Discovery Of India - Land And People


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  • NAME: Republic of India, Bharat Ganarajya LOCATION : Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan NEIGHBORS: Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka AREA: total: 3,287,263 sq km. 14 th largest country. Slightly more than one-third the size of the US. POPULATION: 1,166,079,217 (July 2009 est.). 2 nd only to China. RELIGIONS: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census). LANGUAGES: 17 major languages, 844 dialects. 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%.
  • India is 5 hours 30 minutes behind of GMT. That is add 5 hours 30 minutes to GMT to get Indian local time.
  • In the centre of the white band, there is a wheel in navy blue to indicate the Dharma Chakra, the wheel of law in the Sarnath Lion Capital. This center symbol or the 'CHAKRA',  is a Buddhist symbol dating back to 200th century BC. It has 24 spokes, which intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation. The saffron stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and truth; the green for faith and fertility. Interesting Facts - India's Flag Bhikhaji Rustom Cama was the first Indian to have raised an Indian flag on foreign soil and announced to the world our political flight with the British for the country's Independence. Madame Cama's flag had green on the top, golden saffron and red at the bottom. Eight lotuses, representing the eight provinces, were lined on the Indian flag. Vande Mataram was written in gold with the Crescent towards the hoist of the flag and the Sun on the other side.
  • The Indian National anthem, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas.  The lyrics were rendered into English by Tagore himself. Translation In English Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, Dispenser of India's destiny. The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha, Of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal; It echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas, Mingles in the music of the Yamuna and Ganga And is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea. They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise. The salvation of all people is in thy hand, Thou dispenser of India's destiny. Victory, victory, victory to thee. The Story Behind Translation Jana Gana Mana was translated, from Sanskrit to English, by Rabindranath Tagore and the music on this English Translation was set in Madanapalle, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. As to the story behind this translation, in 1918 Tagore was invited, by controversial Irish poet James H. Cousins, to spend a few days at the Besant Theosophical College (BTC). James was serving as the principal of the college, at that time. On February 28, while attending a gathering of students at BTC, Rabindranath sang the Jana Gana Mana in Bengali. Suddenly, he thought of translating the song in English. A few days later, in Madanapalle, Tagore wrote down the English translation of the song. Cousins' wife, Margaret, who was an expert in Western music, set down the music for this English version. The framed original English translation is still displayed in the library of Besant Theosophical College in Madanapalle.
  • Bankim Chandra composed the song  Vande Mataram  in an inspired moment,  Rabindranath sang it by setting a glorious tune to it and it was left to the genius of Shri Aurobindo Ghosh to interpret the deeper meaning of the song out of which India received the philosophy of new Nationalism. Composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterji in Sanskrit, the song Vande Mataram was primarily conceived to serve as a motivation to the people in their freedom struggle. Though it was penned down in 1876, the first publication emerged in the year 1882 in 'Anandamatha' amidst doubts of a ban by the British Raj. Sharing an equal status with Jana-gana-mana (National Anthem of India), the song was first sung in the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. Vande Mataram served as a voice against British rule during the freedom struggle. Initially, people with patriotic fervor flocked the streets of Calcutta and other metropolis, shouting the slogan 'Vande Mataram' or 'Hail to the Mother (land)!' Terrified by the impending danger, British banned the expression of song and imprisoned freedom fighters, who disobeyed the command. Vande Mataram initially served as the National Anthem of India, but later Jana-gana-mana was adopted as the anthem of independent India. This was because the Muslim sect in India felt that the song was biased, as it depicted the nation as 'Ma Durga', a Hindu Goddess. Though Vande Mataram aptly illustrated the pre-independence national zeal and passion, it was espoused as the National Song of India. In the following lines, we have provided the wordings of the National Song of India and its English translation. English Translation Mother, I bow to thee! Rich with thy hurrying streams, bright with orchard gleams, Cool with thy winds of delight, Dark fields waving Mother of might, Mother free. Glory of moonlight dreams, Over thy branches and lordly streams, Clad in thy blossoming trees, Mother, giver of ease Laughing low and sweet! Mother I kiss thy feet, Speaker sweet and low! Mother, to thee I bow. Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands And seventy million voices roar Thy dreadful name from shore to shore? With many strengths who art mighty and stored, To thee I call Mother and Lord! Though who savest, arise and save! To her I cry who ever her foeman drove Back from plain and Sea And shook herself free. Thou art wisdom, thou art law, Thou art heart, our soul, our breath Though art love divine, the awe In our hearts that conquers death. Thine the strength that nervs the arm, Thine the beauty, thine the charm. Every image made divine In our temples is but thine. Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen, With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen, Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned, And the Muse a hundred-toned, Pure and perfect without peer, Mother lend thine ear, Rich with thy hurrying streams, Bright with thy orchard gleems, Dark of hue O candid-fair In thy soul, with jeweled hair And thy glorious smile divine, Loveliest of all earthly lands, Showering wealth from well-stored hands! Mother, mother mine! Mother sweet, I bow to thee, Mother great and free!
  • The National emblem is a symbol of contemporary India's reaffirmation of its commitment to world peace and goodwill. The National Emblem of India is a replica of the Lion of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh State. The Lion Capital was erected in the 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Lord Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation. It is symbolic of India's reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill. In the original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on a 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). In the state emblem adopted by the Government of India on 26 January 1950, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The wheel appears in relief in the center of the abacus with a bull on the right and a horse on the left and the outlines of the other wheels on extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted.  The four lions (one hidden from view) - symbolizing power, courage and confidence - rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals - guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, the horse of the south and the bull of the west. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. The motto 'Satyameva Jayate' inscribed below the emblem in Devanagari script means 'truth alone triumphs'
  • The rupee ( Hindi : रुपया ) ( code : INR ) is the currency of India . The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India . The most commonly used symbols for the rupee are Rs. and रू . On 5 March 2009 the Indian Government announced a contest to create a symbol for the Rupee. The modern rupee is subdivided into 100 paise (singular paisa ). In most parts of India, the rupee is known as the rupee, rupaya ( Hindi ), roopayi in Telugu ( రూపాయి ) and Kannada ( ರೂಪಾಯಿ ), rubai in Tamil ( ரூபாய் ), roopa in Malayalam ( രൂപ ), rupaye in Marathi ( रुपये ) or one of the other terms derived from the Sanskrit rupyakam [2] ( Devanagari : रूप्यकं ), raupya meaning silver; rupyakam meaning (coin) of silver. However, in West Bengal , Tripura , Orissa , and Assam , the Indian rupee is officially known by names derived from the Sanskrit Tanka . Thus, the rupee is called টাকা Taka in Bengali , টকা tôka in Assamese , and Tôngka in Oriya . On every banknote of Indian currency - the Rupees - the denomination is printed in 15 languages, out of the 20 official languages of India. India was one of the earliest issuers of coins (circa 6th century BC). The first "rupee" is believed to have been introduced by Sher Shah Suri (1486-1545), based on a ratio of 40 copper pieces (paisa) per rupee. Among the earliest issues of paper rupees were those by the Bank of Hindustan (1770-1832), the General Bank of Bengal and Bihar (1773-75, established by Warren Hastings ) and the Bengal Bank (1784-91), amongst others. During British rule, and the first decade of independence, 1 damidi(pie)=0.520833paise 1 kani(pice) =1.5625paise 1 paraka =3.125paise 1 anna =6.25paise 1 beda =12.5paise 1 pavala =25paise 1 artharupee =50paise 1 rupee =100paise Until 1815, the Madras Presidency also issued a currency based on the fanam , with 12 fanams equal to the rupee. Historically, the rupee, derived from the Sanskrit word raupya, which means silver , was a silver coin. This had severe consequences in the nineteenth century, when the strongest economies in the world were on the gold standard . The discovery of vast quantities of silver in the U.S. and various European colonies resulted in a decline in the relative value of silver to gold. Suddenly the standard currency of India could not buy as much from the outside world. This event was known as "the fall of the rupee." India was not affected by the imperial order-in-council of 1825 that attempted to introduce the British sterling coinage to the British colonies. British India at that time was controlled by the British East India Company . The silver rupee continued as the currency of India throughout the entire period of the British raj and beyond. In the year 1835, British India set itself firmly upon a mono-metallic silver standard based on the rupee . His decision was influenced by a letter, written in the year 1805, by Lord Liverpool that extoled the virtues of mono-metallism. Following the Indian mutiny in 1857, the British government took direct control of British India . Since 1851, gold sovereigns were being produced in large numbers at the Royal Mint branch in Sydney , New South Wales . In the year 1864 in an attempt to make the British gold sovereign become the 'imperial coin', the treasuries in Bombay and Calcutta were instructed to receive gold sovereigns . These gold sovereigns however never left the vaults. As was realized in the previous decade in Canada , and the next year in Hong Kong , existing habits are not easy to replace. And just as the British government had finally given up any hopes of replacing the rupee in India with the pound sterling , they simultaneously realized, and for the same reasons, that they couldn't easily replace the silver dollar in the Straits Settlements with the Indian rupee , as had been the desire of the British East India Company . Since the great silver crisis of 1873, a growing number of nations had been adopting the gold standard. In 1898, British India officially adopted the gold exchange standard by pegging the rupee to the British pound sterling at a fixed value of 1 shilling 4 pence (i.e., 15 rupees = 1 pound). In 1920, the actual silver value of the rupee was increased in value to 2 shillings (10 rupees = 1 pound). Interestingly in British East Africa at this time, the decision was made to replace the rupee with a florin . No such opportunity was, however, taken in British India . In 1927, the peg was once more reduced, this time to 1 shilling 6 pence (13⅓ rupees = 1 pound). This peg was maintained until 1966, when the rupee was devalued and pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 7.5 rupees = 1 dollar (at the time, the rupee became equal to 11.4 British pence). This peg lasted until the U.S. dollar devalued in 1971. The Indian rupee replaced the Danish Indian rupee in 1845, the French Indian rupee in 1954 and the Portuguese Indian escudo in 1961. Following independence in 1947, the Indian rupee replaced all the currencies of the previously autonomous states. Some of these states had issued rupees equal to those issued by the British (such as the Travancore rupee ). Other currencies included the Hyderabad rupee and the Kutch kori . In 1957, decimalisation occurred and the rupee was divided into 100 naye paise (Hindi for "new paise"). In 1964, the initial "naye" was dropped. Many still refer to 25, 50 and 75 paise as 4, 8 and 12 annas respectively, not unlike the usage of " bit " in American English for ⅛ dollar.
  • Tiger is scientifically known as Panthera tigris. It is a member of the Felidae family and the largest of the four ‘big cats’ of the Panthera genus. On an average, a tiger is about 13 feet in length and 150 kilograms in weight. The pattern of dark vertical stripes that overlay near-white to reddish-orange fur is the distinct recognition of a tiger. By nature, the tiger is a keen predator and carnivore. The Panthera tigris is a native of the eastern and southern Asia. Known as Lord of Jungles due to its grace, agility, power and endurance, Tiger is also the national animal of India. Choice of Tiger as National Animal Tiger was chosen as the National animal of India due to its grace, strength, agility and enormous power. As the tiger is also considered as the king of Jungle, it was an obvious choice for the National Animal category. Since time immemorial, the tiger has been considered as a Royal Animal. Often, The Tiger as the National Animal of India symbolizes the power, strength, elegance, alertness, intelligence and endurance of the nation. Tough, muscular, majestic tigers roam about the Sunderbans of Bengal "burning bright in the darkness of the night." The natives of the forest worship the tiger as the deity that gives them honey and wax. The Sunderbans are their main habitat for their thick forests of Sunder trees. They feed on fish, cattle and sometimes human beings. The man-eaters are the most dreaded of all wild beasts. It is a common belief that a tiger does not harm anyone who has offered prayers to him. Tigers are fast runners, excellent swimmers and their eyesight is strong. Declining Population of Tiger There is a steep fall in the population of tigers in the world. Due to illegal smuggling of Tiger Skin and other body parts, there are very few tigers left in the world today. According to the World Census of Tigers, there are only 5000 -7000 tigers in the world today. Out of which, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar claim to have a population of 3000 to 4500 and India alone claims to have a population of 2500 to 3750. In India, out of the eight known races of the Panthera Tigris species, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region. Project Tiger in India Due to the extreme threat of extinction of the tiger species from the country, the Indian Government launched Project Tiger in 1973. Project tiger was focused to preserve the remaining tiger population in the country and increase the breeding of the species so that new population could be added to the existing one. Under this Project, 23 tiger reserves were established throughout the country, covering an area of 33,406 sq. km for providing safe and comfortable shelter to the tigers in the natural environment. By 1993, there was much improvement in the tiger population in the country. However despite the increase in population, the population of tigers in the country is still not satisfactory compared to the effort and money put in the project. This is due to the illegal poaching of the tigers and negligence of authorities towards the alarming situation of the tiger population in the country.
  • Peacock is a large and majestic bird. It has got a long and beautiful tail. Both the peacock and the hen have crest. But the crest of hen is smaller in size. The main body of the cock is mottled brown in color. Especially, the metallic green color found on the lower neck is very attractive. Though peacocks are beautiful looking birds their calls are loud and coarse. They move in-groups and they are normally spotted in the forests, villages and nearby fields. They are shy in nature. It feeds on lizards, snakes, grains and insects. The hen lays a maximum of five eggs, which are in pale cream color. The significance of peacock is attached to cultures of India, Far East, Ancient Persia, Greek and Christian. In Hinduism, the image of the god of thunder, rains and war, Indra, was depicted in the form of a peacock. In south India, peacock is considered as a 'vahana' or vehicle of lord Muruga. The figure of peacock is painted in various Islamic religious buildings. In Christianity, the peacock was also known as the symbol of the 'Resurrection'. In India people believe that whenever the cock spread its tails in an ornamental fashion, it indicates that rain is imminent. In a way it is partly true. At the sight of dark clouds the bird outspreads its tail and starts dancing in rhythmic fashion. Most of the folklore including Bharatha Natyam has got special dancing poses for the peacock dance.
  • Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) declared as the national aquatic animal of India on 5.10.2009. Dolphin represents the rivers pureness. Ganga and Brahmaputra have about 2,000 dolphins left from tens of thousand of them about a century ago. The dolphins in Ganga River are called as ‘Susu’. The Dolphins in Brahmaputra River are called as ‘Hihu’. Dolphins are normally in 8’ length, and weigh around 100 kgs. The average life span of Dolphins is 35 years. Small fishes and Prawns are their food.
