India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic diversity and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since its Independence. India has become self-sufficient in agricultural production and is now one of the top industrialized countries in the world and one of the few nations to have gone into outer space to conquer nature for the benefit of the people. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km, extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
Indian Cinema known as Bollywood has given us some gems when it comes to music, leaving us with nostalgia and a sense of longing. Some songs have captured the essence of our cities and places beautifully and here are few such mentions while introducing you the best of each state and union territory of India.
Wildlife map of India
Food map of India
Culture map of India
There are 29 states & 7 Union Territories in India and each own is famous for something different! Great unity in unbelievable diversity, that’s my India!
Andaman & Nicobar Islands – This is India’s Hawaii. This long group of islands offers excellent range of water activities. The state is known for its history (during British raj it was a penal territory) and extremely isolated tribal people. Ocean brimming with interesting marine life and coral gardens are just one of the reasons to visit the beautiful Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Ghandi Park, Sippighat Farm and the century-old Cellular Jail (now a pilgrimage destination) provide glimpses into the past and present of these peaceful islands with a mysterious and multicultural past.
Andhra Pradesh is known for its massive rivers, rice production, mangoes, Tirupathi, big human resource and the art of Kuchipudi, language too(Italian of the east, most of the carnatic music written in telugu). The state has plenty of Indian Cobras – among the most venomous and most revered snakes in India.
Arunachal Pradesh (the land of rising sun) – The land of the Brahmaputra that China claims her own. Spectacular landscapes, massive water resources and quiant Tibetan culture. Tawang Gompa is the world’s second largest Buddhist monastery- –
Assam – Assam is the core of India’s northeast and the main economic power of that region. It is famous for Assam tea, oil & gas (India’s first oil fields were stuck there as well as Asia’s first Oil Refinery in Digboi), the One-horned Rhinos of Kaziranga (the only region with the almost extinct India Rhinos), Kamakhya Temple, Highest Tiger Density of the world, World’s largest and smallest river island –and respectively, the oldest amphitheater of Asia – .
Bihar is known for its historic sites, metal industries and fruits. India’s greatest dynasties – Maurya and Gupta began from here. Its landscape is dotted with Buddhist Pilgrimages and is famous for Bodhgaya,the place where Lord Buddha gained enlightenment.
Chandigarh, a union territory, serves as the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana. The city of Chandigarh was one of the early planned cities in the post-independence India and is known internationally for its architecture and urban design. The city experiences extreme climate and uneven distribution of rainfall. The roads in Chandigarh are surrounded by trees and it has the third highest forest cover in India at 8.51% following Lakshadweep and Goa. Known for being a clean city, it was reported to be the cleanest city of India in 2010 and the second cleanest city of India in 2016. In 2015, an article published by BBC named Chandigarh as one of the perfect cities of the world in terms of architecture, cultural growth and modernization.
Chattisgarh is known for heavy industries (such as Bhilai steel plant) and– India’s Niagara.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli: Nagar Haveli is wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, whereas Dadra is an enclave 1 km NW, surrounded by Gujarat. The shared capital is Silvassa. The larger part spans a roughly c-shaped area up-river from the city of Daman on the coast, at the centre of which, and thus outside the territory, is the Madhuban reservoir. The territory is landlocked, although the Arabian Sea coast lies just to the west in Gujarat. Some of the famous places are Hirwavan garden, Tribal Museum at Silvassa, Vanganga Lake and Garden at Dadra, etc. It is also famous for its wild life.
Daman and Diu: There are many things about Daman and Diu that have been responsible for the unprecedented tourist inflow each year. A trip to Daman and Diu will embrace a large number of natural wonders that are exquisite beaches and lesser known scenic sites- an opportunity to spend some time here amidst complete peace and tranquility.
Delhi is best known for its historic architecture and the magnificence of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. It is a very open culture, albeit a very flaunt one.
“Yeh Dilli Hai Mere Yaar
Bas Ishq Mohabbat Pyaar”
Delhi’s charm and the allure of its streets have been captured well in this song. It’s dreamy, young at heart and free-spirited. This song from the 2009 film Delhi-6 with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor put a smile on many faces. The number six refers to the PIN Code of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi where director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra grew up.
