federal Government in Delhi); Tamil,Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Odia are officially the "classical languages of India."

    Language Long form English Pronunciation Short form
    Assamese ভাৰত গণৰাজ্য Bhārôt Gôṇôrājÿô ভাৰত Bharot
    Bengali ভারত গণরাজ্য Bʰārôt Gôṇôrājÿô ভারত Bharot
    Bhojpuri भोजपुरी Bʰārôt Gôṇôrājÿô ভারত Bharot
    Bodo
    Dogri
    English Republic of India India
    Gujarati ભારતીય પ્રજાસત્તાક Bhartiya Prajasattak ભારત.
    Hindi भारत गणराज्य Bhārat Gaṇarājya भारत Bhārat
    Kannada ಭಾರತ ಗಣರಾಜ್ಯ Bhārata Gaṇarājya ಭಾರತ Bhārata
    Kashmiri ہِندوستان Hindustān
    Konkani भारोत गोणराज भारोत
    Ladakhi ལ་དྭགས་སྐད་ Hindustān
    Lepcha ᰛᰩᰵᰛᰧᰵᰶ་ Hindustān
    Limbu ᤕᤠᤰᤌᤢᤱ ᤐᤠᤴ་ Hindustān
    Magahi ᤕमगही/मगधी Hindustān
    Maithili
    Malayalam ഭാരതം Bhāratam ഭാരതം Bhāratam
    Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei) ভারত গণরাজ্য ভারত
    Marathi भारतीय प्रजासत्ताक Bhartiya Prajasattak भारत Bhārat
    Nepali भारत गणराज्य Bʰārat Gaṇarādzya भारत Bʰārat
    Odia ଭାରତ Bharata Bharata
    Punjabi ਭਾਰਤ ਗਣਤੰਤਰ Bhārat Gantantar ਭਾਰਤ Bhārat
    Sanskrit भारत गणराज्यम् Bhārata Gaṇarājyam भारत Bhārata
    Santhali ᱥᱤᱧᱚᱛ ᱨᱮᱱᱟᱜ ᱟᱹᱯᱱᱟᱹᱛ ᱥᱤᱧᱚᱛ
    Sindhi ڀارت، هندستانڀارت، ڀارت،
    Tamil இந்தியக் குடியரசு Indiyak-Kudiyarasu இந்தியா India/Bharadham
    Telugu భారత గణరాజ్యము Bʰārata Gaṇa Rājyamu భారత్ Bhārath
    Urdu جمہوریہ بھارت Jumhūrīyat-e Bhārat بھارت Bhārat

    Culture

    Religion in India
    Religion Percent
    Hinduism
      
    79.80%
    Islam
      
    14.23%
    Christianity
      
    2.30%
    Sikhism
      
    1.72%
    Buddhism
      
    0.70%
    Jainism
      
    0.37%
    Others
      
    0.9%

    Cave paintings from the Stone Age are found across India. They show dances and rituals and suggest there was a prehistoric religion. During the Epic and Puranic periods, the earliest versions of the epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata were written from about 500–100 BCE, although these were orally transmitted for centuries before this period. Other South Asian Stone Age sites apart from Pakistan are in modern India, such as the Bhimbetka rock shelters in central Madhya Pradesh and the Kupgal petroglyphs of eastern Karnataka, contain rock art showing religious rites and evidence of possible ritualised music.

    Golden Temple India
    The Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple of the Sikhs.

    Several modern religions are linked to India, namely modern Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. All of these religions have different schools (ways of thinking) and traditions that are related. As a group they are called the Eastern religions. The Indian religions are similar to one another in many ways: The basic beliefs, the way worship is done and several religious practices are very similar. These similarities mainly come from the fact that these religions have a common history and common origins. They also influenced each other.

    The religion of Hinduism is the main faith followed by 79.80% of people in the Republic of India; Islam – 14.23%; Christianity – 2.30%; Sikhism – 1.72%; Buddhism – 0.70% and Jainism – 0.37%.

    It's the first time ever since independence that Hindu population percentage fell below 80%.

    Clothing

    Women in sari at an adult literacy class in Tamil Nadu; right: a man in dhoti, wearing a woollen shawl in Varanasi

    The most widely worn traditional dress in India, for both women and men, from ancient times until the advent of modern times, was draped. For women it eventually took the form of a sari, a single long piece of cloth, famously six yards long, and of width spanning the lower body. The sari is tied around the waist and knotted at one end, wrapped around the lower body, and then over the shoulder. In its more modern form, it has been used to cover the head, and sometimes the face, as a veil. It has been combined with an underskirt, or Indian petticoat, and tucked in the waist band for more secure fastening, It is also commonly worn with an Indian blouse, or choli, which serves as the primary upper-body garment, the sari's end—passing over the shoulder—serving to obscure the upper body's contours and to cover the midriff.

