About India

General Info

India will sideswipe you with its size and diversity - but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth, and you'll quickly develop an abiding passion for it.

Nothing in the country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is a litmus test for many travellers - some are only too happy to leave, while others stay for a lifetime.

The country's glorious diversity means there's an astonishing array of sacred sites, from immaculately kept jain temples to weathered Buddhist stupas; there's history around every corner, with countless monuments, battle-scarred forts, abandoned cities and ancient ruins all having tales to tell; and there are beaches to satiate the most avid sun worshipper. On a personal level, however, India is going to be exactly what you make of it.

Full country name: Republic of India

Area: 3.28 million sq km

Population: 1 billion

Capital city: New Delhi

People: 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, 3% Others

Language: Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Telugu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kashmiri, Bengali, Tamil, English Religion: 80% hindu, 14% muslim, 2.4% christian, 2% sikh, 0.7% buddhist, 0.5% jains, 0.4% other

Government: Federal Republic

Head of state: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

GDP: US$2.2 trillion

GDP per capita: US$2,200

Annual growth: 5.4%

Inflation: 5.4%

Major industries: textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes, cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry, fish

Major trading partners: US, Hong Kong, UK, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Saudi Arabia

Member of EU: No

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