India will sideswipe you with its size, clamour and diversity - but if you enjoy delving into convoluted cosmologies and thrive on sensual overload, then it is one of the most intricate and rewarding dramas unfolding on earth, and you'll quickly develop an abiding passion for it.

Nothing in the country is ever quite predictable; the only thing to expect is the unexpected, which comes in many forms and will always want to sit next to you. India is a litmus test for many travellers - some are only too happy to leave, while others stay for a lifetime.

Name: Republic of India

Capital City: New Delhi

Area: 3,287,590 sq km (1,269,338 sq miles)

Population: 1,000,000,000

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +5.5

Religion: 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2.4% Christian, 2% Sikh, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.5% Jains, 0.4% other

Currency: Indian Rupee (Rs)

Electricity: 240V 50HzHz

Country Dialing Code: 91

Click for New Delhi, India Forecast