India is the seventh largest country in the world. The country's official name, India is derived from the Old Persian version of Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the river Indus. The Constitution of India and general usage also recognises Bharat, which is derived from the Sanskrit name of an ancient Hindu king, whose story is to be found in the Mahabharata, as an official name of equal status. A third name, Hindustan, or land of the Hindus in Persian, was used from Mughal times onwards, though its contemporary use is unevenly applied due to domestic disputes over how representative it is as a national signifier.
The Republic of India is a country in South Asia which comprises most of the Indian subcontinent. India has a coastline which stretches for over seven thousand kilometres and shares its borders with Pakistan on the northwest, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the east. On the Indian Ocean, it is also adjacent to the island nations of the Maldives on the southwest, Sri Lanka on the south, and Indonesia on the southeast. India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of over one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. The distance from India's southern tip to its northernmost point is 3214 kms. Its distance from east to west is 2933 kms. It has 7,516 kms of coastline on three bodies of water: the Arabian sea off its western coast, the Indian Ocean to the south and the Bay of Bengal on its eastern side. India is a vast expanse of cultural, traditional and religious diversity. The Indian Subcontinent is separated from the rest of Asia by the Great Himalayan range. Indian subcontinent occupies an area of 3,268,000 sq. km which is roughly a third of the land mass of continental United States. Its geographical features are as diverse, ranging from perpetually snowcapped peaks to torrid deserts, form tropical rainforests to huge fertile plains & from rock escarpments to gentle rolling downs. Occupying most of the Indian subcontinent, India's entire north and northeast states are made up of the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain.
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