India, a union of states, is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Constitution of India, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, came into force on 26 January 1950. India comprises 29 states and seven union territories. The States Reorganization Act of 1956 was a primary force in reorganising the boundaries of Indian states along linguistic lines, and bringing an amendment in the Indian Constitution whereby the three types of states, known as Parts A, B, and C states, were amended to a single type of state. Though additional changes have occurred in the state boundaries since 1947, the Act is still considered as an undisputed player in providing the present shapes and contours of the Indian states. In November 2000, India gained three new states – Chattisgarh carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal out of Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand from Bihar.
The Constitution distributes legislative powers between the Parliament and state legislatures. The Parliament is bicameral – the lower house is known as the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the upper house is known as the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). At state level some legislatures are bicameral and are run along the lines of the two houses of the national Parliament. A land blessed in all terms, be it topography, natural beauty, population, religion, culture or language, India is home to twenty nine states and seven union territories. All the states and union territories are unique in their own ways. Having an extraordinary history and culture, all the states and union territories in India never fail to charm their visitors with their unfolding mysteries and charisma.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Popular as the Emerald Isles, the Andaman and Nicobar islands situated in the Bay of Bengal is one of the popular tourist’s destinations in India. This union territory is home to numerous aboriginal tribes and two distinct native cultures the Negrito and the Andamans. Known to be a friendly and cheerful lot of people, the population of Andaman and Nicobar islands enjoy festivities such as Panguni, Pongal, Shivratri, Uthiram, Janmashtami, etc. Some of the popular tourist spots in the union territory include National Memorial, Marine Museum, Naval Marine Museum, Smrithika Museum, Haddo Zoological Garden.
Located in the southern region of India, Andhra Pradesh is reputed for its distinct culture and fine arts. The state is mostly dominated by Telugu speaking people. The important festivals celebrated in the state are Dussehra, Diwali, Ramanavami, Vinayaka Sankranti and Chavithi. The places which are a definite must see in the state include Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Nagarjuna Konda in Nagarjunasagar, Araku Valley and Borra Caves in Vishakhapatnam, Amaravati in Vijaywada, etc.
Ranked as the most charming state in India, Arunachal Pradesh is characterised by lofty mountains and snow-clad peaks. Home to numerous tribes and sub tribes, the population of Arunachal Pradesh consists mostly of people of Asiatic origin. The one thing that is unique about the state is its belief in animism. Beautiful as it is, the state is home to several popular tourist hubs like Sinyi Bomdila, Tawang and Gyaker.
Situated in Northeastern India, Assam abounds in natural beauty. The population of Assam is said to be a mix of people of Tibetan, Aryan, and Burman origins. The population of Assam is made up of numerous tribes who believe in celebrating all the religious festivals with equal vigor. However the one festival that is most popular in Assam is Bihu. Assam over the years has also developed into an important tourist destination with attractions such as Gandhi Mandap, Kamakhya Temple, Umananda, Nabagraha (Temple of nine planets), State Zoo, State Museum, etc.
Situated in Eastern India, Bihar boasts of a rich cultural heritage that dates back to ancient India. The people of Bihar are lively and co-exist in peace and harmony. The festivals celebrated in the state include Buddha Purnima, Saraswati Puja, Eid-ul-Fitr, Holi, Rath yatra, Maha Shivaratri and Mahavir Jayanti. Chandigarh
The first planned city of post independence, Chandigarh is a union territory and serves as a twin capital for Punjab and Haryana. The city was also declared as the cleanest city in India by a government survey. It attracts many tourists especially for its gardens. Some places of attractions in Chandigarh are Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake, and Leisure Valley, etc. Chandigarh has been the birth place of many luminaries such as Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Abhinav Bindra and Kirron Kher, to name a few.
Chhattisgarh is a state located in central India and is famous as a source of electricity and steel. The state is gifted with a rich cultural heritage and attracts tourists. The waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks and the caves of the state are major attractions of the state.
Dadra & Nagar Haveli
Lying in close proximity to the west coast of India, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is home to a mass of shy and simple Adivasis. Evolving as an important hub for tourist, this union territory houses numerous tourist attractions like Tribal Cultural Museum, Khanvel, Vanganga Lake and Island Garden.
