States of India
a united, independent India was born, it was not without pains. Before
the British left, our great country was divided into a large under of
provinces, many of them under the rule of local princes. The Himalayan
task of joining all the diverse regions of India to from a strong united
nation fell upon Sardar Vallabhai Patel, who was known as the ‘iron man
of India’. He was assisted by V.P. Menon, secretary of the Ministry of
States. Thiers was indeed a task ridden with challenges, because
different provincial kingdoms reacted differently to the appeal. Though
Cochin joined the union easily, in Hyderabad, the Indian Army had to
tackle the Nizam’s army before receiving a ’yes’.
Later, the nation was divided into a number of states based on their
languages. Through all these birth pangs, a great nation was being born,
ready to make its presence felt in the modern world and create history.
This issue of Tell Me Why tells about our states.
Why do we say that India is a union of states?
You know that India is a union of twenty-eight states and seven union
territories, but do you know why and when they were formed? India won
Independence from the British on August 15th 1947, and the
British system of provinces and princely states was abolished in 1956.
New states were then created on the basis of ethnicity and language.
Since some of the states that were formed in 1956 were very big, they
were split into smaller states later. Bombay State was divided into the
states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960. In 1962, the former
Portuguese and French colonies were incorporated into the Indian
Republic as the Union Territories of Pondicherry, Dadra and Nagar
Haveli, and Daman and Diu. Nagaland became a state in 1963 while Punjab
was split up, and the new Hindi speaking state of Haryana was formed in
The year 1971 saw Himachal Pradesh become a
state, while Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura became states the next
year. The Kingdom of Sikkim joined the India Union in 1975, while
Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became states in 1987, followed by Goa.
The year 2000 saw the creation of three new states Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal, and Jharkhand.
Principal Languages: Telugu and Urdu
State Bird: Indian Roller
State Animal: Blackbuck
State Flower: Water Lily
Why is the history of Andhra Pradesh fascinating?
Over the centuries, Andhra Pradesh has been ruled by several great
dynasties, including the Satavahanas, Sakas, Ikshvakus, Eastern
Chalukyas and the Kakatiyas. After the end of the Kalatiya dynasty, a
few local kingdoms rose to power in different parts of the kingdom.
Among these, the Vijaynagar kingdom was the most powerful one. In the 16th
century, the state saw the emergence of the Qutb Shahi dynasty which
was defeated by the Mughals. In 1707, Hyderabad came under the rule of
After was independence, Andhra Pradesh became
the first to be formed on the basis of Ianguage. The Telugu speaking
people were given twenty-one districts, out of which nine were in the
Nizam’s dominions, and the rest in the Madras Presidency. However
following an agitation in 1953, eleven districts of the Madras state
were taken to form a new Andhra state with Kurnool as its capital. Nine
districts under the Nizam were later added to form the enlarged state of
Andhra Pradesh in 1956.
Why is the geography of Andhra Pradesh important?
Andhra Pradesh is located in South India, bounded by Tamil Nadu in the
south, Maharashtra in the north and north west, Madhya Pradesh and
Orissa in the northeast, Karnataka in the west, and by the Bay of Bengal
in the Deccan plateau, and is one of the oldest geological formations
of the country. The Godavari and Krishna rivers cut through the state,
forming large deltas before joining the Bay of Bengal.
The state can be divided into three important regions based on its
geography the coastal region, the interior region, known as Rayalseema,
and the Telengana region, and nine adjoining districts. Andhra Pradesh
has a wide variety of wildlife and has natural beauty. The state is home
to India’s largest tiger reserve, in the Nallamala forest.
Why Kuchipudi is considered Andhra Pradesh’s gift to the world?
Kuchipudi is a classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh. It is known
for its graceful movements, strong narrative, and dramatic character.
The credit for the existing dance form of Kuchipudi goes to Siddhendra
Yogi. The style is a blend of folk and classical dance.
Kuchipudi dance drama has a perfect blend of rhythm, mime, and pure
dance. This art form has some very complicated items of original
footwork such as tracing out an outline of a lion or an elephant with
the feet on the floor, or dancing with the feet on the edges of a
circular brass tray, or with a water pot, delicately and precariously
balanced on the head.
Kuchipudi flourished as a dramatic form of
dance for hundreds of years. It was held in high esteem by the rulers of
the deccan, and is today considered to be Andhra Pradesh’s gift to the
world of arts.
Why is Andhra Pradesh called the state of Guinness records?
Andhra Pradesh has won Guinness records in many fields. It has India’s
largest and Asia’s second largest road cum railway bridge at
Rajahmundry, and the state owned Road Transport Corporation is the
;largest bus operator in the world. In cinema, it holds the record for
the largest film production facility in the world, while dr.
Brahmanandam holds the record for acting in the most number of Telugu
films in the role of a comedian. D.Ramanaidu is listed as the most
prolific producer, while 2800 kuchipudi dancers performed kuchipudi to
create another Guinness record. Recently, a huge 5,570-kg ‘laddu’
prepared for the recent Ganesh festival in Andhra Pradesh also entered
the Guinness world records!
stands for Hyderabad information Technology Engineering Consultancy
City. It is the largest information technology park in India, and offers
world class, state-of-the art IT infrastructure under one roof. It is
spread over 151 acres of land in the suburbs of Hyderabad. This
technology township as made Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh one of the most
important centres for the information technology industry in the world
Capital : Itanager
Principal Languages: English
State Bird: Great Hornbill
State Animal: Gayal (Mithun)
State Flower: Foxtail Orchid
Why is Arunachal Pradesh called the ‘land of Himalayan mountains?’
Pradesh means ‘land of the dawn-lit mountains’ in Sanskrit. Much of
Arunachal Pradesh is covered by the Himalayas. However, parts of Lohit,
Changlang and Tirap are covered by the Potkai hills. Kangto, Neygi
Kangsang, the main Gorichen peak, and the Eastern Gorichen peak are some
of the highest peaks in this region of the Himalayas.
the lowest elevations, you will find semi-evergreen forests. Much of the
state consists of Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests. Towards the
northern border with China, with increasing elevation, comes a mixture
of Eastern and Northeastern Himalayan sub-alpine conifer forests,
followed by Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Finally, there
is just rock and ice on the highest peaks.
Why is the history of Arunachal Pradesh said be full of myths and legends?
history of Arunachal Pradesh is rich in myths and legends. The land is
mentioned in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. This place
is the Prabhu Mountains of Puranas. It was here that the sage
Parashuram atoned for his sins, and the sage Vyasa meditated. This was
the land where King Bhismaka founded his kingdom, and Lord Krishna
married his consort Rukmini.
The recorded history of
Arunachal Pradesh is available only from the sixteenth century onwards.
Its modern history begins with the imposition of the British rule in
Assam in 1826. Before 1962, Arunachal was popularly called the North
Eastern Frontier Agency and was constitutionally a part of Assam. The
Ministry of External Affairs administered it until 1965, and
subsequently, the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Governor of
Assam. In 1972, it was constituted as a Union Territory, and renamed
Arunachal Pradesh. On 20th February in 1987, it became the 24th state of the Indian Union.
Why is the culture of Arunachal Pradesh unique?
Pradesh has a great cultural background, and its people celebrate
numerous festivals round the year, together with their own set of
rituals, music and dance. The state has 20 major tribes, and numerous
sub-tribes living in the villages across the state. Different tribal
groups have their own set of beliefs and notions about their religion.
The people of Arunachal Pradesh form three cultural groups, and each
group practices its own religion. The people of the first group are
usually Buddhists, while people of the second group practice Donyi
Poloism or worship of the Sun and Moon Gods. Christianity and Hinduism.
The third group practices Christianity and Hinduism.
people of Arunachal make beautiful masks, and periodically stage
pantomimes and masked dances. They specialize in carving semi-religious
motifs on wood, and make exquisite carpets, painted wooden vessels, and
silver articles. They are expert workers in cane and bamboo, and weave
articles that they commonly use in their daily lives like shawls,
jackets, cific tribes have crafts exclusive to their area of expertise.
Capital : Dispur
Principal Languages: Assamese, Bodo, Kari
State Bird: White-winged Wood Duck
State Animal: One-horned Rhino
State Flower: Foxtail Orchid
Who is Assam divided geographically?
is located at the gateway of North-east India. It is surrounded by
states like Arunachal Pradesh in the North, Nagaland in the east,
Mizoram and Tripura in the south, and West Bengal in the west. Assam can
be broadly divided into three distinct physical units, the Brahmaputra
Valley in the north, the Barak Valley in the narrow protruding south,
and the state’s hilly region separating the two valleys. Assam has
stunning scenic grandeur, with dense tracts of tropical forests,
interspersed with emerald patchwork quilts of paddy, and lush tea
gardens enriched by the flow of the Brahmaputra River. The alluvial
plains of the Assam valley enjoy an abundance of natural riches. The
state is the largest producer of timber and tea in the country, and it
has the oldest oil refinery in India. Did you know that Assam is the
only region in the world that has its own variety of tea, called
has a tea named after it- the Camellia Assamica. This tea is known for a
full-bodied flavour and strong bright colour. The tea leaves originate
from bushes in the Assam Valley in India, where the Brahmaputra river
flows. The river has deposited a rich loam over the valley, and the area
experiences both hot monsoon seasons and cool, dry winters, which are
ideal conditions for the Assam tea bush. Assam tea is very popular as a
Why was Assam formed?
land of Assam was known as ‘Kamarupa’ or ‘Pragijyotish’ in the epics.
The early history of Assam is believed to be of the Varman dynasty. The
reign of this dynasty extended from 400 AD to the 13th century. By the 15th century, the kingdoms of Ahom and Koch were established. In the later part of the 18th
century, the Ahom Kongdom was weakened due to internal strife. The
Burmese seized power, which prompted the British to intervene. The
British subdued the Burmese, and set out to organize the administration,
as well as to improve transport and communication.
Independence, Assam witnessed several separations of territories.
Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram were all carved out
of Assam, and became separate states over the years.
Bihus are the national festivals of Assam, and there are three such
festivals. Each Bihu coincides with a distinctive phase in the farming
calendar. The Bohaag Bihu marks the New Year at the advent of seeding
time, the Kaati Bihu marks the completion of the sowing and
transplanting of paddies, and the Maagh Bihu marks the end of the
harvesting period. All Assamese people, irrespective of caste, creed,
religion, faith and belief, celebrate the Bihu festivals with great fun
Why is Assam said to be rich in culture?
is the meeting ground of different cultures. The state has a large
number of tribes, each unique in its tradition, culture, dress, and
exotic way of life. From time immemorial, the people of Assam have
traditionally been craftmen. Artists, sculptors, masons, weavers,
spinners, potters, goldsmiths, and workers of ivory, wood, bamboo, cane
and hide have flourished in Assam from ancient times. Weaving is a
traditional craft that every Assamese woman takes pride in. The Assamese
woman takes pride in. The Assamese women produce silk, and cotton cloth
of exquisite designs in their looms. Assam is renowned for its
exquisite silks including the world famous Muga silk.