    For men, a similar but shorter length of cloth, the dhoti, has served as a lower-body garment. It too is tied around the waist and wrapped. In south India, it is usually wrapped around the lower body, the upper end tucked in the waistband, the lower left free. In addition, in northern India, it is also wrapped once around each leg before being brought up through the legs to be tucked in at the back. Other forms of traditional apparel that involve no stitching or tailoring are the chaddar (a shawl worn by both sexes to cover the upper body during colder weather, or a large veil worn by women for framing the head, or covering it) and the pagri (a turban or a scarf worn around the head as a part of a tradition, or to keep off the sun or the cold).

    From top left to bottom right (a) Women (from l. to r) churidars and kameez, with back to the camera; in jeans and sweater; in pink Shalwar kameez shopping; (b) girls in the Kashmir region in embroidered hijab; (c) a tailor in pagri and kameez working outside a fabric shop

    Until the beginning of the first millennium CE, the ordinary dress of people in India was entirely unstitched. The arrival of the Kushans from Central Asia, circa 48 CE, popularised cut and sewn garments in the style of Central Asian favoured by the elite in northern India. However, it was not until Muslim rule was established, first with the Delhi sultanate and then the Mughal Empire, that the range of stitched clothes in India grew and their use became significantly more widespread. Among the various garments gradually establishing themselves in northern India during medieval and early-modern times and now commonly worn are: the shalwars and pyjamas both forms of trousers, as well as the tunics kurta and kameez. In southern India, however, the traditional draped garments were to see much longer continuous use.

    Shalwars are atypically wide at the waist but narrow to a cuffed bottom. They are held up by a drawstring or elastic belt, which causes them to become pleated around the waist. The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias, in which case they are called churidars. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams are left open below the waist-line,), which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The kameez may have a European-style collar, a Mandarin-collar, or it may be collarless; in the latter case, its design as a women's garment is similar to a kurta. At first worn by Muslim women, the use of shalwar kameez gradually spread, making them a regional style, especially in the Punjab region.

    A kurta, which traces its roots to Central Asian nomadic tunics, has evolved stylistically in India as a garment for everyday wear as well as for formal occasions. It is traditionally made of cotton or silk; it is worn plain or with embroidered decoration, such as chikan; and it can be loose or tight in the torso, typically falling either just above or somewhere below the wearer's knees. The sleeves of a traditional kurta fall to the wrist without narrowing, the ends hemmed but not cuffed; the kurta can be worn by both men and women; it is traditionally collarless, though standing collars are increasingly popular; and it can be worn over ordinary pyjamas, loose shalwars, churidars, or less traditionally over jeans.

    In the last 50 years, fashions have changed a great deal in India. Increasingly, in urban settings in northern India, the sari is no longer the apparel of everyday wear, transformed instead into one for formal occasions. The traditional shalwar kameez is rarely worn by younger women, who favour churidars or jeans. The kurtas worn by young men usually fall to the shins and are seldom plain. In white-collar office settings, ubiquitous air conditioning allows men to wear sports jackets year-round. For weddings and formal occasions, men in the middle- and upper classes often wear bandgala, or short Nehru jackets, with pants, with the groom and his groomsmen sporting sherwanis and churidars. The dhoti, the once universal garment of Hindu India, the wearing of which in the homespun and handwoven form of khadi allowed Gandhi to bring Indian nationalism to the millions, is seldom seen in the cities, reduced now, with brocaded border, to the liturgical vestments of Hindu priests.

    Cuisine

    From top, left to right: (a) South Indian vegetarian thali, or platter; (b) an Assamese thali (c) Chicken biryani from Hyderabad, (d) Pork vindaloo from Goa, (e) Home-cooked lunch delivered to the office by the tiffin wallah; (f) Railway mutton curry from Odisha.

    Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other, using locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruit. Indian foodways have been influenced by religion, in particular Hindu cultural choices and traditions. They have been also shaped by Islamic rule, particularly that of the Mughals, by the arrival of the Portuguese on India's southwestern shores, and by British rule. These three influences are reflected, respectively, in the dishes of pilaf and biryani; the vindaloo; and the tiffin and the Railway mutton curry. Earlier, the Columbian exchange had brought the potato, the tomato, maize, peanuts, cashew nuts, pineapples, guavas, and most notably, chilli peppers, to India. Each became staples of use. In turn, the spice trade between India and Europe was a catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.

    The cereals grown in India, their choice, times, and regions of planting, correspond strongly to the timing of India's monsoons, and the variation across regions in their associated rainfall. In general, the broad division of cereal zones in India, as determined by their dependence on rain, was firmly in place before the arrival of artificial irrigation. Rice, which requires a lot of water, has been grown traditionally in regions of high rainfall in the northeast and the western coast, wheat in regions of moderate rainfall, like India's northern plains, and millet in regions of low rainfall, such as on the Deccan Plateau and in Rajasthan.

