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come … discover india

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india… what you already know – but what we shall tell you about anyways! what you probably don’t know a dozen reasons for wanderlust chalo! (lets go!)

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Republic of India India, Bharat, Hindustan World’s largest democracy 23 officially recognized languages New Delhi is the capital with 15MM people Bombay is the powerhouse with 18MM people 2nd most populous country after China (1.12 BN) 4th in GDP (PPP) rankings after US, China and Japan ($3.8 Trillion) 7th largest state in area (3.16 MM sq km) 31st most dense state (336/ sq km) 118th in per capita income PPP ($3800) First war of independence against UK in 1857 Partition with Pakistan on 14 August 1947 Declared independence on 15 August 1947 Republic on 26 January 1950 Currency: Indian Rupee Time zone: IST (GMT +5:30) facts and figures

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A Brief History of India Stone Age 70000-3300 BC Mehrgarh Culture Indus Valley Civilization 3300-1300 BC Harappan Culture Vedic Period 1500-500 BC Mahavira, Gautam Buddha Mauryan Empire, Ashoka the great Middle Kingdoms 200 BC-1200 AD Golden age of Gupta Empire Islamic Sultanates 1200-1600 AD Arrival of Islam Golden age of Mughal Empire, Akbar the great Colonial Era 1750-1947 AD British Empire Modern State 1947 AD a land of history…

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Home to one-fifth of humanity on this planet! a land of people (a lot of us around, no?)

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a land of religion

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907 MM hindus It is the world's oldest existent religion, and has approximately a billion adherents. A very absorbing religion or philosophy, Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, monism and even atheism. Hindu religion is often labeled as a religion of 330 million gods. But the key Trinity comprises those responsible for three tasks: creation – Lord Brahma, preservation – Lord Vishnu, and destruction and rebirth – Lord Shiva.

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152 MM muslims Islam came to India with Turko-Muslim invasions in 8th century. Today, India has more Muslims than … Iraq Saudi Arabia Afghanistan Iran Egypt Jordan Syria COMBINED

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26 MM christians Christian faith in south India is much older than in Europe and America. Kerala Christians are called Nasranis or Syrian Christians and have a tradition of more than 2000 years. Later, Portugese catholic missionaries reached Malabar coast in 15th century. Protestant missionaries began to work throughout India in 18th century.

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21 MM sikhs Sikhism began in 15th century in northern India with the teachings of Guru Nanak. ‘Sikh’ comes from Sanskrit root sisya meaning desciple or learner. The term ‘guru’ comes from the Sanskrit gurū, meaning teacher, guide or mentor. Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear the Five Ks - The 5 items are: kēs (uncut hair), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular heavy metal bracelet), kirpān (ceremonial short sword), and kacchā (special undergarment). Sikhism is the 5th largest organised religion in the world (after Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism).

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12 MM buddhists Buddhism is another dharmic religion founded in India around 5th century BC by Siddhartha Gautama. Prince Siddhartha, after the enlightenment, was known as Buddha. ‘Four Noble Truths’ and ‘Noble Eight Fold Path’ are among Buddhism’s teachings. Today, Buddhism is a world religion with a following of about 350MM.

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5 MM jains Jainism is a dharmic religion originating in ancient india. Jains follow the teachings of ‘tirthankaras’. Lord Mahavira, the 24th tirthankara of Jains lived in 6th century BC. The Jains are the best educated religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.

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a land of festivals …

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diwali Diwali or the ‘Festival of Lights’, is a major Indian festival with great significance in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. The 5 day celebrations (in Oct / Nov) focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional dipa or deeya (earthen lamp) and fireworks. It symbolizes the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after vanquishing Demon Ravana.

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eid Eid-ul-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace after congregational prayers. People also distribute Zakat, the obligatory tax on one’s wealth, to the needy. One of the special dishes in India is savayya, a dish of toasted, sweetened vermicelli noodles.

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holi Holi or the ‘Festival of Colors’ is a popular spring festival. Bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi. On the day itself, known as dhulandi, people spend the day throwing colored powder and water at each other. A special drink called thandai is prepared, sometimes containing bhang (cannabis).

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dussera Dussera or ‘Vijayadashami’ is a festival celebrated in the month of Sep / Oct. Dussera marks the day when Lord Rama killed Demon Ravana. Present celebrations commemorate the event by burning effigies of Ravana and his henchmen.

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and of course… bollywood!! Bollywood produces about 1000 feature films in an year. Approximately 3 billion movie tickets are sold in India every year and is a $3 billion industry.

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and followed, in a burst of creativity, by … tollywood, mollywood, kollywood, lollywood!

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cricket mania India is a cricket crazy nation. The kids will play anywhere – roads, roof tops or railway tracks. Some will worship the cricketers. Others will burn down their houses if they fail to perform. Legendary rival? Pakistan. And India has never lost a match to Pakistan in World Cup.

