Northern India

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The term North India used to have various meanings depending upon the various connotations of the word India. In the pre-1947 context, the term corresponds to the non-peninsular region of the Indian subcontinent, including most parts of the modern states of Pakistan and Bangladesh. More recently , the northern Indian territory corresponds to the non-peninsular region of the Republic of India including the area to the north of the Vindhya mountains, Narmada River and Mahanadi River. The dominant geographic features of northern India are the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas.Though, by definition Northern Indian territory encompasses entire non-peninsular region, Gujarat, Bihar, Jarkhand, West Bengal and seven Sisters are not considered as part of Northern Indian Region. While everybody knows that Northeast region lies between North and East, for Northern India, it is quite different, e.g the so-called Eastern States, West Bengal, Bihar and Jarkhand lie between the North and Northeastern states. Similarly, While the official language Hindi includes 300 dialects, including Bhojpuri, the total number of Hindi speakers would always include all the dialects though listing of the number of speakers of its dialects is listed separately.

States in North India

The socio-cultural boundaries of north India have actually surpassed these traditional boundaries. As a linguistic-cultural and political region, North India consists of twelve Indian states: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh , Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (Bihar and Jharkhand are also considered as parts of East India). The National Capital Territory of Delhi is also a part of northern India. The linguistic-cultural region continues into Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east, although these regions are not included in the modern political definition of North India.

Notable Cities in North India

North India is culturally rich and diverse and is supported by very large cities: apart from the great metropolis of Delhi, the cities of Lucknow, Patna, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Meerut, Dehradun, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Srinagar, Jammu, Bhopal and Indore.

Main Languages spoken in North India

There are numerous languages spoken in northern India; namely, Hindustani (Hindi and Urdu (around 540 million), Punjabi (37 million), Bhojpuri (23 million) and others. These languages are classified by linguists as being Indo-Aryan languages, which are different from Dravidian languages spoken in the southern states.

History & Culture


The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

The defining features of northern India are ethnicity of its people, linguistics and its history. Northern Indians are primarily defined to be of the Indo-Aryan ethnic group which constitute the majority of Indian population (Source: CIA World Factbook) [1]. The Mathura, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Haridwar and Allahabad, the most sacred Hindu religious places are located in Northern and Eastern India.

Arts and Media

North India is also a home to Indian artists, Indian classical musicians and dance masters. Pandit Ravi Shankar is a legendary sitar player, who was born in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in North India and is one of India's greatest classical musicians. Pandit Ravi Shankar has made a major contributions in popularizing Indian classical music in the West especially USA through his association with The Beatles. Well known exponent of Kathak, the great North-Indian Dance form patronised by ancient rulers, Nawabs and common men alike, recipient of Sangeet Natak Academy Award & Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj is a legendary Kathak dancer. He belongs to an illustrious family of dance masters of the Lucknow Gharana. [2] The legendary shehnai player, Ustad Bismillah Khan was one of India's most celebrated classical musicians was born in Bihar, North India. Ustad Bismillah Khan performed in various parts of the world. He performed in Europe, Canada, USA, Japan, Hong Kong and almost every capital city across the world. [3]


Template:Expand-section Main article: Bollywood One of the film industries of India, informally known as Bollywood, located in Mumbai, produces movies in Hindi (or Hindustani) language.


The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, dates back at least 5,000 years. This civilization is partly located in North India and partly in the neighboring country, Pakistan. Though the civilization was located in the North, the scripts identified at the archaeological site was found to be Proto-Dravidian[4]

The languages of Northern India are preponderantly Indo-Aryan, and it is in this region that Sanskrit and the various Prakrits are thought to have first found a home in India. Hindi, a language that is the primary tongue of 30% of the people has an official status in India along with 22 other languages[5]. English enjoys associate status is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication.[6]


The Indo-Gangetic plain covers most of northern India. Shown here is the Hindu holy city of Varanasi situated on the banks of river Ganges.

