India is by far the most fascinating country I’ve ever encountered…
I learnt so much during my time here that I just couldn’t help but share some fun facts about India with you; some that may amaze you, and some that may break your heart.
India has the Second Largest English-speaking Population in the World
For a country that is often seen as incredibly foreign and far removed from the western world, you’ll be amazed to know that India actually has the second largest population of English speakers in the world – coming second behind the USA!
10% of India’s population and a total of 125 million people in this country are bound to the English language – isn’t that crazy?
The River Ganges is the most Sacred River in the World
In the Hindu religion, the River Ganges is considered incredibly sacred. The holy beliefs associated with this river consecrate it as a physical Goddess; otherwise known as Gaṅgā or ‘Gangaji’. She is seen as a white woman, wearing a crown whilst riding on her pet crocodile:
People come from all around the world to bathe, drink and worship in the sacred waters of Ganga, in the hopes of washing away their sins and purifying their soul.
And it doesn’t stop there… Hindu’s also believe that having their bodies cremated on the banks of the Ganges river will free the soul from the cycle of death and reincarnation – These particular Cremation Ghats on the edge of the river burn continuously through all hours of the day and night.
It’s an incredibly spiritual place, to say the least!
Over 30,000 bodies are cremated on the banks of the Ganges River every year – But the following 5 types of people are not:
Children, pregnant women, holy men, people with leprosy and people that have died from a snake bite will not be burnt on the river banks. In these cases, rather than being cremated the bodies are instead weighed down with stones, covered in fabric and left for the river to consume.
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Kumbh Mela is the World’s Largest Gathering of people; so large that it’s even visible from space
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith that takes part in one of four sacred sites every 3 years. During the festival, over 120 million people gather to bathe in the holy river – over 30 million people visit the designated site each day of the ceremony, in order to wash away their sins and become one step closer to salvation.
With such a huge number of people in one relatively small location, the mass was visible via satellite image from space!
India is the World’s Largest Importer of Arms, but have never invaded another country
It may sound crazy, but over the last few years, India has accounted for almost 14% of all global arms purchases – and they don’t even want to put them to use!
This peace-loving nation strongly advocates for all nations to correspond in harmony; and although it may seem a little excessive, this major purchase of arms is simply as a security measure and is driven by defensive concerns. In order to ensure the integrity of their own nation when in danger, India continues to be the world’s leading arms importer.
You can make your own opinion on that one!
64 million Indians live in slums – Which is more than the total population of France
I don’t like to focus on the negative aspects of a country, but this is a fact… And facts can’t be ignored.
64 million people are left without a home, forced into child labour, forced to drink contaminated water, left to deal with horrific waste disposal and a severe lack of security. The Mumbai Slum, Dharavi, is one of the largest slums in the world – hosting almost 1,000,000 people.
Across the entire country, there are over 64 million people living in extreme poverty, and this number is greater than the total population of my home country, Australia.
There are more births in India every year than the total population of Australia
There are almost 27 million babies born every year in India. As a comparison, there are only 23 million people in the whole of Australia.
That’s around 51 births each minute, 3,060 births each hour and 73,440 births per day – WOAH!
Delhi is the most Polluted City in the World
I’m not going to lie, I was almost certain that Beijing was the most polluted city in the world, but unfortunately for India, New Delhi has taken the cake.
From my personal experience of spending time in this city, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s incredibly polluted… But when there are almost 19 million people living within its border and minimal waste solutions, what can you expect?
If the tracks of Indian Railways were to be laid out, they would circle the Earth almost 1.5 times
For the size of the country, India has the longest, densest railway network in the world. With 65,000 km of connected railroad, India carries over 8 billion people every single year – not always inside the carriages might I add – but regardless, this number is the highest in the world!
If this railroad were to be stretched out straight, it would wrap around the circumference of the Earth over 1.5 times! Out of all of the fun facts about India, this one definitely blew my mind the most!
India is one of the only countries in the world where Religions continue to live in Harmony
In my eyes, India is the most diverse country in the world. Even though more than 80% of the population are Hindu, there are still high numbers of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains – all of which live in continuous harmony. To put things into perspective, Jewish and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D…
Even during my visit, there were numerous religious ceremonies held throughout the country that was accepted and respected without any question – India is certainly a country to be admired.
Indian’s invented chess, buttons, shampoo, cotton, the ruler, wireless communication, snakes and ladders, and diamond mining
For a country that is often generalized for its poverty and overpopulation, India has invented and discovered some incredible things. They were even the first people to discover that there was water on the moon!
But on a more everyday level, imagine life without buttons, shampoo or cotton clothing?!?
India has the Largest Population of Vegetarians in the World
India has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world – It’s said that between 30-40% of the Indian population is vegetarian, which is a huge number considering the majority of other countries have a total of less than 5%!
This is because of religious and cultural traditions, such as Hinduism – where they strongly recommend and believe in ‘ahimsa’ — non-violence against all life forms, including animals.
Have you got any other fun facts about India to share? It’s such an incredible country with so much information and fascinating history. I’d love to hear your thoughts down below!
[ READ NEXT: Varanasi – The City of Enlightenment ]
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