Why is Telugu called an Ajanta language
A journey through India's 29 states in pictures
Hardly any other country is as diverse as India. The incredibly long history of the country, the different languages, landscapes and religions all contribute to making a stay in Bharat Ganarajya unforgettable. We show you the highlights of the 29 federal states.
In the south-east of India lies the state of Andhra Pradesh, whose name is Sanskrit and means something like "Land of the Andhra" (an ancient ethnic group). The mother tongue of most of the people in Telugu. It is difficult to limit yourself to just a few with so many interesting places, but the city of Visakhapatnam is certainly a highlight.
In the far east, behind Bangladesh, lies Arunachal Pradesh. The "land of the mountains at dawn" is claimed by China, which is why the two huge countries are constantly in conflict. Mainly Tibeto-Burmese languages are spoken here and the many Buddhist monasteries are among the most important sights. In fact, the majority of the population here is Christian, closely followed by Hindus and Buddhists.
Right next to Arunachal Pradesh is Assam, where Assamese, Bengali and numerous Tibetan-Burmese languages are spoken. Assam is famous for its black tea, which grows in the largest contiguous tea fields in the world. In the Karbi Anglong hills in Central Assam lies the Kazirange National Park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.
By far the poorest state in India is Bihar in the northeast. The main source of income for the entire state is Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha achieved his enlightenment. The tree that stands at this point today is unfortunately only an offshoot, but the temple around it and the many international monasteries and temples form a city of their own.
"The 36 Fortresses" are quite central and were only separated from Madhya Pradesh in 2000. The Naxalites, the Maoist rebels, are particularly active here, but traveling is safe. Sights include the Bhoramdeo Temple at Kawardha, the Kailash and Kotumsar Caves in Jagdalpur and the Sri Rajiv Lochan Mandir in Raipur.
The best known and smallest state of India is Goa on the west coast. The state is named after the former city of the same name. Since the region was a Portuguese colony for 450 years, the cities and culture are still strongly Portuguese. The city of Goa is now called Velha Goa, old Goa, and is still very well preserved. Apart from the beaches, it is certainly one of the most interesting places in the state.
Gujarat is also on the west coast of India and on the border with Pakistan. The main language is Gujarati, which is spoken by almost 85 percent of the population. In Ahmedabad, the most important city in the state, there are the Swaninarayan Akshardham Temple and the Adalaj Stepwell. The Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara is also very impressive. As in any other state, you can spend a lot of time here without having seen everything.
Haryana is located in northern India and shares its capital, Chandigarh, with neighboring Punjab. The city was built according to plans by Le Corbusiers and is considered one of the cleanest cities in the entire country, which is why the Indians are very proud of it. In fact, you will not find any other city in India that is as clear, straight and clean as this one.
The "land of mountains" is located in the far north of India, in the middle of the mountains and was a popular retreat for the British when the summer got too hot in the more southern areas. Take care of your belongings when you go up to Hanuman Temple, the monkeys love to steal. The hardly visited and difficult to travel regions of Spiti and Kinnaur, which show a completely different side of India, are particularly beautiful. The Dalai Lama also lives here.
The most contested state in India is constitutionally an autonomous area, but there is constant fighting with Pakistan. While the west of the country, which borders Pakistan, is strongly Muslim, Tibetan Buddhism has the upper hand in the east. The Ladakh area is one of the most fascinating in India and once belonged to Tibet, which is still very clearly visible today.
In Jharkhand, west of Bangladesh, there is Mount Parasnath, an important pilgrimage site for the Jain, an Indian religious community that arose at the same time and for similar reasons as Buddhism. You can spend a lot of time visiting the temples and nature.
The former princely state of Mysore is located in southwest India and has been called Karnataka since 1973. However, the city of Mysore is also one of the highlights of the state. Here is the former Prince's Palace, which is accessible to visitors. The historic city of Hampi is also incredibly beautiful. But the state is full of wonderful places and the elephants roam free in its jungle landscape. The mildest climate can be found in Bangalore, the capital. but the historic city of Hampi is particularly beautiful.
In the very south-west lies one of the most densely populated areas of India, the state of Kerala, "the land of coconut palms". Most visitors rent a houseboat for some time to explore the backwaters. Varkala is the ideal place to enjoy the beach, in Munnar you will find wonderful tea plantations, and the diverse culture is most tangible in Kochi.
In view of the location in the center of India, it is obvious that Madhya Pradesh means nothing more than "middle country". One of the main attractions is the city of Gwalior with its many fantastic Hindu temples and Jain monuments and statues. The temple group Khajuraho, which is dedicated to Hinduism and Jainism, is particularly famous. What is special about this UNESCO World Heritage Site are the erotic depictions on the temples.