Northern India lies mainly on continental India and a very small part of it lies on the Indian peninsula. Towards its North are the Himalayas which largely define the boundary between India and China. To its west is the Thar desert and the Aravalli hills. The Vindhya mountains are generally taken to be the southern boundary of northern India. Northern India lies mainly on continental India and a very small part of it lies on the Indian peninsula. Towards its North are the Himalayas which largely define the boundary between India and China. To its west is the Thar desert and the Aravalli hills. The Vindhya mountains are generally taken to be the southern boundary of northern India.

The predominant geographical feature of northern India is the Indo-Gangetic plain which spans the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and supports more than half the regions population. The melting of glaciers in the summer and the monsoon rains ensure that the Ganges and its tributaries are perennial, this along with the fertile alluvial nature of the soil have historically been able to be support increasing populations. Additionally, the plains in Punjab and Harayana support large populations there.

The Thar desert is an arid and semi-arid region that receives very little rain from the monsoons. The state of Madhya Pradesh has large areas under forest cover as do Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh. The Thar desert is an arid and semi-arid region that receives very little rain from the monsoons. The state of Madhya Pradesh has large areas under forest cover as do Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh.[7] The state of Jammu and Kashmir is generally mountainous and only supports a population of around 6 million people.[8]

Flora & Fauna

North Indian original vegetation is predominantly deciduous forest because of its tropical location, of the deciduous trees Sal and Teak are the most important. The Western Himalayan region is abound in Chirpine and other conifers deodar, blue pine, spruce, silver fir, and junipers. The Eastern Himalayan region consists of oaks, laurels, maples, rhododendrons, alder, and birch and dwarf willows. The floral wealth ranges from the Alpine to the temperate thorn, from the coniferous to the evergreen, from scrubs to deciduous forests, from thick tropical jungles to cool temperate woods.

There are around 500 varieties of mammals, 2000 species of birds and 30,000 types of insects and a wide variety of fish, amphibians and reptiles are found in the country. The animal species in North India includes Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Chital, Hog Deer, Porcupine, Wild Pig, Fox and Rhesus Monkeys, highly endangered Caracal, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Langur, Spotted Deer, Indian Gazelle, Sambar (Asiatic stag) and Nilgai (blue bull).

A huge number of snake varieties, lizards, ghariyal and crocodiles account for the reptile count.[9] Snakes include the deadly King cobras to the equally poisonous Kraits. Scorpions and insects are found in plenty in this region. Useful insects include the bees, silkworms and the Lac insect. A huge number of snake varieties, lizards, ghariyal and crocodiles account for the reptile count. Snakes include the deadly King cobras to the equally poisonous Kraits. Scorpions and insects are found in plenty in this region. Useful insects include the bees, silkworms and the Lac insect.

The birds of North India includes the beautiful peacock to the parrots, and thousands of immigrant birds. Common Indian birds are Pheasants, Geese Ducks, Mynahs, Parakeets, Pigeons, Cranes, and Hornbills. Great pied hornbill, Pallas's fishing eagle, Grey-headed fishing eagle, Red-thighed Falconet are some of the endangered birds found in Himalyan region. Other birds found in this region are Tawny Fish Owl, Great Hornbill, Scaly-bellied Woodpecker, Red-breasted Parakeet, Himalayan Swiftlet, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Himalayan Rubythroat. [10] [11]

The most important National Parks and Tiger reserves of North India includes:-

Corbett National Park: It was established in 1936 along the banks of the Ramganga River. It is the India's first National Park, and designated a Project Tiger Reserve in the year 1973. It is cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas and 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.

Kanha National Park: The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel "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.

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 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 one-horned rhinoceros and the wild 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 Northern India.