Daman and Diu
Daman and Diu, a union territory of India, is located on the Arabian Sea near Gujarat. It is full of multi-faced cultural heritage. For the people of Daman, music and dance are a part of everyday life. There are multiple cultures which exist there – urban, European, Indian and tribal. The temples, beaches and churches of the union territory are the major tourist attractions.
Situated in the Malabar Coast of India, Goa is arguably the best beach resort in India. Populated with a mix of Christians and Hindus, Goa’s culture is unique in its own way. Known as the most happening states in India, it is home to fun loving and easy going people. The major attraction in the state is its long stretches of pristine beaches. The churches, beaches, museums are the most visited places in the state. The architecture of the state is a mix of Indian, Portuguese and Islamic architecture. Some of the important beaches in Goa are Colva, Vagator, Calangute, Harmal, Anjuna and Miramar and Baga.
Known as ‘Jewel of the West’, Gujarat is situated in the western part of India. It is historically one of the main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization. The diversified cultures of the state are proved from the fact that not only the major Hindu festivals are celebrated here, but festivals like Eid, Mahavir Jayanti and Christmas etc. are also celebrated with equal zeal and fervour. Dance and music is an important part of the celebrations for the Gujaratis. Garba and dandiya raas are famous dance forms of the state and musical ragas like Lati, Todi and Khambavati were originated here.
Haryana was carved out of Punjab and was declared a separate state on 1 November 1966. Haryana has an important contribution in the history of India. There are many important sites in the state which belongs to the Indus Valley Civilizations and Vedic Civilizations. The epic battles of the Indian history were also fought in the state. The people of the state have kept their old cultural and social customs alive till now. The state is also a tourism hub with many places of interests. Haryana has given birth to many national level players like Vijender Singh Beniwal, Sushil Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Ajay Jadeja and many more.
Himachal Pradesh is a popular state which is known for its beauty and splendour. Earlier it was also known as ‘Devbhoomi’ which means the abode of Gods. It is a tourism hub and attracts tourists from different parts of the world. The major attractions are the adventure sports which the state offers like paragliding, ice skating, rafting and many more. Besides the fairs and festivals celebrated in the country, there are many festivals that are specific to this state.
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir enjoys autonomy in India under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. It comprises three regions- Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Kashmir Valley is known as the ‘Paradise on Earth’ and therefore attracts many tourists. Many Hindu tourists visit Jammu and Kashmir for pilgrimage as the holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath are located in this region. As people from different religious groups live in this region, festivals of different communities are celebrated with equal zeal such as Eid, Baisakhi, Hemis Festival, Urs, Diwali and many more.
Also known as the ‘Land of Forests’, Jharkhand is rich in mineral resources such as mica, bauxite, iron, coal, copper, etc. It is a tribal dominated state and the people here consider nature to be an important part of their lives. Tusu Fair, Karam festival and Sohrai are some of the festivals celebrated by the people of the state. Ranchi Hills, Netarhat, Sun Temple, Baidynath Dham are some of the places of interest in the state.
Karnataka is located in Southwest India and is surrounded by Arabian Sea and Laccadive Sea in the and west many other neighbouring states. There are various ethnicities based on language and religion in the state. Ancient temples, attractive hills, modern infrastructure, beaches and forests, Karnataka has an extensive range of all these features. Mysore Dasara, Makar Sankranti, Basava Jayanti, Ramzan and Ugadi are some of the major festivals celebrated in the state.
Popularly known as “God’s Own Country”, Kerala is a state situated in the Southwest of India. It is popular for its spices and rubber production. It is also one of the major producers of fishes in India. The culture of the state is cosmopolitan in nature and has distinctive art, lifestyle, architecture, language and literature. Dance and music are integral parts of the state. Different dance forms such as Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyattam, etc. and Carnatic music hold important positions among the Keralites. Kerala is one of the favourite destinations in India among the tourists. Beaches, temples, churches, wildlife sanctuaries are the tourist hubs in the state.
Lakshadweep is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea and is the smallest union territory of India. Many religions and customs are followed in Lakshadweep but majority of the population practice Islam. There are many festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr, Milad-un-Nabi, Muharram and many more which are celebrated here. People of this union territory lead a simple life and live in harmony with each other. This archipelago attracts many tourists and offer water sports activities to the tourists such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
Madhya Pradesh is located in central India and due to its geographical location it is also known as the ‘heart of India’. There are many tribes, castes and ethnic groups in the state and majority of the population practice Hinduism. Folk and classical music hold a prominent place among the people of Madhya Pradesh. Maihar gharana, Senia gharana and Gwalior gharana are some of the renowned classical music gharanas of this Indian state. Madhya Pradesh has much to offer to wildlife enthusiasts in the form of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Karera Wildlife Sanctuary, Ken Gharial Sanctuary, Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park are some of the most visited places in the state.
