Where India on the world map. Map of India
Map of India with cities. Where India is on the world map. The main geographical facts about India - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
India Fact File
Official name Republic of India
Form of government Federal republic with two legislative bodies (Council of States and People's Assembly)
Capital New Delhi
Area 3,287,590 sq km (1,269,338 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 5.5 hours
Projected population 2015 1,230,484,000
Population density 318.1 persqkm (823.9 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 63.2
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 61.5
Official languages Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Sanskrit, English
Other languages Hindustani, about 700 indigenous languages
Literacy rate 92 %
Religions Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, ]ain 0.5%, other 0.4%
Ethnic groups Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25c Mongoloid and other 3 %
Currency Indian rupee
Economy Agriculture 63%, services 26%, industry 11 %
GNP per capita US$2,540
Tea pickers on a tea estate in the highlands of Sri Lanka (left page top). The facade of a Hindu temple in Sri Lanka (left page bottom). One of the many palm-fringed beaches in the Maldives (below).
Climate Tropical in south, temperate in north; monsoons June to September
Highest point Kanchenjunga 8,598 m (28,208 ft)
Map reference Pages 216-17, 218-19
India is the world's largest democracy, and one of the oldest and most successful in Asia. It is also the world's second most populous country, encompassing a great variety of peoples, several major religious groupings, and more than 700 languages. In the fifty plus years since it gained independence from Britain in 1947, India has on the whole managed humanely and responsibly where other countries in the region have become totalitarian, or succumbed to military rule.
There are, however, major conflicts— there have been three wars with neighboring Pakistan alone. The dispute with Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir remains unresolved. The caste system produces endemic injustice. Millions of its citizens live in desperate poverty. But Indians can change their government democratically by going to the polls, and the lot of most people has slowly but steadily improved. After a long period of state regulation of industry, significant barriers that hinder outside investment, and a maze of protectionist controls, the country is beginning to open its economy to the outside world. Population growth, however, at a rate of 1.44 percent on a base of more than a billion people, tends to cancel out much of the potential benefit from the nation's gains.
Physical features and land use
North to south, India can be divided into three main regions: the Himalayas and their foothills; the Indo-Gangetic Plain; and the Deccan Plateau. From the northernmost border, the heavily glaciated terrain of the Himalayas—the world's highest mountains—cover 15 percent of the total surface area. The name itself comes from the Nepalese him ("snows") and alya ("home of"), the mountains being revered as the home of the gods. They rise to elevations of over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) in the Ladakh and Karakoram ranges. The western highlands towards the Karakorams are harsh, dry, and inhabited only by small communities of herds-people. At lower altitudes alpine meadows are grazed by the sheep of migratory pastoralists who arrive in the summer with their flocks. Lower still, rice terraces and orchards are found in the Vale of Kashmir.
The eastern highlands of northern Assam are markedly different. They are much wetter— this is where rhododendrons and magnolias grow wild and where terraced hills support buckwheat, barley, and rice. The climate of the high plateau of Meghalaya, separated from the Himalayas by the valley of the Brahmaputra River, is damp and cool. On its southern flanks Cherrapunji has one of the world's highest rainfalls, averaging 10,798 mm (421.1 in) per year.
South of the northern mountains lie the terai or foothill plains; still further south the main plains region of India stretches from the western coastal lowlands, in a northern arc past the Thar
Desert and down the Gangetic Plain to the mouth of the Hooghly River on the Bay of Bengal. In the northwest—the Punjab and Haryana—farmers grow winter wheat, summer rice, cotton, and sugarcane, with sorghum in the drier areas. On the lowlands of the central part of Uttar Pradesh millet and sorghum are preferred to wheat and rice. Jute is cultivated where the Ganges enters the distributary system of the delta, while mangrove swamps line the marine margins of the delta itself.
The Thar Desert in the northwest contains a broad area of dunes in Rajasthan; southwest of this lie the cotton-growing lands of Gujarat, which includes the low peninsular plateau of Kathiawar between the Gulf of Khambhat and the Gulf of Khachchh, not far from the Pakistan border. The Vindya Range east of the Gulf of Khambhat separates the Indo-Gangetic Plain from peninsular India and the Deccan Plateau. This plateau contains some of the world's oldest rocks, large tracts being covered with later basalt flows. The western edge of the plateau is defined by the mountain chain of the Western Ghats. At the foot of these mountains lies a coastal plain with coconut groves, fishing villages, rice fields, and tapioca plantations. On the plateau itself the main crops are millet and pulses.
Of India's various civilizations, the earliest developed in the Indus Valley (c. 2600 вс) and in the Ganges Valley (c. 1500 вс). At this time the subcontinent was mainly peopled by ethnic Dravidians. It is thought that the Indus civilization succumbed to an invasion of Sanskrit-speaking Aryan peoples who introduced the caste system, a scheme of social division that is fundamental in Indian life. Another important early civilization was the Maurya, which under Ashoka, who reigned
Women washing clothes beside the Ganges in Varanasi (left page bottom left). Drying chilis in Rajasthan (left page bottom right). The Taj Mahal near Agra (top center). The severe poverty of innumerable people such as those here in the streets of Varanasi is one of the major problems in India (above).
from 273 to 232 вс, came to dominate the subcontinent. Later, a succession of Arab, Turkish, and Mongol influences led to the founding of the Mogul Empire in 1526, which under Akbar (1542-1605) was extended throughout most of northern India and part of the Deccan. It was during the time of Mogul rule that the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan.
The British effectively controlled India from 1805, introducing a civil service and a code of law during the nineteenth century which have profoundly shaped the nation since that time. With the advent of independence in 1947, the division between Hindus and Muslims resulted in the violent and tumultuous partition of the country into India and Pakistan. This first major division to split the country indicates that the most serious rifts within Indian society tend to be religious. In recent years the Sikhs of the Punjab have also been agitating for independence.
Once essentially rural, India's economy is now a mix of village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a variety of modern industries, and innumerable support services. During the 1980s economic growth allowed a marked increase in real per capita private consumption. Since 1991 production, trade, and investment reforms have provided new opportunities for Indian business and some 200 million middle-class consumers. Among the nation's strengths is a home market of some 900 million, along with a workforce that includes many who are highly skilled, including those trained in hightech areas such as computer programming.
The textile sector is highly efficient. There has been a massive rise in foreign investment as the country has been opened up to foreign competition. The downside of this situation includes a sizeable budget deficit along with high defense spending (including that for nuclear weapons) because of the continuing conflict with Pakistan. Other negative features include an absence of even elementary social services, poor roads, inadequate port facilities, and an antiquated telecommunications system.
states and capitals
Andhra Pradesh • Hyderabad Arunachal Pradesh • Itanagar Assam • Dispur Bihar • Patna Goa • Panaji Gujarat • Gandhinagar Haryana • Chandigarh Himachal Pradesh • Simla ]ammu and Kashmir • Srinagar (summer) Jammu (winter)
Karnataka • Bangalore Kerala • Trivandrum Madhya Pradesh • Bhopal Maharashtra • Mumbai (Bombay) Manipur • Imphal Meghalaya • Shillong Mizoram • Aizawi Nagaland • Kohima Orissa • Bhubaneswar Punjab • Chandigarh Rajastan • Jaipur Sikkim • Gangtok Tamil Nadu • Madras Tripura • Agartala Uttar Pradesh • Lucknow West Bengal • Calcutta
Andaman and Nicobar Islands • Port Blair
Chandigarh • Chandigarh
Dadra and Nagar Haveli • Silvassa
Daman and Diu • Daman
Delhi • Delhi
Lakshadweep • Kavaratti
Pondicherry • Pondicherry