45 Amazing facts about India you absolutely need to know - Wapiti Travel

India is an immense country that accounts for 18 percent of the world’s population,  yet most people are not really familiar with it.  That is a shame because the country has a rich past and was largely the source of evolution.  Mark Twain went as far as to state that India was the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition.  Albert Einstein, undoubtedly known to everyone, stated that India has taught the world how to count. In this article, we have collected some of the most amazing facts about India  It’s an interesting read if you’re planning a trip to India or if you’re just fascinated by this fast-growing and culturally rich country.

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Table of Contents

Important facts about India

At one time, before the 18th century, India belonged to the richest countries in the world. That is all well behind us and the remnants of this superior period can be visited today.  A visit to India can be an incredibly enriching experience but it is not for everyone.  The busy cities, the Delhi belly, the poverty, and several other aspects are keeping many people from visiting this country.

India, you either love it or you hate it is something that I hear often and I fully agree.  During our India itinerary, we were constantly being thrown back and forth in a storming love-hate relationship with the country.

So let us start with some official facts about India

Official facts about India

The official name of India is the Republic of India.

The British ruled India from 1858 until 1947.

Did you know that India used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world before the British invasion?

Since gaining its independence from the United Kingdom, India has become a democracy. Nowadays it’s a federal parliamentary constitutional republic with a President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Chief Justice.

Independence Day, commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom is celebrated on August 15.

Red Fort, New Delhi, India

Red Fort

The Indian flag has three colored horizontal bands. 

From top to bottom the colors are saffron, white and green. The saffron stands for courage and selflessness, leaders of the country must dedicate themselves to their work and be indifferent to material gains.  The white represents the honesty, purity, and peace of the nation and the green is for faith, fertility, and prosperity of the nation.

The symbol in the middle of the flag is the Ashoka Chakra, a depiction of the Dharma Chakra, a wheel represented with 24 spokes.

It is there to remind everybody who works under this flag need to do so in accordance with the rules of Dharma.  At the same time wheel symbolizes the constant evolution and peaceful change of the country.

Official website 

www.india.gov.in

Capital

India’s capital is New Delhi but the biggest city in India is Mumbai with more than 18.4 million people.

Currency 

The official currency is the Indian Rupees ( INR).

Languages

India does not have a national language and has an impressive list of no fewer than 22 official languages  All these languages are recognized by the constitution but only 2 of them, Hindi and English, are used by the central administration.

There were plans to make Hindi the only official language but they were abandoned as they met significant resistance in some states.

As a result, India has the second largest English-speaking population in the World.

 

Population

India is the 7th largest country in the world by size and has a population of more than 1 billion people.

After China, it is the most populated country in the world.  India’s population is growing faster than ever and it’s estimated that more than half of the population is under the age of 25, which makes them one of the youngest populations in the world.

Approximately 17.85% of the world’s population are Indians, which means 1 in every 6 people on Earth live in India.

It is predicted that India will be the world’s youngest country by 2020, with the median age being 29 years.  By 2022 India is also expected to pass China and become the world’s most populous country.

States

The country has 29 states and 7 territories and is home to many different cultures and ethnic groups.

Borders

India shares borders with 6 countries namely Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh and maritime borders with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Seasons

Interestingly the Hindu calendar depicts 6 instead of 4 seasons for India.  These are Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Autumn, Pre-winter, and Winter.

The seasons are clearly noticeable in the Northern states of the country but in the South, being near the equator, the differences are less evident.

Spring, Vasantha Ruthu, is known for its pleasant temperatures. It begins in February and ends in April.  The start of the Spring season (or Autumn season for the Western hemisphere) as we know it (marked by the equinox) falls exactly in the middle of the Hindu Spring season.

Summer, Greeshma Ruthu, is a period during which it becomes hotter all over India.  Summer also lasts 2 months.  The season starts in April and ends in June at Solstice (21 June), the longest day of the year for the Northern hemisphere.

