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Taj Mahal,  AgraIndia is regarded as a unity in diversity. This is one country in the world where diversity could be seen in every sphere-the beauty of her landscape, geography, demography, culture, traditions and religion. Infact, India can rightly be called a canvas of many shades. One of the oldest civilisations in the world, Indian landscape is dotted with many magnificent temples of the ancient and medieval period. Although it is difficult to pick examples, the temples of Khajuraho, caves of Ajanta and Ellora and Sun Temple in Orissa speak of the splendour of India's golden past. Similarly, a myriad of monuments dot every nook and corner of India. Some are legacies of the great medieval rulers like Mughals, some are reminders of British colonial rule in India. Taj Mahal- the monument of love in white marbles built by Shahjahan is a monument whose beauty and grandeur could not be matched by any other monument in the world. India is also a land of great natural beauty. There are hundreds of picturesque hill stations in various parts of India. Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Mussorie, Ooty and Darjeeling are some of the most popular. A country with a long coastline, India is also full of scenic beaches. The Indian state of Goa is regarded as a haven for beach holidaying. The states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu also boast of many beautiful beaches.

The sheer size of India means that the country also has a varied climate and terrain. The Himalayan mountain ranges are in the north, the deserts of Thar is in the west, elongated plains could be seen in the central region and plateaus in the south. There is also a 7,500 km long coastline basically to her south and rain-fed dense tropical forests in the country's North East. Furthermore, the country is bordered by the Arabian sea to its west, the Bay of Bengal to its east and the Indian Ocean to the south. The country is also full of vivacious rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls. The Ganges, Brahmaputra, Krishna, Kaveri and Godavari are five big rivers of India.

Summers in India are generally from April to the middle of June. The mercury may rise above 40 degrees centigrade in many parts of northern, central and southern India. The monsoons normally hit India during late June and the rainy season may prevail till August. However, rainfall is not uniform and the north eastern part of the country receives the highest rainfall. Winters set in during late November and may last till February. Great variations in temperature is also seen in different parts of the country during winters. Kashmir may remain below freezing point in winters but southern India rarely experiences temperatures below 15 degrees.

India is also a country where colourful festivals are celebrated. As the country is inhabited by many different communities, they all celebrate their own festivals with great pomp and gaiety. All communities join the festivities without any parochial feelings resulting in grand celebrations. Punjab celebrates Baishakhi, Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal, Kerala celebrates Onam and Assam celebrates Bihu in a big way. Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal and Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra are also memorable experiences. The country is also the home of all great religions of the world. The vast majority are Hindus, but there are also sizeable numbers of Muslims and Sikhs. Followers of Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Zorastrianism also live harmoniously in the country.

India is also known for her delicious cuisines. Every state has a cuisine of her own and each cuisine is markedly different from the other.

A country of such great diversity, tourism in India is sure to be an enthralling.

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Tea Plantation in Munnar
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