India is a mystical land that presents the traveller with a bamboozling array of unforgettable experiences. Hinduism, the prominent religion, is intimately woven into the fabric of everyday life, reflected in an extraordinary range of time-honoured traditions. Apart from its ancient spiritual framework, India's vastness also challenges the imagination, being home to one sixth of the world's population.
Its intoxicatingly rich history can be traced back to at least 2500BC when the first known civilisation settled along the Indus River. There was an influx of Mughals in the 1520s from Central Asia, who maintained effective control of the north until the mid-18th century. At the end of that century, as the Mughal Empire declined, the British took control of the whole subcontinent, and India was administered by a single alien power.