Summer is followed by Varsha Ruthu or the Rainy/Monsoon season.  Most parts of India know heavy rainfall during these two months.  The season starts on June 21 and ends in August.

Next is Sharad Ruthu or Autumn.  Autumn introduces a period during which the temperatures gradually start decreasing again.  The autumn equinox indicates the midpoint of this season that starts in August and ends in October.

The penultimate season is Hemantha Ruthu or also called the Pre-Winter season.  This time before winter is the ideal time to visit India. Like all the other seasons it lasts 2 months, it starts in October and ends on the Winter Solstice on December 21.  The Winter Solstice indicates the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere, the longest in the Southern hemisphere and officially marks the start of the Winter or Summer in respectively the Northern or Southern hemisphere.

The last season is Sishira Ruthu or Winter.  These are the 2 coldest months of the year.  The season starts on December 21 and ends in February.

Religions

India is a secular state with no state religion but a large majority of about 80% of the population is Hindu.

This makes India the country with the world’s largest Hindu population. Indian, Nepal, and Mauritius are the 3 only countries in the world where Hinduism forms a majority.

The remaining 20% is spread across 6 other religions. 13% are Muslims, 2% are Sikhs, 2% Christians, 1% Buddhist and 0,5% Jains. There is also a small minority of Jews.

Despite the percentage-wise small number of Muslims India has more than 300,000 active mosques. This outnumbers any other country in the world, even the Muslim countries. This is because in absolute numbers the country has the second largest Muslim population.

Time zones

The whole of India falls in one single time zone, Indian Standard Time (IST) which is equal to UTC+5h30.

Interesting facts about India

Fauna and flora

India is home to several well-known large animals, including the Asian elephantsBengal and Indochinese Tigers, Asiatic lionsSnow leopardsClouded leopardsIndian leopards, Indian sloth bear, and Indian rhinoceros

Ranthambore tiger, India

The tiger is the national animal of India. India accounts for 70% of the tiger population in the world.  The Tigers are spread out across 50 tiger reserves. Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore and Kanha National Park are three great locations to spot a tiger.

The best season to spot a tiger is in Summer from April to June.

 

We visited Ranthambore ourselves in October and were lucky to spot one. The fauna and flora of the park is much more beautiful in October but the dense green forest makes it harder to spot the animals.

You can read more about our experience here. 

India has a wide range of forests from the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islandsthe Western Ghats, and Northeast India to the coniferous forest in the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie various deciduous forests in east, central and southern India.

A popular and sacred Indian tree in the Banyan tree.  It is the national tree of the country and it provides many health benefits.  Another such medicinal tree is the neem tree, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies.

Since they have a national tree, they naturally also have a national flower.  This is the Lotus flower.  Lotus flowers have played an important role in the art and mythology of India since its inception.

Ranthambore Peacock, India

Since 1963, the peacock is the national bird of India. This indigenous bird can be found all over India and represents the unity of vivid colors of the country. 

Although it took to 1963 for the bird to become the symbol of the nation one can find many references to peacocks in India’s rich and religious culture. 

This list is not complete yet.  India also has a National Aquatic animal, the Ganges river dolphin. This is a freshwater river dolphin.  Mature adults weigh about 150kgs.  The Ganges is the famous sacred river of the Hindus and is also India’s national river. More about mother Ganga further in this article.

Unfortunately, the Ganges is also one of the world’s most polluted rivers.  This pollution is a big threat to the existence of this dolphin species.

In 2010 an extra category has been created in the list to make room for the elephants.  Elephants were added as the national heritage animal of India. The 29.000 elephants in the country got this status in order to be able to take measures to protect them better.

Last but not least we have the national reptile, the King Cobra. The King Cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake

Last but not least a special mention for the national fruit of India, the mango India has more than 100 varieties of mangos. And we also shouldn’t forget about the pumpkin which is the national vegetable. 