Located in the western region of the country, Maharashtra is the second most populated state in the country. Historically, Maharashtra exists since the 3rd century and has been an industrial, commercial and trade hub till date. Both, Hindi and the Marathi film industry are located in the state which attract and fascinate many people. Ganesh Chaturthi is the main festival which is celebrated with full zeal and pomp. Holi, Diwali, Eid and Christmas are few other festivals celebrated in the state. Besides these religious festivals, Ajanta-Ellora Festival and Elephanta Festival are also important among the people of the state. Maharashtra also attracts plenty of tourists as there are many places of interest in the state.
Manipur is a state located in the Northeastern region of India. People from several cultures like Mizo, Kuki, Naga reside in Manipur. Manipuris are very warm by nature and the women in the state enjoy a high status in the society. Since time immemorial, theatre has been an important part of the Lai Haraoba festivals of the state. The traditional Manipuri dance is based on the theme of Lord Krishna and the story of his beloved Radha. The lakes and islands, the hills and valleys, the waterfalls and the caves, Manipur has a lot to attract tourists.
Meghalaya literally means ‘The Abode of Clouds’ and is landlocked between Assam and Bangladesh. Around 70% area of the state is forested and the forests here receive plenty of rainfall which supports varieties of flora and fauna. There are three major tribes which reside in Meghalaya – Jaintias, Khasis and Garos. Lakes, hills, gardens, waterfalls, rivers and peaks, Meghalaya has a lot to add to its beauty. Therefore, it attracts tourists in large numbers.
Mizoram is popularly known as the ‘Land of the Highlanders’ and is one of the states of the Northeast India. Almost 95% of the population of the state comprises different tribal groups. Majority of the population of the state practices Christianity. Minority population includes Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Dance and music are important part of celebrations and festivities for the people of the state. Cheraw, Khuallam, Chai are some of the important dance forms of Mizoram and people play musical instruments like guitar and drums. Mizos are generally fond of country music.
Nagaland is one of the seven sister states of India. There are 16 tribes in the state and each tribe is distinctive in terms of language, dress and traditions. Christianity is the main religion of the state with majority of the population belonging to the Baptist group. Nagaland is also known as the land of festivals. With so many tribes and diverse people, celebrations of festivals continue throughout the year. Hornbill Festival is celebrated to encourage inter-tribal interaction and is celebrated with full zeal by the Naga people.
National Capital Territory (Delhi)
The capital city of India, Delhi is also known as National Capital Territory of India. In the Indian history, Delhi had been the capital of many kingdoms and rules. Delhi is not only a political capital of the country but is also an administrative unit of the Indian government as the Indian Parliament and many ministries are present here. The city boasts of a cosmopolitan culture as people from different parts of the country reside here. Besides religious festivals, the national festivals are also celebrated in Delhi with full zeal.
Also known as ‘The Land of Temples’, Odisha is situated on the east coast of India. In ancient times, Odisha became popular due to the Kalinga rule which was headed by Maurayan Emperor Ashoka. Dance, music, sculptures and historical monuments highlight the rich tradition and culture of the state. It is popular for handloom textiles and handicrafts. The traditional Odissi dance shows the love of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. The temples of Odisha are famous throughout India and are worth visiting. The ratha yatra at Jagannath Puri attracts thousands of devotees every year to the state.
Puducherry was earlier known as Pondicherry and is a famous tourist destination among people from India and abroad. It is also known as ‘the French Riviera of the East’. The union territory has a French influence as it was ruled by the French for a long time. The French infrastructure and the French colonies are the major attractions here. The ancient structures, monuments, beaches, gardens and museums are the places of interest for the people visiting this union territory.
The ‘Land of Five Rivers’, Punjab is located in the Northwest region of India. Punjab clearly demarcates India from Pakistan. The state is popular throughout the world for its rich and colourful culture. Punjabis are known for their flamboyant and rich lifestyle. The dances, festivals, folktales and celebrations of the state are famous worldwide. Besides religious festivals, Punjab also celebrates harvest festivals like Baisakhi and Lohri with equal zeal and fervour. The tourism in the state revolves around the historical places, battle sites and pilgrim destinations. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is one of the most visited places by the tourists from all over the world.
