Traveling to India? India is a vast country with thousands of years of culture and history. in this blog post, we are outlining some fun facts about India that will make you sound you smart and well-read in bars and at airports. 😉
Kama Sutra is an ancient Sanskrit literature (2nd century) written by Vatsyayana describing human sexual behavior. “Kama” which is one of the four goals of Hindu life, means “desire” including sexual desires and “sutra” means a “thread” that holds things together.
Yuktibhasa, written by Indian astronomer Jyeshtadeva, is considered to be the first mathematical treatise on calculus.
The Directive Principles in India, which are guidelines for the government while framing laws and policies, were inspired by the Irish nationalist movement.
Chakara is a rare and peculiar marine phenomenon observed along the coastal waters of Kerala.
St. Thomas the Apostle performed the first baptism in India in 52 A.D and established India’s first Church the same year.
The state of Punjab gets its name from the fact that five tributaries of the river Indus – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej – run through the state.
The Indian film industry is the largest film industry in the world (by the number of films produced).
Cherrapunji in India is the wettest place in the world with the maximum amount of yearly rainfall.
Kuttanad in Kerala is India’s only region below sea level. Chicken’s Neck (a narrow strip of land that connects mainland India to its north-eastern states) is only 24 km wide.
The Indus Valley civilization is one of the oldest civilization in the world, dating back at least 5,000 years.
India is the 2nd largest country by population (currently approaching 1.3 billion). Soon it will overtake China to become the World’s most populous country (likely by 2040).
India is the 12th largest economy in the world in terms of currency conversion and 4th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power.
World’s first university was established in Takshila, India in 700 BC.
Kolkata, India is called the City of Palaces because of its abundance of European-style buildings.
The Casino Goa in Goa is the only legal casino in India.
Singer and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was born to Indian parents in Zanzibar and studied in St. Mary’s High School in Mazagaon, Mumbai.
Indian physician Susrutha (6th century BC) is called as the “Father of Surgery”, for his seminal and numerous contributions to the science of surgery. Sushruta authored a series of medical treaties, collectively known as Sushruta Samhita, in which he describes over 120 surgical instruments, 300 surgical procedures, and classifies human surgery in 8 categories.
Wearing the Gandhi cap became a steadfast tradition during the Indian independence movement that is continued by Indian politicians to this day.
A small village in Tamil Nadu called Naluvedapathy remained unscathed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami because of a record 80,244 casuarina saplings planted on the coast two years earlier.
The Kandariya Mahadeva is considered one of the best examples of Hindu temples preserved from the medieval period in India.
Nivedita Bhasin of Indian Airlines is the youngest woman pilot in world civil aviation history to command a jet aircraft at the age of 26.
The cast for the Academy Awards-nominated movie Little Terrorist had never acted in a movie before, and the crew worked for the movie free of charge and even traveled to India at their own expense.
Shuka Saptati, originally authored in Sanskrit, is a collection of 70 erotic love tales narrated by a parrot to prevent its mistress from committing adultery while her husband is away from home.
Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy is the longest single-volume novel ever published in the English language.
The Cellular Jail in the Andaman Islands in India had a forked structure and derived its name from the fact that it comprised only isolated cells.
Maulana Mehmud Hasan organized an armed rebellion against the British Raj with Turkish support but was arrested just before his return to India.
A USD $500 million ski village project promoted by Alfred Ford in Himachal Pradesh, India was rejected by the local priests claiming gods spoke to them about the project being detrimental to the population of Kullu.
The Cheraman Juma Masjid, the oldest mosque in India, was originally constructed in traditional Hindu architectural style.
Colóquios Dos Simples e Drogas da India was a scientific text published in Goa in 1563 that included the first published verses by Luís de Camões, Portugal’s national poet.
Kolachal was the location of a battle in 1741 where for perhaps the only time in Indian history, an Indian kingdom defeated a European naval force.
Human sacrifices were once offered in Chitpur, now home to Kolkata’s latest passenger railway terminal.
In 1932, Paramahansa Yogananda urged young people to pool resources, buy land, and create World Brotherhood Colonies, nearly 40 years before the intentional community movement of the late 1960s.
Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first female graduates in the British Empire and the first female doctor (allopathy) in South Asia.
The Urdu movement, which sought to establish Urdu as the lingua franca of the Muslim communities of India, emerged from the fall of the Mughal Empire and became an integral part of the Pakistan movement.
A monkey named Ramu in Orissa was jailed for 5 years on the charge of disturbing communal harmony.
There are significant breeding populations of 35 mammalian species in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India, of which 15 are threatened species according to the IUCN Red List.
The world’s tallest statue of Hindu god Lord Shiva is located in Murudeshwara, a coastal town in Karnataka, India.