This concludes our ‘national items’ section, let’s move on and look at some other fun facts about India.

India has the wettest place and second wettest place in the world

Mawsynram, located in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya near the border with Bangladesh, claims to be the wettest place on earth with an annual rainfall of almost 12.000 mm. 1985 was an exceptional wet year with no fewer than 26 meters of rainfall. Brits obviously don’t know how lucky they’re with those few little showers they get. 😉

15 kilometers from there, in the East Khasi Hills district, lies Cherrapunji, the second wettest place in the world with an average of 11. 777mm rainfall every year. 

This region is terrorized by such high volumes of rain because the Himalaya mountain range blocks the clouds from traveling further north.

The inhabitants have adapted to the dreary weather conditions and never leave home without an umbrella. 😉

They weave special basket-like covers in reed to keep themselves dry when working in the fields.

To be complete we should add that Mawsynram’s claim to the wettest place on earth is disputed by López de Micay in Colombia.  This village reports an average yearly rainfall of 12.717 millimeters.

Regardless of who the real winner is, sunseekers should better avoid these places.

Amer Fort Jaipur, India

Amer Fort

Unesco World Heritage sites in India 

India has 37 Unesco world heritage sites. A lot of them can be found in Rajasthan and the nearby state of Uttar Pradesh.

New Delhi, the state’s capital houses the Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutb Minar which are all declared as World heritage.

In Agra, you will off course find the world-famous Taj Mahal which is both a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as one of the new seven wonders. Agra Fort is a second World Heritage site in this city.  Fatepuhr Skri, just west of Agra, completes Agra’s list.

Jaipur counts two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Jantar Mantar Observatory, and the Amber Fort.

In Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer fort is also recognized as a world heritage site as part of the hill forts of Rajasthan.

The latest addition to the list is the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles of Mumbai. 

This is only a small subset of the list which also contains a few national parks, the Manas wildlife sanctuary, and the impressive Western Ghats.

How many did you already visit?

Sunrise Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The Ganges river is the longest river in India

The Ganges river, sometimes affectionately called Mother Ganga, is the longest river in India. The Ganges originates in the Himalayas at 4,100 meters above sea level and flows 2,525 km across northern India to eventually end in the Bay of Bengal.  The Ganges is of key importance for India as it provides more than 25 percent of India’s total water resources.

It’s also the most sacred river for the Hindus who worship her as a Goddess.

Hindus believe that bathing in this river cleanses people of their sins and facilitates deliverance.

The river bank is also seen as holy ground, and it is believed that those who die in the proximity of the river reach the heavenly abode with all their sins washed away.  

The cremation of a dead body at the banks of Ganges, or even just throwing the ashes of the deceased into the river, is thought to be auspicious and to lead to the salvation of this deceased person. 

The images of bodies being cremated on the river banks in Varanassi was what once made the river popular but these days the Ganges makes news because of a less fortunate event.

Over the last years, it has become the world’s most polluted river.  A mix of dead bodies, ashes, raw sewage, and industrial waste has turned the river into a toxic cocktail.  The number of toxins, chemicals, and bacteria in the water is alarmingly high and almost 3000 times over the limit that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers safe.

Bollywood

Bollywood is India’s answer to Hollywood, it’s the informal name for the Hindi Film Industry which is based in Mumbai.  Bollywood got its name back in the time that Mumbai was still called Bombay, the name is a combination of Bombay and Hollywood.

Bollywood produces more than 1000 films every year.

That makes it the biggest film industry in the world in terms of numbers of films produced.

Those films have a huge audience, daily around 14 million Indians watch a Bollywood film, and some of these films even become popular outside India.

Bollywood posters India

Indian inventions

Lot’s of inventions were made in India. For some such as Yoga that is generally known, but undoubtedly some items on this list will surprise you. Here’s a list of some important Indian inventions.