  • Among the various flowers of Indian sub-continent, the flower Lotus is regarded with divinity and grace. Often, Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi are associated with the flower lotus. Even Lord Siva, who wanted to escape the wrath of the Lord Saneeswaran, morphed himself into the shape of a bee and took asylum inside a lotus. Buddhists regard this flower as a sacred one. Lotus symbolizes purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, wealth, richness, knowledge and serenity. They are found in white and pink colors in general and they grow in shallow and murky waters. Some blue colored flowers are also sighted. These flowers enjoy a warm sunlight and intolerant to cold weather. Hence they cannot be seen blossoming in the winter. The floating leaves and flowers have long stems, which contains air spaces to maintain buoyancy. The plant is having various uniqueness attached to it. Though the large leaves of the plant are floating on the surface of the water, even a drop of water is not accommodated on top of the leaves. Perhaps, they are teaching the human beings, to lead a life of non-attachment and avoid the worldly pleasures. Depending upon the level of water in the tank, the stems will rise. In this fashion, it is guiding the human beings to rise upto the situation leading to a genuine elevation in their lives. As the world famous 'Thirukural' says,        "Vellathanayathu malar neetam manthartham        ullath thanyathu ouyarvu" signifying, in relation with the water level of a tank, the stem will rise. In the same way, depending upon their ambitions and thoughts, human beings can elevate themselves in their life. In Indian religious epics, references of lotus are made, in relation with eyes and feet of divine persona. For instance "Kamala Kannan" referring Lord Krishna with the contextual meaning, a person having eyes with the color of the pink lotus. Also, it is coupled with the feet of deities. "Kamala Patham" means lotus feet implying the feet of the god. "Charan Kamala Patham" implying, submit oneself in totality, at the lotus feet of the god. --------------------------- Lotus, botanically known as the Nelumbo Nucifera is the national flower of India. The Lotus plant is basically an aquatic plant with wide floating leaves and bright aromatic flowers which grow only in shallow waters. The Lotus plant has floating leaves and flowers. It has long aerated stems. The lotus flowers are extremely beautiful with an overlapping proportional motif of petals. It is considered to be a sacred flower and occupies unique position in the art and mythology of ancient India. This flower has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture since time immemorial. Choice of Lotus As National Flower The Lotus Flower symbolizes divinity, fertility, wealth, knowledge and enlightenment. It is also regarded as a symbol of triumph as it can survive to regerminate for thousands of years. Lotus represents long life, honor, and good fortune. Untouched by the impurity despite growing in mud, the flower is also meant to symbolize the purity of heart and mind. It holds additional significance for Hindus, as it is regarded as the symbol of many Gods and Goddesses and is often used in religious practices. It was because of these noble meanings and cultural significance that made the founding fathers of modern India enshrine the lotus in the Constitution as the National Flower. Cultural Significance of Lotus From ancient times the lotus has been considered to be a sacred symbol in Asian traditions representing sexual purity. It is also regarded as the symbol of purity and divinity by several religions. Hindus relate it to their Almighty, Vishnu, Brahma, Lakshmi and Sarasvati who are often depicted sitting upon this pious flower. As Lotus also stands as the symbol of divine beauty, it is used as a symbol to describe the beauty of Lord Vishnu by referring him as the 'Lotus-Eyed One'. In the Hindu Mythology, the unfolding petals of Lotus signify the expansion of the soul. As the Lotus carries piousness despite growing from the mud, it is said to represent a caring spiritual promise. The Buddhists consider the Lotus Flower to be sacred and auspicious as the flower stands for faithfulness in their religion. The lotus plant has also been cited as a sacred flower extensively in the ancient Puranic and Vedic literature. Lotus Trivia Apart from India, Lotus is also the national flower of Vietnam. In Egypt the Lotus Flowers are considered to auspicious because they are regarded as the symbol of Sun God. Lotus seeds are medicinal in nature and are used for the treatment of kidney, spleen, and heart ailments. They are also considered beneficial in the treatment of Leucorrhea, palpitation and insomnia. Lotus seeds are also used as antidotes in mushroom poisoning. The seeds, leaves and tubers of the Lotus Flower are edible.
  • THE BANYAN TREE-Called the Indian fig tree( Ficus bengalensis ) grow over a large area. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches. Because of this characteristic & longevity, the Banyan tree  is considered immortal & sacred and is an integral part of the myths and legends in India. Even today, the banyan tree is the focal point of village life and the village council meetings under the shade of this huge shade-giving  tree. ------------------ The national tree of India, banyan is a very huge structure, long and deep roots and branches symbolize the country's unity. One can find banyan trees in throughout the nation. The huge sized tree acts as a shield, protects from hot sun. This is the reason why the tree is planted near homes, temples, villages and roadsides. In the rural parts of the country, banyan tree is considered as the focal point of the Panchayats and the gathering place for village councils and meetings. The tree is also considered sacred by the Hindus of India. With high medicinal value, banyan is often used as a herb to treat and cure many diseases. Given below is the description of banyan, the national tree of India. Importance In The Indian Culture The tradition of worshipping 'sacred' trees is prevalent among the people following Hinduism, since ages. Rig Veda and Atharva Veda stipulate that trees should be worshipped, for their inevitable role in human life. Banyan is considered one among the sacred trees. In the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is sometimes depicted sitting in silence, under the banyan tree, with the saints sitting at His feet. With its seemingly unending expansion, the banyan tree symbolizes eternal life. In Hindu culture, the tree is often called 'kalpavriksha', a Sanskrit word, which means 'a divine tree that fulfills wishes'. Married Hindu women worship the banyan tree to lead a long and happy married life. Features Banyan tree is characterized by a tangle of branches, roots and trunks. The tree is deeply rooted, which may spread across several acres. It is huge in size, thereby giving protection from hot sun. The tree bears fruits that look like figs. The fruits, which appear red in color when matured, are not edible. The dark green leaves of the tree are large and leathery. This is the reason why, the leaves are used as animal fodder. The flowers produced by the tree often attract wasps, for pollination. An old banyan tree can reach more than 656 feet in diameter and can be as tall as 98 feet. The rubber, produced from the sticky milk of banyan tree, is used for gardening. Trivia The name 'banyan' is derived from Banias, who rested under the trees to discuss their strategies regarding business. The widest tree in the world - the Great Banyan - is located in Kolkata. The tree is about 250 years old. Historical records say that Alexander the Great camped under a banyan tree that was large enough to provide shelter to his army of 7000 men. In many parts of the world, the wood and bark of the banyan tree are used for making paper. People even make use of the roots of the tree to make ropes, in order to secure wood bundles. The sap produced by banyan tree is often used to produce shellac, a strong adhesive. It can also be used to make surface-finisher. Women in Nepal crush the root of the banyan tree with a paste to make a herbal product, which is used by them as a hair and skin conditioner. In India and Pakistan, the twigs of banyan tree are sold as toothpicks in order to promote dental health. Banyan tree is well known for its medicinal uses. Its sap is a medicine for treating external skin inflammations and bruising, dysentery, toothaches and ulcers. Its bark and seeds are used to produce a herbal tonic that can cool the body. Diabetic patients are also treated by the tonic made from banyan tree.
  • The fruit Mango,of the tree Mangifera indica, is one of the most widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world. This juicy, delicious fruit is a rich source of Vitamins A, C and D. In India there are hundreds of varieties of mangoes, in different sizes, shapes and colours etc. Mangoes, have been cultivated in India since time immemorial. The famous Indian poet Kalidasa sang its praises. King Alexander relished its taste, as did the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang. Akbar, the Moghal emperor planted over 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhi Bagh(India). ------------------ Mango, cultivated in India since times immemorial, is regarded as the National Fruit of the country. Described as the "Food of the Gods", in the sacred Vedas, the fruit is grown almost in all parts of India, except the hilly areas, but is mainly available in the summer season only. There are more than 100 varieties of mangos in India, in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes. The common names used in context of the fruit are, Mangot, Manga, and Mangou. The eact origin of the term 'mango' is not known. It is believed to have come from the Portuguese term 'manga', which is probably from Malayalam 'manga'. Mango finds a mentioned in the Indian history as well. In fact, the famous poet Kalidasa is known to have sung its praises. Apart from that, ancient Greek King Alexander the Great and Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang have been said to have savored its taste. Historical records also mention the instance of Mughal Kinf Akbar planting 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, known as Lakhibagh. Mangos, liked for their sweet juice and bright colors all around the world, are known to be rich in vitamin A, C, and D.
  • The Saka calendar used as the official civil calendar in the country is the National Calendar of India. It is used in India besides the Gregorian calendar by the Gazette of India, news broadcasts by All India Radio, calendars and communication document issued by control of Government of India. The Saka calendar, often referred as the Hindu calendar is originally named as Saka Samvat. It is also used for the calculation days of religious significance in the Hindu Religion in the country. You will always find a Saka calendar alongside a Gregorian Calender in an Indian Home. Formation of Saka Calendar In the Indian civil calendar, the initial period is the Saka Era. The Calendar is said to have begun with King Salivahana's accession to the throne. It is used as a reference for most astronomical works in Sanskrit literature written after 500 AD. The calculation of ‘thitis’ i.e. dates in this Calendar are done in accordance with the actual positions of Sun and Moon in the universe. In the Saka calendar, the year 2009 AD is 1932. Adoption of Saka Calendar as National Calendar The current national calendar of India i.e. the Saka Calendar was adopted as the National Calendar in 1957 by the Calendar Reform Committee which also made efforts to coincide the astronomical data and harmonize the usage of this calendar after rectification of some local errors. It came into usage from March 22, 1957 according to the Gregorian calendar which was actually Saka Era, Chaitra 1, 1879 according to the Saka Samvat. It was adopted as the National calendar in order to synchronize the usage of 30 different kinds of Calendar used in India at that time. An Overview of the Saka Calendar Saka Calendar is said to have begun from the vernal equinox of A.D. 79. The usage of the Calendar began from aka Era 1879, Chaitra 1, which corresponds to A.D. 1957 March 22. The Saka Calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar on the terms that even the Saka calendar has a normal year of 365 days and a leap year has 366 days. In a leap year, an intercalary day is added to the end of Chaitra month of the year. There are 12 months in Saka Calendar which are named as Vaisakha ,Jyestha ,Asadha ,Sravana, Bhadrapada, Asvina , Kartika Margasirsa , Pausa , Magh, Phalgura ,Chaitra.
  • 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 (External website that opens in a new window) gained global affiliation in 1927 and joined the International Hockey Federation (FIH) (External website that opens in a new window) . Thus began the history of Indian Hockey Federation as India entered the Olympics to begin its golden saga. The tour was a huge success with India winning 18 out of the 21 matches and the legendary Dhyan Chand was the cynosure of all the eyes scoring over 100 goals of the 192 Indian accounted for. The match began in Amsterdam in 1928 and India went on a winning spree in Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936 and thus bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the Olympics. Post Indian Independence; the Indian team achieved another hat-trick of gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, 1952 Helsinki Games and the Melbourne Olympics. During the Golden Era, India played 24 Olympic matches, won all 24, scored 178 goals (at an average of 7.43 goals per match) and conceded only 7 goals. The two other gold medals for India came in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
  • India has three major geographic regions: the Himalayas , along its northern border; the Indo- Gangetic Plain , formed by the alluvial deposits of three great river systems, including the Ganges (Ganga); and the southern region, noted for the Deccan plateau.
  • India is ideally divided from the other Asian countries, by the huge Indian mountain range, known as the Himalayas. India begins with the dynamic area of the northern mountain terrain varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests near Srinagar and Jammu. A long mountain chain, the Western Ghats, separates the verdant coast from the Vindhya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland. The varied altitudes and ranges of the Indian mountains presents varied floras from tropical and sub tropical forests of the Himalayan foothills, the temperate types of the higher lands, to the high altitude deserts of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. The Great Himalayas The northernmost Great, or Higher, Himalayas (in ancient times, the Himadri), with crests generally above 16,000 feet (4,900 metres) in elevation, are composed of ancient crystalline rocks and old marine sedimentary formations. Between the Great and Lesser Himalayas are several fertile longitudinal vales; in India the largest is the Vale of Kashmir , an ancient lake basin with an area of about 1,700 square miles (4,400 square km). The Great Himalayas, ranging from 30 to 45 miles (50 to 75 km) wide, include some of the world’s highest peaks. The highest, Mount Everest (at 29,035 feet [8,850 metres]; see Researcher’s Note: Height of Mount Everest ), is on the China-Nepal border, but India also has many lofty peaks, such as Kanchenjunga (28,169 feet [8,586 metres]) on the border of Nepal and the state of Sikkim and Nanda Devi (25,646 feet [7,817 metres]), Kamet (25,446 feet [7,755 metres]), and Trisul (23,359 feet [7,120]) in Uttaranchal. The Great Himalayas lie mostly above the line of perpetual snow and thus contain most of the Himalayan glaciers. ------------------------------------------------------- The Himalayas have got their name from the Sanskrit word, Himalaya a tatpurusa compound meaning "the abode of snow" (from hima "snow", and alaya "abode"). Kalidas has described the Himalayas, as the `King of mountains, enclosing divinity who stands between the two oceans as measuring rod as were, of the earth.` The Indian Himalayas can be divided into three zones - the Shiwaliks or the Outer Ranges on the southern wing, the Middle Ranges like the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar, and the Greater Himalayas with the highest and oldest peaks (many of these are in Nepal). (1) The Trans-Himalayan Zone is about 40 km in width, containing the valleys of the rivers rising behind the Great Himalyas, (2) The Great Himalyas or the Central Himalayas comprise the zone of high snow-capped peaks, which are 128 or 144 km from the edge of the plains. Some of the important peaks are Mount Everest which is 8848 metres high, Kanchenjunga is 8580 metres high, Dhaulagiri is 8177 metres high, Mount Godwin Austin is 8611 metres high, and Nanda Devi is 7818 metres high. (3) The lesser Himalayan Zone is 64 to 80 km wide and having an average altitude of about 3000 metres. This zone, having a height between 1500 and 1600 metres, is covered by evergreen and oak forests, that between 1600 and 2124 metres by coniferous forests of chir, deodar, the blue, pine, oaks and magnolias and that above 2436 metres has birch, spruce, silver fir etc. (4) The Siwalik Foot-hills extend continuously along the foot of the Himalayas from the Brahmaputra Valley on the East to Potwar plateau and the Bannu plains on the west. Geologically the Himalayan mountain ranges are not very old. In the Miocene period there was a sea known as the Tethys Sea where we have the Himalayas now. The process of formation of these mountain ranges began in the Oligocene period and continued up to the Post-Pliocene period. We can also divide the Northern Mountains from West to East into three major regions; and the three regions can be mentioned as Westerns, Central and Eastern. The eastern mountain region consists of those mountains, which lie to the east of the Brahmaputra and along the summit of which runs the frontier of India and Burma. They are divided by a series of river-valleys and covered for the most part with thick forests. The routes through these mountains are difficult. The central Himalayan region extends from Bhutan to Chitral. In Bhutan and Eastern Nepal the rainfall is very high but in Swat and Chitral the rainfall is much lower. The valleys are fertile and cultivated with the aid of irrigation. In the western mountain region the valleys are irrigated and cultivated wherever possible. Along these valleys and over the passes such as the Gomal, the Bolan and the Khyber run the routes to Central Asia and China on one hand and to Persia and the West on the other. The himalayas are the highest mountain ranges in Asia, which includes the Karakoram, Hindu Kosh and a host of minor ranges extending from the Pamir Knot. From the Pamirs in Pakistan to the easternmost bend of the Brahmaputra in Assam , the majestic Himalayas rise across a length of 2,500km. It also seperates India from the Tibetan plateau. The himalayan ranges are the home to about 100 mountain peaks, exceeding 7,200 meters including the famous Mount Everest. From the most ancient times they have attracted pilgrims from all over India, and in their sublime presence people have felt the grandeur and the infinity of the pure spirit. An estimated 750 million people live in the watershed area of the Himalayan rivers, which also includes Bangladesh. The Himalayas stretch across the nations of Bhutan, china, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Himalayas also encompass many glaciers, of which the famous Siachen Glacier is also included. This glacier is also the largest in the world outside the polar region. The higher regions of the Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year in spite of their proximity to the tropics. It is the source of three of the world`s major river systems, the Indus Basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin and the Yangtze Basin. Thus, we can say that the Himalayas gave birth to great rivers Indus and its four tributaries. They form the sources for several large perennial rivers, most of which combine into two large river systems. The Himalayas, forms the northern barrier of the Indian peninsula, containing the highest elevation of the world. Due to their large size and expanse, has been a natural barrier to the movement of people for many thousands of years. They have prevented intermingling of people from the Indian subcontinent with people from China and Mongolia, causing significantly different languages and customs between these regions. The Himalayas have also hindered trade routes and prevented military expeditions across its expanse. The Himalayas have not only proceed the country from invasion from North, but have also sheltered the vast plains of Northern India from the ice colds winds of the Tibet and have played a great part in determining the climate of North India. The Indian Himalayas are a hot spot among climbers and trekkers throughout the world that offer some of the finest trekking and mountaineering challenges. Since most of India`s northern boundary lies in these mountains, many areas close to the international borders have been declared off-limits for tourists, especially for foreigners. Territorial disputes and trouble caused by militants are other reasons why access to some parts of the Indian Himalayas is restricted. However, those parts that are accessible include many high mountain ranges; deep valleys; fantastic varieties of vegetation - ranging from dense tropical forests of the lower foothills to alpine and sub-alpine vegetation in the higher reaches and from the rain forests of the east to the desert vegetation in the barren Trans Himalayas.
