Discover India

India Tour India is 5000 years old civilization in the world with matchless diversity and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved phenomenal socio-economic growth during the last 62 years of independence. India is self-sufficient in agricultural production and ranks among top industrialized nations of the world.  It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan peaks 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. The Indian Ocean lies between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

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Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8° 4′ and 37° 6′ north, longitudes 68° 7′ and 97° 25′ east and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.

India at a Glance: Some Interesting Facts

  • India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
  • Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization) over 5000 years ago, when several cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers,
  • The name ‘India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers.
  • The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu. The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name ‘Hindustan’ combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus were originated in India.
  • The ‘Place Value System’ and the ‘Decimal System’ were developed in India in 100 B.C.
  • The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.
  • India is the largest democracy in the world, the 6th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
  • The 13th century poet saint Gyandev created the game of Snakes & Ladders. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat’. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices.
  • The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
  • India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
  • The largest employer in the world is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
  • The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
  • India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India’s wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
  • The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘NAVGATIH’. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nou’.
  • Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun was 365.258756484 days.
  • The Indian Mathematician Budhayana first calculated the value of “pi”, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.
  • Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world. (Source: Gemological Institute of America).
  • The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan Mountains. The Indian Army built it in August 1982.
  • Sushruta is regarded as the Father of Surgery. Over2600 years ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
  • Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient Indian medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology, digestion, metabolism, physiology, etiology, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
  • India exports software to 90 countries.
  • The four religions born in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
  • Jainism and Buddhism were founded in India in 600 B.C. and 500 B.C. respectively.
  • Islam is India’s and the world’s second largest religion.
  • There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.
  • The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
  • Jews and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D. respectively
  • The largest religious building in the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple in Cambodia built at the end of the 11th century.
  • The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (US) to the temple everyday.
  • Sikhism originated in the Holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. Famous for housing the Golden Temple, the city was founded in 1577.
  • Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called “the Ancient City” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
  • India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution.
  • His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharmashala in northern India.
  • Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
  • Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
  • India has the second largest pool of Scientists and Engineers in the World.
  • India is the largest English-speaking nation in the world.
  • India is the only country other than US and Japan, to have built a super computer indigenously.
  • Pentium chip was invented byVinod Dahm, an Indian.
  • Hotmail, world’s reputed web email program was created by Sabeer Bhatia, an Indian.

India National Symbols

The National Identity Elements of India are defined in national symbols. These symbols are intrinsic to the Indian identity and heritage. These national symbols infuse a sense of pride and patriotism in every Indian’s heart.

National Flag: The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel, which represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes. The Constituent Assembly of India adopted the design of the National Flag on 22 July 1947.

National Bird: The Indian peacock is the national bird of India. It is a colorful, swan-sized bird. The male of the species is more colorful than the female, with a glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green tail of around 200 elongated feathers. The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male and lacks the tail.

National Flower: Lotus is the National Flower of India. It is a sacred flower and auspicious symbol that occupies a unique position in the art, culture and mythology of ancient India since time immemorial.

 

National Tree: The banyan tree is a fig tree whose branches root themselves like new trees. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches. Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India.

National River: The  Ganges is the longest river of India flowing over 2,510 kms of mountains, valleys and plains. It originates in the snowfields of the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas as the Bhagirathi River. Other rivers such as the Alaknanda, Yamuna, Son, Gomti, Kosi and Ghagra later join it. The Ganga river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated areas of the world and covers an area of 1,000,000 sq. kms. There are two dams on the river – one at Haridwar and the other at Farakka. Hindus revere the Ganga as the most sacred river on earth. The important religious ceremonies are held on the banks of the river at cities such as Varanasi, Haridwar and Allahabad.

 

National Aquatic Animal: River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India. This mammal is also said to represent the purity of the holy Ganga as it can only survive in pure and fresh water.

The state emblem: It is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. In the original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the Capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

The words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.

 

National Animal: The magnificent tiger is a striped animal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India.

National Fruit: Mango, A fleshy fruit, eaten ripe or used green for pickles. The mango is one of the most important and widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world. Its juicy fruit is a rich source of Vitamins A, C and D. In India there are over 100 varieties of mangoes, in different sizes, shapes and colors. Mangoes have been cultivated in India from time immemorial.

National Game : India has conquered the podium when it comes to the game of Hockey. Our nation has an excellent record with eight Olympic gold medals. Indian hockey’s golden period was from 1928-56, when the Indian hockey team won six successive Olympic gold medals. Team also won the 1975 World Cup besides two more medals (silver and a bronze). The Indian Hockey Federation gained global affiliation in 1927 and joined the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

National Calendar: The national calendar based on the Saka Era, with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365 days was adopted from 22 March 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar. Dates of the national calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of the Gregorian calendar, 1 Chaitra falling on 22 March normally and on 21 March in leap year.

National Anthem: The National Anthem of India is played or sung on various occasions. The full version of the Anthem and its playing time is approximately 52 seconds. Whenever the Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention.

The National Anthem – Full Version

Poet: late Rabindra Nath Tagore. It reads as follows………….

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka,
jaya heBharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha
Dravida-Utkala-Banga
Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mange,
tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he,
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.Jaya he,
jaya he, jaya he, Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

The National Anthem – Short Version

A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the National Anthem is also played on certain occasions. Playing time of the short version is about 20 seconds. It reads as follows…………

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka
jaya heBharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

National Song: The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom. It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza:

Vande Mataram!Sujalam,
suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Vande Mataram! pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram!

The English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo is:

I bow to thee, Mother,richly-watered, richly-fruited, cool with the winds of the south, dark with the crops of the harvests, The Mother! Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight, her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom, sweet of laughter, sweet of speech, The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

Famous Quotes on India (by non-Indians)

Albert Einstein said: We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.

Mark Twain said: India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.

French scholar Romain Rolland said: If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.

Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA said: India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.