Yoga

The emergence of Yoga goes back to around five thousand years ago. Stone-carved figures of yoga postures can be found in the Indus Valley depicting the original poses and practices. At that time the first practitioners were called Yogis.  These were people who dealt with the first forms of Yoga.

These practices were certainly different from the yoga as we know it today but little evidence remains to what the customs were exactly.

Oftentimes one also refers to “The Vedas” as a source of inspiration for the Yogis.  The Vedas are a collection of ancient writings in Sanskrit that consists of teachings, hymns, poems, and various rituals.

Yoga originated from the urge of the yogis to become more at one with nature. They saw themselves as part of the same world as the animals, plants, and nature.

In order to become more at one with these worlds, they decided to meditate. By meditating, the Yogis were able, as it were, to isolate themselves better from the human world and to focus on the energy channels in their own bodies and those of the world around them.

At its inception yoga was closely related to Hinduism. It was originally developed as a way to achieve harmony between the heart and soul on the path to divine enlightenment.

These days there’re different forms of yoga, some are still closely related to the religion, others are solely health-related and focus on building physical and mental strength.

Ayurveda treatment India

Ayurveda Therapy

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term and freely translated means “Knowledge of life”. The word Ayurveda actually consists of two words, “Ayus” which means life, changes grammatically to “Ayur” when it is associated with another word. The second word “Veda” means knowledge or insight.  The

The Ayurveda way of life teaches to have knowledge about the creation and all the natural resources. 

It starts with insights about the self and the environment that you are part of.  Once your own nature is understood you can also understand the nature around you and of course the relationship between them. “Know who you are, what you eat and take care of,” that is actually the message and guideline that Ayurveda shares with humanity.

Simply put, once you know your own nature and that of the food that is available to you, you can make smarter decisions about what to eat based on the response to your metabolism.

Ayurveda is a holistic natural medicine that has been used in India since the rise of human civilization. The first demonstrable evidence dates from an estimated 2000-3000 years before Christ.

The goal of Ayurveda is to teach us how to live a long, happy and motivated life. Why? Ayurveda assumes that only in good health a person is able to achieve the four goals of a meaningful life which are Artha, Kama, Dharma, and Moksha.  Artha is the first goal and means to live a secure life. 

The second goal is Kama and means to have an enjoyable life.  Once you have achieved these two goals that mainly focus on one’s own comfort one is expected to give back to the community. 

The third goal, Dharma, is to fulfill one’s duty, in other words, one’s obligations to the society based on their status in the community.

The last goal is Moksha, the supreme goal of a human being, a state of eternal bliss.

Achieving these goals in life leads to progress for oneself, but also for others and for the world.

Chess

The history of chess can be traced back nearly 1500 years. Some traces of the earliest precursor of the game, which knew only 4 different pieces and was known as Chaturanga, were found in Northern India.

From there the game spread to Persia and was renamed Chatrang. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to the rest of the world.

The game of chess that we play today is very different from the original Indo-Arabic game.  The current names of the pieces and the moves originated in Europe around the 15th century.

A minority believe that chess was invented around 200 Before Christ in China by a Chinese commander who invented the game to represent a particular battle. Soon after that battle, which was an important battle in Chinese history, the game was supposedly forgotten and then resurfaced in the 7th century A.D. with several new rules.

Buttons

The origins of buttons can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation in 2000 BCE. They used buttons made from seashells for decorative purposes. Some of them had a geometric shape with tiny holes in them so they could be attached to clothing with thread.

The original buttons were used more as an ornament than as a fastening. Gradually people started to use them for fastening clothes.

Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes appeared first in Germany in the 13th century.

Shampoo

Shampoo was invented in ancient India. Since ancient times Indians have been using a variety of Indian herbal pastes and extracts to cleanse their hair.