  • The Aravalli mountain ranges are the oldest ranges in India, making it a paradise for the trekkers. Its beauty has always attracted tourists from far and wide. The topography of the ranges abounds in undulating meadows, dense jungles, lakes and so on. These mountain ranges are located in the western India running approximately 300 miles from northeast to southwest across Rajasthan state. Towards the north it continues as rocky ridges and isolated hills into Haryana ending into Delhi . The aravallies were formed due to erosion of ancient mountain folds. Being the oldest mountain ranges in India, the aravallis have always attracted tourists from India and abroad. If one is looking for an adventurous, action packed holiday then the aravallies can be the ultimate destination. It is considered to be unique for trekkers as this place abounds in dense jungles, undulating meadows, lakes and so on. These ranges constitute some of the finest places like Mount Abu which is 1300 m above the sea level, Kumbhalgarh fort, Udaypur which is ideal for trekking,the jain temples of Ranakpuri, the wildlife sanctuary. One can trek from Abu Road to Guru Shikhar, the highest peak of Aravalli ; Thandi Beri to Kumbhalgarh Fort or Ranakpur to Rawali Tatgarh. The Aravallies have added up to the beauty of Rajasthan to a great extent. They are heavily forested and therefore is the refuge of birds and animals. Human beings have degraded the natural environment to an extreme as a result of which deforestation has taken place. Still wherever there are thick reserves the original inhabitants and the migrant species are still preserved. It has been observed that there is a rise in the ground level when the Aravalli range is traced north to the Himalayas . This rise in the ground level has in fact led to the turning of the river Yamuna eastwards to join the river Ganges at Allahabad . To the North West of the Aravallies are Jodhpur , Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner regions, it is the home of arid plains and the shifting sad dunes of the great Thar Desert. In northern parts of Aravallies various forms of sacred groves are maintained. These are known askankar bani, rakhat bani, dev ouranya, vall and dev bani. These groves constitute a larger area and are found in plenty. These groves can be classified into three distinct groups. The first group consisting of the ones close to the village and the water source. Such groves are also at the top of small hillocks in Aravallies, where people worship Bheruji, Bawsi and Mataji. The Aravallies act as a natural device between the Thar desert and the rest of the country. I also acts as a drainage device between east and west flowing rivers of the North Western Indian and represent a transition zone climatically and vegetatively. Due to their location and extent, difference in altitudinal and rainfall the vegetation is rich and varies greatly from tropical thorn forests to semi evergreen forests. The Aravallies are one of the oldest chains in the world and they have influenced the natural and human history of the region. Vindhya range is located in central India, Madhya Pradesh , and is 970 km long and 910 m high. These hills are comparatively less rugged and smaller in size. They actually form a divide between the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Deccan region of the country. The range originates from the state of Gujarat continuing into the east and north till the river Ganges at Mirzapur. The northern slopes of the range are drained by tributaries of the Ganges, including the Kali Sindh, Parbati , Betwa , and Ken. The Son , a tributary of the Ganges, drains the southern slopes of the range at its eastern end. The southern slopes of the range are drained by the Narmada River , which drains further westward to the Arabian Sea in the depression between the Vindhya Range and the parallel Satpura Range to the south. The Vindhya ranges somewhat restrict the path of the winds making the area quite inhospitable and rough. The different slopes of the Vindhya range are drained by the tributaries of Ganges towards the north and Narmada in the south. Theses ranges have huge sandstone reserve which was used to build Buddhist stupas at Sanchi and other temples at Khajuraho . The Narmada Valley`s northern edge is flanked by the Vindhya range. These region have basically the growth of dry- deciduous forests. Rainfall here is actually seasonal followed up with a long dry season, which hampers the growth of natural vegetation, which loose out their leaves. Trees, which can be found in these places, are mainly teak, sal, and bamboo. The animal kingdom ranges from bison, wild buffalo, spotted deer, leopard, black buck and large brown deer ("sambar"). Among the places that can attract tourists the forms quite an interesting spot. This place is set in the rough hills of the Vindhya range. Ranthambore National Park set up amidst the Vindhyas and the Aravallies adds up to the hot spots. The Vindhya range is the home of vast wildlife and forestry. Though there has been major degradation in the natural environment due to human interventions leading up to a vast array of ecological problems. These demand attention and steps have been taken up against it. Fairly enough this place retains its charm and falls within the parameters of the fast growing tourism industry. The Western Ghats constitute the beautiful array of mountains along the western coast of India that separates the Deccan Plateau from a narrow coastal strip along the Arabian Sea. It is a `virtual` mountain range in the sense that it is a fractured extension of the Deccan Plateau probably formed during the break up of the super continent Gondwana . The range starts from the southern part of the Tapti River near the border area of Gujarat and Maharashtra . It covers a length of around 1600 km running through the states of Maharashtra, Goa , Karnataka , Tamil Nadu and Kerala finally culminating at Kanyakumari , in the southern-most tip of the Indian peninsula. Covering an area of 60,000 sq. kilometres they form the catchment area for a large number of rivers draining almost 40% of the Indian sub-continent. The Western Ghats have an average elevation of 1200 metres. However, in certain places they rise abruptly to a height of over 2440 metres. The Western Ghats of Maharashtra, extending from the Satpura Range to the north, travels south past Goa to Karnataka. The chief hill range of the segment is the Sayadhri range. Here we have two high peaks, Kalsubai, having a height of 1646 metres and Salher having a height of 1567 metres. The Western Ghats are home to a number of gaps and passes, notable among them being the Thal Ghat and the Bhor Ghat. They link the interior of the Deccan with Mumbai . The southern part of the Western Ghats harbour the Nilgiri hills (the word Nilgiri meaning "Blue Mountains" ) which serve as the meeting point o the Western and Eastern Ghats . The Nilgiris show a steep rise from the plains and enclose between them the Karnatak Plateau. The Nilgiri Hills are fhome to two of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats : Dodabetta, having a height of 2637 metres and Makurti, having a height of 2554 metres. To the south of the Nilgiri Hills is located the Palghat gap, extending from the east to the west of the Ghats. With a width of 24 km , the Palghat gap is an easy passageway across the Western Ghats.To the south of the Nilgiris are the Anaimalai, Cardamom and Palni hills. The Anaimudi is the highest peak in Peninsular India. It is situated in the Anaimalai hills and has a height of 2695 metres. The narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is known as the Konkan Coast in the north and the Malabar Coast in the south. The largest city amidst these mountains is Pune. The Eastern Ghats are a series of discontinuous low ranges along the Bay of Bengal coast running from the Mahanadi river valley for about 500 metres up to the Nilgiris in the south and forms the eastern edge of the dissected Deccan plateau .The Eastern Ghats start from the state of West Bengal in the north and culminates in the state of Tamil Nadu in the south. On the way they cover the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh . They are swept by the four chief rivers of southern India, the Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri . The Eastern Ghats are cut into various discontinuous hills by these rivers. They are separated from the Bay of Bengal by the coastal plains . The elevation of the Eastern Ghats is lower than that of the Western Ghats . They have an average height of 450 metres and rarely exceed 1200 metres. To the southernmost part of the Eastern Ghats are the low Sirumalai and Karanthamalai hills of southern Tamil Nadu. To the north of the Kaveri river are comparatively higher hills like Kollimalai, Pachaimalai, Shevaroy (Servaroyan), Kalrayan Hills, Chitteri, Palamalai, and Mettur hills in the north of Tamil Nadu. The higher hill ranges experience a generally cooler and wetter type of climate than the surrounding plains. These hills harbour many coffee plantations and dry forests. The hill station of Yercaud is located in the Shevaroy Hills. In the Bilgiri Hills, which run east from the Western Ghats to the Kaveri river, there is a wooded ecological strip that connects the Eastern and Western Ghats . This region has the second-largest wild elephant population in India . The Ponnaiyar and Palar rivers flowing through gaps in the Ghats drain into the Bay of Bengal .These two rivers are separated by the Javadhu Hills . Some isolated areas have waterfalls. The Kiliyur Falls is one of them .To the north of the Palar River in Andhra Pradesh, the central portion of the Eastern Ghats consist of two parallel ranges running approximately north-south; the lower Velikonda Range lies to the east, and the higher Palikonda-Lankamalla-Nallamalla ranges lie to the west. The Velikonda range ultimately descends to the coastal plains in the northern Nellore district, while the Nallamalla range continue to the Krishna River . The Krishna and the Godavari are separated by a range of low hills. To the north of the Godavari river the Eastern Ghats record an abrupt increase in height , acting as the boundary between Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.The region possesses fertile soil.The Eastern Ghats are elder than the Western Ghats. The history of its origin is much complicated and takes off from the congregation and fragmentation of the ancient supercontinent of Rodinia and the assembly of the Gondwana supercontinent.
  • Cascading, roaring, meandering down the by lanes of the valleys, the Indian rivers are the source of sustenance for many. Often referred to as the land of rivers, India has been blessed with several water bodies that enhance the beauty of the country. Besides this the Indian rivers are wrapped in mythology, religion and legends. Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati are the probable three names three names that would spring upto one`s lips whilst discussing about rivers in India. However, the Indian geography comprise of several other rivers too, for instance, Brahmaputra, Krishna, Cauvery, Narmada, etc. Whilst at one hand the Indian rivers render a picturesque beauty to Indian landscape, these are also the source of irrigation, hydroelectricity, transportation and other practical purposes. From times immemorial the Indian rivers have been one of the popular ways of travelling across the country. The Ganga River has been a popular waterway that connected several Indian regions. Besides this it is also considered a holy river; rather the holiest in the subcontinent. It is popularly said that the river has the prowess to wash away all sins. One of the legendary Indian rivers Ganga originates in the Himalayas and gushes down to the plains. Most of the religious places in North India are either situated on the banks of Ganges or nearby. It is also known as Bhagirathi and Jahnavi. Other Indian mythological rivers comprise Yamuna, Narmada, Rupa, Pampa, Kaveri and others. In fact the Indian rivers are an indispensable part of the Indian cultural ethos. At the same time these water bodies act as the main source of sustenance for many people. There are fishermen, boatmen, farmers and others whose livelihoods depend on the Indian rivers. Rivers are main source of irrigation. As a result the crops are largely dependent on them. Moreover the lands lying in proximity to the Indian rivers are considered to have rich soils. Hence these lands are primarily used for agriculture; making these the main source of income for many farmers. Depending on such several factors the Indian rivers are worshipped across the country. For instance the holy water of the Ganges is used for worshipping the deities and a dip into river Yamuna frees one`s spirit of all sins. As far as the origin of Indian rivers are concerned there are primarily three watersheds: Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges; Vindhya, Satpura ranges and the Chota Nagpur Plateau; and the Western Ghats. The Indian rivers can also be broadly divided into Himalayan Rivers, coastal rivers and Deccan Rivers. With changing times the role of the Indian rivers in the diaspora has also underwent sea changes. Rivers like Alaknanda and others in contemporary India are utilised for adventure sports, for instance, river rafting. The gushing streams of these Indian rivers make them apt for promoting such adventure sports. Apart from nourishing the Indian flora and fauna the rivers and their tributaries are largely responsible for attracting tourists from across the world. Thus, it would not be at all be wrong to state that the Indian rivers have an indispensable role to play in the Indian economy. A host of dams and the Multipurpose River Valley projects in India have been developed on the river systems that include the Brahmaputra River System, Narmada River System, Tapti River System, Godavari River System, Krishna River System, Kaveri River System and Mahanadi River System. The ever-flowing Indian rivers are easily the oldest witnesses of the evolution of the civilisation. Hence they are significant historically, religiously and culturally. Even the damming around has not altered their inherent nature--- the Indian rivers spring up from the mountains and flow with the same gusto as they did several years ago. Twisting between the valleys they come down to the plains and nourish the lands with vitality and fertility.
