Tropical beach of Palolem, Goa, India
West India is particularly urbanised and developed in comparison with the rest of the subcontinent. It has a high population density living within the city centres. Gujarat is one of the better known cities within West India and was once part of the famous Indus Valley Civilisation. From this time, the region was under the leadership of various empires, including Maurya, Gurjar, Rajputs, Satavahanas, Western Satraps and the Indo Greeks, amongst others. As with the rest of India, the British colonialists eventually conquered West India and brought it under the royal rule of the English Queen. When Ghandi and similar activists began their struggle to gain independence for this country, West India experienced major turmoil and changes. Eventually, in 1947, India became an independent country, partly due to the initiatives takes by those supporting and hailing from West India.
Some areas of West India are arid and semi-arid, as opposed to the densely forested areas of the Konkan coast and the shrubs of northern Gujarat. There are several important rivers in the area, including the Narmada and Tapti, which create the border between the northern and southern regions of India. In the more abundant vegetation areas, the climate is generally more subtropical in nature. Generally, summers are hot and winters are temperate to mildly cool. Midday highs do not fluctuate that dramatically from winter to summer. Along the coast and towards the interior, summer days can reach approximately 40 degrees Celsius. Most of West India’s residents are Hindu (approximately 84%), followed by those following Islam (just over 10%) and Buddhism (4%) with Christianity and Jainism being the minorities. Interestingly, there is a small group of Indian Jews who speak Marathi. These are called Bene Israel. Hindi is spoken in most of urban West India.
When the Portuguese explorers and colonialists inhabited Goa, they instituted much of their own architecture, arts and cultures. This influence remains to be seen today. Even the food displays a unique mixture of Indian recipes with Portuguese influences.
Goa and Mumbai are popular destinations, known for the unrivalled parties that take place after dark. Mumbai is also the “Hollywood” of India, the base of the Bollywood craze. As such, it plays an integral role in the fads and celebrities of the locals. The styles born here are emulated across the country and even the world.
West India is the envied destination of many acclaimed chefs and gourmet enthusiasts. Coconut and cashew nuts are used extensively. Chilli is also a popular ingredient, but not all dishes are uniformly spicy. Gujarat displays an almost exclusively vegetarian approach to cooking. Wine and the consumption thereof is prohibited in three Indian states; namely Gujarat, Mizoram and Manipur.
Due to the urbanisation of West India, its standard of living is considerably higher than that of the other regions. Most of the inhabitants are involved in some aspect of the successful agricultural industry. Almost all of the area has access to electricity, which is impressive in a third world country like India. This level of development makes West India a completely novel destination within such a diverse country.
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