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North India Sunrise
About North India
North India Information
North India States
History
People
Religions
Festivals
Cuisine
Languages
Shopping North India
Adventure Sports
Architecture and Sculpture
Pilgrimage Place
Buddhist Pilgrimage
North India Wildlife
Hill Stations
Car Rental
Reaching North India
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North India Dances
North India Music and dance
North India Dances
North India Music
Musical Instruments
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North India Places
Other Destinations
Jammu and Kashmir
Ladakh
Himachal Pradesh
Rajasthan

North India Information
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Information about North India
North India forms the largest region in India. From the high peaks of the Himalaya it embraces the great flat plains of the Ganga valley and the upland plateaus of the northern Peninsula. This enormously diverse landscape is home to an equally wide range of peoples, from those of Mongolian and Tibetan stock in Leh and Ladakh to some of the earliest of India’s settlers, the tribal peoples in Madhya Pradesh. At the same time it has what is rapidly becoming the country’s fastest growing and most important metropolitan city, Delhi. Delhi has become the starting point for most travelers. Centrally located to the northern region and well connected with all parts of the country, it has developed the style

North India Map

and facilities of a modern and sophisticated capital. However, many of  its densely populated quarters still show all the signs of urban poverty and deprivation which successive governments have been unable to remove.

History of North India
Punjab was part of the Indus Valley civilization which then spread southwards along the western seaboard and eastwards to the Ganga. Some of the Harappan cities now in North India had trade links with Egypt and Mesopotamia. A Harappan dry dock has been excavated at the Harappan port of Lothal in Gujarat. The Harappan people were followed – perhaps sven swept away – by the invading Aryans, their onslaught like a hurricane: a people who had never known a city according to a Mesopotamian chronicler. As the Aryans settled to an agricultural way of life new religious ideas and practices began to take shape. Indigenous tribes were displaced and retreated to the remoteness of the hills and forests. Well-wooded Madhya Pradesh still has a significant tribal population of which the Gonds are the most numerous. Kausambi in Uttar Pradesh dates from the 8th century BC, when the Aryans had taken up farming. By this period the early Vedas were already written down, and the upper plains of the Ganga had become the hearth of what was to become modern Hindu civilisation. This was the setting for the classics of Sanskrit literature. The Gupta period (4th-6th centuries AD), was the golden age of Hindu culture in N India. The Guptas created an empire that stretched across northern India from the Punjab to the Bay of Bengal and to a line running from the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat to Orissa. The Chinese traveler and Buddhist pilgrim Fahien visited India at the beginning of the 5th century and his account gives a picture of India as a prosperous and peaceful country. However, Hun invasions from the north west contributed to the collapse of the Gupta Empire which finaly ended in 535 AD. Eighty years later a new king, Harsha, inherited his father’s small kingdom at Thanesar (Haryana) on the Upper Yamuna. The capital was at Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. The Chandelas emerged as a strong regional power in Madhya Pradesh and their fine temples at Khajuraho are evidence of a period of enormous wealth
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Geography of North India

North India has two union territories – Delhi and Chandigarh – and seven states: Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Together they cover 1,452,602, sq km, 44% of the country’s land area. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state. Approximately 75% of the population of region lives in rural areas and most people depend on agriculture for a livelihood. The mountain regions of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hill region of Uttar Pradesh are sparsely populated, but the cultivated area is relatively limited because of the mountainous terrain and its altitude.