Political parties from North India

North India had played a very vital role in the formation of Government in India with large number of seats in the lower house of parliament. The major Political parties are Indian National Congress, BJP, Janta Dal, Bhujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party. The Nehru-Gandhi family which has governed India for last few decades after Independence from British rule hails from Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Many Indian Prime Ministers were North Indians including the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, AB Vajpayee, Chandra Shekhar, IK Gujral and present PM Dr Manmohan Singh. [12]

Universities in North India

North India has some universities, colleges and centre of excellence namely, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi University, Benaras Hindu University & Punjab University in Chandigarh. The world renowned Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management, has some of its branches in some cities of North India, specially Ahmadabad, Indore and Kolkata. The world famous ancient University, namely the Nalanda University is located in in the state of Bihar. There has been various plans for revival of this ancient University including a consortium led by Singapore along with China, India and Japan.


The economy of northern India, is predominantly agrarian like other parts of the country; culturally, socially and historically the country has always been defined by its village societies. But with the rapid growth of more than 8% GDP per annum, the economic landscape is changing fast. The highest per capita income states in the Northern India include Punjab, Haryana, H.P, and union territory of Delhi & Chandigarh.[13]

Uttar Pradesh is the second largest economy in India after Maharashtra and most populous State with a population of 170 million people. Uttar Pradesh's gross state domestic product for 2004 is USD 339.5 billion by PPP and USD 80.9 billion by nominal. Uttar Pradesh is the IT hub of Northern India with software exports next to Karanataka. But unlike Southern Indian States it is limited to particular areas only like NOIDA, Greater NOIDA and Ghaziabad etc. Uttar Pradesh have booming electronic industry especially in UP-Delhi-NCR and twin cities of Lucknow and Kanpur. [14]

NOIDA, a city in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India has emerged as an Industrial landscape of the country. It is a part of the National Capital Region (NCR) with most sectors fully developed. Noida offers a pollution free high standard of living and highly supportive industrial environment. Software Technology Park of India, Noida is one of the key centers in India, acting as a key contributor to NCR emerging as an IT destination. It has acted as the nodal center for other software technology parks in north and central India. Noida has become a hub for multinational firms outsourcing IT services. It is fast emerging as a hub for automobile ancillary units. Commercial activities have also risen in the past couple of years due to a sudden growth in malls and multiplexes.[15]

Gurgaon is one of the main hubs of India's manufacturing and services industry.

Ghaziabad is primarily an industrial city situated in Uttar Pradesh. It is a large industrial city well-connected by roads and railways. Recently a number of malls and multiplexes have come up in the city and the roads are being improved by construction and widening of flyovers. These developments have also led to it being featured in Newsweek International as one of the 10 most dynamic cities of the world for 2006. It has industries manufacturing railway coaches, diesel engines, electroplating, bicycles, picture tubes, tapestries, glassware, pottery, vegetable oil, paint and varnish, heavy chains, automobile pistons & rings, steel, chemicals & pharmaceuticals, liquor etc. The new industry sector upcoming in Ghaziabad is of Hi-Tech Plant growth boosters. It is also the home to Advanced Level Telecommunication Training Centre.[16][17]

Kanpur, the largest city in Uttar Pradesh, is an important industrial city for nearly two centuries. Kanpur is an important center for India's leather industry with numerous leading manufacturers, situated in the Jajmau Leather Industrial hub, which is exported worldwide. It is supposed to be the largest Sugar market in entire North India. As of now, the city also owns many leather tanneries, a two wheeler factory owned by LML India, under collaboration with Italy's Piaggio; and over a dozen Defence Ordnance Factories such as Small-Arms Factory, Ordnance Parachute Factory etc. Owing to its industrial importance one of the Reserve Bank of India was established in the city. Major industries includes detergents & chemical manufacturing, food processing, pan masala, tea packaging, textile, leather processing, computer and information technology. Kanpur is home to several most prestigious educational institutions of the country, including one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, Harcourt Butler Technological Institute and GSVM Medical College.

