We’re celebrating the 66th Republic Day of India and it need not be said that we are enormously proud of our motherland! Here are 66 interesting facts about the colorful, diverse (not to mention unique) land that is India that will make you feel even prouder of our nation!
1. Since Independence, India has built 1.25 million miles of new roads, raised steel output 50 times, cement 20 times. It is now the 2nd-largest cycle producer.
2. It has the second-largest labour force. Is self-sufficient in grain and cloth, makes more than a million cars a year, and has launched 65 satellites.
3. RIL’s Jamnagar is the world’s largest grassroots refinery and petrochem complex.
4. Has the best delivery boys, the dabbawalas, with an efficiency rating of 99.9999% !
5. Chess was invented here.
6. Value of ‘pi’ first calculated by Budhayana, who explained the concept of Pythagora’s Theorem. He discovered it long before Europeans!
7. India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees from Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
8. Tirupathi Temple is the world’s largest pilgrimage destination. An average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million every day!
9. India recycles 60% of its plastic waste. The figures for Japan and China are 12% and 10%, respectively.
10. 137-year-old Bombay Stock Exchange is also Asia’s first stock exchange and world’s No. 1 in terms of number (5,000) of listed companies.
11. It’s estimated that in the next two to three years, 25% of people entering the workforce will be Indian.
12. There are over a million Indian millionaires. However, the gap between the rich and poor is still very big, with many living on a poverty level.
13. India has no National Language. Hindi is an official language used in many regions, English is also commonly used in many regions. There are many popular regional languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi spoken and officially used in their respective regions.
14. The first university is said to have been started in Takshila in 700 B.C. Thousands of students from all over the world studied a variety of subjects.
15. India has the world’s second largest train network, and it is the largest civilian employer.
16. Having been visited by Buddha in 500 B.C. Varanasi is the oldest continuously habituated city in the world.
17. The world’s largest road network is in India—over 1.9 million miles of roads cover the country.
18. The name “India” comes from the Indus River, which is where earliest settlers made their homes. The Indus valley is one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations.
19. Until 1986, the only place where diamonds had been officially found was in India!
20. More than 50% of India is younger than 25 and more than 65% are 35 or younger. The average Indian age is much younger than most other nations. We are set to become the world’s youngest population by year 2020!
21. No list featuring facts about India would be complete without this tidbit: India has the largest movie industry in the world. Most Indian movies come from Bollywood, but there are many studios around the country who contribute as well.
22. A commonly known, but not to be neglected India fact is that the number and concept of zero was invented and documented first by Indians.
23. The Pentium chip and Hotmail were created by Indians—Vinod Dahm and Sabeer Bhatia respectively. The Indian IT population is growing and is highly sought after all over the world.
24. Cherrapunji is the wettest spot on earth. It receives at least 425 inches of rain every year, which is over 5 times more than the tropical rain forests of South America!
25. The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangroves in the world. 1/3 of the Sundarbans is in India. This is also the reserve for the Bengal Tiger.
26. There are 27 UNESCO world heritage sites in India. These protected areas help preserve the long-standing culture and history of the country.
27. India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
28. When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
29. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus too. ‘Place value system’ and the decimal system developed in 100BC.
30. The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.
31. The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat’. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. In time, the game underwent several modifications, but its meaning remained the same, i.e. good deeds take people to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
32. The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
33. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
34. The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘NAVGATIH’. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nou’.
35. Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun was 365.258756484 days.
36. Quadratic Equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10*53 (i.e. 10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C.during the Vedic period.Even today, the largest used number is Terra: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).
37. Hero MotoCorp is the largest two-wheeler maker.
38. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
39. Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient Indian medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology, digestion, metabolism,physiology, etiology, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
40. The four religions born in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
41. Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
42. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharmashala in northern India.
43. India’s first successful Mars Orbiter Mission – Mangalyaan, completed a 400-million km long journey to Mars, thereby becoming the first Asian country and fourth in the world to undertake a mission to the red planet.
44. India is the 19th largest exporter and the 10th largest importer in the world.
45. India is among the fastest growing and currently the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world.
46. India has the second largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world.
47. India boasts of having close to 1, 55,600 post offices across the country. This is by far the largest postal network in the world.
48. India is one of only three countries that make supercomputers, after the USA and Japan.
49. India is one of the top five retail markets in the world by economic value, with the retail industry estimated to be pegged at $450 Billion.
50. By 2030, India will become the third largest economy, behind China and the USA, with projected GDP at $30 Trillion.
51. India has the fourth largest army, is the second largest producer of rice and tea, and the largest producer of mica, jute, pulses and milk.
52. The great scriptures of India – including The Vedas and The Upanishads – were written when most developed nations did not even know how to read and write.
53. The first railroad was constructed by two Indians (Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Jaganath Shunkerseth) and not the British!
54. The biggest air evacuation in the history of mankind was done by India in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, home to almost 1,76,000 Indians.
55. Lifeline Express is the world’s first hospital-train! Established in 1991, the train has traveled the length and breadth of the country, bringing medical aid and relief to the most far-flung and inaccessible areas.
56. India’s tech capital, Bangalore, has increased its office supply by six times since 2006, and now has more Grade-A offices than Singapore!
57. India has been the largest troop contributor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions since it’s inception and every year remains in the top 4.
58. India has an Airforce base in Tajikistan. Farkhor Air Base is India’s one and only military base outside its territory.
59. Agni III is the Most Accurate Missile in the World in Range Category and BrahMos is the Fastest Operational Cruise Missile in the World!
60. Mount Kailash has never been conqured inspite of the Chinese government’s support to climbers.
61. Bodhidharma, a prince of the Pallava dynasty went to China and began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Kung Fu!
62. In 2001, Indian pharma company Cipla produced a three-in-one drug for HIV, which is affordable at an incredible $ 1 a day.
63. An Indian man named Jadav Payeng started planting trees on a barren sandbar at 17. He is now 47 and lives in his own 1360 acre forest which now houses rhinos, tigers, deer, apes and elephants.
64. India has 3 biodiversity hotspots, while no other country, or even continent except Brazil and Indonesia have more than 2!
65. India has over 275 billion tons of coal reserves, that’s the equivalent of 1.37 billion blue whales!
66. And the most incredible of all, India consumes about half of the world’s whiskey!