The original shampoos were nothing like the ones we buy in the stores today.  They were made of ingredients like Gooseberry (Amla), Soapberry extract(kshuna), hibiscusShikakai paste, etc. Each of these ingredients had natural properties that helped in thick and healthy hair growth.

The word shampoo comes from the Hindi word “champu“, which itself is derived from the Sanskrit word “chapyathi” which means press, knead or soothe.  This describes the acts that the persons needed to do prepare the herbal pastes by mixing the herbs and their extracts.

Wireless communication

The Indian scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose demonstrated in 1895 the use of radio waves for communication. He ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using millimeter range wavelength microwaves.

Bose’s work was not done with radio communication in mind but his research has led to a breakthrough and enables us today to communicate and transmit information over a distance without needing wires or cables.

Natural fibers

Natural fibers such as jute, wool, and cotton all have their origins in India.

India has the world’s First Hospital Train

Living true to its name, The Lifeline Express a.k.a the Jeevan Rekha Express is the world’s first hospital train taking its services ranging from surgeries to cancer treatment to remote villages.

India Agra Train Station

The largest rail network in Asia 

For such a large country it comes as no surprise that India has the largest rail network in Asia.  A total of 65000 kilometers of steel tracks connect the far corners of the country.  The network counts more than 7,172 stations and daily about 12,500 crazy-crowded trains carry over 23 million passengers to their destination.

The Indian railway company employs more than a million people, making it by far the largest employer in India and one of the top 10 employers in the world, to ensure all this runs smooth. 

Improvements are certainly still possible because we met people whose train ran with a 6-hour delay. 😉

The largest wholesale spice market in Asia

The largest wholesale spice market of Asia is found in New Delhi.  The market is located in the Khari Baoli street located near the Red Fort at the western end of Chandni Chowk.  The market has been operating since the 17th century.

Here you can find all sort of spices but also other products such as nuts, herbs, and rice and tea.

The market is very popular with tourists and a typical stop on the tourist heritage tours of Old Delhi.

The largest population of vegetarians in the World

In India, almost 38% of the people are vegetarian ranking India as the country with the highest number of vegetarians in the world. India also has one of the lowest rates of meat consumption in the world.

This high rate of vegetarianism is partly caused by the majority religion that preaches a life without meat but historically seen the Indian cuisine has always been less-meat oriented.

The most popular Indian vegetarian dishes are Mutter paneer which is a pea and cottage cheese dish in a tomato based gravy, Palak Paneer which is made spinach and cottage cheese, Chole which is a chickpea curry and Kaali Daal made of black lentils.

What’s your favorite?

Indian Food

The second largest producer of tea in the world

India is after China the second largest producer of tea in the world. It produces 1,325,050 tonnes every year. 70% of the produced tea never leaves the country and is consumed by the Indians themselves.

China produces 2,473,443 tonnes annually.

 

Although historical records indicate that people were drinking tea in India since 750 Before Christ, the cultivation was only really commercialized once the British arrived in India. The British have always been big tea drinkers.  They historically spend millions to buy tea from China and although they tried to compensate this with their opium trade, they still found they spend too much money on it. That’s why they were more than happy to start cultivating tea themselves.

The most famous teas that are found in India are Darjeeling, Chai and Assam tea. 

 

The largest attended event in the world

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage and is held every 12 years, it is the largest peaceful gathering of people in the world. In 2019 it was estimated that more than 250 million people attended the event. It’s also considered as the world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims.

The event is so big that it’s even visible from space

 

Other big festivals in India are Diwali and Holi.

Diwali is also called the Festival of lights. It is a big Hindu festival that is celebrated by millions of devotees worldwide.  Despite that the festival found its origin in Hinduism it is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs.

The festival lasts 5 days and is annually held in October or November.  The festival coincides with the Hindu New Year and celebrates a new beginning and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

Hindus light candles, lamps, and set off fireworks to represent how good has succeeded over evil.