Rajasthan has extensive deserts and semi-arid regions which produce low agricultural returns. Madhya Pradesh is still in the fortunate position of having extensive forests. Nearly all the Indian Himalaya lies in the northern regions. Himachal Paradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are almost wholly Himalayan, and in Uttar Paradesh the Himalayan regions of Garhwal and Kumaon make up about a quarter of the state. The mountain region is magnificent, containing numerous strikingly beautiful and contrasting sub-regions. The Himalaya (Abode of Snow) stretches from the disputed border with Pakistan in Kashmir to the Western border of Nepal. Over 1,000 km long, it varies in width from 160 km in Garhwal and Kumaon to 400 km in Kashmir and Ladakh. In places the mountains tower to almost 8,000 m. The Himalaya itself forms the backbone of the mountain region. To the south, bordering the plains are the Siwaliks, a range of foothills, sometimes separated from the Lesser Himalaya by valleys (duns). In the Kashmir there is also the Pir Panjal range, which rises to nearly 5,000 m in places. This forms the southern wall to the Vale of Kashmir. There are other lesser ranges, such as the Zanskar and Ladakh ranges, both reaching 6,000 m. Garhwal and Kumaon in the Uttar Pradesh Himalaya are the home of the gods. The sacred Ganga and almost equally sacred Yamuna both have their sources here at Gangotri and Yamunotri. Nanda Devi (7816 m) is the highest mountain in the region, and one of the most beautiful and mysterious in the entire range. Garhwal and Kumaon are Himalayan trekking’s best kept secret. When Indians speak of the ‘the North’, they are usually referring not to the Himalayas or Kashmir but to a broad belt of land that includes the Ganga Basin and the Haryana and the Punjab region north-west of Delhi. In this wedge lives a very large proportion of the country population. The reason is that the soils are generally very fertile, the product of silt brought down by the rivers of the Himalaas and deposited in a great trench formed by the pressure of the north-moving Peninsula against the Tibetan Plateau. Over the past 20 million year, this 3,000 m deep trough has been filled with alluvium, creating an ideal farming environment that is flat and therefore suited to large scale irrigation. Because of the high density of population there is now hardly any natural forest cover left. Across the unrelentingly flat plain that comprises nearly three quarters of Uttar Pradesh flows the Ganga, the physical as well as spiritual life force of northern India. At Haridwar, the Gateway to the hills, it is nearly 300 m above sea level. When it leaves the northern Region at the border of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar near Patna, it has fallen only 220 m over more than 1,000 km. The Ganga and Yamuna join at Allahabad. Along the southern edge of the Gangetic plain is the peninsular block of India. Madhya Pradesh and the southern part of Rajasthan belong to this region of gently undulating plateau and hill ranges. Running diagonally across Rajasthan from Mount Abu to the Delhi Ridge, effectively dividing the state in two, are the Aravalli hill. To the S is a is the Thar Desert. Delhi is strategically sited at the narrowest gateway to the Gangetic plain. In Madhya Pradesh the topography is similar except in the southwest where the Malwa plateau belongs to outliers of the Western Ghats. The old erosion front in the north of the state is strikingly beautiful, presenting bare cliffs and densely forested ravines. The state has excellent forests, yet for all its varies beauty, cultural heritage and stable political climate, it is surprisingly little visited.

 

Climate of North India
There are wide variations in climate over the region both within the hills and plains as between them. The standard seasons of winter, spring, summer, monsoon and autumn are experienced by all regions except Ladakh and the Lahaul/Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh which lie beyond the Great Himalayan Axis and therefore do not receive the monsoon. Winter is long in Ladakh lasting from Nov to Mar. Elsewhere it is of shorter duration. Generally December and January are cold with maximum daily

Climate of North India

temperatures on the plains reaching the 20 C and the minimum around 7 C though as you move S both increase. After dark, though, it can get quite cold. Freezing on the plains is uncommon, but winter showers occur sporadically and mist or morning fog is relatively common especially around Agra. In the hills there is snow down to around 2,000 m and temperatures are correspondingly low. In Nainital, Shimla and Srinagar the daily minimum is 2 C and the maximum 10 C in Nainital and 4 C in Srinagar in Jan. In Leh it can reach as low as -35 C though this is extreme. In summer it can reach over 30 C. Sunstroke and frostbite are unlikely bedfellows in Ladakh. Unsettled weather originating from the Tibetan plateau is not uncommon, resulting in cold wind and snow or rain. In the hills Feb and Mar are very pleasant months. The rhododendrons are in bloom and the meadows are carpeted with spring flowers. There is snow above 3,500 m and Ladakh is still snow bound. Daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm and reach around 19 C. At night, while it is cool, the temperatures do not drop below freezing. Srinagar has relatively heavy precipitation at this time. On the plains, its is gradually hotting up and around Bhopal can reach 34 C. Delhi is a few degrees cooler. At night, air conditioning is not really necessary. The hot weather lasts from April and until the middle of June temperatures rise inexorably. Delhi and Agra become very hot in May with daytime temperatures consistently over 40 C whilst at night they fall to around 27 C. It is hot but because of low humidity bearable. However, air-conditioning becomes a necessity. This is the time when the British migrated to the hills. Indians who can afford it do likewise. During the monsoon maximum daytime temperatures fall to around 35oC on the plains and 21 C in the hills. Humidity levels are high and the atmosphere is enervating. Clothes always seem damp and insects, particularly mosquitoes, are more active. When the monsoon finishes the weather pattern is invariably very stable. From Oct to Dec. the skies are clear, temperatures are pleasantly warm and the countryside looks delightful. As winter approaches, night time temperate will fall and the mornings can be quite cool. Throughout the region conditions are normally excellent for travel.

