India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, and part of the Indo-Australian Plate. India's defining geological processes began 75 million years ago
when the Indian plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west, and later, south and south-east. Simultaneously,
the vast Tethyn oceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian plate. These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth's mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused
the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas. Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with
river-borne sediment and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.
The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east. To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats the plateau contains the country's oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude[e] and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.
A shining white snow-clad range, framed against a turquoise sky. In the middle ground, a ridge descends from the right to form a saddle in the centre of the photograph, partly in shadow. In the near foreground, a loop of a road is seen.
The Kedar Range of the Greater Himalayas rises behind Kedarnath Temple (Indian state of Uttarakhand), which is one of the twelve jyotirlinga shrines. India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains. According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh. India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.
The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons. The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.
Taj Mahal, is considered as one of the Wonders of the World and most beautiful building by many. It is built by mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz.
Khajuraho Temples are group of 20 temples which are known and admired for their intricate carvings and sculptures. It is also famous for its erotic sculptures. One of the major temple Kandariya Mahadeva Temple alone have more than 870 statues, which is the similar number of carvings in whole site of equally intricate and beautiful Rani ki vav Stepwell.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves are manmade monasteries carved out from rocks. Ajanta have series of 30 caves, while Ellora have 34. These caves are built between 2nd century BCE to 9th century CE. Ellora Caves have unique feature of having caves dedicated to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism all at one place. The major tourist attraction in Ajanta and Ellora caves is Kailasa Temple at Ellora. Kailasa temple, Ellora is a monolithic multistorey building completely carved out of single rock. It is also noted for its vertical excavation i.e. carving started from top of the rock and excavated downward to construct this building.
Hampi is a ruins of medieval city of Vijaynagara of Vijayanagara Empire. It is one of the biggest city ruins in India spread across 36 square kilometers. A group of monuments at city ruins of Hampi can be divided into Religious, Military and Civil category. The city ruins have seven layers of fortification and innermost fortification enclose the city and is best preserved. Hampi city ruins have several monuments which predates Vijayanagara Empire period including Virupaksha Temple which is a pilgrimage for Hindus. It also attracts tourists for Bouldering adventure because of its vast landscapes with huge boulders.
Kerala Houseboats on Kerala Backwaters is a world famous tourist activity in India. Houseboats are traditionally meant for rice transport from nearby rice fields, but over the years transformed for taking tourists to the tour of Kerala backwaters with fully furnished boats with single or multiple bedrooms, living room, sit outs, kitchen and all with large windows overlooking surrounding natural beauty. Kerala backwaters is a unique ecosystem formed by 38 small rivers originating from Western ghats forming a large network of canals and lakes. Natural beauty, flora and fauna and seeing daily lives of people and how they use these backwaters while resting in houseboats is what attracts tourists from all over the world. Kerala is listed among “50 destinations of lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib is holiest shrine of Sikhism. Harmandir Sahib literally means a temple for all. It is built as a place of worship God for people of all religion. The kitchen in a temple serve free meal known as Langar to almost 40,000 to 100,000 visitors daily depending upon general weekdays or festival holidays.
Goa is famous all over the world as beach party destination. Goa also stands 6th in Top 10 Nightlife Cities in the world in National Geographic (magazine). Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot. Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and churches and convents of Old Goa. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Shanta Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple, although after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.
Varanasi Ghats along the Ganges in one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city of Varanasi is popular tourist attraction in India for foreign visitors. For Indians Varanasi is holy city of Lord Vishwanath and Ganges and is pilgrimage. Number of ceremonies and Pujas ranging from birth to death held and organized by the banks of Ganges at Varanasi ghats. Ghats means steps leading to the banks of rivers. These ghats and adjoining buildings are built by various kings from all over India. There are almost 100 Ghats along the Ganges in Varanasi. These ghats are for bathing on Ganges and for various Puja ceremonies and rituals. Taking sunrise and sunset boat rides along these Ghats are popular tourist activity, especially for non-Hindu tourists.
Ladakh region in state of Jammu and Kashmir is a major tourist attraction among nature lovers and adventure tourists for its landscapes, Adventure, wildlife and driving through world’s highest motorable road. Riding through its landscape is most popular among motorcyclists and touring adventure. Driving in world’s highest road where there is less oxygen is also favorite among touring adventurers. It attracts tourist for its varied and surreal landscape which changes dramatically from snow-capped mountains to barren rocky mountains, greenery and even sand dunes with camel (Double humped Camel) in these mountains. Trekking down the frozen Zanskar River and searching a Snow leopard in Hemis National Park are some other popular adventure activity.
Brihadeeshwar Temple or Big Temple is considered to be as ancient India’s engineering marvel. It completed 1000 years of its construction in 2010 and its Vimana (Temple tower) is among tallest of its kind in the world with 66m height(216 feet). The nearest source of Granite is 60 km away from the site near Tiruchirappalli. This temple is known as the first building fully built by granite. It is finished within 5yrs[1004AD – 1009AD]. The Kumbam (Kalasha or Chikharam, the apex or the bulbous structure on the temple) is carved out of a single rock and it weighs around 80 tons. It is raised to the top by dragging on an inclined plane of 6.44 km.
