15 Indian Facts You Need To Know Before Visiting!
India is one of the biggest countries in the world, 7th in fact, and has a rich and varied culture and history. Find out some facts about this fascinating country right here!
India is the second most populous nation in the world after China, with a population of 1.2billion. This is more than the entire western hemisphere! In fact, the population is growing at such a speedy rate that it is expected to be most the most populous country by 2050, exceeding the populations of both China and USA combined.
Although Hindi and English are the most widely used in official capacities, many different languages are spoken in India with the other main ones being Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, and Urdu. The government in fact recognises 17 languages in total! And this is not including over 1600 dialects that can be found spoken in the country.
In India a wide variety of religions are practised, in fact every major world religion has followers in the country. Some of the world’s most practised religions originate on the Indian subcontinent too such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Approximately 80% of the population are Hindu, with 13% following Islam, making it the third largest population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.
Mumbai, known as Bombay until 1995, is the capital city of the state of Maharashtra in western Indian, and is also the country’s most populous city. With a population of nearly 20million, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Found on the Arabian Sea coast, the city is home to many things including the thriving Bollywood film industry.
The world famous powerhouse of Bollywood is officially the largest film industry in the world in terms of films produced and people employed. Every year it releases over 1,000 films, making Hollywood’s scant 500 look rather paltry in comparison. With the first Indian film produced in 1913, Bollywood has been part of India’s thriving film industry ever since.
While field hockey may be officially the national sport of India, it is cricket that really gets the nation excited. The most popular sport in India, it is played the length and breadth of the country. Introduced by the British during their rule in the mid-18th Century, it has been played ever since with great success, with India currently ranked second in the world behind Australia.
7. The Food
Indian cuisine is popular worldwide for its exciting, varied and fresh flavours, which is not surprising when you consider the fact that over 70% of the world’s spices come from India. While western tastes may alter the original cuisine somewhat, India also boasts the lowest meat consumptions per person in the world today.
8. Cows and Milk
Cows are sacred in Hinduism, and their slaughter is forbidden, making them a somewhat protected animal in India with its high number of Hindus. Part of the reason that they are revered is that they are givers of milk, and in fact, India is the biggest producer of milk in the world, incredibly producing around 16% of the world’s milk supply.
9. The Tea
With tea drinking dating back to 750BC in India, tea is obviously a big thing in the country! With the British turning it into one of the biggest tea producing countries in the world during their rule, India today still remains the second biggest producer of tea just after China and is famed for its delicious Assam and Darjeeling brews.
10. The Gold
Gold may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of India, but the fact remains that it has a lot of it! Not only does it rank 10th in the list of country gold reserves, but it also owns a lot privately. It is estimated that Indian housewives hold 11% of gold in world simply in their jewellery, which is more than USA, Switzerland and Germany combined!
11. Kumbh Mela Festival
India’s Kumbh Mela Festival which is held every 12 years is the largest gathering of people in the world with over 100million attendees. The festival is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. Traditionally, four fairs are widely recognized as the Kumbh Melas, meaning that as the years rotate there is in fact one at one of the 4 locations each year.
12. 6 Seasons
According to the Hindu calendar, there are not 4 seasons, but rather 6: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, pre-winter and winter. Known as ritu, these seasons are not just understood to be an Indian phenomenon, but also exist in such countries as Nepal and Bangladesh.
13. National Symbol and Flag
The national symbol of India is the beautiful but endangered Bengal Tiger with only around 4000 left in the wild today. The Indian flag is made up of 3 horizontal bands of colour: saffron for courage and sacrifice, white for truth and peace, and green for faith, fertility, and chivalry. The emblem in the middle is the Buddhist dharma chakra, or wheel of life, which was added when India gained independence.
14. North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands and is found in the famed Bay of Bengal, the north-eastern part of the Indian Ocean. Surrounded by coral reefs and with no natural harbours, the island is part of a 5km exclusion zone, thanks to its population of a few hundred indigenous people, the Sentinelese. Considering how densely populated this part of the world is, the Sentinelese are one of last remaining people to remain untouched by modern civilisation.
With 9 of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world located in this mountain range, it us one of the most breath-taking sites on Earth. Most often associated with the neighbouring country of Nepal, the Indian Himalayan Region spans 10 states in the north of the country and contains the highest mountain in India, Kanchenjunga. Standing at 8,598m, it is shared with Nepal as it is on the border between the 2 countries. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world.