• Full name: Republic of India
  • Population: 1.2 billion (UN, 2011)
  • Capital: New Delhi (formerly known as Delhi)
  • Most-populated city: Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay)
  • Area: 3.1 million sq km (1.2 million sq miles)
  • Major languages: Hindi, English and 17 other official languages (with 844 dialects spoken across India).
  • Major religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism
  • Monetary unit: 1 Indian Rupee = 100 paise
  • Main exports: Agricultural products, textile goods, gems and jewellery, software services and technology, engineering goods, chemicals, leather products
  • Internet domain: .in
  • International dialling code: +91
  • Climate: India is a big tropical country. However, it is known for its diverse climate. In particular, there are four main seasons:
  • Winter: January – February. It’s usually between 10-15°C in the northern parts but between 20-25°C in the southern territories. In other words, this is the ideal time of year to visit India; just when Lewis the Lion happened to be there!
  • Summer: March – May
  • Monsoon (the rainy season): June – September
  • Post-monsoon: October – December

Lewis the Lion, as always, liked to discover some of the cool facts about the country he was visiting and this is what he found out about India:

  • India is the 6th largest country in the world, it has the largest democracy and is one of the oldest civilizations.
  • After China, India is the second most populated country in the world, with 17% of the world population. Lewis the Lion certainly felt the buzz of Indian life whilst he was there. (Check out his blog on the Indian street life!). However, he also learnt that 70% of people live beneath the poverty line (i.e. 8.75 billion). Nonetheless, he learnt that India has a rapidly growing economy and is very much a country in transition hoping to move from the developing world into the developed world. To his surprise, he discovered that in India there is universal health care and education for all. There is also guaranteed food for the poorest in society so that nobody needs to go hungry.
  • India certainly seemed like one of the most colourful, vibrant and sparkling countries that Lewis the Lion had visited on his journey: that could be because of the fact that India is famous for its silks in the city of Varanasi, and for its jewels in cities like Jaipur. Before 1986, India was the only county in the world where diamonds could be found.
  • The biggest and the largest employer in the world is Indian railways employing over a million people. (Lewis the Lion will tell you more about his adventures on the Indian railways in some of his blogs). There are also more post offices in India than anywhere else in the world and India is also one of the world’s biggest exporters of computer software products. Is it really any wonder then that more people in India own a mobile phone, than possess a toilet?!
  • Cricket is by far India’s most popular sport and Lewis the Lion saw a lot of it right across the country! Although another popular Indian past time is going to catch a Bollywood film at the local cinema. (Bollywood is India’s equivalent to Hollywood where films are churned out on an almost weekly basis).
  • Tasting Indian food was a definite highlight for Lewis the Lion with so much flavour and variety, especially in terms of the vegetarian options. (He even got to experience an Indian cookery demonstration in the mountain village of Orchha).
  • Four of the biggest world religions harmoniously sit side by side in India: Hinduism, Islam (It has 300,000 mosques which is much more than the Muslim world), Sikhism and Christianity. Lewis the Lion will look forward to telling you about his extraordinary visit to this year’s Kumbh Mela, billed as the largest human gathering ever on the planet. This unique Hindu festival saw more than a hundred million people gathering to take the Holy Dip at the point where three sacred rivers converge (one of which is the River Ganges – or as the Indians call it, “The Ganga”).
  • Lewis learnt all about “chilling out” as he tried his hand at the ancient Indian art form of yoga in Palolem in Southern India.

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