City Guide of India

India offers a wide variety of tourist destinations for travelers worldwide. India is a perfect mix of tourism destinations such as beach, pilgrimage, wildlife, hill stations and others. Beautiful mountains, sandy beaches, holy shrines, languages, wildlife and traditions make India a top spot in tourism hot spot. There are interesting dance forms to explore, colorful festivals like Holi, carnivals, cuisines, paintings and handmade crafts for tourist to explore in India. Destinations in India are rich in cultural heritage, archeological wonders and colorful lifestyle.

Delhi

Delhi is the capital of India. It is also known as the National Capital Territory of India (NCR).

Delhi was the site of ancient Indraprastha (Khandavprastha), the ancient capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. Delhi re-emerged as a major political, cultural and commercial city along the trade routes between northwest India and the Gangetic plain during the Delhi Sultanate era.

Delhi is bounded by four states namely Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that have a strong influence on the lifestyle of Delhi. Delhi is a cosmopolitan city where people are open to embracing new ideas and life style. People from all parts of the country live here. Delhi is not only the largest commercial centre in Northern India, but also the largest centre of small industries. The IT sector, handloom, fashion, textile and electronic industry contribute a lot to Delhi's economy.

All major festival of India are celebrated and the Unity in Diversity is evident in social and cultural gatherings.In fact, one can say that there is hardly any religion of India that does not find a presence in the capital city.

There is no such thing as typical cuisines of Delhi but it is mainly famous for the street food. Delhi's chat is liked form most of the people and the local ice-creams that is also known as kulfi. Paranthe valli galli is the most famous corner of the Delhi which is situated in Chandi Chowk.

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is literally known as the "Land of Kings" or the "Land of Kingdoms". It is one of the most popular tourist destination in India for both domestic and international tourist. Rajasthan attracts tourists for its historical forts, palaces, art and culture. Every third foreign tourist visiting India also travels to Rajasthan as it is part of the Golden Triangle for tourists visiting India.

Rajasthan is culturally rich and has extensive tradition in art and culture, which reflects the Indian way of life. The dance, music and art forms have been consciously cultivated and patronized by the erstwhile royal courts. An equally rich and varied folk culture from villages is both fascinating and mesmerizing. It also has a rich tradition of cuisines. Aptly has it been said that the royal kitchens of Rajasthan raised the preparation of food to the level of a sublime art.

Rajasthan is also known for its traditional, colourful art. The block prints, tie and dye prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, and Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. Handicraft items like wooden furniture and crafts, carpets, and blue pottery are commonly found here. Rajasthan is a shoppers' paradise, with beautiful goods at low prices. Reflecting the colourfulculture, Rajasthani clothes have a lot of mirror-work and embroidery. A Rajasthani traditional dress for females comprises an ankle-length skirt and a short top, also known as a lehenga or a chaniya choli. A piece of cloth is used to cover the head, both for protection from heat and maintenance of modesty. Rajasthani dresses are usually designed in bright colours like blue, yellow and orange.

There are three main airports at Rajasthan- Jaipur International Airport, Udaipur Airport, and Jodhpur Airport. These airports connect Rajasthan with the major cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai. There are two other airports in Kota and Jaisalmer, but are not open for commercial/civilian flights yet. Jaisalmer airport is open for civilians but only during season time (from August to March).

Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is a state to the northern part of the India. Lucknow is the administrative capital of Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh was home to powerful empires of ancient and medieval India, including Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga,Kushan, Gupta, Gurjara, Rashtrakuta, Pala and Mughal which many say was improved by the Nawabs of Awadh. The two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and Yamuna, join at Allahabad and then flow as the Ganga further east. The state has several historical, natural, and religious tourist destinations, such as the Taj Mahal, Varanasi, Piprahwa, Kaushambi, Kanpur, Ballia,Shravasti, Kushinagar, Lucknow, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Allahabad, Budaun, Meerut and Mathura.

Hindi and Urdu are the two languages that are mostly spoken in Uttar Pradesh. Urdu is prominent in Uttar Pradesh as Lucknow was once the centre of Indo-Persianate culture in north India. The language of Lucknow ("Lakhnavi Urdu") is a form of high literary Urdu.

The Culture of Uttar Pradesh is an Indian Culture which has its roots in the Hindi and Urdu literature, music, fine arts, drama and cinema. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Imam Bara and Chhota Imam Bara. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored.

