Travels in India:

Ladakh - the "Little Tibet" (17 days)
Trekking in the Markha Valley

Quick Facts:


Official Name:

Republic of India


New Delhi


3,166,414* km²; 1,222,559 sq mi


India is home to two major linguistic families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%). Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country, and is the official language of India. English, which is widely used in business and administration, has the status of a 'subsidiary official language'.


Indian Rupee (INR)

Population figure:

2007 estimate: 1.12 billion


80.5% Hindu; 13.4% Muslim; 2.3% Christian; 1.9% Sikh

Government type:

Federal republic


The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization. It was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which laid the foundations of Hinduism. The empire built by the Maurya dynasty under Emperor Ashoka united most of South Asia in the third century BC. Following invasions from Central Asia between the tenth and twelfth centuries, much of north India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, and later the Mughal dynasty. From the sixteenth century, several European countries, including Portugal, Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders and later took advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company. During the first half of the twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and other political organisations, supported among others by Mahatma Gandhi. Finally, on 15 August 1947, India gained independence from British rule, but not before losing its Muslim-majority areas, which were carved out into the separate nation of Pakistan.

Geography / Climate

India's northern and north-eastern states are partially situated in the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central, and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain. In the west, bordering south-eastern Pakistan, lies the Thar Desert. Southern India is almost entirely composed of the peninsular Deccan plateau, which is flanked by two hilly coastal ranges.
The climate of India varies from tropical in the south to more temperate and even alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The Himalayas, along with the Hindu Kush mountains, prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in. This keeps the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The moisture-laden summer monsoon winds, between June and September, provide most of India's rainfall.

This article is partly based on a free article of the encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is subject to GNU-licence for free documentation. A list of authors is available on Wikipedia


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