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SikkimOne of the earliest civilizations, the Indus Valley civilization flourished on the Indian subcontinent from c. 2600 B.C. to c. 2000 B.C. It is generally accepted that the Aryans entered India c. 1500 B.C. from the northwest, finding a land that was already home to an advanced civilization. They introduced Sanskrit and the Vedic religion, a forerunner of Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th century B.C. and was spread throughout northern India, most notably by one of the great ancient kings of the Maury an dynasty, Asoka (c. 269–232 B.C.), who also unified most of the Indian subcontinent for the first time.

In 1984, Gandhi ordered the Indian army to root out a band of Sikh holy men and gunmen who were using the most sacred shrine of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, as a base for terrorist raids in a violent campaign for greater political autonomy in the strategic Punjab border state..
On Oct. 31, 1984, India Gandhi was assassinated by two men identified by police as Sikh members of her bodyguard. The ruling Congress Party chose her older son, Rajiv Gandhi, to succeed her as prime minister for four years. While running for reelection, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 22, 1991, by Tamil militants who objected to India's mediation of the civil war in Sri Lanka.
The ruling Congress Party lost the parliamentary elections of May 1996, and its waning resulted in a period of political instability. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) then became the dominant force in politics, with Atal Bihar Vajpayee as prime minister.

In May 1998, India set off five nuclear tests, surprising the international community, which widely condemned India's prone clear stance. Despite international urging for restraint, Pakistan responded by conducting several nuclear tests of its own two weeks later. India has resisted signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for nuclear weapons and has been slapped with sanctions by the U.S. and other countries.

The Indian Air Force launched air strikes on May 26, 1999, and later sent in ground troops against Islamic guerrilla forces in Kashmir. India blamed Pakistan for orchestrating violence in Kashmir by sending soldiers and mercenaries across the so-called Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. In Aug. 1999, Pakistan was forced to withdraw, but fighting continued sporadically during the coming year.
In Oct. 2001, violence again broke out in the region when a suicide bombing by a Pakistan-based militant organization killed 38 in India-controlled Kashmir. Violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus rocked the state of Gujarat in late February and early March 2002 after a Muslim mob fire-bombed a train, killing 58 Hindu activists. Hindus retaliated, and more than 500 people died in the bloodshed.
Hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Kashmir was raised Nov. 2002, when a newly elected coalition government in India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir vowed to reach out to separatists and to improve conditions in the state. But hopes were dashed in March 2003, following the slaughter of 24 Hindus in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

In one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern Indian history, the Indian National Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, prevailed in parliamentary elections in May 2004, prompting Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resign. Although the country prospered economically under Vajpayee's rule, a substantial number of India's poor felt they had not benefitted from India's economic growth. Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, dealt a further shock to the country when she refused to become prime minister. The BJP had vociferously protested Gandhi's expected elevation to prime minister because of her foreign birth. The Congress Party instead chose former finance minister Manmohan Singh, who became India's first Sikh prime minister.

The Culture of India is one of the oldest in the world [1]. India has managed to preserve its established traditions throughout history whilst absorbing customs, traditions and ideas from both invaders and immigrants. Many cultural practices, languages, customs and monuments are examples of this co-mingling over centuries. In modern India, there is remarkable cultural diversity throughout the country. The South, North, and North-East have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. In spite of the diversity, it's bound by a common thread as one civilization perhaps because of its common history. Indian culture and religions had great impact on its immediate neighbours, South East Asia and beyond. Indian influences are still very strong in Thai, Malay, Singaporean, Indonesian, Laotian, Khmer, Burmese, Tibetan, Mongolian cultures and many more. India has been the birth place of many major relegious systems such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Ayyavazhi, Buddhism and Jainism, that are strong and influential not only in India but across the world.