2India Fact File Official symbols Geographical position History timelinePolitical structureSights and citiesFamous peopleNatural worldEntertainmentLinks
3Fact File Official Name: Republic of India, Bharat Form of Government: Federal republicCapital: New DelhiPopulation:1,095,351,995Official Languages: Hindi, English, 21 othersMoney: RupeeArea: 1,269,345 sq mi (3,287,590 sq km)Major Mountain Range: HimalayaMajor Rivers: Ganges, Yamuna, Indus, Brahmaputra
4Official SymbolsIndia's flag was adopted on July 22, 1947, after India became independent from Great Britain. Each colour represents something different:Saffron represents stands for courage and sacrificeWhite represents peace, unity and truth.Green stands for faith and fertility.The blue symbolizes the sky and the ocean.
5Geographical Position India is part of the continent of Asia. Most of India forms a peninsula, which means it is surrounded by water on three sides. The world's highest mountain range, the Himalaya, rises in the north. The southeast is bordered by the Bay of Bengal, and the southwest is bordered by the Arabian Sea.
6LandscapeIndia's terrain varies widely, from the Thar Desert in the west to jungles in the northeast. A fertile area called the Ganges Plain covers much of northern India. This formation was created from soil that was deposited by rivers running from the Himalaya. In some places, this layer of silt is over 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) deep.
7History Timeline2500 B.C.: The Indus Valley civilization develops around the valley of the Indus River (now in Pakistan). Its trade is based on crops grown on the fertile river plains. It reaches the height of its power and is larger than any other ancient empire, including that of Egypt.2000 B.C.: The Indus Valley civilization collapses, possibly due to severe floods or a change in the course of the Indus River.Around 1500 B.C.: The Aryan people, who come from the region between and including India and Europe, invade India from the north. They spread through the Indus Valley and down into the Ganges Valley.326 B.C.: Alexander the Great of Macedon (northeastern Greece) crosses the Indus River into India.A.D. 50: Trade flourishes between India and the Roman Empire. Romans eagerly buy Indian pearls, ivory, silk, spices, cloth and precious stones.: After centuries of being split into small kingdoms and republics, India is ruled by the Gupta Empire. Under the rule of the Gupta kings, Hinduism becomes the major religion of the empire. Literature, art, architecture and science flourish during this "classical age" of peace and prosperity.1526: The rule of the Mogul Empire begins, unifying much of south India with the north for the first time.
81600s: Eager to gain access to India's spices, rice, silk, tea and jewels, Holland, Great Britain and France establish key trading posts in India.1638: Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan begins construction of the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz.1858: The British overthrow the Moguls and take control of India.1915: After studying law in Britain and fighting for Indian rights in South Africa, Mohandas Gandhi launches a campaign of nonviolent resistance against British rule in India. Gandhi is called Mahatma, meaning "Great Soul."1947: India gains independence from the British and is divided into two countries, India and Muslim- controlled Pakistan.1948: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.1966: Indira Gandhi (not related to Mahatma) becomes Prime Minister and one of the first women elected to lead a nation.1983: India wins the cricket world cup.1998: India tests its first nuclear weapon, one of only seven nations to have done so.2000: India's population exceeds 1 billion.
9Political structureIndia's parliamentary government was inherited from the British. After independence in 1947, one party, the Congress Party, and one family, the Nehru family, dominated politics in India for decades. Now, however, many parties compete for elected positions.9
10EconomyIndia's economy is growing so fast that experts predict it will soon become one of the world's leading markets. Indians are hard workers. And though many are poorly educated, there are many others who are highly trained college graduates.
12AgraThe Taj Mahal in the city of Agra is perhaps India's most famous landmark. In 1638, Emperor Shah Jahan began building it as a marble tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. With precious gems and stones pressed into its walls, the Taj Mahal took 22,000 workmen 22 years to complete. It is known as the eighth wonder of the world.
13JodhpurThis famous city is located on the edge of India's Thar Desert. Jodhpur is known as the "blue city" because many of its houses are covered with a special bluish paint that is known to repel mosquitoes. Jodhpur's graceful palaces, forts and temples reflect its rich history as a 16th century trade center.
14KeralaFishermen in the port city of Cochin use large nets to catch shrimp and fish that live in shallow waters. Cochin is located in Kerala, a tropical region in India. For thousands of years, Arabs, Chinese, Europeans and other explorers from around the world have come here for its black pepper, cardamom and other spicy treasures.
15VaranasiFor over 2000 years, Varanasi has been the religious capital of India. Known as the "eternal city," it is built on the banks of the Ganges River, which Indians consider the holiest of rivers. Many of them come to the edge of the Ganges for a ritual bath, to offer blessings, sell flowers, have a swim and arrange boat trips.