  • The Indo- Gangetic Plain The second great structural component of India, the Indo-Gangetic Plain (also called the North Indian Plain), lies between the Himalayas and the Deccan. The plain occupies the Himalayan foredeep, formerly a seabed but now filled with river-borne alluvium to depths of up to 6,000 feet (1,800 meters). The plain stretches from the Pakistani provinces of Sind and Punjab in the west, where it is watered by the Indus River and its tributaries, eastward to the Brahmaputra River valley in Assam state. The Ganges ( Ganga ) River basin (mainly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states) forms the central and principal part of this plain. The eastern portion is made up of the combined delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, which, though mainly in Bangladesh, also occupies a part of the adjacent Indian state of West Bengal. This deltaic area is characterized by annual flooding attributed to intense monsoon rainfall, an exceedingly gentle gradient, and an enormous discharge that the alluvium-choked rivers cannot contain within their channels. The Indus River basin, extending west from Delhi , forms the western part of the plain; the Indian portion is mainly in the states of Haryana and Punjab . The overall gradient of the plain is virtually imperceptible, averaging only about 6 inches per mile (95 mm per km) in the Ganges basin and slightly more along the Indus and Brahmaputra. Even so, to those who till its soils, there is an important distinction between bhangar —the slightly elevated, terraced land of older alluvium—and khadar , the more fertile fresh alluvium on the low-lying floodplain. In general, the ratio of bhangar areas to those of khadar increases upstream along all major rivers. An exception to the largely monotonous relief is encountered in the southwestern portion of the plain, where there are gullied badlands centering on the Chambal River . That area has long been famous for harboring violent gangs of criminals called dacoit s, who find shelter in its many hidden ravines. The Great Indian, or Thar , Desert, forms an important southern extension of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is mostly in India but also extends into Pakistan and is mainly an area of gently undulating terrain, and within it are several areas dominated by shifting sand dunes and numerous isolated hills. The latter provide visible evidence of the fact that the thin surface deposits of the region, partially alluvial and partially wind-borne, are underlain by the much older Indian-Australian Plate, of which the hills are structurally a part. ------------- The Indo Gangetic plain is a large fertile alluvial region of India stretching from the Indus River system in Pakistan to the Punjab Plain (in both Pakistan and Haryana) and the Haryana Plain to the delta of the Ganga in Bangladesh where it is called Padma. The plain is homogenous with some common features of river erosion and changes in river channels. It is surrounded by the lofty Himalayas on the north, by the Vindhya and Satpura range and the Chota Nagpur Plateau on the south and the Iranian Plateau. The name of the region comes from Indus and the Ganges, the twin rivers flowing in the region. While according to some geographers, the Indo -Gangetic Plains are divided into several parts the Indus Valley, the Punjab Plain, the Haryana Plains, and the middle and lower Ganga some say that the western parts consists of the Punjab Plain and the Harayana Plain the eastern part consists of the Ganga Brahmaputra drainage systems. The Terai region constitutes the northern boundary of the Indo Gangetic plains. The Great Indian Desert in Rajasthan forms the southern boundary of the plains. It continues in the east along the base of the hills of Central Highlands to the Bay of Bengal. The northern part of the Central Highlands consists of Aravalli Range of eastern Rajasthan and the southern part of the Central Highlands consists of the Aravalli Plateau, which merges with the Vindhya ranges. The rivers traversing the region are the Beas , the Chambal , the Chenab , the Gomti , the Indus , the Ravi , the Sutlej and the Yamuna , because of these rivers the soil here is rich in silt. This makes it one of the most fertile regions in the world suitable for agriculture. The crops cultivated here are rice, wheat, maize, sugarcane and cotton. The southwest monsoon is the main source of rainfall along with the rivers, which provide water for major irrigation works. This region is also historically very significant because it is here that several Indian kingdoms had their territory. They were the Gupta Empire , Kanauj Empire, Magadha Empire the Maurya Empire , the Mughal Empire and the Sultanate of Delhi. At present the cities part of this region are Ahmedabad, Delhi, Dhaka, Faisalabad, Hyderabad (Pakistan), Kanpur, Karachi, Kolkata , Lahore, Lucknow, Ludhiana , Multan, Patna , Rawalpindi-Islamabad, and Surat
  • The Deccan It is actually a topographically variegated region that extends well beyond the peninsula—that portion of the country lying between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal—and includes a substantial area to the north of the Vindhya Range , which has popularly been regarded as the divide between Hindustan (northern India) and the Deccan (from Sanskrit dakshina , “south”). Having once constituted a segment of the ancient continent of Gondwana, this land is the oldest and most stable in India. The plateau is mainly between 1,000 and 2,500 feet (300 to 750 metres) above sea level , and its general slope descends toward the east. A number of the hill ranges of the Deccan have been eroded and rejuvenated several times, and only their remaining summits testify to their geologic past. The main peninsular block is composed of gneiss, granite-gneiss, schists, and granites, as well as of more geologically recent basaltic lava flows. The Western Ghats The Western Ghats , also called the Sahyadri, are a north-south chain of mountains or hills that mark the western edge of the Deccan plateau region. They rise abruptly from the coastal plain as an escarpment of variable height, but their eastern slopes are much more gentle. The Western Ghats contain a series of residual plateaus and peaks separated by saddles and passes. The hill station (resort) of Mahabaleshwar , located on a laterite plateau, is one of the highest elevations in the northern half, rising to 4,700 feet (1,430 metres). The chain attains greater heights in the south, where the mountains terminate in several uplifted blocks bordered by steep slopes on all sides. These include the Nilgiri Hills , with their highest peak, Doda Betta (8,652 feet [2,637 metres]); and the Anaimalai , Palni , and Cardamom hills, all three of which radiate from the highest peak in the Western Ghats, Anai Peak ( Anai Mudi , 8,842 feet [2,695 metres]). The Western Ghats receive heavy rainfall, and several major rivers—most notably the Krishna (Kistna) and the two holy rivers, the Godavari and the Kaveri ( Cauvery )—have their headwaters there. The Eastern Ghats The Eastern Ghats are a series of discontinuous low ranges running generally northeast-southwest parallel to the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The largest single sector—the remnant of an ancient mountain range that eroded and subsequently rejuvenated—is found in the Dandakaranya region between the Mahanadi and Godavari rivers. This narrow range has a central ridge, the highest peak of which is Arma Konda (5,512 feet [1,680 metres]) in Andhra Pradesh state. The hills become subdued farther southwest, where they are traversed by the Godavari River through a gorge 40 miles (65 km) long. Still farther southwest, beyond the Krishna River , the Eastern Ghats appear as a series of low ranges and hills, including the Erramala , Nallamala , Velikonda , and Palkonda . Southwest of the city of Chennai (Madras), the Eastern Ghats continue as the Javadi and Shevaroy hills, beyond which they merge with the Western Ghats. Inland regions The northernmost portion of the Deccan may be termed the peninsular foreland. This large, ill-defined area lies between the peninsula proper to the south (roughly demarcated by the Vindhya Range) and the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Great Indian Desert (beyond the Aravali Range ) to the north. The Aravali Range runs southwest-northeast for more than 450 miles (725 km) from a highland node near Ahmedabad , Gujarat , northeast to Delhi. These mountains are composed of ancient rocks and are divided into several parts, in one of which lies Sambhar Salt Lake . Their highest summit is Guru Peak (5,650 feet [1,722 metres]), on Mount Abu . The Aravalis form a divide between the west-flowing streams, draining into the desert or the Rann of Kachchh (Kutch), and the Chambal and its tributaries within the Ganges River catchment area . Between the Aravalis and the Vindhya Range lies the fertile, basaltic Malwa Plateau . This plateau gradually rises southward toward the so-called Vindhya Range, which is actually a south-facing escarpment deeply eroded by short streams flowing into the valley of the Narmada River below. The escarpment appears from the south as an imposing range of mountains. The Narmada valley forms the western and principal portion of the Narmada-Son trough, a continuous depression running southwest-northeast, mostly at the base of the Vindhya Range, for about 750 miles (1,200 km). To the east of the peninsular foreland lies the mineral-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau (mostly within Jharkhand, northwestern Orissa , and Chhattisgarh states). This is a region of numerous scarps separating areas of rolling terrain. To the southwest of the Chota Nagpur Plateau is the Chhattisgarh Plain , centred in Chhattisgarh on the upper course of the Mahanadi River . Most of the inland area south of the peninsular foreland and the Chota Nagpur Plateau is characterized by rolling terrain and generally low relief, within which a number of hill ranges, some of them mesalike formations, run in various directions. Occupying much of the northwestern portion of the peninsula (most of Maharashtra and some bordering areas of Madhya Pradesh , Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka ) is the Deccan lava plateau . The mesa-like features are especially characteristic of this large, fertile area, which is cut across by the Satpura, Ajanta, and Balaghat ranges. Coastal areas Most of the coast of India flanks the Eastern and Western Ghats. In the northwest, however, much of coastal Gujarat lies to the northwest of the Western Ghats, extending around the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay) and into the salt marshes of the Kathiawar and Kachchh (Kutch) peninsulas. These tidal marshes include the Great Rann of Kachchh along the border with Pakistan and the Little Rann of Kachchh between the two peninsulas. Because the level of these marshes rises markedly during the rainy season , the Kachchh Peninsula normally becomes an island for several months each year. The area farther south, especially the stretch from Daman to Goa (known as the Konkan coast), is indented with rias (flooded valleys) extending inland into narrow riverine plains. These plains are dominated by low-level lateritic plateaus and are marked by alternating headlands and bays, the latter often sheltering crescent-shaped beaches. From Goa south to Cape Comorin (the southernmost tip of India) is the Malabar coastal plain, which was formed by the deposition of sediment along the shoreline. This plain, varying between 15 and 60 miles (25 to 100 km) wide, is characterized by lagoons and brackish, navigable backwater channels. The predominantly deltaic eastern coastal plain is an area of deep sedimentation. Over most of its length it is considerably wider than the plain on the western coast. The major deltas , from south to north, are of the Kaveri, the Krishna-Godavari, the Mahanadi, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra rivers. The last of these is some 190 miles (300 km) wide, but only about one-third of it lies within India. Traversed by innumerable distributaries, the Ganges delta is an ill-drained region, and the western part within Indian territory has become moribund because of shifts in the channels of the Ganges. Tidal incursions extend far inland, and any small temporary rise in sea level could submerge Kolkata (Calcutta), located about 95 miles (155 km) from the head of the Bay of Bengal. The eastern coastal plain includes several lagoons, the largest of which, Pulicat and Chilika (Chilka) lakes, have resulted from sediment being deposited along the shoreline. Islands Several archipelagoes in the Indian Ocean are politically a part of India. The union territory of Lakshadweep is a group of small coral atolls in the Arabian Sea to the west of the Malabar Coast . Far off the eastern coast, separating the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, lie the considerably larger and hillier chains of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands , also a union territory; the Andamans are closer to Myanmar and the Nicobars closer to Indonesia than to the Indian mainland. --------------------------- Deccan Plateau is also called as the Great Peninsular Plateau or the Peninsular Plateau. This is one of the largest plateaus in India which makes up most of the southern parts of the country. This plateau ranges in an elevation from 100 metres in the northern side to 1000 metres to the south. The Deccan Plateau is situated in between three mountain ranges and it also extends over eight of the Indian states. The uplands of this plateau make up a triangle cuddled within the renowned downward-pointing triangle of the coastline of the Indian sub-continent. Deccan Plateau is a home to a large number and variety of habitats and it covers most of the marts of southern and central India. The western boundary of the Deccan Plateau is formed by the Western Ghats, and it eastern boundary is formed by the Eastern Ghats. Both rise from their respective closely-located coastal plains and roughly reach the tip of southern India. Both the ranges form the southward-aiming vertex of a triangle, which comprehends the plateau with the approximately west-southwest to east-north-east running Vindhya Mountain Range and Satpura Mountain Range shaping the third northern boundary of the Deccan Plateau. The northern ranges separate the Deccan Plateau from the densely populated riverine plains of the northern parts of India. Most of the areas of the Indian state of Karnataka and Maharashtra and some parts of the state of Andhra Pradesh form the Deccan plateau. This region of the Deccan Plateau is among the most geographically static landmasses of the entire world. The Deccan forms the catchment areas of some of the mighty rivers of India. The name ‘Deccan’ is an anglicized form of the Prakrit word ‘dakkhin’, which is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘south’. The Deccan Plateau is situated to the south of the Indo- Gangetic plain . The mountain ranges of the Western Ghats are tall and block the moisture laden southwest monsoon from getting to the Deccan Plateau, and therefore this region gets very little rainfall. The location of the eastern Deccan Plateau is at a much lower elevation which spreads across India’s southeastern coast. The forests of this plateau are comparatively dry but serve to hold the rain in order to form streams which ultimately feed into rivers flowing into the basins and then into the Bay of Bengal . The Godavari River along with its tributaries, which include the Indravati River , drains a majority of the northern areas of the plateau, ascending in the Western Ghats and flowing towards east to the Bay of Bengal. The Krishna River , the Tungabhadra River and its tributaries which include the Bhima River , which also runs from the western direction to the east, drain the plateau’s central parts. The Kaveri River drains the southernmost portion of the Deccan plateau, which rises in Karnataka’s Western Ghats and bends to the direction of south in order to move through the Nilgiri hills at Hogenakal Falls into the state of Tamil Nadu, thus making the Sivasamudram Falls at the island town of Shivanasamudra, which is also regarded as India’s second biggest waterfall and the World’s sixteenth largest, before flowing through the Stanley Reservoir and the Mettur Dam which formed the reservoir and lastly emptying its water into the Bay of Bengal. River Tapi and Narmada River are the two rivers which do not flow into the Bay of Bengal. They start their journey in the Eastern Ghats and empty into the Arabian Sea . The rivers flowing in the Deccan plateau depend on rain water and it is for this reason they dry up in the summer season. Deccan plateau experiences a mixed climate. Here the climate varies from subtropical to the extreme north to tropical climate in a majority of the regions with distinct dry and wet seasons. The plateau experiences rain only at the time of monsoon or wet season from the month of June to October every year. The months from March to June are considered to be very dry hot at this region with temperatures going over 40°C on a regular basis. The Deccan Plateau’s immense volcanic basalt beds were established in the massive Deccan Traps eruption, which took place towards the end of the Cretaceous period, roughly between 67 and 65 million years ago. Some paleontologists investigated and found that this eruption might have quickened the disappearance of the giant species like dinosaurs. The continuous volcanic activity which lasted for several thousand years at this region resulted in the formation of layer after layer and when the volcanic process came to an end, they left behind an area of highlands with distinctively vast stretches of flat areas on top resembling to that of a table. It is for this region that the region is also called as Table Top. This volcanic hotspot which formed the Deccan traps is assumed to be positioned under the present day Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean . Normally, the Deccan Plateau is formed by basalt layer which still extends up to Bor Ghat, in close proximity to Karjat. Basalt is an extrusive igneous rock. It is formed in the areas that are spreading, whereas granite is generally found in areas which are colliding. As both these rocks are found in the Deccan plateau, it thus specifies two different environments of formation. This plateau is also very rich in minerals. Some of the primary mineral ores available in this region are iron ore and mica in the Chhota Nagpur region, and gold , diamonds and other metals in the Golconda region. The Deccan plateau in India is having a rich in history. The mineral wealth of this plateau led a number of lowland rulers, which include the Mauryan (who ruled from 4th to the 2nd century BC) and Gupta (who ruled from the 4th to the 6th century AD) dynasties, to fight over it. The Satvahanas (who ruled from 28 BC to 250 AD) came out to be the independent power in the Deccan during the first century BC. To the south of the Satvahanna kingdom, other three dynasties surfaced. They were the Cholas of Tanjore, the Cheras along the Malabar Coast and the Pandyas centered in Madurai. The Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas were frequently at war with each other. The interaction of culture in between these kingdoms and the northern region exposed the other parts of India to the south’s rich Sangam literature. The Satvahanas, Pallavas, Kakatiyas, Eastern Chalukyas and the Vijaynagara kings ruled the region till the same became a part of Golconda’s Qutub Shahi kingdom. Later it went into the rule of Hyderabad’s Nizam Shahi dynasty. From the date of the independence of India in the year 1947 to till date, there is a repeated demand for the formation of a Telangana state, which will be separate from the state of Andhra Pradesh . The people of the southern parts of India got top know the religious ideas from the people of the north, like the worship of the Vedic gods and the doctrines of Jainism and Buddhism . Several people also follow these religions, but a large number of people till today worshipped their gods and goddesses and exercised the religious ceremonies of their own. It is said that St. Thomas came to India in order to spread Christianity during the first century AD. The Saint spread the message of Christianity among the people living in the Malabar Coast and also in areas close to the present-day city of Chennai . The states of India which cover the parts of Deccan plateau are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The state of Maharashtra covers a majority of the northern parts of the Deccan Plateau, and state of Chhattisgarh