The most famous cuisine of Uttar Pradesh is Oudh are Kaboobs, Briyani and Nihari. Due to Muslim dominance and influence on the culture and cuisine of this region, you will find that most of the items are meat based. Among the kabobs Shami and Galawati kabobs are the specialty of Lucknow and so are Kulcha-Nihari and Biryani. It should be kept in mind that the Biryani that is cooked in Oudh is quite different from its cousins of Hyderabad and Karachi in Pakistan. The Kanpur region brings Kakori and Boti kabobs. The most famous vegetarian dishes of this region are Tahri and Nargishi kofta. While the former is cooked with rice and lentils, the later has a generous dose of cheese, Khoya and saffron.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is the state in the northern part of the India. It is located in the Himalayas and share its border with China and Pakistan. Interesting it has its two capitals. In winters it has its capital as Srinagar and in summers it has its capital as Jammu.

The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, and Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture. It is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population.

The culture of Jammu and Kashmir is a comprehensive mingling of customs and practices of its three distinct regions, Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. It has a rich tradition of music, dance and drama. The folk music and dance of the state is the lifeline of the Kashmiris. There are various dance forms performed according to the occasion - various seasons, harvest, weddings and religious festivals. One of the popular dance forms of the state is the Mask Dance, performed during the Hemis festival in Ladakh by the Lamas of the Hemis monastery. The dancers, representing divine or mythological figures, wear colourful brocade robes and heavy masks as they perform ceremonial dances around the monastery courtyard.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is not just a paradise for the tourist but also for the lovers of good food. The state offers a variety of exotic recipes bearing a distinct seal of the state. Secret behind the mind-blowing cuisine of the state lies in the books of history which speaks of the invasion of Kashmir by Timur in the 15th century AD. This resulted in the migration of hundreds of skilled cooks from Samarkand to cater to the royal tongue. Various tribes and sections of society have added their own flavour to Kashmiri food. The style of preparation of Kashmiri Brahmins or Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims are radically different. Brahmins use generous quantities of curd along with asafoetida and ginger in their food, excluding egg, onions and garlic. Muslims use onions, garlic and egg liberally in their food preparations. Saffron and Kashmiri chilies are common spices in the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir.

Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is the city towards the north of India. Capital of this state is Shimla. It shares it borders with Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty.

It attracts tourists from all over the world. The state is also known for its adventure activities which includes Paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, Rafting in Kullu, ice skating in Shimla, Boating in Bilaspur and various other activities like trekking, horse riding, Skiing, fishing etc. The state is also a famous destination for various film shooting units and various films have been shot in the state like Roja, Henna (film), Jab We Met, Veer-Zaara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Highway (2014 Hindi film) mostly by the contribution of Mr Anil Kaistha.

Major tourist and religious destinations include Bahadurpur fort, bhakra dam, naina devi temple, Manimahesh, Bhuri Singh museum, Bharmaur, khajjiar,prashar lake, rewalsar, chotti kashi mandi, jogindernagar valley, dalhousie, sujanpur tira, dharamshala, palampur, masroor rock temple, kangra fort, kinnaur, manikaran, manali, rohtang pass, spiti, Shimla, kasauli, gobind sagar lake.

Hindi is both the official language and the lingua franca of Himachal Pradesh. However, most of the population speaks Pahari, which includes nearly all Western Pahari dialects.

One of the most important food items of the people of Himachal is dal or lentil and chawal or plain rice. The simple preparation of rice and pulses provides the daily intake of carbohydrates and proteins, the two important components that help in building a healthy body. Roti or flat bread with any vegetable is also one of the staple food items of the people of this hilly state.

Local music and dance reflect the cultural identity of the state. Through their dance and music, they entreat their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. Apart from the fairs and festivals that are celebrated all over India, there are number of other fairs and festivals that are of great significance to Himachal Pradesh.

Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is situated at the northern part of the India. It is popularly known as Devbhumi (land of Gods). It has numerous Hindu pilgrimage sites. It is mainly famous for its "char dham" which literally means "journey to centers. Badrinath (dedicated to Lord Vishnu), Kedarnath(dedicated to Lord Shiva), Gangotri (the holy origin of river Ganga)and Yamunotri (the holy origin of river Yamuna) are the places that are included in "Char Dham".

