India is a country in southern Asia surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is separated from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. India has the second largest population in the world with more than 1 billion people; the country recognizes 18 official languages. India attracts millions of tourists each year.
Known as one of the "Seven Wonders of the World," the Taj Mahal is one of India's biggest tourist attractions and one of the most recognizable structures in the entire world. The Taj Mahal, located in Agra, dates back to 1653. It took two years to build and is known as one of India's greatest architectural achievements. The mausoleum originally created to honor Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, serves as her tomb.
Goa, a state on the western coast of India, is known for its golden sand beaches, lush forests and diverse wildlife. Goa was once a colony of Portugal. The state features Portuguese churches, Hindu temples and many wildlife sanctuaries. Local attractions include the Mangueshi Temple, the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Dudhsagar Falls, a cascading waterfall on the Mandovi River. The Goa Carnival each February is a world-renowned event that features colorful floats, live music and dancing.
The term "Himalaya" means "the Abode of Snow" in Sanskrit. The Indian Himalayas are a famous spot for mountain climbers and hikers throughout the world. The Himalayas offer challenging and breathtaking journeys on some of the highest and most rugged mountains in the world. River rafting and skiing are popular activities amongst tourists. The Himalayas feature a range of climates and vegetation, including blue valleys, trickling streams and lush tropical forests at the foothills and alpine vegetation and snow at the peaks.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is regarded as the holiest location of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak resided and meditated in the temple. In 2005, the temple was renamed Harmandir Sahib. The temple was constructed in the late 1500s. In the early 1800s, Maharaja Ranjit Singh adorned the structure with gold leaf and white marble, which gives the structure its famous intricate and glittery appearance. Sikh pilgrims gather at the temple to worship and bathe in the surrounding waters.
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