File:Maruti img factory.jpg
An aerial view of Maruti Udyog's Gurgaon facility

Lucknow Capital of Uttar Pradesh is not only a major market in Northern India but is also an emerging hub for producers of goods and services with very promising potential. Being the capital the Government departments, the public sector undertakings are the principal employers of the salaried middle class. Today, Lucknow is a vibrant city that is witnessing an economic boom and is among the top ten fastest growing non-metropolitan cities of India.

Chandigarh is a capital of Punjab is fast becoming one of the most preferred destinations for technology companies, in the country, especially since it boasts of an excellent quality of life, and huge base of Human Resources and proactive policies of the Administration which are conducive to such investment. Chandigarh’s economy is changing in character as the knowledge revolution sweeps the country. There has been a decline in traditional industrial activity in Chandigarh and a rapid increase in activity relating to the services sector. This is an especially evident in the fields of financial services, IT Services, Insurance Services, Hospitality, Health and Education services. [18]

The skyline New Delhi represents strong growth in NCR.

Ludhiana is known as the "Manchester of Punjab" because it is the industrial hub of Punjab. There are 8 large integrated knitwear factories, roughly 6,000 small to medium sized knitwear factories, 10 big hosiery yarn mills and 150 small- to medium-sized worsted and woolen yarns. There are also firms manufacturing bicycles (Avon Bicycles, Hero Cycles Ltd, Eastman Industries Ltd), motorcycle parts, machine tools, sewing machines, generators, diesel engines, tires & tubes, and other consumer goods. The export market in Ludhiana is worth $40 million USD. Ludhiana is becoming a hub of auto parts manufacturing. Ludhiana is also home of communication tycoon and billionaire industrialist Sunil Mittal CEO of Bharti Airtel.[19]

Gurgaon a city in Haryana, is best known as one of India's most prominent outsourcing and offshoring hubs, though the distribution of companies seems heavily skewed towards the non-IT services. The outsourcing boom has led to a rapid growth in employment prospects and local wages, leading to a mushrooming of shopping malls, swank restaurants and entertainment facilities. Demand for such lifestyle options is driven by the demographic shift to a younger, more cosmopolitan, more affluent and better educated population. Gurgaon is also the headquarters of two biggest automobile manufacturers in India, Hero Honda and Maruti Udyog which manufactures India's most selling cars . Moreover, a number of BPO and call centers have come up over the last couple of years. [20]

Jamshedpur in Bihar is home to the first private Iron and Steel company of India, Tata Steel, and is commonly called "Tata" as a result of the company's significant presence. The areas surrounding Jamshedpur are rich in minerals, including iron ore, coal, manganese and lime. Some of these areas are Jamadoba, Noamundi and West Bokaro. It is a modern, industrial city; the main industries being iron and steel, truck manufacturing, tinplate production, cement and other small and medium scale industries revolving around these products. The largest factory is that of Tata Steel, and it is situated almost at the center of the city. Tata steel is the biggest iron and steel producing plant in India, as well as the oldest. Plans have been made for the expansion of Tata Steel's existing plant at Jamshedpur from 5 million tonnes per annum to 10 million tonnes per annum. The steel plant still covers around a fourth of the land area of Jamshedpur. The other major factory in the city is Tata Motors, which manufactures heavy vehicles & construction/earth moving equipment. [21]

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh is important centre for industrial manufacturing in North India. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India, has a unit in Bhopal. It occupies a large area on the eastern side of the city and maintains a suburb named after it. Mandideep is an industrial suburb of Bhopal, it houses a number of plants belonging to some of the reputed companies of India like Procter & Gamble, Fujitsu, Eicher, L&T, HEG and VA Tech Hydro. An North Western suburb of Bhopal, Bairagarh, which was earlier a camp for Sindhi refugees, has developed into market for textiles. Bhopal is also home to the Bhaskar Group which is US $425 Million business conglomerate with strong presence in newspapers, television, entertainment, printing, textiles, fast moving consumer goods, oils, solvents and internet services. [22]