To sum up, Assamese culture is a rich blend of ethnic practices and ancient beliefs.
Capital : Patna
Principal Languages: Hindi, Urdu
State Bird: Indian Roller
State Animal: Gaur
State Flower: White Orchid-tree
Why do we say Bihar as a magnificent history?
has seen the birth of ancient civilizations and modern Indian history.
Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim and Sikh shrines abound in this ancient
land, where India’s first major empire rose and fell. Bihar is the land
of not only great religious preachers, but also of mighty emperors and
valiant warriors. Ancient Bihar was knows as Magadha, and was the centre
of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. India’s first
empire, the Mauryan Empire as well as one of the world’s great
religious, Buddhism, arose in what is now Bihar. One of the first known
republics in the world, Licchavi existed in the region. The classical
Gupta dynasty of Bihar was known to have been a period of great culture
and learning, and is, in fact, called the Golden Age of India.
the medieval period, except for the brief period of Sher Shah’s reign,
the province of Bihar never enjoyed the status of an independent state.
In 162, the British stated business from Patna, and soon they took over Bihar. The British ruled Bihar from 1765 to 1947.
India became independent, Bihar became a state under the Union of
India. In 2000, the state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar.
How can we describe the geography of Bihar?
is located in the eastern part of country. It lies midway between West
Bengal in the east, and Uttar Pradesh in the west. It is bounded by
Nepal in the north, and by Jharkhand in the south. The Bihar plain is
divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga, which flows through
the middle, from West to East.
Bihar is mainly a vast
stretch of very fertile flat land. It can be grouped into three regions.
They are the northern mountainous region, the Indo-Gangetic Plain and
the Southern Plain. Many rivers like the Ganga, Kosi, Kamla, Burhi
Gandak, Saryu and others flow through the state. The Bapabar Hills,
Mandargiri Hills are some of the mountains in the state.
Why are festivals in Bihar a reflection of the culture and traditions of the people?
is steeped in history, and has a rich tradition of festivals. The most
famous festival is Chhatth Puja, which is celebrated twice a year.
Sama-Chakeva is another festival celebrated in Bihar, especially in
Mithila. Navarathri is a ten day festival where the people of Bihar
worship Goddess Durga for nine days. On the tenth day the idol of the
goddess is taken to the river and cast into it. Maker Sankranti marks
the end of winter, and the beginning of the summer season. Mahavir
Jayanti, which is celebrated with great pomp, and Deo Diwali which marks
the final liberation of Lord Mahavira, are important Jain festivals in
Bihar. Ramnavami, Nagpachami, Bihula are some of the other festivals
celebrated in Bihar.
Capital : Raipur
District : 18
Principal Languages : Hindi, Chhattisgarhi
State Bird : Hill Myna
State Animal : Wild Buffalo
Why is Chhattisgarh a new state with an ancient history?
ancient times, Chhattisgarh was called Dakshin Kosala. According to
mythology, Ram stayed in Dakshin Kosala during his exile. Later,
Chhattisgarh remained part of every empire that ruled the country, right
from the days of the great Magadha Empire. The English recognized the
mineral wealth of the land, and established a vast network of mines and
railway track throughout the area. This marked the beginning of a new
phase in the region’s history. In recent times, the state of
Chhattisgarh has been carved out of Madhya Pradesh to become the 26th state of the Indian Union of November 1st 2000.
Why is Chhattisgarh called a ‘land of opportunity’?
has been called a land of opportunity because the state has immense
mineral and forest resources. Substantial deposits of limestone,
iron-ore, copper-ore, bauxite, coal, asbestos and mica exist in the
newly formed state. While the availability of coal has helped the state
to become a major producer of power, an abundance of iron-ore deposits
have helped the setting up of a large number of iron and steel
industries. Another big source of income for the state is forest
revenue, for 12% of India’s forests are in Chhattisgarh. Agriculturally,
it is a very fertile area. The soil and climate here are suitable for
rice, which is grown here in large quantities. Chhattisgarh supplies
food grain to almost 600 rice mills. Did you know that Chhattisgarh is
the richest state in terms of mineral wealth? Twenty-Eight varieties of
major mineral including diamonds, are found here.
Why do we say that Chhattisgarh has a colourful culture?
boasts of a cultural heritage rich with vibrant dances, melodious
music, magnificent arts and crafts, and colourful fairs and festivals.
The majority of the state’s population belong to tribal communities. The
tribal people love to adorn themselves with ornaments made from
cowries, beads, shells, bones and feathers. Apart from the tribals, many
people of Chhattisgarh actually belong to the neighrouring states.
Chhattisgarh is undoubtedly a reservoir of talent. Since ages, dance
and performing arts have been practiced here. While Raut Nacha is the
folk dance of cowherds, Panthi ‘Karma’ and Soowa dance forms are popular
all over the state. Music forms an inseparable part of the state’s
culture. The rich traditional folk songs that are famous include sohar,
bihav, and pathoni. The arts and crafts of Chhattisgarh are truly
amazing. Wood carvings, bamboo work and furniture, bell metal
handicrafts, figures of terracotta, tribal jewelry, paintings, and clay
pieces are some of the specialties from the state.
Chitrakot Falls is a waterfall located in the Bastar district of
Chhattisgarh on the Indravati River. It is about 29 metres high. The
breadth varies, as the water level in the river goes down during summer.
Most of the area that surround the falls is forest.
Capital : Panji
District : 2
Principal Languages : Konkani and Marathi
State Bird : Black-crested Bulbul
State Animal : Indian Bison
Why is the history of Goa so special?
The history of Goa goes back to the 3rd
century BC. It was the part of Mauryan Empire. Goa has an endless list
of rulers who have ruled this state through the ages. The 14th
century saw Goa gradually becoming a trading centre with mostly horses
being traded with the Middle East. It was at this time that powerful
empires took Goa under their rule. However, things started to change in
1510 AD, when the Portuguese arrived in Goa. Owing to its natural
harbours, coupled with wide rivers, Goa served as a perfect base for the
Portuguese to take control of the spice trade from Middle East. During
the time of the spice trade, Goa reached its golden Age, and Old Goa
became the biggest city in East. Though India earned her independence
from British rule in the year 1947.Goa had remained a Portuguese colony.
In the year 1961, the former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, sent
armed forces to Goa. The Indian army took over Goa in just two days. Goa
became one of the Union Territories of India, along with Daman and Diu.
In 1987, Goa became a separate state, while Daman and Diu were made a
separate Union Territory.
Why is tourism important to Goa?
caught the imagination of the people in the world in the 1980’s and
Goa, with its natural beauty, coupled with its charming Portuguese
influence and culture, became a favorite destination for hordes of
tourists from all over the world. Today, Goa is one of the most
important tourism destinations in India. The sun kissed beaches, the
historic forts and unique churches, as well as the unending carnivals
and parties all make Goa irresistible, both to the Indian and well as
the international tourist.
The pleasant weather of the state throughout the year is one of the major contributors that promote tourism in Goa.
How can we describe Goa’s geography?
is located on the western coast of Indian, in the Konkan coastal belt.
The state is separated from Maharashtra by the Terekhol River in the
north, Karnataka in the south, the Western Ghats in the east, and the
Arabian Sea in the West. Goa as a region can be divided into four
divisions. They are the Eastern Hill region comprising areas in the
Western Ghats, the Central Valley Lands, the Flood Plains comprising the
coastal plains and rolling uplands, and the Coastal Plains.
Sahyadri Ranges are spread over an area of about 600 sq km., with an
average elevation of 800 metres. The Central region of Goa has plateaus
ranging between altitudes of 30 m to 100 m. The rivers of Mandovi and
Zuari drain the major portions of the plains. Goa’s coastline is a
scenic combination of bays and headlands broken by large estuaries of
the Mandovi and Zuari Rivers, coupled with minor streams.
city of Mormugao in Goa state is situated on the west coast of India.
Mormugao Harbour is very picturesque, and is one of the region’s most
impressive natural ports. The Port of Mormugao was an important trading
centre for the British. It was also the capital of the Portuguese Empire
Capital : Gandhinagar
District : 26
Principal Languages : Gujarati
State Bird : Greater Flamingo
State Animal : Asiatic Lion
State Flower : Marigold
Why is Gujarat’s history an illustrious one?
history of Gujarat goes back to the Indus Valley civilization. The
Dravidian tribes were the original inhabitants of the region. Gujarat
saw an Aryan invasion, followed by a brief period of Greek rule. Later,
there was a succession of Hindu Kingdoms, including the era of the
Guptas. This era ended in the reign of the Solankis. The 9th
century witnessed the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of
the state. The rule of the Mughals lasted for two centuries before the
Maraths ended it in the 18th century.
The British Raj
came to Gujarat in 1803. After independence, Gujarat was included under
the old Bombay state. Bombay was finally divided into two separate
state- Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Gujarat and the Freedom Movement
Gujarat played a leading role in Indian’s struggle of Independence. It
was the birthplace of many freedom fighters like the legendary Mahatma
Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and others. Some of the most popular
revolts against British rule, like the Salt Satyagraha, also originated
What do we know about the geography of Gujarat?
is situated on the west coast of India. The state is bounded by the
Arabian Sea on the west, Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north and
northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the southeast, and Maharashtra in the
south, It has a very long coastline, extending to more than 1290 kms.
Gujarat is made up of three geographical regions. The peninsula,
traditionally known as Saurashtra, is essentially a hilly tract
sprinkled with low mountains. Kutch, on the northeast is barren and
rocky, and includes the famous Rann Desert. The third region extended
from the Rann of Kutch and the Aravalli Hills to the River Damanganga.
It is on the whole, a level plain of alluvial soil. The forest cover in
Gujarat is relatively little, with only 9.61% area covered with forest.
However, it still supports more than 40 species of animals including the
rare Asiatic lion, wild ass, and blackbuck. The rivers of the state are
mostly seasonal streams, and the highest point in Gujarat is in the
Why is Gujarat’s growth impressive?
is one of the most prosperous states of India owing to its agricultural
productivity and industrial development. The state leads the country in
various industrial sectors namely, textiles, automobiles, engineering,
chemical, petrochemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, dairy, cement,
ceramics, gems and jewellery. Major agricultural products include
cotton, groundnuts, dates, sugar cane, milk and milk products. The
world’s largest grass root refinery is the oil refinery in Jamnagar. The
world’s largest shop breaking yard is in Gujarat, and Gujarat is the
only state in India to have a statewide gas grid of 2,200kms. Gujarat
ranks first in the nation in gas based thermal electricity generation.
During the past few years from 1994 to 2011, Gujarat has had an average
growth rate of 12.4% per annum, which is a very impressive growth rate
What was Gujarat able to become an industrial power?
has rich natural resources, a vast reservoir of skilled manpower, and
one of the most developed industrial infrastructures in the country. Its
rank among the states has steadily risen from 8th in 1960, and it is now vying for the top slot.