Some areas of the hills and the northern plains receive rain from depressions through the winter. However, mot of the region receives its precipitation largely in the Jun to Oct monsoon. The onset of the rainy season is traditionally celebrated in rural areas because of its importance to crop growth. All areas except Ladakh and Lahaul/Spiti receive 75% of their annual rainfall over this 5 month period. Flooding is still common over much of the Gangetic Plain and communications can be disrupted. This is a difficult and unpleasant time for traveling, even though some places such as Mandu in Madhya Pradesh look their best. Vegetation growth is rapid and the landscape looks green and lush. Kashmir is one of the few places that receive comparatively little rain over this period, and its relatively high altitude make it the perfect time to visit.

Economy of North India
In most states agriculture employs over two-thirds of the population. Punjab is the most productive area with 4/5 of the cultivated area under irrigation and impressive yields per hectare. Large parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are not far behind. In these 3 states production of the wheat and rice are grown as commercial crops, sold in the large cities of Delhi and the Gangetic Plain. In the peripheral regions such as Ladakh, the hill region of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and extensive areas of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, farmers produce for their own families consumption. When they do not produce enough to survive, as in the hill region of Uttar Pradesh, they have to import grain from the plains. Up to an altitude of about 3,000 m, there are two cropping seasons. The Rabi season runs from Oct to Mar/Apr. The Kharif is the monsoon growing season, in which as much arable land as possible is sown. Wheat is the major rabi crop throughout the region and on poorer soils such as those in Ladakh is replaced with barley. The northern region produces the bulk of the nation’s wheat and all its suplus. Rice is the important kharif crop and is favoured at this time because of the monsoon and the opportunities the abundant rainfall creates for irrigation.

Industries in North India

Various types of industry are distributed over the lowland areas. Kanpur was one of the first textile factory cities in India and maintains its importance within the region as a processing centre for agricultural products and chemicals. Textiles play an important part in the industrial economies of Rajasthan and Madhya Prades as well. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are well endowed with minerals ranging from diamonds from Panna to high grade iron and tin ore. There are steel plants at Bhilai, heavy electrical enterprises at Bhopal and an aluminium plant at Korba. Heavy industry includes the construction of railway rolling stock in Rajasthan along with zinc and copper smelting. Punjab on the other hand has practically no mineral resources and its industries are concerned with the taxtiles and the manufacture of consumer goods such as bicycles. Haryana is the largest producer of automobile spare parts in India. Light industrial zones have been established in Central and southern Rajasthan around Kota, Jaipur, Udaipur and Bhilwara. Traditional handicrafts provide a source of additional income for many villagers. Kashmir has traditionally been reliant on its high quality handicrafts such as carpets, papier mache good and shawls. In terms of its contribution to the regional economy tourism is relatively insignificant. However, in the popular areas such as Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, the hill stations, and Kashmir and Ladakh tourism has generated employment and income.

Communications in North India
Communications throughout the northern region are generally good. The plains have an extensive road and rail network though the quality roads is often poor and they are increasingly heavily used. Roads have been built into remote hill areas of the north because of their strategic importance. If anything is has increased their reliance on the more productive regions rather than aided local economic development.

People of North India
Two basic components of this heritage, which have at the same time shaped this heritage, are the land, the natural and physical environment of India, and the people who have inhabited this land. The generations of people who have inhabited India during various periods of her history have interacted with their physical and natural environment. They have also interacted among themselves. Through these processes of interaction – between people and their natural and physical environment and among themselves - the people have created their history, their social, economic, cultural and political life. These processes of interaction have been going on for thousands of years, bringing in changes in the life of the people. The world of man, therefore, has never been stationary. The people inhabiting the country from very early times as well as people of other parts of the world have viewed it as a single integral and distinctive unit. Since the time of the Old Stone Age, people from neighboring as well as distant regions have been coming into India through the mountain passes and the seas and making India their home. The people of India have been formed as a result of these migrations over thousands of years. They are the descendants of groups of people belonging to almost all the ‘racial stocks’ which have gone into the making of the Indian population are the Proto-Australoids, the Palaeo-Mediterraneans, the Caucasoids, the Negroid and the Mongoloids in their varying degrees of mixtures. In historical times, the ethnic groups which have come to India and made India their home include the Indo-European speaking people (the Indo-Aryans), the Persians, the Greeks, the Kushanas, the Shakas, the Hunas, the Arabs, the Turks, the Africans and the Mongols. During the past few hundred years, many Europeans have also made India their home. All there ‘racial’ and ethnic groups have intermingled with one another and few of them can be recognized in their original form. Thus, India has been a crucible of various ‘races’ and ethnic groups.
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Religion and Pilgrimage in North India
The city immediately to the North of Delhi in Haryana is revered as the home of the Mahabharata. Mathura is equally surrounded by sites associated with one of contemporary Hinduism’s most popular gods, Krishna, and holy centres such as Varanasi and Haridwar are associated with the great river Ganga. As the faith developed, so did the number and importance of pilgrimage centres. Ujjain, one of the 4 cities in the triennial Kumbh Mela cycle, traces its origins to the age of the great Hindu epics. Asoka's sons were born here. Rama is believed by many Hindus to have been born in Ayodhya. The surrounding countryside is alive with stories from the Rama myth.

