World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Indian Subcontinent

India Travelling Guide
India Travelling Guide

General background: The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, goes back at least 5,000 years. Aryan tribes from the northwest invaded about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkish in 12th were followed by European traders beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU led to independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, massive overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic and religious strife, all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.

Area comparative: Slightly more than one-third the size of the US.

Climate: Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north.

Terrain: Upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north

Population: 1,045,845,226 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)

Religions: Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5% (2000)

Language: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindu is the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language.

Government type: Federal republic

Capital: New Delhi

Legal system: Based on English common law; limited judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: India's economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. About a quarter of the population is too poor to be able to afford an adequate diet. India's international payments position remained strong in 2001 with adequate foreign exchange reserves, and moderately depreciating nominal exchange rates. Growth in manufacturing output has slowed, and electricity shortages continue in many regions. India has large numbers of well-educated people skilled in English language; India is a major exporter of software services and software workers.

Communication/Telephone system: Mediocre service; local and long distance service provided throughout all regions of the country, with services primarily concentrated in the urban areas; major objective is to continue to expand and modernize long-distance network to keep pace with rapidly growing number of local subscriber lines; steady improvement is taking place with the recent admission of private and private-public investors, but, with telephone density at about two for each 100 persons and a waiting list of over 2 million, demand for main line telephone service will not be satisfied for a very long time.

Places of interest:

Travel tips: In light of the escalating dispute over Kashmir and the possibility of deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan, many governments are urging against travel to the Jammu and Kashmir regions. Travelers to India are urged to register with their embassy.