The Char Dham Yatra begins around the first to second week of May every year. These dates are announced in the national media. The base for the yatra is generally the Rishikesh town which has all the amenities available for pilgrims and tourists alike. Pilgrims and tourists generally book their journey through the local travel agents to all the four locations.

Other attractions to see in Uttarakhand are Haridwar, Rishikesh and Nanital. It is also the home to first National Parks in India. There are 12 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve and Valley of Flowers National Park are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Adventure Sports, Water Sports and Mountaineering in Uttarakhand are very popular. Tourists and adventure seekers from far and wide come here to experience White Water River rafting in Uttarakhand. Skiing, Ice Skating, Sailing, Para Sailing Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting, Yachting, Trekking, Rock Climbing, Hiking, Para Gliding, Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping also serve as another interesting sport's activity for tourists in Uttarakhand. Golf is another sports which has a newly found love of the tourists in Uttarakhand specially places like Ranikhet is serving as an attractive destination for golfers in Uttarakhand.

Haryana

The name Haryana means "the Abode of God", derived from the Sanskrit words Hari (the Hindu God Vishnu) and ayana (home). Haryana has a rich cultural heritage that goes back to the Vedic times. Dhosi Hill, the ashram of revered Rishi Chyawyan is an important site where Chyawanprash was formulated for the first time.

The people of Haryana have preserved their old religious and social traditions. The 21st century pop-culture in Indian media has portrayed Haryanvi culture as masculine, arrogant and the language as rude/heavy. However, the land and language has its own mellifluous aspect in the folk culture, songs and dance-dramas.

The culture of Haryana and the humour is very much similar to that of Punjab (as Haryana was a part of Punjab state). They celebrate festivals with great enthusiasm and traditional fervour. Popular Haryanavi dishes include makke di roti (grounded dry corn) and sarso da saag, lassi (sweet yogurt), rajma, cholay-bhature, etc.

The Haryana has 2 National Parks, 8 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 2 Wildlife Conservation Areas, 4 Animal & Bird Breeding Centers, 1 Deer park and 3 Zoos, all of which are managed by the Haryana Forest Department of the Government of Haryana.

Punjab

Punjab is the state on the northwest side of India. Chandigarh is the capital of this state. Punjab comprises of two words "punj" which means five and "ab" which means water. It is also known as the land of river as five rivers flow there namely: Beus, Satluj, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum. The name Punjab was given to the region by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.

The culture in Punjab is rich and diverse. The biggest community of Punjab comprises of Sikh and Jat. These people are extremely hard-working and are mostly into agriculture. They play a major role in the agricultural output of the state. The people of Punjab are well-known for warmth and hospitality.

The food of Punjab is meant for the strong-hearted. It is rich in flavours and has a liberal dose of ghee (clarified butter) and spices. Punjab has an abundance of milk and therefore milk products are an important part of daily diet. No meal is complete without large glassfuls of butter milk or lassi (yoghurt drink).

The culture of Punjab has many elements including music such as bhangra, an extensive religious and non-religious dance tradition, a long history of poetry in the Punjabi language, a significant Punjabi film industry which dates back to before Partition, a vast range of cuisine which has become widely popular abroad, and a number of seasonal and harvest festivals such as Lohri, Basant, Vaisakhi and Teeyan, all of which are celebrated in addition to the religious festivals of India.

A kissa is a Punjabi language oral story-telling tradition that has a mixture of origins ranging from the Arabian Peninsula to Iran and Afghanistan.

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are known for their rich rituals, songs, dances, food and dresses, which have evolved over many centuries.

Leh Ladakh

Leh Ladakh is situated at the northern part of the India. It is also known as the "land of high passes". It is the second largest district after Gujarat in terms of the area

. Among the popular places of tourist interest include Leh, Drass valley, Suru valley, Kargil, Zangskar, Zangla, Rangdum, Padum, Phukthal, Sani Monastery, Stongdey, Shayok Valley, Sankoo, Salt Valley. Popular treks are Manali to Ladakh, the Nubra valley, Pangong tso, Tso moriri, the Indus valley, Markha valley, Ladakh monastery trek, South Zangskar, Trans-Zangskar Expedition, Spiti to Ladakh, Spiti to Pitok to Hemis, Rupshu, the Great Salt lakes, Chadar Ice trek, Padum-Phuktal, Padam to Darcha, Panikhar to Heniskot, Padum to Manali, Lamayuru - Martselang, Lamayuru - Alchi, Kala Pattar trek, Pahal.

