India is a country which experiences the widest variety of weather and climate. Indian skies have all kinds of clouds: there are the white fair weather cumulus, the gray clouds of the monsoon, the soft feathery cirrus, and the threatening dark lofty cumulonimbus. In northeast India lies Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth, while the Rajasthan desert stretches across northwest India. The country receives all types of precipitation: the continuous downpour of the monsoon, the violent shower of the thunderstorm, hail and snowfall. The thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning and followed by rainbows. The coastal regions are visited by tropical cyclones. In the interior, there are cloudbursts, landslides, avalanches, dust-storms and widespread fog.

India has one of the oldest meteorological services of the world and the appearance of all the above weather phenomena has been meticulously observed and documented. It is sad, however, that so far only one postage stamp has been issued by India on the topic of weather. This solitary stamp was released on 24 December 1975 to commemorate the completion of a hundred years of service to the nation by the India Meteorological Department.

This stamp was of 25 paise denomination and it had a vertical design in 35.6 mm x 25.4 mm size. It depicted symbolically the blue sky, white clouds and green vegetation over which was superimposed a sketch of a weather vane, anemometer and a thermometer, mounted on a mast.

India has come a long way from the weather vane and it has joined the few countries of the world that make their own weather satellites and weather radars. And the Indian skies are as beautiful as ever. Indian philatelists and weather enthusiasts should join together and ask for many more Indian postage stamps on the theme of weather, climate and meteorology.

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