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come … discover india india… what you already know – but what we shall tell you about anyways! what you probably don’t know a dozen reasons for wanderlust chalo! (lets go!) facts and figures Republic of India India, Bharat, Hindustan World’s largest democracy

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  • what you already know – but what we shall tell you about anyways!
  • what you probably don’t know
  • a dozen reasons for wanderlust


(lets go!)


facts and figures

Republic of India

India, Bharat, Hindustan

World’s largest democracy

23 officially recognized languages

New Delhi is the capital with 15MM people

Bombay is the powerhouse with 18MM people

2nd most populous country after China (1.12 BN)

4th in GDP (PPP) rankings after US, China and Japan ($3.8 Trillion)

7th largest state in area (3.16 MM sq km)

31st most dense state (336/ sq km)

118th in per capita income PPP ($3800)

First war of independence against UK in 1857

Partition with Pakistan on 14 August 1947

Declared independence on 15 August 1947

Republic on 26 January 1950

Currency: Indian Rupee

Time zone: IST (GMT +5:30)


a land of history…

A Brief History of India

Stone Age 70000-3300 BC

Mehrgarh Culture

Indus Valley Civilization 3300-1300 BC

Harappan Culture

Vedic Period 1500-500 BC

Mahavira, Gautam Buddha

Mauryan Empire, Ashoka the great

Middle Kingdoms 200 BC-1200 AD

Golden age of Gupta Empire

Islamic Sultanates 1200-1600 AD

Arrival of Islam

Golden age of Mughal Empire, Akbar the great

Colonial Era 1750-1947 AD

British Empire

Modern State 1947 AD


a land of people (a lot of us around, no?)

  • Home to one-fifth of humanity on this planet!

907 MM hindus

It is the world's oldest existent religion, and has approximately a billion adherents. A very absorbing religion or philosophy, Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, monism and even atheism.

Hindu religion is often labeled as a religion of 330 million gods. But the key Trinity comprises those responsible for three tasks: creation – Lord Brahma, preservation – Lord Vishnu, and destruction and rebirth – Lord Shiva.


152 MM muslims

Islam came to India with Turko-Muslim invasions in 8th century. Today, India has more Muslims than …


Saudi Arabia








26 MM christians

Christian faith in south India is much older than in Europe and America. Kerala Christians are called Nasranis or Syrian Christians and have a tradition of more than 2000 years.

Later, Portugese catholic missionaries reached Malabar coast in 15th century. Protestant missionaries began to work throughout India in 18th century.


21 MM sikhs

Sikhism began in 15th century in northern India with the teachings of Guru Nanak. ‘Sikh’ comes from Sanskrit root sisya meaning desciple or learner. The term ‘guru’ comes from the Sanskrit gurū, meaning teacher, guide or mentor.

Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear the Five Ks - The 5 items are: kēs (uncut hair), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular heavy metal bracelet), kirpān (ceremonial short sword), and kacchā (special undergarment). Sikhism is the 5th largest organised religion in the world (after Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism).


12 MM buddhists

Buddhism is another dharmic religion founded in India around 5th century BC by Siddhartha Gautama. Prince Siddhartha, after the enlightenment, was known as Buddha.

‘Four Noble Truths’ and ‘Noble Eight Fold Path’ are among Buddhism’s teachings. Today, Buddhism is a world religion with a following of about 350MM.


5 MM jains

Jainism is a dharmic religion originating in ancient india. Jains follow the teachings of ‘tirthankaras’. Lord Mahavira, the 24th tirthankara of Jains lived in 6th century BC.

The Jains are the best educated religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.



Diwali or the ‘Festival of Lights’, is a major Indian festival with great significance in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. The 5 day celebrations (in Oct / Nov) focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional dipa or deeya (earthen lamp) and fireworks.

It symbolizes the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after vanquishing Demon Ravana.



Eid-ul-Fitr is an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace after congregational prayers. People also distribute Zakat, the obligatory tax on one’s wealth, to the needy.

One of the special dishes in India is savayya, a dish of toasted, sweetened vermicelli noodles.



Holi or the ‘Festival of Colors’ is a popular spring festival. Bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi. On the day itself, known as dhulandi, people spend the day throwing colored powder and water at each other.

A special drink called thandai is prepared, sometimes containing bhang (cannabis).



Dussera or ‘Vijayadashami’ is a festival celebrated in the month of Sep / Oct. Dussera marks the day when Lord Rama killed Demon Ravana.

Present celebrations commemorate the event by burning effigies of Ravana and his henchmen.


and of course… bollywood!!

Bollywood produces about 1000 feature films in an year. Approximately 3 billion movie tickets are sold in India every year and is a $3 billion industry.


Will you marry me?

Only if you watch me dance

Where did you get that shirt?

Where did you get those moves?

and followed, in a burst of creativity, by …

tollywood, mollywood, kollywood, lollywood!


cricket mania

India is a cricket crazy nation. The kids will play anywhere – roads, roof tops or railway tracks. Some will worship the cricketers. Others will burn down their houses if they fail to perform.

Legendary rival? Pakistan. And India has never lost a match to Pakistan in World Cup.


cricket everywhere!

in peaks of himalayas

on the ghats of varanasi

on the riverbed behind taj

on the beach

cricket mania


Chicken Tikka Masala was created in UK. Vindaloo is a Portugese dish!

