India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and has rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress during the last 65 years of its Independence. India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production and is now one of the top industrialized countries in the world. It covers an area of 3,287,590 square km. (1,269,346 square miles), extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
According to India’s size, its climate depends not only on the time of year, but also the location. In general, temperatures is cooler in the north, especially between September and March. The south is coolest between November and January. In June, winds and warm surface currents begin to move northwards and westwards, heading out of the Indian Ocean and into the Arabian Gulf. This creates a phenomenon known as the south-west monsoon, and it brings heavy rains to the west coast. Between October and December, a similar climatic pattern called the north-east monsoon appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. In addition to the two monsoons, there are two other seasons, spring and autumn.
India has seven major religions and many minor ones, six main ethnic groups. Religion is central to Indian culture, and its practice can be seen in virtually every aspect of life in the country. Hinduism is the dominant faith of India, serving about 80 percent of the population, 10 percent worship Islam, and 5 perscent are Sikhs and Christians; the rest (about 45 million) are Buddhists, Jains, Bahai, and more.
India’s history and culture is dynamic, spanning back to the beginning of human civilization. It begins with a mysterious culture along the Indus River and in farming communities in the southern lands of India. The history of India is punctuated by constant integration of migrating people with the diverse cultures that surround India.
With its population of over 1.2 billion citizens, India is the second most populous nation in the world. It is impossible to speak of any one Indian culture, although there are deep cultural continuities that tie its people together. English is the major language of trade and politics, but there are fourteen official languages in all. There are twenty-four languages that are spoken by a million people or more, and countless other dialects.
Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink un-bottled beverages or drink with ice. Do not eat fruits or vegetables unless they have been peeled or cooked. Avoid cooked foods that are no longer piping hot. Cooked foods that have been left at room temperature are particularly hazardous.
Avoid unpasteurized milk and any products that might have been made from unpasteurized milk, such as ice cream. Avoid food and beverages obtained from street vendors. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish. Some type of fish that may contain toxins include red snapper, grouper, amberjack, and sea bass. All travelers should bring along antibiotic and anti-diarrhea drug to be started promptly if significant diarrhea occurs.
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