Ladakh one of the most favourite trekking destination, having some of the most picturesque and challenging treks. Ladakh is a paradise for adventure lover given by its world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Greater Himalaya and the Karakoram, and two others, the Ladakh range and the Zangskar range. The most important feature of trekking in Ladakh is the High Mountain passes which comes on the trekking routes gives opportunity to have wonderful view of colorful mountains and amazing landscape.

The staple food in Ladakh is 'Tsampa', which is made by lightly roasting barley in a large metal pan, partly mixed with sand to prevent the barley catching alight. The barley is then sieved to remove the sand and the roasted grain is ground in a watermill. The resulting meal is sprinkled with 'Gurgur' (salt water) or mixed with a small amount of liquid to form cakes. Salted butter tea or 'Chang' (a locally made Beer) is often drunk with the Tsampa. These dishes are called "Cholak".

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is one of the 29 state of India. It is situated in the southern part of India and it is also eighth largest state of India.

The Andhra's trace their history to the Vedic age. Andhra was mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana (800 BCE). According to Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig Veda, Andhras left the "northern land of the Aryans" and migrated to South India.

The roots of the Telugu language have been seen on inscriptions found near the Guntur district and from others dating to the rule of Renati Cholas in the fifth century.

Andhra Pradesh has a variety of tourist attractions including beaches, hills, caves, wildlife, forests and temples.

The state is home to many pilgrim destinations. It has many temples and shrines, mosques, and churches. The crafted shrines and temples in the state has rich cultural heritage. A number of festivals are organized within the temple premises with thousands of tourists visiting them. Most of the temples were built during the reign of Vijayanagar Empire. Some famous temples are Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Malli karjuna Swamy, Kanaka Durga Temple and many more.

Islam is also popular religion with number of mosques built during the reigns of Muslim rulers. One of the famous is Shahi jamia masjid in Adoni of Kurnool district. There are many famous churches with historical significance constructed centuries old. One of them is the Gunadala Church at Vijayawada.

Karnataka

Karnataka is the state in South of India. The capital and largest city is Bangalore. Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north.

Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.

The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Kodavas and Konkanis.

Karnataka also has a special place in the world of Indian classical music with both Karnataka (Carnatic) and Hindustani styles finding place in the state and Karnataka has produced a number of stalwarts in both styles. While referring to music the word 'Karnataka', the original name given to the South Indian classical music does not mean the state of Karnataka.

Karnataka has 25 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks. Popular among them are Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park and Nagarhole National Park. The ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi and the monuments of Pattadakal are on the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The cave temples at Badami and the rock-cut temples at Aihole representing the Badami Chalukyan style of architecture are also popular tourist destinations. The Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebidu, which were built with Chloritic schist (soapstone) are proposed UNESCO World Heritage sites.[137] The Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza are famous examples of the Deccan Sultanate style of architecture. The monolith of Gomateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola is the tallest sculpted monolith in the world, attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims during the Mahamastakabhisheka festival

The waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh are listed as must-see places and among the "1001 Natural Wonders of the World".Jog Falls is India's tallest single-tiered waterfall with Gokak Falls, Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Abbey Falls and Shivanasamudra Falls among other popular waterfalls.

Kerala

Kerala is the state situated in the southern part of the India. It enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Asia. An equable climate. A long shoreline with serene beaches. Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters. Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife. Waterfalls. Sprawling plantations and paddy fields. Ayurvedic health holidays. Enchanting art forms. Magical festivals. Historic and cultural monuments. An exotic cuisine... All of which offer you a unique experience.

Kerala has a wet and maritime tropical climate influenced by the seasonal heavy rains of the southwest summer monsoon and northeast winter monsoon. Around 65% of the rainfall occurs from June to August corresponding to the southwest monsoon, and the rest from September to December corresponding to northeast monsoon.

The culture of Kerala is composite and cosmopolitan in nature and it's an integral part of Indian culture. It has been elaborated through centuries of contact with neighbouring and overseas cultures. However, the geographical insularity of Kerala from the rest of the country has resulted in development of a distinctive lifestyle, art, architecture, language, literature and social institutions. There are around 10,000 festivals celebrated in the state. The Malayalam calendar, a solar calendar started from 825 CE in Kerala, finds common usage in planning agricultural and religious activities.

Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and meat. Culinary spices have been cultivated in Kerala for millennia and they are characteristic of its cuisine. Rice is a dominant staple that is eaten at all times of day.

Breakfast dishes are frequently based on the rice preparations idli, puttu, Idiyappam, or pulse-based vada or tapioca. These may be accompanied by chutney, kadala, payasam, payar pappadam, Appam, chicken curry, beef fry, egg masala and fish curry. Lunch dishes include rice and curry. Popular snacks include banana chips, yam crisps, tapioca chips, unniyappam and kuzhalappam. Sea food specialities include karimeen, prawn, shrimp and other crustacean dishes. Kerala is one of the few places in India where there is no communal distinction between the different food types. People of all religions share the same vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is the southern state of India. It literally means land of lord. It also shares its maritime border with the country of Sri Lanka. Its official language is Tamil, which holds a status of being a classical language. Tamil has been in use in inscriptions and literature for over 2500 years.

It is a home to many natural resources, classical arts, classical music, classical literature, Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It also has a large number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Some of them are Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Mukurthi National Park and Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and many more.

Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture. It is known for its rich tradition of literature, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Tamil Nadu is a land most known for its monumental ancient Hindu temples and classical form of dance Bharata Natyam. Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam (dance), Tanjore painting, and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil cuisine is typical of south Indian cuisine, in that rice and rice-derived dishes form the major portion of a diet (rice and curry). There are regional sub-varieties namely Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Madurai, Tirunelveli varieties etc. Traditionally, food is served on a banana leaf instead of a plate and eaten with the right hand.

Rice is the staple food of Tamils and is typically eaten mixed with sambhar (with or without ghee), vegetarian or non-vegetarian kulambu, rasam, curd and buttermilk. This is accompanied with various vegetarian and/or non-vegetarian dishes like kootu, aviyal, poriyal, appalam, varuval, peratal, kothsu, varieties of pickles and chicken, mutton, or fish fry. Idly and Vadai served with Sambar.

Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep is situated at the southern part of the India. It is also known as the Laccadive Islands.

Lakshadweep was already known as a tourist attraction for Indians since 1974. This brings in significant revenue, which is likely to increase. Since such a small region cannot support industries, the government is actively promoting tourism as a means of income in Bangaram and Kadmat islands. Bangaram is projected as a major destination for international tourism. Marine fauna are plentiful. Water sports activities such as scuba diving, wind surfing, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, sport fishing, yachting and night-voyages into the sea are quite popular activities among tourists. Tourists flock to these islands throughout the year except during the South-west monsoon months when seas are extremely rough.

There are several festivals that have originated in the island of Lakshadweep to mark the eminence of Islam. Eid-Ul-Fitr, Muharram, Bakra Eid and Milad-Un-Nabi are the prominent occasions when the people of the island gather in various mosques to commemorate the holy sermons of the various prophets.

Pondicherry

Pondicherry is the capital city of The Union Territory of Puducherry and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India.

The main tourist attractions in and around the city are Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, monuments and statue, museums, gardens and parks, places of worship and many more things.

The people of Puducherry are engaged in different types of handicrafts like leather, woodcraft, pottery, metal craft etc. It has a cosmopolitan culture and people belonging to different castes, creed and religions live here amicably.

Culture of Pondicherry is very rich and diverse. It is a place where the cultural impacts of several traditions have merged to form a cultural in itself. The glorious past is reflected well in the cultural practices of the people of the Union Territory of Puducherry. The dominant cultural practices in Pondicherry are mainly influenced and inspired by the traditions and customs of the people of the Tamil origin on one hand and the lifestyle of the French colonizers.

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India, located in northeast India.

Arunachal Pradesh, which translates to "land of the dawn-lit mountains", is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists. In recent times, large number of migrants from various parts of India and foreign lands have been affecting the state's population. Encompassing extensive geographical diversity with a variety of rare wildlife, flora and fauna, Arunachal Pradesh is now gaining acclaim worldwide as one of the richest biodiversity and heritage spots. It is the only Indian state that can claim to have four major varieties of the big cats in its jungles- tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard.

In this incredibly beautiful state, more than 500 species of birds have been recorded, many of which are highly endangered and restricted to this state.

One of Asia's largest Orchidarium is in Arunachal Pradesh and almost every district of Arunachal Pradesh has its own exclusive and rare variety of orchids.