covers the northeast corner of the plateau. Andhra Pradesh state covers the east-central region of this Plateau, and the state of Karnataka covers the west central and a majority of the southern areas of the Deccan plateau, with the extreme south portion in the state of Tamil Nadu. The largest cities situated in the Deccan plateau are Karnataka and Bangalore . Some of the other major cities in the Deccan plateau are Hyderabad , the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Aurangabad , Pune and Nagpur . Along the north and north-eastern edges of the hills of Deccan Plateau, the Bhil and Gond tribe live. These people speak several languages. One of the languages spoken by these people is Urdu, which is also called as Dakhni or Deccani. The major crop grown in this region is cotton; however, rice, sugarcane and a number of other crops are also common. Deccan plateau is also one of the major tourist attraction and some of the major attractions of this region include Aurangabad. This place has got its name from Aurangzeb , Mughal emperor. It is situated in Maharashtra. It is known for its internationally-acclaimed Ajanta caves and Ellora caves . Another major attraction is the Bibi-ka-Maqbara or the mausoleum of the wife of Aurangzeb and the caves of Aurangabad. Badami was the former capital of the Chalukyas. It is presently a small rural town in the state of Karnataka. This place is famous for its attractive cave temples, engraved into the cliff face of a red sandstone hill. Bidar was once the capital city of Bahamani dynasty of southern India. It is situated in the Karnataka state and famous for its historical monuments. One of the major tourist attractions of Bidar is the fort, which was constructed by Ahmad Wali Shah. A number of other major palaces inside the ramparts of the fort are the Rangin Mahal, the Solah Kambh Masjid or the 16-pillared mosque, the Gagan Mahal, the Takhat Mahal, the Diwan-e-Am and the Royal Pavilion. Another major place of attraction is the Bijapur city. This is the capital city of the medieval India Adil Shahi rulers. It is located in the southern Karnataka state and famous among the tourists for the presence of several historical monuments. The magnificent and the largest dome in India and the worlds’ second largest one, known as the Gol Gumbaz, present in this city. Other historical monuments include the Ibrahim Roza, an attractive tomb constructed by Adil Shah II in memory of his queen and the remains of Gagan Mahal are something which is a must to be seen site of this place. The Sat Manzil or the seven-storied palace, Bara Kaman or the twelve arches, Jala Manzil or the water pavilion, the Taj Bawdi or the water tank, Mehtar Mahal, Upli Burj or the watch tower and Asar Mahal are some of the other attractions in Bijapur. Situated in the central region of the state of Karnataka, Hampi is famous as one of the world heritage sites where one can get to see the ruins which belong to the erstwhile Vijayanagara kingdom. The monolithic sculptures, temples and monuments, along with the rough landscape draw tourists in large numbers to Hampi . Another famous place of interest in the state of Karnataka is Hassan. It is also the headquarters of the district of Malanad. The original town was close to the village Channapatna. A Palegar by the name of Channa Krishnappa Naik constructed it in the 11th century. The name of Hassan has been derived from the Goddess ‘Hasanamba’ the main deity of this town. The temple of Goddess Hasanamba is opened once in a year at the time of the second Ashwayuja (October). A big jatra or fair is organized on this occasion. Some of the other temples of Hassan are Halebid , Belur and Sharavanabelagola. Shravanabelagola is a renowned Jain pilgrimage having a 17 meter high monolith of the Lord Bahubali. Once, Belur was the capital of the Hoysala kings. The construction work of the Chennakeshava temple took 103 years and is packed with sculptures and intricate carvings. Some of the other major attractions of the Deccan plateau include Ooty. It is located in the middle of blue mountains of the Nilgiris in the state of Tamil Nadu . This is one of the townships of the erstwhile British Empire in India and a renowned hill station. The picturesque Botanical Gardens, the Wenlock Downs, Ketty Valley and Doddabetta Peak are things worth seeing. In Karnataka state, Bengaluru considered to be the garden city of India. It presents some of the pleasant parks and a number of historical monuments. Belgaum is a little town in the state of Karnataka which is known for the presence of the Masjid Sata mosque and Jain temples. The Sunset Point and Watchtower provide a bird’s eye view of the distant hills and the flat countryside. Kozhikode (Calicut) is situated in the state of Kerala , was known as a commercial trading city during ancient times. Vasco-da-Gama landed in Kappad, a place situated in close proximity to Calicut in the year 1498. The city is renowned as the center of timber industry and for boat building. Gulbarga is placed in the Karnataka state of India. This little town is well-known for its links with the Bahamani kingdom of medieval India. Lists of monuments dating from 13th to the 15th century are present here. The Gulbarga fort is one of the major tourist attractions of this region. The Jama Masjid was believed to have been constructed by Spain’s Moorish architect in the later parts of the 14th century on the lines of the famous Cordoba Mosque in the southern parts of Spain. Other places of interest include the impressive tombs of the Bahamani rulers, the tomb of Khwaja Bande Nawaz (a renowned local Muslim saint), the Haft Gumbaz and the Sharana Basaveshwara temple. Hyderabad was constructed around the Hussain Sagar Lake . This is the capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city was founded by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah in the 16th century and afterwards it became the kingdom of the fabled Nizams of Hyderabad . Some of the prominent attractions are the Charminar , the Mecca Masjid, Birla Mandir, and Mahakali Temple, Salar Jung Museum , the Golconda Fort , etc. Bangalore and Mysore are generally called as twin cities. Mysore possesses a number of palaces, boulevards and parks as well as cultural centers and museums. The Vrindavan Gardens is the major attraction for the tourists visiting Mysore. The reliable history of the Deccan Plateau only starts with the 13th century A.D. In the earlier history, the major facts demonstrated are the emergence and growth of the Maurya Empire and details of the invasion of the Scythic tribes known as the Pallavas, Sakas and Yavanas. Finally, the region witnessed the institution of the power of the Kshaharata satraps in western parts of India. Even if the area of the Deccan Plateau is vast, it mirrors a united taste and culture. The celebrations and festivals of Deccan Plateau have an exclusive similarity and this region of the country still has a beaming prominence in terms of industrial and geographical significance.
  • Lakshadeep Islands Scattered around 200 km - 400 km west off the Kerala coast, lie the islands of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 27 coral islands and open reefs. Out of these islands, only ten are inhabited and they are Andrott, Amini, Agatti, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmath, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy. These islands form the smallest of the Union Territories of India, and are the country's only coral islands. The Islands look like emeralds in the vast expanse of blue sea. Varying hues of turquoise blue translucent water surround them. Coral atolls, the matchless marine environment with myriad colours results in a complex interaction of animate and inanimate things. Built on ancient volcanic formations is the Lakshadweep. Bitra, the smallest of the group is an ornithologist’s delight – it is heavily populated with birds and is a rich source of birds’ eggs. Andaman and Nicobar Islands There are 572 islands in the territory, of which only approximately 38 are permanently inhabited. Most of the islands (about 550) are in the Andamans group, 26 of which are inhabited. The smaller Nicobars comprise some 22 main islands (10 inhabited). The Andamans and Nicobars are separated by a channel (the Ten Degree Channel ) some 150 km wide. The total area of the Andaman Islands is some 6,408 km2 (2,474 sq mi); that of the Nicobar Islands approximately 1,841 km2 (711 sq mi). The islands provided a temporary maritime base for ships of the Marathas in the 17th century. The legendary admiral Kanhoji Angre established naval supremacy with a base in the islands.
  • North East India is practically the eastern most part of India. The seven contiguous states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura - often referred as the seven sisters- forms the northeastern states. Though each of them is unique with its own cultural identity, these seven states are distinct from the rest of India on a linguistic and ethnic ground. A thin long land - nicknamed Chicken Neck - practically acts as a corridor connecting the northern states to the mainland India. The national highway and the railway route pass through this land strip.
  • East India lies on the eastern end of the Indo-Gangetic plane. Bay of Bengal caves into this geography. West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand forms part of the eastern Indian region. This is one of the most mineral rich regions of India.
  • The term North India essentially refers to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Baring a few states North India predominantly speak Hindi. The Himalayas in the north and the Vindhya mountain ranges makes the north and south borders of North Indian region. The fertile indo-Gangetic plane stretches right through the North India. National capital New Delhi is in North India. These mountain ranges together with the huge fertile valley played a significant role in moulding the history and culture of North India.
  • In a world that is fast losing humaneness Taj Mahal stands tall proclaiming the most humane quality, LOVE! It would be apt to quote Rabindranath Tagore here: "You knew Shah Jahan, life and youth, wealth and glory, they all drift away in the current of time. You strove, therefore, to perpetuate only the sorrows of your heart. Kingly power, stern as thunder, way sink into sleep like the glowing embers of the setting sun.... Let the splendour of diamond, pearl and ruby vanish like the magic shimmer of the rainbow. Only-let this one teardrop, this Taj Mahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and forever". While delving into the history of Taj Mahal one will come across the unforgettable love story of a prince and an exquisitely beautiful lady. Taj Mahal is a saga of love between Shah Jahan, a Mughal Emperor and Mumtaz Mahal , his queen. A love story etched in Marble, Taj Mahal stands on a raised marble platform, by the banks of Yamuna River. An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna and from 1631 AD and completed at the end of 1648 AD, taking 22 years in its making. Hence, it is also known as " One of the wonders of the world". Every possible attempt was made to beautify Taj Mahal. As a part of this beautification the garden in Taj Mahal was built. It was built by following the principles of Islam. For instance numerical four is considered auspicious by this sect. Hence the garden was laid out by maintaining this number or its multiples. It was even named Char Bagh. Apart from the garden there are other monuments in Taj Mahal that are enthralling. Besides being a testimonial of love the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly a spectacular piece of art. The multiple hues of the marbles, the carved flowers, the frescos, the amazing arches, the main gateway of Taj Mahal , the reticulated frames and the divine calligraphy bear testimony to the grandiose sculpture of Taj Mahal . The central dome of the Taj Mahal is 187 feet high. Red sandstone was brought from Fatehpur Sikri, Jasper from Punjab, Jade and Crystal from China, Turquoise from Tibet, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire from Sri Lanka, Coal and Cornelian from Arabia and diamonds from Panna. In all 28 kind of rare, semi precious and precious stones were used for inlay work in the Taj Mahal. The chief building material, the white marble was brought from the quarries of Makrana, from Rajasthan. The main gate of Taj faces the Southern gate. The gateway is 151 feet by 117 feet and rises to a height of 100 feet. Tourists can enter the main compound by a small gate at the side of the main gate. The main gate of red sandstone measures 30 mts. in height. It is inscribed with verses from the Koran in Arabic. The small domed pavilions on top are in Hindu style. A striking feature of the gateway is that the lettering appears to be of the same size. The engravers have skillfully enlarged and lengthened the letters, which create an illusion of uniformity. Even well laid out gardens measuring 300 X 300 mts. in the form of a Charbagh are spread on either side of the pavement. In the centre is also a platform and from its left, one can also visit the Taj Museum. This majestic memorial has been a silent spectator of the sufferings of a lovelorn emperor. Everywhere within the monument divinity and tranquility have been etched out on the stone. The calligraphy of Taj Mahal reiterates the verses from the holy Quran. Most definitely this reflects the religious bent of mind of the emperor. But at the same time the calligraphy also places love and divinity at par. Taj Mahal, thus, celebrates the love of Shah Jahan for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal. This monument of love stands loftily as a surreal abode of love. Taj Mahal inspires the millions of visitors, the world over and rouses the awesome energy of purity and perfection. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Hawa Mahal stands to the east of the City Palace and it is Jaipur`s most much-admired landmark, which is also known as the "Palace of Winds". It is a multi layered palace, built by Sawai Pratap Singh (grand son of Sawai Jai Singh and son of Sawai Madhoo Singh) in 1799 AD and Mr. Lal Chand Usta was the architect. Sawai Pratap Singh was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and he dedicated this mahal to the Lord, its intricate exterior wall looks like a mukut (crown), which adorns Lord Krishna`s head. It overlooks one of the main street and lies sandwiched between more prosaic buildings. It is best viewed during early morning, when it emits an orange- pink glow in the rays of the rising sun. This building looks out over the main street of the old city is a stunning example of Rajput artistry, with its pink semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed sandstone windows. It was originally built in 1799 to enable ladies of the royal household, to watch the everyday life, colorful bazaars and processions of the city, while maintaining their tradition of being veiled and not to be seen from outside. History There is no definite record as to why Hawa Mahal was built, only conjecture. It certainly was not meant for residential purposes. That becomes clear if one were to view this unusual structure from the rear side. There is a total lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building. The chambers are plain and more mass of pillars and passages leading to the top story. It does not seem to be part of the same building. Built at a time when royal ladies observed very strict purdah (covering the faces), it is widely believed that this interesting palace, with its screened balconies, provided the ladies of the zenana (royal household) an opportunity to watch processions and other activities on the streets below without being observed themselves. The openings here are almost like peepholes, partially block by fine latticework in lime plaster, and some with plain wooden windows. The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. The royal ladies not only enjoyed the view but also did so in great comfort and style. Today, Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with some excellent views of the city and a bird`s eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). Site & Architecture This palace is a great example of Rajputana architecture. Famous for it`s beehive like structure, the Hawa Mahal is interplay of red and pink sand stone, highlighted with white quick lime. It is also carefully and painstakingly outlined with white borders and motifs. This is a pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved. Its five-storey facade is decked with 953 small casements, each with tiny lattice worked (Jali) pink windows (jharokhas) and balconies. Its top three stories are just a single room thick but at the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes, which give this palace its unique façade. The windows allows the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months. The entrance to Hawa Mahal is from the City Palace side, through a stately door, which opens into a spacious courtyard, with a double-storied building on three sides, and one on the eastern wing with three more stories, which is just one room wide. There is a small archeological museum here. There are no stairs to reach the upper floors, only ramps. Here, the visitors can also go inside to view the actual sitting place of the women and also have a closer look at the detailed stonework. This historic structure is currently under the supervision of the state archaeological department and provides excellent views of the city. The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. The entrance to this strange building is on the rear side. --------------------------------------------------------------
  • Qutab Minar , the soaring tower of the brick tiled magic has become synonymous with the colonial capital of Delhi. The word `Qutab Miner` means `axis minaret`. It is a unique example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture. This 237.8 feet statuesque nestles in the southern part of Delhi and is surrounded by a lush green manicured garden. This construction was acknowledged as a hereditary raison d`etre by the Slave Dynasty, as it was built through the reign of several rulers. Today, this ornate structure is an eminent member of the world Heritage Society. It leans 60 cm off the vertical but otherwise it has survived the ravages of time impressively. Qutab Minar, the five-storied structure, each of which marked by a projecting balcony, was built in three stages. Qutab-ud-Din Ibak started the Minar and completed the first storey. Second, third and the fourth stories were completed by his successor and son-in -law, Illtutmish in 1230 AD. The minar was first struck by lightening in 1368 AD and the fallen top storey was replaced by two stories. The fourth and the fifth were constructed in 1370 AD by Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88 AD). The Qutab Minar is the highest stone tower in India with a height of 72.5 metre or 239 feet and a diameter of 14.32 metres at the base and about 2.75 metres at the top. The first three stories are made of red sandstone and are heavily indented with different styles of grooves, alternately round and angular on the bottom floor; round on the second and angular on the third story. The fourth and fifth floors are made of marble and sandstone. The decoration and carvings of Qutab Minar is basically Islamic but somewhat hybrid style was visible in the later additions of Firoz Shah. Arabic and Nagari types inscriptions are found as wide encircling bands in the plain fluted masonry of the Minar. These inscriptions reveal the history of Qutab, from its commencement in 1199 AD to its repetitive repair-works. There is a door in the northern side of the minar leading to a spiral staircase with 379 steps that winds its way upto the balcony in each floor and culminates in a platform at the top. The intricate balconies held together by `stalactite vaulting technique` and honeycombing pattern is a special feature of the minar. ------------------------------------------ India Gate Lutyens designed INDIA GATE mainly a memorial to the Unknown Soldier. The 42 metre high structure is a war memorial in honour of the soldiers who died during the Second World War. The impressive structure from where stretch massive lush green lawns have an everlasting flame (Amar Jawan Jyoti) to honour the memory of the unknown soldiers. India Gate significantly located in the vicinity of Rastrapati Bhavan is a major crowd puller during the hot summer evenings of Delhi by virtue of its lush green lawns. ------------------ Jantar Mantar Set within the garden of stately palms, it was built by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1719. He had been entrusted with the task of revising the calendar and correcting the astronomical tables then in use. He made daily astral observation for seven years before embarking on these stone constructions. He discarded the usual instruments of brass and built these massive ones in masonry, which are used to the movements of stars. This observatory, together with the one at Jaipur, are the finest examples anywhere of observatories modelled on the general pattren laid down by Ulugh Baigh of Samarkand in the 14th century. The observatory is conceived with perfect stability and is adjusted to the meridian and latitude of the location. ----------------- Red Fort The Red Fort more popularly known as The Lal Quila (Lal ie. red and Quila ie.fort) stands strong on the banks of the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon. It is surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 Kilometers in circumference and is built of Red Sandstone. The Mughal king Shah Jahan (popular for building the Taj Mahal of Agra) transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and the fort was completed in 1648, nine years after the king shifted to this city. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate, which faces the famed Chandni Chowk market. Being the capital of India, Delhi is the seat of all political activities. The Parliament House and other ministries are residing in Delhi. It has always been a major state since ancient times. The India Gate pays deference to the soldiers who laid their lives for India in the Afghan war. The Raj Ghat glorifies the memories of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The other historical moments like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun`s Tomb, Lodhi Gardens, Chandni Chawk etc. stand in pride to enliven the Mughal era and Indo-Islamic architecture in India. The Rashtrapati Bhawan and other modern building, shopping centers, Metro Project and huge flyovers present a perfect blend of modernity with tradition. Today Delhi has two distinct projections that wait for a tourist. Whereas the Old Delhi represents Delhi of Mughal empire with narrow and crowded roads with Monuments like Red Fort, Chandni Chawk etc. New Delhi is an educational, political and administrative hub of India. Delhi is surrounded by a high stonewall, erected in 1638, and is approached through seven arched gateways, including the Delhi Gate in the south, the Ajmer Gate in the east, and the Kashmere Gate in the north. Within the walls is a web of congested narrow streets, alleys, busy bazaars, and some of the nation's most spectacular Indo-Muslim architectural features. ------------------------
