Have you ever heard of a country that has only 28 states, yet 20+ official languages? Well, look no further, as we explore Incredible India. In honor of this country’s upcoming 69th anniversary of its independence, we are going to take a look at this incredibly diverse subcontinent, and highlight some of its fascinating facts.
Overview: (India, 2016)
Official name: Republic of India
Population: 1,147,995,898 (estimated as of 2008)
Official language: None
National languages: 22 scheduled languages + English
Bordering countries: China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma
Bordering bodies of water: Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea
Largest city: Mumbai
Climate: diverse; mostly tropical, excluding elevations; varies seasonally & regionally
Year of Independence: 1947
National symbol: the lion Ashoka
Currency: Rupee (1 USD = approximately Rs. 67)
Anyone who has traveled to this country, can tell you that its diversity is incredible. Traveling from one state to the next is like being transported to another world, complete with different languages. When most people think of India, they think Bollywood, the Taj Mahal, poverty, or Gandhi. But there’s another side to India involving exotic palm and coconut tree-lined waterways, lush tropical foliage, and the amazing aromas of home cooked meals wafting through the air.
Travel & Weather: Travel to India can nearly take an entire 24 hours, depending on where you’re going, and where you’re flying from. The country has tropical monsoon weather in the south, temperate weather in the north, and much colder temperatures near the Himalayas.
Government & Law: India is a Federal Parliamentary Republic with Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. In the Executive Branch, there is a President as the Chief of State, as well as a Prime Minister as the Head of Government, each serving a 5-year term. The Legislative Branch consists of the Council of States, also known as the “Rajya Sabha”, with members serving a 6-year term. The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court (whose justices are appointed by the President), as well as three subordinate courts: the High Courts, District Courts, and Labour Courts. Unlike the U.S., India has dozens of national and regional political parties (CIA World Factbook).
Topography: If you’re looking for an array of landscapes, India is the country for you. From rivers, mountains, valleys, seashores, deserts, and flatlands, it has it all. The country can be divided into the following areas (CIA World Factbook):
- The northern mountains of the Himalayas
- The Indo-Gangetic Plain
- The Peninsular or Deccan Plateau
- Central Highlands
- West Coast (Kankara, Konkan, and Malabar coasts)
- East Coast (The Coromandel coast to the south)
- The Great Indian Desert (also named as Thar Desert in Rajasthan) and Rann of Kutch
- The Northeastern mountain ranges bordering Assam Valley
- The Brahmaputra River Valley in Assam
- The Islands of the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
Traditional Clothing: There are many types of ‘traditional’ Indian clothing, but the most well-known one is perhaps the saree, a single piece of cloth varying in length from 5 to 9 yards, that is wrapped around a woman’s body in drapes and folds, and accompanied by a short, cropped blouse. There are also several other types of Indian clothing for women & men, which are also featured in our Indian Couture display in the 2nd Floor Rotunda case. Don’t forget to stop by to check it out! The Couture display will be on exhibit through the end of August.