From its traditional textile base, Gujarat has diversified into fields
like chemicals, petrochemicals, engineering, pharmaceuticals, dyes &
dye intermediates, food processing, agro-based industries, dairy,
edible oils, and a host of other sectors. The policies pursued by the
state have resulted in increasing employment opportunities, promoting
entrepreneurs, promoting belonging to weaker sections, and also in
improving the export performance of the state. The state has been able
to attract substantial flow of investment to the industrial sector
during last couple of decades.
Garba and Bandini
is famous for its garbba dance, and bandini work. Garba is a popular
folk dance that is associated with Lord Krishna. Bandini is an ancient
art that involves tying and dyeing pieces of cotton or silk, with
Capital : Chandigarh
District : 20
Principal Languages : Hindi
State Bird : Black Francolin
State Animal : Blackbuck
State Flower : Lotus
Why does Haryana have a unique place in Indian history?
has been a cradle of Indian culture and civilization. It was here,
5,000 long years ago that Lord Krishna preached the gospel of duty to
Arjuna. The region has been the scene of many a war because of its being
‘a gateway to North India’.
As years rolled by, successive
streams of the Huns, the Turks and the Tughlaqs invaded India and
decisive battles were fought on this land. At the end of the 14th
century, Timur led an army through this area to Delhi. Later, the
Mughals defeated the Lodhis in the historic battle of Panipat in the
year 1526. Towards the middle of the 18th century, the
Marathas had established their sway over Haryana. The area was ceded to
the British in 1803. In 1832, it was transferred to the then
North-Western Provinces and in 1858, Haryana became a part of Punjab,
remaining as such after the partition of India in 1947.
demand for Haryana as a separate state, however, was raised even before
India’s independence in 1947, and Haryana became India’s 17th state on 1st
November 1966. Haryana was carved out of the mostly Hindi-speaking
eastern portion of Punjab, while the mostly Punjabi-speaking western
portion remained as current day Punjab. The city of Chandigarh, was made
a union territory to serve as capital of both these states.
What are the highlights of Haryana’s geography?
is small state, bounded by Uttar Pradesh in the east, Punjab in the
west, Himachal Pradesh in the north, and Rajasthan in the south. Most of
Haryana is in the plains, with the Aravalli mountain range starting its
westward journey from here. In addition to the Shivalik Hills, the dry
irregular Aravalli Hills and the Gaggar Yamuna Plain, parts of Haryana
are made up of a semi desert sandy plain that borders Rajasthan.
The Yamuna is the only major river that passes through this small
state, which is one of the greenest in the country. The ancient river
Saraswati was thought to have flows through Haryana, but it has now
disappeared. The River Ghaggar is its main seasonal river. It rises up
in the outer Himalayas between the Yamuna and the Sutlej, and then
Land of Battles
has been the setting for many great battles, beginning with the epic
atha. The region has witnessed major decisive battles like the three
Battles of Panipat that changed the history of India.
Capital : Shima
District : 12
Principal Languages : Hindi, Pahari
State Bird : Western Tragopan
State Animal : Snow Leopard
State Flower : Bell Rhododendron
Why his Himachal Pradesh’s history said to be steeped in antiquity?
Pradesh has been inhabited by human beings since the dawn of
civilization. About 2 million years ago, the foothills of Himachal
Pradesh were inhabited by people from the Indus valley civilization,
which flourished between 2250 and 1750C. The people of the Indus valley
civilization pushed out the original inhabitants, who came and settled
in what is now Himachal Pradesh.
According to the Mahabharatha,
the present day state was made up of number of small republic. Later,
the region came under the rule of the Gupta Empire, and after its
collapse, the Mughals ruled here. In fact, the chiefs of the region, and
the Mughal rulers had made some joint settlements. Ranjit Singh
conquered some parts of the area during the nineteenth century. The
Gorkhas were in power for a while until the British subjugated the
Gorkha tribe, and conquered some parts of the region. After
independence, Himachal Pradesh came into being as a Union Territory when
more than 30 princely states were integrated in 1948. Later, in 1966,
the hilly areas of Punjab were merged with the state, increasing its
size. Himachal Pradesh became the 18th state of India on 25th January 1971.
Why is the geography of Himachal Pradesh very interesting?
state of Himachal Pradesh has boundaries with Jammu and Kashmir in the
North, Uttar Pradesh in the Southeast, China in the east, Haryana in the
south, and Punjab in the west. The geography of Himachal Pradesh is
very interesting as the state is composed almost entirely of mountains
that range from 350 metres to 6,975 metres above sea level. It is a part
of the Indian Himalays, and has wide valleys, imposing snow capped
mountains, limpid lakes, rivers, and gushing streams. The state can be
divided into three zones. They are the outer Himalayas or the Shivaliks,
the inner or the middle Himalayas, and the greater Himalayas or the
Alpines. More than half of the state is under thick forest cover. There
are around 1200 species of birds and 359 species of animals in Himachal
Pradesh. There are several major rivers running through the state,
including the Beas River, which flows through the Kullu Valley, the
Chenab River in Lahaul, and the Spiti River, which joins the Sutlej
River in Kinnaur.
Why is Shimla a popular tourist destination?
the capital of Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill station. It derives
its name from ‘Goddess Shyamla’, who is supposed to be an avatar of
Goddess Kali. Shimla was the summer capital of India under the British
rule, and is today a popular tourist destination for visitors from other
states and abroad.
Shimla is referred to as ‘the queen of the
hills’. It is draped in forests of pine, rhododendron, and oak, and is
surrounded by snow capped peaks. Within the town are a host of splendid
colonial edifices, quaint cottages, and charming walks. Among the
attractions are the stately Viceregal Lodge, charming iron lamp posts,
and Anglo-Saxon names. The Mall, packed with shops and eateries, is the
centre of attraction of the town, and Scandal Point offers a view of
distant snow clad peaks. The snowfall during the winters attracts many
tourists, and Shimla then becomes home to winter-sports, and an
iceskating carnival. Now, don’t you feel like visiting Shimla Too?
Jammu and Kashmir
Capital : Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
District : 22
Principal Languages : Urdu, Kashmiri, Dogri
State Bird : Black-necked Crane
State Animal : Kashmir stag
State Flower : Lotus
How was Jammu and Kashmir formed?
In the history of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maurya dynasty took control of the region around the 3rd
BC. King Ashoka ruled the land for a considerable period of time, and
Buddhism was widely practiced. During the time of the Mughals, Islam was
widely practiced, and Akbar had a strong influence in the region for
Later, the control of the Kashmir valley was passed
to the conquering Sikh armies, Gulab Singh was made the Raja of Jammu in
In 1846, Jammu and Kashmir came into existence as a
united state. After independence, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of
Jammu and Kashmir was given the freedom to opt to become a part of
either India or Pakistan. In October 1947 the Pasthuns from Pakistan
invaded the Kashmir valley, and the Raja sought assistance from India.
In return for India’s help, the Raja signed the Instrument of Accession,
making Jammu and Kashmir a part of India.
Indira Gandhi Tulip Park in Srinagar is the largest of its kind in
Asia. The tulips cover an area of over 12 acres, and the garden remains
in full bloom for a month. Row upon row of tulip beds, 50 metres long
and 2.5m wide, stretch far into the horizon. Pink, yellow, and red
tulips are followed by blooms in all colours imaginable-even black! It
is truly a breath taking sight.
What do we know about Jammu and Kashmir?
and Kashmir is the northern most state of the India union. It is
bounded by Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China. The state can be divided
into three regions- Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh. It has two
capitals- Jammu, the winter capital and Srinagar, the summer capital.
Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty, and has been
described as ‘heaven on earth’. Tourism is a very important industry
here, and some major attractions are Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Leh, Patnitop,
and Ladakh. The city of Jammu is known as the city temples, while
Srinagar is famous for its lakes and houseboats, and Kashmir is known
for its magnificent scenery. In fact the Kashmir Valley is surrounded by
some of the highest mountain ranges in the world. The two most
important pilgrimage centers are the Amarnath Caves, and the
Agriculture is the most important
occupation of the people here. Even those engaged in other industries
depend on agriculture for raw material. Most of the people follow Islam,
Hinduism and Buddhism.
What are the geographical features of Jammu and Kashmir?
state of Jammu and Kashmir is mainly hilly and mountainous, with
valleys and stretches of plains. The area is full of natural beauty with
thick forests, fast flowing rivers and winding streams. The main rivers
are Jhelum, Neelum, and Poonch. The state can be divided into four
major regions. They are the sub-mountainous and semi-mountainous plain
known as kandi or dry belt, the Shivalik ranges, the high mountainous
zone, and the middle run for the Indus River.
In Jammu, the
flora ranges from the thorny bushes type of the arid plain to the
temperate and alpine flora of the higher altitudes. Kashmir is also
resplendent with forests. The most magnificent of the Kashmir trees is
the chinar. The mountain ranges in the valley have dense deodar, pine,
and fir. The highest elevations have no vegetation- just snow and ice.
Capital : Ranchi
District : 22
Principal Languages : Hindi
State Bird : Asian Koel
State Animal : Indian Elephant
State Flower : Parrot Tree
Why was Jharkhand formed as a separate state?
state of Jharkhand existed, and was distinct in its identity from
ancient times. Raja Jai Singh Deo of Orissa was accepted as the ruler of
Jharkhand by its people in the 13th century. The local
tribal heads had developed into barbaric dictators, and so, the people
of this state approached the more powerful rulers of the neighbouring
state hoping to be ruled more justly. This became the turning point in
the history of the rgion.
During the Mughal period, the
Jharkhand area was known as Kukara. After the year 1765, it came under
the control of the British Empire, and became formally known under its
present title, ‘Jharkhand’ – the land of jungles and jharis or bushes.
However, the adivasis of Jharkhand began what would become a series of
repeated revolts against British colonial rule. When India became
independent, Jharkhand was a part of Bihar.
The Jharkhand Mukti
Morcha started a movement for a separate state, which caught the
interest of a large section of the people of this area, and eventually
emerged into a political agitation. In August 2000, the Parliament of
India passed the Bihar Reorganization Bill, which carved 18 districts
out of Bihar to form Jharkhand state. On 15th November 2000, Jharkhand became the 28th state of India.
Bokaro Steel Plant
Bokaro Steel Plant in Jharkhand, is the largest steel mill in Asia. It
is part of Bokaro Steel City, one of the most important industrial
cities in India. The city is well planned, and famous for its excellent
Why is Jharkhand called ‘The land of forests?
one third of Jharkhand is covered by forests. Most of the forests of
Jharkhand were privately owned until the zamindari system was abolished
under the Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950. These evergreen forests abound
with wildlife sanctuaries, lakes, and waterfalls. They are also a source
of many forest products that are of great economic value to the state.
Jharkhand is also blessed with natural resources such as copper, coal,
iron, manganese, mica, chromite, and bauxite. Although Jharkhand is
endowed with vast and rich natural resources, mainly minerals and
forests, mainly minerals and forests, 80 per cent of its population
depends mainly on agriculture and allied activities for a living.
The Ganges, the Damodar, the Mayurakshi, the Barakar, the Koel, the
Sankh, the Sone, the Auranga, the Kharkai, the Swarnarekha, the Gumani
and the Batane are the rivers that nourish this land. Most of the
Jharkhand region is part of the Chota Nagpur plateau and Parasnath Hill,
at a height of 1365.5 metres, is the highest peak of the state. It is a
major Jain pilgrimage centre.