Holi Festival India

The Holi Festival is also called the festival of colors. It is another large Hindu festival which is mainly celebrated in India and Nepal. It’s held in March to celebrate the beginning of spring and for this reason, some people refer to it as the Spring Festival.

Other names the festival is known by are the Festival Of Love or the Festival Of Happiness or Joy.

The Festival lasts for a complete night and day. The first evening people gather around a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil.  It is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi. The following day is called Holi, or Rangwali Holi. This is the day when people apply colors to one another, party and enjoy.  

By throwing color on each other and by splashing water on each other the celebrants create a feeling of togetherness. 

The Marigold flower, which exists in a wide range of colors like orange, white, red, and yellow plays an important and prominent role in Indian festivals. It’s often offered as a gift to the Hindu gods and goddesses.

India soon has the world’s highest railway bridge

The Chenab Railway Bridge in Kashmir will be the highest railway bridge in the world once it is completed in 2020.  It will have a length of 1,315 meters and a height of 359 meters. That is 35 meters higher than the Eiffel tower!

At the moment India is the fastest growing economy in the world

India currently stays ahead of China when it comes to the fast-growing economy in the world. 

In the second quarter of 2018, ending June 30, it grew at an impressive 8.2 percent, after it had already achieved a growth percentage of 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year. 

Economists predict that India will be able to keep up with these figures and estimate a growth of around 7.8% for the next calendar year.

More than 300,000 Indians are dollar millionaires

India had 343,000 dollar millionaires in 2018. 18.6% of them are women. Most of the Indian millionaires live in Mumbai which is the country’s Financial capital. Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor.

A majority of Indians still live on less than 2 dollars a day.

 

It’s the largest producer of milk in the world

India produces 146.31 million tonnes of milk yearly and that makes it the largest produces of milk in the world before the USA which produces 93,5 million tonnes yearly.

India is also the largest producer of buffalo milk.

The milk-producing regions are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.

It was not allowed for foreigners to import or export Indian rupees

Importing and exporting Indian rupees wasn’t allowed for foreigners up until 2014. If you were a resident of India you could take up to 10.000 IRS with you when you entered or left the country.

This restriction was lifted in 2014 and now Indians, as well as foreigners, can carry 25.000 IRS on them when they enter or leave the country.

Read also: 74 interesting facts about Portugal.

The cheapest way to get cash is to withdraw money from an ATM.

Expenses abroad can be seriously inflated by fees from your bank or credit card.  We save a lot with our N26 account and the free associated Mastercard.  The account is available to most EU residents. The checking account is free as well as the associated Mastercard and there’s no exchange rate provision when you use to card for payments abroad.  There’s a 1,7% exchange rate provision when you withdraw money abroad but even that is free with the premium Black Mastercard. 

The app is another great feature of the card, you can follow your expenses in real-time and instantly block your card if you see any signs of fraud.

Cows Bikaner India

Cows are holy in India

Why are cows holy in India? It is because more than 80% of India’s population is Hindu and Hinduism raises the status of maternal beings to that of a Goddess.

Cows have a gentle nature and Indians rely heavily upon them for their agriculture use, for dairy products, and for tilling fields.  They even make use of the dung as a source of fuel and fertilizer.

Therefore cows are seen as a ‘caretaker’ or maternal figure and that’s why Hindu’s belief that cows are sacred and holy.

Cricket is the most popular sport in India

Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. Soccer is the second most popular sport, followed by field hockey.

Fun facts about India

India is one of the biggest human hair exporters in the world

Human hair export from India is worth about $400 million at the current exchange rate, and the country is a key player in the global beauty industry. 

India collects both Remy hair and non-Remy hair.

Remy hair is to be the highest quality of human hair and the preferred choice for hairpieces and wigs. Most of the hair is collected from temples where pilgrims tonsure their hair as part of a religious vow.  The hair is carefully collected taking care that the hair strands stay aligned.

