“India brings out so many different feelings in me. I’ve been fascinated with Indian and Indian culture since I could remember – ever since the 60s with the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.”
- Joe Perry
India is a land known for its exotic spices, religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and colorful traditions. Today, India boasts a bustling population, and is increasingly becoming a respected competitor in the global marketplace. Like many countries around the world, India blends together a mix of the ancient world and modern-day living.
43. Hey, Mr. Postman
India has the largest postal service system on the planet. There is even a floating post office located in Dal Lake, Srinagar. The “Floating Post Office" is actually built on an intricately carved houseboat that is moored on the western edge of the lake. It offers all of the regular postal services available in India, and uses a unique seal: a boatman rowing a shikara on the Dal Lake.
42. Shall We Dance
Dancing is one of India’s most developed art forms. Known for the use of expressive gestures, dancing is important for religious use, and entertainment.
41. Not Just A Drink
Farmers in India have found success with using Pepsi and Coca-Cola as a pesticide. Coca-Cola and Pepsi both vehemently deny the effectiveness of using their products as pesticides, stating that there is absolutely nothing in their products that should kill pests. Still, farmers in India disagree, and they claim that cola has been equally effective as traditional pesticides, while cutting costs by 80%. The farmers also claim that the sugar content keeps soils rich. One explanation as to why this may work (theoretical and thus far unproven) is that the cola attracts ants that kill and deter other pests.
40. A Reason For A Season
India experiences six distinct seasons. They are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Summer Monsoon, and Winter Monsoon.
39. The Mighty Fig
India’s national tree is the fig, or banyan. This tree is a symbol of immortality and found in many mythical stories.
38. Sacred Mountains
India is home to the Himalaya mountains, which comes from the Sanskrit words "hima," meaning "snow" and "alaya," meaning "abode." These sacred mountains are peppered with ancient monasteries.
37. Seeing Stars
India has the largest film industry on the world, known affectionately as "Bollywood." Movie making is based in Mumbai, and the ‘B’ in Bollywood is a nod to Bombay, the former name of Mumbai. Mumbai is also India’s largest city, with a population of 15 million people. India's film industry grosses approximately $2 billion per year at the box office.
36. The Coding Crowd
IT workers in India are sought after for their skills. In fact, Hotmail and the Pentium chip were both created by Indians. Tata Consultancy Services is an Indian IT consulting giant that competes globally with other IT consulting firms, such as Accenture.
35. Powerhouse of Production
India is a top producer of dried beans, bananas, tea and milk.
34. Tea Time Calls
India enjoys drinking tea, as it is the national beverage of choice. Chai tea is a special blend of tea developed in India, valued for its aromatic spices, and is enjoyed with sugar and milk.
33. Top Crops
The main food staples in India are wheat, rice, and lentils. Most meals are vegetarian, and most dishes are eaten without the use of cutlery.
32. Sacred Waters
India is home to the Ganges river, which is sacred to Hindus. The river is revered as the home of the goddess Ganga, and is believed to offer purification those who enter its waters.
31. The Silk Road Lives
Over 70% of the world’s spices come from India. Top spice exports include ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper, cardamom, chilli, celery, fennel, fenugreek, ajwain, dill seed, garlic, tamarind, clove, and nutmeg among others.
30. Come Together
The Kumbh Mela festival, or Grand Pitcher festival is the largest gathering of human beings on the planet. It takes place every twelve years, and brings together over 100 million people!
29. A Place For People
Despite being 1/3 of the size of the United States, India boasts a population of 1,166,079,217 people, making it home to 17% of the world's population.
28. The Rupee Stops Here
Foreigners are forbidden by law to take Indian currency out of the country. The rupee is the currency used for monetary transactions in Indian.
27. Air Problems
The air in Mumbai, India is of such poor quality that breathing in all that air pollution is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes in a day! And New Delhi, India is the most polluted city on the planet.
26. Say What
India boasts having more mobile phones than toilets. Over 53% of homes in India do not have a toilet. Some things in life cannot be replaced by an app.
25. Credentials Please
Cows are not only held sacred in India, but in West Bengal, India cows must have a photo I.D. card. Smile for the camera and say “Moo,” please.
24. The Power Of Peace
India has never invaded another country on the planet. However, India has been invaded by outsiders for centuries. The country most recently gained independence from British control peacefully, on August 15, 1947.
23. In The Name Of Love
The caste system is pretty rigid in India. When couples from different castes fall in love, they may be subject to harassment and abuse. Thankfully, the "Love Commandos" are a group who fight to protect inter-caste couples and their love.
