The course of human history in a country or a region is to a considerable measure influenced and shaped by its natural heritage which includes its landscape, rivers, vegetation and wildlife. A study of history and culture of this sub-continent of India clearly brings out the truth of the statement. These physical features have helped in moulding the characters and the lives of its people through the ages. We shall first study the natural heritage of India.
The sub-continent of India stretching from the Himalayas to the sea is known by various names. It was known in ancient time as Aryavarta— the land of the Aryans. In the Epic and Puranic Age, it was called Baratvarsha or the land of Bharata after the name of a Puranic king in Puranic literature. The Persians and the Greeks called it “India”, the name by which it is known even today. The Muslim writers, in the Middle Ages, called this country Hind or “Hindustan”, the land of the Hindus. Even today, India is known by various names as Bharat, Bharatvarsha and Hindustan. The English speaking people and the western countries call it India.
Our natural heritage is incomparable beauty of our landscape — mountains, rivers, forests, wildlife, waterfalls, tall and shady trees, lakes, springs, rocky sea shores, sandy sea shores and the sandy desert too.