Union, state and territory
India, a union of states, is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government. The President is the constitutional head of Executive of the Union. In the states, the Governor, as the representative of the President, is the head of Executive. The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union. There are 29 states and 7 Union territories in the country. Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him/her. From the largest to the smallest, each State/UT of India has a unique demography, history and culture, dress, festivals, language etc.
The States Reorganization Act formulated in 1956 was a primary force in reorganising the boundaries of Indian states along linguistic lines. Later, as per an amendment in the Indian Constitution the three types of states, known as Part A, states, Part B states, and Part C states, were amended to form a single type of state. Part A states refer to former governors’ provinces of British India. Part B states refer to former princely states and Par C states included both the former chief commissioners’ provinces and some princely states. Though additional changes have occurred in the state boundaries since 1947, the Act is still considered as an undisputed player in providing the present shape and contours to the Indian states. In November 2000, India gained three new states – Chattisgarh carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand from Bihar.
The Constitution distributes legislative powers between the Centre and the State. 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 mesmerize their visitors with their unfolding mysteries and charisma.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Commonly known as the Emerald Isles, the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands situated in the Bay of Bengal are one of the popular tourist destinations in India. This union territory is home to numerous aboriginal tribes. The inhabitants of these islands comprises mainly of two types- the Andamanese and the Negroites The Negritoes are dark-skinned peoples of small stature.
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.
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’, which means that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.Beautiful as it is, the state is home to several popular tourist hubs like Gekar Sinyi (Ganga lake), Bomdila town, Tawang (monastery)
Situated in North-eastern India, Assam abounds in natural beauty. The population of Assam is said to be a mix of people of Tibetan, Aryan, and Burmese origin. The population of Assam is made up of numerous tribes who believe in celebrating all the religious festivals with equal vigour. However the one festival that is most popular in Assam is Bihu. Over the years, Assam has also developed into an important tourist destination with attractions such as Gandhi Mandap, Kamakhya Temple, Uma-nanda temple, Navagraha (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 Chatth Puja (the most famous festival of this State), Shravani Mela, Sonepur Cattle Fair, Makar Sankranti Mela, Buddha jayanti.
The first planned city of post independent India; Chandigarh is a Union Territory and serves as the 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 attraction 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, Tamor Pingla, Bhairamgarh, sitanadi wildlife sanctuaries and Indravati national parks, the Kutumsar, Kailash and Dandak Caves of the state are major attractions.
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 tourists, 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 in the Arabian Sea near Gujarat. It is full of multi-faceted cultural heritage. For the people of Daman, music and dance is a part of everyday life. There are multiple cultures which exist here – urban, European, Indian and tribal. The temples, beaches and churches of the union territory are the major tourist attractions.
Situated along 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 of the state is its long stretch 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 centres of the Indus Valley Civilization. The diversified culture of the state is proven 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 have 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 belong to the Indus Valley Civilization and Vedic Civilizations.
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.
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.
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 South-west India and is bordered by Arabian Sea and Laccadive Sea (Lakshadweep Sea) in the and west and many other states like Goa (NW), Maharashtra (North), Telangana (NE), Andhra Pradesh (E) Tamil Nadu (SE), Kerala (SW),. There are various ethnicities based on language and religion in the state.
Popularly known as “God’s Own Country”, Kerala is a state situated in the South-west of India. It is popular for its spices and rubber production. It is also one of the major producers of fish in India. The culture of the state is cosmopolitan in nature and has distinctive art, lifestyle, architecture, language and literature.
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 practices Islam.
Madhya Pradesh is located in Central India and because of 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 practices Hinduism.
Located in the Western region of the country, Maharashtra is the second most populated state of India. 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 attracts and fascinates many people.
Manipur is a state located in the North-eastern 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.
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 and support large varieties of flora and fauna.
Mizoram is popularly known as the ‘Land of the Highlanders’ and is one of the states in North-east India. Almost 95% of the population of the state comprises of tribal groups. Majority of the population of the state practices Christianity.
Nagaland is one of the ‘seven sisters’ 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.
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 rulers. Delhi is not only the political capital of the country but is also the administrative unit of the Indian Government as the Indian Parliament and many Ministries are present here.
Also known as ‘The Land of Temples’, Odisha is situated on the East coast of India. In ancient times, Odisha became popular because of the bloodiliest battle of Kalinga which was fought under the Maurayan king Ashoka. Dance, music, sculptures and historical monuments highlight the rich tradition and culture of 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.
‘Land of Five Rivers’, Punjab is located in the North-west 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.
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.
Sikkim is a state situated in the North-eastern region of India and is the least populated state of the country. Sikkim touches borders with three neighbouring countries – China, Bhutan and Nepal. Its culture is a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism and many Buddhist festivals like Losoong, Tseshi, Lhabsol, Dasain, etc. are widely celebrated in every part of the state.
Tamil Nadu is located in the Southern most region of India and is surrounded by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry and Karnataka. Tamilians are very fond of dance, music and literature. Bharatnatyam dance form and Carnatic music has grown here since ages.
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.
Tripura is one of the ‘seven sisters’ states of India and shares its borders with Bangladesh, Mizoram and Assam. The Sanskrit name is linked to ‘Tripur Sundri” the presiding deity of Tripura. There are many ethnic groups in the state such as Tripuri, Garo, Munda, Oran and as many as 14 more.
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.
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 groups 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.
Located in the North Eastern part of the country, West Bengal is surrounded by three different countries – Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and states of India – Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, Assam and Bihar. Bhutias, Lepchas, Santals and Oraons are some of the tribal communities residing here.