About Bharat : The Cradle of Civilization
India, also known as ‘Bharat’ or ‘Bharatvarsha’ is one of the most ancient civilizations on the planet earth. Spirit of India reflects the diverse aspects of India, i.e., it’s philosophy, history, culture, architecture, art and folklore in both the ancient and modern context.
India’s history and culture are dynamic, starting from the beginning of human civilization. The ancient history of India includes the prehistoric settlements and societies in the Indian subcontinent, the advancement of civilization from the Indus Valley civilization to the eventual blending of culture to form the Vedic civilization.
Through history, India is also known as the Cradle of Dharma, the source of origin of four great religions of the world, known as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Hinduism traces its journey from the Vedic era to become the dominating religion of the country. Jainism and Buddhism appeared during the 7th and 6th century BCE, and continued to flourish, from the salvation attained by the religious preaching of Vardhamana Mahavira and Siddhartha Gautama, enriching the glorious India. Sikhism appeared later during the 15th century CE, from the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the nine Sikh Gurus who succeeded him.
The geography of India is extremely diverse, with landscape ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to deserts, plains, hills, and plateaus. India lies on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, having a coastline of over 7,500 km. Most of India lies on a peninsula in southern Asia that protrudes into the Indian Ocean. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, the Arabian Sea on the southwest and the Himalayan Mountain range in the north.
India as a federal republic is governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. The fundamental difference between states and union territories is states are the administrative units having their own governments, whereas union territories are ruled directly by the central government through Lieutenant Governor as the administrator.
On a political and cultural level, India can be categorized into following six regions:
◙ North Region – consists of the four states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan and four Union Territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
◙ Central Region – consists of the four states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
◙ West Region – consists of the three states of Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra and the two Union Territories of ‘Dadra and Nagar Haveli’ and ‘Daman and Diu’.
◙ South Region – consists of the five states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana as well as three union territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry.
◙ East Region – consists of the four states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
◙ North-East Region – consists of the eight states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
On physiographic level, India can be categorised into six regions, these are the Northern Mountains, the Peninsular Plateau, the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the Thar Desert, the Coastal Plains, and the Islands.
There are twelve rivers in India, which are classified as major rivers. All major rivers of India originate from one of the three main watersheds, these are – The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges, Vindhya and Satpura range in central India and Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India.