One of the famous national parks in Arunachal Pradesh are Mouling National Park and Namdapha National Park.

People of Arunachal Pradesh understand Hindi and English.

Assam

Assam is a state of India in the north-eastern region, located south of the eastern Himalayas.

Assam is a land of blue hills, green valleys and a red river. Situated in the north eastern region of India and located just below the eastern Himalayan foothills, it is surrounded by the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya, which together with Assam are known collectively as the seven sisters.

For tourism there are wildlife reserves like the Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Nameri National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park etc. It has a rich cultural heritage going back to the Ahom Dynasty which governed the region for many centuries before the British occupation.

Assam is also a region, which can be termed as a crucible of cultures. It is a true meeting place of South Asian and South East Asian cultures, where the principal language Assamese (Oxomeeya) exhibits hybridity between Indo-Iranian, Tibeto-Burman and Tai-Kadai group of languages. Apart from the hybrid Assamese population, there are several distinct ethno-cultural groups such as Bodo, Karbi, Mishing, Dimasa, Tiwa, Rabha, Hasong, Taiphake, Taikhamti, Taiaiton, Singphow, Bru, Garo, etc with distinct languages, dialects, food habits, architecture and settlement pattern, textile design, dance, music, musical instruments, beliefs, etc.

Mizoram

Mizoram is one of the states of Northeast India, with Aizawl as its capital. The name is derived from Mi (people), Zo (hill) and Ram (land), and thus Mizoram implies "land of the hill people".

Mizoram is a place with flora and fauna rich landscape and pleasant climate. It has third highest total forest cover with 1,594,000 hectares (3,940,000 acres), and third highest percentage area (79%) covered by forests, among the states of India, according to 2011 Forest Survey of India.

Aizawl is the capital of the state of Mizoram in India. It is also the centre of all important government offices, state assembly house and civil secretariat. The main tourist attraction in Aizawl are: Bara Bazar, Mizoram State Museum, Durtlang Hills, Berawtlang Tourist Complex. Mizoram has many hill stations, lakes, waterfall and many more tourist places.

The culture of the Mizo tribes and its social structure has undergone tremendous change over 100 years, since the arrival of Christianity in late 1890s. Contemporary people of Mizoram celebrate Christmas, Easter and other Christian celebrations replacing many of old tribal customs and practices.

Mizo traditional tunes are very soft and gentle, with locals claiming that they can be sung the whole night without the slightest fatigue. The guitar is a popular instrument and Mizos enjoy country style music.

West Bengal

West Bengal is a state in East India and is the nation's fourth-most populous state, with over 91 million inhabitants. The state capital of West Bengal is Kolkata.

Bengali is the main language here. Apart from Bengali - English, Hindi, Odia (also known as Oriya) and Assamese are also widely understood by the local people. In the Darjeeling area the main language is Nepali.

The state stretches from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal and so there are many things to see. Some of the places of tourist interest are Darjeeling, Rarh, South-west Bengal, North Bengal and many more places. It has wonderful cultural heritage, particularly towards the rural sides. The northern side has beautiful hills and forests, while the south has some nice beaches.

Bengal is famous for fish preparations and sweet-meat but some of the vegetarian dishes are also a speciality. In olden times, widows were prohibited from taking anything other than vegetarian food (predominantly they still are but now rules are being broken) and they were principal chefs in large homes. They developed the vegetarian dishes extensively.

Bengal had been the harbinger of modernism in fine arts. Rabindranath Tagore, called the father of Modern Indian Art had started the Bengal School of Art which was to create styles of art outside the European realist tradition which was taught in art colleges under the colonial administration of the British Government.

Durga Puja in October is the most popular festival in the West Bengal. Poila Baishakh (the Bengali New Year), Rathayatra, Dolyatra or Basanta-Utsab, Nobanno, Poush Parbon (festival of Poush), Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja, Laxmi Puja, Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Muharram are other major festivals. Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, is one of the most important Hindu/Buddhist festivals while Christmas, called Bô?odin (Great day) in Bengali is celebrated by the minority Christian population. Poush mela is a popular festival of Shantiniketan in winter.

Sikkim

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan Mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south.

The name Sikkim is a combination of two Limbu words: su, which means "new", and khyim, which means "palace" or "house".

The snow covered mountains & lush green valley’s not only invigorates one's soul, it also leaves the spectators bewildered by the extravaganza of its natural beauty. Nearly 40% of the total area is forested.