Why is the culture of Jharkhand a triumph of the tribal spirit?
The culture of Jharkhand has been shaped by the tribal communities that
abound in this region. The oldest cave painting in India are believed
to have been the work of a Jharkhand tribe called the Shabars. When the
tribes of Jharkhand gather to celebrate a special occasion, the music
and dance are reflection of the rhythm of their lives. Many types of
percussion instruments are popular, especially the nagara. Dance forms
echo the warrior like movements of battles fought long ago. Some of the
most famous dances of the region are the Paika and the Chhau The
different crafts of Jharkhand, which form an important part of the
people’s lives, culture and festivals include wood crafts, bamboo
crafts, Paitkar paintings and metal works.
Principal Language: Kannada
State Bird: Indian Roller
State Animal: Indian Elephant
State Flower: Lotus
How was Karnataka formed?
We know that the Mauryas ruled over the major part of what is now
Karnataka in the third century BC. After the Mauryas, the Satavahanas
ruled Karnataka for nearly 300 years. They were followed by series of
dynasties including the Kadambas, the Gangas and the Pallavas.
After the 13th
century the Vijayanagar Empire flourished. This was a period of great
wealth and prosperity for the region. However, the Vijayanagar Empire
started to decline by the end the 16th century, and the
Mughuls then dominated the region until the British took control in
1799. When India became independent, Karnataka was known as Mysore
State. There was some reorganization of territories in 1953 and 1956,
and ultimately, modern Karnataka came into existence as a state of the
Indian Union in 1973.
Bengaluru International Airport
new Bengaluru International Airport is a state of the art facility that
is the country’s first green field international airport. Greenfiled
airports are those that are built from scratch in a new location.
Bengaluru International Airport is surrounded by some of the most
eco-friendly settlements, and no development will be allowed on the
natural river valleys in the area.
Why is Karnataka called a land of geographical diversity?
Karnataka is the eighth largest state in India. It is situated on the
western edge of the Deccan plateau, and is surrounded by Maharashtra and
Goa on the north, Andhra Pradesh on the east and Tami Nadu and Kerala
on the south. On the west, it opens out on the Arabian Sea. Karnataka
occupies three natural regions like the Coastal Strip, the Sahyadris,
and the Deccan Plateau. They are known in Kannada as Paschima Karavali,
Malnad and Maidan respectively.
Karnataka has chains of
mountains, the highest being the Mullayyana Giri. The Sehyadri is
covered with evergreen forests. They drop abruptly to wars the Arabian
Sea. Thus forming a natural barrier between the plateau and the coastal
regions. The plateau region is drained by the two principal rivers
namely the Krishna, and the Kaveri. The average elevation of the plateau
is about 610 metres above sea-level. With mountains , plateaus, and a
lush coastal region, Karnataka is indeed a land of great geographical
Why are Bengaluru and Mysore important cities in Karnataka?
(Bangalore) is the fifth largest city in India. It is located 1000
metres above sea level, and has a refreshing climate. Bengaluru is a
perfect blend of natural beauty, man made marvels, and technology. It is
often called the Silicon Valley of India., because of the large number
of software companies that have sep up shop and operate out of
state-of-the-art facilities. Bengaluru plays host to international-class
conferences, workshops and exhibitions devoted to the software cause.
Mysore is often called the city of palaces. It was the capital of the
former rulers of Mysore State, and contains many architectural gems.
Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, and is
famous for the festivities that take place during the Dassera festival
held every year. Besides its numerous palaces and royal buildings,
Mysore City is also known for proximity to several other places of
interest such as Srirangapatna, Krishnaraja Sagar Dam and Shivanasamudra
Falls. In addition to its many attractions, Mysore City is also known
for its sandalwood products.
Why is Karnataka a cultural treasure house?
Karnataka has a distinct culture that reflects its glorious past and
vibrant present. In dance, art, sculpture, literature and classical
music, Karnataka leads the way. It has the oldest literary tradition
among the Dravidian languages. Evidence of this is found in the 9th
century treatise on poetry called the ‘Kavirajamarga’, where references
are made to earlier writings. The three ‘gems of Kannada literature’
are the poets Pampa, Ponna and Ranna. They lived during the 10th and 12th centuries.
Carnatic music is different from that of Hindustani music. The stringed
tanpura, the mridangam, the ghatam and violins usually accompany a
vocal music recital. Karnataka has a particularly rich culture of folk
theatre. The most famous forms are Yakshagana, which features a single
narrator, and Bayalata, which has multiple narrative voices. The
lesserknown forms are the Dasarata and Sannata, and the Dodatta. A very
famous craft of Karnataka is bidriware. Originally produced in the town
of Bidar, silver or gold in blackened metal. Is it any wonder then that
Karnataka is considered to be a cultural treasure house?
Principal Language: Malayalam
State Bird: Great Hornbill
State Animal: Indian Elephant
State Flower: Golden Shower Tree
Why has Kerala’s geographical position given it an identity of its own?
is a small state situated on the south west coast of India. It is only
around 550 kms long on three sides and by the Arabian Sea on the west.
Kerala shares its borders with Karnataka in the north and northeast, and
with Tamil Nadu in the east and south. Its geographical position
between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats has protected it from
invaders, and given it a distinct identity of its own.
divided into three geographical regions- the highlands, the midlands,
and the coastal areas. The highlands slope down from the Western Ghats.
This is the area of major plantations like tea, coffee, rubber, and
various spices. The midlands lie between the mountains and the lowland,
and are made up of undulating hills and valleys. Cashew, coconut,
arecanut, tapioca, banana and vegetables of different varieties are
grown in this area. The coastal area is made up of numerous shallow
lagoons, river deltas, backwaters, and the shores of the Arabian Sea.
Even though Kerala is a small state, 44 rivers water the land, of which
41 are west flowing, and 3 flow eastward. Kerala is also bestowed with a
number of lakes and backwater lagoons which add to the beauty of the
Why is the history of Kerala so interesting?
history of Kerala goes back to ancient times, and much of it is cloaked
in myths and legends. What is known though, is that trade flourished
here as early as 3000 BC. In fact, Muziris, also known as Kodungalloor
or Cranganore, was reputed to be the ancient world’s greatest trading
centre in the east. Around the first century AD, Jewish immigrants
arrived here, and St. Thomas the Apostle also brought Christianity to
these shores around that time. Later, Islam was brought to Kerala by
Arab traders, between the 6th and 8th centuries AD.
Till around the 5th
century AD, Kerala was controlled by the eastern Pandya, Chola, and
Chera dynasties. The period between 800 AD and 1100 AD is known as the
period of ‘Second Chera’ Empire. With the breakdown for the Chera
Empire, the next phase of Kerala history began. This was the period of
the provincial ruler. These provinces were once part of the Chera
Empire. The provincial rulers were confined to small areas, but they
frequently fought each other for domination.
The Portuguese arrived in 1498, and dominated trade in the region until the arrival of the Dutch, in the 17th
century. King Marthanda Varma of the kingdom of Travancore defeated the
Dutch and expanded the boundaries of his kingdom. However, by 1806,
both Travancore and Cochin became subject states under British control.
At the time of India’s independence in 1947, there were three separate
territories in the region that is now Kerala. They were Malabar, Cochin,
and Travancore. In 1949, Cochin and Travancore merged, and later,
Malabar was added, and the new state of Kerala was born on November 1st 1956.
is an ancient martial art of Kerala. It is perhaps the most ancient and
most scientific of all martial arts systems, and is taught in centres
known as ‘kalaris’ that are also places of religious worship.
one of the oldest form of theatre, is a blend of dance, music and
acting. It dramatizes stories, which are mostly adapted from the Indian
epics. The dancer expresses himself through hand gestures and facial
expresstions. Kathakali means ‘story-play,’ and this dance from, full of
vigour and passion, also known as the ‘king of the performing arts,’ in
Why is Kerala called God’s own country?
is known as ‘God own country’ for its stunning natural beauty, pleasant
climate, unique culture, and its streamlined infrastructure. The phrase
was coined in the 1980’s to launch a tourism initiative that was so
successful that it transformed the state from a relatively unknown
tourist destination into one of the most preferred holiday destinations
in the world! From sun kissed beaches to cloud shrouded peaks, from wild
life sanctuaries to breath taking festivals- Kerala has it all in the
blessed abundance that makes it truly God’s own country.
Why is Kerala’s culture considered a blend of the best of different cultures?
takes pride in its rich cultural heritage. It has a precious legacy
handed down by different races, religions, and communities, and it
represents the collective achievement of the people in the fields of
music and dance, religion and philosophy, language and literature, art,
and architecture. Kathakali is a 300 year old dance form the combines
the elements of opera, ballet, masque and pantomime. Some of the other
unique dance form are Krishnanattom, Koodiyattom, Mohiniyattom, Thullal,
Oppana and Chavittunatakam.
The traditional music of Kerala is
Sopanam, which is also used as a background score during Kathakali
performances. The influence of Carnatic music started from the 19th
century, when the King of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma
popularized it. Other than Sopanam, Melam is widely performed in the
temples across the state during the temple festivals.
renowned for its carvings in rosewood and sandalwood. The state boasts
of an abounding tradition of artists. Who has not heard of the great
painter Raja Ravi Varma? The traditional Kerala murals display a
distinct style and colour code dominated by ochres and greens. The
festivals celebrated with dance, music and passion are also a sign of
the culture. Onam is one of the major festivals of the state, and a time
for thanksgiving with sumptuous feasts, boat races, and other sports.
Principal Language: Hindi
State Bird: Asian Paradise Flycatcher
State Animal: Barasingha
State Flower: Parrot Tree
Which is the second largest state in India?
Pradesh, the second largest state in the nation, lies in the centre of
India. It shares its borders with seven neighbouring states. They are
Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Forests cover a major part of Madhya
Pradesh, and the cultivated area amounts to almost half of the total
area. The state covers a wide area of the Indian plateau region. The
Chambal, Sone, Betwa, and other rivers flow from the west to the east.
The basins of these rivers divide this state into two parts. The
northern part drains into the Ganges, while the southern part drains
into the river systems of the Mahanadi and the Godavari rivers.
Why do we say that the history of Madhya Pradesh is one of kingdoms and empires?
Madhya Pradesh has been home to many empires and these include the
Mauryan Empire, the Mughals and later, by the British. This is a land of
empires and kingdoms, of great warriors and builders, poets and
musicians, saints and philosophers. Hinduism, Islam, Budhism and Jainism
were all nurtured and flourished here. Dynasties like that of Sungas,
Andhras, Satavahanas, Ksaptrapas, Nagas and the Guptas ruled over this
land. During, and after the 10th century, different regions of the state were ruled by different dynasties.
When the British took over, the state was declared as the Central
Province. After India gained her independence, Madhya Pradesh was given
the status of a full-fledged state with effect from 1st November 1956.
