Visit India and you are sure to be amazed by its landscape ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to deserts, plains, rainforests, hills, and plateaus! With an area of 3.3 million Sq. Km it is the seventh largest country in the world. It consists of twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories. India is also the second largest populous country in the world, next only to China. Its population is around 1027 million (as per 2001 census). Around 16% of the world’s population lives in India. However, regarding area, India accounts for only 2.42% of the total world area.
The Indian peninsula is separated from mainland Asia by the Himalayas: the world's highest mountain chain. The highest point being K2 at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) followed by Kangchenjunga, at 8,598 m (28,209 ft).
The country's landmass is divided into four fairly clear regions:
It is bordered by Pakistan the north-west, China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Myanmar to the east and Bangladesh to the east of West Bengal. Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia are island nations to the south of India. Also surrounding the country is the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south.
India can be organized along the compass points:
North India, shaped like a throat and two lungs, is the country's largest region. It begins with the panhandle of Jammu and Kashmir, a dynamic area with terrain varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests near Sringar and Jammu. Falling south along the Indus river valley, the North becomes flatter and more hospitable, widening into the fertile plains of Punjab to the west and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh and the Ganges river valley to the East. Cramped between these two states is the capital city, Delhi. The southwestern extremity of the North is the large state of Rajastan, whose principal features are the Thar Desert and the stunning "pink city" of Jaipur. To the southeast is southern Uttar Pradesh and Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal.
West India contains the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh. The west coast extends from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, and it is lined with some of India's best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush, with rainforests reaching southward from Bombay all the way to into Goa. A long mountain chain, the Western Ghats, separates the verdant coast from the Vindya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland.
Home of the sacred Ganges River and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begins with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last gulp of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border.
India reaches its peninsular tip with South India, which begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Cape Comorin, where Hindus believe that bathing in the waters of the three oceans will wash away their sins. The states in South India are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, a favorite leisure destination. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range---the Eastern Ghats.
India, also popularly known as Bharat or Hindustan, offers big regional variations in its climate, from cool mountain pastures beside the glaciers, through windy plateau, to warm river valleys and burning deserts. This diversity in the climatic conditions throughout the country is also reflected in its rich flora and fauna.
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