- Population: 1,173,108,018 (July 2010 estimate)
- Capital: New Delhi
- Major Cities: Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai
- Area: 1,269,219 square miles (3,287,263 sq km)
- Bordering Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan
- Coastline: 4,350 miles (7,000 km)
- Highest Point: Kanchenjunga at 28,208 feet (8,598 m)
India is bounded to the southwest by the Arabian Sea, to the southeast by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean
to the south. Kanyakumari constitutes the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, which narrows before ending in the
Indian Ocean. The southernmost part of India is Indira Point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Ganges is the longest river originating in India and forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
Set apart from the rest of Asia by the supreme continental wall of the Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent touches three large bodies of water and is immediately recognizable on any world map. It is the huge, terrestrial beak between Africa and Indonesia. This thick, roughly triangular peninsula defines the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the India Ocean to the south.
West India contains the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh. The west coast extends from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, and it is lined with some of India’s best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush, with rainforests reaching southward from Mumbai (Bombay) all the way to Goa. A long mountain chain, the Western Ghats, separates the verdant coast from the Vindhya Mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland.
Home of the sacred Ganges River and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begin with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last gulp of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border.
India reaches its peninsular tip with south India, which begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), where Hindu believe that bathing in the waters of the three Oceans will wash away their sins. The states in south India and Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala - a tropical paradise of waving palms and sandy beaches. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range---the Eastern Ghats.