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The Indian subcontinent is a large peninsula in the Indian Ocean whose northern borders are made up of large mountain ranges which include the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. This means that, throughout history, it was hard to reach the subcontinent, leaving its culturally-diverse civilizations to develop without having major contact with civilizations that have developed beyond the sea or the mountains. The major obstacles to contact were the aforementioned mountains characterized by steepness and harsh terrain.

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