Destination Information India

Your stay abroad in India

Country information

Country information – India

Colourful and varied: Any trip to India is always going to be special. This country is home to endless stunning beaches, pulsating cities and wonderful landscapes containing exotic animals and plants. Countless people have had their lives enriched by immersing themselves in India’s culture. You too will be amazed by the country of a thousand colours!



Geography

Geography India

The Indian subcontinent takes up 3,300,000 km² of the continent of Asia, and is the seventh largest country on the planet. It is bordered by Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The capital of the country is New Delhi, which has approximately 16.3 million residents. Lofty mountain ranges dominate India’s landscape in several areas. The Himalayas form the natural border with the rest of Asia and stand astride the landscape of the the north of India. This mountain range contains a total of eight peaks in excess of 8000 m. India’s highest peak is Kangchenjunga, which reaches a remarkable 8598 m. The source of the Ganges, India’s most famous river, is in the southwestern part of the Himalayas. The river crosses India before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. Alongside the Himalayas, India is also home to the lowlands of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, as well as the Highlands of Dekkan. The lowlands of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are also known as the North Indian Plain or the Great Plains. This area contains both a fertile landscape and the Thar desert to the west, which is the driest region in India. The Highlands of Dekkan cover the entire southern region of India. They are located to the south of the Ganges lowlands. The Highlands of Dekkan also contain the well-known mountain range of the Western Ghats, which runs all the way to the coast.

Geomorphology/Geology

The mountain range of the Westghats extends up to 1,600 km through the states Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its mean elevation is 900 m and its highest point with 2,695 m is called Anamudi. As a natural barrier, the water from heavy clouds comes down on the west side of its slopes. In consequence the climate in this area is tropical and hot. Moreover many short rivers and larger rivers like the Godavari and the Krishna arise from the east and west of the mountain range.


Flora & fauna

Flora and fauna in India

India's biodiversity is as variable as its landscape and habitats. You can find tropical rainforest, bamboo forests and mangroves in the south, grassy steppes in dryer regions or mountain forests in the higher regions of the Himalaya. India is home to big cats like the Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard and also to the critically endangered Asiatic lion.

 

In contrast to those cats, crocodiles, numerous parrots, peacocks and kingfishers as well as several species of monkeys and in particular many langurs can be seen in the whole country. The tropical rainforests of the southern region are home to Indian elephants and also different species of snakes.


Climate

Climate in India

As India is a huge country and its topography is quite irregular, also the climate varies a lot. Temperatures in the subtropical northern regions and central India change from 10-15°C in winter to about 40-50°C in summer. The tropical south is mostly influenced by the sea and temperatures are quite high throughout the year. In general India´s climate is majorly influenced by the Indian monsoon which brings rain from June to September and especially heavy rainfall to the west coast and the mountain slopes of the Himalaya in the northeast. On the contrary, the Thar desert is the driest region in India.


Social geography

Population

India, with its 1.29 billion inhabitants, is the most populated country after China. People in India are born into one of four main castes (Varnas) or as an “untouchable” (Dalits) and remain in their social structure until they die. The Dalits work in “impure” occupations like waste collection and are strongly discriminated.

Language

In India there is no official national language. As over 100 languages are spoken and about 544 different dialects exist in this huge country, the languages can be subdivided into different language families. About 77% of the population speaks languages from the Indo-Aryan family and about 20% from Dravidian family. Languages from the Austroasiatic and the Tibeto-Burman families are spoken by about 1% each. Also English and Arabic is spoken.

Economy

With about 30% of its population living under the poverty line, India with its rapidly growing economy has a big poverty problem. Even though the influence is shrinking, agriculture is still the major driving force for India's economy. Moreover the textile industry and the export of synthetic fabrics and jewelry are important for its economy.

Political situation and safety

The parliamentary democracy India is divided in 29 states, 6 union territories and the national capital territory Delhi. Avoid walking around the streets in the dark alone, especially in bigger cities and do not go to demonstrations.

Religion

Religions like Hinduism (~80%), Islam (~14%) and Christianity (~2%) are widely spread in India. Other religions like Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism have their origin in India (as well as Hinduism) and are also spread among the population in smaller percentages.


