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Scenes From India

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Diversity is everywhere in India, from its religions and languages to its economy, and climates. The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. Most are Hindu, but seven other religions -- including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism -- make up nearly 20 percent of the population. January 26 will be India's 62nd Republic Day, marking the date in 1950 when the country's constitution came into force. Collected here are recent photos from across the vast nation, offering only a small glimpse of the people and diversity of India. [41 photos]

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Indian soldiers from the Border Security Forces atop camels stand at attention in front of the Presidential Palace during a ceremony in preparation for the annual Beating Retreat in New Delhi, India, on January 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
Indian soldiers from the Border Security Forces atop camels stand at attention in front of the Presidential Palace during a ceremony in preparation for the annual Beating Retreat in New Delhi, India, on January 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
An Indian boy in school uniform waits for a rickshaw driver to make an adjustment on a cool morning in New Delhi, India, on December 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
High rise buildings stand in the skyline in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, January 11, 2012. India, which has just two skyscrapers currently, is seeing its first skyscraper building boom, with 14 under construction, including the world's second-tallest tower, in the financial capital Mumbai. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #
Indian dancers perform during the 2011 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) gala night in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi, on December 9, 2011. (Reuters/Parivartan Sharma) #
A flock of flamingos dot wetlands at Khadir Island in Kutch district, about 410 kilometers (256 miles) northwest of Ahmadabad, India, on December 19, 2011. Every year tens of thousands of flamingos arrive to breed in the marshes of the Rann of Kutch region of Gujarat state. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) #
Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan sits inside a DC Avanti, a new sports car designed by DC Design, at the India Auto Expo in New Delhi, India, on January 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das) #
Indian beggars with their arms stretched ask for alms from Buddhist devotees visiting the Mahabodhi temple, believed to be the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, during the Kalachakra Buddhist festival in the town of Bodh Gaya, in the eastern state of Bihar, India, on January 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
An aerial view shows Chander Kote hills covered with snow, near Jammu, on January 11, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indian family walks out of the doorway of the Lord Hanuman Hindu Temple in the Karol Bagh neighborhood of New Delhi, India, on December 13, 2011. Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, is one of the most revered of gods in Hinduism. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
A linesman adjusts electric cables set up temporarily in preparation of the Magh Mela festival on the banks of River Ganges in Allahabad, India, on December 30, 2011. Tens of thousands of Hindu devotees are expected to take holy dips at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and the Yamuna during the month-long fair that began January 9. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
Indian workers cover elephant statues at Ambedkar Memorial Park in Lucknow, India, on January 10, 2012. Workmen using truckloads of cloth raced to comply with election officials who ordered the statues of Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh state Mayawati, and nearly 200 statues of elephants to be covered. The Election Commission said the statues were built using public money and their display violates rules for next month's election in her Uttar Pradesh state. The elephant is the symbol of Mayawati's political party. (AP Photo) #
In this Saturday, December 10, 2011 photograph, a child reacts to the camera as she collects recyclable spare parts at an automobile yard on the outskirts of Jammu, India. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #
A man rides a motorcycle loaded with snacks amid dense fog on a cold morning at Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, on December 31, 2011. The temperature in New Delhi had dipped to 6 degrees Celsius (42.8 degrees Fahrenheit), local media reported. (Reuters/Parivartan Sharma) #
A Hindu devotee holds an oil lamp and offers prayers to the Sun god at the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on Makar Sankranti festival, in Allahabad, India, on January 14, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus take a bath at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as "Magh Mela" to rid themselves of their sins and attain prosperity. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
An Indian man walks past mounds of cotton in Dhrangadhra, about 110 kilometers from Ahmadabad, India, on December 16, 2011. The Indian parliament was informed earlier this week that about 90 per cent of the area under the cotton crop in India is under Bt cotton variety, the only transgenic crop now under commercial cultivation in the country. The genetically altered cotton seeds have increased productivity, but they are more expensive than traditional seeds and have left some farmers deeply in debt. India is the world's second largest producer and exporter of cotton. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) #
Hindu devotees wearing headsets listen to a fortune-telling machine at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, on January 17, 2012. (Reuters/Jitendra Prakash) #
Indian Navy personnel salute from the deck of an Indian naval vessel during the Presidents Fleet Review (PFR) in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai, India, on December 20, 2011. A PFR is conducted once in the tenure of a President who is also the supreme Commander of the armed forces to showcase the naval prowess and its strike capabilities. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #
An Indian dressed up as an angel lights candles on the eve of Christmas Day at St Paul's church in Amritsar, on December 24, 2011. Despite Christians forming a little over two percent of the billion plus population in India, with Hindus comprising the majority, Christmas is celebrated throughout the country. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Nihang or Sikh warrior performs "Gatkha", a traditional form of martial arts, along a road during a religious procession ahead of the martyrdom day of their ninth guru Guru Tegh Bahadur, in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, on November 22, 2011. (Reuters/Ajay Verma) #
