If someone asked you define India in the best possible way using just one word, would you have a justifying reply? It is almost impossible to funnel a huge list of adjectives that describe this vibrant country, isn’t it? A country which is populated by almost a billion people belonging to vivid social backgrounds and being a melting pot of different cultures, India is an ocean in itself. It is unfortunate that even in the era of smart phones many non-Indians perceive this nation to be a land filled with snake charmers, farmers and people who prefer travelling on Elephants rather than swanky cars. Another surprising observation is that many people from India are also often categorized as ‘Hindus’. However, one cannot assume that a person who has been in this country his whole life understands India really well, apart from naming all its 28 states within a minute. Here are quite a few interesting facts about India which you didn’t know. These surprising facts prove that the country has lots more to offer apart from its spicy food and bustling overpopulated metropolis.
1. Invading Other Countries—‘NEVER’!
Although the pages of history books have been rife with glorious tales of emperors and warriors from India, they never thought of invading other countries, surprisingly. Rulers like Alexander the Great and many others have often tried to invade the nation, but never the other way round.
2. The World’s Largest Postal Network
India boasts of the largest postal network in the whole world. A whopping 150,000 post offices have mushroomed in the country over the years.
3. Move Over ‘Hollywood’, Here Comes The Mighty ‘Bollywood’
The nation boasts of one of the biggest and most influential movie industries in the world today, famously known as ‘Bollywood.’ The hub of this Indian celluloid world is the coastal Indian city of Mumbai. In fact the letter ‘B’ in ‘Bollywood’ has also been derived from the word ‘Bombay’, old name for Mumbai.
4. The Banana Basket Of The World
India is unarguably the highest producer and exporter of Bananas in the world. The ‘Samba Land,’ Brazil, secures the second spot globally, in this regard today.
5. The Largest Montessori
The City Montessori in Lucknow is the largest in the world having 50,000 pupils as of this year’s enrollment.
6. One Of The World’s Most Visited Religious Place
According to sources, the Lord Balaji temple located in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is flocked by a huge number of devotees (hundred thousands of them) every single day of the year. It apparently draws more crowd than the Vatican or the holy shrine of Mecca.
7. The Unsung Hero Of Technology
The email and computer processor giants ‘Pentium’ and ‘Hotmail’ are world-renowned today due to the incredible contribution of Tech-wizards Sabeer Bhatia and Vinod Dahm. In addition, the country is also the largest exporter of software and lends its services to over 60 countries across the world.
8. Home To The World’s Highest Bridge
When it comes to elevation, it’s not the famous ‘London Bridge’ or that picturesque stretch in San Francisco that wins the contest. The not-so-popular ‘Baily Bridge’ situated between Suru and Dras rivers, is sitting at the greatest height in the world. Moving across ‘Baily’ can be quite a heart-pounding experience.
9. Homeland Of The Human Calculator
Although India has produced many mathematical geniuses, a woman named Shakuntala Devi was one of the few who left the world awestruck with her incredible abilities. She was once asked to multiply the numbers 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779 and very much to everybody’s astonishment, Shakuntala managed to answer the question in a matter of merely 28 seconds. Her ability to solve such complex mathematical problems earned Devi the title of ‘The Human Calculator.’
10. The World’s Oldest Civilization
Although India is “still” considered a developing country, it is home to one of the world’s most ancient civilization the Indus Valley Civilization during the Bronze Age between 3300–1300 BCE.
11. The Inspiration Behind Chinese Martial Arts
If you thought it was the Chinese who discovered martial arts, here is something that will take you by surprise. This renowned form of self-defense, originated in India and soon folks belonging to other parts of Asia acquired the skill which spread across Asia and around the world in no time.
12. World’s Largest Social Gathering
The ‘Kumbh Mela’ Festival, a religious gathering which occurs once every three years, across 4 Indian cities, sees a turnout of approximately 100 million people from across the world. The multitude of people can be even seen from space.
13. Discoverers Of Shampoo
Shampoo is undoubtedly the most widely consumed hair care product today and the credit of this great discovery goes to India. Citizens from India were the first ones to cleanse their hair using extracts from the herbs available in the country. Shampoo word was derived from the word ‘Champu,’ which translates to ‘massage’ in Sanskrit.
14. A Post Office That Floats
Post offices housed in concrete structures are a common sight across India, but have you ever witnessed one that floats? A post office constructed using wood is situated on Dal Lake, situated in Srinagar, is the first and the only one of its kind in the entire country. This post office also has a philately museum which has a good collection of stamps from around the globe.
15. Home To The World’s Biggest Family
Ziona Chana is the head of a family which comprises of his 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren. The Chana family lives in the state of Mizoram, in a single house that comprises of 100 rooms.
16. Thick Moustache For A Thick Pay Packet
It was once announced in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh that a person with a big moustache would be getting a hike in his monthly salary. The Police force in the state believes that a cop sporting a moustache would be taken more seriously and will earn more respect.
17. India’s Tryst With Mathematics
The number ‘zero’ is one the most significant contribution of India to the world. Even in an era when most part of the world was oblivious to the concepts of science and mathematics, Indian grabbed the world’s attention with path-breaking theories in Trigonometry and Calculus
18. Spa for Elephants
Spas and rejuvenation centers for humans have existed in the world for ages. However, the southern Indian state of Kerala has something unique to offer. The ‘Punnathoor Cotta Elephant Yard’, located in Thrissur district of the state is a spa meant for just elephants. These animals are cleansed, massaged and even fed at this health care center.