Mughlai Cuisine – Seekh kabab, Boti kabab, Shami kabab, Biryani

South Indian Cuisine – Idli, Dosa, Wada, Uttappa

Chat – Samosa, Bhelpuri, Panipuri – found street side

Chai – Largest consumed beverage in the world (3 Bn cups/ day in India alone)! Sorry, no wines with food.

Alphonso mangoes were good enough to pull off the Indo-US nuke deal



and some food for thought…

Somehow, in spite of the Gods...

…we run along!!

  • Oldest, continuous civilization
    • 5,000 years and going strong
    • Tradition, culture and ancient wisdom
  • Attained independence through non-violence
    • Perhaps one of the very few to do so
    • And the one that heralded the breakup of the British Empire
  • Largest Democracy
    • However imperfect, chaotic, exasperating, unpredictable, frustrating or unreal!
    • And Churchill thought we would fail
  • Services Superpower
    • IT, BPO, R&D…
    • And an unconventional route to stardom
  • Secularism and Tolerance
    • Every single religion of the world has found a home here
    • Including all ‘invaders’ and those who were thrown out of their own homeland, welcomed with open arms to this already crowded land!
  • Illiteracy
    • “IIT/IIM” talks hide the poor primary education infrastructure
    • Young population Yes, but how to get the best of them
  • Poverty and Inequality
    • Grinding, multi-generational poverty
    • Co-existing with sheer inequality of resource distribution
  • Corruption
    • India is NOT a poor country
    • And yet, 85% of all development funds …..vanish!
  • Under-developed Infrastructure
    • 12 hour power failures
    • 2 hours of running water
    • Poor government health care…
  • Internal Disturbances
    • Kashmir…
    • Naxalites…
    • The North East…


  • what you already know
  • what you probably don’t know – the new, quirky, contradictory, difficult to pin-down India
  • a dozen reasons for wanderlust

railways … the british import


A luxury train operated by Indian railways – departs from New Delhi for an 8 day tour of Rajasthan, Agra and includes visits to Hawa Mahal, Taj Mahal, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore National Park and many other places. Prices are about $500 per night.


And yet as the life blood of the transport it is also … ALL ABOARD!

The Mumbai Metro is the densest, largest carrier in the world.


getting around…

Raju goes to school…

Ummm… I think I’ll try the train tomorrow

This sucks. Life will get better when I grow up and start working


Sigh… I hate public transport


a bit too prudish?

In the land of Khajuraho and the Kamasutra…

… a light kiss in public …

Richard Gere!

Shilpa Shetty!

… is not taken lightly!


need we say more!

What is this???

An abandoned plane…

Disappears the next day!


perhaps we will say a bit more!

I have the power!

The path to God

The toughest defender in the world

Underage Drinking?

International Brands?


Truck Painter

Traveling Knife Sharpener

Ear Cleaner

Roadside Dentist

Train Waiter

jobs india hasn’t yet exported

And you thought it was tough explaining YOUR job?



  • what you already know
  • what you probably don’t know
  • a dozen reasons for wanderlust

Roof of the world. Ten 8000-ders reside in this range. Home of Yeti.


home to mount everest


Ladakh means "Land of High Passes‘. It is India’s highest plateau with much of it being over 3,000 m.


out of this world



heaven on earth

Historically the term Kashmir was used to refer to the valley lying between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range. Often dubbed “Paradise on Earth”, Kashmir's mountainous landscape has attracted tourists for centuries.


The city is known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred as the Blue city, due to the indigo tinge of the whitewashed houses.

aquamarine blue city



Also known as the Great Indian Desert, it's a desert located in western India and southeastern Pakistan.

the golden sand dunes of

thar desert, rajasthan



the holy town on ganges

It's a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the river Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Hindus believe that bathing in the river Ganges will remit sins and that dying in the holy city of Kashi (Varanasi) circumvents rebirth.



lost in time

Now known as Kolkata, it served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. This vibrant city, with a distinct socio-political culture, is considered by many as the Cultural capital of India.


ajanta ellora

cities carved in stone

Ellora caves are rock-cut cave monuments dating back to the second century BC.

Famous for its paintings, Ajanta caves is a World Heritage Site.



stuff dreams are made of

Monsoon. Locals. Mills. Crime. Crowd. Streets. Chawls. Cars. Carts. Underworld. Business. Bollywood. Bomb blasts. Stock Market. CHAOS. Theatre. Shopping Malls. Flats. Slums. Expressways. Fights. Fervour. Passion. Fear. Fever. Bombay is made of the stuff dreams are made of.


Known as ‘Rome of the East’, ‘Tourist Paradise’ and ‘Pearl of the Orient’, the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India. Goa's carnival-like nightlife has been known to lure many into a psychedelic trance.


some martini, some sun, a little water, some sand


dubare national park

At Dubare elephant sanctuary in south India (and several other national parks), you can see these giants troll in the wild. Come evening, you can feed them jaggery laddoos with your hands and pat their trunks.

Suggested tip to the keeper: $ 0.50


This little country famous for food in banana leaves, ayurvedic massages, communism, 100% literacy is the backwaters of India. It’s also the place where Thomas the Apostle landed in 1st century.


Beautiful Backwaters


And they say, men of the world are divided into two …

those who have seen it and those who haven’t


a monument of love

taj mahal, agra


some creativity, some ctrl C + ctrl V

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