  • The Khajuraho is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. The name Khajuraho is known to allover the world for its architecture of temples, and sculpture. Mainly the Khajuraho is famous for their erotic sculptures. The temples of glorious tradition of artistic values are the state`s most famous attraction. Total 85 temples were built in that period but unfortunately only 22 are able to survive today. The construction of the Khajuraho temple is an art of thousand-year old took a little over two centuries. The architectural style of these temples shows the high peak of the north Indian `nagara` style of temple. Out of 22,many temples are in splendid condition. Khajuraho is visited each year by tourists from all over the world. The sculptures of this world famous place include statues of various Hindu gods and goddesses, warriors, celestial dancers and animals, & also the couples in erotic poses. It seems that the underlying theme of these sculptures is based on the Hindu philosophy of Yoga and Bhoga i.e. physical pleasure. These two are considered as the paths of leading to the final liberation. Though legend says there were eighty five temples constructed in Khajuraho, Twenty-five temples survive today. ---------------------------------- The Gwalior Fort is one of the most unconquerable forts in India, which was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the 15th century. This fort is situated at Gopachal, nearly 100m above the town of Gwalior. The Fort spreads out over an area of 3 square km, bounded by solid walls of sandstone, which enclose three temples, six palaces and a number of water tanks. The Mughal emperor Babar referred to the Gwalior Fort as "the pearl amongst fortresses in India." In the five hundred years since then, the fort has changed hands many times- it has been held by the Tomars, Mughals, Marathas and British, who finally handed it over to the Scindias. ---------------------------- Sanchi is the most redolent and attractive site despite its damages and restorations. Sanchi is primarily a place of Stupas and pillars but the beautifully decorated gateways add grace to the beauty of the place. It is located near Bhopal in the state of MadhyaPradesh. The Stupa is a wonderful testimony to the artistic skill of Buddhist monks. The Stupas are large hemispherical domes containing a central chamber, in which the relics of Buddha are placed. The Stupa of Sanchi traced its development from the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD and represent finest example of Buddhist architecture and sculpture. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the `Chhatra`, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. It is well accepted that the structures of Sanchi Stupa are the most organized construction, which went into the engineering of temples in the mediaeval period. The framework of Sanchi Stupa reflects people`s love for nature. The most frequently shown flower in the various structures is lotus, which symbolizes a particular meaning. As lotuses grow from the mud in the bottom of water body but produces a beautiful white blossom, Buddhist believe that like lotuses people can also rise to from the mud of materialism to the sunlight of spiritualism. The decoration of the stupa gateways also includes male and female tree spirits. The female tree spirits are the symbols of fertility, which often clutch overhanging trees full of flowers and fruits. Buddhist use them as welcoming figures on the gateways.
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus Cathedral : 9 km east of Panaji on the banks of Mandovi river, nestles the medieval town of Old Goa. And in its heart, the Basilica of Bom Jesus blooms like the first flower of spring. Built in 1605, this church was elevated to the status of a minor basilica in 1946, and today ranks as the most important and frquently visited church in Old Goa. Renowned throughout the Catholic world, the Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the mortal remains of Goa's patron saint, St. Francis Xavier, who died while on a sea voyage to China on December 2, 1552. You will be amazed to see the magnificent architecture which was inspired by the now destroyed Church of St. Paul. The Basilica is dedicated to Infant Jesus and is now listed in the World Heritage Monument list. The three-storeyed facade of Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of the richest in Goa, affords intricately carved basalt embellishments. The sacred place of worship was designed by two priests, Diogo de Borba and Minguel Vaz and displays an impeccable work of Renaissance architecture. Walk around the leviathan coloumns, decorated with frescoes and inlay work, upto St. Francis Xavier's casket and no doubt you will experience sheer magic in impressive craftsmanship. Considered as one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India, the white marbled church houses a carved basalt medallion depicting the emblem of the Society of Jesus at the apex. As you will enter the rectangular nave, you can see the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, and below it, a small statue of the Infant Jesus, the patron of the church, only adds to devotion. To the left is an exceedingly well-carved wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier, nestling beneath the choir. Once in every 10 years, the Church allows devotees to see the embalmed body of the saint, which lies in an airtight glass coffin placed in a silver casket crafted by a 17th century Florentine sculptor, Giovanni Batista Foggini. The saint is believed to have miraculous powers of healing, and one can see pilgrims from all over the country, clustering around the precincts to offer prayers. Opposite the cenotaph, projecting on the southern wall is a elegantly carved wooden pulpit with a canopy at the apex. The pulpit has on its three sides the figures of Jesus, the four Evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The bottom of the pulpit depicts seven figures, flying angels as though supporting it on their wings. Remember to visit the Professed House, better known as the 'Casa Professa' of the Jesuits. The resplendent edifice made of black granite was built in the late 16th century and is linked to the Basilica by a colonnaded arcade. The Gateway of India is a monument in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Located on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai , the Gateway is a basalt arch 26 metres (85 ft) high. It was a crude jetty used by fisher folks and was later renovated and used as a landing place for British governors and other distinguished personages. In earlier times, the Gateway was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in the city of Bombay. Its design is a combination of both Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, the arch is in Muslim style while the decorations are in Hindu style. The Gateway is built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete . The stone was locally obtained, and the perforated screens were brought from Gwalior . The central dome is 15 metres (49 ft) in diameter and is 26 metres (85 ft) above ground at its highest point. The whole harbour front was realigned in order to come in line with a planned esplanade which would sweep down to the centre of the town. The cost of the construction was Rs. 21  lakhs (2,100,000), borne mainly by the Government of India . For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and so the Gateway stands at an angle to the road leading up to it. The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Delhi Durbar , in December 1911. The foundation stone was laid on 31 March 1911, by the Governor of Bombay Sir George Sydenham Clarke , with the final design of George Wittet sanctioned in August 1914. Between 1915 and 1919 work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Bundar (Port) for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920, and construction was finished in 1924. The Gateway was opened on 4 December 1924, by the Viceroy, the Earl of Reading . The last British troops to leave India, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry , passed through the Gateway in a ceremony on 28 February 1948. Sabarmati Ashram (Also known as Gandhi Ashram, Harijan Ashram, or Satyagraha Ashram) is located in the Ahmedabad suburb of Sabarmati adjoining to famous Ashram Road , at the bank of River Sabarmati,4 miles away from the city Town Hall. This was one of the residences of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi . This ashram is now converted in to the national monument by the Government of India due to its significance in Indian independence movement in the form of Dandi March in 1930. The ashram was originally established at the Kocharab Bungalow of Jivanlal Desai on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati. Reasons for this shift included: Gandhi wanted to do some experiments in living (e.g. farming, animal husbandry , cow breeding, khadi and related constructive activities for which he was in search of this kind of barren land.) It was believed that this was ancient ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war;, but his actual ashram lies in Naimisharanya , near lucknow , u.p, it is between a jail and a crematorium and he believed that a satyagrahi has invariably to go to either place. Mahatama Gandhi said, "This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature." While at the Ashram, Gandhi formed a tertiary school that mainly focused on manual labour, agriculture, and literacy to advance his efforts for nation's self-sufficiency. It was also from here on the 12 March 1930 that Gandhi marched towards Dandi,241 miles from the Ashram with 78 companions in protest of the British Salt Law , which taxed Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. This mass awakening filled the British jails with 60 000 freedom fighters. Later the government seized their property, Gandhi, in sympathy with them, responded by asking the Government to forfeit the Ashram. Then Government, however, did not oblige. He had by now already decided on 22 July 1933 to disband the Ashram, which later became asserted place after the detention of many freedom fighters, and then some local citizens decided to preserve it. On 12 March 1930 he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence. Although this was won on 15 August 1947, when India was declared a free nation, Gandhi was assassinated in January 1948.
  • Hampi ( Kannada : ಹಂಪೆ hampe ) is a village in northern Karnataka state, India . Hampi is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara , the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire . Predating the city of Vijayanagara, this village continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple . The village of Hampi contains several other monuments belonging to the old city. It extends into some of the old ceremonial streets of Vijayanagara. As the village is at the original centre of Vijayanagara, it is sometimes confused with this ruined city. The name is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built. The name "Hampi" is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe (derived from Pampa ). Over the years, it has also been referred to as Vijayanagara and Virupakshapura (from Virupaksha , the patron deity of the Vijayanagara rulers). Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha , the Vanara (monkey) kingdom which finds mention in the Ramayana . The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE . Hampi formed one of the cores of the capital of the Vijayanagara empire from 1336 to 1565. It was destroyed by Muslim sultans. Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides. THIRUVALLUVAR STATUE:   Thiruvalluvar is the immortal poet of Tamil Nadu and has given to the world  Thirukkural.   The memorial statue of Thiruvalluvar is in Kanyakumari.  The pedestal of the statue is of 38 feet height and the statue over it is 95 feet tall with a grand total of 133 feet for the entire sculpture.  The 3 tier pedestal  known as Atharapeedam is surrounded by an artistic Mandapa known as Alankara Mandapam with 38 feet height.  Surrounding the Alankara Mandapa stand 10 elephant statues signifying 8 directions with earth and space down.  The father of Sri. Rama, the hero of Ramayana was called Dasaratha as he was able to charioteer in ten directions.  To help the tourists to worship the holy feet of Thiruvalluvar 140 steps are constructed inside the Mandapa.      The pedestal with a height of 38 feet represents the 38 chapters in the Book of Aram in Thirukural and the statue of 95 feet on the pedestal represents the total chapters in Porul (70 chapters) and Inbam (25 Chapters).  Thus the statue symbolically, and artistically signifies that the theme of Porul and Inbam are based on Aram.  Charminar: Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah ,the 5th Qutub Shahi ruler built Charminar in 1591 shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what now is known as Hyderabad [2] . He built this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli prayed: "Oh Allah , bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water." Today one can see the city as evidence of the prayer being answered. The Mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of its four (Farsi and Urdu char = four) minarets (Minar (Arabic manara) = spire/tower), which was possibly was to honour the first four caliphs of Islam . This beautiful colossus in granite, lime, mortar and, some say, pulverised marble, was at one time the heart of the city. Initially the wonderful monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets. There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the palace at Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutub Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the exact location of the tunnel is unknown.   Interesting & Fun Facts about Charminar  Charminar was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. It is believed that Charminar was built to honor a promise Quli Qutb Shah made to Allah. The mosque became popular as Charminar because of its four minarets. The four minarets of Charminar are said to honor the first four khalifas of Islam. The mosque actually occupies the top most floor of the monument. Charminar is a four - storied structure. As per a popular legend, an underground tunnel connects the palace at Golconda to Charminar, in order to provide the Qutb Shahi royal family an escape route in case of a siege. However, the exact location of the tunnel is unknown. Charminar is an impressive square monument. Each side of the monument measure 20 m and each corner has a tall pointed minaret. The height of each minaret is 48.7 m above the ground. Each minaret of Charminar has four stories and is marked by carved ring. Each minaret encloses 149 flights of steps, which take the visitors to the top floor. Each side of the Minar has a giant arch, which is 11 m wide and 20 m high, measuring from the summit to the plinth. Each arch also has a clock, which was installed in 1889. Built with granite and lime mortar, Charminar is a fine example of the Cazia style of architecture. There are two galleries within Charminar, one over another. Above the two galleries, there is a terrace, which acts like a roof along with a stone balcony. The main gallery of the Minar has 45 covered prayer spaces. Just in front, there is a large open space to accommodate more people for prayers on Fridays. Charminar is famous for its intricate carvings and moldings. Mysore Palace: The Maharaja's Palace is one of the important sights in Mysore. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Intricately carved doors open on to luxuriously furnished rooms. The majestic Durbar Hall has an ornate ceiling and many sculpted pillars. The magnificent jewel studded golden throne of the Wodeyars is displayed here during the Dasera festival. Illuminated on Sundays and public holidays ,the palace presents a spectacle of breathtaking beauty. The Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty from 1399 until the independence of India in 1947.The Wodeyar kings built a palace in Mysore in the 14th century, But the Raja Wodeyar shifted his Capital to the island fort town of Sriranagapatna in 1610 and Mysore lost its importance as a seat of power. But this palace was partially damaged by a lightning strike in 1638. It was repaired and expanded by Ranadhira Kanteerava Narasa Raja Wodeyar. With the usurpation of the Kingdom by the Hyder in 1762 Mysore Palace further lost its importance. But Hyder son , Tipu Sultan demolished the entire fort town including the Palace in 1787 and used the fort material to build a new town near by known as Nazarabad (now part of the mysore City). Fourth Mysore war in 1799 brought an end to the reign of Tipu sultan and then Governor General of India, Lord Mornington ( later Marquis Wellesley and elder brother of Arthur Wellesley - who rose to become Duke of Wellington and is famously known as Iron Duke) decided to restore part of the conquest to the ancient Hindu Royal family and shifted the capital of the newly defined territory of Mysore Kingdom to Mysore. Thus the scion of the Wodeyar, then five year old, Krishna Raja Wodeyar III was crowned as the new King in 1799 in a make shift premises within the destroyed fort. In due course the Nazrabad fort was dismantled an the materiel made its way back in building the Mysore fort once again. A new palace was built in its place by 1803. This palace was destroyed in a fire in 1897 during the wedding of Princess Jayalakshmanni. The regent of Mysore, Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna, commissioned a British architect, Henry Irwin , to build yet another palace in its place. The construction was completed in year 1912. But slowly the beautification of the fort was also taken up and the inhabitants of the fort were slowly shifted out to newer Extension built outside. The present Public Durbar Hall wing was also added much later around 1940.
