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North India

North India :

North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India. The dominant geographical features of North India are the Indus-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas, which demarcate the region from the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia.

The term North India officially refers to the states of Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Union Territories of Delhi and Chandigarh.[citation needed] Four other states which are not formally part of North India, but which are traditionally - culturally and linguistically - seen to be so are Rajasthan, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh

North India has been the historical centre of the Maurya, Gupta, Pala, Harsha, Mughal, Sur, Sikh and British Indian Empires. It has a diverse culture, and includes the Hindu pilgrimage centers of Char Dham, Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Allahabad, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar, the Buddhist pilgrimage centers of Sarnath and Kushinagar, the Sikh Golden Temple as well as world heritage sites such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Khajuraho temples, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar (Jaipur), Bhimbetka Caves, Sanchi monuments, Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal.

Hindi is the lingua franca of North India and has an official status together with Punjabi and Urdu.

Hinduism is the dominant religion in North India.[citation needed] Other religions practiced by various ethnic communities include Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. The states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are overwhelmingly Hindu. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have Hindu majorities with a substantial minority of Muslims; the combined Muslim population of these two states surpasses many of the biggest Islamic nations. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a majority Muslim population, while Punjab is the only state with a majority Sikh population.

Dance of North India too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, and rouf and bhand pather of Kashmir. Main dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama such as kathak of Uttar Pradesh.

Linguistically, North India is dominated by Indo-Aryan languages, although subregions of Northern Dravidian languages, Tibeto-Burman languages (such as Himachal's Lahauli language) and Austroasiatic languages (such as Munda) exist throughout the region.[citation needed][Nowhere do we define these subregions] It is in this region, or its proximity, that Sanskrit and the various Prakrits are thought to have evolved.[citation needed] Indo-Aryan languages native to North India include the Hindustani lingua franca (including both its Hindi and Urdu registers),[35][36] a wide range of western and eastern Hindi dialects, Awadhi, Rajasthani languages (Gujarati)(Marwari, Mewari, Shekhawati, Malwi, Bagri), Haryanvi, Bihari languages (Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili and Angika), Pahari, Kumaoni, Garhwali, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Haryanavi and other languages. The subregion where Hindi languages are widely spoken (as either primary or secondary languages) is sometimes called the Hindi Heartland or the Hindi Belt, and is loosely defined.[37][38][39]

Small speaker populations of two language isolates (Nihali and Burushaski), which are not known to be rooted in any other language families, also exist in North India.
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