Key Country Facts
Visiting in summer months should take heed that monsoon season is from July to September, though southern India gets much more rainfall than the north, making some areas still relatively easier to travel in.
Taj Mahal, tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, Ganges River, Ajanta Caves, Himalayas is Pangong Tso, Elefantastic tour in Jaipur
Top exports: refined petroleum, diamonds, packaged medicaments, jewellery, and rice.
More than 1.252 billion people live in India (2013), making it ones of the most populated countries in the world. The capital is New Delhi. The official languages are Hindi and English, though there are over 22 commonly-spoken languages and over 1,000 languages in total when including regional dialects and other languages with few speakers. The dominant religions are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs, followed by Buddhism and Jainism. India is 9.5 hours ahead of EST.
Because India is so large, it is impossible to see all of the best sites unless travelers intend on staying there for an extended period of time. One iconic place to visit is the Taj Mahal, a spectacular palace built to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of the former Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Also available to see in abundance are the many temples throughout India, some of them boasting absolutely beautiful architecture and history.
Followers of Hinduism or those who take an interest in Hinduism should visit the Ganges River, known as a place to be spiritually cleansed. Travelers who are not used to living in India should not touch, consume, or swim in this water, however, as the Ganges is ironically one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
A little out of the way when traveling are the Ajanta Caves, which are a spectacular feat. Paintings, stone carvings, and other architectural delights still stand today and can be enjoyed by visitors from around the world.
High up in the Himalayas is Pangong Tso, a breathtaking lake for travelers willing to make the trek to see it. Visitors claim that it is heaven on Earth, a place of total serenity. The weather is cold and it is harder to breathe at the high altitude, but it is well worth the visit.
One absolute must-see in India is the Elefantastic tour in Jaipur, or other elephant tours as there are many to choose from. A tour guide can share lots of information about elephants, and visitors get to enjoy activities such as feeding the elephants, painting artwork on them, and even riding them.
Travelers visiting in summer months should take heed that monsoon season is from July to September, though southern India gets much more rainfall than the north, making some areas still relatively easier to travel in.