Rani ki vav is a Stepwell in a state of Gujarat. It is recently designated as UNESCO world heritage site, and is the only stepwell with the tag. It literally means “Queen’s Stepwell” as it is built by queen Udaymati in the memory of her late husband Bhimdev I. It is very intricately carved 7 storey underground Stepwell, which is in excellent condition even being around 1000 years old. This magnificent east-facing step well measures approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep. A stepped corridor compartmented at regular intervals pillared multistory pavilions is a unique feature. It was one of the largest and the most sumptuous structures of its type.
Kumbhalgarh Fort is a massive fort built on a hilltop 1100 metres above sea level, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometres, it is the second longest continuous wall in the world, after Great Wall of China. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancientJain and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to see kilometers into the Aravalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar desert can be seen from the fort walls.
Mehrangarh Fort is one of the most visited tourist attraction in India. The fort is situated 400 feet (122 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. Of these, Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesha Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana, and Daulat Khana are notable. One also finds the fort museum comprising several palaces. This museum houses a collection of palanquins, Elephant howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, armoury, turbans, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. The ramparts of the fort are home to not only several excellently preserved old cannon but also offer a breath-taking view of the city.
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century temple dedicated to Sun God, Surya. The temple has been built in the form of a giant ornamented chariot of the Surya. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels which are 3 meters wide and is pulled by a set of seven horses (4 on the right and 3 on the left). The wheels of the temple are sundials which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute including day and night.The temple follows the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. The original temple had a main sanctum sanctorum (vimana), which was supposedly 229 feet (70 m) tall, but due to the weight of this super structure and weak soil of the area the main vimana fell in 1837. The audience hall (Jagamohana), which is about 128 feet (30 m) tall, still stands and is the principal structure in the surviving ruins. It is also featured on NDTV's List of Seven Wonders of India and Times of India's List of Seven Wonders of India.
Mountain Railways of India in UNESCO refers to the three railway lines built during British colonial rule in India that are still fully functional. This includes Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu and Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh. Opened between 1881 and 1908 they applied ingenious engineering solutions to establish an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. The Mountain Railways of India exhibit an important cultural and technological transfer in the colonial setting. The world's highest multi-arch gallery bridge and the world's longest tunnel (at the time of construction) of the Kalka-Shimla Railway were the a testimony to the brilliant engineering skills applied to make this dream a reality.
Great Rann of Kutch The Great Rann of Kutch is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is about 7,505.22 square kilometres (2,897.78 sq mi) in size and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. The Great Rann of Kutch, along with the Little Rann of Kutch and the Banni grasslands on its southern edge, is situated in the district of Kutch and comprises some 30,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi) between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of the Indus River in southern Pakistan. The marsh can be accessed from the village of Kharaghoda in Surendranagar District.
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic functioning Hindu temple located on the south side of river Vaigai in around 2500 years old city of Madurai. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple, and it was in the list of top 30 nominees for the "New 7 Wonders of the World”. This temple is mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure was built during 1623 to 1655 CE. The complex houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers) ranges from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 meters (170 ft) high. The complex is in around 45 acres (180,000 m2).
Orchha was a medieval town established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501, as the seat of an eponymous former princely state of Central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha marked for its abandoned buildings related to Bundelkhand royalty comprising several palaces, cenotaphs or Chhatris, Temples, Fort etc. which are great examples of unique architectural style of Bundelkhand region.
Andaman Islands are developing into a major Tourism hub with its exotic looking beaches and pristine islands having equally exotic names, wonderful opportunities for adventure sports like snorkeling and Scuba diving.. Indian tourists do not require a permit to visit the Andaman islands but if they wish to visit any tribal areas they need a special permit from the Deputy Commissioner, Port Blair. Permits are required for foreign nationals. For foreign nationals arriving by air, these are granted upon arrival at Port Blair. According to official estimates, the flow of tourists doubled to nearly 300,000 in 2012 from 130,000 in 2008-09. The Radha Nagar beach of Andamans was chosen as one of Asia’s best Beach in 2004.
Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India and probably the grandest after Kumbhalgarh Fort in the state of Rajasthan. The fort represents the quintessence of tribute to the nationalism, courage, medieval chivalry and sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers. The rulers, their soldiers, the women folk of royalty and the commoners considered death as a better option than dishonor in the face of surrender to the foreign invading armies. This fort is wrapped in numerous beautiful stories. The fort is roughly in the shape of a fish has a circumference of 13 km (8.1 mi) with a maximum width of 3 km (1.9 mi) and it covers an area of 700 acres and fort complex comprises 65 important historical structures, among them 4 memorials, 4 palace complexes, 19 main temples and 20 functional water bodies.
Mysore Palace is a historical palace in the city of Mysore in Karnataka, southern India. It is the official residence and seat of the Wodeyars — the Maharajas of Mysore. Mysore is commonly described as the City of Palaces. Mysore Palace is now one of the most famous tourist attractions in India, after the Taj Mahal, and has more than 4 million visitors annually.
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