Pilgrimage (yatra) also became popular and many centres emerged in the mountains and along the great rivers. Rishikesh and Haridwar became the gateway to the hills whilst in the Great Himalaya Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri all achieved prominence. All these are in Uttaranchal. The cave at Amarnath in Kashmir was also revered whilst the Kulu Valley in Himachal Pradesh became known as the Valley of the Gods.

Buddhism emerged as an alternative to the Brahminism of the 6th century BC. The crucible of Buddhism was Bihar but the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Buddha delivered his first sermon, and Khushinagar, where he died, are both in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Buddhism was espoused by the Emperor Ashoka who erected pillars around the country entreating the population to be virtuous and clean living. One is at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh. Whilst the magnificent Stupa has no direct connection with the Buddha, it is one of the finest Buddhist monuments in the country, and is revered by Buddhists from all over the world. The difficulties of practicing Jainism, with its austere injunctions against harming any from of life, probably prevented it from achieving lasting popularity, but in its prime it spread to Maharashtra and was represented over most of the country. Jains often became traders, an occupation regarded as the least physically harmful, open to them. In the orthodox Hindu hierarchy trade was a lower occupation than that of the priest or warriors, activities performed by the Brahmins and Kshatriyas and, later many of the Rajput states and capitals had influential Jain Merchants who were allowed to construct temples at Gwalior, Osian near Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Mount Abu, Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh near Udaipur in Rajasthan.
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Adventure Sports in North India
North India provides a fascinating and unforgettable experience that attracts lots of tourists throughout the year. In the recent years, North India has been changing its image from purely a cultural destination to a composite destination for various outdoor activities. North India is rapidly emerging as the adventure tourism destination of the world; and scuba diving and other water sports have now become an integral part of it. There are various opportunities for any adventurous sports person in North India. A diverse varied terrain, snow covered mountains, green Alpine meadows, mountains, lakes and rapids and beaches provides an exciting environment for any sports man. Some of the adventurous sports are river rafting or river running, mountain climbing, skiing, hang-gliding, ballooning, motor crossing, heli-skiing, scuba diving and camel safari
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Festivals of North India

India is a land of diversities. The people of every faith and religion live in unity and as well as celebrate various festivals in the country. In no other country of the world are people so frequently motivated by a religious urge to travel as in India. Fortunately for the Hindus, most of their places of pilgrimage are at scenic places in the Himalayas or near the sea or rivers. There is perhaps not a single day in the Indian calendar when a festival or fair is not celebrated in such a vast country with varied religions. There are some national festivals which are celebrated all over North India like Makar Sankranti, Republic Day, Independence Day, Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day, Janmashtami, Dussehra, Diwali and Christmas.
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Cuisine of North India

The Indian cuisine can be divided into two main cuisines, North Indian and South Indian Cuisine. A typical North Indian meal consists of Chappatis, parantha or pooris (unleavened flat breads), dals, curries that are mild and made in ghee, vegetables seasoned with yogurt or pomegranate powder, green vegetables like spinach and green mustard cooked with paneer, north Indian pickles, fresh tomato, mint, cilantro chutneys and yogurt raitas. North Indian desserts and sweets are made of milk, paneer, lentil flour and wheat flour combined with dried nuts and garnished with a thin sheet of pure silver. Nimbu Pani (lemon drink), Lassi (iced buttermilk) are popular drinks of the North. Hot and sweet cardamom milk is very common before going to bed. North Indian Cuisine can be further divided into different categories according to states and tastes. These categories are Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Garhwal, Pahari, Uttar Pradesh, Awadh and Lucknow.
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Music and Dances of North India

