India is a fascinating country. It is home to thousand year old ornately sculptured temples, the world famous Taj Mahal, modern skyscrapers, and prevalent slums. It is framed by the daunting Himalaya’s in the north, the Arabian Sea and Pakistan in the west and the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh in the east. The southern tip of India is washed by the waves of the azure Indian Ocean separating it from Sri Lanka. India contains an astonishing variety of geographical features from stretches of eternally frozen glaciers, deep rain-forests, fertile valleys, blistering deserts, and palm sprinkled silvery beaches.
Over thousands of years, geographical, historical and religious influences have weaved the colorful fabric of Indian culture, one of the oldest known to humanity. Tall, fair skinned and green eyed Aryans, small framed Asians and dark skinned Dravidians, have all left a complex demographic profile in the society. Religion, in many forms, is the basis of India’s cultural context. This is entwined with every aspect of life and culture in India. The diversity is reflected in the 17 major languages and 900 dialects. Hindi is the National language but use of English remains extensive in education and business. Traditions, rituals, art, music and dance, drama, literature, movies, recreation, sports and cuisine all have their distinct flavors depending on the region of the country. It never fails to amaze observers, who witness bullock carts competing with motor vehicles, street vendors selling their wares in the shadow of fashionable shopping centers and snake charmers existing amicably with physicians and scientists.