India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only. “Mark Twain
India has a unique culture and is one of the oldest and greatest civilizations of the world. It stretches from the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to sun drenched coastal villages of the south and the humid tropical forests on the south-west coast, from the fertile Brahmaputra valley on its east to the Thar desert in the west. It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km. lt has achieved all-round socio-economic progress during the last so many years or its Independence. lndia is the seventh largest country in the world and ranks second in population. The country stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give her a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. The total length of the coastine of the mainland, Lakshadweep islands and Andaman and Nicobar lslands is 7516.6 km.
Countries having a common border with India are Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west, China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Myanmar to the far east and Bangladesh to the east. sri Lanka is separated from India By a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. The country can be divided into SIX Zones mainly north, south, east, west,Central and north-east zone. It has 29 states and seven union territories.
The mainland comprises four regions, namely, the great mountain zone,plains of the Ganga and the Indus, the desert region and the southern peninsula.
India is rich in flora. Available data place India in the tenth position in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. From about 70 per cent geographical area Surveyed so far, over 46,000 species of plants have been described by the Botanical Survey of india (BSI), Kolkata. The vascular flora, which forms the conspicuous vegetation cover, comprises 15,000 species.
With a wide range of climatic conditions from the torrid to the arctic, India has a rich and varied vegetation, which only a few countries of comparable size possess. India can be divided into eight distinct floristic regions, namely, the western Himalayas, the eastern Himalayas, Assam, the Indus plain, the Ganga plain, the Deccan, the Malabar and the Andamans.
TheThe western Himalayan region extends from Kashmir to Kumaon. Its temperate zone is rich in forests of , pine, other conifers and broad-leaved temperate trees. The eastern Himalayan region extends from Sikkim eastwards and embraces Darjeeling, Kurseong and the adjacent tracts.
India is very in terms of biological diversity due to its unique biogeographical location, diversified climate conditions and enormous Eco diversity and geodiversity. India’s immense biological diversity encompasses ecosystems, populations, species and their genetic make-up. This diversity can be attributed to the vast variety in physiography and climatic situations resulting in a diversity of ecological habitats ranging from tropical , sub-tropical, temperate, alpine to desert.
India is not only rich in its physical dimensions but even in its cultural aspect .