The Coraciiformes are a group of colorful birds including the kingfishers, the bee-eaters, the rollers, the motmots, the todies. They have syndactyly, with three forward-pointing toes, though in many kingfishers one of these is missing; this is an Old World order, with the representation in the New World limited to the dozen or so species of todies and motmots, a mere handful of the more than a hundred species of kingfishers. The name Coraciiformes means "raven-like", a misnomer, it comes from the Latin language "corax", meaning "raven" and Latin "forma", meaning "form", the standard ending for bird orders. This order has been seen to be something of a mixed assortment, the Coraciiformes may be considered as including only the rollers. All the other families would be considered to represent lineages of birds distantly related to Coraciiformes; this seems to be oversplitting. Analysis of nDNA c-myc and RAG-1 exon as well as mtDNA myoglobin intron 2 sequence data demonstrates that the Coraciiformes can be divided into a basal group, not too distantly related to the Piciformes, a derived suborder containing kingfishers.
The cuckoo roller's true affinities appear to lie elsewhere. The trogons and hornbills are either basal lineages, or might be considered distinct own orders; the entire group and the Piciformes are related to the Passeriformes. Several extinct coraciiform families are only known from Paleogene fossils, they belong to the basal group and are sometimes difficult to assign because they were closer still to the Piciformes. In addition, there are some prehistoric genera which are difficult to place into a family. At least the Eocoraciidae are basal, but the Late Eocene Geranopteridae form a superfamily Coracioidea with the extant rollers and ground-rollers already. A few prehistoric taxa of the present-day families have been described. Unresolved Genus Quasisyndactylus - alcediniform, basal? Genus Cryptornis – bucerotid? geranopterid? Family Primobucconidae, including Primobucco and Septencoracias Coraciiformes gen. et spp. indet. PQ 1216, QU 15640 Genus Protornis – basal to motmotids and meropids? A recent study suggest that the following families may belong to a separate order called Bucerotiformes.
The results still in dispute though. Family Bucorvidae Family Bucerotidae Family Upupidae Family Phoeniculidae The Leptosomatidae do not belong here; the trogons are sometimes placed here as a family Trogonidae. The Late Eocene Palaeospizidae are sometimes placed in the Coraciiformes, as are the Early to Middle Eocene Primobucconidae and the Middle Eocene to Early Oligocene Sylphornithidae; the Primobucconidae at least indeed seem to belong here. Basal group Family Eocoraciidae Family Geranopteridae - includes "Nupharanassa" bohemica Family Coraciidae Family Brachypteraciidae Family Meropidae Suborder Alcedini Family Todidae Family Momotidae Family Alcedinidae List of Coraciiformes by population Johansson, Ulf S. & Ericson, Per G. P.: Molecular support for a sister group relationship between Pici and Galbulae. J. Avian Biol. 34: 185–197. Doi:10.1034/j.1600-048X.2003.03103.x PDF fulltext Mayr, Gerald & Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile: Rollers from the Middle Eocene of Messel and the Upper Eocene of the Quercy.
J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 20: 533–546. DOI:10.1671/0272-46340202.0. CO; the Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. ISBN 0-394-46651-9 Order Coraciiformes - Biodiversity Overview: Untamed Science Tree of Life: Coraciiformes
Shiva known as Mahadeva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme being within one of the major traditions within contemporary Hinduism. Shiva is known as "The Destroyer" within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Vishnu. In Shaivism tradition, Shiva is the supreme being who creates and transforms the universe. In the tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism, the Goddess, or Devi, is described as supreme, yet Shiva is revered along with Vishnu and Brahma. A goddess is stated to be the energy and creative power of each, with Parvati the equal complementary partner of Shiva, he is one of the five equivalent deities in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta tradition of Hinduism. According to the Shaivism sect, the highest form of Shiva is formless, limitless and unchanging absolute Brahman, the primal Atman of the universe. There are many both fearsome depictions of Shiva. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children and Kartikeya.
In his fierce aspects, he is depicted slaying demons. Shiva is known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts; the iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead, the trishula or trident, as his weapon, the damaru drum. He is worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam. Shiva is a pan-Hindu deity, revered by Hindus, in India and Sri Lanka. Shiva is called as Bhramhan which can be said as Parabhramhan. Shiva means nothingness; the word shivoham means the consciousness of one individual, lord says that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, as he is present in the form of one's consciousness. In Tamil, he was called by different names other than Sivan. Nataraaja Rudra and Dhakshinamoorthy. Nataraja is the only form of Shiva worshipped in a human figure format. Elsewhere he is worshipped in Lingam figure. Pancha bootha temples are located in south India. Pancha Bhoota Stalam.
Tamil literature is enriched by Shiva devotees called 63 Nayanmars The Sanskrit word "Śiva" means, states Monier Monier-Williams, "auspicious, gracious, kind, friendly". The roots of Śiva in folk etymology are śī which means "in whom all things lie, pervasiveness" and va which means "embodiment of grace"; the word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra. The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature; the term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver". Sharva, sharabha presents another etymology with the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill", interprets the name to connote "one who can kill the forces of darkness"; the Sanskrit word śaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect.
It is used as an adjective to characterize certain practices, such as Shaivism. Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun and that Rudra is called Babhru in the Rigveda; the Vishnu sahasranama interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", "the One, not affected by three Guṇas of Prakṛti". Shiva is known by many names such as Viswanatha, Mahandeo, Mahesha, Shankara, Rudra, Trilochana, Neelakanta, Subhankara and Ghrneshwar; the highest reverence for Shiva in Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva, Maheśvara, Parameśvara. Sahasranama are medieval Indian texts that list a thousand names derived from aspects and epithets of a deity. There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns listing many names of Shiva; the version appearing in Book 13 of the Mahabharata provides one such list. Shiva has Dasha-Sahasranamas that are found in the Mahanyasa; the Shri Rudram Chamakam known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.
The Shiva-related tradition is a major part of Hinduism, found all over India, Sri Lanka, Bali. Scholars have interpreted early prehistoric paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters, carbon dated to be from pre-10,000 BCE period, as Shiva dancing, Shiva's trident, his mount Nandi. Rock paintings from Bhimbetka, depicting a figure with a trishul, have been described as Nataraja by Erwin Neumayer, who dates them to the mesolithic. Of several Indus valley seals that show animals, one seal that has attracted attention shows a large central figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and ithyphallic, seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position, surrounded by animals; this figure was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daro as Pashupati (Lord of Animals, Sansk
The Vindhya Range is a complex, discontinuous chain of mountain ridges, hill ranges and plateau escarpments in west-central India. Technically, the Vindhyas do not form a single mountain range in the geological sense; the exact extent of the Vindhyas is loosely defined, the term covered a number of distinct hill systems in central India, including the one, now known as the Satpura Range. Today, the term principally refers to the escarpment that runs north of and parallel to the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, its hilly extensions. Depending on the definition, the range extends up to Gujarat in the west, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the north and Chhattisgarh in the east; the Vindhyas have a great significance in Indian history. Several ancient texts mention the Vindhyas as the southern boundary of the Āryāvarta, the territory of the ancient Indo-Aryan peoples. Although today Indo-Aryan languages are spoken south of the Vindhyas, the range continues to be considered as the traditional boundary between north and south India.