Emperor Asoka built many stupas in honour of Lord Buddha. Stupas are
towering stone structures in which the relics of Buddha were placed. The
stupas at Sanchi, a small village in Madhya Pradesh, are remarkable in
that they trace the development of Buddhist architecture and sculpture
from the 3rd century to the 12th centry.
Why is the culture of Madhya Pradesh called a melting pot of different cultures?
Pradesh has been home to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, and various
tribes, and all of them have left an indelible mark in the form of
temples, stupas, palaces and other architectural land marks. This is why
the state is called a melting pot of different cultures.
Pradesh has rich history in music. This land saw the birth of two great
singers of history- Tansen and Baiju Bawra. Baiju Bawra created a niche
for himself in Persian, and sung in the Mughal king Humayun’s court,
while Tansen who succeeded him, became a singer in Akbar’s court. The
region saw the rise of two major gharanas of music that were born and
nurtured here. Just like the music of the region, the dance of this
state is equially unique and varied. Dominated by the tribal populace,
the folk dance of the state is tribal in nature. Madhya Pradesh is host
to the world famous Khajuraho Dance Festival. Masters of different
dances like Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, kathak, and many other
classical dances perform here with the backdrop of floodlit Khajuraho
temples. Besides these dances, a folk theatre called Macch show cases
the legends of kings and warriors through traditional songs and dances.
Why do we say that rivers play an important role in Madhya Pradesh?
Pradesh lies at the heart of India, and boasts of ten river basins. The
Narmada and Tapti Rivers, and their basins divide the state in two. The
northern part drains into the Ganga basin, and the southern part into
the Godavari and Mahanadi systems. The Chambal, Sone, Betwa, Mahanadi
and Indravati rivers flow from the western side of the state to the
east, while Narmada and Tapti flows from the eastern side to the west. A
major tributary of the Ganga, the Son, is born in this state, as are
the Narmada and Mahanadi Rivers.
The Narmada, Chambal, Betwa,
Shipra, Sone, Mahanadi, Indrawati and Tapti are all rivers have played a
considerable role in making Madhya Pradesh what it is today, In fact,
the Narmada is also referred to as the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.
Originating in Amarkantak, The highest peak of the Vindhya Range, it
flows westward through Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat before finally ending
its journey in the Gulf of Khambat.
Capital : Mumbai
District : 35
Principal Language : Marathi
State Bird : Green Imperial Pigeon
State Animal : Indian Giant Squirrel
State Flower : Jarul
What do we know about the birth of Maharashtra?
The name Maharashtra first appeared a 7th
century inscription and may have originated from the word rathi,
meaning ‘chariot driver’. It probably refers to the builders and drivers
of chariots who formed the maharathis, or a ‘fighting force’. The word
‘Maharashtra’ also means ‘great nation’. The region was first ruled by
the hindus, and later by muslims.
Shivaji Bhosle, founder of the
Maratha Empire, was born in 1627. At the age of 16, he took an oath
make the land free of the Mughals. This was the start of his lifelong
struggle against the Mughals and other Muslim powers. By 1673, he had
control over most of western Maharashtra, and was ceremoniously crowned
as a sovereign king in 1673. At the time of independence in 1947, the
state of Bombay was born. In 1960, Bombay state was divided into two
states on the basis of language, with Gujarat in the north, and
Maharashtra in the south.
Why is Sahyadri known as the backbone of Maharashtra?
is the third largest state in the country. The Sahyadri Range forms the
backbone of the state. This range has an average height of 100m, and
falls in steep cliffs, to the Konkan on the west. Eastward, the hill
country falls in steps through a transitional area to the plateau level.
The Konkan, lying between the Arabian Sea and the Sahyadri Range, is a
narrow coastal lowland. The Satpudas, hills along the northern border,
and the Bhamragad-Chiroli-Gaikhuri Ranges on the eastern border, form
physical barriers preventing easy movement, but also serve as natural
limits to the state.
Festivals of Maharashtra
is a state where all religions co-exist in peaceful harmony, and so,
all the main festivals like Holi, Chrismas, Diwali and Eid are
celebrated joyously. There are also several regional festivals like the
Pune Festival, Ganesh Chaturthi, The Elephanta Festivals, and Ellora
Festival. However, the biggest festival of Maharashtra is undoubtedly
Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated between August and September, and
lasts for 8 to 10 days. Idols of Lord Ganesh are worshipped, and the end
is marked by the spectacular procession that culminates at the Arabian
Sea, where the idols are immersed in the water.
Why are the Ajanta and Ellora caves a tribute to ancient Indian art?
near the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the Ajanta and Ellora caves
shrines that are cut out of rock, all by hand. There are 34 caves at
Ellora, and 29 caves at Ajanta, and all are outstanding specimens of
Indian architectural excellence. They were built using simple tools, and
contain some of the most divine sculpture sand images of Buddha’s
preaching. The Ajanta caves lie deep in the semi-arid Sahyadri hills,
above the Waghora River. About 30 kms northwest of Aurangabad, the 34
Ellora caves are carved into the sides of a hill.
River of Maharashtra
main rivers of Maharashtra are the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Tapti
. The Godavari and Krishna flow eastwards into the Bay of Bengal,
irrigating most of central and eastern Maharashtra. To the north, the
rivers Tapi nad Narmada flow into the Arabian Sea. To the east, are
major rivers like Wainganga that flow to the south.
is the industrial powerhouse India, with a contribution of 13% towards
the national economy. Chemical and allied products, electrical and
non-electrical machinery, textiles, petroleum and allied products are
the main industries in Maharashtra.
Why is Mumbai one of the most important cities in India?
The present day dynamic and vibrant city of Mumbai was originally an archipelago of seven small islands. In the 3rd century BC, these islands came under Maurya Empir ruled by Emperor Asoka.
After independence, Mumbai has been one of the most progressive cities.
It is recognized as the seat of domestic and international trade. The
city is the home to India’s two largest stock markets, the Bombay Stock
Exchange, and the National Stock Exchange. It is the financial heart of
India, one of the world’s top 10 commercial centres, and the
entertainment capital of the nation. People flock to the city in droves,
for Mumbai is truly the city of golden opportunities.
Capital : Imphar
District : 9
Principal Language : Manipuri
State Bird : Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant
State Animal : Sangai
State Flower : Siroi Lily
What do we know of Manipur’s history?
The history of the region of Manipur goes back to the 1st
century AD. It was a kingdom formed by the unification of ten clans.
Its modern history started in 1819 AD, when King Marjeet ruled over
Manipur. The Burmese defeated him, and Chahi-Taret Khuntakpa became the
king. In 1825, Gambir Singh led the manipuris in an attack over the
Burmise, and declared himself as the ruler. The British conquered
Manipur on 27th April, 1891 AD. Maharaja Churachand Singh was
named as raja and the administration was conducted under British
supervision for some years. After India became independent on Auguest 15th, 1947, the Manipur Constitution
established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja as the
executive head, and a legislature constituted by election on adult
franchise. In 1949, Manipur merged with independent India and on 21st January 1972, Manipur was granted statehool.
you know that Manipur is the birthplace of the game of polo? Polo can
be best described as hockey played on horseback! It was however, the
British who p[popularized it worldwide. They transformed the Manipuri
game of ‘pulu’ into the international sport of polo.
Why is Manipur called the ‘land of jewels’?
boasts of an exotic landscape with gently undulating hills, emerald
green valleys, blue lakes, and dense forests. Manipur means the land of
jewels, and it is well named because Mother Nature has been extra
generous in her beauty in this land. Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam and Burma
geographically border the present state of Manipur. About 90% of the
land is mountainous, and its major river is known as Imphal, after which
the capital city was named. Manpur is famous for its orchids and also
for its rare and beautiful, and exquisite handicrafts. Its culture is a
fine blend of colourful festivals, rich history, vibrant customs,
wonderful architecture, enchanting music, and exiting dance forms. The
favourite sports of the people of Manipur is archery.
Why are festivals am important part of life in Manipur?
form an important part of Manipuri life- in fact, hardly a moth passes
by without a festival of some kind being celebrated. These festivals
project the cultural, social and religious aspirations of the people.
There is the festival of Laiharaboa that represents the worship of
traditional deities and ancestors. Yaoshang is the most important a
Hindu festival in Manipur. It is a five-day long festival which begins
on a full moon day in the month of Phalgun, that is, February and March.
Kut is an autumn festival of Kuki-Chin-Mizo group of Manipuri tribes.
This festival celebrates the bountiful food stock, and is a thanksgiving
Other festivals include Ningol Chakouba, which is one
of the major festivals in Manipur. It is a social festival where the
women are invited to a feast at their parental house. Holi is another
major festival of Manipur, and is celebrated for five days starting from
the full moon of Phalguna. Gang Ngai is a festival of the kabui Nagas.
It begins with an oath taking ceremony and lasts for five days.
Cheiraoba celebrates the Manipuri New Year. During this time of the
year, the people clean their houses, decorate them, and start everything
afresh. The celebration of this festival includes climbing the nearest
hill in with the belief that such an act would help a person to conquer
new heights in real life.
Capital : Shillong
District : 7
Principal Language : Khasi,Garo, English
State Bird : Hill Myna
State Animal : Clouded Leopard
State Flower : Lady’s Slipper Orchid
Longest Span Cantilever Bridge
Jadukata Abridge is the longest span cantilever bridge in India. The
bridge has a central span of 140 metres, and stretches across the
jadulata River, about 130 kms away from Shillong, the capital of
Meghalaya. It forms a vital link on an important road in this border
How was Meghalaya formed?
Meghalaya was once ruled by the ancient tribes knows as the Khasis, Jaintias and own kingdom. In the 19th
century, these kingdoms came under the administration of the British
and during the British Raj, Meghalaya was annexed under the British
Empire. Further inv1935, Meghalaya became a part of Assam. However,
Meghalaya enjoyed a semi-independent status due to the treaty that was
signed between Meghalaya and the British Crown. When India became
independent, the region was included in the state of Assam for
administrative reasons. This led to an agitation by the local
population. The region was accorded full statehood on January 21st, 1972.
cave of Mawsynram in Meghalaya is a popular tourist destination across
India as well as the entire world. It is famous for the gigantic
formation of a stalagmite, which resembles the shape of a ‘Shivalinga’.
The area also holds the record for being the wettest place on Earth with
an annual rainfall of 11,873 millimetres.
Why is Meghalaya called the land of clouds?
out of the former state of Assam, Meghalaya is one of the seven sister
states of the North Eastern region, bordered by Assam in the north, and
Bangladesh in the south. It is geographically known as the ‘Meghalaya
Plateau,’ or the ‘Shillong Plateau’. The area is made of the oldest
rock-formations. Meghalaya consists of the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia
Hills, along with the Assam ranges. The Meghalaya Plateau’s elevation
varies between 150 metres to 1961 metres above sea level. The Plateau is
highly dissected, and has an irregular terrain in the western and
Rivers form an important part of the geography of
Meghalaya. In the Garo Hills, the major rivers are the Ringgi, Kalu,
Ajagar, Sanda, Daring, and Simsan. In the eastern and central parts of
the Meghalaya Plateau, the major rivers are the Digaru, Umkhri,
Kynchiang and Myntdu. The word Meghalaya means the ‘land of clouds’ in
Sanskrit, and the name is most appropriate for this land of hills and
plateaus that seem to touch the clouds.
