It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues.
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress during the last 67 years of its Independence. India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production and is now one of the top industrialised countries in the world and one of the few nations to have gone into outer space to conquer nature for the benefit of the people. It covers an area of 3,287,590 sq. km (1,269,346 sq mi), extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
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The climate of India can broadly be classified as a tropical monsoon one. But, in spite of much of the northern part of India lying beyond the tropical zone, the entire country has a tropical climate marked by relatively high temperatures and dry winters. There are four seasons:
1. winter (December-February)
2. summer (March-June)
3. south-west monsoon season (June-September)
4. post monsoon season (October-November)
To sum up we quote Mark Twain, American author: “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
• Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which originated in India. The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.
• The ‘Place Value System’ and the ‘Decimal System’ were developed in India in 100 B.C.
• The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat’. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowries’ shells and dices. In time, the game underwent several modifications, but its meaning remained the same, i.e. good deeds take people to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
• India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
• The largest employer in India is the Indian Railways, employing over 1.4 million people.
• When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappa culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)
• The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
• Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. • Sushruta is regarded as the Father of Surgery. Over2600 years ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
• The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘NAVGATIH’. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nou’.
• Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun was 365.258756484 days.
• Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
• The four religions born in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.