The former Vindhya Pradesh was named after the Vindhya Range. According to the author of a commentary on Amarakosha, the word Vindhya derives from the Sanskrit word vaindh. A mythological story states that the Vindhyas once obstructed the path of the sun, resulting in this name. Ramayana from Valmiki states that the great mountain Vindhya, growing incessantly and obstructing the path of the Sun stopped growing any more in obedience to Agastya's words. According to another theory, the name "Vindhya" means "hunter" in Sanskrit, may refer to the tribal hunter-gatherers inhabiting the region; the Vindhya range is known as "Vindhyachala" or "Vindhyachal". In the Mahabharata, the range is referred to as Vindhyapadaparvata; the Greek geographer Ptolemy called the range Vindius or Ouindion, describing it as the source of Namados and Nanagouna rivers. The "Daksinaparvata" mentioned in the Kaushitaki Upanishad is identified with the Vindhyas; the Vindhyas do not form a single range in the proper geological sense: the hills collectively known as the Vindhyas do not lie along an anticlinal or synclinal ridge.
The Vindhya range is a group of discontinuous chain of mountain ridges, hill ranges and plateau escarpments. The term "Vindhyas" is defined by convention, therefore, the exact definition of the Vindhya range has varied at different times in history. Earlier, the term "Vindhyas" was used in a wider sense, included a number of hill ranges between the Indo-Gangetic plain and the Deccan Plateau. According to the various definitions mentioned in the older texts, the Vindhyas extend up to Godavari in the south and Ganges in the north. In certain Puranas, the term Vindhya covers the mountain range located between the Narmada and the Tapti rivers; the Varaha Purana uses the name "Vindhya-pada" for the Satpura range. Several ancient Indian texts and inscriptions mention three mountain ranges in Central India: Vindhya and Pariyatra; the three ranges are included in the seven Kula Parvatas of Bharatavarsha i.e. India; the exact identification of these three ranges is difficult due to contrasting descriptions in the various texts.
For example, the Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas mention Vindhya as the source of Tapti. Some texts use. In one passage, Valmiki's Ramayana describes Vindhya as being situated to the south of Kishkindha, identified with a part of the present-day Karnataka, it further implies that the sea was located just to the south of the Vindhyas, Lanka was located across this sea. Many scholars have attempted to explain this anamoly in different ways. According to one theory, the term "Vindhyas" covered a number of mountains to the south of the Indo-Aryan territories at the time Ramayana was written. Others, such as Frederick Eden Pargiter, believe that there was another mountain in South India, with the same name. Madhav Vinayak Kibe placed the location of Lanka in Central India; the Barabar Cave inscription of Maukhari Anantavarman mentions the Nagarjuni hill of Bihar as a part of the Vindhyas. Today, the definition of the Vindhyas is restricted to the Central Indian escarpments and highlands located to the north of the Narmada River.
Some of these are distinct hill systems. The western end of the Vindhya range is located in the state of Gujarat, near the state's border with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, at the eastern side of the Gujarat peninsula. A series of hills connects the Vindhya extension to the Aravalli Range near Champaner; the Vindhya range rises in height east of Chhota Udaipur. The principal Vindhya range forms the southern escarpment of the Central Indian upland, it runs parallel to the Naramada river in the east-west direction, forming the southern wall of the Malwa plateau in Madhya Pradesh. The eastern portion of the Vindhyas comprises multiple chains, as the range divides into branches east of Malwa. A southern chain of Vindhyas runs between the upper reaches of the Son and Narmada rivers to meet the Satpura Range in the Maikal Hills near Amarkantak. A northern chain of the Vindhyas continues eastwards as Bhander Plateau and Kaimur Range, which runs north of the Son River; this extended range runs through what was once Vindhya Pradesh, re
Durga Puja called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival in the Indian subcontinent that reveres the goddess Durga. It is popular in West Bengal, Tripura, Odisha and the diaspora from this region, in Nepal where it is called Dashain; the festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin September or October of the Gregorian calendar, is a multi-day festival that features elaborate temple and stage decorations, scripture recitation, performance arts and processions. It is a major festival in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism across Shakta Hindu diaspora. Durga Puja festival marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting and powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura, her emerging victorious. Thus, the festival epitomises the victory of good over evil, but it is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation; the Durga Puja festival dates coincide with Vijayadashami observed by other traditions of Hinduism, where the Ram Lila is enacted — the victory of Rama is marked and effigies of demon Ravana are burnt instead.
The primary goddess revered during Durga Puja is Durga, but her stage and celebrations feature other major deities of Hinduism such as goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartikeya. In the Bengali traditions, the other deities next to her side are considered to be the children of Durga; the Hindu god Shiva, as Durga's husband, is revered during this festival. The festival begins on the first day with Mahalaya, marking Durga's advent in her battle against evil. Starting with the sixth day, the goddess is welcomed, festive Durga worship and celebrations begin in elaborately decorated temples and pandals hosting the statues. Lakshmi and Saraswati are revered on the following days; the festival ends of the tenth day of Vijaya Dashami, when with drum beats of music and chants, Shakta Hindu communities start a procession carrying the colorful clay statues to a river or ocean and immerse them, as a form of goodbye and her return to divine cosmos and Mount Kailash. The festival is an old tradition of Hinduism, though it is unclear how and in which century the festival began.
Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga Puja public festivities since at least the 16th century. The prominence of Durga Puja increased during the British Raj in its provinces of Assam. Durga Puja is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are special and an annual holiday in regions such as West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura where it is popular. In the contemporary era, the importance of Durga Puja is as much as a social festival as a religious one wherever it is observed. In West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura, Durga Puja is called Akalbodhan, Sharadiya Pujo, Maha Pujo, Maayer Pujo, Durga Pujo, or Puja or Pujo. In Bangladesh, Durga Puja used to be celebrated as Bhagabati Puja. Durga puja is called Navaratri Puja elsewhere in India, such as in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra, Kullu Dussehra in Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, Mysore Dussehra in Mysore, Bommai Golu in Tamil Nadu and Bommala koluvu in Andhra Pradesh and Bathukamma in Telangana.
Durga is an ancient deity of Hinduism, according to textual evidence available. However, the origins of Durga Puja are undocumented. Surviving manuscripts from the 14th century provide guidelines for Durga Puja, while historical records suggest royalty and wealthy families were sponsoring major Durga Puja public festivities since at least the 16th century; the 11th or 12th century Jainism text Yasatilaka by Somadeva mentions a festival and annual dates dedicated to a warrior goddess, celebrated by the king and his armed forces, the description mirrors attributes of a Durga Puja. The word Durga, related terms appear in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda hymns 4.28, 5.34, 8.27, 8.47, 8.93 and 10.127, in sections 10.1 and 12.4 of the Atharvaveda. A deity named Durgi appears in section 10.1.7 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her or about Durga puja, found in Hindu literature. A key text associated with Durga Puja observations is Devi Mahatmya, recited during the festival.
Durga was well established before the time this Hindu text was composed, which scholars variously estimate to between 400 and 600 CE. The Devi Mahatmya mythology describes the nature of demonic forces symbolized by Mahishasura as shape-shifting and adapting in nature, in form and in strategy to create difficulties and achieve their evil ends. Durga calmly counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals. Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, the centuries around the start of the common era. Both Yudhisthira and Arjuna characters of the Mahabharata invoke hymns to Durga, she appears in Harivamsa in the form of Vishnu's eulogy, in Pradyumna prayer. The prominent mention of Durga in this popular epics may have led to her worship; the Indian texts that mention the Durga Puja festival are inconsistent. The King Suratha legend found in some version of the Puranas mention it to be a spring festival, while the Devi-Bhagavata Purana and two othe
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Lakshadweep known as the Laccadive and Aminidivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the southwestern coast of India. The archipelago is governed by the Union Government of India, they were known as Laccadive Islands, although geographically this is only the name of the central subgroup of the group. Lakshadweep means "one hundred thousand islands" in Malayalam; the islands form the smallest Union Territory of India and their total surface area is just 32 km2. The lagoon area covers about 4,200 km2, the territorial waters area 20,000 km2 and the exclusive economic zone area 400,000 km2; the region forms a single Indian district with 10 subdivisions. Kavaratti serves as the capital of the Union Territory and the region comes under the jurisdiction of Kerala High Court; the islands are the northernmost of the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands, which are the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge. As the islands have no aboriginal inhabitants, scholars have suggested different histories for the settlement of these islands.
