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India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[d] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia. Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history.[10] Four world religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism originated here, whereas Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. According to World Bank, the Indian economy is the world's tenth-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, illiteracy, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks ninth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

Culture


Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years.During the Vedic period (c. 1700–500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga, and mokṣa, were established.India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions.The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement, and by Buddhist philosophy.

Art and architecture


Art and architecture Much of Indian architecture, including the Taj Mahal, other works of Mughal architecture, and South Indian architecture, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles. Vernacular architecture is also highly regional in it flavours. Vastu shastra, literally "science of construction" or "architecture" and ascribed to Mamuni Mayan,explores how the laws of nature affect human dwellings;it employs precise geometry and directional alignments to reflect perceived cosmic constructs. As applied in Hindu temple architecture, it is influenced by the Shilpa Shastras, a series of foundational texts whose basic mythological form is the Vastu-Purusha mandala, a square that embodied the "absolute".The Taj Mahal, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, has been described in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, developed by the British in the late 19th century, drew on Indo-Islamic architecture.

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