The state official language of Sikkim is Nepali, which is also the primary language of most locals. Many other languages such as Dzongkha and Tibetan are also spoken by smaller numbers. However, Hindi is also widely spoken as a second language, and all educated people are able to speak English.

One must eat delicious momos stuffed with meat (also known as 'Dumpling'). For vegetarians, veg momos are also available along with Thukpas (noodle soup). Phagshapa is a strip of pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chillies.

Odisha

Odisha is an Indian state on the subcontinent's eastern part. It is surrounded by the Indian states of West Bengal to the north-east, Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and north-west and Andhra Pradesh to the south.

Bhubaneswar is the capital of Odisha.

The city of Puri is about 60 km (37 mi) south from Bhubaneswar and lies on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Puri is considered a holy city and the abode of the deity Lord Jagannath. It is one of the Char Dhams (four holy places) of Hinduism. The world-famous Ratha Yatra or "Chariot Festival" or "Car Festival" is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Ashadha (mid-June to mid-July) in Puri. Oriya is the language spoken by the majority of the people of the state. English is widely used for official purpose and Oriya is used as regional language. Oriya belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family, and is closely related to Bengali and Assamese.

The capital city of Bhubaneshwar is known for the exquisite temples that dot its landscape. The classical dance form Odissi originated in Odisha. Contemporary Odisha has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three great religious traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The culture of the Adivasis is an integral part of modern Oriya heritage.

Gujarat

Gujarat is the state to the western side of the India. The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar. It is also known as the Jewels of India. The state shares its boundaries with Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat is the home to Gujarati speaking people. It has also played an important role in the development of the economy.

Gujarat consist of people following Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism and many more which make it a religiously diverse state. It is the home place of many Gujarati but at the same time it is the home place of Mahatma Gandhi and vallabhbhai Patel who helped in getting India its independence.

The food of Gujarat is primarily vegetarian. It is believed to be one of the healthiest cuisines in India. The typical Gujarati thali consists of roti or bhakri, dal or kadhi, rice and sabzi. Indian pickle and chhundo are used as condiments. The four major regions of Gujarat all bring their own styles to Gujarati food. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same time. In Saurashtra region, chass (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.

Gujarati folk music, known as Sugam Sangeet, is a hereditary profession of the Gadhvi(Charan) communities. The omnipresent instruments in Gujarati folk music include wind instruments, such as turi, bungal, and pava, string instruments, such as the ravan hattho, rktaro, and jantar and percussion instruments, such as the manjira and zanz pot drum.

Bhuj is a popular shopping destination for handicrafts and shares a common culture with Sindh province in Pakistan. Artisans in nearby villages bring their art work for sale in Bhuj. Important landmarks for people wishing to study and know more about Kutchi embroidery are Shrujan, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS), Kalaraksha and Women Artisans' Marketing Agency (WAMA, Bandhini).

Goa

Goa is the smallest state by area and the forth smallest by its population. It is located as the west side of the India. Panaji is the capital of this state.

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.

The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa as Goparashtra or Govarashtra,which means "a nation of cowherds". Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana.

The tableau of Goa showcases religious harmony by focusing on the Deepastambha, the Cross, Ghode Modni followed by a chariot. Western royal attire of kings and regional dances being performed depict the unique blend of different religions and cultures of the State. The festival of music and dance, Shigmo Mel or the Holi and spring celebrations, signify unity in diversity. Prominent local festivals are Chavoth, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Shigmo, Samvatsar Padvo, Dasara etc. The Goan Carnival and New Year celebration is known to attract a large number of tourists.

Goan cuisine is famous for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil are widely used in Goan cooking along with chili peppers, spices, and vinegar giving the food a unique flavor. Sannas, Hitt, are variants of idli and Polle, Amboli, and Kailoleo are variants of dosa; all are native to Goa. A rich egg-based, multi-layered sweet dish known as bebinca is a favorite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni; cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy palms. Goa also has a rich wine culture.

Goa features a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra is on the western side of the India. The capital of this state is Mumbai. It is one of the wealthiest and the most developed states of India.

