Interesting facts about India for travellers and non-travellers alike

If you are interested in India for whatever reason then here are some interesting facts about India. India and Indians does attract some stereotyping which I hope to dispel. If I have missed out some facts then do include them in the comments. Travellers to India might find these facts on India interesting. So here goes and hope you like these amazing facts about India.

Interesting facts about India: A photo of a sweet shop in India. Indians love sweets.

Interesting facts about India:

The official name of India is Republic of India.

Another official name of India is Bharat.

India is also known as Hindustan or the land of the Hindus. Some historians believe that Hindu word came from the River Indus. It is that thought that the word India came from the word indigo as it was grown extensively in India. Here are more some facts on Hinduism.

One of the earliest civilisations flourished in India. The India Indus Valley Civilization is one of the oldest in the world. It comprised of more than 100 cities and villages. The two main cities were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. India is hence the oldest continuing civilisation.

India is the only subcontinent in the world.

Neighbours of India include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

India is the seventh largest country in the world.

The capital of India is New Delhi.

It is the largest democracy in the world.

India has 17 major languages and about 850 various dialects.

The most populated city in India is Mumbai.

Other major metros include Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the nation.

Pakistan is not a friendly neighbour. India accuses Pakistan of exporting terror into India.

Pakistan claims that Kashmir (India’s only Muslims dominated state) is theirs.

One of the most popular destinations amongst foreign tourists is the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Travel and tourism industry amounts to 2.2% of Indian GDP. Approximately 6.85 million international tourists came to India in the year 2013.

Hindi is one of the official languages of India (it’s not the national language). Learn some Hindi here.

The two main religions of the world are Hinduism comprising of 75% of the population and Islam of about 17%. Here are top holy places to visit in India.

India is the second largest English speaking country in the world.

Other religions include Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.

India has the largest numbers of vegetarians in the world.

India is the largest producer of milk in the world.

India was the first country to cultivate and refine sugar.

The currency of India is the Indian National Rupee.

The internal domain of India is dot in (.in).

The intentional dialling code is +1

India has a current population of 1.2 billion and will take over China around 2028.

Currently, 50% of India’s population is below 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35.

About 100 million years ago, India used to be an island. The Indian subcontinent collided with Asia and created the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.

Tea (called chai in India) has been grown and drank in India for centuries but it was exclusively for the rich till the British mass cultivated it.

White tigers are only found in Indian tigers (Bengal tigers).

The Indian film industry is often called Bollywood since most Indian films are made in Bombay (Mumbai). Here’s an introduction to Indian cinema.

British rule started in India in the year 1858. The revolt of 1857 called the India’s first independent movement was crushed leading to the formation of Government of India Act 1858 an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom calling abolition of East India Company  and transfer of territories to the British crown. This lead to the start of the British rule in India!

India got its independence from Britain on the 15th 1947.

India was split into Pakistan and India. East Pakistan is today independent from Pakistan and is called Bangladesh.

India was divided on religious lines. Followers of Hinduism and other religions were supposed to live in India and Pakistan was created for the Muslims. Funny thing today is that there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan.

The Indian flag is called the tricolour. The top band is saffron, the middle band is white with the Ashoka chakra in between and the green at the bottom.

The most popular salutation in India is the Namaste. Namaste is said by folding both hands together and saying “Namaste”. Namaste means “I bow to the goodness in you”. Here’s more on the meaning of Namaste.

Children touch the feet of their elders to pay respects.

Indian women wear Sari (saree) which is a long piece of cloth and the salwar kameez. Here’s how to wear the sari.

Many men wear a dhoti in place of pants. Here’s more on what Indians wear.

The most popular sport is cricket.

The highest cricket ground in the world is the Chail Cricket Ground in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. It was built in the year 1893.

India has never hosted the Olympic Games.

India has the largest post office network in the world.

The national sport of India is hockey.

The national animal of India is not the cow but the Royal Bengal Tiger. It is true that cows are often allowed to roam on the streets of India but so are other animals. More about tigers here.

The national bird of India is the Indian Peacock.

The national flower of India is the lotus. Many Hindu gods and goddess are often seen seated on the lotus.

The Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering of people in the world and is visible from space.

Interesting facts about India: Read Rishabh’s experience at the Kumb Mela.

A village called “Mawsynram” in India’s North Eastern Khasi Hills has the highest average rainfall in the world. Learn about Indian Monsoons here.

