India

Autor: Kamča Nová | 14.9.2010 20:35 | 0 komentářů | Přečteno: 2298 krát

The Facts about the India: 



Full country name: Republic of India 

Area: 3,287,590 sq km (1,229,737 sq mi) 

Population: 1,014,003,817 

Capital city: New Delhi 

People: 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, 
3% other 

Language: Hindi 

Religion: 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2.4% Christian, 2% Sikh, 0.7% sBuddhist, 0.5% Jains, 0.4% other 

Government: Federal Republic 

President Kocheril Raman Narayanan 

India's first major civilisation flourished for a thousand years from around 2500 BC along the Indus River valley. It's great cities were Mohenjodaro and Harappa (now in Pakistan), ruled by priests and bearing the rudiments of Hinduism. 
In 1192 Muslims arrived from the Middle East. Within 20 years the entire Ganges basin was under Muslim control, though Islam failed to penetrate the south. Two great kingdoms developed in what is now Karnataka: the mighty Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, and the fragmented Bahmani Muslim kingdom. 
Mughal emperors marched into the Punjab from Afghanistan, defeated the Sultan of Delhi in 1525, and ushered in another artistic golden age. The Maratha Empire grew during the 17th century and gradually took over more of the Mughals' domain. The Marathas consolidated control of central India until they fell to the last great imperial power, the British. 
The British were not, however, the only European power in India: the Portuguese had controlled Goa since 1510 and the French, Danes and Dutch also had trading posts. By 1803, when the British overwhelmed the Marathas, most of the country was under the control of the British East India Company, which had established its trading post at Surat in Gujarat in 1612. 

Something about the cities in the India: 

Delhi - the capital of India 

Your first impression of Delhi is unlikely to be a good one, particularly if it's also your first impression of India. You'll most likely notice the pollution, the crowds, the smell, the noise and the ceaseless hassles long before you notice the city's charms. But it's worth persevering as the history of this city is fascinating, and it's all around you: the bazaars of Paharganj are a wonderful introduction to India's backpacker trail; the city's monuments are among the most architectuarally striking in the country; and the food here is great. 
It's an excellent base for visiting Agra and the Taj Mahal, and the Rajasthani colour of Jaipur is less than five hours away. If you're heading north to the Himalaya or east to the ghats of Varanasi, you'll probably pass through Delhi. So you might as well grit your teeth, hold your breath and dive on in. 

Another town: 

Mumbai 

Mumbai is the glamour of Bollywood cinema. 

Kolkata 

Some welcome space is provided by the Maidan an enormous open expanse used by Kolkatans for recreation, cricket and football matches, political assemblies, yoga sessions, and grazing flocks. The area is large enough to engulf the massive Fort William, still in use today, although visitors are only allowed inside with special permission (rarely granted). At the southern end of the Maidan stands the huge white-marble Victoria Memorial, fronted by a statue of a frumpy Queen Victoria, which holds an extensive collection of British-Indian historical objects. 




Jaipur 

The most obvious landmark in the old city is the Iswari Minar Swarga Sul (the Minaret Piercing Heaven) which was built to overlook the city, but the most striking sight is the stunning artistry of the five-storey facade of the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds. The palace was built in 1799 to enable ladies of the royal household to watch street life and processions, and is part of the City Palace complex which forms the heart of the old city. 


Udaipur 

The most romantic city in Rajasthan, built around the lovely Lake Pichola, has inevitably been dubbed the 'Venice of the East' 

Taj Mahal 

The trouble with the Taj Mahal is that it has become so overlaid with accumulated meanings as to be almost impossible to see. A billion chocolate-box images and tourist guidebooks order us to "read" the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's marble mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, known as "Taj Bibi," as the World's Greatest Monument to Love. It sits at the top of the West's short list of images of the Exotic (and also Timeless) Orient. 
Nor is this by any means a simple case of the West's appropriation or "colonization" of an Indian masterwork. In the first place, the Taj, which in the mid-19th century had been all but abandoned and had fallen into a severe state of disrepair, would probably not be standing today were it not for the diligent conservationist efforts of the colonial British. In the second place, India is perfectly capable of over merchandising itself. 
When you arrive at the outer walls of the gardens in which the Taj is set, it's as if every hustler and hawker in Agra is waiting for you to make the familiarity-breeds-contempt problem worse, peddling imitation Tajs of every size and price. 
All this breeds a certain amount of shoulder-shrugging disenchantment. Recently, a British friend who was about to make his first trip to India told me that he had decided to leave the Taj off his itinerary because of its overexposure. If I urged him not to, it was because of my own vivid memory of pushing my way for the first time through the jostling crowd, not only of imitation-vendors but also of prescribed readings, past all the myriad hawkers of meaning and interpretation, and into the presence of the thing-in-itself; which utterly overwhelmed me, and made all my notions about its devaluation feel totally and completely redundant. 
I had been skeptical about the visit. One of the legends of the Taj is that the hands of the master masons who built it were cut off by the emperor, so that they could never build anything lovelier. Another is that the mausoleum was constructed in secrecy behind high walls, and a man who tried to sneak a preview was blinded for his interest in architecture. My personal imagined Taj was somewhat tarnished by these cruel tales. 
The building itself left my skepticism in shreds, however. Announcing itself as itself, insisting with absolute force on its sovereign authority, it simply obliterated the million counterfeits of it and glowingly filled, once and forever, the place in the mind previously occupied by its simulacra. 
And this, finally, is why the Taj Mahal must be seen: to remind us that the world is real, that the sound is truer than the echo, the original more forceful than its image in a mirror. The 



beauty of beautiful things is still able, in these image-saturated times, to transcend imitations. And the Taj Mahal is, beyond the power of words to say it, a lovely thing, perhaps the loveliest of things. 



India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity. Nothing in the country is ever quite what you expect, and the only thing to expect is the unexpected which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is a litmus test for many travellers and some visitors are only too happy to get on an aircraft and fly away, but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then India is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth.

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