The subcontinent of India lies in South Asia, between Pakistan, China and Nepal. 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 palmed fringed beaches. Side by side with the country's variations is its cultural diversity, the result of the coexistence of a number of religions as well as local traditions. Thus, the towering temples of South India easily identifiable by their ornately sculptured surface, are associated with a great many crafts and performing arts of the religions. In the desert of Kutch, Gujrat on the other hand, a scattering of villages pit themselves against the awesome forces of nature, resulting in Spartan lifestyles made vibrant by a profusion of jewelry and ornamental embroidery used to adorn apparel and household linen. In the extreme north is the high altitude desert of Ladakh. Local culture is visibly shaped by the faith of Buddhism as well as by the harsh terrain. Yet, another facet of Indian culture is observed in the colorful tribal lifestyles of the north eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur with their folk culture. India's mountains provide heli skiing, river running, mountaineering and trekking. Its beaches provide lazy sun- bathing as well as wind surfing and snorkeling, and its jungle provides shooting wildlife with a camera. India's history goes back to 3200 BC WHEN Hinduism was first founded. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikkism, Judaism, Zoroashtrianism, Christianity and Islam all exist within the country today. As a consequence, of India's size , the history of the country has seldom been the same for two adjoining territories and its great natural wealth has lured a succession to it , each having left their imprint in the country, however faint or localized. Thus, Chinese fishing nets in Kerala are a throw back to that country's ancient maritime trade while in the north terra-cotta figurines the centuries BC bear distinctly.