The largest state of India in terms of area, Rajasthan is also known as the ‘Land of Kings’. It is bordered by several other states – Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The culture of the state is very rich and artistic. The dances of the state like Ghoomar and Kalbeliya are internationally recognised. The religious festivals celebrated in the state are Diwali, Holi, Teej, Gangaur, Makar Sankranti. The royality and the richness of Rajasthan attract large number of tourists every year. The palaces, forts, temples and the Thar Desert are the most fascinating places of interest in the state.
Sikkim is a state situated in the Northeastern region of India and is the least populated state in the country. Sikkim touches borders with three neighbouring countries – China, Bhutan and Nepal. Its culture is a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism and many Buddhists festivals like Losoong, Tseshi, Lhabsol, Dasain, etc. are widely celebrated in every part of the state. The people of Sikkim enjoy music and dance during celebration times and are also very fond of sports like football and cricket. The state is a heaven for tourists and nature lovers. It is blessed with gifts from Mother Nature and the serenity of the place draw large number of visitors. National Parks, museums, temples and shrines also attract tourists in the state.
Tamil Nadu is located in the Southern most region of India and is surrounded by other states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry and Karnataka. Tamilians are very fond of dance, music and literature. Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music has grown here since ages. Major festivals celebrated in the state are Diwali, Dussehra, Pongal, Karthika and many more. Thyagaraja festival, a unique festival of Carnatic music is also celebrated during the month of January. Tamil Nadu has one of the largest tourism industries in the country. The Hindu temples, beaches, hills and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are the tourists’ delights.
The 29th state of India, Telangana came into being on 2 June 2014. Earlier it was a part of Andhra Pradesh and now is bordered by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The culture of the state is inspired from Persians, Mughals and Nizams. Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Bakra-Eid are some of the religious festivals celebrated in the state. There are also some state festivals like Bataukamma festival and Lashkar Bonalu which are also celebrated in Telangana. Monuments, temples and water falls are the major tourist attractions in the state.
Tripura is one of the seven sister states of India and shares its borders with Bangladesh, Mizoram and Assam. The Sanskrit meaning of Tripura is ‘three cities’. There are many ethnic groups in the state such as Tripuri, Garo, Munda, Oran and many more. The bamboo and cane handicrafts in the state are very popular. Music and dance are also an important part of the culture of the state; people have their own set of songs and dances which they perform during different occasions. Jhum dance, lebnag dance, mamita dance are some of the popular dance forms of the state. Palaces, temples and wildlife sanctuaries draw maximum tourists to the state.
Uttar Pradesh is literally known as ‘Northern Province’ and is located in Northern India. It shares its borders with many other states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttarakhand and many more. The culture of the state has roots in its art, literature, history and traditions. The main festivals celebrated in the state are Diwali, Dussehra, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid, Buddha Jayanti and many more. The Kumbh mela organised in the state is visited by large numbers of tourists from across the country. Taj Mahal in Agra which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World attracts tourists from all over the world. Forts, monuments, pilgrims, Uttar Pradesh has a lot to offer to the tourists.
Uttarakhand, also known as ‘Devbhumi’ (Land of Gods), is a state located in Northern India. The society of the state is a heterogeneous mix of different ethnic group from Garhwal and Kumaon regions. Music is an important element of the culture of the state and people sing folk songs during the time of celebrations and festivities. The state festivals celebrated here are Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, Nanda Devi Mela Phool Dei and many others. Uttarakhand offers immense options for tourism to the visitors – hill stations, pilgrimages, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Located in the Northeastern part of the country, West Bengal is surrounded by three different countries – Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and the states of India like Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, Assam and Bihar. There are many tribal communities in the state like Bhutias, Lepchas, Santals and Oraons. Gombhira and Bhawaiya are the forms of folk music in the state. Durga Puja is the most famous festival of the state and Saraswati Puja, Laxmi Puja, Poila Baisakhi, etc. are some other festivals celebrated in West Bengal. The hill stations like Darjeeling and Siliguri attracts tourists to the state. Ayodhya Hill, Cooch Behar Palace, Indian Botanical Garden and Sunderbans National Park are some of the places of interest in Bengal.