North India, also called Northern India, is a geographical and broad cultural region comprising the northern part of India (or historically, the Indian subcontinent) wherein Indo-Aryans form the prominent majority population. It extends from the Himalayan mountain range in the north to the Indo-Gangetic plains, the Thar Desert, the Central Highlands and the northwestern part of the Deccan plateau. It occupies nearly three-quarters of the area and population of India and includes all of the three mega cities of India: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. In a more specific and administrative sense, North India can also be used to denote the Indo-Gangetic Plain within this broader expanse, stretching from the Ganga-Yamuna Doab to the Thar Desert.[2]

North India
Northern India
Extent of North India in its broader sense
Country India
Union territories
Most populous cities (2011)
 • Total2,389,300 km2 (922,500 sq mi)
 • Total912,030,836
 • Density380/km2 (990/sq mi)
DemonymsNorth Indian
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
Common languages
Official languages

Several major rivers flow through the region including the Indus, the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Narmada rivers. North India includes the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal and union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.[1] In its narrower administrative sense, the term has varying implications (see below) with different states included being Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.[16][17][18]

Indo-Aryans, who today form a majority in North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, migrated from Central Asia into this region between 2000 BC and 1500 BC after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilisation. There was a slow migration of Indo-Iranian peoples through the northwest leading to the development of the Indo-Aryan languages from Proto-Indo-Iranian and minor vocal synthesis with the Dravidian languages. North India was the historical centre of the ancient Vedic culture, the Mahajanapadas, and Magadha Empire, the medieval Delhi Sultanate and the modern Mughal India and the Indian Empire, among many others.

It has a diverse culture, and includes the Hindu pilgrimage centres of Char Dham, Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Prayagraj, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar, the Buddhist pilgrimage centres of Sarnath and Kushinagar, the Sikh Golden Temple as well as world heritage sites such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Khajuraho temples, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar (Jaipur), Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal. North India's culture developed as a result of interaction between these Hindu and Muslim religious traditions.[19]

Northern Region/Zone

States under Northern Zonal Council in orange
Various states often included in Northern Zone/Region

The terms "North Zone", "North Region" or "Northern Cultural Zone" are used by various ministries of the Government of India to refer to the northernmost of the four or six administrative divisions of the country. These terms are distinct from "North India", which is a geo-cultural region denoting a much larger expanse.

Government of India definitions


The Northern Zonal Council is one of the advisory councils, created in 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act to foster interstate co-operation under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which included the states of Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Punjab and Rajasthan.[16][17]

The Ministry of Culture established the North Culture Zone in Patiala, Punjab on 23 March 1985. It differs from the North Zonal Council in its inclusion of Uttarakhand and the omission of Delhi.[20]

The Geological Survey of India (part of the Ministry of Mines) in its Northern Region, included Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, but excluded Rajasthan and Chandigarh, with a regional headquarters in Lucknow.[18]

Colloquial definitions of Northern Region/Zone


Indian press definition


The Hindu newspaper puts Bihar, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh related articles on its North pages.[3] Articles in the Indian press have included the states of Bihar,[4] Gujarat,[7][6] Jharkhand,[10] Madhya Pradesh,[5] and West Bengal[8][9] in North as well.

Latitude-based definition


The Tropic of Cancer, which divides the temperate zone from the tropical zone in the Northern Hemisphere, runs through India, and could theoretically be regarded as a geographical dividing line in the country.[21] Indian states that are entirely above the Tropic of Cancer are Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and most of North East Indian states. However that definition would also include major parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal and minor regions of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.

Anecdotal usage


In Maharashtra, the term "North Indian" is sometimes used to describe migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, often using the term bhaiya (which literally means 'elder brother') along with it in a derogatory sense.[22][23] However within Uttar Pradesh (literally meaning "North Province" in Hindi) itself, "the cultural divide between the east and the west is considerable, with the purabiyas (easterners) often being clubbed with Biharis in the perception of the westerners."[24][25] The Government of Bihar official site places the state in the eastern part of India.[26] Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are largely considered as being a part of north India, however.[27][23][28]



Ancient Era

Manuscript illustration, c. 1650, of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, composed in story-telling fashion c. 400 BC – c. 300 BC[29]