Goa is great for its beaches, feni and laid back culture. It is known for its rave parties around New Year.
Gujarat is great for its business friendliness, iconic leaders – Gandhi, Patel, & Jinnah, big industrial infrastructure, scrappy entrepreneurs (Ambani, Tata, Premji, Palonji et al) and delicious thali. The state houses the world’s only reserve for Asiatic Lions at Gir.
Haryana is known for its dairy production, automobile factories & refineries. The Hindu epic of Mahabharata is mainly centered around this place. Both Indraprasta and Kurkshetra are here.
Himachal Pradesh is known for its snow-clad peaks, fruits. Himachal is where British Raj relaxed. The state is famous for its snow leopards – the dying breed of Central Asian leopards.
Jammu & Kashmir is India’s Switzerland – a paradise of mountains, pashmina shawl (the word Cashmere used for fine wool – comes from the old spelling of the valley) valleys, rivers and caves. J&K is best for its Sapphire, apples, cricket bats, wool, saffron, house boats, pilgrimage (Amarnath & Vaishnodevi).
“Kitani Khuubasuurat Ye Tasvir Hai
Mausam Bemisaal Benazir Hai
Ye Kashmir Hai, Ye Kashmir Hai”
From the film 1982 film Bemisal, this Kishore Kumar track explores the beauty and romantic serendipity of mysterious Kashmir. With its shikaras and unmatched tranquility, Kashmir remains one of the most sought after destinations even with its troubled history in recent times.
Jharkhand – is the steel state of India with Bokaro, Jamshedpur and Ranchi. It was originally a part of Bihar, but had a certain distinct characteristics – low density, more tribals, deep forests – that afforded a separate state. The main attractions of the state are in the Chotanagpur plateau that holds two national parks. The region has plenty of forests and water falls to trek to.
Kerala is best for Ayurveda, anything to do with Coconuts, backwaters, great transportation and highest human development indicators and their mixed culture (Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions share their culture equally). The state is very famous for its decorated elephants and boat racing.
Lakshadweep – These have the India’s only coral atolls and the state is great for relaxation.
Madhya Pradesh is best known for Khajuraho and ancient history (including Ujjain, Sanchi and Mandu).
Maharashtra is best known for its strong Hindu roots, colleges, cotton & sugarcane, financial center, industries, Bollywood, massive decorated caves in Ajantha/Ellora. It is among India’s richest states. Western Ghats (recently declared as Heritage Site) during the monsoons, Konkan Region and a few Pristine Beaches.
“ Aye dil hai mushkil jina yaha..
Jara hat key jara bach key, yeh hai bombay meree jan…”
This one is an evergreen number from the 1956 film, C.I.D. The movie starred Dev Anand, Shakila, Waheeda Rehman and Johnny Walker. The song offers a colourful overview of Bombay – the ups and downs. Bombay is life, Bombay is a dream, Bombay is difficult city to call home.
Manipur – The state is known for its famous Manipuri dance and culture. The Manipuri dance forms celebrate Krishna’s divine plays. The state is home to the almost extinct Sangai deer.
Meghalaya (the abode of clouds) – Meghalaya is known for its rain – It receives the largest amounts of rainfall in the world in Cherrapunji and Mawsyndrum. The state’s animal is Clouded Leopard – an endangered species found in East Asia. Credit to: of Meghalaya deserve a mention here.
Mizoram – This is a state with almost complete literacy. The state has dramatic landscapes and friendly tribals. The region also has the rare Wild Water Buffalos.
Nagaland – The state is known for its warrior Naga tribals (an equivalent of Pathans in India’s far west) who had help defeat the Japanese in WW-II in the critical war at Kohima. That decisive defeat changed the game in the Asian theater. The state has great tribal dance forms that are demonstrated in the annual hornbill festival.
Odisha for its dance forms, temples and Mahanadi river. The state has some of the most surreal temples in India – Puri Jagannath, Konark sun temple and the Lingaraj temple. The English term – Juggernaut came from the Jagannath chariot procession that was sometimes unstoppable.
