Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
— Seneca, 4 B.C. - 65 A.D.




The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually brought about independence in 1947. Communal violence led to the subcontinent's bloody partition, which resulted in the creation of two separate states, India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars since independence, the last of which in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 caused Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists allegedly originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fueling India's rise on the world stage. In January 2011, India assumed a nonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.


India (Hindi: भारत) is the largest country in the Indian Subcontinent and shares borders with Pakistan to the west, China and Nepal to the north, Bhutan to the north-east, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia lie to the south-east in the Indian Ocean. It is the seventh largest country in the world by area and, with over a billion people, is second only to China in population. It's an extremely diverse country, with vast differences in geography, climate, culture, language and ethnicity across its expanse, and prides itself on being the largest democracy on Earth.

Read more about India in our India travel guide »

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IndiaTrident, Bhubaneswar 

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Price (US$): $121 - $122 / night

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Location. Trident, Bhubaneswar is located in central Bhubaneshwar and local attractions include Orissa State Museum, Khandagiri Caves, and Bindu Sagar. Additional area points of interest include Muktesvara Temple and Rajarani Temple. Hotel Features. Trident, Bhubaneswar's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. This 5 star property has a business center and… more »

IndiaWellness By Nature Spa & Resort 

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Price (US$): $185 - $186 / night

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Location. Located in Bhatrojkhan, Wellness By Nature Spa & Resort is in the mountains.  more »

IndiaWaterstones Hotel 

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Price (US$): $177 - $292 / night

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Full name
Republic of India
New Delhi

Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan

Geographic coordinates

20 00 N, 77 00 E

Area comparative

slightly more than one-third the size of the US

Border countries

Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km


7,000 km


varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north


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

Lowest point

Indian Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Kanchenjunga 8,598 m

Natural resources

coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land


1,173,108,018 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

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


Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)


Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%

Government type

federal republic


15 August 1947 (from the UK)

National holiday

Republic Day, 26 January (1950)

Chief of state

President Pratibha Devisingh PATIL (since 25 July 2007); Vice President Mohammad Hamid ANSARI (since 11 August 2007)

Head of government

Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (since 22 May 2004)

Internet country code


Internet users

61.338 million (2009)


352 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Chennai, Jawaharal Nehru, Kandla, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Sikka, Vishakhapatnam

Other countries in the region