  • Indian climate indicates the weather variation of any specific area over a period of time. India can be divided into different climatic zones based on factors such as location, surface relief, surface wind and upper air circulation. India is a vast country and does not fit into any one zone. India occupies a large area of South Asia and Indian climate can be classified into four climatic zones namely Alpine, Subtropical, Tropical and Arid. In the Alpine Zone of Indian climate, the inhabitants experience the high altitudes of Himalayas. In this region there are high climatic alterations due to steep altitude variations. Different types of climatic zones can be observed in this region. The foothills experience subtropical climate and there is Alpine Tundra Zone at the higher altitudes. Sub Tropical zone in Indian climate is prevalent in most of the northern part of India and can be called as the typical Indian climate. Summers are hot and wet while in winter temperature may drop down to freezing point in higher ranges. Precipitation is common in summer season whereas winters are often cold and dry. Tropical zone in Indian climate can be divided into two sub types namely, Tropical Wet Monsoon and Tropical Dry. The characteristics of Tropical Wet Monsoon include average temperature, which usually does not fall below 18 degree C, along with average to high rainfall. In Tropical Dry type of climate in India, rainfall is not so common. In the arid zone, high temperature and low rainfall are distinctive features of this climatic zone. It is widespread in western part of the country and includes large part of Rajasthan. The temperature of this zone often rises up to as high as 50 degree C in summer. Though divided into different climatic zones, Indian climate primarily suggests four seasons, namely winter, summer, advancing monsoon and retreating monsoon. Winter season in India, lasts from December to February almost in entire India. At this time of the year, days are cold with average temperature ranging from 10 degree C to 15 degree C, but it can also go below 0 C, in some higher ranges of northern India. Normally winters are dry in northern India, while in Southern part, the temperature difference is not so marked due to moderating effect of Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Summers in Indian climate lasts during the months of March, April, May and June and is a time period when rays of the sun fall perpendicularly on Indian subcontinent. The average temperature is around 32 degree C but in western region the maximum temperature can be far above the average. Hot winds known, as `Loo`, is the unique feature of summers in north India. Advancing Monsoon is India is the time period when India gets major part of its share of rain. Months of June, July, August and September form the main months of advancing monsoon in almost all parts of country. The monsoon approaches with moisture laden winds and this sudden approach is noticeable with violent thunderstorms and lightening, known as `break` of the monsoon. Retreating Monsoons in India starts when monsoon after drenching all of India, retreats. During the month of September, rainfall begins to decrease and in November, the monsoon is completely gone from major part of India, except in Tamil Nadu and some other southern states, which also receive rain from western disturbance. The Indian climate is largely responsible for the varied kinds of flora and fauna in the country. In cool temperatures, one may find, orchids, sal, palm and different medicinal herbs, while the plants growing in south India different due to different climatic type.
  • India`s unique topography, terrain, climate and vegetation, brings out natural diversity that cannot be witnessed anywhere else in the world. One such variation is also present in India`s wild-forested regions. Forests in India have always been one of the richest resources. Indian forests are ancient in nature and composition. India was once covered with dense forests. There is enough evidence to show this. The fact that they have existed for very long time is proved from the ancient texts all of which have some mention of the forests. The people honored the forests and a large number of religious ceremonies centered on trees and plants. The Agni Purana, written about 4000 years ago, stated that man should protect trees to have material gains and religious blessings. Around 2500 years ago, Gautama Buddha preached that man should plant a tree every five years. Sacred groves were marked around the temples where certain rules and regulations applied. It was Chandra Gupta Maurya who came to power around 300 B.C and realized the importance of forests. Therefore he appointed a high officer to look after the forests. Ashoka stated that wild animals and forests should be preserved and protected. He launched programmes to plant trees on a large scale. These rules continued even during the Gupta period. The forests acted as a refuge to people during the Musilm rule. People fled from their home and took refuge in these forests. The Muslim invaders were all very keen hunters and therefore it was necessary for them to have patches of forests where they could go hunting. This ensured that the trees in these hunting areas were not felled, and the forest ecology was not tampered with. The Mughals showed more interest in gardens and their development. Akbar ordered the planting of trees in various parts of his kingdom whereas Jahangir was well known for laying out beautiful gardens and planting trees. Then came the British period. During the early part of the British rule, trees were felled without any thought. Large numbers of trees such as the sal, teak, and sandalwood were cut for export. The British gradually started using these forests as a resource for revenue generation. They made a rule in which the trees could not be felled without prior permission, and this in turn made them the sole owner and users of the valuable Indian forests. These forests were the richest resources for the British colonies. The importance of having forests was later realized, around the 1800`s, when a commissioner was appointed to look into the availability of teak in the Malabar forests. In 1806, the Madras government appointed Capt. Watson as the commissioner of forests for organizing the production of teak and other timber suitable for the building of ships. Forest management was primarily aimed at the production of commercial products such as teak timber. The post of a conservationist was created and this term was related to the patches of forests that they managed, called conservancies, and was not related to biodiversity conservation. Even today, vast tracts of Indian forests are covered with teak plantations, low in biodiversity and seasonally ravaged by forest fires. The first foresters in India were highly influenced by forest management in Germany and many forest officers in India were trained in the German school of thought brought into India by Dietrich Brandis (1824-1907)-the father of tropical forestry. In 1855, Lord Dalhousie framed regulations for conservation of forest in the entire country. Teak plantations were raised in the Malabar hills and acacia and eucalyptus in the Niligiri Hills . From 1865 to 1894, forest reserves were established to secure material for imperial needs. From the 18th century, scientific forest management systems were employed to regenerate and harvest the forest to make it sustainable. Another area of interest was the introduction of plants of economic importance to India. Many of these introductions were tried in botanical gardens at Sibpur, Poona, Madras and Saharanpur . The Chinese monopoly on tea was ended when tea was introduced in Darjeeling and Sri Lanka. The botanical garden at Sibpur in Calcutta was started in 1787 by Col. Robert Kyd (1746-1793). Sir George King (1840-1904) who was in charge of the garden from 1871 was instrumental in the creation of a herbarium at the garden and founded the Botanical Survey of India in 1890. Later botanical workers include the paleobotanist Birbal Sahni (1891-1949). During World War I forest resources were severely depleted as large quantities of timber were removed to build ships and railway sleepers and to pay for Britain`s war efforts. Between the two wars, great advancements in scientific management of the forests were made, with many areas undergoing regeneration and sustained harvest plans being drawn up. A great upheaval in the Forestry organization in India came with the independence of India in 1947. The princely states were managed variably, giving more concessions to the local populations. The transfer of these states to the government led to deforestation in these areas. The new Forest Policy of 1952 recognized the protective functions of the forest and aimed at maintaining one-third of India`s land area under forest. Certain activities were banned and grazing restricted. In 1976, the governance of the forest came under the concurrent list. `Development without destruction` and `forests for survival` were the themes of the next two five-year plans, aiming at increasing wildlife reserves and at linking forest development with the tribal economy. Conservation has been an avowed goal of Indian government policy since Indian independence. Afforestation increased from a negligible amount in the first plan to nearly 8.9 million hectares in the seventh plan. But a large gap between aim and achievement still exists. In the early 1990`s about 17 percent of India`s land was regarded as forestland. However, because more than 50 percent of this land was barren or brush land, the area under productive forest was actually less than 35 million hectares, or approximately 10 percent of the country`s land area. The growing population`s high demand for forest resources continued the destruction and degradation of forests through the 1980s, taking a heavy toll on the soil. Many Indian forests in the mid-1990s are found in high-rainfall, high-altitude regions, areas to which access is difficult. About 20 percent of total forestland is in Madhya Pradesh ; other states with significant forests are Orissa , Maharashtra , and Andhra Pradesh (each with about 9 percent of the national total); Arunachal Pradesh (7 percent); and Uttar Pradesh (6 percent). The variety of forest vegetation is large: there are 600 species of hardwoods, sal (Shorea robusta ) and teak being the principal economic species. India`s long-term strategy for forestry development reflects three major objectives: to reduce soil erosion and flooding; to supply the growing needs of the domestic wood products industries; and to supply the needs of the rural population for fuel wood, fodder, small timber, and miscellaneous forest produce. To achieve these objectives, the National Commission on Agriculture in 1976 recommended the reorganization of state forestry departments and advocated the concept of social forestry. The commission itself worked on the first two objectives, emphasizing traditional forestry and wildlife activities; in pursuit of the third objective, the commission recommended the establishment of a new kind of unit to develop community forests. Following the leads of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, a number of other states also established community-based forestry agencies that emphasized programs on farm forestry, timber management, extension forestry, reforestation of degraded forests, and use of forests for recreational purposes. The State community forestry agencies emphasized such projects. Both individual farmers and tribal communities were also encouraged to grow trees for profit. For example, in Gujarat, one of the more aggressive states in developing programs of socioeconomic importance, the forestry department distributed 200 million tree seedlings in 1983. The fast-growing eucalyptus is the main species being planted nationwide, followed by pine and poplar. The National Forest Policy of 1988 further emphasized on the role of India`s forests in the National economy and ecology. It focused on ensuring environmental stability, restoring the ecological balance, and preserving the remaining forests. Also in 1988, the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 was amended to facilitate stricter conservation measures. A new target was to increase the forest cover to 33 percent of India`s land area from the then-official estimate of 23 percent. Better late than never- people have realized that deforestation threatened not only the ecology but also their livelihood in a variety of ways. Thus, people have become more interested and involved in conservation. The Chipko movement in India was the best-known popular activist movement, wherein local women decided to fight the government and the vested interests to save trees. This movement took place in Uttar Pradesh where women literally `stuck to` or `chipko` to the trees, and would not let the manufacturers cut them down. This movement has spread and become an ecological movement leading to similar actions in other forest areas. The movement has slowed down the process of deforestation, exposed vested interests, increased ecological awareness, and demonstrated the viability of people power. India possesses a distinct identity, not only because of its geography, history and culture but also because of the great diversity of its natural ecosystems. The panorama of Indian forests ranges from evergreen tropical rain forests in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Western Ghats , and the northeastern states, to dry alpine scrub high in the Himalaya to the north. Between the two extremes, the country has semi-evergreen rain forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn forests, and subtropical pine forests in the lower montane zone and temperate montane forests. The Andaman and Nicobar Island islands have tropical evergreen rain forests and tropical semi-evergreen rainforests as well as tropical monsoon moist monsoon forests. The Indian forest type recognizes 16 major types of forests, subdivided into 221 minor types. Structure, physiognomy and floristic are all used as characters to define the types. The main areas of tropical forest are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; the Western Ghats, which fringe the Arabian Sea coastline of peninsular India; and the greater Assam region in the north-east. Small remnants of rain forest are found in Orissa state. Semi-evergreen rain forest is more extensive than the evergreen formation partly because evergreen forests tend to degrade to semi-evergreen with human interference. Western Ghats Monsoon forests" "1">The Western Ghats Monsoon forests occur both on the western (coastal) margins of the ghats and on the eastern side where there is less rainfall. These forests contain several tree species of great commercial significance, e.g. Indian rosewood Dalbergia latifolia, Malabar Kino Pterocarpus marsupium, teak and Terminalia crenulata. Clumps of bamboo occur along streams or in poorly drained hollows throughout the evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of southwest India, probably in areas once cleared for shifting agriculture. The tropical vegetation of northeast India, which includes the states of Assam, Nagaland , Manipur , Mizoram , Tripura and Meghalaya as well as the plain regions of Arunachal Pradesh embraces evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forests, moist deciduous monsoon forests, riparian forests, swamps and grasslands. Evergreen rain forests are found in the Assam Valley, the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and the lower parts of the Naga Hills , Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur where the rainfall exceeds 2300 mm per annum. Central Indian forests has been defined by Birdlife International as a Secondary Area for bird endemism, as it includes the range of the critically endangered Forest Owlet. It includes the southern region of Madhya Pradesh, the Vidarbha region of Maharastra and Chattisgarh. This forest is of Dry Decidous type, i.e, the trees shed their leaves in the summer season. Many Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks are housed in these forests. Some of them are Kanha National Park, Pench National Park and Melghat wildlife sanctuary. The Forest Owlet was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in Melghat. A communal forest in India is a specific term which refers to forests governed by local communities in a way compatible with sustainable development, and can be of various types. Such forests are typically called village forests or panchayat forests, reflecting the fact that the administration and resource utilization of the forest occurs at the village and panchayat level, which is an elected rural body. Such community forests are usually administered by a locally elected body, usually called the Forest Protection Committee, Village Forest Committee or the Village Forest Institution. Such committees are known as Van Panchayats in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, Forest Co-operative Societies in Himachal Pradesh and Van Samrakshan Samitis in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The climatic conditions of India ranges from the torrid to the arctic and Indian vegetation are considered to be one of the richest in the entire world. India is indeed one of the few countries in the world that possesses such varied vegetation. The distinct vegetative regions in India are classified according to their climatic factors and locations. The Western Himalayan region is one of the Indian vegetation that extends from Kashmir to Kumaon. This temperate zone produces a range from apples, cherries, strawberries, pears and peaches to walnuts, pea nuts, almonds, apricots and more. The rare, priceless saffron is also grown in this Kashmir valley. The eastern Himalayan region extending from Sikkim to northernmost parts of West Bengal boasts rich forests of Oaks, Birch, Laurels, Maples, Alder, Rhododendrons, Junipers and Dwarf Willows. Sikkim is a haven for highly colorful orchids. The Indian vegetation in the tropical region of north-east India, comprising Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya and lower regions of Arunachal Pradesh are suitable for the cultivation of numerous fruits like Cherries, Plums, Squashes, Oranges and Pineapples. The Indo-Gangetic plains that stretch from eastern Rajasthan through Uttar Pradesh to Bihar and West Bengal are vast cultivable lands. The major crops here are rice, jute, wheat sugarcane, Bajra (pearl millets) Jowar (sorghum), maize, mustard or rye and an infinite range of vegetables. The Sundarbans in West Bengal is the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra river and the area between high and low water marks mangrove trees adopted to the unusual estuarine condition of high salinity, lack of soil erosion and daily inundation by high tides. In the Thar Desert lying to the west of the country, the trees are short and corpulent, stunted by the scorching sun and the lack of moisture. The commonest vegetation growing in this region are Guar, Babul, Reunjha and Keekar and numerous species of cacti, like Khejra, Kanju, Ak and Khajur. The Deccan Plateau is one of the largest Indian vegetation and comprises the entire tableland of the Indian peninsula. Interestingly, the black soil, which is spread over the entire Deccan Plateau and its offshoots of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, makes these regions perfect for cotton cultivation. The elevation of the Plateau is also favorable to orange cultivation, which is carried out in the Nagpur region of Maharashtra. The highly popular Sandalwood is an evergreen tree, which commonly grows in the dry, deciduous forests of the Deccan Plateau. It also grows in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The Malabar region is notable Indian vegetation that covers the excessively humid belt of mountain country parallel to the west coast of the Peninsula and produces several major commercial crops like coconut, betel nut (supari), pepper, coffee, rubber and cashew nut. The Western Ghats encompass only 5% of Indian vegetation, but are home to more than about 4,000 of the country`s plant species of which 1800 are widespread. Nilgiris, a part of this mountain chain is also a key producer of tea and coffee. Indian Vegetation is being protected and guarded with utmost care, since it provides a huge amount of revenue and also ecological balance to the nation.