19. Water on the Moon discovered by Indians
Space shuttles from countries like the United States and Russia have been traversing the Moon since decades, but it was India which discovered an interesting fact about this celestial body. The ‘Chandrayaan- I,’ a mission of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), took wings in 2009. One of the great achievements of this mission was that water was discovered on the surface of this celestial body, which is termed as the ‘Earth’s natural satellite.’
20. The World’s Spice Capital
Around 70% of spices widely used across the world today, are of Indian origin. One of the prime reasons why this country has been invaded several times was solely because of its abundance of spices.
21. One Of The Wettest Place In The World
A place named Mawsynram, situated in the North-Eastern state of Meghalaya, has been named the wettest place on earth. According to sources, the place receives a rainfall of approximately 12,000-millimeters every year.
22. The Highest Cricket Ground In The World
India is home to many state of the art cricket stadiums such as the ‘Wankhede’ in Mumbai and the ‘Eden Gardens’ in Kolkata. The Dharamshala cricket ground situated in Chhail, Himachal Pradesh, is approximately 1457-meters above sea level, the highest in the world.
23. The Story Behind The First Indian Rocket
The first ever rocket launched by India, was in the year 1963. Surprisingly, this invention was so tiny, that it was transported to the space station by bicycle.
24. The Most Expensive Residence
Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani owns a 27-floored mansion, which costed him $1 Billion making it the most expensive private-residence in the world. While 6 of these 27 floors are dedicated exclusively for car parking, it also has an air control room for his choppers, a helipad, a ballroom, theatre and so on.
25. The Hungry Man’s Paradise
The ‘Golden Temple,’ located in the state of Punjab, serves food to over 100,000 people each day. No discrimination is made in terms of caste, creed or religion while feeding the hungry ones.
26. The ‘Golden’ Women
According to a research, women from India own jewelry that accounts to 11% of the total amount of Gold in the world. It’s more than the gold owned by the entire population of the United States and Germany.
27. A Young Nation
Around half of India’s population consists of its youth, most of whom are less than 25 years of age. This in itself is an incredible advantage of this country, which makes sets it apart from many other nations of the world.
28. Indians & English
Contrary to popular belief that Hindi is the widely spoken language, it has been proved that India has the second largest population of English speakers in the world. It is believed that around 125 Million people from the country speak the language fluently.
29. The Life Of ‘Pi’
The symbol ‘Pi’ and its value, which is used widely across the world for mathematical calculations was coined by the Indian mathematician Budhayana.
30. Snakes & Ladders
The credit for gifting the interesting indoor game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ to the world goes to the Indian saint named Gyandev.
31. Medically Ahead
Contemporary history says that medical surgeries were conducted in India 2600 years ago, when hospitals never existed. Medical texts were even written by a scholar named Sushruta, which is considered as a bible for medical procedures even today. Sushruta had even attempted plastic surgery way before the rest of the world even had a clue of what it is all about.
32. Science Day In Switzerland
The former President and celebrated scientist of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, has earned many admirers in Switzerland too. On May 26th, 2006, the eminent Indian scientist visited the European nation and as a mark of respect towards this Indian dignitary, the nation declared May 26th as ‘Science Day.’
33. The World’s First University
A ‘student Exchange Program’ is not a concept that started trending recently. The first university ever had started in around 500 B.C at Takshashila, India and comprised of students who belonged to different parts of the world.
The achievements of the Indian cricket team are celebrated and glorified by people across the country, but the heroics of the members of the national Kabaddi team, often goes unnoticed. The Indian Kabaddi team has won all the world cup tournaments held so far, a feat which no nation has achieved so far.
35. Bandra-Worli Sea Link
The Bandra worli Sea Link is considered to be one of the finest pieces of construction in the country. It is believed that the total weight of the entire bridge outnumbers that of 50000 adult African elephants. It is the first eight lane highway stretch in the country which set an example of great infrastructure for development authorities belonging to various other states of the nation. The cables used in the bridge are equivalent to the circumference of the earth.
36. The Big Fat Indian Weddings
Indians often consult astrologers and Psychics to check the compatibility of the bride and groom to be. To avoid bad omens and solve incompatibility issues, bachelors often resort to rituals such as marrying pets and trees, before entering the wedlock with the partner of his/her choice.
37. Most Number Of Vegetarians
People from this country lead a healthier life since the average meat consumption per person is very less as compared to a non-vegetarian individual from any other part of the world. Out of a population of 1.2 billion people, 500 million people are pure vegetarians.
38. Voting In The Jungle
Generally, polling booths are places where hundreds gather to vote for the political candidate of their choice, but there’s one polling booth in India which made waves for an unusual reason. A polling booth has been opened at Gujarat, India, for just a single voter named Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas. This booth is located in the Gir forests, which is home to the Indian lion.
39. The Land Of The Legend- Rabindranath Tagore
The Indian national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana,’ which has been declared the best in the world by the international welfare organization ‘UNESCO’, was penned by the legendary writer and activist, Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore has also penned the national anthem of India’s neighbor, Bangladesh, making him the first man in the world to achieve such a feat.
40. First Nation To Consume Sugar
The world can’t imagine preparing most desserts without it today, but surprisingly, the country which popularized Sugar across the world was India.