By 55,000 years ago, the first modern humans, or Homo sapiens, had arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa, where they had earlier evolved.[30][31][32] The earliest known modern human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.[30] After 6500 BC, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, and storage of agricultural surplus appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in Balochistan, Pakistan.[33] These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[34][33] the first urban culture in South Asia,[35] which flourished during 2500–1900 BC north-western Indian subcontinent.[36] Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[35]

Vedic Era


Between 2000 BC and 1500 BC, several waves of Indo-Aryan migrations from Central Asia occurred and these migrants settled in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism,[37] were composed during this period,[38] and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[39] During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones.[39] The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests (Brahmins), warriors Kshatriyas, and commoners and peasants (Vaishyas and Shudras), and but which excluded certain peoples whose occupations were considered impure, arose during this period.[40] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[39]

In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.[41][42] The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.[43] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.[44][45][46] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,[47] and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the Kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states and evolved into the Magadha Empire under the House of Maurya.[48] The Magadhan Mauryan emperors are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[49][50]

In North India, by the 4th and 5th centuries, the House of Gupta of Magadha had created a complex system of administration and taxation in the greater Ganges Plain; this system became a model for later Indian kingdoms.[51][52] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion, rather than the management of ritual, began to assert itself.[53] This renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.[52] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[52]

Medieval Era

Brihadeshwara temple, Thanjavur, completed in 1010 CE
The Qutub Minar, 73 m (240 ft) tall, completed by the Sultan of Delhi, Iltutmish

The Indian early medieval age, from 600 to 1200 AD, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.[54] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[55] When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[55] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond their core region.[54] During this time, pastoral peoples, whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy, were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.[56] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[56]

In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.[57] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[57] Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.[58] Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.[58] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.[59] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.[59]

After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains. A general Qutub-ud-din Aibak declared his independence and established the Sultanate of Delhi in 1206.[60] The sultanate was to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs.[61][62] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.[63][64] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[65]

Early modern era


In the early 16th century, northern India, then under mainly Muslim rulers,[66] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.[67] A Turco-Mongol emir, Zahir-ud-din Mohammad "Babur", after defeating the Delhi Sultanate, upgraded himself from Emir and proclaimed himself as the Padishah of Hindustan. His successors were called Mughals or Moguls by European historians owing to the dynasty's Mongol origins. They did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule. Instead, it balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices[68][69] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[70] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[71] Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.[70] The State's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture[72] and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,[73] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.[71] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[71] resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[74] Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.[75] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[75] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.[76]

A distant view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort
A two mohur Company gold coin, issued in 1835, the obverse inscribed "William IV, King"

By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[77][78] The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly assert its military strength and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain powerful influence over the Bengal province in 1757 and sideline the other European companies.[79][77][80][81] Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[82] India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying Britain with raw materials. By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British Parliament and having effectively been made an arm of British administration, the East India Company began more consciously to enter non-economic arenas, including education, social reform, and culture.[83]

In 1833, the three presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras were unified into a unitary state, headed by the Governor-General of India and the creation of the Government of India.

Modern India


Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of India set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.[84][85][86][87] However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.[88][89] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and the direct administration of British territories in India by the British Crown. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[90][91] In 1861, a supreme legislature for India was estabilished — the Imperial Legislative Council of India. Further reforms also created a unified bank — the Imperial Bank of India, a police force — the Indian Imperial Police and a unified army — the Imperial Indian Army. In 1876, the Crown-ruled India and the numerous Indian states under the Crown's suzerainty formed a loose political union called the Indian Empire, and Queen Victoria was crowned the Empress of India in 1877. In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[92][93][94][95]

The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks, and many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.[96] There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,[97] and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.[98] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.[99] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[100] notably reduced the cost of moving goods,[100] and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.[99]

Political Divisions of the Indian Empire in 1909
Jawaharlal Nehru sharing a light moment with Mahatma Gandhi, Mumbai, 6 July 1946

After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served in the Indian Army,[101] a new period began. It was marked by the enactment of the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms as the Government of India Act 1919 but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mahatma Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.[102] During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[103] The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.[104]

Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic.[105] Per the London Declaration, India retained its membership of the Commonwealth, becoming the first republic within it.[106] Economic liberalisation, which began in the 1980s and the collaboration with Soviet Union for technical know-how,[107] has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,[108] and increased its geopolitical clout. Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;[109] by religious and caste-related violence;[110] by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;[111] and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India.[112] It has unresolved territorial disputes with China[113] and with Pakistan.[113] India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.[114]


Sunset on the sand dunes at Thar desert located in North Indian state of Rajasthan

North India lies mainly on continental India, north of peninsular India.[citation needed] Towards its north are the Himalayas which define the boundary between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. To its west is the Thar desert, shared between North India and Pakistan and the Aravalli Range, beyond which lies the state of Gujarat. The Vindhya mountains are, in some interpretations, taken to be the southern boundary of North India.

The predominant geographical features of North India are:

  • the Indo-Gangetic plain, which spans the states and union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
  • the Himalayas and sub-Himalayan belt, which lie in the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal;
  • the Thar desert, which lies mainly in the state of Rajasthan.

The states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir also have a large forest coverage.[115]

General climate

India's Köppen climate classification map[116] is based on native vegetation, temperature, precipitation and their seasonality.(Major categories)

North India lies mainly in the north temperate zone of the Earth.[117] Though cool or cold winters, hot summers and moderate monsoons are the general pattern. North India is one of the most climatically diverse regions on Earth. During summer, the temperature often rises above 35 °C across much of the Indo-Gangetic plain, reaching as high as 50 °C in the Thar desert, Rajasthan and up to 49 in Delhi. During winter, the lowest temperature on the plains dips to below 5 °C, and below the freezing point in some states. Heavy to moderate snowfall occurs in Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, J&K and Uttarakhand. Much of North India is notorious for heavy fog during winters.

Extreme temperatures among inhabited regions have ranged from −45 °C (−49 °F) in Dras, Ladakh[118] to 50.6 °C (123 °F) in Alwar, Rajasthan. Dras is claimed to be the second-coldest inhabited place on the planet (after Siberia), with a recorded low of −60 °C.[119][120][121]



The region receives heavy rain in plains and light snow on Himalayas precipitation through two primary weather patterns: the Indian Monsoon and the Western Disturbances. The Monsoon carries moisture northwards from the Indian Ocean, occurs in late summer and is important to the Kharif or autumn harvest.[122][123] Western Disturbances, on the other hand, are an extratropical weather phenomenon that carry moisture eastwards from the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.[124][125][126][127] They primarily occur during the winter season and are critically important for the Rabi or spring harvest, which includes the main staple over much of North India, wheat.[125] The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand receive some snowfall in winter months.

Traditional seasons


Northern Indian tradition recognises six distinct seasons in the region: summer (grishma or garmi(jyesth- ashadh), May–June), rainy (varsha (shravan-bhadra), July–August), cool (sharad (ashivan-kartik), September–October, sometimes thought of as 'early autumn'), autumn (hemant(margh-paush), November–December, also called patjhar, lit. leaf-fall), winter (shishir or sardi(magh-phagun),January–February) and spring (vasant(chaitra-baishakh), March–April). The literature, poetry and folklore of the region uses references to these six seasons quite extensively and has done so since ancient times when Sanskrit was prevalent.[128][129][130] In the mountainous areas, sometimes the winter is further divided into "big winter" (e.g. Kashmiri chillai kalaan) and "little winter" (chillai khurd).[131]



The people of North India mostly belong to the Indo-Aryan ethno linguistic branch,[citation needed] and include various social groups such as Brahmins, Kshatriyas (also known as Rajputs), Kayasthas, Banias, Jats, Rors, Gurjars, Kolis, Yadavs, Khatris and Kambojs.[132][133][134] Other minority aboriginal ethnic communities such as Dravidians and Austroasiatics exist throughout the region.



