Top 20 Interesting Facts about India
India is on the bucket list for many travelers, and it’s no mystery why! The diverse landscape, colorful festivals, and spicy-hot cuisine are already reasons enough to pack your bags to visit Mumbai or Varanasi.
#1 India is about 1/3 the size of the United States, yet it is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of 1,166,079,217.
#2 India is the seventh largest country in the world, at 1.27 million square miles.
#3 More than a million Indians are millionaires, yet most Indians live on less than two dollars a day. An estimated 35% of India’s population lives below the poverty line
#4 India is the largest democracy in the world.
#5 Cows can be found freely wandering the streets of India’s cities. They are considered sacred and will often wear a tilak, a Hindu symbol of good fortune. Cows are considered one of humankind’s seven mothers because they offer milk as does one’s natural mother.
#6 India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion. Time magazine reports that in 2012, the number of abortions in India could be as high as 7 million, with 2/3 of abortions taking place in unauthorized health facilities. Due to unsanitary conditions, a woman in India dies every two hours. Additionally, there are more men than women in India due to the high rate of abortions performed on female fetuses, a practice known as “gendercide.
#7 India is the birthplace of chess. The original word for “chess” is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning “four members of an army”—which were mostly likely elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers.
#8 Indians made significant contributions to calculus, trigonometry, and algebra. The decimal system was invented in India in 100 B.C. The concept of zero as a number is also attributed to India.
#9 The earliest cotton in the world was spun and woven in India. Roman emperors would wear delicate cotton from India that they would call “woven winds.” Mogul emperors called the fabrics “morning dew” and “cloth of running water”.
#10 In ancient and medieval India, suttees, in which a recently widowed woman would immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, were common.
#11 India is the world’s largest producer of dried beans, such as kidney beans and chickpeas. It also leads the world in banana exports.
#12 Indians hold prominent places both internationally and in the United States. For example, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems (Vinod Khosla), the creator of the Pentium chip (Vinod Dahm), the founder/creator of Hotmail (Sabeer Bhatia), and the GM of Hewlett-Packard (Rajiv Gupta) are all Indian.
#13 The Bengal tiger is India’s national animal. It was once ubiquitous throughout the country, but now there are fewer than 4,000 wild tigers left.
#14 India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai (known as the “City of Dreams”). The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals. The term “Bollywood” refers to just a part of the larger Indian film industry, which includes other film companies operating in other languages.
#15 Introduced by the British, cricket is India’s most popular sport. Hockey is considered the national sport, and the Indian field hockey team proudly won Olympic gold in 1928.
#16 Marigold flowers are used as decoration for Hindu marriages and are a symbol of good fortune and happiness.
#17 The national fruit of India is the mango. The national bird is the peacock, which was initially bred for food.
#18 India is the world’s largest tea producer, and tea (chai) is its most popular beverage.
#19 India produces 70% of the world’s spices
#20 New Delhi’s air is the most polluted in the world