Delhi and its importance to Indian Economy

Historically, Delhi has always been the economic capital of Northern India. In the early 19th century, Delhi started to gain importance in arts and craft, textile and handloom. The period saw an expansion of many small scale industries by the end of the 19th century, Delhi had become the manufacturing hub of Northern India. In recent years, Delhi's service sector has expanded exponentially. The city's large English-speaking skilled labor has attracted many multi-national companies to Delhi. With an estimated net State Domestic Product (SDP) of 83,085 crores (830.85 billion) Indian rupee (INR) (for the year 2004–05), Delhi is an important commercial center in South Asia. Delhi has a per capita income of 53,976 INR which is around 2.5 times the national average. The tertiary sector contributes 70.95% of Delhi's gross SDP followed by secondary and primary sectors with 25.2% and 3.85% contribution respectively. Key service industries include information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism. Many multinational companies have set up their headquarters in Delhi and adjoining cities. In the year 2002, the New Delhi Metro opened, running in the urban area. Keeping pace with globalization, there are many discotheques and dance clubs. Delhi is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Asia. Delhi has a population of more than 15 million people (2005 est.) and a literacy rate of 81.7% . It is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in India after Mumbai and Kolkata.[23]

Comparison of the High Income five states of North India to Southern states

The average per capita income of the four major South Indian States of rs. 25,027 is well above the national average of rs 23,223. [24] However; an analysis was made by Hindu by breaking up India into High Income India (HII) consisting of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, Maharashtra and Punjab; and Low Income India (LII) consisting of Assam, Bihar, J&K, M.P., Orissa, Rajasthan etc. and compared it with South India. The analysis found that, South Indian states, which accounts for 21.7 per cent of India’s population and for 22.5 per cent of its GDP is slightly lower than the HII, which accounts for 27.2 per cent of the population, accounts for 34 per cent of the GDP. Consequently, the per capita industrial output of HII, at Rs.19,240, was well ahead of the South’s Rs.12,547. Not surprisingly, the per capita value addition in industries for HII was Rs.2,748 as opposed to Rs.1,850 for the South. While High Income India grew at 6 per cent for the decade 1993-2003 slightly higher to South India which grew by 5.78 per cent. It should be noted that, Maharashtra and Gujarat are not northern India proper; they are western Indian states - Maharashtra can also be geographically considered a southern Indian state. [24]

An another comaprison done by Business Today in January 2005 and later referred to in Outlookindia in July 2007 said that the average income in South India is more than 50 % higher than in North India. The article comment the comparison this way: The southern four states "earn more, they live well and feel better too"[25]

Notable North Indians

North India has also produced the world renowned Indian entrepreneurs like

  • Lakshmi Narayan Mittal a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist & Managing Director of Arcelor Mittal, largest steel company in the world, was born in Sadulpur village, in Rajasthan. He is the fifth richest person in the world, richest person in UK, and the second richest Indian with a fortune of US $32 billion according to Forbes magazine.[1]
  • K.P. Singh who was born in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh and based in Delhi has a fortune estimated to be about US $21 Billion according to Forbes magazine, his real estate empire called DLF Universal spans all across the NCT of Delhi.[26]
  • Subhash Chandra a billionaire Indian businessman & media tycoon and owner of several private TV channels in India called Zee Telefilms, was born in small village in Hissar, Haryana in North India. [27]
  • Sahara India a company having its roots in Uttar Pradesh is worth US $ 10.87 billion is owned by most influential and powerful businessman from North India known as Subroto Roy with business interest in finance, real estate, civil aviation and media.[28]

Tourist Attractions

The Taj Mahal, located in Agra, Northern India, is voted again in the recent poll as one of the seven wonders of the world. Located in Agra, it is a major tourist attraction along with Varanasi, Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kashmir. The hill station tourist attractions are Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie, Nainital & Mussoorie.[29]

References and bibliography

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