Monday, March 11, 2013

A really REALLY belated Savvy Saturday!

Okay, I swear I meant to do this on Saturday. SORRY! I got distracted by this ginormous (this is a word right?) math test I had coming up. I actually think it went pretty well, although I don't think that anyone else did. But then again, most of them spent their spring break weekend having fun and going to the movies. I, on the other hand, stayed home and crammed vertical asymptotes into my brain.

But enough of algebra. On to Savvy Saturday!

In honor of Vanessa, who is in India right now, I thought we should learn about the country she is visiting (this way she can tell me all the stuff I got wrong when she gets back :P ).

Let's begin with some basic information:

This is India (I really hope this wasn't a surprise to you).

This is India in relation to the rest of the world (I really hope this wasn't news to you either).

India, officially known as Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-largest by population (over 1.2 billion people!). It is the home of historic trade routes and vast empires (East India Trading Company? Tell me you've seen Pirates of the Caribbean...). It was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. 

Its four main religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. These four actually originated in the country, helping to create its diversified culture. 

India, like I said before was annexed under the British East India Company, but gained its independence in 1947 (remember Gandhi?). 

Its economy is the world's tenth-largest. It is the fastest-growing newly industrialized nation. It has the third-largest standing army and ranks seventh in military expenditure among nations. It is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system with 28 states and 7 territories. It's multilingual and multiethnic.

Whew! Now that we're done with the encyclopedia portion let's move on to the fun stuff! Because who doesn't like etymology?!?!

The name India comes from the Persian word for Hindu, Indus. The word Hindu itself stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which the the historical name for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks actually referred to the Indians as Indoi wich means "the people of the Indus". 

The Indus River

Now, I'd love to bore you with the ancient history of India (and believe me, I could), but I don't think you'd stick around if I did. But, if you are feeling curious just go to this link. There's all sorts of fun information in there.

So, instead let's talk about the landmarks!

Taj Mahal - Agra, India
Probably one of the most famous would be the Taj Mahal. Built in the early 1600's it is a cultural landmark that draws over 3 million visitors a year. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. 

Emperor Shah Jahan described the Taj in these words:
"Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator's glory."

Lotus Temple - Delhi, India 
The Lotus Temple has won various awards because of its architectural genius  It was built in 1986 and has become one of the most well-known attractions in Delhi. It's surrounded by acres of gardens. 

The India Gate - New Delhi, India
The India Gate is adorned in the names of the soldiers who died in World War I. Located in the capital of New Delhi, it stands at 42 meters high and is a national monument of India.

Red Fort (Lal Qila) - Delhi, India
The Red Fort was constructed again by Shah Jahan (the man was a genius) after he moved the capital from Agra to Delhi. It is in the shape of an asymmetrical octagon and is located along the Yamuna river.

There's a bunch more here if you want to check them out.

Well, I think that's probably enough for now. I'll let Vanessa expand further (I'm sure she's got some amazing pictures to upload). 

P.S. I know we get readers from India. I know I've messed something up. I'm sorry :/

[Sources: Wikipedia, Mojotravel]

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