The most famous place in Maharashtra is the state capital Mumbai, which is known for Bollywood and its colonial-style architecture. Mumbai is full of sights and you can easily spend a few days here. The Elephanta Caves are located on an island off the coast and are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as are the wonderful caves of Ellora and Ajanta.
Manipur, one of the smaller states of India, lies between Nagaland and Mizoram in the northeast of the country. Hinduism and Christianity are pretty much the same here and live peacefully side by side. A legend reports that the Naga principality has existed since 35 AD. There are still struggles for independence or for annexation to Nagaland. The most important city is the capital Imphal, where most of the cultural sights can be found.
The "home of the clouds" is northeast of Bangladesh and is a very small federal state. The Elephant Falls are always worth a visit, as are the Roots Bridges and the Mawjymbuin Caves. Christianity is by far the most widespread religion here with almost 75 percent.
Mizoram is located in the very north-east of the country and is also very small. The best view of the capital Aizawl, which is almost completely surrounded by Myanmar, is from the Durtlang Hills, where you can also admire Christian buildings. Most of the sights can be easily reached from here.
A little north of Mizoram is Nagaland, named after the Naga ethnic group. Here, too, Christianity is very widespread. Nagaland is very densely forested and populated by over 16 hill tribes. One of the main attractions is the village of Bara Basti, the entrance gate of which is decorated with motifs of warriors, weapons and bison.
In the east lies the strongly Hindu-influenced Odisha, formerly Orissa, whose main language is the Indo-Aryan Oriya. Particularly impressive is the 13th century Konark Sun Temple, another world cultural heritage site, this time in honor of the sun god Surya. In addition, the semi-artificial, semi-natural caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are an archaeologically, historically and religiously significant place.
The Punjab is also a disputed region between India and Pakistan. It was divided in the middle and also shares the capital with Haryana. The Sikh would like to have the state as an autonomous area for themselves, because they are very strongly represented there and also the most important temple of the religious community, the breathtaking Golden Temple is located here, in Amritsar.
Rajasthan, the land of kings, is one of the desert states in northwest India. The capital Jaipur is also called the "pink city" due to the uniformly prescribed pink color of the buildings in the city center. Jodhpur is the blue city, Jaisalmer is the golden city. Udaipur is considered the most romantic city in India. From Bikaner you can go on a camel safari through the desert.
The former Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim is a very special place in India. It is located northeast of Nepal and is still strongly influenced by Buddhism. Sikkim is located in the middle of the mountains and is the state with the smallest population. Here is the famous tea place Darjeeling, to which you can take the original steam train up. Further north you need a special permit to travel, but nature makes up for any inconvenience.
In the very south-east of India is the state with the longest beaches in Asia and probably the most stressful climate. The capital, Chennai, alone offers a program for several days, not counting day trips. Pondicherry, the former capital of French India, is another popular travel destination. The national parks are also a great place to learn about wildlife.
Tripura is right next to Bangladesh and the main language besides Kokborok is Bengali. Here you take a very strong interest in what is going on in neighboring Bangladesh, because the residents feel closely connected both linguistically and culturally. To enjoy a little peace and quiet, visit the Tripurasundari Temple in Agartala.
This state also bears the description of its location as a name: north. The main attraction is in Aggra and it is nothing less than the Taj Mahal ("crown of the place"), the stunning mausoleum that Shah Jahan had built in 1631 in memory of his dearly beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. This place does what it says on the tin and is just great! Fort Aggras and the city of Lucknow should also be mentioned.
The "northern region" is actually even further north than the? Northern country? and was only split off from it in 2000. The most important place of pilgrimage for Hindus is Haridwar, a typical Indian city on the Ganges. On the banks of the river is the Maya Devi Temple, from which steps lead into the water so that the believers can bathe in the holy river and fill themselves with water.
Before the breakaway of Pakistan, Bengal was a federal state. However, since the majority of the population was Muslim, the state was divided into East and West Bengal. West Bengal is still a federal state of India, East Bengal initially belonged to Pakistan, but eventually fought for independence with Indian support and is now known as Bangladesh.
Until two years ago Telangana belonged to Andhra Pradesh, today it is a separate federal state with the capital Hyderabad, which is also the largest attraction of the state. In this Muslim city, for example, you will find the Charminar, which is both a mosque and a monument of Muslim architecture. It is considered a landmark of the entire state.
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