Stretching from the frozen summits of the Himalayas to tropical greenery, India encompass an incomparable range of landscapes, cultures and people. Traveling in India allows you to meet people of several from the world’s great faiths, encounter temple rituals performed since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, and see ancient buildings erected centuries before the Taj Mahal. -Rough Guides
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The Republic of India is the world’s seventh largest country by area as well as the world's second most populous country with a population of more than 1.2 billion people. There are several religions practiced in the country including Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. India is mainly defined by the various cultures highlighted by the different ethnic groups. There is no single Indian language. Instead, India is home to several major languages, the most notable of being the five most widely spoken languages based on the number of speakers:
Hindi - 551 Million Speakers
Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India and the fourth most widely spoken language in the world after Mandarin, Spanish, and English. Currently, there are 551,416,518 Hindi speakers in India. Hindi is a descendant of Sanskrit and has been influenced by the Dravidian language, Arabic, Portuguese, English, Persian, and Turkic. The dialects of Hindi include Awadhi, Braj and Khari Boli. Hindi words are divided into five categories, namely Tatsama, Ardhatatsama, Tadbhava, Deshaj, and Videshi.
English - 125 Million Speakers
The Hindi and English languages are the official languages of the federal government of India. In some states of India, such as Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, English is an official language. English has been taught in schools in India since the East India Company in the 1800s. Although English used to solely be associated with colonialism, the language has slowly lost that connotation over recent years as English has become a more prominent global language.
Bengali - 91 Million Speakers
Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language mostly spoken in South Asia. It is the foremost languageof the northeastern regions of India, including Andaman and Nicobar Island. Bengali was initially a secular language of old Indo-Aryan and was influenced by Persian and Arabic. The language varies in different states especially in the use, accent, words, and phonetics. Bengali is the second most spoken language in India with over 83,369,769 people speaking it in the country. The language is also spoken in the Middle East, US, Australia, Japan, UK, and Canada. The Bengali language is part of the program offered by the University of Karachi. India’s national anthem was written in the Bengali language.
Telugu - 84 Million Speakers
Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken widely in India mainly spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Yanam.. The language is also spoken in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.
Marathi - 84 Million Speakers
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language that serves as an official language of states in the western part of India, including Goa and Maharashtra. There are approximately 42 different dialects spoken of Marathi. There are three genders in Marathi grammar.
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India is well served by international airlines and has an excellent range of budget domestic flights. You are required to show a copy of your ticket and your passport in order to enter the airport, whether flying internationally or within India. A digital copy on your smartphone is usually sufficient.
Indira Gandhi International Airport is about 14km southwest of the centre. International and domestic flights use Terminal 3. Terminal 1 is reserved for low-cost carriers. Free shuttle buses (present your boarding pass and onward ticket) run between the two terminals every 20 minutes, but can take a while. Leave at least three hours between transfers to be safe.
All visitors need a visa for India, except citizens of neighboring Nepal and Bhutan. The Indian government has now introduced one-month, one-year, and five-year electronic visas for citizens of most countries. The e-visas are available for tourism, business, medical, and conference purposes. For more information, contact the Government of India. Be sure and ask Isla for advice!
The U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Kosovo enroll in the STEP program. STEP sends security email updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.