Facts about India

Surface area: 3,287,590 km2

Capital: New Delhi

Population: 1,200 million

Ethnic structure: Indo Aryans 72%, Dravidians 25%, and other groups

Languages: Official languages English and Hindi 30%, others: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmir, Sindhi, and several other languages

Religions: Hinduism 83%, Islam 12%, Christianity 2.3%, Sikhism 1.9%, and others, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Parseeism etc. all together 2.5%

The Indian subcontinent forms a huge cultural sphere and its influence has radiated around almost the whole of Asia. India’s cultural heritage is enormous, and includes archaeological evidence of some 10,000 years, as well a four-thousand-year-old literary tradition. Two Indian religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, as well the sacred language, Sanskrit, cosmology and architectural and other artistic prototypes gradually spread to other parts Asia.

This is also partly true with the theatrical traditions. The grand epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, for example, together with Hinduism, spread to various parts of Asia, where they are still enacted in various styles. The theory and dance-like acting technique of Indian theatre were also adapted and gradually localised in those regions with long-lasting contacts with the Indian subcontinent.