Tipps

Travel Tipps and Trivia

Time zone

MESZ: +3:30

There is no daylight saving.

Currency

In India you pay with the Indian rupee (1 INR= 100 naye paise). Before travelling to the country site you should get cash from an ATM in the town. For the current exchange rate see www.währungsrechner.com.

Units

Since 1962 metric units are authorized in India.

Electricity

As the voltage in India is 230 V and 50 Hz, you should be prepared to bring an adapter.

Transportation

  • Rickshaw/Tuk-Tuk: Cities and towns are full of those tricycles that get you around easily and for low prices. Be prepared for damaged roads and therefore very uneven rides.
  • Taxi: Especially for longer distances you can take a taxi as a slightly more expensive alternative. Private taxis should be avoided for safety reasons. Choose your own taxi and negotiate about the price before you get in the car. It is also possible that the driver stops at a store where they want to sell products to tourists. In that case – stay calm and friendly and refuse if you do not want to do so.
  • Train: If you have enough time and want to travel around the country, you should consider taking the train. You can book sleeping wagons or your own compartment in different classes at relatively low prices.

National holidays

  • January 26: Republic Day
  • August 15: Independence Day

Dos and Don’ts

Do

  • Schedule your planned activities with enough time, as everything takes a while in India (also bring patience).
  • Always negotiate about the price – you do not need to be shy.
  • Try the local food.

Don’t

  • Do not put off your shoes in religious institutions and put on long clothes (no naked skin or short pants/shirts allowed).
  • Do not dress too revealing as a woman.
  • Do not drink tap water or bottled water with broken seals.
  • Do not treat books and literature disrespectfully or touch them with your feet as they are directed to the goddess of education.

Highlights Must-see places in India

Our top recommendations for you

Highlights

Highlights

Just to name some of those seemingly uncountable things to do and see in the colorful and versatile India, you can consider the following points in your holiday preparation. To start with one of the best known cultural highlights, the Taj Mahal is to mention with its majestic marble construction. Moreover you can travel along the Ganges to visit the holy town Varanasi where numerous visitors go to pray, swim or meditate. Also the desert region Rajasthan is worth a trip, not only to visit Udaipur, the red town Jaipur and the blue town Jodhpur, but also to enjoy a camel ride or a night under the stars. If you prefer the wilderness, you can choose from 85 official national parks. The Corbett National Park on the slope of the Himalaya is to mention which was the first park in India with the oldest tiger reserve in the country.


Our Project Site in Kerala

Geography

The project site Fringe Ford is located north in the southernmost state Kerala near the border to Karnataka. Rainforest, cultivated land and the mountains in the northern Wyanad region make up the landscape of the tropical state that lies in the mountain range of the Westghats. The state has an area of 2,131 km² and its elevation varies between 700 and 2,100 m above sea level.

Climate

Kerala in general has a tropical climate with warm temperatures and relatively heavy rainfall during the monsoon. The temperature of the temperate Wyanad mountain region varies between 18 and 29°C and during June and September (southwest monsoon) up to 4,000 mm rain is possible. In contrast to that, the eastern mountain plateau is less affected by the monsoon (300 mm of rain per year).

Geomorphology

The mountain range of the Westghats extends up to 1,600 km through the states Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its mean elevation is 900 m and its highest point with 2,695 m is called Anamudi. As a natural barrier, the water from heavy clouds comes down on the west side of its slopes. In consequence the climate in this area is tropical and hot. Moreover many short rivers and larger rivers like the Godavari and the Krishna arise from the east and west of the mountain range.

Flora and Fauna

Because of the humid-hot climate, the soil in Kerala is very fertile and as a consequence great areas formerly covered by rainforest are now used for agriculture. The Wyanad forests are home to critically endangered monkey species like the lion-tailed macaque.

Highlights

Especially the Kerala Backwaters, a row of brackish lagoons and lakes parallel to the coast are a highlight worth visiting. The five artificially connected main lakes of the Backwaters are fed by 38 rivers and were formerly built by the force of waves. Influenced by the fresh water of the rivers and the saltwater of the Arabian Sea, this is a unique habitat for various plants and animals.

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