Story Book Lands – #5: INDIA


“Every country is a story book land.”

Story Book Lands An initiative brought to life by our International Services Avenue in collaboration with our Blog Team as an extension of One SKY 1.0 – A mobile photography competition executed by the International Services Avenue. Story Book Lands will be a brief guide to the 8 countries represented by the 8 participating clubs in the competition.

नमस्ते – Namaste! (Hello! in Hindi)

India is a country located in the South Asia and its Capital is known as New Delhi.

There is no national language in India but there are 22 official languages.

Official Currency: Indian Rupee

India is the second most-populous country in the world after China. It is known for the Indus Civilization which controlled the northwestern part of the subcontinent. The civilization had a distinctive tradition that was associated primarily with Hinduism. Other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were originated in India too. The civilization was also known for its rich intellectual life in fields such as mathematics, astronomy, architecture, literature, music, and the fine arts.

India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. It has people with many religions, castes, tribes as well minor linguistic groups. Many people are bilingual or multilingual, knowing their local dialect, its associated written variant and one or more other languages.

Only a tiny fraction of India’s surface area is uninhabited and most of the country’s population resides in rural areas. The three most populous and multicultural cities of the country are  Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. Some cities of India are the world’s fastest-growing high-technology centers namely Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.

India forms the Sino-Indian biogeographic region, which is known for having numerous amounts of fauna which are highly diverse. The major religions of the country are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. Hindus make up nearly four-fifths of India’s population while the Muslims, are about one-seventh of the total.

Famous For?

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most recognizable and stunning landmarks. UNESCO has named this as “the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture.” This beautiful mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The work began upon her death in 1631 and took 20,000 workmen until 1648 to complete.


The structure incorporates many elements of Islamic design including arches, minarets, an onion-shaped dome, and black calligraphy inlaid around the entrance. It is largely constructed of white marble and decorated with delicate inlaid floral patterns and precious and semi-precious stones.

Agra Fort is a red fortress and was built as a military structure in 1565 by Emperor Akbar. It has an interesting mix of both Hindu and Muslim influences.

There are two large interlinked sandstone buildings, Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal and it is the largest private residence in the complex. The Agra Fort is also home for Khas Mahal, Anguri Bagh and the Musamman Burj tower.

Mysore Palace complex was built in 1912 and contains 18 decorative temples. The Palace is at the centre of The Old Fort complex which features many gardens and courtyards giving the whole area a majestic feel. The armoury within the palace contains over 700 weapons and gives an exciting glimpse into some of India’s past.

The palace contains elegant square towers and domes, many ornate ceilings and pillars in Durbar Hall and the splendid Marriage Pavilion with its stunning stained glass, artworks and displays of jewelry. On Sunday evenings the Palace is illuminated by around 100,000 lights and is surely one of the most impressive sights in all of the country.

This Golden Temple or the Harmandir Sahib, has stunning architecture and a grandiose atmosphere that is almost unmatchable. It is one of the holiest Sikh shrines of India and was built in 1604. The temple sits lower than its surrounding buildings and has 4 entrances which symbolize the fact that anyone is welcome no matter where you come from or what you believe.

It has a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles with its lower marble section featuring flourishes such as ornate inlaid floral and animal motifs, while the large golden dome represents a lotus flower which is a symbol of purity to Sikhs.

Varanasi is situated on the banks of the River Ganges and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is sacred to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.

Many pilgrims pay their devotions in the River Ganges at sunrise by bathing in the river. This is done through numerous locations known as “ghats”. A ghat is a stairway leading to the water where the faithful bathe before prayers. Varanasi has more than 100 ghats and the largest are Dasashvamedh Ghat and Assi Ghat.

Goa has a beautiful western coastline of more than 60 miles overlooking the Arabian Sea. It’s home to some of the world’s loveliest beaches including Agonda Beach and Calangute Beach. Other attractions in Goa are the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to thick forests and plenty of fauna and the Divar Island which highlights a typical Goan village.

Indian Culture

Indians produce their own films and music, which are immensely popular domestically as well as internationally. Customs and religious rituals are still widely observed and practiced around the country. Hindus follow the samskara, a series of personal sacraments and rites conducted at various stages throughout life for religious and social customs. Other religions follow their own rites and rituals. All regions of India have their distinctive places of pilgrimage, local saints and folk heroes, religious festivals and associated fairs. Castes play an important role in enforcing norms and values throughout the country.

Family is considered the most important social unit. It is common for extended families or in-laws to live in the same household together. Almost all marriages in rural areas are arranged by the elders of the family and the bride traditionally moves to her husband’s house. However, in major cities non-arranged marriages are popularly seen.

There are countless numbers of festivals celebrated in the country associated with villages, temples or with specific castes and cults. Some of the most popular festivals are Vasantpanchami, Holi, Dussehra and Diwali. 

Indian Cuisine Specialties

Communication Tips: Indian head wobble can mean a number of different things depending on the context and degree to which the head is wobbled.

  • When listening to someone else speak a little wobble usually means you agree with what they are saying or you think it is good
  • When greeting someone and then doing a wobble is saying “it’s a pleasure to meet you”
  • When doing a wobble after receiving something is saying “thanks”
  • When asked a question a head wobble as an answer means “yes”


[smartslider3 slider=146]

India is a vibrant land of startling contrasts where both the traditional and modern worlds meet. It boasts a rich heritage that’s the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark. Visitors to this exotic country will discover a trove of spiritual, cultural, and historical treasures which would leave the with awe.

अलविदा (alavida)  (Good Bye! in Hindi)

See you soon with another country!

Like / React to picture by the Rotaract Club of Hyderabad Himayath nagar, India for One Sky 1.0 to make them the Winner!


Compiled By:

Tishani Ranawana

International Service Director – 2019/20
One Sky 1.0 – Co Chair

Samiddhi Wanigasekara

Membership Development Director – 2019/20
One Sky 1.0 – Co Chair

Aloka Weerawardane
( Co-Editor – 2019/20 )

Spread the love
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments