Indians are voting on the biggest day of the country's general elections, with nearly 200 million people eligible to cast their ballots in 12 states.

Voters streamed into polling stations across the vast country, from the western desert state of Rajasthan to the tea-growing Himalayan areas in the east; and from the troubled state of Kashmir in the north to the technology hub of Bangalore in the south.

Nationwide voting began April 7 and runs through to May 12, with results expected to be announced four days later.

Women wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Ajmer district in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan. India kicked off the biggest day of its mammoth general election, with a quarter of its 815 million voters set to head to the polls
Women wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in Ajmer district in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan. India kicked off the biggest day of its mammoth general election, with a quarter of its 815 million voters set to head to the pollsReuters
A woman leaves a polling station in Ajmer district after casting her vote
A woman leaves a polling station in Ajmer district after casting her voteReuters
A woman squats as she waits to cast her vote at Sirohi district in Rajasthan
A woman squats as she waits to cast her vote at Sirohi district in RajasthanReuters
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ajmer district in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ajmer district in the desert Indian state of RajasthanReuters
Women vote at a polling station in Bangalore
Women vote at a polling station in BangaloreAFP
An election official carries an electronic voting machine across a makeshift bridge after collecting it from a distribution centre ahead in Doda, Jammu & Kashmir
An election official carries an electronic voting machine across a makeshift bridge after collecting it from a distribution centre ahead in Doda, Jammu & KashmirAFP
Members of the election staff carry electronic voting machines through a tea plantation on the outskirts of the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri
Members of the election staff carry electronic voting machines through a tea plantation on the outskirts of the northeastern Indian city of SiliguriReuters
Women walk through a wheat field on their way to a polling station to cast their vote in Shabazpur Dor village, in Amroha district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
Women walk through a wheat field on their way to a polling station to cast their vote in Shabazpur Dor village, in Amroha district in the northern Indian state of Uttar PradeshReuters
Voters queue at a polling station in Shabazpur Dor village, Amroha district, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
Voters queue at a polling station in Shabazpur Dor village, Amroha district, in the northern Indian state of Uttar PradeshReuters
A woman leaves polling station in Amroha in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, after casting her vote
A woman leaves polling station in Amroha in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, after casting her voteReuters
A polling officer reads a newspaper as a voter comes out of a polling station in the village of Shilatne, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra
A polling officer reads a newspaper as a voter comes out of a polling station in the village of Shilatne, in the western Indian state of MaharashtraReuters