India is one of the most amazing countries, built on contrasts. This is a place with a distinctive culture, bright outfits and mesmerizing dances, which in an incomprehensible way combines calm and chaos, legends and reality. What else captivates this fabulous state? We offer a selection of amazing facts about India that will impress both avid travelers and connoisseurs of ancient culture.
Geographic and climatic features
The South Asian country is famous for its unusual climatic conditions. In the south of the state there are dense tropical forests, in the western part there is a huge desert, and on the northern side you can enjoy the beauty of glaciers. For one short trip within the same country, it will not be difficult to find both hot summer and cold winter.
There are about a dozen deep rivers at the location of the state. In many of them, water levels rise significantly during the summer, causing flooding in cities. The sacred river Ganges is no exception, which deprived of their homes and took their lives over a million people.
An amazing fact: sharks are found in the waters of the sacred river. Most likely, the predator’s gastronomic habit of “human flesh” manifested itself due to the abundance of corpses floating in the water, not completely burnt during cremation.
But the main danger of rivers is poisoned waters. International experts agree that 60% of natural sources contain high levels of salts and arsenic. This is due to the too large number of local residents who use the water for a variety of purposes. They drain industrial waste, wash themselves, bury the dead and even float the carcasses of dead cows on the waters.
And in poverty and in wealth
Although India ranks only seventh in size in the world ranking, it is a confident second in terms of population. About 1.2 billion people live on its lands.
This country is considered the largest consumer of gold. Moreover, 35% of residents live below the poverty line. By comparison, the number of beggars in 8 Indian states exceeds the number of people deprived of livelihoods out of the 26 poor countries in Africa combined. For most locals, having a simple washing machine at home is a luxury.
Many are silent about another shocking fact – slavery still exists in some states of India. Children and women from poor families are becoming victims. They are forced into prostitution and hard labor.
The state ranks first in terms of mortality. The main reasons for this terrible fact are the low level of medicine and complete unsanitary conditions. When arranging 53% of houses, in principle, water supply and sewerage are not provided.
Among the population of the state, only 65% of residents have received an education. And in this regard, there is gender discrimination:
- among women, the number of literate people is only 45%;
- among men with education – 75%.
India is the most peaceful country. For 10 thousand years of its existence, it made no attempts to capture any other state. Today, in a multicultural region, each state has its own language. The official status is assigned to 24 languages, and there are over 3 thousand unofficial dialects.
Emotional Indians often accompany their speech with expressive facial expressions and gestures. It is noteworthy that by shaking his head from side to side during a conversation, the Indian thereby demonstrates an affirmative answer. For us, this gesture is more familiar as a denial or a manifestation of discontent.
Land of discovery
India is home to many discoveries. Her sons invented a system of numbers, were the first to explain the spherical shape of the Earth, its speed of rotation and gravity. In this state were created:
- cotton material;
- the game of chess popular all over the world;
- foundations of algebra and geometry;
- judo and karate.
Even 500 years ago, she gave the world an invaluable gift – a set of spiritual and physical practices, referred to as yoga. Here they created the Kamasutra – an erotic treatise that contains not only an illustrated description of postures, but also instructions on how to lead a righteous life.
Varanasi is the most ancient inhabited city not only in India, but throughout our planet. He received the title back in 500 BC, when, according to legend, the Buddha himself visited this place. Every Hindu dreams of being cremated on the lands of Varanasi. Many people at the end of their years simply come to the city and live on the banks of the Ganges in anticipation of death.
Despite the fact that India is considered the largest democratic country, the caste system still reigns in it. It determines the position of each person in society, providing clear rules for life, and gives them the opportunity to be in the circle of their own kind. In former times, 4 castes were distinguished:
- Brahmanas are high-ranking priests, priests and teachers. Their main purpose is to spiritually enlighten the people.
- Kshatriyas – those born in this caste are engaged in military affairs. They serve as guards, soldiers, and law enforcement officers.
- Vaishya – representatives of this class are engaged in economic needs and financial issues. They work in trade and banking.
- Shudras are people of the lower caste, often living beyond poverty. At all times, they were engaged in the most physically difficult and dirty work.
Modern castes are more structured. They have many jati subgroups. The Indians believe that only by following the rules prescribed for each jati can one be reborn in a future life in a body corresponding to a higher caste.
Indians sincerely believe that only those with corrupted karma are born as women in this world. This body is presented to pay for the sins of a past life. The happiness of Indian women depends entirely on the health of their husbands. In former times, there was even a tradition according to which, in the event of the death of a husband, his “half” performed the “sati” ritual: burning himself together with the body of his spouse on a funeral pyre. To be left without a husband was shameful not only for the woman herself, but also for all her relatives.
Echoes of this shocking tradition can be found today. For example: widows should not appear at public gatherings or approach newlyweds. Indeed, according to local canons, it is believed that husbands of good wives do not die.
The color of mourning for Indian people is white. Women who have buried their husbands often choose white robes, which are in great contrast to the colorful robes of unmarried girls.
The color and style of clothing serves as a means of social identification. An example of the symbolism of every detail in a wardrobe is a situation in which a woman with improperly styled hair may be considered a prostitute.
Another interesting fact about the inhabitants of India is that among men they have a very common close friendship. Moreover, the relationship can be so close and touching that the representatives of the stronger sex do not hesitate to demonstrate a manifestation of friendship in public. So very often you can see on the street two men walking and holding hands.
The national cuisine is motley and varied. For many residents, cooking is considered a real art. That is why they are ready to spend more than one hour preparing their dishes, turning the action into a real ceremony.
A cow is a sacred animal for Hindus. For wounding or killing this animal, a prison sentence is imposed. Due to the influence of Islam, pork dishes are not in demand. Therefore, vegetarian dishes are the most popular.
There is a special attitude to seasonings in national cuisine. It is not surprising that 70% of the world’s spices are of Indian origin. When preparing their dishes, local chefs always keep at hand 25-50 spices, making up their own unique flavor bouquet. The only drawback of such experiments is that after dishes with so many spices, Europeans often feel stomach discomfort.
It is noteworthy that in local catering establishments the menu is not served. Visitors simply order dishes they have known for a long time.
As for home meals, Indians rinse their face, hands and feet before sitting down to the table. The role of the plate is most often performed by ordinary leaves from banana palms. Hindus, in principle, are not used to using cutlery. They perform all manipulations with the fingers of one hand. Many families have a “separate” meal plan, where women sit down at the table after the men have finished their meal.
India is rightfully considered the world’s cradle of sweets. Indeed, even the strictest Vedic laws allow you to feast on “as much as your heart desires,” recognizing sweetness as “divine pleasure.”
But there are also amazing dishes, the composition and appearance of which causes controversial feelings. These include:
- Chur-mur is a vegetarian dish that combines sour, sweet and savory flavors, crunchy and delicate textures. This is puffed rice with vegetables, fruits and nuts.
- Kashmiri kofta is a fried curd ball stuffed with dried apple with spices. Although the set of ingredients promises sweetness, the dish tastes sour and salty.
- Beja puri – crispy semolina pies infused with braised lamb brains.
Indians do not particularly drink alcohol, so masala chai is considered the most popular national drink. It is made with black tea, milk and ginger. Such a composition perfectly restores strength and gives energy.
Features of the internal charter
It is noteworthy that the concept of traffic rules in almost all cities in India is conditional. The randomness of traffic reigning on local roads can shock even experienced drivers. On the roads there are no markings, signs and signs … And they are not needed by the local residents.
A beep is a universal signal on the road – it means both a warning about a change in trajectory and just a greeting. Particularly intensive traffic is observed in large cities of the country – Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi. In them, the hum of signals does not stop even at night.
In addition to the usual cars, there are a lot of “exotic” road users on the roads: elephants and camels, rickshaws and pedestrians who ignore the sidewalks. It is not surprising that the state also has the highest mortality rate in the world due to frequent road accidents.
Customs and traditions
India is home to four religions. 80% of residents are Hindu, 13% – Islam. 1% profess Buddhism and Jainism. The remaining 6% were taken by religions that came to the country from outside.
Most Hindus are very pious and religious people. Almost every house has a seclusion room equipped with an altar with deities.
There are over 30 thousand workers’ mosques on the territory of the state. Temples, starting at 5 in the morning, invite parishioners with loud chants broadcast through the speakers.
The dowry is an ancient Indian tradition, which today is often the cause of the sudden death of young girls. When young people get married, the bride’s family, according to custom, must raise a large sum of money. Not only is this an unbearable burden for many families with a limited budget, but the groom’s families, having adopted a young daughter-in-law, in the event of late payment, can mock the girl and exploit her. If the young wife “dies”, the groom’s parents can look for a new candidate with a dowry with a clear conscience.
Christians tend to dramatize the ceremony of disposing of human remains, giving it a tragic color. The Indians treat this differently, arranging a holiday on the day of the deceased’s funeral and thus wishing him a happy afterlife.
Burial of the remains in the form of incineration of a corpse is an ordinary procedure that does not cause much emotion among local residents. Relatives pour out the ashes of the deceased in any nearby pond. Only representatives of three categories are not subject to cremation: children under 7 years old, pregnant women, bitten by a snake, lepers and saints. Their bodies are simply lowered into the middle of the Ganges.