Hinduism is the dominant religion in North India. Other religions practiced by various ethnic communities include Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Baháʼí, Christianity, and Buddhism. Hindus constitutes more than 80 percent of the North India's population. National capital of India (New Delhi) is overwhelming Hindu-majority with Hindus constituting nearly 90% of the capital city's population. The states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are overwhelmingly Hindu-majority. Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are also Hindu majority states, but have a large Muslim minority (12% in Maharashtra, 14% In Uttarakhand, 18% in Bihar, 19% in Uttar Pradesh and 27% in West Bengal). Jharkhand is also a Hindu majority state but has a large aboriginal minority. The union territories of Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority territories while Ladakh has a Muslim plurality with minority Hindus and Buddhists. The state of Punjab has a Sikh majority of 60% and is the homeland of Sikh religion.


Distribution of Indo-Aryan languages.

Linguistically, North India is dominated by Indo-Aryan languages. It is in this region, or its proximity, that Sanskrit and the various Prakrits are thought to have evolved.[citation needed] Hindi is spoken in Western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and by a large number of people in many urban centres across North India. Many other languages of the Central Indo-Aryan languages such as Awadhi, Braj, Haryanvi, Chhattisgarhi, Bundeli and Bagheli are spoken in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Marwari, Harauti, Malvi, Gujarati, Khandeshi, Marathi and Konkani are spoken in Rajasthan, extreme eastern Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. Towards the far north, languages of Dardic (such as Kashmiri) and Pahari (such as Dogri, Kumaoni and Garhwali) groups are spoken in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand. Punjabi is spoken in Punjab. Bengali is spoken in West Bengal. Languages of Bihari group, such as Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri are spoken in Bihar and Jharkhand.[citation needed]

A number of aboriginal languages of Austroasiatic and Dravidian origin are spoken in some regions.[135] Several Sino-Tibetan languages are spoken in the Himalayan region like Kinnauri,[135] Ladakhi, Balti, and Lahuli–Spiti languages.


North Indian Hindu bride in Lehenga

The composite culture of North India is known as Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, a result of the amicable interaction of Hindus and Muslims there.[19]



Dance of North India too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, Ghoomar of Rajasthan, Nati of Himachal Pradesh and rouf and bhand pather of Kashmir. Main dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama such as Kathak.[136]



Each state of North India has its own regional forms of clothing:

  1. Uttar Pradesh: Chikan Suit, Pathani Salwar, Kurta Paijama, Lehenga, Gharara, Sari .
  2. Jammu: Kurta/Dogri suthan and kurta/churidar pajama and kurta.
  3. Kashmir: Phiran and poots.
  4. Himachal Pradesh: Shalwar kameez, Kurta, Churidar, Dhoti, Himachali cap and angarkha.
  5. Punjab/Haryana: Salwar (Punjabi) Suit, Patiala salwar, Punjabi Tamba and Kurta, Sikh Dastar, Phulkari, Punjabi Ghagra
  6. Uttarakhand: Rangwali Phichora

Flora and fauna

Chinkara in Madhya Pradesh, India
Goat at Great Himalayan national Park in Himachal Pradesh

North Indian vegetation is predominantly Tropical evergreen and Montane . Of the evergreen trees sal, teak, Mahogany, sheesham (Indian rosewood) and poplar are some which are important commercially.[137] The Western Himalayan region abounds in chir, pine, deodar (Himalayan cedar), blue pine, spruce, various firs, birch and junipers.[138][139][140][141] The birch, especially, has historical significance in Indian culture due to the extensive use of birch paper (Sanskrit: bhurja patra) as parchment for many ancient Indian texts.[142][143] The Eastern Himalayan region consists of oaks, laurels, maples, rhododendrons, alder, birch and dwarf willows. Reflecting the diverse climatic zones and terrain contained in the region, the floral variety is extensive and ranges from Alpine to Cloud forests, coniferous to evergreen, and thick tropical rainforests to cool temperate woods.[138][144]

There are around 500 varieties of mammals, 2000 species of birds, 30,000 types of insects and a wide variety of fish, amphibians and reptiles in the region. Animal species in North India include elephant, bengal tiger, indian leopard, snow leopard, sambar (Asiatic stag), chital (spotted deer), hangul (red deer), hog deer, chinkara (Indian gazelle), blackbuck, nilgai (blue bull antelope), porcupine, wild boar, Indian fox, Tibetan sand fox, rhesus monkey, langur, jungle cat, striped hyena, golden jackal, black bear, Himalayan brown bear, sloth bear, and the endangered caracal.