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cricket mania

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and some food for thought… Oldest, continuous civilization 5,000 years and going strong Tradition, culture and ancient wisdom Attained independence through non-violence Perhaps one of the very few to do so And the one that heralded the breakup of the British Empire Largest Democracy However imperfect, chaotic, exasperating, unpredictable, frustrating or unreal! And Churchill thought we would fail Services Superpower IT, BPO, R&D… And an unconventional route to stardom Secularism and Tolerance Every single religion of the world has found a home here Including all ‘invaders’ and those who were thrown out of their own homeland, welcomed with open arms to this already crowded land! Illiteracy “IIT/IIM” talks hide the poor primary education infrastructure Young population Yes, but how to get the best of them Poverty and Inequality Grinding, multi-generational poverty Co-existing with sheer inequality of resource distribution Corruption India is NOT a poor country And yet, 85% of all development funds …..vanish! Under-developed Infrastructure 12 hour power failures 2 hours of running water Poor government health care… Internal Disturbances Kashmir… Naxalites… The North East… …we run along!! Somehow, in spite of the Gods...

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india what you already know what you probably don’t know – the new, quirky, contradictory, difficult to pin-down India a dozen reasons for wanderlust

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sari… the traditional garment

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sari… err…

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PALACE ON WHEELS A luxury train operated by Indian railways – departs from New Delhi for an 8 day tour of Rajasthan, Agra and includes visits to Hawa Mahal, Taj Mahal, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore National Park and many other places. Prices are about $500 per night. railways … the british import INDIAN RAILWAYS And yet as the life blood of the transport it is also … ALL ABOARD! The Mumbai Metro is the densest, largest carrier in the world.

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Raju goes to school… This sucks. Life will get better when I grow up and start working Ummm… I think I’ll try the train tomorrow Sigh… I hate public transport Perfect! getting around…

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In the land of Khajuraho and the Kamasutra… … a light kiss in public … Richard Gere! Shilpa Shetty! … is not taken lightly! a bit too prudish?

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What is this??? Disappears the next day! An abandoned plane… need we say more!

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I have the power! International Brands? Underage Drinking? The toughest defender in the world The path to God perhaps we will say a bit more!

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And you thought it was tough explaining YOUR job? jobs india hasn’t yet exported

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india what you already know what you probably don’t know a dozen reasons for wanderlust

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himalayas home to mount everest Roof of the world. Ten 8000-ders reside in this range. Home of Yeti.

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ladakh out of this world Ladakh means "Land of High Passes‘. It is India’s highest plateau with much of it being over 3,000 m.

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kashmir heaven on earth Historically the term Kashmir was used to refer to the valley lying between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range. Often dubbed “Paradise on Earth”, Kashmir's mountainous landscape has attracted tourists for centuries.

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jodhpur aquamarine blue city The city is known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred as the Blue city, due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses.

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thar desert, rajasthan the golden sand dunes of Also known as the Great Indian Desert, it's a desert located in western India and southeastern Pakistan.

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varanasi the holy town on ganges It's a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the river Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Hindus believe that bathing in the river Ganges will remit sins and that dying in the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi) circumvents rebirth.

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calcutta lost in time Now known as Kolkata, it served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. This vibrant city, with a distinct socio-political culture, is considered by many as the Cultural capital of India.

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ajanta ellora cities carved in stone Ellora caves are rock-cut cave monuments dating back to the second century BC. Famous for its paintings, Ajanta caves is a World Heritage Site.

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bombay stuff dreams are made of Monsoon. Locals. Mills. Crime. Crowd. Streets. Chawls. Cars. Carts. Underworld. Business. Bollywood. Bomb blasts. Stock Market. CHAOS. Theatre. Shopping Malls. Flats. Slums. Expressways. Fights. Fervour. Passion. Fear. Fever. Bombay is made of the stuff dreams are made of.

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goa some martini, some sun, a little water, some sand Known as ‘Rome of the East’, ‘Tourist Paradise’ and ‘Pearl of the Orient’, the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India. Goa's carnival-like nightlife has been known to lure many into a psychedelic trance.

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dubare national park At Dubare elephant sanctuary in south India (and several other national parks), you can see these giants troll in the wild. Come evening, you can feed them jaggery laddoos with your hands and pat their trunks. Suggested tip to the keeper: $ 0.50

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kerala Beautiful Backwaters This little country famous for food in banana leaves, ayurvedic massages, communism, 100% literacy is the backwaters of India. It’s also the place where Thomas the Apostle landed in 1st century.

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And they say, men of the world are divided into two … those who have seen it and those who haven’t

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taj mahal, agra a monument of love

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theek hain?

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some creativity, some ctrl C + ctrl V send your bouquets and brickbats to zishaan [at] gmail [dot] com

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