Non-Remy hair is human hair that is of subpar quality because it is collected in piles after it was brushed from the temple floors and as a result, the cuticles are all misaligned.

There are more mobile phones than toilets

According to UN experts, far more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets.

Especially in the countryside lots of people don’t have a bathroom and are forced to do their business outside.

The main reason for this is that they can’t afford it. A toilet needs a pipeline with water resources and a mobile phone is just a one-time investment.  Mobile telephone subscriptions have also become ultra-cheap over the last years.  Cheaper than water apparently…🤨

Elephant Festival Jaipur

India has a spa for elephants

In July while the days are hot and humid, a spa for elephants opens in Punnathoor in Kerala.  The elephant spa is attached to the Guruvayurappan temple and can accommodate up to 59 elephants.

During this month the elephants are pampered with spa treatments and massages. It’s a way for the workers to reward their loyal tuskers for taking part in the temple processions.  Each temple festival in Kerala includes such a procession.

Children’s day is celebrated on 14th November, exactly nine months after Valentine’s Day

Children’s day, also known as Bal Divas, is celebrated across whole India on 14th November to increase awareness of the rights, care, and education of children.

It’s usually celebrated with all sort of activities.  From a day out to an amusement park, a zoo, museum, etc to a party at home.

Would it be a coincidence that is exactly nine months after Valentine’s day? 🤔

India has a National microbe

The lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus which is the main bacteria used for the production of yogurt is the National microbe of India.

That makes it the only country that we know of to have a national microbe. 🙃

Faluda Kulfi typical Indian Dessert

There are more than 140 types of traditional Indian dessert

Those with a sweet tooth may want to move to India, Indians are known to have a soft spot for sweet desserts.

Here we list the most popular sweet temptations.

Gulab Jamun is a soft spongy ball that is fried and soaked in syrup and usually flavored with saffron and rose water;

Kheer and Phirni are two variants on the popular rice milk puddings flavored with saffron and cardamom and topped with dried fruits and nuts.

Laddu or Laddoo is a ball-shaped sweet which is a popular festive treat. It comes in many different versions and every region has its own specialty. It’s made of flour, sugar, and ghee ( a sort of clarified butter) or butter or oil.

Kulfi is a sort of Indian ice cream made from cow or water buffalo milk. The milk is heated and then flavored and chilled. With a fat percentage of 70-90%, it has a lot higher fat content than regular ice cream ( around 10-18%).

What’s your favorite Indian dessert?

Crazy facts about India 

India is the world’s largest importer of major arms

India has an impressive army that counts more than a million soldiers. The volume of major weapon imports more than doubled between 2004-2008 and 2009-13.

Despite this strong army force, India has never invaded another country.

 

India has the largest family in the world

The biggest family in the world lives in India. Mr. Ziona Chana, or just Ziona, has 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law, and 33 grandchildren.  He is the leader of a Christian sect formed in 1942.  The whole family lives together in a single house in Baktawng not far from the border with Myanmar.

India is the only country in the world that has both tigers and lions

India is home to the Asiatic lion and the Bengal tigers. While most of the lions live on the African continent, there is a small population of  Asiatic lions that live in India’s Gir forest in the state of Gujarat. 

India also has the highest numbers of Bengal tigers in the world.

 

Widows are often considered as bad luck

About 40 million widows in Hindu live a poor and lonely life. The interpretation of the Hindu faith has historically always been discriminatory towards widows.

Luckily ‘widow-burning’ is a practice that has long been left behind, still in rural areas where a classic interpretation of Hinduism is practiced, their conditions remain miserable.

It is believed that women have to mourn once their husband dies. To do so they have to wear a white sari for the rest of their life from the moment their husband dies. White is the color of mourning in Hinduism.

The white sari makes the widows very recognizable and in some places in India, they will be avoided. Some regions still think that a touch of a widow brings bad luck and thus widows become untouchable. Other regions have the custom to refer to widows as objects. She will be addressed as it instead of she.