Reptiles are represented by a large number of snake and lizard species, as well as the ghariyal and crocodiles.[145] Venomous snakes found in the region include king cobra and krait. Various scorpion, spider and insect species include the commercially useful honeybees, silkworms and lac insects. The strikingly coloured bir bahuti is also found in this region.[146]

The region has a wide variety of birds, including peafowl, parrots, and thousands of immigrant birds, such as the Siberian crane. Other birds include pheasants, geese, ducks, mynahs, parakeets, pigeons, cranes (including the celebrated sarus crane), and hornbills. great pied hornbill, Pallas's fishing eagle, grey-headed fishing eagle, red-thighed falconet are found in the Himalayan areas. Other birds found here are tawny fish owl, scale-bellied woodpecker, red-breasted parakeet, Himalayan swiftlet, stork-billed kingfisher and Himalayan or white-tailed rubythroat.[147][148]

Wildlife parks and reserves


Important national parks and tiger reserves of North India include:

Jim Corbett National Park
Sunrise in Kishtwar National Park, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Corbett National Park: It was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park[149] along the banks of the Ramganga River. It is India's first National Park, and was designated a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973. Situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand, the park acts as a protected area for the critically endangered Bengal tiger of India. Cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas, it comprises a total area of 500 km2 out of which 350 km2 is core reserve. This park is known not only for its rich and varied wildlife but also for its scenic beauty.

Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park: Located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand, these two national parks constitute a biosphere reserve that is in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004. The Valley of Flowers is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora, this richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals.

Dachigam National Park: Dachigam is a higher altitude national reserve in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that ranges from 5,500 to 14,000 feet above sea level. It is home to the hangul (a red deer species, also called the Kashmir stag).

Great Himalayan National Park: This park is located in Himachal Pradesh and ranges in altitude from 5,000 to 17,500 feet. Wildlife resident here includes the snow leopard, the Himalayan brown bear and the musk deer.

Desert National Park: Located in Rajasthan, this national reserve features extensive sand dunes and dry salt lakes. Wildlife unique to the region includes the desert fox and the great Indian bustard.

Kanha National Park: The sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha were the setting for Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories, "The Jungle Book". The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger.

Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary: Located in the state of Bihar, it is the only protected zone for the endangered Ganges and Indus river dolphin.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: It is one of the finest bird parks in the world, it is a reserve that offers protection to faunal species as well. Nesting indigenous water birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by sambar, chital, nilgai and boar.

Dudhwa National Park: It covers an area of 500 km2 along the Indo-Nepal border in Lakhimpur Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh, is best known for the barasingha or swamp deer. The grasslands and woodlands of this park, consist mainly of sal forests. The barasingha is found in the southwest and southeast regions of the park. Among the big cats, tigers abound at Dudhwa. There are also a few leopards. The other animals found in large numbers, are the Indian rhinoceros, elephant, jungle cats, leopard cats, fishing cats, jackals, civets, sloth bears, sambar, otters, crocodiles and chital.

Ranthambhore National Park: It spans an area of 400 km2 with an estimated head count of thirty two tigers is perhaps India's finest example of Project Tiger, a conservation effort started by the government in an attempt to save the dwindling number of tigers in India. Situated near the small town of Sawai Madhopur it boasts of variety of plant and animal species of North India.

Kalesar National Park: Kalesar is a sal forest in the Shivalik Hills of eastern Haryana state. Primarily known for birds, it also contains a small number of tigers and panthers.

Places of interest

Akshardham Temple, Delhi



The Indian Himalayas, the Thar desert and the Indo-Gangetic plain dominate the natural scenery of North India. The region encompasses several of the most highly regarded hill destinations of India such as Srinagar, Shimla, Manali, Nainital, Mussoorie, Kausani and Mount Abu. Several spots in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh provide panoramic views of the snow-clad Himalayan range. The Himalayan region also provides ample opportunity for adventure sports such as mountaineering, trekking, river rafting and skiing. Camel or jeep safaris of the Thar desert are also popular in the state of Rajasthan. North India includes several national parks such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Jim Corbett National Park, Keoladeo National Park Ranthambore National Park, Sundarbans National Park and the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary.



