India is one of the popular tourist destinations in Asia. Bounded by the Himalayan ranges in the north, and surrounded on three sides by water (the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean), with a long history and diverse culture, India offers a wide array of places to see and things to do. In 2004, foreign tourists visiting India spent 15.4 billion USD - the ninth highest in the world.
India is also ranked among the top 3 adventure tourism destinations. One can expect to spend about $1,750 in 2005 dollars for a two week visit, staying in accommodations equivalent to Western ones. Perhaps India's best-known site is the Taj Mahal , one of the world's greatest architectural achievements.
It was built between 1631 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his wife, Arjumand Banu, more popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal serves as her tomb.
India also has a large variety of protected wildlife. The country's protected wilderness consists of 75 National parks of India and 421 Sanctuaries , of which 19 fall under the purview of Project Tiger.
Its climatic and geographic diversity makes it the home of over 350 mammals and 1200 bird species, many of which are unique to the subcontinent. Some well known national wildlife sanctuaries include Corbett, Kanha, Sariska, Periyar, Ranthambore, and Bharatpur.
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