Music is the most interesting part of all the aspects of Indian life. Those visitors who have not been born in India, the music ranges from the mild bewilderment to confusion. In Indian classical music, what is said values much more than the manner in which it is said. A melodious voice is like an asset in Indian music, but at the same time the lack of it does not disqualify an otherwise gifted musician from saying his piece. The classical dance is performed by the dancers as the highest form of worship. They dedicated themselves to Shiva, the dancing Nataraja and the supreme symbol of cosmic energy. There is also a myth that when Lord Shiva shook his hand drum, the world heard its first rhythm. As he moved his body with its beat, the universe came into being. Dance forms an intrinsic part of worship in the temples where the dancers offer the God the dance and music, being the most beautiful expression of the human spirit. The Indian classical dance subscribes to a rigorous code and depends upon the convenience of the body. But the origin of Indian dance has been lost in times. The four distinct classes of Indian Classical dances are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Manipuri.
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North Indian Architecture and Sculpture

Indian Architecture is as ancient as the history of civilization. The remains of the buildings in India belongs to the third millennium in the Indus Valley cities. These cities are among the man’s earliest attempts to built the urban environment. "The Great Baths of Mohenjodaro" are some of the significant examples of architecture. Later, the Vedic period was marked by the unspecified pastoral settlements of mud, thatch, bamboo and timber in the valleys of Ganga and Saraswati. Even though the examples of perishable timber structures of that period are not available, but the facts are based on evidences left by successive Buddhist sculptures of the 2nd and 3rd century BC. These sculptures depict the episodes from the life of Buddha, in the architectural setting of the Vedic period. The story of Indian art begins with Harappan culture. The Harappans were great builders, skilled in town planning. The houses with the various facilities, the granaries, the Great Bath, show how skilful and efficient the people were in construction. The terracotta and stone images, the bronze figure of the dancing girl and the artistic seals reveal the exquisite workmanship of the artists
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Languages of North India

Besides Hindi, India has 23 officially recognized languages, which are official languages of one or the other state in India. Some of these languages are quite popular outside their origin state and India as well. These languages are widely spoken and learnt by many foreign speakers with interest. We, at North India Tours are offering some exclusive language courses that help you to widen your knowledge of languages.
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Shopping in North India

The richness of India's traditional handcrafts is known across the world. The traditions are still alive, not in some purely commercialized and tourist-oriented recreation of lost skills, but in the living traditions handed on through families that have practiced them for generations. The variety and the often outstandingly high quality of the work is still astonishing. Each region has its own specialities. Stone carving in India has its old tradition since the time of Taj Mahal and is being practiced till date by the next generation of these families. Paper-mache of Kashmir, cane work pottery and leather work of are specialty of the the Indian state of Kashmir. South India is famous for the Wood carving and metalwork. Indian Sandalwood, Indian rose wood, walnut in Kashmir are to name when it comes to wooden products in India. Metalwork of North India, Indian bird ware in Andhra, Indian bronzes of the south are some more specialities to name some.
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Hill Stations in North India

India with its vast land and diverse culture, heritage, language and people is also showered with the natural beauty. The Himalayas, the world's largest mountain chain, stretches for about 2560 kms. in an arc across the top of the Indian subcontinent. It is in these ranges that some of the most popular hill stations of North India like Almora, Mussoorie, Nainital are located.
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Wildlife in North India

India has a long tradition of protecting and preserving wildlife. The project Tiger was started in 1973. but, today it is a massive attempt towards the conservation of the tiger and its environment. It covers 23 National Parks and Sanctuaries and its success can be judged from the fact that the number of tigers in India has gone up significantly since the project was launched. There are about 80 National Parks and 441 Sanctuaries in India. Several national parks and sanctuaries of India are conveniently accessible by car and also have good accommodation. More than 350 mammals and 1,200 species of birds and reptiles are found in India, some of which are unique to this subcontinent. Some of these unique wild animals and birds are the white tiger, the royal Bengal tiger, the snow leopard, the Asiatic lion, the lion-tailed macaque, the Himalayan Tahr, one horned rhinoceros, the Andaman teal, the great Indian bustard and the Monal pheasant. Sighting of animals in India has a thrill of its own. Various animals like deer and elephants can be seen in small herds in dense forests and in isolated places, except the tiger. You can view the animals by either having an elephant safari, jeep safari or canter safari. Elephant safari is the best way to view these animals as everything which moves can be noticed from the height and if you are lucky, you might see a rare animal.
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How to Reach North India

Most of the tourists visit India by air, though they can reach it by sea or road also. Till the mid seventies, about 10% of visitors to India came through the Asian highway via Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But now, this is becoming increasingly difficult because of disturbances in some countries en route.
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