    The foundation of a typical Indian meal is a cereal cooked in plain fashion, and complemented with flavourful savoury dishes. The latter includes lentils, pulses and vegetables spiced commonly with ginger and garlic, but also more discerningly with a combination of spices that may include coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon and others as informed by culinary conventions. In an actual meal, this mental representation takes the form of a platter, or thali, with a central place for the cooked cereal, peripheral ones, often in small bowls, for the flavourful accompaniments, and the simultaneous, rather than piecemeal, ingestion of the two in each act of eating, whether by actual mixing—for example of rice and lentils—or in the folding of one—such as bread—around the other, such as cooked vegetables.

    A notable feature of Indian food is the existence of a number of distinctive vegetarian cuisines, each a feature of the geographical and cultural histories of its adherents. The appearance of ahimsa, or the avoidance of violence toward all forms of life in many religious orders early in Indian history, especially Upanishadic Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, is thought to have been a notable factor in the prevalence of vegetarianism among a segment of India's Hindu population, especially in southern India, Gujarat, and the Hindi-speaking belt of north-central India, as well as among Jains. Among these groups, strong discomfort is felt at thoughts of eating meat, and contributes to the low proportional consumption of meat to overall diet in India. Unlike China, which has increased its per capita meat consumption substantially in its years of increased economic growth, in India the strong dietary traditions have contributed to dairy, rather than meat, becoming the preferred form of animal protein consumption accompanying higher economic growth.

    In the last millennium, the most significant import of cooking techniques into India occurred during the Mughal Empire. The cultivation of rice had spread much earlier from India to Central and West Asia; however, it was during Mughal rule that dishes, such as the pilaf, developed in the interim during the Abbasid caliphate, and cooking techniques such as the marinating of meat in yogurt, spread into northern India from regions to its northwest. To the simple yogurt marinade of Persia, onions, garlic, almonds, and spices began to be added in India. Rice grown to the southwest of the Mughal capital, Agra, which had become famous in the Islamic world for its fine grain, was partially cooked and layered alternately with the sauteed meat, the pot sealed tightly, and slow cooked according to another Persian cooking technique, to produce what has today become the Indian biryani, a feature of festive dining in many parts of India. In food served in restaurants in urban north India, and internationally, the diversity of Indian food has been partially concealed by the dominance of Punjabi cuisine. This was caused in large part by an entrepreneurial response among people from the Punjab region who had been displaced by the 1947 partition of India, and had arrived in India as refugees. The identification of Indian cuisine with the tandoori chicken—cooked in the tandoor oven, which had traditionally been used for baking bread in the rural Punjab and the Delhi region, especially among Muslims, but which is originally from Central Asia—dates to this period.

    Technology

    India sent a spacecraft to Mars for the first time in 2014. That made it the third country and only Asian country to do so, successfully. India is the only country to be successful in its very first attempt to orbit Mars. It was called the Mars Orbiter Mission.

    ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single mission to create world record. India became the first nation in the world to have launched over a hundred satellites in one mission. That was more than the 2014 Russian record of 37 satellites in a single launch.

    Pop culture

    India has the largest movie industry in the world. Indian Tamil movies are poular globally, especially movies of "Super Star" Rajinikanth. Based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the industry is also known as Bollywood. It makes 1,000 movies a year, about twice as many as Hollywood. It produces movies almost everyday.

    Sports

    IPL T20 Chennai vs Kolkata
    A 2008 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match being played between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders
    See also: India at the 2020 Summer Olympics

    Indians have excelled in Hockey. They have also won eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the Olympic games. However, cricket is the most popular sport in India. The Indian cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. They shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka and won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.Cricket in India is controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI. Domestic tournaments are the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and the Challenger Series. There is also the Indian cricket league and Indian premier league Twenty20 competitions.

    Tennis has become popular due to the victories of the India Davis Cup team. Association football is also a popular sport in northeast India, West Bengal, Goa and Kerala. The Indian national football team has won the South Asian Football Federation Cup many times. Chess, which comes from India, is also becoming popular. This is with the increase in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played throughout India.

    National Symbols of India

    Emblem of India
    National emblem of India

    The National emblem of India shows four lions standing back-to-back. The lions symbolise power, pride, confidence, and courage (bravery). Only the government can use this emblem, according to the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005

    The name India comes from the Greek word, Indus. This came from the word sindhu, which in time turned into Hind or Hindi or Hindu. The preferred native name or endonym is "Bharat" in Hindi and other Indian languages as contrasted with names from outsiders. Some of the national symbols are:

    National anthem- jana gana mana

    National song- vande mataram

    National animal- royal bengal tiger

    National bird- peacock

    National flower- lotus

    National tree- banyan

    National river- ganges(ganga)

    National fruit- mango

    National heritage animal- elephant

    National heritage bird- Indian Eagle

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