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India - "Country full of Contrasts"

A trip to India will give you unforgetable memories for lifetime and leaves nobody untouched.

The difference between poor and rich is tremendous, so also the difference in naturetypes. Here you can find ”endless” beaches, big plains and the Himalayas within the borders. Meeting the different religions makes deep impression.

In June/July 1996 I visited the states of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has the highest population of India, and should it be an independant country it would have been among the 10 biggest in the world. The population density is almost 500 persons/sqkm!
Uttar Pradesh is one of Indias most important historical and religious centers. Here you find the most sacred hindu river, Ganges, and along it many important religious places.

Himachal Pradesh, the youngest state, and one of the smallest in India. The population is not more than 6 million inhabitants. The state is located in the northwestern part of the country, close to the borders of Kashmir and China. The name means ”Land of Himalaya”. Here you can find big forests of pine and cedars as well as more than 140 peaks higher than 5000 mas.

This trip gave me a possibility to study some of the interesting buildings from the Great Mogul-period, (1526-1857), in Delhi and Agra.

In Varanasi, ”The most ancient living City in the world” I followed the life of the pilgrims, an experience of life and dead. 

In Shimla, once the british summer capital, now the capital of Himachal Pradesh, you can study old buildings from the british era. The famous author Rudyard Kipling stayed here for a period. 

My journey continued from Shimla to the Kullu-valley, ”Valley of Goods”. Here I visited some of the old capitals, with their beautiful temples, and in the Miyar Nala, ”Valley of Flowers”, in Lahaul, close to the Kashmir border, I made an almost two week long trekk and meet the fantastic people living there. The Miyar Nala is visited by very few tourists. 

In the city of Dharamsala, on the foothills of the Dhauladar-range, I was lucky to participate in the peoples birthday celebration to his holiness Dalai Lama and was lucky to see him twice.

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The indian part of

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Himachali girl.

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Women in
Old Manali

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Women from

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Miyar Valley.

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Miyar Valley.

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Sunset at the
Rothang pass

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Morning prayer. Dharamsala

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Dalai Lamas birthday.

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Tibetan pilgrim.

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Taj Mahal.

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The river Ganges at  Varanasi

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Pilgrims bathing in Ganges.

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The Dhamek stupa.

Basic facts:

Conventional longform: Republic of India

Area, total: 3 287 263 sq km
1 170 938 000
Population / sq km:
7 000 km
Capital / Population:
New Delhi / 21 720 000

Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m 
Highest point: Kanchenjunga ( 8 598 m)
Largest rivers: 
Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus
Largest lakes:

Pop. growth rate: 1.34 %
Infant mortility rate: 
(deaths / 1 000 live births)
Life expectancy at birth (years):
Male / Female  63 / 66

Ethnic groups:  Indo-Aryan 72 %, Dravidian 25 %, Mongolian  and others 3 %
Religions: Hindu 80.5 %, Muslim 13.4 %, Christian 2.3 %, Sikh 1.9 %, Buddhist 0.7 %, Jain 0.5 %, other religions
Languages: Hindi (official) and English for official purposes. Hindi is national language for appr. 41 % of the population. Other major languages are Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil. 
Literacy; % pop. over 15 years:
Male / Female 73.4 / 47.8

Independence: August 15, 1947 from United Kingdom 
National holiday:
January 26, proclamation of the Republic

GNP / capita: 1 176 USD
Population below poverty line: 25.0 % 
Indian Rupee (INR)
Tourists (annually): 5 367 000

Mobile telephones: 782 000 000
Internetusers: 61 338 000
Railways: 63 974 km
3 320 410 km

Source: CIA World Factbook 2012/02

Map of India

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The flag of India was first visible during the figth for liberation in the beginning of the 20th century. The current, official, design was approved in 1947. The orange field is representing braveness, the white field for peace and thruth and the green field for faithfulness, according to one interpretation. The Chakra, the old indian symbol, in the middle of the flag, is symbolising the power and renewal of nature.

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The Crest of India is a reproduction from a pillar on a tempel from the Ashoka-period.  (300 BC).  The Chakra-symbole can also be found in the crest.  The animals beside the Chakra are representing the four cardinal points; Lion - North, Elephant - East, Horse - South and the Bull - West. The four lions above the Chakra are representing power and courage.
The inscription means: "Only virtue will bring victory".

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This page is updated 2012-08-18

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