Maharashtra is the canter of many religious and cultural traditions. In Maharashtrian villages, life revolves around fairs and festivals. Each festival comes with its own colors and Cuisine. People do up their houses and surroundings and there is an air of celebration. The festival time is surely a must visit time in India. While the most hugely visible festival maybe the Ganesh Chaturthi, due to the large processions and the colorful images of Lord Ganesha, there are many festivals celebrated with as much enthusiasm and spirit.

Maharashtra cuisine covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staple food of the Maharashtrian diet. Some of the popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, and batata wada. Meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali. Maharashtra cuisine covers a range from mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit form staple food of the Maharashtrian diet. Some of the popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, and batata wada. Meals (mainly lunch and dinner) are served on a plate called thali.

Maharashtra is a prominent location for the Indian entertainment industry, with many films, television series, books, and other media being set there Mainstream Hindi films are popular in Maharashtra, especially in urban areas. Mumbai is the largest center for film and television production and a third of all Indian films are produced in the state.

It has many places to visit such as caves, forts, shrines, beaches and many more tourist places where people can come and enjoy themselves.

Daman and Diu

Daman or Damao, a Union Territory was a Portuguese enclave for four centuries and a half till the close of the colonial rule in 1961. The first Portuguese Captain Diogo de Mello, while on his way to Ormuz, met with a violent cyclone and when all hopes were lost, suddenly found himself at the Daman coast. Daman was the battleground to oust the Portuguese and had witnessed many wars waged against the alien powers. It had been a melting pot where races and cultures met and mixed to bring forth a multi colored identity. This paradise of peace, solitude and contentment with its coastline about 12.5 km along the Arabian Sea (the Gulf of Khambhat) was once known as Kalana Pavri or Lotus of Marshlands. A laid back little town, Daman is divided by the Damanganga river. Nani Daman (or Little Daman) in the north and Moti Daman (or Big Daman) in the south which retains something of the Portuguese atmosphere in its Government buildings and churches of colonial origins enclosed within an imposing wall.

English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi are the official and main languages.

There are many attractive tourist places to visit such as Gangeshwar Temple, Diu Fort, Ghogla beach, Shell museum and many other places.

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is located at the center of India. The capital of this state is known as the Bhopal. It is also known as the heart of India. it has been the home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and many more.

The natural beauty of Madhya Pradesh is equally varied. Consisting largely of a plateau streaked with the hill ranges of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, the State has everything. The hills give rise to the main river system - Narmada and the Tapti, running from east to west, and the Chambal, Sone, Betwa, Mahanadi west to east. Spectacular mountain ranges, meandering rivers dotted with hills and lakes and miles and miles of dense forests offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife in sylvan surroundings.

One third of the state is forested and offers a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National Parks of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Shivpuri and many others one has the rare opportunity to see the tiger, the bison and a wide variety of deer and antelope in sylvan surroundings.

The traditional food in Madhya Pradesh differs from region to region. Places such as Bhopal that has a strong Muslim influence, one experience rich food prepared in rich spices and is famous for its kebabs, Biryani, korma, keema, etc. Another famous cuisine called Bafla is prepared out of Wheat and is savoured with Daal and Ghee. Madhya Pradesh food / cuisine comprise of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and are eaten and savored by all.

Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is situated at the center of the India. Raipur is the capital of this state. Early it was known as the Dakshin Kosala (South Kosala).

The state is full of ancient monuments, rare wildlife, exquisitely carved temples, Buddhist sites, palaces, water- falls, caves, rock paintings and hill plateaus. Most of these sites are untouched and unexplored and offer a unique and alternate experience to tourists, compared to traditional destinations.

The official language of the state is Hindi and is used by non-rural population of the state. Chhattisgarhi, a dialect of Hindi language, is spoken and understood by the majority of people in Chhattisgarh. Telugu is also spoken in parts of Chhattishgarh.

The state hosts many religious sects such as Satnami Panth, Kabirpanth, Ramnami Samaj and others. Champaran (Chhattisgarh) is a small town with religious significance as the birthplace of the Saint Vallabhacharya, increasingly important as a pilgrimage site for the Gujarati community. The Oriya culture is prominent in the eastern parts of Chhattisgarh bordering Odisha.

One of the well- known traditional dishes of Chhattisgarh is "Iddhar". It is made with grinded urad dal and kochai patta. Both are arranged in alternate layers 2-3 time and then rolled. This roll is then cooked in steam and cut into pieces. After that it is prepared with curd like curry. Some people also make it with gram flour (besan) instead of urad dal.

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