Curiosities about India: interesting and lesser-known things

India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Apart from its many religions and sects, India is home to countless castes and tribes, as well as many language groups from several unrelated language families. Discover interesting facts and curiosities about India.

About India

India’s oldest known civilization emerged about 5,000 years ago in the area we now call Pakistan. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of two huge cities with brick houses and sewage systems. No one knows why, but these cities, called Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, were abandoned in 1700 BC.

The Aryan people were farmers from Central Asia who arrived in India around 1500 BC. They spoke Sanskrit, one of the oldest known languages ​​in the world. The Vedic scriptures, writings that form the basis of the Hindu religion, were written during the Aryan rule.

During the 200-year existence of the Gupta Empire, beginning in the 4th century AD, arts, crafts and sciences flourished. During this time, the Indian astronomer Aryabhatta established that the Earth revolves around the Sun. This was long before the Western world accepted the theory.

Beginning in the 15th century, following a series of invasions by Muslim forces, a Mongol leader named Babur founded the Mongol Empire. The Mongols witnessed a golden age of art, literature, and architecture in India between 1527 and 1707. They built roads, mosques, gardens, and enormous tombs, including the great Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal, India

In the late 1400s, Europeans arrived in India and began establishing trading companies. In 1757, Britain gained control of most of the country. Revolts against British rule began in 1856. In 1920, the famous Mahatma Gandhi started nonviolent protests to drive out the British. In 1947, India gained independence.

After independence in 1947, one party, the Congress Party, and one family, the Nehru family, dominated Indian politics for decades. Now, however, many parties compete for elected offices.

India’s economy is growing so fast that experts predict it will soon become one of the top markets in the world. Indians are very hardworking, and although many are poorly educated, many others are highly educated and highly trained.

Geography of India

India is part of the continent of Asia. Most of India forms a peninsula, meaning it is surrounded by water on three sides. The world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas, rises in northern India. The southeast is bordered by the Bay of Bengal and the southwest is bordered by the Arabian Sea.

India’s terrain varies widely, from the Thar Desert in the west to the jungles in the northeast. A fertile area called the Gangetic Plain covers much of northern India. This formation was created from the soil that was deposited by the rivers flowing from the Himalayas. In some places, this mud layer is more than 7,620 meters deep.

Flora and fauna

For thousands of years, since the Hindu religion first evolved, respect for animals has been an important part of Indian beliefs. Cows in particular are sacred and cannot be harmed. They are even allowed to walk the city streets, which often causes traffic jams.

India’s varied climate zones support about 65,000 species of animals, including elephants, pythons, river dolphins and rhinoceroses, and 12,000 types of flowering plants. It is the only country in the world that has both lions and tigers. It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise.

On the coast of the Bay of Bengal are the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. Here, tigers swim in the same rivers as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and saltwater crocodiles. This unique landscape is constantly under threat as sea levels rise and people poach and cut trees for firewood.

The Himalayas provide a home to some of India’s rarest animals and plants.

Religion and Culture

Indian society is divided into social strata, called castes. Caste is determined at birth, and there is almost no way to change it. The high castes include priests, landowners, and soldiers. The so-called Dalits, or untouchables, were those without any caste and did the most humble jobs. India’s 1950 national constitution legally abolished discriminatory practices and provided for measures of action in both educational institutions and public services for Dalits and other social groups under the caste system.

India is a very spiritual country. It has no official religion, but more than 80% of Indians are Hindus. About 13% are Muslims. Other religions include Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, which all began in India, according to

Curiosities about India

  • India has long been the second-largest population in the world after China. As of 2023, however, it is estimated to have moved into first place with a population of approximately 1.4 billion people. The two most populous cities are 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 estimate that the country’s population will reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and 1.64 billion in 2050.
  • Hinduism is one of the major religions in India and is why cows are considered sacred in this country. Cows are believed to be sacred in Hinduism and are therefore protected, honored and treated with respect. The Hindu goddess Bhoomi represents the Earth and is often shown in the form of a cow.
  • One of the most interesting curiosities about India is that the city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is not only considered the spiritual capital of India, but also one of the oldest cities in the world.
Curiosities about India – Varanasi dates back to 11 BC.
Curiosities about India – Varanasi dates back to 11 BC.

With a population of over a million people, Varanasi dates back to 11 BC. India’s oldest city is on the Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims travel to bathe in the sacred water and for traditional burials. Along the river are more than 2,000 temples, including the famous Golden Temple. Varanasi is now an extremely popular tourist destination, with millions of people from all over the world visiting it every year.

  • India is a country that has great wealth inequality. In 2019, it was estimated that the richest 10% of people owned about 80.7% of the wealth. This makes even more sense when you see that India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world – after the US and China.
  • The state of Meghalaya is found in northeastern India and is home to the wettest inhabited place on earth. Mawsynram village has an average rainfall of about 12,000 mm each year. People who work outdoors carry umbrellas made of banana leaves and bamboo.
  • India uses a lot of spices in its curry recipes, which is probably part of the reason why this cuisine has become so popular around the world.

Today, about 70% of the world’s spices come from India. Some of the more popular species include black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, and vanilla.

“Skeleton” Lake

Roopkund Lake is found in the state of Uttarakhand and is situated at 5,029 m above sea level and has been given the nickname ‘skeleton lake’, this is one of the most bizarre curiosities about India.

While a British forest ranger was patrolling the area in 1942, he came across hundreds of human remains. It is estimated that around 600-800 skeletons have been found here so far. The lake remains frozen for most of the year and only when the snow melts do the skeletons become visible.

After carbon dating some of the remains, scientists discovered that some of the skeletons were over 1,200 years old. Even more strangely, the deaths are separated by up to 1,000 years, meaning they are the result of a single catastrophic event. For now, there is still no explanation as to how all these people died here at different times, so the “skeleton lake” still remains a mystery, reports

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