Tourisum in Meghalaya
is a tourist’s paradise and is home to some of the most pristine
forests in India. With its many national parks, deep valleys, arching
waterfalls, and charming villages, it is a great getaway destination
indeed. The second wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunjee, is in
Meghalaya. It gets over 11,430 millimetres of rain every year,
inundating virtually the entire area for months at a time and tourists
flock here for the experience.
Capital : Aizawl
District : 8
Principal Language : Mizo, English
State Bird : Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant
State Animal : Hoolock Gibbon
State Flower : Red Vanda
Why was the Mizo National Front formed?
much of Mizoram’s early history is recorded. It is believed that the
Mozos migrated to this region hundreds of years ago. The earliest Mizos
who migrated to India were known as Kukis. During the period 1750-1850,
migrations led to settlements in the hills. The tribal groups were
governed under a hereditary chieftainship. Mizoram became a part of the
territory of British India in 1891, though the administration of the
villages was left to the local chieftains. After India became
independent Mizoram continued to be part of Assam. In 1961, the Mizo
National Front was formed with goal of achieving independence for
Greater Mizoram. As a result, the district was carved out of Assam, and
raised to the status of a union territory on January 21, 1972. In 1987,
Mizoram became the 23rd full-fledged state if the country.
the pre-British days, Mizo youths over the age of 15 had to stay in
bachelor’s dormitories, known as Zawlbuk where they received training in
tribal welfare wrestling, hunting, and village government. The boys who
went to the Zawlbuk emerged as complete men. The training was intensive
and strenuous, and strict discipline was maintained in these
Why is Mizoram considered to be a beautiful state?
a state situated on the extreme south of North-Eastern India, is a land
of unending natural beauty. It is a land of hills, the highest being
Blue Mountain at 2165 metres. The hills here are covered with bamboo and
banana trees, along with a wonderful array of pine trees. The forests
in this region also house some of the rarest varieties of orchids, found
only in this region of the country. The presence of some major rivers
like Tlau, Tlawng, Tuirini, Serlui and Mat and some picturesque lakes is
also a highpoint of Mizoram’s beauty.
What are the traditional dances of Mizoram?
dances of Mizoram get their inspiration from the natural beauty of the
hilly terrains.The Khuallam dance of Mizoram is known as the dance of
the guests. Males wearing a traditional costume called Puandum perform
it. Both males and females perform the Cheraw dance. The use of bamboo
staves is a unique trait of this dance. Sarlamkai, is an ancient dance
that was performed by the warriors of yore. Boys and girls perform
Chheihlam dance using bamboo tubes and drums. Zangtalam is another
fascinating dance that is accompanied by deft drummers. Did you know
that when a wife dies, the husband performs the dance of Chawnglaizawn?
Dampa Tiger Reserve
Dampa Tiger Reserve, the biggest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram, is
situated in the western part of Mizoram state on the international
border with Bangladesh. It has a variety of rare and endangered animals
in abundance, including of course, tigers! Here, evergreen and deciduous
forests are found, along with steep precipitous hills, deep valleys,
jungle streams, rippling rivulets and natural salts licks.
Capital : Kohima
District : 8
Principal Language : English, Angami, Ao, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sangtam, Sema and Chakhesang
State Bird : Blyth’s Tragopan
State Animal : Mithun
State Flower : Rhododendron
Why was Nagaland formed?
We know very little about the early history of Nagaland. During the early 19th
century, present day Nagaland was under the control of Myanmar. When
the British East India Company took over Assam, Nagaland became a part
of British India.
After India got her independence in 1947, the
area under Nagaland and Assam were combined to form a single state,
known as Assam. But as demand for a separate political entity from the
Naga entity intensified, the Government of India decided to make
Nagaland a single administrative unit. It became a union territory in
1957, and was governed directly by the centre. However, this did not
satisfy the Naga tribes. They wanted their own state.
Finally, on 1st December 1963, Nagaland became the 16th state of India.
What do we know about the geography of Nagaland?
is located on the extreme north east, just below Arunachal Pradesh. The
terrain is hilly, rugged, and mountainous. The highest peak is Saramati
in the Twensang district, which is 3840 metres above sea level. The
average height of the peaks is between 900 and 1200 metres. The
hillsides are covered with green forests. In fact, 20 percent of the
total land area of the state is covered with wooded forest, rich in
flora and fauna. The only well known lake is Lacham.
of Nagaland is drained by four chief rivers of Doyang, Jhanji, Dhansiri
and Dikhu. The rivers are the tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra
River, with their sources in the mountain ranges of the state.
Why do we say that Nagaland has a rich cultural heritage?
people of Nagaland are divided into several tribes. The social
structure of each and every Naga tribe is different from the other. The
Naga tribes still perform their war dances, that are resplendent with
colourful and traditional headdresses, costumes, war paint, and weapon
like spears. Waving is a traditional craft passed down the generations.
Almost every rural home has a loom. Naga shawls have their own clan
motifs and are brightly coloured. The tribal men make decorative spears
and bamboo shields. They are excellent making is another craft at which
the Nagas are skilled. The traditional ornaments of Nagaland also
reflect the rich cultural heritage of the people.
In Harmony with the Environment
centuries, the Naga tribes have lived in harmony with their
environment. They have always been self sufficient, producing their own
food, clothing, and shelter. Their culture and lifestyle show their deep
respect for Nature.
Principal Languages: Oriya
State Bird: Male Indian Peafowl
State Animal: Indian Elephant
State Flower: Lotus
Why did the Kalinga was have a great impact on the history of Odisha?
ancient times, Odisha was known as Utkala, Kalinga and Odra Desa at
different points in its history. For many centuries, Kalinga was a very
powerful kingdom. The famous war that the Emperor Asoka waged against
Kalinga proved to be a turning point in his life.
The bloodshed and killing of war sickened him, and led him to renounce violence, and turn to Buddhism.
This had a great impact on the history of this region too, for under
Asoka’s benevolent guidance, music and dance flourished here during
ancient times. In 1568, the last Hindu ruler was over-thrown by a Muslim
general, and finally, Odisha wan annexed by Akbar in 1592. The Mughals
ruled till 1803,when Odisha came into British possession. Following
India’s independence, the 26 princely states in the region were merged
into modern state of Odisha.
What do we know about the geography of Odisha?
lies on the eastern coast of India. It is bounded by West Bengal in
northeast, Jharkhand in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the south, and the
Bay of Bengal in the east. Orissa can be divided into three broad
regions- the coastal plains, the middle mountainous country and the
plateaus. The region of the coastal plains is a combination of several
deltas formed by the major rivers is a combination of Odisha, such as
the Subarnarekha, the Budhabalanga, the Baitarani, the Mahandi, and the
Rushikulya. The middle mountainous region covers about three-fourths of
the entire and comprises the hills and mountains of the Eastern Ghats.
The plateaus are mostly eroded tablelands, forming the western slopes of
the Eastern Ghats.
To sun up, the state offers diverse
habitats from lush green and hilly terrain, to coastal plains and
rolling river valleys, criss -crossed by rivers that include the
is famous for the art of sand sculptures. According to belief, a famous
poet Balaram Das wanted to climb Lord Jagannth’s chariot during the
Rath Yatra, but was not allowed. Saddened, he then went to the beach,
and carved the images of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord
Balabhadra on the golden sand and prayed to these images.
Why are the arts and crafts of Odisha special?
to the reigns of many different rulers, the culture, arts and crafts of
Odisha underwent many changes, from time to time. Yet, the artistic
skill of the Oriya artists remains unparalleled. Oriya artists remains
unparalleled. From traditional times, Odisha had been considered a state
blessed with talent for arts. Right from palm leaves writing, to
appliqué work, the craftsmen of Odisha have perfected it all. Several
art forms that have died out over time in many parts of the country are
still practiced in parts of Odisha.
The craftsmen create
breath taking works in silver filigree, wood craft, appliqué work,
brass, and bell metal work. They also excel in horn work, papier mache
creations, terracotta figures, and tie and dye textiles. In fact, ever
since the Mauryans set textile workshops here, Odisha has been an
important hub for the craft of weaving. There are now numerous weaving
communities. Which have more than 3 lakh weavers. When it comes to music
and dance, Odissi music is charming, colourful, and multi-splendoured.
In addition to the world renowned Odissi and Chhau dance forms, Odisha
boasts of a number of folk dances too.
Konark Dance Festival
The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha was built in the 13th
century. It was conceived as a gigantic solar chariot with twelve pairs
of exquisitely-ornamented wheels dragged by seven rearing horses. The
exquisite ‘natamandir’ or the ‘dancing hall’ of this shrine is an
architectural wonder. The Konark Dance Festival is held in December
every year, against the beautiful backdrop of this temple.
host of celebrated classical dances from all over the country perform
in the open –air auditorium. The festival provides a platform for both
the performing artistes and the dance connoisseurs to appreciate the
essence dance forms of the country.
Principal Language: Punjabi
State Bird: Eastern Goshawk
State Animal: Blackbuck
The holiest shrine of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple at Amritsar. The
location of the Golden Temple was originally a small lake in a deep
forest. It has long been recognized as a place of spiritual
significance. It is said that Buddha spent some time there, and later,
the first Sikh Guru meditated at the lake. The architecture of the
Golden temple represents a unique harmony between Muslim and Hindu
Why has Punjab seen many division in its history?
‘the land of five rivers’, was one of the centres of the prehistoric
Indus valley Civilization. After 1500 BC, it was the site of the
earliest Aryan settlements. In the past, Punjab was occupied by
Alexander the Great, and then by the Mauryan Empire. Muslims occupied
West Punjab by the 8th century, and ushered in Islam. Not until the late 12th century, did they conquer East Panjab, which even afterward, remained predominantly Hindu. In the late 18th century, the Sikhs rose to dominance. They came into conflict with the British during the early 19th
century. In 1849, the British annexed most of the Punjab, and made it a
province, though some of the princely states were retained.
With the creation of Pakistan in1947, Punjab was partitioned according
to the prevalence of Muslim and the Hindu populations. The western
portion became part of Pakistan. The eastern part stayed with India. The
Indian Punjab was divided into three different states on a linguistic
basis on November 1st 1966. The Hindi speaking areas formed
the new state of Haryana, while the Northern most districts were
transferred to Himachal Pradesh. The remaining regions form present day
What are Punjab’s geographical features?
is bounded on the west by Pakistan, on the north by Jammu and Kashmir,
on the northeast by Himachal Pradesh, and on the south by Haryana and on
the south by Haryana and Rajasthan. Due to the presence of a large
number of rivers, most of the land of Punjab is fertile plain.
However, the south –east region is semi-arid, and Punjab’s arid
southern border edges the Thar Desert. A belt of swelling hills extends
along the northeast at the foot of the Himalayas, and the Shivalik Range
rises sharply in the north of the state. Searing summers, torrential
monsoons, and cool winters are the climatic conditions of this land.
