15 Amazing Facts about India That You Need To Know
India is located in the south of Asia, and is a country full of incredible destinations for you to visit. Whether you want to visit the majestic Taj Mahal, hike through the Indian Himalayas or eat your way through the many types of mouth watering curry; there is something for everyone. India also has plenty of wildlife, and lots of national parks you can visit if you want to catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger. If this country isn’t on your bucket list yet, then it should be. Here are 15 amazing facts about India that you should know before you start planning your trip!
1. India has the second highest population in the world
India currently has the second highest population in the world, with China having the highest. The country is estimated to have a population of around 1.3 billion people, with the highest populated cities being Delhi and Mumbai; each with a population of over 10 million.
In 1951 India became the first developing country to start a family planning program. Since then, India’s population has quadrupled. Current projections by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that the country’s population will reach 1.5 billion by 2030, and 1.64 billion in 2050.
2. Cows are considered sacred in India
Hinduism is one of the major religions in India, and is the reason why cows are considered to be sacred in this country. Cows are believed to be holy in Hinduism, and so they are protected, honoured and treated with respect. The Hindu Goddess Bhoomi represents Earth and is often shown in the form of a cow.
3. The city of Varanasi is believed to be one of the oldest living cities in the world
The city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is not only regarded as the spiritual capital of India, but also one of the oldest cities in the world.
With a population of over 1 million people, Varanasi dates back to 11BC. India’s oldest city sits on the Ganges River where Hindu pilgrims travel to bathe in the sacred water and to perform traditional funerals. Found along the river are over 2,000 temples including the famous Golden Temple. Once a bustling trading city, Varanasi is now a hugely popular tourist destination with millions of people from all over the world visiting every year.
4. India is home to the famous Holi Festival
The Holi Festival is a Hindu festival that takes place over two days. It originated in India and celebrates love, spring and new life. Holi is usually celebrated in March as it marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
During the first day of Holi, people gather around a bonfire to celebrate good triumphing over evil. The second day of the festival is the one most people will know, and includes lots of colourful perfumed powder, paint, water pistols and balloons. People launch all these things at each other in the streets, which ultimately creates a colour bloodbath. For this reason, the Holi festival is also known as ‘the festival of colours’. Over the course of the two days, the festival celebrates the legend of Holika and Prahland, and the Hindu god Krishna.
5. When finished, the Chenab bridge will be the highest in the world
The Chenab bridge is found in the Jammu and Kashmir area of India, and crosses over the river Chenab (hence the name). It is currently still under construction, but is expected to be finished by the end of 2021.
Once finished the total length of Chenab bridge will be 1,315m, and the height will be a whopping 359m; making it the highest railway bridge in the world. The project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Indian Railways and is going to cost around $92m.
6. India has the third highest amount of billionaires in the world
India is a country that has a huge amount of wealth inequality. In 2019, it was estimated that the richest 10% of the Indian population owned around 80.7% of the wealth, and that the top 1% of the population (in regards to wealth) earned 21% of the country’s total income.
This makes even more sense, when you see that India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world – behind the USA and China. In total India claims to have nearly 7,000 ultra high net-worth individuals with assets of over $30m, and roughly 140 billionaires across the country.
7. India is home to the wettest inhabited place on earth
The state of Meghalaya is found in Northeast India, and is home to the wettest inhabited place on earth. The village of Mawsynram has an average rainfall of around 12,000mm (470 inches) of rain every year. That works out at nearly 33mm of rain per day!
It is so wet here, that the people who work outdoors tend to wear full body umbrellas made from banana leaf and bamboo.
8. The game ‘snakes and ladders’ originated in India
The board game ‘snakes and ladders’ originally came from ancient India. The game was known back then as Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu. It’s believed that it was played as early as 2nd century BC, although it’s not known exactly who invented the game.
Historians believe it was created to teach morals to children, and lessons about karma in a way that children might understand. The squares where the ladders start were originally supposed to represent virtue, and the squares that had the head of a snake were supposed to represent evil. In the original hindu game, the snakes outnumbered the amount of ladders.
The game was then translated to English and transported back to England during the 19th century during the colonial times. The game was modified and stripped of any moral aspects and the number of ladders and snakes were made equal. The game was then named ‘snakes and ladders’ or ‘chutes and ladders’ in the US.
9. About 70% of the world’s spices come from India
A spice is a plant substance that is mainly used for colouring food or making it more flavourful. India uses plenty of spices throughout the country for their mouth watering curry recipes, which is probably part of the reason this cuisine has become so popular across the world.