Puducherry: Blossoming bougainvilleas, crumbling cathedrals on leafy boulevards and 18th-century colonial buildings colour the former French colony of Pondy, which sits on the Bay of Bengal. But it’s also unmistakably Indian, with colourful festivals throughout the year, several mosques and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Quiet beaches stretch north and south from town, good for swimming and sunrise strolls. Pondy is a popular weekend getaway destination from Chennai and is easy to navigate on foot or by bicycle.
Pondicherry is also considered an educational hub of southern India, having 1 central university, 8 medical colleges,10 engineering colleges, 3 dental colleges, 2 law colleges, 1 veterinary college, 1 agricultural college, 10 arts and science colleges, and 5 polytechnic colleges.
Punjab is known for its food production, great rivers, dhabas, gurudwaras, Bhangra dance.
Rajasthan is great for its palaces, tiger reserves, Jain culture, chilies, weaving and marbles. The state is also famous for its camels and sand dunes.
Sikkim – Sikkim is our paradise No. 2. Amazing mountains and lakes. Known for Rumtek monastry (the second biggest seat of Tibetan buddhism), Natula pass (one of the highest roads in the world and the only open land border with China), Kanjenjunga (India’s tallest peak) and the cute Red Pandas (state animal of Sikkim).
Tamilnadu is best for strong focus on schooling, Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam, quaint traditions, automobile factories, ease of doing business, dosas, Nilgiris tea and most importantly the temples.There are plenty of temples with UNESCO world heritage badge.
Telangana India’s youngest state has a hybrid of the Nizam’s Islamic heritage along with a long heritage of ancient Indian kings. The Charminar in Hyderabad uniquely identifies the state.
Tripura – Tripura is famous for its temple – Tripureshwari. The state has diverse ethnic mix of tribals and Bengalis with very sweet dance forms. The state is also famous for its leaf monkeys.
Uttar Pradesh has been the heart of Indian politics for over 5 centuries. Famous for Taj Mahal, Kashi pilgrimage, leather goods, refineries etc.
“Jhoomka gira re Bareilly ke bazaar mein
jhoomka gira jhoomka gira jhoomka gira
haai haai haai jhoomka gira re….”
This song is from Raj Khosla’s 1967 thriller, Mera Saaya starring Sadhana and Sunil Dutt. Asha Bhosle lent her voice to this vibrant song. There is a reference to Bareilly in the chorus – a place that’s renowned for its markets with their delicate jhumkas, fabrics and carpets.
“Jawan jawan hasin hasin, ye Lucknow ki sarzamin”
A gem from the blockbuster Chaudhvin Ka Chand, 1960, Lucknow ki Sar Zamin is a beautiful melody that many people are still partial to even today. Mohammed Rafi’s voice embodies the spirit of the city beautifully – images of Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt come to mind.
“O khaike paan banaras wala
khuli jaaye band akal ka tala!”
Don, 1996. Amitabh Bachchan is a vision in this song, and it’s popular even today after all this time. It mentions the delectable and special Banarasi Paan – the paanwalas in Benaras don’t mix their ingredients hours earlier, they do it on the spot. They’re highly creative and even serve paan in the nawaabi style.
Uttarakhand is known for its white water rapids, trekking & camping, Hindu religious pilgrimages, Skiing (auli) and Corbett national park.
West Bengal is known for its literary culture (that gave people like Vivekananda and Tagore), Jute cloth, trams of Calcutta, teas of Darjeeling, attraction to communists, Sunderban forests (with Royal Bengal tigers), tasty sweets (oh Roshgollah).
“Dil ka bazaar hai, thoda bizzare hai
Kolkata khwaishon armaano ka achaar hai
Aami shotti bolchi…
Aami shotti bolchi…”
This one captures the heart and soul of Kolkata. From the 2012 Vidya Balan’s Bollywood thriller Kahaani, it spins a lovely little tale around the city. It talks about never being able to leave the city behind; about the love-hate relationship that’s nurtured in the city’s streets.
Emerging investment hubs in India:
Following cities are emerging as attractive investment hubs:
Clockwise from left: Lucknow, Visakhapatnam, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patna
Clockwise from left: Vijayawada, Rajkot, Raipur, Guwahati, Coimbatore
Clockwise from left: Surat, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Vadodara, Bhopal
Few beautiful places:
That’s the beautiful India for you world!