Top 10 AMAZING FACTS About INDIA
Suggestions keep pouring in as to where we should travel next, and it looks like our metaphorical compass is pointing towards India! From Bengal Tigers and Sloth Bears to the Taj Mahal and exploring Mars, join us as we trek through 10 Amazing facts about India!
Indian Independence Movement and Gandhi
India’s movement for independence dates as far back as the 18th century, during the East India Company’s rule of the country, and is littered with tales of death, desperation, rebellions and a world war that stalled the movement briefly in favor of the bigger picture. In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi left South Africa, where he had acted as a civil rights activist, and returned to India to lead the nationalist movement for independence. Implementing peaceful rebellions and the non-cooperation movement, Gandhi was a thorn in the British side. On August 15th, 1947, 5-months before Gandhi’s assassination, India was declared a sovereign and democratic nation, though a decision made in 1949 kept the country within the British commonwealth.
India Space Research Organization
In 1969, the ISRO came into the picture, replacing the then-standing "Indian National Committee for Space Research," 5 years after the launch of the very first sounding rocket. The shorter and catchy name brought with it advancements to the program, which allowed India to be a formidable competitor in the ongoing “space race”. On September 24th, 2014, India became the first country to succeed in entering Mars’ orbit on the first attempt and also the first Asian space agency to ever reach the red planet’s orbit. Chandrayaan-1, a lunar mission sent in October of 2008, made the ISRO the first to have detected water on the moon. The 2000s has seen increased activity and launches, with over 25 different launches taking place between 2010 and 2016 alone.
World Records From India
“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” Or… at least that’s what World Records India tells us. This more localized version of the Guinness World Records lives by the mantra that rewarding people is the best way to get people to excel, and so it dishes out awards for things that would likely otherwise go unnoticed. Things like the most baby booties designed by knitting material, the largest number of handmade greeting cards, the youngest individual to recite the countries in the lowest amount of time, the first blood donation camp at a marriage ceremony, and most consecutive years with 100% school attendance. They may not stand out like Guinness’ incredible records, but India feels they’re worth some praise.
Cricket and India
Sports are often a country’s pride and joy: Americans have baseball, Canadians have hockey, Brazilians have football and Indians have cricket. If not for the British rule of India, otherwise known as the British Raj, the game of cricket may never have been introduced to the natives. Via the East India Company, cricket was integrated into 17th-century Indian culture, eventually blossoming into a popular sport headlined by the Indian national cricket team, or the Men in Blue. Competition in cricket within India comes in the form of several domestic events, including the Ranji Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the BCCI Corporate Trophy. Of the national cricket team’s crowning achievements, there’s the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cups and the 2007 and 2013 ICC World Twenty20’s.
Film enthusiasts may know a thing or two about Bollywood, or Hindi cinema, but newcomers are in for a treat. India’s own Hollywood has roots in the silent era of film, with its first silent feature being Raja Harishchandra by Dadasaheb Phalke. Early Bollywood films were meant as a means to escape, especially during World War II and the Partition, and often include whimsical elements, like large-scale musical numbers rooted in classic Indian folk dances. The songs often determine if a movie is going to succeed, and the better the musical soundtrack, the better the movie often performs. Since the early 2000s, Bollywood has seen an increased popularity across the globe.
India’s Tourist Attractions
Thinking of India, there’s probably one location that comes to mind as a definite “must-see” spot: the Taj Mahal. Visiting the mausoleum is absolutely recommended, but it’s not the only site this historic country has to offer. The caves and temples of Maharashtra, Golconda Fort in Andhra Pradesh, the Museum of Man in Bhubaneshwar, Uttar Pradesh’s Pagal Baba Temple, Man Singh Palace – there is so much to see in India, but these locations are a decent start. Gir National Park, Dhuandhar Falls, the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Lady Hydari Park, Laitlum Canyons, and an array of beaches and lakes are more than ideal for nature lovers. The vast, diverse lands of India truly leave something for all to experience.
Wildlife of India
A vast diversity of exotic and beautiful wildlife awaits those with a desire to explore. Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, sloth bears, Indian rhinoceros, Asian water buffalo, Indian wolf, golden jackal and the Indian antelope are just a small sampling of the roaming beasts inhabiting India’s environment. The Indian region of western Assam is home to what is considered one of the rarest and most sacred monkeys in the world, the golden langur. This wild-haired primate is currently endangered, with only 1,064 individuals being recorded in 2001. In an effort to protect its precious wildlife, India’s government created 18 biosphere reserves, ten of which are recognized by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
He was the peace-seeking leader of the movement for independence in British-ruled India and likely one of the most famous Indian’s throughout history – but there are a lot of notable citizens of India, so we don’t want to get too caught up in Mahatma Gandhi’s history just yet. When exploring famous people of India, you’ll be setting your sights on spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy; actresses Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor; actors Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan; philosopher and statesman, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan; classical poet Kalidasa and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, who is best known for assisting women in escaping poverty. In the world of sports, tennis player Sania Mirza, cricketers Mahendra Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, and 3 Olympic gold medals winner Dhyan Chand can boast Indian roots. Representing India on YouTube are T-Series, ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes, ZeeTV and Eros Now.
It wouldn’t be a journey through a country’s culture if we didn’t stop to look at some of the great advancements we would be lacking without it. Zero as a number has been around as far back as Ancient Egypt, but the notion of it as a digit in decimal place value allegedly came about in India during the 5th century. Having a hard time in your high school math class? You can also thank India for the modern development of sine, cosine, and advancements in trigonometry, negative numbers, and algebra. Historians believe that India is also responsible for the development of chess, snakes and ladders, the Sanskrit language, fiber optics, advancements in reconstructive surgery and Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, who is best known for paving the way for radio communication.
There is a great divide in India, a separation between the north and south that we’re imploring all to take a side on – the cuisine! In the north, you have a higher use of dairy products like milk, paneer, ghee, and yogurt. South India locals enjoy a cuisine of rice for dosas, vadas, and uttapams, coupled with fresh coconut water. Back in North India, roti and paratha flat breads are cooked on a tawa while puri and bhatoora get the deep fried treatment. Taking a whirlwind tour of India’s northern and southern regions, you’ll chow down on samosa, mirchi bada, chaat, kachori, idli, upma, onion uthappam, and fish coconut curry.