North India encompasses several of the holiest pilgrimage centres of Hinduism (Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahabad, Char Dham, Vaishno Devi, Rishikesh, Ayodhya, Mathura/Vrindavan, Pushkar, Prayag and seven of the twelve Jyotirlinga sites), the most sacred destinations of Buddhism (Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar), the most regarded pilgrimage centres of Sikhism (Amritsar and Hemkund) and some of the highly regarded destinations in Sufi Islam (Ajmer and Delhi). The largest Hindu temple, Akshardham Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in India, Mahabodhi, the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid, and the largest Sikh shrine, Golden Temple, are all in this region.[150][151]


The Taj Mahal at Agra
Amer Fort in Rajasthan

North India includes some highly regarded historical, architectural and archaeological treasures of India. The Taj Mahal, an immense mausoleum of white marble in Agra, is one of the universally admired buildings of world heritage.[152] Besides Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Delhi also carry some great exhibits from the Mughal architecture. In Punjab, Patiala is known for being the city of royalty while Amritsar is a city known for its Sikh architecture and the Golden Temple. Lucknow has the famous Awadhi Nawab culture while Kanpur reflects excellent Anglo-Indian architecture with monuments like All Souls Cathedral, King Edward Memorial, Police Quarters, Cawnpore Woollen Mills, Cutchery Cemetery etc. Khajuraho temples constitute another famous world heritage site. The state of Rajasthan is known for exquisite palaces and forts of the Rajput clans. Historical sites and architecture from the ancient and medieval Hindu and Buddhist periods of Indian history, such as Jageshwar, Deogarh and Sanchi, as well as sites from the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisation, such as Manda and Alamgirpur, can be found scattered throughout northern India. Varanasi, on the banks of the River Ganga, is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the second oldest in India after Nalanda. Bhimbetka is an archaeological site of the Paleolithic era, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent.



North India has several universities, including

The Indian Institute of Technology, National Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management have campuses in several cities of North India such as Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur, Allahabad, Amritsar, Jammu, Kanpur, Jalandhar, Roorkee, Ropar, Rohtak, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kashipur, Patna, Dhanbad, Bhubaneswar, Bhillai and Goa, Surat, Nagpur, Jamshedpur, Durgapur and Rourkela. National Institute of Fashion Technology has campuses in several cities of North India such as Delhi, Kangra district, Raebareli and Srinagar. One of the first great universities in recorded history, the Nalanda University, is in the state of Bihar. There has been plans for revival of this ancient university, including an effort by a multinational consortium led by Singapore, China, India and Japan.



The economy of North India varies from agrarian in the northern plains to very industrialised in Maharashtra, the National Capital Region and West Bengal. Northwest Indian plains have prospered as a consequence of the Green Revolution in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and have experienced both economic and social development.[153][154][155] The eastern areas of East Uttar Pradesh, however, have lagged[156][157] and the resulting disparity has contributed to a demand for separate statehood in West Uttar Pradesh (the Harit Pradesh movement).[158][159]

The major industrial regions in North India are the Gurugram-Delhi-Merut Belt (NCT), Mumbai-Pune Belt (Maharashtra), Kolkata-Hoogly Belt (West Bengal), Ahmedabad-Vadodara Belt (Gujarat), and Chhota Nagpur plateau region (Jharkhand). North India has the state with highest GDP per capita in the Indian Union was Goa in 2021. Other North Indian states which follow are Haryana and Gujarat. North India also has the state with the highest GDP in India which is Maharashtra.[160] Chandigarh has the highest per-capita State Domestic Product (SDP) of any Indian union territory.[161] The National Capital Region of Delhi has emerged as an economic power house with rapid industrial growth.

According to a 2009–10 report, a large number of unskilled and skilled workers have moved to southern India and other nations because of the unavailability of jobs locally.[162] The technology boom that occurred in the past three decades in southern India has helped many Indians from the northern region to find jobs and live prosperous lives in southern cities. An analysis by Multidimensional Poverty Index creators reveals that acute poverty prevails in eight Indian states including the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.[163]



The best-known[164] North-Indian food items are:

See also





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