A firefighter evacuates a patient from a hospital after it caught fire in Kolkata, on December 9, 2011. Fire swept through a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on Friday, killing at least 40 people, most of them patients, officials said. (Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #
Sufi Muslim dervishes from Turkey wear camel fur hats as they stand on the stage as part of a Sema ceremony during the Ruhaniyat Sufi and Mystic Festival in New Delhi, India, on November 19, 2011. The Sema is part of a worship ceremony in which the dervishes' goal is to reach perfection by letting go of one's ego or personal desires while thinking of God while in the process of spinning the body in circles. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Tibetan dancers perform a ritual dance in front of spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, center, on the final day of Kalachakra Buddhist festival, in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, on January 10, 2012. Bodh Gaya is believed to be the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
An Indian laborer works in an iron and steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu, India, on December 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #
People watch a five-story residential building tilt as it collapses in Surat, India, on December 13, 2011. As per local news reports, the building had developed cracks due to ongoing construction work at an adjacent plot. All the residents of the building had vacated before it collapsed. (AP Photo/Dinesh Trivedi) #
A physically challenged boy in a wheelchair participates in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in Mumbai, India, on January 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #
Monks perform a ritual dance known as 'Cham' during the last day of the Kalachakra Festival in Bodh Gaya, on January 10, 2012. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images) #
An Indian woman drinks water from a tap at the Magh Mela site at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati in Allahabad, India, on January 16, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus take a bath at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as "Magh Mela" to rid themselves of their sins and attain prosperity. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
Indian soldiers train on stunt motorcycles in preparation for an upcoming Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, on January 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
A stranded conductor burns a fire under his truck to keep the parts of truck warm while waiting for Srinagar-Jammu highway to reopen, in Qazigund, 70 km (43 mi) south of Srinagar, on January 10, 2012. The mountainous 300-km (186-mi) long Srinagar-Jammu highway, which connects Kashmir with the rest of India, remained shut for the fifth day on after heavy snowfall across Kashmir in the Himalayan region, authorities said. (Reuters/Fayaz Kabli) #
A view of a cluster of traditional houses is seen on the banks of river Jehlum in Srinagar, on December 27, 2011. Srinagar town is situated on both sides of the river Jhelum which runs from Verinag in south Kashmir to Pakistan. (Reuters/Fayaz Kabli) #
Indian children dressed as Hindu God Shiva, right, and Parvati, hold a toy gun as they pose for a photograph during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad, India, on January 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
A Sikh warrior blows fire from his mouth during a religious procession ahead of the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Jammu, India, on December 29, 2011. (AP Photo) #
Young Buddhist monks play video games at a parlor in the town of Bodh Gaya, ahead of the Kalachakra Buddhist festival in Bihar, India,on December 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
Siddarth Abraham, vocalist for local band "Solder" who teaches kickboxing at his day job, sings during a practice session in Bangalore, on December 15, 2011. Bangalore, a former manufacturing town known as India's Silicon Valley, is rapidly becoming one of the nation's hotbeds of rock music, buoyed by young, middle-class Indians who have money to spare and an appetite for headbanging music. (Reuters/Shamanth Patil J) #
A Hindu woman offers prayers to the setting sun during the festival of Chhath at the Arabian Sea, in Mumbai, India, on November 1, 2011. During this ancient Hindu festival, rituals are performed to thank the Sun god for sustaining life on earth. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #
An Indian policeman, right, takes evasive action as a Kashmiri Shiite Muslim charges at him with chains in Srinagar, India, on December 4, 2011. Authorities used batons, tear gas and water cannons to break up Muslim religious processions held in defiance of a strict curfew in the main Indian-controlled city of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, police said. Large public gatherings have been banned in Indian-administered Kashmir since the outbreak of an armed insurgency in 1989 demanding the region's independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan) #
The Guinness World Records adjudicator Rob Molloy (right) speaks with Jyoti Amge, the world's shortest living woman, on her 18th birthday in the central Indian city of Nagpur, on December 16, 2011. Amge was certified by the Guinness World Records as the shortest woman in the world with a height of 24.39 inches (61.95 cm) on Friday. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A devotee takes a ritual bath at the water tank of the illuminated Bangla Sahib Sikh temple on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in New Delhi, India, on November 10, 2011. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, who broke away from Hinduism, India's dominant religion. He preached the equality of races and genders, and the rejection of image-worship and the caste system. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #
Indian stuntmen hang out of the window of cars as they steer them in front of the crowd at an attraction known as the "Well of Death" at the Sonepur Fair, in Sonepur, Bihar, India, on November 15, 2011. The fair, which is held annually, was originally a cattle and animal market where traders bought and sold livestock on the holy river Ganges. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
An Indian health worker administers a polio drop to a newborn at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya in New Delhi, on January 13, 2012. India is marking a full year since its last reported case of polio on Friday. The milestone is seen as a major victory in the global effort to eradicate the crippling disease. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Residents fly kites from rooftops in the Walled City of Dariyapur during Makar Sankranti (Kite Festival Day), on January 14, 2012. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images) #

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