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India Country Guide

Explore India in Asia

India with the capital city New Delhi is located in Asia (Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal). It covers some 3,287,591 square kilometres (slightly more than one-third the size of the US) with 1,147,995,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The landscape offers upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north. The average density of population is approximately 349 per km². The notable climate conditions in India can be described as varying from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north. Potential threats by nature are droughts or flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains, severe thunderstorms or earthquakes.

To reach someone in India dial +91 prior to a number. There are 35,770,000 installed telephones. And there are 670,000,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".in". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of India

Three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green, with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; saffron represents courage, sacrifice, and the spirit of renunciation; white signifies purity and truth; green stands for faith and fertility; the blue chakra symbolizes the wheel of life in movement and death in stagnation
note: similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band.

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century. By the 19th century, Great Britain had become the dominant political power on the subcontinent. The British Indian Army played a vital role in both World Wars. Years of nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU, eventually resulted in Indian independence, which was granted in 1947. Large-scale communal violence took place before and after the subcontinent partition into two separate states - India and Pakistan. The neighboring nations have fought three wars since independence, the last of which was in 1971 and resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. India's nuclear weapons tests in 1998 emboldened Pakistan to conduct its own tests that same year. In November 2008, terrorists originating from Pakistan conducted a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, India's financial capital. Despite pressing problems such as significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and widespread corruption, economic growth following the launch of economic reforms in 1991 and a massive youthful population are driving India's emergence as a regional and global power.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: China, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh
Capital: New Delhi
Size 3,287,590 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 1,269,346 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly more than one-third the size of the US
Population 1,147,995,000
Currency Name: Rupee, Currency Code: INR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .in
Telephone Country Prefix +91
Mobile Phone Connections 670,000,000
Landline Phone Connections 35,770,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 3,287,263 (sq km) 7

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 1,220,800,359 2
Population growth rate 1.28 (%) 90
Birth rate 20.24 (births/1,000 population) 86
Death rate 7.39 (deaths/1,000 population) 117
Net migration rate -0.05 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 111
Maternal mortality rate 200.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 54
Infant mortality rate 44.60 (deaths/1,000 live births) 50
Life expectancy at birth 67.48 (years) 163
Total fertility rate 2.55 (children born/woman) 81
Health expenditures 4.10 (% of GDP) 164
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.30 (%) 85
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 2,400,000 3
HIV/AIDS - deaths 170,000 3
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.90 (%) 184
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 43.50 (%) 2
Education expenditures 3.30 (% of GDP) 131
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 10.2 (%) 106


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 4,761,000,000,000 4
GDP - real growth rate 6.50 (%) 34
GDP - per capita (PPP) 3,900 168
Labor force 498,400,000 2
Unemployment rate 9.90 (%) 107
Distribution of family income - Gini index 37 78
Investment (gross fixed) 30.00 (% of GDP) 22
Taxes and other revenues 9.4 (% of GDP) 210
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -6.00 (% of GDP) 171
Public debt 51.90 (% of GDP) 61
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.20 (%) 197
Central bank discount rate 6.00 (%) 58
Commercial bank prime lending rate 10.19 (%) 89
Stock of narrow money 342,300,000,000 16
Stock of broad money 1,451,000,000,000 14
Stock of domestic credit 1,402,000,000,000 15
Market value of publicly traded shares 1,616,000,000,000 9
Industrial production growth rate 4.80 (%) 65
Current account balance -80,150,000,000 192
Exports 309,100,000,000 18
Imports 500,300,000,000 9
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 287,200,000,000 11
Debt - external 376,300,000,000 29
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 256,600,000,000 20
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 121,300,000,000 28


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 880,000,000,000 (kWh) 7
Electricity - consumption 637,600,000,000 (kWh) 7
Electricity - exports 519,000,000 (kWh) 60
Electricity - imports 10,530,000,000 (kWh) 21
Electricity - installed generating capacity 189300000 (kW) 6
Electricity - from fossil fuels 69.9 (% of total installed capacity) 107
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 2.2 (% of total installed capacity) 29
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 20.9 (% of total installed capacity) 90
Electricity - from other renewable sources 7.0 (% of total installed capacity) 30
Crude oil - production 897,300 (bbl/day) 25
Crude oil - imports 2,768,000 (bbl/day) 5
Crude oil - proved reserves 8935000000 (bbl) 20
Refined petroleum products - production 3,226,000 (bbl/day) 7
Refined petroleum products - consumption 3,292,000 (bbl/day) 7
Refined petroleum products - exports 812,100 (bbl/day) 9
Refined petroleum products - imports 380,900 (bbl/day) 16
Natural gas - production 46,100,000,000 (cu m) 22
Natural gas - consumption 61,100,000,000 (cu m) 13
Natural gas - imports 12,150,000,000 (cu m) 24
Natural gas - proved reserves 1,154,000,000,000 (cu m) 25
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 1,696,000,000 (Mt) 4


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 32,685,000 10
Telephones - mobile cellular 893,862,000 2
Internet hosts 6,746,000 17
Internet users 61,338,000 6


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 352 22
Railways 63,974 (km) 4
Roadways 3,320,410 (km) 3
Waterways 14,500 (km) 9
Merchant marine 340 29


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.80 (% of GDP) 81

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Agra Fort
Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It ...
Ajanta Caves
The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, cons ...
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi
On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site of Sanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd ...
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
A concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the ...
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, de ...
Churches and Convents of Goa
The churches and convents of Goa, the former capital of the Portuguese Indies – particularly the Church of Bom Jesus, which contains the tomb of St Francis-Xavier – illustrate the evangelization of Asia. These monuments were influential in spread ...
Elephanta Caves
The 'City of Caves', on an island in the Sea of Oman close to Bombay, contains a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. ...
Ellora Caves
These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. Ellora, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, bri ...
Fatehpur Sikri
Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, inclu ...
Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area
This National Park in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests. The 90,540 ha property includes the upper mountain glacial ...
Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples were built by kings of the Chola Empire, which stretched over all of south India and the neighbouring islands. The site includes three great 11th- and 12th-century Temples: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brih ...
Group of Monuments at Hampi
The austere, grandiose site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Conq ...
Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open- ...
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal
Pattadakal, in Karnataka, represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine H ...
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
The serial site, situated in the state of Rajastahan, includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. The ecclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 kilometres in circumference, bears ...
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. ...
Kaziranga National Park
In the heart of Assam, this park is one of the last areas in eastern India undisturbed by a human presence. It is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as many mammals, including tigers, elephants, panthers a ...
Keoladeo National Park
This former duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajas is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been record ...
Khajuraho Group of Monuments
The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism. They s ...
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates ...
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
On a gentle slope in the foothills of the Himalayas, where wooded hills give way to alluvial grasslands and tropical forests, the Manas sanctuary is home to a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species, such as the tiger, pygmy hog, ...
Mountain Railways of India
This site includes three railways. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of e ...
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks
Nestled high in West Himalaya, India’s Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic ...
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
Built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings. The surrounding ...
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat
Rani-ki-Vav, on the banks of the Saraswati River, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constr ...
Red Fort Complex
The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by ...
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, display ...
Sun Temple, Konârak
On the shores of the Bay of Bengal, bathed in the rays of the rising sun, the temple at Konarak is a monumental representation of the sun god Surya's chariot; its 24 wheels are decorated with symbolic designs and it is led by a team of six horses. Bu ...
Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans covers 10,000 km2 of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the Ganges delta. It contains the world's largest area of mangrove forests. A number of rare or endangered species live in the park, includi ...
Taj Mahal
An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of ...
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific ...
Western Ghats
Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes. The site’s high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon ...