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India

India a vast South Asian country ranging from the Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline. Its history goes back to five millennia. The Mughal Empire in the north famous landmarks includes Delhi’s Red Fort complex, the massive Jama Masjid mosque, plus Agra’s majestic Taj Mahal. Millions of Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges in Varanasi every year, and Rishikesh is a yoga centre and base for Himalayan trekking. The Indian subcontinent is known to be the home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE, one of the world's earliest civilizations. In the Millenium that follows, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social caste system emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose.

Early political unification took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires and the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms (such as the Chola empire) influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia. In the medieval era, invaders introduced Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam to India. A new religion Sikhism also emerged, all these new religions (to India) added to the region's diverse culture. Much of the northern part fell to the Delhi sultanate, the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. Indian economy expansion occurred in the 17th century under the Mughal Empire. By the mid-18th century, the Indian subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, under Mahatma Gandhi who was noted for nonviolent (ahimsa) resistance that led to India's independence in 1947.

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