A city and union territory in northern India, Delhi is one of the country's most important areas, in part because it is home to New Delhi, India's capital. All three branches of India's government, including Parliament and the judiciary, are based here. Delhi has a population of over 16 million people. The main religions are Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism, and the primary languages are Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu. Delhi's historic temples include the Hindu Swaminarayan Akshardham complex, the Sikh Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, and the Islamic Jama Masjid. The Lotus Temple, a Bahá'í House of Worship, is perhaps the most impressive building in the city; it is composed of 27 marble "petals" enclosing a central hall that seats 1,300. The temple is one of the most visited builds in the world.
With a population of over 200 million people, Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India. The area is so large that it is divided into 75 administrative districts. The official language of the state is Hindi, though a small portion of the population speaks Urdu. The state's economy is based on agriculture, with a focus on the production of wheat and sugarcane. Uttar Pradesh is one of the top tourist destinations in India; its most famous sites include the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. The former was built in the early 1600s as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The latter was a walled city used by the Mughal emperors in the 1500s and early 1600s.
Maharashtra is the second most populous state after Uttar Pradesh. It is home to Mumbai, the most populous city in India, which was settled in the early 1500s. The city's architectural wonders include the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a railway station built in the Victorian Gothic style in 1888. Maharashtra's economy is organized around manufacturing, technology, trade, services, and tourism. The state is also the center of Bollywood film production, which generates billions of dollars each year. Since the 1970s, India has produced more movies per year than even the United States; the films are popular across South Asia and in other parts of the world, including Russia.
Located in northeast India, Bihar was historically a center of power. Out of Magadha, an ancient kingdom in Bihar, arose the religions of Jainism and Buddhism, which are still widely practiced in India today. Bihar's economy is primarily service-based, with smaller portions devoted to agriculture and industry. The primary languages are Hindi, Maithili, and Urdu. A unique style of art known as Mithila painting originated in Bihar; works in this style are traditionally painted with simple materials such as fingers and twigs. The artworks feature bright colors and intricate geometric patterns.
The fourth most populous state in India, West Bengal is home to ethnic Bengalis who make up most of the state's population. Bengali culture is known for its rich literary heritage; one Bengali writer, Rabindranath Tagore, was the first Asian to win a Nobel Prize. Notable Bengali art includes the state's ancient terra cotta temples and the paintings of Abanindranath Tagore (Rabindranath's nephew).
Hinduism is the main religion in West Bengal, and the state is known for its elaborate festivals, including Durga Puja, an annual celebration that lasts five days. Other important celebrations in West Bengal include Pahela Baishakh (the Bengali New Year), Holi (the festival of lights), Ratha Yatra (a Hindu celebration in honor of Jagannath), and Eid al-Fitr (a Muslim celebration that takes place at the end of Ramadan). Vesak, or Buddha Day, is a holiday that marks the birth of Gautama Buddha.