The country India was discovered by Vasco-da-Gama in the year 498, via Cape of Good Hope.The official name of our country is the ‘Republic of India’. There are many other names of India. A few of them are “Bharat, Hindustan, Bharat-varsh, Hind etc.”
The country India is in the southern part of Asia continent. The shape of India is almost triangular. The length of this country from north to south is 3214km and width from east to west is 2933km. It is the 7th largest country in terms of area. It covers 2.4% of the total surface area of the world. It lies between 8o4’N and 37o6’N latitudes and 6807’E and 97025’E longitudes. The Tropic of Cancer (23 ½0 ) passes almost halfway through the country. The northern part of India is broader than the southern part.
It is surrounded by the Himalayas in the north, the Arabian ocean in the west, the Bay of Bengal in the east and the Indian sea in the south. Countries which are surrounding its border are China, Nepal and Bhutan in the north, Sri Lanka in the south, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the west and Bangladesh and Burma in the east.
In geographical terms the land of India is mainly divided into:
a) The Northern Mountains
b) The Northern Plains
c) The Peninsula and
d) The Coastal Plains and the Islands
a) The mountains extend for more than 2400 km. There are 7 mountain ranges in India. Mt. Godwin Austin (k2) is the highest peak of India and second highest in the world. It is in the Karakoram Mountains and its height is 8611 meter.
b) The Northern plains occupy the greater part of northern India. It lies towards the south of the Northern Mountains. It is also known as the Ganga-Brahmaputra plain. It covers area from the Satluj River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east, for about 2400 km. Northern Plains are divided into 3 parts:
The Great Indian Desert = covers the western part of Rajasthan. The land is generally rocky and sandy.
The Ganga basin = covers the largest part of the Northern plains. It covers the parts of Haryana, Punjab, M.P., Bihar, U.P and West Bengal. And
The Brahmaputra valley = lies in eastern India. It is also known as Assam plains.
c) In the south of the Northern Plains are Peninsular plateaus. It is almost triangular in shape. Its slope is from west to east. The Western Ghats form its western boundary and the Eastern Ghats form its eastern boundary. In the north of this Plateau region are the Aravallis, the Vindhyas, the Satpuras and the Rajmahal hills. Godavari is the longest river of the Peninsular India.
d) The Coastal Plains run for about 6100 km from the Rann of Kachchh in the west to West Bengal in the east. The western and the eastern coastal plains meet at Cape Comorin, the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland. The eastern coast is broader than the western coast.
In broad sense there are 2 main groups of islands. One of them is the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian sea and the other is the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
The capital of India is New Delhi. The currency which is used here is Rupee. The mother language of India is Hindi. Beside this there are 22 officially recognized languages, according to the Constitution of India. However, in India more than 1500 languages are being used. The main religion of this country is Hinduism. The other main religions which are functional over here are Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. Jainism, Zoroastrianism etc. are also functional but in limited area.
The literacy rate of India is 74.04%. The state Kerala is having the highest literacy rate. India is the second most populated country in the world succeeding China. The most populous state of this country is U.P and the least is Sikkim.
The national flag of India is a tri-colour of saffron, white and dark green in equal proportion. The colour saffron is at the top of the flag which represents ‘courage and sacrifice’, White is in the middle which represents ‘peace and truth’ and at the bottom is dark green which represents ‘prosperity’. In the centre of the white band is the ‘Chakra’ of Navy Blue colour, which represents ‘law of the Dharma’. It has 24 spokes. The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 22nd July,1947.