1. INDIA HAS THE SECOND HIGHEST POPULATION IN THE WORLD
India currently has the second highest population in the world, with China having the highest. The country is estimated to have a population of around 1.3 billion people, with the highest populated cities being Delhi and Mumbai; each with a population of over 10 million.
In 1951 India became the first developing country to start a family planning program. Since then, India’s population has quadrupled. Current projections by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that the country’s population will reach 1.5 billion by 2030, and 1.64 billion in 2050.
2. COWS ARE CONSIDERED SACRED IN INDIA
Hinduism is one of the major religions in India, and is the reason why cows are considered to be sacred in this country. Cows are believed to be holy in Hinduism, and so they are protected, honoured and treated with respect. The Hindu Goddess Bhoomi represents Earth and is often shown in the form of a cow.
3. THE CITY OF VARANASI IS BELIEVED TO BE ONE OF THE OLDEST LIVING CITIES IN THE WORLD
The city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is not only regarded as the spiritual capital of India, but also one of the oldest cities in the world.
With a population of over 1 million people, Varanasi dates back to 11BC. India’s oldest city sits on the Ganges River where Hindu pilgrims travel to bathe in the sacred water and to perform traditional funerals. Found along the river are over 2,000 temples including the famous Golden Temple. Once a bustling trading city, Varanasi is now a hugely popular tourist destination with millions of people from all over the world visiting every year.
4. INDIA IS HOME TO THE FAMOUS HOLI FESTIVAL
The Holi Festival is a Hindu festival that takes place over two days. It originated in India and celebrates love, spring and new life. Holi is usually celebrated in March as it marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring.
During the first day of Holi, people gather around a bonfire to celebrate good triumphing over evil. The second day of the festival is the one most people will know, and includes lots of colourful perfumed powder, paint, water pistols and balloons. People launch all these things at each other in the streets, which ultimately creates a colour bloodbath. For this reason, the Holi festival is also known as ‘the festival of colours’. Over the course of the two days, the festival celebrates the legend of Holika and Prahland, and the Hindu god Krishna.
5. WHEN FINISHED, THE CHENAB BRIDGE WILL BE THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD
The Chenab bridge is found in the Jammu and Kashmir area of India, and crosses over the river Chenab (hence the name). It is currently still under construction, but is expected to be finished by the end of 2021.
Once finished the total length of Chenab bridge will be 1,315m, and the height will be a whopping 359m; making it the highest railway bridge in the world. The project is being undertaken by the Ministry of Indian Railways and is going to cost around $92m.
6. INDIA HAS THE THIRD HIGHEST AMOUNT OF BILLIONAIRES IN THE WORLD
India is a country that has a huge amount of wealth inequality. In 2019, it was estimated that the richest 10% of the Indian population owned around 80.7% of the wealth, and that the top 1% of the population (in regards to wealth) earned 21% of the country’s total income.
This makes even more sense, when you see that India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world – behind the USA and China. In total India claims to have nearly 7,000 ultra high net-worth individuals with assets of over $30m, and roughly 140 billionaires across the country.
7. INDIA IS HOME TO THE WETTEST INHABITED PLACE ON EARTH
The state of Meghalaya is found in Northeast India, and is home to the wettest inhabited place on earth. The village of Mawsynram has an average rainfall of around 12,000mm (470 inches) of rain every year. That works out at nearly 33mm of rain per day!
It is so wet here, that the people who work outdoors tend to wear full body umbrellas made from banana leaf and bamboo.
8. THE GAME ‘SNAKES AND LADDERS’ ORIGINATED IN INDIA
The board game ‘snakes and ladders’ originally came from ancient India. The game was known back then as Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu. It’s believed that it was played as early as 2nd century BC, although it’s not known exactly who invented the game.
Historians believe it was created to teach morals to children, and lessons about karma in a way that children might understand. The squares where the ladders start were originally supposed to represent virtue, and the squares that had the head of a snake were supposed to represent evil. In the original hindu game, the snakes outnumbered the amount of ladders.
The game was then translated to English and transported back to England during the 19th century during the colonial times. The game was modified and stripped of any moral aspects and the number of ladders and snakes were made equal. The game was then named ‘snakes and ladders’ or ‘chutes and ladders’ in the US.