• The Republic of India, whose capital is Delhi, is bordered by Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) to the east and Pakistan to the west.

It’s the seventh largest country in the world, covering more than three million square kilometres, and is second only to China in terms of population, at more than 1.25 billion. Hindus comprise eighty percent of the population, Muslims 14 percent, and there are millions of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Twenty-three official languages are spoken, along with more than a thousand minor languages and dialects. Hindi is the language of more than forty percent of the population; English is also widely spoken.

The caste system is pervasive and, although integral to Hindu belief, it also encompasses non-Hindus. It holds special sway in rural areas and may dictate where a person lives and what their occupation is.

Eighty-one percent of males over 15 are literate, compared to 61 percent of females: 71 percent of the total adult population.

Indian Railways is India’s largest employer, with around 1.4 million workers.

Producing 1900 movies each year and turning over US$4 billion, India’s film industry is the largest in the world, in terms of ticket numbers if not box office receipts.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

15 Aug 2017 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month