Archaeological evidence supports the existence of human settlement in the region around 1500 BC. The islands have long been known to sailors, as indicated by an anonymous reference from the first century AD to the region in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea; the islands were mentioned in the Buddhist Jataka stories of the sixth century BC. Islam was established in the region. During the medieval period, the region was ruled by Kingdom of Cannanore; the Catholic Portuguese arrived around 1498 but were expelled by 1545. The region was ruled by the Muslim house of Arakkal, followed by Tipu Sultan. On his death in 1799, most of the region passed on to the British and with their departure, the Union Territory was formed in 1956. Ten of the islands are inhabited. At the 2011 Indian census, the population of the Union Territory was 64,473; the majority of the indigenous population is Muslim and most of them belong to the Shafi school of the Sunni sect. The islanders are ethnically similar to the Malayali people of the nearest Indian state of Kerala.
Most of the population speaks Malayalam with Mahi being the most spoken language in Minicoy island. The islands are served by an airport on Agatti Island; the main occupation of the people is fishing and coconut cultivation, with tuna being the main item of export. One of the earliest references to the region is by an anonymous author in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. There are references to the control of the islands by the Cheras in the Sangam Patiṟṟuppattu. Local traditions and legends attribute the first settlement on these islands to the period of Cheraman Perumal, the last Chera king of Kerala; the oldest inhabited islands in the group are Amini, Kalpeni Andrott and Agatti. Archaeological evidence suggests that Buddhism prevailed in the region during the fifth and sixth centuries AD. According to popular tradition, Islam was brought to Lakshadweep by an Arab named Ubaidulla in AD 661, his grave is located on the island of Andrott. During the 11th century, the islands came under the rule of the Late Cholas and subsequently the Kingdom of Cannanore.
In the 16th century, the Portuguese ruled the seas between Ormuz and the Malabar Coast and south to Ceylon. As early as 1498, they took control of the archipelago on to exploit coir production, until the islanders expelled them in 1545. In the 17th century, the islands came under the rule of Ali Rajahs/Arakkal Bheevi of Kannur, who received them as a gift from the Kolathiris; the islands are mentioned in great detail in the stories of the Arab traveller Ibn Batuta. The Aminidivi group of islands came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787, they were attached to South Canara. The rest of the islands came under the suzerainty of the Arakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute; the British took over the administration of those islands for nonpayment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency during the British Raj. On 1 November 1956, during the reorganization of Indian states, the Lakshadweep islands were separated from Madras and organized into a separate union territory for administrative purposes.
The new territory was called Laccadive and Amindivi Islands before adopting the Lakshadweep name on 1 November 1973. To safeguard India's vital shipping lanes to the Middle East, the growing relevance of the islands in security considerations, an Indian Navy base, INS Dweeprakshak, was commissioned on Kavaratti island. A DX-pedition by amateur radio operators was run on Agatti Island during November 2013. Lakshadweep is an archipelago of twelve atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks, with a total of about thirty-nine islands and islets; the reefs are in fact atolls, although submerged, with only small unvegetated sand cays above the high-water mark. The submerged banks are sunken atolls. All the atolls have a northeast-southwest orientation with the islands lying on the eastern rim, a submerged reef on the western rim, enclosing a lagoon, it has 10 inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands, attached islets, 4 newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs. The main islands are Kavaratti, Agatti and Amini.
The total population of the territory is 60,595 according to the 2001 census. Agatti has an airport with direct flights from Kochi; the Aminidivi subgroup of islands
Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c