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India is the 7th largest nation in the world in terms of land area. It is the 2nd largest in terms of population; making it the largest democracy in the world. The Indian Subcontinent is bordered by Pakistan in the West; China, Nepal and Bhutan in the North; Myanmar and Bangladesh in the East; Sri Lanka and Maldives in the South. However if the Andaman Nicobar Islands are considered, then Indonesia and Thailand neighbour in the further East. The Indian Peninsula is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the East, Indian Ocean in the South and the Arabian Sea in the West. Home of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, it is one of the oldest nations in the world; long identified with vast wealth and riches throughout the ages. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism – 4 of the major religions of the world. Other major religions such as Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are also found here giving India it’s rich and diverse culture; which exerted tremendous influence around the world, as evident by linguistic, literature, mythologies and traditions; from as far East as Japan to as far West as Ancient Rome.

The Indian National Flag is tricolored. It has 3 horizontal lines with a disc in the centre:  The colour at the top is Deep Saffron: which represents Sacrifice and Courage.  The colour in the middle is

: which represents Truth and purity.

 The colour at the bottom is Green: which represents Peace and Prosperity.  The Blue disc in the centre is the Ashok Chakra: which represents the Laws of Dharma (righteousness) adopted from the Pillars erected by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great.

The LION CAPITAL is the national emblem of India. It consists of 4 lions sitting at 90* to each other, each facing in one of the four cardinal directions. At the base of the lions’ feet is located the WHEEL OF DHARMA or Ashok Chakra: the wheel found on the Indian Flag. On either side of the wheel is a galloping horse, bull (visible view), an elephant and a lion (far side) relief. Erected at around 250 BCE at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh province, the original pillar can still be seen in its original location, but the Lion Capital is located at Sarnath Museum. Also the original Wheel crowning the 4 lions has been lost. This wheel can be seen in the intact second pillar of Ashok located in Thailand (pictured above: left). The Motto of the Indian Republic (pictured above: right) is SATYAMEV JAYATE, which means “Truth Alone Triumphs”. Another feature adopted from the Mauryan heritage.

FATHER OF THE NATION: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) also known as “mahatma” which means “Great Soul” [“maha = Great” and “Atma = Soul”]. He led Colonial India to independence from the British Empire using Non-Violent Resistance and inspiring millions across the world such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, John Lennon and many others.

The ever graceful Bengal Tiger is National land animal of India. Symbol of Bravery, India has the largest number of tigers in the world, and nearly a dozen Tiger Reserves to protect this endangered animal. 5 of these reserves are in the Central Indian Province of Madhya Pradesh, of which Indore is the commercial capital. The INDIAN LOTUS (Nelumbo Nucifera) is the National flower of India. It symbolizes divinity, fertility, wealth, enlightenment and knowledge. It is also regarded as a symbol of perseverance and triumph as it can survive in harsh conditions (muddy waters and swamps) and can survive to germinate for thousands of years.

The Blue Peafowl or Indian Peacock is the National bird of India, noted for its magnificent blue plumage and feathers.

The South Asian River Dolphin or Gangetic Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal. They’re different than other dolphins in that they swim on their sides. They’re found in the Brahmaputra and Ganga (Ganges) rivers while another species of these dolphins can be found in the Indus River and its tributaries; Beas and Sutlej.

Ficus Benghalensis or simply the Banyan Tree is the National tree of India. Also known as the Indian Fig, this tree is noted for sprouting aerial roots that grow downwards. Once one of these roots reaches the ground, it grows to become a woody trunk. The largest Banyan tree in Asia is located in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah (Kolkatta). It is 250yrs old with a 1km circumference and 3300 aerial roots descending down. The Indian Mango is the National fruit of India, referred to as the KING OF FRUITS. India is the world’s largest producer mangoes and accounts for a third of global production. However less than 1% is accounted as international trade as India consumes most of its own production

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