22. Capture The Con Man
A man was sentenced to 113 years in prison, but managed to escape on 9 different occasions. His crime? The criminal reportedly sold the "Taj Mahal" and other historic sites.
21. Pass A Plate
The Golden Temple in India serves over 100,000 people daily vegetarian meals, no matter their ethnicity, class, or creed.
20. Uncovering Buddha
In 1954, an 8th century Viking settlement in Sweden was unearthed by archaeologists. A fascinating discovery was made, as a Buddha statue from India was found.
19. No Police Needed
For over 400 years, the village of Shani Shingnapur, India had no crime. Residents didn’t need locks, or even doors until 2010. The villagers believe that criminals face a Sade Saati (a period of seven-and-a-half years of bad luck). In 2011, expensive gold ornaments kept in an unlocked cupboard disappeared from the house of a temple trustee. Following these crimes, other incidents of petty theft were reported, prompting requests for added security and policing.
18. A World Of Treasure
Indian housewives own more gold than the reserves of the IMF, United States, Germany, and Switzerland combined. The amount of gold owned by Indian ladies is 11% of the world’s gold. This is because Indians have historically (and still do) invested heavily in gold, which is constantly in demand in India and can easily be exchanged for currency.
17. Shake Over Smoke
In India, many people enjoy marijuana in the form of a milkshake versus smoking the plant.
16. Doctor To The Rescue
In 2009, a patient had 172, 155 kidney stones removed from a kidney by a doctor in India. The surgery took place over 3 hours!
15. Saving Water
A man in India used water-preservation techniques to bring water back to over 1,000 villages by bringing 5 rivers back to life.
14. A Girl’s Best Friend
India was the only official place where genuine diamonds were found up until the year 1986.
13. Not Just A Ring
Many Indians prefer an arranged marriage, and only 1 out of 10 marriages end in divorce. India has one of the lowest divorce rates on the planet.
12. The Open Road
India has the largest network of roadways, with over 1.9 million miles of roads across the country.
11. Service And Honor
Over 2.5 million men from India made up a volunteer army during WWII. 38 Indian men were honored with the Victoria Cross or George Cross for their services.
10. A Regal Symbol
The Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India. Even though it is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies, there are only 2,500 left in the wild. The founding of India’s tiger reserves in the 1970s helped stabilize the population, but poaching to meet Asian demand for tiger fur and meat has once again put the Bengal tiger at risk.
9. Mysterious Waters
In 2012, faithful worshipers gathered around a statue of Jesus at a church in Mumbai. For some time, people were awed by the water seen trickling down the statue and gathering at its toes. The locals dubbed this a miracle and started collecting the holy water. Sanal Edamaruku, who well known in India for debunking religious myths, rushed to the site to investigate. He faced jail time after he revealed the water came from clogged sewage drainage pipes from the wall behind the statue. His revelation provoked death threats from religious locals, and he was ultimately charged with blasphemy under the Indian penal code.
8. Planting With Purpose
Over 50 million trees were planted in just 24 hours in India. The event occurred on Monday, July 11, 2016, making the Guinness World Records.
7. Milk Baths For Gods
In India, snakes are revered and still worshiped as deities. In fact, this isn't unique to India; Nag Panchami is a traditional worship of snakes or serpents practiced by Hindus throughout India, Nepal and other countries. One common ritual involves Women bathing snakes in milk as an offering.
6. Freedom To Marry
In India, sometimes marriages between humans and animals take place for various reasons. An Indian man married a dog for atonement, and a woman who claimed she fell in love with a snake married the creature in 2006.
5. To Your Health
In some villages in India, babies are dropped from the tops of temples into the arms of adults far below. The reason? It is believed to offer the babies good health.
4. How Do You Say It
India boasts a lot of languages, with 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. Most Indian people speak two or more languages.
3. A World Wonder
The Taj Mahal was erected by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his favorite wife. This gem of architecture, known as one of the modern day Wonders of the World, is suffering yellowing of its white marble exterior, thanks to the air pollution in India.
2. No Naughty Business
The Kama Sutra is an Indian Hindu text that is all about enhancing sexual pleasure, but most people don't realize that there's an Indian law that makes sex toys illegal in India. Allegedly, one of the primary concerns is the ways these products are sold, showing suggestive pictures and graphic descriptions. That said, current Indian law states that anyone who sells or has possession of obscene books, pamphlets, papers, drawings, paintings, or obscene objects can be punished with imprisonment and/or fines. Suspicious body massage wands will be confiscated.
The original word for "chess" comes from the Sanskrit word "chaturanga," as India is the game’s birthplace.