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India Travel Fact Sheet

Indian landscape.
Source: flickr.com.

Basic Info

Country Name

The Republic of India

What the People are Called

Indian

Ethnic Groups

India has more than 2000 ethnic groups and every major religion is represented, as are four major families of languages (Indo-Aryan – a branch of the larger Indo-European language group –, Dravidian, Austroasiatic, and Tibeto-Burman) as well as a language isolate (the Nihali language spoken in parts of Maharashtra). India's castism history is extremely complex; nevertheless, distinct racial divisions between peoples still exist as established by modern anthropologists, despite the fact that the national Census of India does not recognize racial or ethnic groups within India, but recognizes many of the tribal groups as Scheduled Castes and Tribes.

The Indian caste system describes the system of social stratification and severe social restrictions in India in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed jātis or castes. Within a jāti, there exist exogamous groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individual. In a handful of sub-castes such as Shakadvipi, endogamy within a gotra is permitted and alternative mechanisms of restricting endogamy are used (e.g. banning endogamy within a surname).

The Indian caste system involves four castes and outcasted social groups. Caste barriers have mostly broken down in large cities, though they persist in rural areas of the country, where 72% of India's population resides.

For a detailed diagram of ethnic groups in India go here for more information.

U.S. Embassy

U.S. Embassy in India Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi – 110021 Tel: 091-011-24198000 Fax: 091-011-24198407 Email: NDAdopt@State.gov Internet: newdelhi.usembassy.gov/

Canadian Embassy

7/8 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi 110 021, India

Currency

Indian Rupee

Time Zone

IST (UTC+05:30) Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+05:30)

Phone/Internet Information

  • Calling code +91
  • ISO 3166 code IN
  • Internet TLD .in other TLDs

Major Languages Spoken

India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families. India has no national language. Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government. English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language"; it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 21 "scheduled languages". The Constitution of India recognises 212 scheduled tribal groups which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population.[266] The 2001 census reported that Hinduism, with over 800 million adherents (80.5% of the population), was the largest religion in India; it is followed by Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%), Jainism (0.4%), Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and the Bahá'í Faith.[267] India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population and the largest Muslim population for a non-Muslim majority country.

Major holidays

Jan 1 New Year's Day Restricted Holiday
Jan 7 Guru Govind Singh Jayanti Restricted Holiday
Jan 14 Pongal Restricted Holiday
Jan 14 Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday
Jan 14 Milad un-Nabi/Id-e-Milad Gazetted Holiday
Jan 26 Republic Day Gazetted Holiday
Jan 31 Chinese New Year Observance
Feb 4 Vasant Panchami Restricted Holiday
Feb 14 Guru Ravidas Jayanti Restricted Holiday
Feb 14 Valentine's Day Observance
Feb 19 Shivaji Jayanti Restricted Holiday
Feb 24 Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Restricted Holiday
Feb 27 Maha Shivaratri/Shivaratri Gazetted Holiday
Mar 16 Dolyatr Gazetted Holiday
Mar 16 Holika Dahana Restricted Holiday
Mar 17 Dolyatra Restricted Holiday
Mar 31 Chaitra Sukhladi Restricted Holiday
Apr 8 Rama Navami Gazetted Holiday
Apr 13 Mahavir Jayanti Gazetted Holiday
Apr 14 Vaisakhi Restricted Holiday
Apr 14 Ambedkar Jayanti Observance
Apr 15 First day of Passover Observance
Apr 15 Mesadi/Vaisakhadi Restricted Holiday
Apr 17 Maundy Thursday Observance, Christian
Apr 18 Good Friday Gazetted Holiday
Apr 20 Easter Day Restricted Holiday
May 1 May Day Observance
May 9 Birthday of Ravindranath Restricted Holiday
May 11 Mother's Day Observance
May 13 Hazarat Ali's Birthday Restricted Holiday
May 14 Buddha Purnima/Vesak Gazetted Holiday
Jun 15 Father's Day Observance
Jun 29 Rath Yatra Restricted Holiday
Jul 25 Jamat U-Vida Restricted Holiday
Jul 30 Ramzan Id/Eid-ul-Fitar Muslim, Common Local holidays
Aug 3 Friendship Day Observance
Aug 10 Raksha Bandhan Restricted Holiday
Aug 15 Independence Day Gazetted Holiday
Aug 15 Thanksgiving Day Observance
Aug 17 Janmashtami Gazetted Holiday
Aug 18 Parsi New Year Restricted Holiday
Aug 29 Ganesh Chaturthi Restricted Holiday
Sep 7 Onam Restricted Holiday
Oct 1 Maha Saptami Restricted Holiday
Oct 2 Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti Gazetted Holiday
Oct 2 Maha Ashtami Restricted Holiday
Oct 3 Dussehra (Maha Navami) Gazetted Holiday
Oct 5 Bakri Id/Eid ul-Adha Gazetted Holiday
Oct 6 Bakri Id/Eid ul-Adha Gazetted Holiday
Oct 11 Karaka Chaturthi Restricted Holiday
Oct 22 Naraka Chaturdasi Restricted Holiday
Oct 23 Diwali/Deepavali Gazetted Holiday
Oct 24 Govardhan Puja Restricted Holiday
Oct 25 Bhai Duj Restricted Holiday
Oct 29 Chhat Puja (Pratihar Sashthi/Surya Sashthi) Restricted Holiday
Oct 31 Halloween Observance
Nov 4 Muharram/Ashura Gazetted Holiday
Nov 6 Guru Nanak Jayanti Gazetted Holiday
Nov 24 Guru Tegh Bahadur's Martyrdom Day Restricted Holiday
Dec 12 First Day of Hanukkah Observance
Dec 24 Last day of Hanukkah Observance
Dec 24 Christmas Eve Restricted Holiday
Dec 25 Christmas Gazetted Holiday
Dec 31 New Year's Eve Observance, Christian

Source: Public Holidays India Source: Wikipedia India Source: Ethnic groups India - Wikipedia

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