These combinations of mal interpretations of Hindu faith and superstitious beliefs cause a lot of suffering.

Luckily special widow shelters are mushrooming all over India but although the circumstances of women in India are slowly improving, there is still a long way to go.

India has the highest motorable road in the World

The Umling La Pass in Ladakh is with an altitude of 5.883 meters or 19.000 feet the highest motorable pass in the world. 

It took 6 years to build this  54 km long road and the workers received special training to build this road.

It is said that every hour workers had to come down to acclimatize.

Karni Mata rat temple

India has a temple where they adore rats

We visited the Karni Mata temple during our Rajasthan itinerary.

This temple houses a large family consisting of several thousands of rats. Devotees from all over India travel great distances to worship these animals.

 Sounds a bit strange right?  So, I think you understand how this triggered our attention.  The devotees travel several days to pay their respects to these small furry animals so we decided that the short trip from Bikaner was the least we could do to discover what made this place so special.

I’m not going to fully elaborate on our experience, I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but I can say that it is quite a special experience.  It is something that made it to our list of “only in India”.

India has a village without doors or locks

The Shani Shingapur village has no doors or even locks.

The villagers say the small village is protected by the Hindu God Lord Shani. It has been crime free for 400 years until 2010. They believe that when they all keep their faith in Lord Shani it will stay crime free.

Even the police station and the postal office have no doors or locks.  Only the local bank branch is an exception, it has a barely noticeable small magnetic lock on the door.

The local government oversees the door-less rules and all new constructions have to abide by the door-less and lock-less policies.

Unfortunately, despite their deep faith, there were crimes reported in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

This unique village attracts approximately 40.000 devotees daily to see the once-humble shrine that has since grown into a large temple complex thanks to many donations.

Omg facts about India

Gurugram, a suburb of New Delhi is the most polluted city in the world

Asia, unfortunately, dominates the list of world’s polluted cities with a suburb of New Delhi holding the title of the most polluted city.  32 cities from the top 100 of the most polluted cities are in India. In this list, you will find many famous tourist cities such as Delhi, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Agra, Kolkata, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Udaipur.

China accounts for the largest number of polluted cities in the top 100.  54 Chinese cities are on the list.

India has the highest number of babies born on New Years day

UNICEF has estimated that in 2018 nearly 386.000 babies were born on New Year’s Day. India is leading the list with more than 69.000 babies, followed by China with 44.760 babies and Nigeria with 20.120 babies.

Each minute on average 51 babies are born in India, this means 3.074 births on average each hour and an incredible 73.787 births per day!

India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion.

Time magazine reports that in 2012, the number of abortions in India could be as high as 7 million, with 2/3 of abortions taking place in unauthorized health facilities.

Due to unsanitary conditions, a woman in India dies every two hours. Additionally, there are more men than women in India due to the high rate of abortions performed on female fetuses, a practice known as “gendercide”.

Golden temple Amritsar India

More than 100.000 people are fed daily at the Golden Temple in Amritsar

    Every day more than 200.000 rotis (Indian bread) and 1,5 tonnes of lentil soup are served to over 100.000 people in what is probably the largest free kitchen in the world. During the weekends or on special occasions this number even doubles. More than 450 people work in the kitchen and they are helped by hundreds of volunteers.

    The Golden Temple is the Sikh’s holiest shrine.  The concept of a “Langar” (a free kitchen) is practiced at all Sikh shrines but this one is by far the biggest.

    Conclusion

    When I was writing this article, I was quite often surprised by the amazing facts about India I came along. Lot’s of them I didn’t know about. The most surprising to me was the fact that India is the only country in the world where both lions and tigers can be found. The fact that there are more mobile phones than toilets was less surprising because I already noticed how everybody was addicted to their phone when I was there.  It was the same as everywhere else in the world.

    What’s the most amazing fact you read in this omg facts about India post?

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