Today, about 70% of the world’s spices come from India, which is a crazy amount! Some of the most popular species include black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric and vanilla.
10. There is a famous glacial lake
Roopkund Lake is found in the state of Uttarakhand, at the bottom of Trisul – which is a group of three Himalayan peaks. The lake is located at 5,029m above sea level and has been given the nickname ‘the lake of skeletons’.
Whilst a British forest ranger was patrolling the area in 1942, he came upon hundreds of human skeletal remains. It is estimated that to date around 600-800 skeletons have been found here. The lake remains frozen for most of the year, and it’s only when the snow melts that the skeletons become visible.
After carbon dating some of the remains, scientists found that some of the skeletons were over 1,200 years old. Even more strange, some of the skeletons death’s are separated in time by as much as 1,000 years meaning a single catastrophic event couldn’t have led to all their deaths. For now, there is still no explanation to why all these people died here during different periods of time, so ‘the lake of skeletons’ still remains a mystery.
11. India has the highest population of vegetarians in the world
If you have ever travelled through India, then you know it is a country that has plenty of delicious vegetarian meals. It is estimated that between 15% and 30% of India’s population are strictly vegetarian due to cultural and religious beliefs.
History shows that due to the spread of Jainism throughout India and the teachings of Buddha, being a vegetarian became a lot more common. Hindu communities also turned to being vegetarian, and now it is so common in India that western food chains like KFC have an actual vegetarian menu.
12. India is home to one of the new world wonders – The Taj Mahal
When we think of India; especially as travellers, the first thing that comes to mind is the majestic Taj Mahal! Millions of people visit this incredible site each year (pre-pandemic of course), and it isn’t hard to see why! This beautiful mausoleum was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632. His wife had passed away from childbirth, so he had the Taj Mahal commissioned in her memory. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the ‘new 7 wonders of the world’.
There are plenty of amazing viewpoints you can view the Taj Mahal from so you won’t be short of amazing photographs. Within the Taj Mahal, the famous ‘Princess Diana bench’ and the gates either side of the mausoleum are both great places to view this iconic site. Other great places to view the Taj Mahal from include Mehtab Bagh Gardens and the banks of Yamuna River.
During our 14 day India tour you will get to see the Taj Mahal in all its glory. First of all we will head to an amazing viewpoint of the Taj Mahal for sunset, and then we will get up super early to beat the crowds and see this majestic building at the crack of dawn. Your local guide will show you around, and you’ll get to learn all about the secrets that make this world wonder even more special.
13. The highest cricket ground in the world is found here
India is home to the highest cricket ground in the world which is pretty cool. Chail Cricket Ground is located in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. It was built in 1893, and is also used as a polo ground today. Located at a height of around 2,144m, Chail Cricket Ground rests 7500 feet above sea level, so boasts some pretty incredible views.
If you are planning a future trip to India and love cricket, then this is a place you need to visit!
14. The bengal tiger is India’s national animal
When it comes to national animals & symbols; India’s is probably the coolest! It is the Bengal tiger, which is sadly an endangered species. However, thanks to conservation efforts the number of tigers in India are finally increasing! Since 2006, it’s estimated that the amount of tigers in the wild has doubled, which gives us great hope for this beautiful species. Now India is home to around 3/4 of the world’s tiger population, which is pretty special.
There are plenty of national parks throughout India where tigers can be spotted, and if you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one, then it’s a pretty special experience! Some of the most popular national parks to visit include Ranthambore National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park and Tadoba National Park.
15. Kumbh Mela gathering visible from space
Kumbh Mela is a Hindu festival that is celebrated roughly every 12 years. It takes place at four river bank pilgrimage sites, where people take a ritual dip in the waters. It is believed that bathing in the river at these sites is a way to make atonement for past mistakes, and has the ability to cleanse them of their sins.
The Kumbh Mela in 2011 was the largest ever gathering of people in the world. Over 75 million pilgrims came together and the gathering was so huge that it could be seen from space!
We hope these amazing facts about India have convinced you to add this incredible country to your bucket list (if it isn’t on there already!). Whether you are a big foodie, a nature lover or a culture buff; this country will catch your heart. Why not join us here at One Life Adventures, and explore the magic that is India. During our 14 day India tour we will take you on a jeep safari through the desert, visit the city of lakes and explore the famous ‘pink city’ of Jaipur.
Do you have any other quirky or amazing facts about India? If you have, then pop them in the comments below so we can all see them!
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Written By: Abbie Bevan