16K2Also called Mount Godwin Austen, K2 is the world's second highest peak after Mount Everest. A section of it runs through India's northern tip as part of the Himalayan mountains. Many tribes and cultures have developed in the Himalayas, the highest and most rugged terrain in the world.
17Kanha National ParkAuthor Rudyard Kipling made Kanha the setting of his classic story The Jungle Book. It is one of India's largest and most remote national parks. Kanha's forests, wooded grasslands and rivers offer food and shelter to leopards, deer and, most famously, tigers.
18Rabindranath TagoreRabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright who reshaped Bengali literature and music. As author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in His poetry in translation was viewed as spiritual, and this together with his mesmerizing persona gave him a prophet-like aura in the west but his "elegant prose and magical poetry" still remains largely unknown outside the confines of Bengal.
19Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi He was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He started resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience. This concept helped India to gain independence, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 by a Hindu Nationalist.
20Mother TeresaMother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was a Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
21Indira GandhiIndira Priyadarshini Gandhi 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984), was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, a total of fifteen years. She is India's only female prime minister to date. She is the world's all time longest serving female Prime Minister.
22Amitabh BachchanAmitabh Bachchan, born Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan on 11 October 1942), is an Indian film actor and producer. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s as the "angry young man" of Bollywood cinema, and has since become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Indian cinema.
23Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (born 24 April 1973) is an Indian cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and One Day International cricket. He is the only male player to score a double century in the history of ODI cricket. In 2002, just 12 years into his career, Wisden ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Donald Bradman, and the second greatest one-day-international (ODI) batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards. In September 2007, the Australian leg spinner Shane Warne rated Tendulkar as the greatest player he has played with or against. Tendulkar was the only player of the current generation to be included in Bradman's Eleven. He is sometimes referred to as Little Master or Master Blaster. Tendulkar is taken as an inspiration not only by cricketers but also by different international sportsmen
24Aishwarya RaiAishwarya Rai Bachchan (née Aishwarya Rai, Tulu; born 1 November 1973) is an Indian actress and former Miss World. Before starting her acting career, she worked as a model and gained fame after winning the Miss World title in During her career, Rai has acted in over 40 movies in Hindi, English, Tamil and Bengali, which include a number of international productions.
25Natural WorldFor thousands of years, since the Hindu religion first evolved, respect for animal life has been an important part of Indians' beliefs. Cows in particular are sacred and cannot be harmed. They are even allowed to wander through city streets, which often causes traffic jams! India's varied climate zones support about 65,000 animal species, including elephants, pythons, river dolphins, and rhinos, and 12,000 types of flowering plant. It is the only country in the world with both lions and tigers. It's also a bird watcher's paradise.25
26Natural WorldOn the coast of the Bay of Bengal is the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. Here, tigers swim in the same rivers as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. This unique landscape is constantly under threat as sea levels rise and humans hunt illegally and clear trees for firewood. The Himalaya mountains provide a home for some of India's rarest animals and plants. The most elusive animal is the snow leopard. Bears and black buck live lower down, and in the northeast, the tiger and one-horned rhinoceros can be found.26
27People and CultureSociety throughout India is divided into social ranks, called castes. Caste is determined by birth and there is almost no way to change it. High castes include priests, landowners, and soldiers. So-called Untouchables have no caste and do the most menial jobs. India is a very spiritual country. It has no official religion, but more than 80 percent of Indians are Hindu. About 13 percent are Muslim. Other religions include Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, which all began in India.
28Costumes and ClothingIndian clothing is very colorful. Each state has its own special costumes, but there are several styles common throughout the country. Women traditionally wear the sari with a stitched blouse, a long skirt called a ghaghra, or loose pants and a tunic known as a salwar khameez. But women today, especially in cities, may also wear western styles such as skirts or dresses, blouses, and pants. Men have their traditional costumes as well, but most now wear a light shirt and pants just as in western countries.
29Festivals in IndiaIndia is a land of festivals and fairs. The most widely known and popular celebrations include the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Holi, and Dussehra. Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Onam in Kerala are harvest festivals celebrated by people belonging to all religions. The food of India is extremely diverse, as ingredients, spices and cooking methods all vary from region to region. Spicy food and sweets are popular in India. Rice and wheat (in bread forms) are the staple foods of India.
30Sport in IndiaField Hockey is the national Sport in India, in which the country has an impressive record with 8 Olympic gold medals. Other popular Sports are Football, Cricket, Tennis, Volleyball, and Badminton and many people make an emotional investment in their favourite Spectator Sports. Cricket is the most popular Sport in India. After the 1982 Asian Games hosted in New Delhi, India, the capital city now has modern sports facilities. Such facilities are also being developed in other parts of the country.