The Brihadeswara Temple of Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu is the World’s first granite temple.

The national anthem of Bangladesh was written by Rabindranath Tagore an India who also wrote India’s national anthem.

Freddie Mercury and Ben Kingsley have Indian origins.

Hotmail was founded by an Indian called Sabeer Bhatia.

Diamonds were first mined in India in the Guntur and Krishna districts of the Krishna River.

The game of snakes and ladders was originated in India.

Chess called Chaturanga too has Indian origins which then spread to Persia and Arabia.

Interesting facts about India: The golden temple in Amritsar, India.

Mathematics such as Algebra, Trigonometry, quadratic equations, Calculus all of which originated in India.

Aryabhatta was the first person to calculate the value of Pi. Most of Aryabhatta’s work has been documented in his book called Aryabhatiya.

The decimal system, concept of zero and the numbers called the “Hindu Numericals” all originated in India.

The art of navigation was used extensively on the River Sindhu. In fact, the word “Navigation” has been derived from the Sanskrit word “Navgatih”.

The Sikh religion was started by Guru Nanak in Punjab. Read more about the Sikh Golden Temple here.

Buddha was born in Lumbini (current day Nepal) but found enlightenment in Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India.

Buddhism declined in India, the land of its origins after the Gupta Dynasty around 13th century.

The holy city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi is the oldest inhabited city in the world. Here’s an amazing fact on Varanasi.

His Holiness, Dalai Lama runs his government from Dharmashala in Northern India.

Yoga is of Indian origin. Yoga was invented as a way to connect with the Supreme Being.

Most of the Hindu texts are in Sanskrit.

The River Ganges (2,510 km) is worshipped as a Goddess and referred to as Ganga Maiya (Mother Ganga).

Indians don’t use toilet paper to wash their back size. They use water and their left hand. Here’s how to use the Indian toilet.

The world’s most Zoroastrians live in India. They escaped persecution in Persia so they came to India.

Zoroastrians don’t bury or cremate their dead but instead they leave it on a mountain called “Towers of Silence” for vultures eat.

A popular tourist attraction is the temples of Khajuraho which is a group of Hindu and Jain temples. These temples were built during the Chandella dynasty influenced by the Tantric school of thought.

Tantra is a type of meditation often connected with sex. It is often practiced by married people. The Goddess Kali is considered as one of the many Tantric deities. Tantrics reject the mainstream Hindu philosophy that the world is an illusion (maya) and teach that the world is real.

The earliest cotton woven into clothes is thought to be in India.

In medieval India, the practice of Sati was common, where a widow would kill herself by jumping on the funeral pyre of her husband. The practice is now banned.

The Bahai Lotus Temple in Delhi is the most visited temple in the world. Read more about the Bahai religion and the Lotus Temple.

Interesting facts about India: The Lotus Temple in New Delhi.

The national fruit of India is the mango.

India has the second largest rail network in the world. The railways are the lifeline of the Indian people as far as transport is concerned. Here’s more on the Indians Railways.

Indians love gold. It is thought that Indian housewives have about 11% of the World’s gold.

The best time to travel in India is between November and March when the weather is moderate.

India is a high risk malaria region so travellers are best advised to take precautions.

India uses 230 volts. This means a traveller from the USA will require a voltage converter and plug adapter like this one.

Drinking of alcohol is frowned upon however things are changing.

Guests are welcomed in India. There is a saying “Athihi Devo Bhava” which means that guests are a reflection of God and hence they are welcomed and treated well.

The current Prime Minister of India is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who was the previously chief minister of state of Gujarat.

Ayurvedic medicine an ancient school of medicine is still popular in India.

Don’t let anyone fool you; although lot of people have been uplifted out of poverty, India is a still a poor country. India still has one-third of the world’s poor.

According to UNICEF, one third of the world’s malnourished children live in India.

According to the World Health Organisation, about 100,000 people die from diarrhoea every year. Many people do not have any toilets and hence have to defecate in the open.

The male female ratio of India (sex ratio) is increasing rapidly. It is estimated that there is 900 females to 1000 males. This is due to the fact that the girl-child is killed before it’s born.

A case of rape is reported every 22 minutes in India. Foreign tourists have also been raped.

If you want more amazing facts on India then try this India for kids book. I hope you liked these Interesting facts about India from the top of my head. If I have missed out on something then please do remind me.

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Namaste World. I am Diya. My life in India: (Multiculturalism for Children). Teach kids about India

India for kids