A Vihara is an Indian Buddhist cave monastery that takes its name from the Sanskrit word for “a secluded place in which to walk”.
The Kalka–Shimla Railway track, a narrow-gauge rail track in Himachal Pradesh, has a length of 96 KM, passing through 102 tunnels and crossing 864 bridges.
The Siribhoovalaya, a unique work of multi-lingual literature composed by Jain monk Kumudendu Muni is written entirely using Kannada numerals, without the use of any alphabets.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the second railway in the world that was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
More than 500 varieties of mango are showcased in the International Mango Festival held in Delhi.
The three universal Hindu icons are the Aum, the swastika, and the Sri Chakra Yantra.
Poet Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian Nobel Prize winner.
The women courtiers in the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom were expected to be adept in 64 arts, with Kasuti embroidery being one of them.
The town of Channapatna in India is known as the “Toy-town of Karnataka” due to the popularity of the wooden toys manufactured there.
Mother Theresa University, in Vilpatti Panchayat, South India, is the nation’s only university exclusively devoted to women’s issues.
Patacara, who became a Buddhist while disconsolately wandering naked through the Indian city of Savatthi, rose to become the foremost bhikkhuni of Gautama Buddha in her mastery of the Vinaya.
The relics of Sariputra and Mahamoggallana, Gautama Buddha’s two chief disciples, were the subject of more than 2 million Sri Lankan pilgrimage visits after their discovery by Sir Alexander Cunningham.
Kosambi, a city in ancient India which was a frequent site of sermons by the Buddha was one of the places considered suitable for his Parinibbāna.
One of the largest rainwater harvesting projects in the world is being implemented in the rural areas of the state of Karnataka, India.
The world’s first birth control clinic was set up in 1930 in the Mandya district of the state of Karnataka, India.
Roman trade with India was so large that it almost drained gold resources from Rome and involved the despatch of 120 ships full of gold every year.
Shivappa Nayaka, a king in 17th century Karnataka, India, introduced a unique and variable tax system called Sist.
In 1985, Texas Instruments became the first multinational to set up a base in Bangalore.
Ghum is the highest railway station in India at 2,225 m (7,407 ft).
Vijaya Dasa, an 18th-century Hindu saint from the Karnataka Haridasa tradition, composed about 25,000 devotional songs in the Kannada language.
Narayana Hrudayalaya, located in Bangalore, India and one of the largest pediatric heart hospitals in the world, offers a telemedicine service for FREE!
Government Sanskrit College was one of the first modern college established in 1791 in ancient India, in the city of Benares (aka Varanasi).
The St. Philomena’s Church in the city of Mysore in India was built in a Neo-Gothic style drawing inspiration from the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
Romulus Whitaker won the Whitley Award for establishing a rainforest research station at Agumbe in India to conserve King Cobras.
The biggest walk-through aviary in India is located on the shore of the Karanji Lake in Mysore.
In the Indian Gaarudi Gombe ceremonial dance, dancers are required to wear full-body doll-suits made of bamboo sticks.
Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha, in the city of Hubli, is the only unit in India authorized to manufacture and supply the Indian Flag.
The Sangam poems, an important source of ancient Tamil history, were composed by a total of 473 poets over a period of a few centuries.
Some rocks at the Kupgal neolithic site, near Bellary, India, produce gong-like musical tones when struck with boulders.
The Oleoresin extracted from Byadgi chili is used in making nail polish and lipstick.
The Kumortuli neighborhood of Kolkata supplies images of Goddess Durga to Indian communities in about 90 countries.
Karnataka is home to the largest concentration of Siddis (a tribe of African descent) in India.
The Roman merchants who traded with ancient Tamil country used the monsoon winds to reduce the travel time between Egypt and India to forty days.
The Narasinganavar family residing in the Indian state of Karnataka is one of the largest undivided families in the world.
The Kallanai Dam, built by Karikala Chola to support agriculture in the ancient Tamil country, is considered the oldest water-regulation structure still in use.
Hindus in the ancient Tamil country worshiped different deities depending on the landscape of the region they lived in.
Bangalore Palace in India, which was built to resemble Windsor Castle in England, has hosted music concerts of bands like Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, and Deep Purple.
Women in the Early Pandyan Society dressed their hair differently according to their marital status.
The Indo-Burma barrier, a 1624 kilometer-long barrier between India and Burma, is being built to curtail gun running and illicit drug trafficking.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is one of the most frequented religious sites in India, drawing nearly 2 million pilgrims annually.
The 16th century Indian musician-composer Miyan Tansen laid the foundations of Hindustani classical music by mixing Sufi and Bhakti musical traditions.
