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December 2009 - January 2010


Travel

Astonishing India

by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur


Always inspirational: I had the pleasure of visiting many outstanding places in India which gave me joy and inspiration to practice my hobby of painting and photography. This special supplement, brought out on our 60th Republic Day is based on our travels, and we have attempted to bring out the best, most admirable and attractive sights both natural and man-made. We feel privileged to share our experiences with the readers.

India is a country which embraces diversity. It is a land of contrast in terms of geography, climate, people, culture and traditions. It has a rich heritage and cultural history which is worthy of international interest. Even before being colonised by the Birtish, it had been invaded umpteen times by the various rulers of several dynasties.

The first invaders of India were Aryans who pushed the original inhabitants -- the Dravidians -- to the south. Later, the Mauryan Empire spread to a large part of India, followed by the Gupta Empire. Then, history saw the Mughals invade India. It continued with the Portuguese coming to India, followed by French, Dutch, Danish and British. The British ruled India till 1947, the year it became an independent country.

India has enriched its cultural history with each ruler that came. It adapted to, accepted and even made its own, innumerable things that each of these empires brought alongwith them. Religion, architecture, food, culture, traditions, education, everything got influenced by these external influences. Thus, India became the land of diversity and variety that it is today. It still gains from this diversity and its people relish it.

Today’s India is a country of 1.16 billion people. It is the largest democracy in the world with 18 major languages and over 844 dialects. It is the second fastest growing economy, in the world. It is also the land of Bollywood, IT, metropolitan cities and shopping malls. But still it is a country which cradles its past, present and future with equal love. India is a land of vivid, vibrant and colourful traditions, exotic mixed cultures, various languages and spirituality. Away from the commercial centres and busy city lives, there are many spectacular retreats of extreme natural beauty and serenity.

The fascination that India can offer is uncomparable. For those who choose to visit her, get a taste of its charm, a golden past and the rich cultural diversity that it enjoys. With its growing prosperity and development, India is no longer the land of snake charmers but a developing nation.

Lion Capital
of Asoka:
Originally placed atop the Asoka pillar at Sarnath, it is a sculpture
of four Indian lions standing back to back.
It has been adopted as the National Emblem of India.

Nataraja:
It is a depiction of Hindu god Shiva as the cosmic dancer who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for god Brahma to start the process of creation.


Peacock: It is the National Bird of India. The figure of peacock is not only used with the hindu gods and goddesses but also in Islamic illustrations. The male bird is much more beautiful and colourful than its female counterpart.

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