The Republic of India, more commonly known as India, is situated in Southern Asia. Separated from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, India is the second most populous country in the world with an estimated 1.2 billion people. Modern India is a land where temple elephants exist amicably with the microchip. Its ancient monuments are the backdrop for the world's largest democracy where atomic energy is generated and industrial development has brought the country within the world's top ten nations. To the north it is bordered by the world's highest mountain chain, where foothill valleys cover the northernmost of the country's 26 states. Further south, plateaus, tropical rain forests and sandy deserts are bordered by palm fringed beaches. In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of its 5,000 year past. In India, culture, traditions and values are relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian.