Published 22nd September 2019
The second largest country in the world by population, it is not surprising that India holds many secrets. Simultaneously chaotic and peaceful, India is a country of oxymorons and superlatives. We can’t think of another country that could hold so many records. What on earth are we talking about? Here are thirteen things about India you probably didn’t know.
It has the fastest growing population
We’ve all heard that India has a lot of people, but in 2016 the population of India reached 12.5 billion. That’s a lot a lot! It is estimated that India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country by 2028.
It has the most vegetarians in the world
Carnivores be warned! 31% of the country are vegetarians. Accordingly, a 2007 UN report found that India has the lowest meat consumption in the world.
It has the emptiest prisons in the world
India has just over 1 300 prisons. In these prisons are just over 400 000 prisoners. In 2014 this was the lowest number of prisoners in any country in the world.
It has the biggest post office
No need to worry about your birthday card not arriving in India! The postal system is the biggest in the world. India Post has over 150 000 post offices with 460 000 employees. It also offers banking and financial services. You can even send a postcard from the highest post office in the world in Hikkim, which is 15 500 feet about sea level.
It has the biggest film industry
We all know about Bollywood but do you know it’s the biggest film industry in the world, putting Hollywood and Nollywood to shame? Bollywood produces more than 1 000 films a year. If you fancy yourself a superstar and you’re in Mumbai, why don’t you try get yourself cast as a Bollywood extra? You could end up being a local celeb!
It is home to the world’s highest cricket ground
We know all Indians are passionate about their cricket, but not many of us know that the Chail Cricket Ground is the highest in the world, at an altitude of 2 444 metres above sea level.
It’s the wettest place on earth
Quite surprisingly, a city in India has the dubious honour of being the wettest place on earth. Mawsynram, a city in northeastern India, receives an annual average of 12 000 millimetres, which is the highest annual average rainfall of anywhere in the world.
It boasts Asia’s cleanest village
Mawlynnong in Meghalaya has won recognition for being the cleanest village not only in India but in Asia. Mawlynnong is a small village of only 500 people and it is also known as God’s Own Garden. The Khasi tribe who live here are a matriarchal society and cleanliness is a way of life for them, with litterers being fined heavily.
It has the oldest golf club outside the UK
Tiger Woods eat your heart out! The Royal Calcutta Golf Club was established in 1829 by the Dutch East India Company, even before British rule.
They have the biggest public street party
Okay it’s not a street party but it’s the largest public gathering and collective act of faith in the world. Once every twelve years, the Kumbh Mela festival takes place. At the time of the festival, millions of pilgrims gather to bathe in the sacred confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Sarasvati.
They speak the oldest languages
Indians speak 122 major languages and over 1 500 other languages. Hindi and English are unofficially considered the official languages. Sanskrit dates back to the second millennium BC, while Tamil can be traced back to 300 BC. Both languages are still spoken today – Sanskrit only by a few but Tamil by about 80 million people.
It’s the biggest producer of mangoes
The mango is the national fruit of India. India grows more than 18 million tonnes of mangoes every year, which is more than 50% of the world’s production. That’s a lot of mango lassi!
It’s home to the world’s largest family
Most of us have difficulty with one partner and/or a child but a man in India, Ziona Chana, has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren! While we can’t imagine having a family that big, Mr Chana says he is “a lucky man”!
There you have it, thirteen things about India you probably didn’t know. It’s a pleasure!