Although in present-day India the former Princely states and their princes have lost that status, the Raja of Rajnagar still wears his ancestors’ tattered royal attire twice a year.
The Plaza film theater in Bangalore was modeled after the Piccadilly Circus in London.
Shakadvipi (Bhojaka) is the only division of Brahmins whose origins are said to be outside India.
Sanskrit is the liturgical language for many Indian religions and languages, it’s not spoken by common people.
Vasantha Habba, an annual cultural event organized by Nrityagram in Bangalore, is considered to be the classical Woodstock of India.
In Hindu mythology where Shiva’s consort Parvati performed penance to show her devotion to him, is Pampa Sarovar lake in the state of Karnataka.
The Hindu serpent goddess Manasa, the “destroyer of poison”, is worshiped mostly in the rainy season when the snakes are most active.
Colombia is one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relationship with India. These two countries joined hands on January 19, 1959.
India became independent in 1947 while Colombia became independent in 1810, thanks to General Bolivar.
According to Hindu mythology, the Tandava, a vigorous dance by Hindu god Shiva, is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution of the universe.
The “maidams” were burial sites of the Ahom Kingdom’s royalty and aristocracy that were similar to the Egyptian pyramids, but much smaller in scale.
The Saraswati River, a distributary of the Bhagirathi in West Bengal, is now dead but was active till around the 16th century AD.
Shaukat Usmani was a candidate for the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1929 UK general election while imprisoned in India.
Before the launch of a satellite, a group of scientists from ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan offer prayers to a miniature model of the satellite and donate it to a temple in Dharmasthala.
The early Indian Christians were Nestorians until the arrival of Portuguese in the 16th century introducing Roman Catholicism to the country.
By the end of the 19th century, there were an estimated two thousand English language schools in the Kingdom of Mysore.
The Mahāvyutpatti (Sanskrit and Tibetan), is the first substantial bilingual dictionary known to the world.
One of the first discoveries of atmospheric neutrinos was made at India’s Kolar Gold Fields.
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was buried in St. Francis Church in India.
Kochi in Kerala, India is where Chinese fishing nets are mostly used outside of China.
Mysore Palace, a tourist attraction in the city of Mysore, is one of the most visited monuments in India, even more than the Taj Mahal.
Tibbia College, with 84 patents in herbal medicine, is the only medical institution in India to offer education and training in two ancient systems of medicine – Ayurveda and Unani.
Due to its numerous attractions such as Lal Bagh, Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, is known as the “Garden City of India”.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, India, receives migratory birds from far away Siberia.
Every year 70,000 to 80,000 migratory birds visit Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary, an artificially created forest in West Bengal, India.
Entally was home to the poor and the depressed, and a neighborhood where Mother Teresa started her active life in Kolkata, India.
Dhakis, traditional Bengali drummers, kill more than 40,000 egrets, pheasants, herons, and open bill storks every year to decorate their instruments with feathers.
Abani Mukherji, the co-founder of the Communist Party of India, died in Soviet captivity (under communism) in the 1930s. Talk about irony!
In parts of the Kerala Backwaters, the paddy fields are at a lower level than the water in canals, held back by dikes.
Sheesh Mahal (the Palace of Mirrors) in Lahore Fort was originally decorated with frescoes that were later replaced with pietra dura and convex glass and mirror mosaic.
Migrants from India form over 40% of the total population of the United Arab Emirates.
Charyapada is a collection of poems written in the earliest-known precursor to the Indo-Aryan languages.
Birhor people are a tribal forest people, traditionally nomadic, living primarily in the Indian state of Jharkhand.
A rock edict of Emperor Ashoka found at Maski in the Indian State of Karnataka in 1915, was the first one to refer him by the name Asoka.
According to Hindu mythology, the deity Revanta was born from the union of the sun-god Surya and his wife Saranya in the form of horse and mare.
The discovery of horse bones at the archaeological site of Hallur in south India refuted the theory that horses were introduced to this region as part of the Indo-Aryan migration.
Chamunda (a fearsome aspect of the Hindu Divine Mother), was worshiped by ritual human and animal sacrifices along with offerings of wine.
Photo by Steve Browne & John Verkleir CCBY 2.0
Swami Rama Tirtha was one of the first Hindu swamis to teach Vedanta in the West.
Hawkers in Kolkata, numbering 275,000, occupy pavements and generate annual business worth around 2 billion US dollars.
The 9th-century Navalinga temple in Karnataka, India, is a cluster of nine Hindu temples, each containing a Shiva Linga.
Radha Ramana is the only image of Krishna that remained in Vrindavana during the 17th-century raids by Islamic king Aurangzeb.
The town of Melattur in Tamil Nadu, India is famous for its Bharatanatyam, a classic South Indian dance.