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Travel Guide to India

by WCC on February 18, 2012

in Asia

India is the largest country in South Asia and to China the second largest populous country in the world. India boasts of being the largest democracy in the world (measured in terms of population). Bordering countries are Pakistan , China , Nepal , Bhutan , Bangladesh and Myanmar .

india Travel Guide to India


ndia is administratively divided into 28 federal states ( States ) and 7 union territories ( Union Territories ) is divided. The border states are largely by linguistic lines. Their size varies considerably, some states are larger than many nation states in Europe . The union territories are smaller than the states – sometimes they include only a single city – and have less autonomy.

Although the first Indian empire under Emperor Ashoka dated to the third century before Christ, is the history of India is determined largely by petty local princes and warlike. Hinduism as a social system has succeeded time and again to adapt to new challenges. Thus, the spread of Buddhism Ashoka was a hand with a recording of Buddhist principles – met (such as ahimsa non-violence) in Hinduism, Jainism, the other was with a mixture of the two religions. Similarly, did the Sikh religion, a mixture of Hinduism and Islam in response to the attacks by Muslim armies from the 11th Century.

In the 15-16. Century succeeded Babur, the founder of the (Muslim) Mughal dynasty, an empire in northern India and present-day Pakistan to create the Muslim rule, however, could never penetrate to the south. From 1803 the British East India Company managed by skillful utilization of hostilities under local princes and the weakness of the last Mughal emperor by little the majority of today’s India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are under their domination. After the failed uprising of Indian soldiers in 1857 the rule was officially handed over to the British crown and the center of power that had been held since the Mughal period in the vicinity of Delhi and Agra to Calcutta laid. Exceptions are Goa (under Portuguese rule until 1961) and Pondicherry (under French rule until 1954).

After independence in 1947 the seat of government was moved again to Delhi. Since 1947, India is the world’s largest democracy, and unlike other countries in the region of this democratic tradition has been kept intact. At just under 3.2 million square kilometers (about nine times the area of Germany ) live approximately 1.1 billion people (about 14 times the population of Germany). In the era of the Cold War was one of India as well as Yugoslavia and Egypt to the spokesmen of the movement of nonaligned countries, although in contrast to the hostile neighbors and U.S. allies Pakistan were traditionally stronger ties with the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 was also an economic opening of the (socialist) state associated to the outside world.

The majority of Indians (80%) are Hindus, Muslims (13%), Christians (2.3%) and Sikhs (1.8%), provide many strong minorities. Although Buddhism originated in India, but nowadays there is hardly any followers. Other religious minorities include Jains and Parsis. Despite the overwhelming majority of Hindus, India is a secular state. Hinduism is not a single religion with a prescribed creed, but is divided into different groups, philosophical and theological schools, which is nevertheless based on a common mythology and an impressive number of religious and philosophical writings. The caste system is so to speak, the social expression of Hinduism pervades, but in some cases religious minorities such as Sikhs or Christians. The boxes are roughly divided into the four varnas: brahmanas (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (farmers and merchants) and Shudras (laborers). These are divided into hundreds of different varnas again Jatis, often localized subsets of the box. Outside and below the caste system are the Dalits, the so-called untouchables, officially Harijans (Children of God). The caste system is officially abolished with the independence and there are now as quotas for Dalits in public office. It retains the consciousness of the human remains of central importance, although it is limited in more modern areas on the choice of marriage partner. But do not be surprised if you are occasionally asked by their caste.

Today, the country experienced an economic boom, especially in the IT industry. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had been the beginning of the nineties created an Internet ministry, which is also reflected in the rate of Internet cafes, even in small villages. The economic boom brings in some cities (eg Delhi , Bangalore , Bombay , Madras ) and cultural and social change with it, such as the development of a night life, or of youth culture. In more remote areas such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and is depending on the upswing not feel much: As before, the vast majority of India’s population works in agriculture.

Passport and visa are required for entry, the passport must be valid for at least for 6 months. Visas can be ordered by mail or picked up directly at the Indian consulates in Germany, usually take to get by mail or in person, about a week. Probably the most common visa is a tourist visa for 6 months and 80, – €, the longest period the visa is possible, without notice, is a one-year visa for 110, – €. The visa can be extended if necessary in India, it may be necessary initially but emigrate to a neighboring country. Note that the visa is valid from the date of issue, not on the entry. Foreign exchange worth over $ 5,000 must be declared in order to avoid problems with the departure should also be declared as expensive camera equipment.

In India more than 1,600 languages ​​are spoken. In addition to the national official languages ​​of Hindi and English are the following 21 regional official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam , Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Of the 23 constitutional languages ​​including sixteen of the Indo-Aryan, four of the Dravidian (Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam ), one of the Austro-Asiatic (Santali) and the Sino-Tibetan language family and tibetoburmesischen (Manipuri) on. Complication is the effect of the fact that most of the languages ​​have different writing systems. While Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam , Gujarati, Oriya, Punjabi are characterized by their own Scriptures, is used for Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Konkani and Sanskrit a font for Bengali, Manipuri and Assami another as well as Urdu, Kashmiri Sindhi and a third, with each of the three writing systems used by different languages ​​by additional, linguistically related characters more different. India, making it the country with the world’s most languages.

Attempts by the central government to establish Hindi as the national language of communication is only successful in the north. One can roughly from Goa drawn from a line across the continent from south of the Tamil people tend to use as a lingua franca. This means that Indians speak from the south with North Indian English and vice versa. For formal occasions there are therefore no problems with English. The education standard is very low, although in many places, especially in rural areas or in less touristy cities can prepare to communicate more problems. In shops, restaurants, taxis and rickshaws are sufficient in principle but there are no problems because the English language, at least for the most basic factual exchange.

There are restaurants in different price ranges, but Indian food is usually very good in all classes and even expensive restaurants are cheap by German standards. “Vegetarian Restaurant” means (obviously) that no meat is sold, “Pure Vegetarian” also excludes eggs, sometimes onions and garlic. Mughal cuisine usually includes well meat. Meat should be eaten only in very good, trustworthy restaurants, since the higher hygienic required for this is not guaranteed in all establishments. Mughal is limited to the north. To the south is one conservative on the meat: serve restaurants, the meat, it must boil at least here in your own kitchen, it is usually served in a private dining room.

Foreign (ie European or Chinese) food available in many restaurants, ranging in quality but generally fail to match what you’re used to. Indian cuisine is very varied and it pays to be open in this regard. By observing the above precautions about eating basically everything can be eaten safely. On special request, most restaurants, the food less spicy (“not spicy”) to prepare. In India emanate not so easy. There are a few good bars where young people meet. If you want to go dancing, you should look at the luxury hotels. The clubs often have with it and are actually really good! However, quite expensive. But it’s worth it. If the Indians are celebrating and dancing that’s a completely different atmosphere than here with us!

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