  • With more than 1250 species of birds, India and the rest of south Asia are a paradise for bird watching. There are over 925 breeding species. The Indian birds belong to 16 groups called `Orders`, which are further divided into `Families`, `Sub-Families` and `Genera`. For birding in India, 13 bio-geographical regions can be demarcated: Trans Himalayan, Western Himalayas, Eastern Himalayas, Desert, Semi-arid, Gangetic plain , Central India, Deccan plateau, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Northeast Coasts and Andaman and Nicobar islands.The Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is the national bird of India. Though it is difficult to judge who is the largest Bird of India, Sarus Crane(stands the height of a man) and the Himalayan Bearded Vulture (wingspan of more than 8 feet) are at the top. Amongst the small Birds is the Tickell`s Flowerpecker scarcely bigger than a normal Thumb. Peacock is the most colourful bird with its gracious colourful patterned wings. The list of most accomplished songster in the order of preference is Grey-winged Blackbird, Malabar Whistling Thrush and Shama. The best talker is certainly the Hill Myna whose articulation of the human voice and speech is clear. Rare birds in India are the Mountain (Himalayan) Quail, Jerdon`s Courser, Pink-headed Duck and Forest Owlet. Though these birds were declared extinct, Jerdon`s Courser was rediscovered in 1986 after nearly 90 years of non-sighting and the Forest Owlet was rediscovered in 1997 after 113 years of non-sighting. Birds in India: As mentioned earlier, almost 1250 birds belonging to various species, are found only in the Indian sub-continent. Some are rarely seen and some are the common ones, seen in all parts of the country. Few common varieties of birds are as follows: The Indian Shag: It is also known as the Indian cormorant. It is found almost throughout the Indian subcontinent excluding the higher reaches of the Himalayas and on the island country of Sri Lanka. It is a duck-like waterfowl, slightly bigger in size than a normal duck, and is of a glistening black color. Small colonies of nesting Indian Shags can be found between July to February, the month varying from place to place. The common Myna: This dark chocolate brown color bird with bright yellow bill, legs and orbital skin. While the Sri Lankan Myna is of a darker shade of brown, the Indian myna has a conspicuous white patch, which shows when the bird is in flight. This bird has a variety of sharp calls that is uttered with an absurd bobbing of the head. It is widespread throughout the Indian subcontinent including the islands of andaman, Nicobar, Lakshwadeep and the Maldives where it was introduced. It is a very visible bird in India, having a habit of following humans around. It eats whatever its habitat has to offer. The Little Egret: This bird, found all over the Indian sub-continent, is almost the height of a village hen. Dwelling mostly in the marshes, water ponds, rivers and tidal mudflats, this bird is of a very cunning nature. Its food menu ranges from insects, fish, and frogs to even small reptiles. Both the sexes are alike and the female lays 4 bluish-green eggs in the month of July/August in northern India and November to February in the Southern part. The Pond Heron or the Paddy bird: A bird having a variety of low conversational notes and peculiar mumbling sounds that a nesting pair utters. Brown in color when it is resting supplemented with maroon hair like plums on the back and long white crest during the breeding season. It flashes its shimmering white wings, tail and rump, when it springs into flight. Just like the Egret, the Pond Heron can be found at a river, pond, roadside ditch, and the seacoast in mangrove swamps, tidal mudflats or in the paddy fields form where it has acquired its second name - paddy bird. Also called the `saintly heron`, as it stands hunched up at the remote corner of a water body watching and waiting patiently for the fish to come within reach before it picks on it in a flash. The Redwattled Lapwing: A partridge-like bird, the best place to locate it, being the water bodies where these are found in pairs. It is found all over the Indian Union up to about 1800 m in the Himalayas and peninsular hills. Its color above is bronze-brown, below is white; breast, head and neck are black and there is a crimson wattle in front of each eye. The ever famous Parakeet or Parrot: The `Tota` of India and most lovable bird. Large flock can be found all over the Indian Sub-continent, from the foothills of Himalayas to the southern parts of the country. Agriculture-wise it is very destructive, known for wasting more and eating less. Usually green in color with an amazingly red beak, the female lacks the black and rose pink collar of male. The National Bird: The Indian Peacock: A collage of wonderful and beautifully designed colors and patterns. It is found in dry semi-desert grasslands, scrub and deciduous forests and it forages and nests on the ground but roosts on top of trees. It eats mainly seeds, but also some insects, fruits and reptiles. The Indian Peacock has beautiful iridescent blue-green plumage. The Indian Roller: The bird is of a striking blue color with a rufous brown breast and a pail blue abdomen and under tail. The magnificence of its colors is best exhibited in flight when the dark and light portions show up as brilliant bands on the wings. It is found mostly at the foothills of the Himalayas. The Indian White :Rumped Vulture: It is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. It has head, very broad wings, short tail and a white neck ruff. This specie is almost on the verge of extinction. Purple Swamphen -Generally found on lotus pond. It is a bluish-purple bird with a red gaudy beak. As the name goes, they are found in marshy areas skulking around reed beds and water hyacinth plants. These are common throughout the country. Pheasant tailed jacana : Easily identified by the striking white plumage from head to breast and by long sickle shaped tail during the breeding season. Jacanas are comfortable walking on aquatic plant and are popularly known as lily-walkers because of their ability. They are found on lotus ponds in Hyderabad . White breasted waterhen- Easily identified by the white patch that starts from near the head all the way down to the lower parts of the breast. Can be spotted near jheels, lakes, and small ponds around the countryside. Found on lotus ponds. Greyheaded fish eagle -As the name goes, this eagle mainly subsists on a diet of fish. Grey head, brown back and flanks and the tail are seen with a black terminal band that can easily be observed in flight. Found in north/north-eastern parts of the country and also in pockets in peninsular India. Pallas Fish Eagle : A large brownish eagle with a pale golden head. Usually found near large waterbodies. Found in the north and northeastern parts of India. Changeable Hawk Eagle (dark morph) : Dark morph and pale morph variations exist. Found in dense forests. Size varies from 60-70cms. This eagle`s found in most parts of the country, except extreme north and north west of the country. Crested Serpent Eagle- A beautiful eagle with a black-white crest found in forested areas. Found in most parts of the country. Trademark kweeee- kwee-kwee call. Generally found in Kaziranga in Assam and Thattekad in Kerala . Mountain Hawk Eagle - Found usually in mountainous regions. Barring on underparts. Lava, Lava 8 Mile, Found in Northern Bengal NE and SW India. Black Eagle - Found in broadleaved forests in hills and mountains. Generally found Lava, West Bengal . Black shouldered Kite- A widespread and common raptor, found throughout the country. Often seen hovering in the air searching for prey. Generally to be found near Manjira Reservoir, Hyderabad. Black Kite (Pariah Kite)- A dark brown kite found throughout the country. Can be seen circling and soaring in urban areas. Easily distinguished by the shallow `v-shaped` tail.generally found in Hyderabad. Malabar Grey Hornbill- Orange-yellow bill and overall grey appearance. Paler grey streaking on sides of head. The female has a blackish base at the start of the lower mandible, to be seen generally in Kerala. Indian Nightjar - Nightjars are crepuscular (active in the evenings). All nightjars are dull colored and well camouflaged. To be seen in mostly in Hyderabad. Jungle Owlet- Seen in most parts of the country in well-wooded areas. A small owl with heavy barring. Racket tailed Drongo- Streaming tail feathers give the bird it`s name. Found in dense forests and bamboo jungle. Has various calls ranging from musical to harsh. It`s a great sight to see the swishing tail as it flies across the forest canopy. Blue Winged Minla and Red tailed Minla - can be found in evergreen forests of the Himalayas and the northeastern hills. Rufous Winged Fulvetta - The Rufous winged fulvetta is usually found in the undergrowths in dense forests and well-wooded areas. Resident and found only in the NE and the Himalayas. Little Pied Flycatcher- Resident in the NE states and the Himalayas. The female is dull brown in color. Common bird in Lava, North Bengal. Tickell`s Blue Flycatcher - Distribution from central India down south and also parts of the northeast. Blue upperparts. Underparts clearly seperated into orange uppers and white lowers. Female is duller blue. Wooded areas in forests. Verditer Flycatcher- Found in woodlands and can be found in many parts of the country in the winter. But breeds mainly in the northeast and the himalayas. The female of the species is lighter colored. Crimson Breasted Barbet (a.k.a The Coppersmith)- Found in most parts of the country. Also called the Coppersmith because of the tuk-tuk-tuk sound that it makes, which sounds like a coppersmith beating copper on an anvil. Indian Robin-The Indian Robin is commonly found throughout the sub-continent. It is often seen hopping around on the ground looking for insects. The male and female are dissimilar. Indian Roller- Bright blue wings with brownish upper parts. Common throughout India and can are found perched on open branches and electric wires in open country. Yellow billed Babbler- Pale white head and yellow bill. Common throughout southern India. This bird is usually seen moving around noisily in flocks of seven or more. Scaly-breasted Munia- The adult has scaly lower breast, belly and flanks. The juvenile (shown in the first picture) has brown upperparts and lacks the scaled feathers. They are often seen in flocks and feed on grass seeds. Asian Koel- The male Asian Koel is greenish-black, has red eyes and a pale green bill. The female is brownish above and is heavily striped and spotted. It has a persistent and loud ku-OO ku-OO call. Like other cuckoos the koel is also a `brood parasite`, laying its eggs in the nest of other birds. White browed Wagtail- Has a pied plumage and hence also known as the pied wagtail. Found near water, usually in pairs. Purple Heron- The purple heron is a large, colourful heron with a long snake like neck. In breeding season the colours become brighter and the breast plumes become more pendulous. Grey Heron, Black -crowned Night Heron,Painted Stork ,Small Pratincole ,Little Ringed Plover, River Tern-Are generally found in Hyderabad Great Thick-knee- Usually found in pairs or in groups on the banks of freshwater rivers and lakes and also on shores of lagoons and estuaries. Green Bee-eater - The most familiar and widespread bee-eater in the country and is often seen sitting on fences and electric wires. They have elongated tail feathers, which are absent in the juvenile. As the name suggests they predominantly feed on insects, including bees, wasps, dragonflies and butterflies, which are caught in the air while performing sorties. Plain Prinia- The plain prinia is a small warbler, typically found in wet grassland, open woodland, grass and secondary growth. It is an active bird and constantly waves its long tail around while flitting around. Baya Weaver (a.k.a Indian Weaver Bird)- Weaverbirds are seed eating birds with rounded conical bills and are closely related to finches. They are known for their elaborately woven nests. The Baya weaver is a gregarious bird and breeds in colonies that can be found in scattered trees in open country. Despite the scientific name Ploceus philippinus, they are found through mainland India and not in Philippines.The breeding male Baya weaver (shown in the picture) has a bright yellow crown and a dark brown mask around the eye. Non-breeding males and females resemble female house sparrows. They also lack the dark brown mask. Barn Swallow -Barn swallows are highly adaptable birds and can nest almost anywhere. This bird was nesting in the lodge where we were staying. The cup-shaped nest is made up of mud and the inside is lined with feathers, grass and other soft materials. It is a resident bird in Lava and found nesting in almost every house. It is a winter visitor to the rest of the country. The deeply forked tail can be seen in flight. Greater Coucal- The greater Coucal is a common and widespread bird in India. It is found in overgrown shrubs, gardens and forest edges. Rose-ringed Parakeet- The Rose-ringed parakeet is the most common and widespread parakeet throughout the country. The male has a black and rose collar, which is absent in the female.
  • Discovery Of India - Land And People

    1. 1. Discover India
    2. 2. General Information
    3. 3. Republic of India भारत गणराज्य AREA: 3,287,263 sq km. 14th largest country. Slightly more than 1/3 rd the size of the US
    4. 4. Time in India
    5. 5. National Flag
    6. 6. National Anthem
    7. 7. National Song Bankim Chandra Rabindranath Tagore Shri Aurobindo Ghosh
    8. 8. National Emblem Sarnath Lion Capital
    9. 9. National Currency
    10. 10. National Animal
    11. 11. National Bird
    12. 12. National Aquatic Animal
    13. 13. National Flower
    14. 14. National Tree
    15. 15. National Fruit
    16. 17. National Sport
    17. 18. Assignment <ul><li>What are the national symbols of USA and explain what they symbolize ? </li></ul>
    18. 19. Land
    19. 20. Physical Features
    20. 21. Himalayas
    21. 22. Mountain Ranges
    22. 23. Rivers
    23. 24. The Indo-Gangetic Plain
    24. 25. The Deccan Plateau
    25. 26. Islands
    26. 27. States and Union Territories
    27. 28. North East India
    28. 29. East India
    29. 30. North India
    30. 31. West India
    31. 32. South India
    32. 33. Landmarks
    33. 34. Indian Heritage Sites
    34. 35. Famous Landmarks (Northeastern India)
    35. 36. Famous Landmarks (Eastern India) Konark Temple Mahabodhi Temple
    36. 37. Famous Landmarks (Northern India) Golden Temple Hawa Mahal Taj Mahal Dal Lake Agra Fort
    37. 38. Famous Landmarks (Delhi) Qutab Minar India Gate Jantar Mantar Akshardham Temple Red Fort
    38. 39. Famous Landmarks (Central) Khajuraho Temples Gwalior Fort Sanchi Stupa
    39. 40. Famous Landmarks (Western India) Velha Sé Cathedral Basilica of Bom Jesus Cathedral Akshardham Gateway of India Sabarmati Ashram
    40. 41. Famous Landmarks (Southern India) Golconda Fort Charminar Kancheepuram Gangaikonda Cholapuram Mysore Palace Hampi
    41. 42. Climate
    42. 43. Climate
    43. 44. Forests Sunderban fresh water swamp Himalayan broadleaf forests Kaziranga National Park (Assam) Nagarhole National Park (Karnataka)
    44. 45. Vegetation
    45. 46. Flowers
    46. 47. Birds Mayna Swamphen Fish Eagle Parrot (tota) Flamingo
    47. 48. Animals
    48. 49. People
    49. 50. Kashmir
    50. 51. Rajasthan
    51. 52. Kerala
    52. 53. Maharashtra
    53. 54. Goa