A snippet of a very old article in TIME describes nicely India as a Kaleidoscope of contrast. Link courtesy Avinash Prabhu.
Shastri's India is less a nation than a notion, possessed of a fragile unity that barely transcends its geographical boundaries. Into a triangular wedge of the world only a third as big as the U.S., India packs 480 million people and more than 200 million cows. From the mirage-like ice peaks of the Himalayas, down the vast and sinuous Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers (which most Indians regard as holy), through the crammed chawls and boiling bustees of Bombay and Calcutta, to the humid tip of the subcontinent at Cape Comorin, India is a kaleidoscope of contrast (see color pages). Within its embattled boundaries it embraces six distinct ethnic groups, seven major religions, 845 languages and dialects, and two ancient and antagonistic cultures: the Indo-Aryan (primarily Hindi-speaking) in the north, the Dravidian (speaking mainly Telugu and Tamil) in the south. Its peoples range from sultry Sikhs in silken turbans to naked Nagas armed with crossbows; from country dwellers who are seared black by a cruel sun to pale and perfumed maharanees who ride to the beaches of Bombay in air-conditioned Rolls-Royces.