Why is Punjab known as the ‘land of five rivers?’
name ‘Punjab’ means ‘land of five rivers,’ and is derived from the
Persian words ‘panj, meaning five and ‘aab’, meaning water. The five
rivers of Punjab are the Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej. These
rivers begin as various small lakes in Himalayas. The Beas merges into
the Sutlej at Harike near Ferozepur in Punjab just before crossing the
border into west Punjab or Pakistan, where it eventually merges into the
The land between the Beas and the Sutlej is
called the Doaba. Many important cities are located here. The region
between the Beas and Chenab is the heart of Punjab, and is called Majha.
The area beyond the Chenab River and around the River Jhelum is
Pothohar. Rachna Doab is the name given to the land between the Ravi and
Chenab rivers, while east of the river Beas is the area known as Malwa.
This region gets its name from a clan called Molosis or Malawis that
once ruled this area.
Bahakra Dam is India’s biggest hydro electric project. It is located
near the border of Punjab with Himachal Pradesh. The dam has been
constructed across the perennial river Sutlej, which flows down the
Shivalik ranges that surrounds the region, and is an engineering marvel.
It is one of the highest gravity dams in the world, and it has created a
huge reservoir known as the Gobind Sagar reservoir. This dam is
virtually the central nervous system of northern India, as it supplies
electricity to the entire region.
Principal Languages: Hindi, Rajasthani
State Bird: Great Indian Bustard
State Animal: Chinkara
State Flower: Rohida
Why is Rajasthan called by this name?
ancient history of Rajasthan dates back to 1200 AD, when it was a part
of different dynasties including the glorious Mauryan Empire. It wasn’t
until the mid sixth century that the brave Rajputs, warriors par
excellence, came to dominate the region.
divided into kingdoms, and the valiant Rajputs kept themselves busy with
skirmishes amongst the neighbouring kingdoms, or else they faced the
Turks, the mighty Sultans of Delhi’s last Sultanate, and later, the
Great Mughals. It was around this time that Rajasthan came to be called
as Rajputana. Rana Uday Singh, his son Rana Pratap Bhappa Rawal, Rana
Kumbha, and Prithviraj Chauhan were some of the most famous Rajput
warriors of this time.
Later, most of the regions came
under Mughal rule, followed by the Marathas. However, between 11817
and1818, almost all the princely states in the region entered into
alliances with the British. On November 1st 1956, the state of present day Rajasthan came into existence.
Why is the geography of Rajasthan considered unique?
is located in northwest India. It borders Punjab in the north, Haryana
and Uttar Pradesh in the northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and
Gujarat in the south. Huge areas of the state of Rajashan consist of the
biggest Indian desert the Thar Desert. The arid Thar also boasts of
Mount Abu, famous for its flora and fauna. While the Aravali Hills
provide the much-neede relief to this arid land, the wide spread sand
dunes of the desert and arid region make it one of the toughest terrains
in the world.
The oldest chain of fold mountains- the
Aravalli Range splits the state into two geographical zones- the desert
on one side, and the forest belt on the other. The rocky range of Amber,
hilly range of Mewar, the river basin of Bharatpur and fertile Aravalli
range all combine to make the geography of Rajasthan truly unique.
Rajasthan has a great tradition of folk music, and their instruments
can he divided into percussion instruments, wind instruments, and string
in instruments. The dhol, dholak, and nagara are popular percussion
instruments, while the common wind instruments are the shehnai and
flute, the poongi, the algoza, and the satara. String instruments
include a kind of sarangi, while the thali, which is a metal platter, is
another popular folk instrument.
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park in Rajasthan is a protected sanctuary. The
park is considered not only the largest in the state of Rajasthan, but
is among the largest in India. It is made up of extinct salt lakes and
thorny scrubs, and a considerable are consists of sand dunes. The desert
is a harsh place to sustain life, and thus, most of the fauna and flora
live on the edge. Nevertheless, this place attracts large flocks of
Why do we say that industries have played a vital role in Rajasthan’s growth?
Deposits of Zinc, copper and other minerals have helped the growth of
industry in Rajasthan. The Khetri Copper Complex is the biggest copper
plant in India. Mining is a very important industry, and there are about
42 major, and 28 minor mines the provide employment to around 2 million
people, Some agricultural products also help industrial growth.
In general, industry in Rajasthan is made up of heavy, medium, and
small scale industries, and small scale industries, the service
industry. The heavy industries include the production of ball bearings
and cement, as well as the National Thermal Power Plant in Kota. Small
scale industries include ceramics, textiles, block printing, woolen and
carpet industry, marble and granite, gems and jewellery. In short,
though agriculture is the main occupation of the people, the industrial
sector is also very important, as it accounts for about 32.5 per cent of
the total share of the state’s economy.
Principal Languages: Lepcha, Bhutia, Limbu, Nepali
State Bird: Blood Pheasant
State Animal: Red Panda
State Flower: Noble Orchid
Lake is situated at an altitude of 3657 meters in Sikkim. The lake is
about 1 km long, oval in shape, 15 metres deep, and is considered sacred
by the local people.
Why is Sikkim’s history different from that of other states?
Sikkim was inhabited in pre-historic times by three tribes. They were
absorbed by a people known as the Lepcha, who entered Sikkim sometime
later. The credit fororganizing them into some sort of a society goes to
a person called Turve Pa no. Buddhism, the major religion in the state,
arrived from Tibet in the 13th century. It took its
distinctive Sikkimese form four centuries later, when three Tibetan
monks went to Gangtok looking for a certain person whom
as the first Chogyal or ‘Righteous King’ of Denzong in 1642. Being the
secular and religious head, he was soon recognized by Tibet, and brought
After India’s independence, Sikkim
became a protectorate of India. The role of India became increasingly
crucial, with the Chinese military build-up along the northern borders
that culminated in an actual invasion early in the 1960’s. The King,
Palden Thondup Namgual then gave in to the demands of his people, and
Sikkim became the 22nd state of India in 1975.s
Where the main features of Sikkim’s geography?
The state of Sikkim has boundaries with Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and West
Bengal. It is a land of rich and varied scenic beauty, magnificent
mountains, eternal snows, dark forests, green fertile valleys, raging
torrents and calm, placid lakes. Two principal mountain ranges in Sikkim
are the Singilela and Chola. Between these renges arethe main rivers,
the Rangit and the Teesta, that are fed by the monsoon rains as well as
by melting glaciers.
Principal Language: Tamil
State Bird: Emerald Dove
State Animal: Nilgiri Tahr
State Flower: Glory lily
Why do we say that the history of Tamil Nadu goes back to ancient times?
By 300 BC, Tamil Nadu was ruled by three major dynasties –the Cholas,
the Pandyas, and the Cheras. This was the classical period of Tamil
literature- the Sangam Age- that continued until around AD 300.
The Pallava dynasty rose to power in the 7th and 8th centuries. In the 13th
century, with threats of Muslim invasions from the north, the southern
Hindu by nasties came together to form the empire of Vijayanagar, which
covered all of South India. However, by the 17th century, the
Vijayanagar Empire broke up. In 1640, the British negotiated the use of
Madraspatnam- now known as Chennai as a trading post. After
independence, the Madras Presidency was disbanded, and Tamil Nadu was
established as an autonomous state in 1956.
Why is Tamil Nadu called an agricultural state?
Tamil Nadu was historically known for its agriculture from ancient
times. In modern times, it has all along been one of the states with a
creditable performance in agricultural production. One reason for this
is that, the farmers are relatively more responsive, and receptive to
changing technologies and market forces. Seventy percent of the people
in Tamil Nadu are engaged in agriculture. Both food crops and cash crops
are grown in the state. The major food crops are rice, jowar, ragi,
bajra, maize and pulses. The cash crops, grown include cotton, sugar
cane, coconut, tea and coffee. Other horticultural products like bananas
and mangoes are also cultivated. The Department of Agriculture has
taken up the challenge to achieve a higher growth rate in agriculture by
implementing several development schemes.
Which are the main festivals of Tamil Nadu?
Tamil Nadu celebrates both regiona, and religious festivals. Most of
the festivals are agrarian in nature, while others have mythological
significance. Pongal, a harvest festival is the most important of all
festivals. The Pongal Festival is celebrated for four consecutive days
in January. People offer prayers in honour of the Sun God, Air, Water,
and Earth. They pray for a good crop and prosperity, and cook a meal
called ‘Pongal’, made of rice, milk and jiggery. The Netyanjali Dance
festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja, ‘the cosmic
dancer’. The festival falls in the month of February in the temple city
of Chidambaram. The Karthigai Deepam festival is the festival of
The Jallikatu Bull festival is celebrated on the 4th
day of Pongal, in Tiruchirapalli. Navarathiri and Deepavali are
celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal. The Chithirai festival is
held in the famous Madurai Temples. There is also a famous Music and
Dance festival held in Chennai in December.
Mahabalipuram is a harbor town founded in the 7th
century by the Pallavas in the Kencheepuram district. Kancheepuram
district. The harbor of Mahabalipuram traded with the distant kingdoms
of South-East Asia. It is famous today for its rock sculptures and
temples, which were constructed between 630 and 728 and is a world
is located on the Palar River in Tamil Nadu. It is also called the
‘city of a thousand temples’. Kancheepuram is famous for its silks too.
The silk weavers of
Kancheepuram settled here more
than 400 years ago, and silk weaving continues to be the main occupation
of the people living here. In fact, the silks of Kancheevaram are
reputed to be the country’s finest.
Tripura and Tagore
Principal Languages: Bengali, Kokborok
State Animal: Phayre’s Langur
State Bird: Green Imperial Pigeon
State Flower: Nageshwar
Jmpui Hills are the highest hill range of Tripura, and oranges are
grown in plenty here. Every year, the unique Orange and Tourism Festival
that is held in November, celebrates the bounty of Mother Nature.
Nobel Iaureate Rabindranath Tagore had close relationship with
successive Tripura kings. When Tagore was in his 20s, Maharaja
Brichandra Manikya Bahadur, a painter, photographer and composer,
identified him as a genius. Tagore visited Tripura seven times, and was
close to four successive kings.
What are the physical features of Tripura?
Tripura is one of the seven states in the north eastern part of India.
It has Bangladesh as its border on its north, west and south. Assam and
Mizoram border the eastern part of the state. Tripura is a land of high
hills, that are interspersed with river valleys. In the north, it has
four valleys, that have been separated by hills with heights of about
1,000 metres. In the south, there is open forestland covering a large
area. A wide variety of plant and orchid species are found in the
forests of Tripura. Sal is an important product of the forests here. The
state is watered by several rivers and their tributaries. The khowati,
the Manu, the Haorah, the Gomati are some important rivers of Tripura.
The Gomati is the largest river in the state.
How was Tripura formed?
