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India - ”Country full of Contrasts”

A journey through the country is unforgetable and leaves nobody untouched!

The distance between poor and rich is dramatic, so also the difference in nature. Here you can find endless beaches, large plains and the Himalayan mountains. All in a impressing mixture. The different religions shakes your mind, when you meet them, and the friendly people will give you memories that you carry in your heart the whole life.

”The Land of Kings” - Rajasthan

During December/January 1997/98 I visited the state of Rajasthan, which is the second largest when it comes to surface. It is not one of the most densed settled states in India as the big Thar-desert covers more than half of the area. 

Once the big camelcaravans crossed the western part of Rajasthan and created important tradecities, and wealthy merchants, some of them are still possible to visit. 

Here also the once, very important and rich maharanas had their homes, and from that period there are many beautiful palaces and intersting fortresses left. Some of them are now museums or luxury hotels and can be visited. 

Here you also find the rajputs, once proud and brave warriorclans, who succesfully fougth intruders. Their legends are still told today.

The journey started with a glimpse into ”the world of the Great Moghuls” in New Delhi, Agra and Fatephur Sikri, where I studied the imposing buildings as Delhis Red Fort, Taj Mahal in Agra and the beautiful ruins after the former capital Fathepur Sikri, created by Akbar the Great. 

We continued the journey with a visit in Keoladeo National Park, one of the best places for birdwatching in the world, and continued to some of the old and legendary cities as Jaipur (The Pink City ), Udaipur ( Venice of the East) and Jaisalmer (The Golden City).

In Jaisalmer you are as far west, close to the Pakistan-border, as you are allowed to go as a tourist in India. Not far away from Jaisalmer, you can find the Pokharan-area, where India is executing their nuclear tests.

North of the city of Bikaner I had the opportunity to make a camelsafari which gave me a good oppurtunity to come into the Thar-desert and meet the desertculture.

The Jains have a stronghold in Rajasthan and here you can visit many of their beautiful temples. The Jains are humble people, who often covers their mouth and nose or sweeps the street where they walk, to avoid hurting or killing small animals. 

In the city of Deshnok I visited the Karni Mata-temple where thousands of rats are worshiped. You must have strong nerves when the rats climbs up your legs!

A trip to Rajasthan is a trip back in time and offers unique enviroments in a remote area of our beautiful and interesting world.

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Humayhums Tomb.
New Delhi

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Taj Mahal.

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Jama Mashid.
New Delhi

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Praying man in
Jama Mashid.
New Delhi

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White Breasted Kingfisher.

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Brown Heron.

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Karni Mata temple.
 "The Rat temple"

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Karni Mata temple. Deshnok

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The jain temple "Chaumukha"

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Interior of the
Bandeshwar temple.

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Picking cotton

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The Blue City. 

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Lake Palace.

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Woman with child. Jaisalmer

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Preparing food in
the Thar desert

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Old man in
the Thar desert

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Old man in
the Thar desert

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Nomads in
the Thar-desert 

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Ruttish male camel

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 other ethnic groups 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: 752 000 000
Internetusers: 61 338 000
Railways: 63 974 km
3 320 410 km

Source: CIA World Factbook 2012/02

Maps 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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