The history of Tripura goes back to ancient times, and it is even
mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. The earliest trace of the history of
Tripura can be found in the Ashokan pillar inscriptions. Tripura was
ruled by the Manikya dynasty form the 14th century. This
dynasty had an Indo- Mongolian origin, and rule Tripura for around 3000
years. With the coming of the colonial era, the Britishers extended
their control over Tripura, but granted some independence to the Manikya
kings. After the independence of India, Tripura merged with the Indian
Union. It became a union territory of the country from November 1st 1956. On January 21st , 1972, Tripura became an independent state of the Indian Union.
Why are the folk dances of Tripura so interesting?
Tripura has over 19 different tribal communities, as well as Bengali
and Manipuri communities. Each community has its own dance forms, which
are famous throughout the country.
The Garia dance is
performed after sowing seeds in the month of April. It is a time when
Tripuris offer prayers to the deity ‘Garia’ for a bumper harvest. Once
the Garia festival ends, the Tripuris start waiting for the monsoon.
During this period, numerous colourful insects called ‘lebang ‘ swarn
the hill slopes in search of seeds. These insects are welcomed by
Tripuris with the Lebang Boomani Dance.
The people of the Chakma
community perform the Bizy dance to welcome the New Year. The dance is
accompanied by the sound of flutes known as ‘Khenggarang’ and ‘Dhukuk’.
The Hai Hak dance is performed at the end of the harvesting season by
the Halam community of Tripura. The people sing and dance the Wagala
Dance after a good harvest. Womenfolk dance, and the theme is ‘rehearsal
for war’ The Hozagiri dance is a dance in which balancing plays a key
role, and it is very different from other tribal dances.
Tripura has contributed a lot to Indian culture in terms of folk music.
Different types of music instruments such as the kham, made of wood and
animal skin, the sumai which is a flute made of bamboo, sarinda,
chongpreng, dangdu and cymbals are used. The state is also well known
for its cane and bamboo handicrafts.
Principal Languages: Hindi,Garhwali, Kumaoni
State Bird: Himalayan Monal
State Animal: Himalayan Musk deer
State Flower: Brahma Kamal
Why is the history of Uttarakhand linked to that of Garhwal and Kumaon?
The history of Uttarakhand is actually the history of two regions,
Garhwal and kumaon. Garhwal was once a part of the Mauryan Empire. In
the 15th century, King Ajal Pal merged the 52 principalities
of the Garhwal region to form a new kingdom. Garhwal remained a
consolidated kingdom for about 300 years. The early medieval history of
kumaon started with the Katyuri dynasty that ruled from 7th to the 11th century. In 1791, the Gurkhas took control of Kumaon, and in 1803, Garhwal also fell to the Gurkhas.
In the 19th
century, the British annexed the Gurkha Empie, and along with it, they
are that now forms Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand was a part of Uttar Pradesh,
and on 9th November 2000, it became the 27th state of Indian union.
Valley of Flowers
The Valley of Flowers is a National Park located in the Chamoli
district of Uttarakhand. Spread over an area of 87.5 sq kms, the Valley
of Flowers offers the visitor the memorable sight of over 500 species of
wild flowers blooming in all their glory. This unusual valley is
flanked in either side by lofty peaks that remain snow-capped round the
year. From November to May, the valley remains under thick layers of
What are the geographical features of Uttarakhand?
The state of Uttarakhand is surrounded by Himachal Pradesh in the
north-west, and Uttar Pradesh in the south. It shares its international
borders with Nepal and China. The northern part of the state of
Uttarakhand is shrouded by Himalayan ranges and glaciers, whereas the
lower parts of the state are thickly forested.
at the height of 7,816 m above sea level, Nanda Devi in the district of
Chamoli is the highest point in the state. Two of India’s biggest
rivers, the Ganga and of Uttarakhand. The geography of Uttarakhad is
such that it is usually divided into two parts, the western half known
as Garhwal, and the eastern region as Kumaon. Did you know that the word
Uttarakhad is the Sanskrit term for ‘north country?
Why do tourists flock to Uttarakhand?
Uttarakhad is often called the ‘abode of the god’s and it is a popular
tourist destination. It is the holiest of all Hindu pilgrimage centres
as the land is home to four great religious sites- Gangotri, Yamunotry,
Badrinath, and Kedarnath. This apart, Uttarakhand boasts of pristine
natural beauty, stately mountains awe inspiring glaciers and gurgling
hill brooks, rare wild life, and opportunities galore for adventure
Nainital, located in the Kumaon foothills, is one
of India’s most picturesque hill stations surrounded by mountains on
three sides. Mussorie is located in the Garhwal hills. Dehradun is
widely known as an important base for trekking and adventure activities.
Gangotri is must for every vistror, as it is located at the source of
the holy river Ganges. Uttarakhand also has several glaciers and
wildlife sanctuaries which are very famous, like the Jim Corbett
National Park, Rajaji National Park, Maktoli Glacier, Nanda Devi Group
of Glaciers, and Pindari Glacier.
Nanda Devi National Park
The Nanda Devi National Park is one of the most spectacular wilderness
areas in the Himalayas. It is dominated by the peak of Nanda Devi. It is
the habitat of several endangered mammals, especially the snow leopard,
Himalayan musk deer, and the bharal. The park encompasses the Nanda
Devi sanctuary, a glacial basin surrounded by a ring of peaks. The
spectacular views, sylvan environment, and richness of the biosphere
make it quite different from other parks. The park has been declared a
world heritage site by UNESCO.
Principal Languages: Hindi, Urdu
State Bird: Sarus Crane
State Animal: Swamp Deer
State Flower: Palash
Why are agriculture and industry important to the economy of Uttar Pradesh?
Pradesh has the second largest economy in India. Agriculture and
industry are where the real assets of the state lie. The fertile of the
state lie. The fertile soil of the state, increased use of facilities,
better irrigation facilities, and usage of different varieties of high
yielding seeds make it one of the major producers of the major producers
of food grains. The major agricultural cultivations are wheat, rice,
pulses, oil seeds, sugarcane, and fruits like mangoes and apples.
The major industries are based on minerals, cement manufacturing, and
small scale units. The region has a larger reserve of minerals. There
are aluminum units in Banda and Sonbhadra area, copper plants in Pithor
garh, Almora Chamoli and Tehri Garhwal, coal reserves in the Singrauli,
and limestone deposits in Mirzapur area of the state. Small scale
industries also play a major role in the economy of the state.
Why is the history of Uttar Pradesh very inspiring?
Uttar Pradesh is the land of the epics- the Mahabharatha and Ramayana.
The empire of Chandra Gupta Maurya extended nearly over the whole of
Uttar Pradesh. During the Gupta period, the culture and architecture of
Uttar Pradesh reached its peak. The decline of the Guptas coincided with
rise of the Huns from Central Asia. The 7th century witnessed the taking over of Kannauj by Harshavardhana.
In 1526, Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal dynasty. The highlight
of the Mughal rule came when Emperor Akbar chose the cities of Agra and
Fatehpur Sikri as his capital cities. The Mughal reign saw the
construction of some of the most magnificent monuments in Uttar Pradesh.
With the emergence of the East India Company, the whole region was
captured by the British. Modern-day Uttar Pradesh saw the rise of
important freedom fighters on the national scenario. Lal Bahadur
Shastri, Jawaharlal Nehru, Smt. Indira Gandhi, and Charan Singh are only
a few of the important names who played a significant role in India’s
freedom movement. During the days of the British Empire, the state was
named United Provinces in 1935. This was later changed to Uttar Pradesh
in 1950, after India became independent.
How would we describe the geography of Uttar Pradesh?
Pradesh is the fourth largest state of India. It is bounded by Nepal,
Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The
Gangetic Plain occupies three quarters of the state. The entire alluvial
plain can be divided into three subregions- the eastern, central and
western tracts. The Gangetic plain is watered by the Jamuna, the Ganga,
and its major tributaries. The Vindhya Hills and plateau in the southern
part consists of hard rock strata, with a varied landscape of hills,
plains, valleys and plateau. Uttar Pradesh can lay claim to be the
oldest seat of India’s culture and civilization. The findings of the
archaeological excavations from various places of the state link Uttar
Pradesh to the early Stone Age and Harappan era.
classical dance kathak, folk arts like Braj Raslila, Ramlila and
Charkula are very famous art forms of Uttar Pradesh.
West Bengal (Paschim Banga )
Principal Language: Bengali
State Bird: White-Throated Kingfisher
State Animal: Royal Bengal Tiger
State Flower: Night-flowering Jasmine
What do we know about the history of West Bengal?
In the Vedic Age, Bengal was called ‘Vanga’. During the Mahabharatha
period, this area was divided into small kingdoms and principalities
ruled by chieftains. Around the 3rd century, the Mauryan and
the Guptas established their rule. The Palas established their strong
rule from about 800 AD till the 11th century, after which the Senas ruled. In the beginning of the 13th century, Bengal became a part of the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire.
The nearness to the sea also saw many foreigners reaching these shores-
the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the Danish, and the British. The
British ultimately captured power in Bengal. In 1905, they partitioned
Bengal on the basis of religion. Kolkata remained the capital till 1911.
In 1947 when India became independent, Bengal was partitioned between
India and Pakistan. India’s share come to be known as West Bengal, and
Pakistan’s share was called East Pakistan.
Why is Bengal proud of its rich cultural heritage?
West Bengal’s culture is distinguished by its festivals, music, cinema,
drama and literature. Being the land of Bankim Chandra, Rabindranath
and Aurobindo, West Bengal is said to be the birth place of modern
The theatre in Bengal dates back to 18th
century. Theatre gained prominence during the freedom struggle of
India, when it was used as a tool of expression. Girishchandra Ghosh,
Rabi Roy, Sisir Bhaduri, Badal Sircar, Shobha Sen and Soumitra
Chatrerjee are some of the prominent names in Bengali theatre. When it
come to contemporary cinema, the immense contribution of the great
Bengali director Satyajit Ray cannot be ignored. Music and dances are
also integral parts of the Bengali culture. The people of Bengal are
closely associated with Rabindra Sageet, Rabindra Nritya Natya, which
consists of songs and song-dance sequences composed by Tagore, and
Nazrul Islam. Folk dances and songs are also popular. Bankura’s famed
handmade pottery, especially the decorated horse, is a traditional
craft. The biggest festival in the state is Durga Puja.
Why is the geography of West Bengal a varied one?
West Bengal stretches from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. The
state is surrounded by the three international frontiers in the north,
namely, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. On its northeast, lies the green
valley of Assam. On the east lies Bengladesh. Bihar lies on the Orissa,
and the Bay of Bengal lies to the south of West Bengal.
West Bengal, therefore, offers a variety of geographical features. The
State has the alluvial plains known as the Dooars in the south, and the
mountainous Himalayan region in the north. The dense wooded regions in
the Dooars have rich and varied flora and fauna. The Malda region,
irrigated by the river Mahananda constitures the fertile mid section.
The alluvial plains in the south are the basin of the River Damodar,
also known as the ‘river of Bengal’ sorrow’. The name was coined after a
number of floods in the region were attributed to the river. The other
main rivers are the Ganga and Hoogly. The district 24 Parganas has
pristine forsts known as the Sundarbans.