16 Facts About India That Can Make You Regret You Haven’t Visited This Country Yet
Unsanitary conditions, dirt, and poverty are the first things that come to mind when they cross India off of their travel list. But they shouldn’t. India is a country of great wisdom, incredible history, ruins of ancient cities, eastern spices, and beautiful nature. This is the country that gave the world a great civilization, numbers, chess, Ayurveda, and badminton. This world can amaze even the most experienced traveler.
Bright Side has collected interesting facts about this country and we hope you will want to visit it after reading this article.
1. Amazing local color
India is a multinational country where there are 400 co-existing ethnic groups. There are a lot of young people here. Half of the population are men and women before the age of 25, and 2/3 are young people before the age of 35. The constitution of the country states that there are 21 official languages and 1,600 languages counting all dialects.
Women wear sarees while men wear jeans and T-shirts that we’re all familiar with. Older people wear lungi — pieces of fabric wrapped around the body. The local people are very nice, open, generous, and they love tourists.
2. Unique flora and fauna
When tourists come to India, they hope to see elephants. But they are very expensive animals that only wealthy people can afford. Camels, on the other hand, are quite affordable.
Cows are deeply respected. They can simply walk in huge cities like Delhi. In most states, if you kill a cow, the act will be punishable by law. For example, in the state of Haryana, someone who kills a cow can be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Only Muslims, Christians, and some other people eat beef.
Rare plants and animals are identified with this country. 1/3 of the flora is completely unique. You won’t see such plants in any place in the world.
Be careful on the roads since there are no rules here. If you want to be noticed — honk. The honk gives you the right to make any turn, so don’t be surprised to see a sudden move after the sound.
The level of comfort in public transportation directly depends on the price. For example, Second Sitting General Class is only used by the cheapest inhabitants, passengers sit not only on seats but also on the floor and baggage shelves. If you pay more, you can hope for a compartment with air conditioning.
If you want to see true luxury, choose Maharajas’ Express Train that consists of 5-star cars. This is the best train in all of Asia.
4. Something to see
Mumbai is both the poorest and the richest city in India — you can see both slums and skyscrapers there. In Jaipur, you can see the biggest sundial in the world.
You have to visit the famous temples: Tirumala Venkateswara temple, Ellora Caves, Somnath temple, Kashi Vishwanath temple, Jagannath, Meenakshi, Nelumbo and many others. There are also a lot of mosques here — more than 300,000.
One of the main sights of India, the Taj Mahal, took 30 years and 20,000 workers to build.
The people in India are used to really spicy food. Even if you ask them not to add too many spices, you will get food with a lot of cumin, asafetida, and garam masala.
Most inhabitants are vegetarians so there are a lot of places where you can buy vegetables. In India, you can find thick, thin, small and big, red, yellow and green bananas. Good news for those who love mangos: in New Delhi, there is an annual festival dedicated to this fruit.
The dishes will impress you too: in the north, there are bowls made of clay and leaves. They use them not because they are eco-friendly but because they are cheaper than plastic or paper dishes. Banana leaves are used as dishes in the south.
You can buy water in bottles everywhere. However, it’s hard to find alcohol. It’s not officially prohibited to sell it, but it is frowned upon. In some states, it’s officially banned. But it’s possible to buy it illegally in some hotels and restaurants.
You absolutely have to try masala chai — a drink with a tender and soft taste.
India is the motherland of Ayurveda. It’s not just a treatment method — it’s a philosophy. Many tourists come to India for the treatment when traditional medicine can’t help them.
The treatment includes healing oils, herbs, juices, massages, and herbal pills. Even if your health is good, you should have these preventive procedures. Just look at the hair and skin of Indian women to understand why Ayurveda is so popular.
The movements represent everything: people, animals, plants, nature, and emotions. Every gesture has a symbolic meaning, the sequence is also important. The oldest dance, Bharatanatyam, is over 5,000 years old. Kathakali is the dance of men. The costumes and makeup are especially elaborate, with faces made to look like painted masks and enormous headdresses. Manipuri is popular in northwestern India.
9. Find the point
India is the place in the world where people go looking for the meaning of life. Even centuries later, people here still know the secrets of living in harmony with the world and each other.
If you are in need of spiritual enlightenment, you should visit ashrams — places for spiritual practices with gurus. You can find several thousand of ashrams in the country. The program includes meditations, reciting mantras, lectures, meeting with teachers, and other things.
10. The world of islands and sunken ships
There are 8 islands near the Goa coast that attract divers from all around the world. During the course of the long history of India, there has been a huge number of shipwrecks. There are hundreds of Arabian and Portuguese sunken ships at the bottom of the ocean. Some shipwrecks haven’t been properly researched yet.
People who just want to lie on the beach will also enjoy India. The ocean here can easily compete with Rio, Ibiza, and Australia. The temperature of the water is around 80°F throughout the entire year. The beautiful sand, the pure water, and the great atmosphere are all reasons why this place is a popular destination for newlyweds.
11. The remains of ancient civilizations
Those who love history should definitely go to India.
In Hampi, you can find the remains of ancient cities, palaces, temples, and other buildings of different architectural styles: almost the entire history of humanity is represented here. This is one of the oldest settlements in India and the world so there are always a lot of tourists here.
12. No is yes. And other strange things...
- If you ask a question in India and someone shakes their head, it doesn’t mean “no.” In India, it means “yes.”
- People wake up early in India — at about 5 AM — 6 AM. This is because working during the day is too hard because of the heat.
- In the north of the country, people eat on the floor even in the wealthiest of families. Interestingly, they have tables and chairs, but they are used to storing things on them.
- Use only the right hand for saying “hello” or for paying: the left hand is considered to be “dirty” and you may deeply offend the locals if you offer it to them.
- Don’t be surprised if someone touches you in the street: it’s because people believe that they can be born with a different skin color in the next life.
- Even people who don’t have a lot of money throw really big and lavish weddings. Newlyweds invite not only friends and relatives but also people they barely know, including tourists. The number of guests can be from 300 to 1,500.
13. You should know this:
There is no central hot water supply in India. In 3-star hotels, there are boilers, and in cheaper places, hot water is poured manually. There may be no toilet paper, either. They use a shower next to the toilet. In guesthouses and hotels, you will find toilet paper.
Despite the stereotype that India is very dirty, the houses are always very clean, even though streets may be dirty. They don’t have running water or a sewage system. You won’t have such problems in places with many tourists unless you go to the slums.
Don’t forget: India can be very different and each region is special. The things you will see in a small town are completely different from a huge city.
14. Don’t forget to be grateful.
In cafes and restaurants, it’s okay to leave tips — from 3% to 10%. Rickshaws and masseurs are also happy to get a tip, and local kids love pens, sweets, and coins.
Tourists often claim that staff in hotels and cafes are not hospitable enough. Here, people have to work a lot which, unfortunately, has a negative impact on their mood. But the local people are always happy to see you.
Indians are very talented people. Around 1,600 movies are produced each year. India makes more movies than any other country in the world and Indian movies are shown in over 90 countries.
16. And a few more nice things
Cellular service and mobile internet are very cheap in India. So, you can take as many pictures as you want and instantly share them with your friends.
Other things are also very cheap. For example, a lunch with chicken or fish costs around $1 and a cup of tea costs about $0.20. The prices for food are way cheaper than at most resorts around the world.
Also, there is no language barrier: India is the second country in the world after the US in terms of the number of English-speaking people.
Where to go?
The choice of state for the trip depends on what you want:
- Diving, swimming, fishing — Saint George island;
- Diving for experienced people, sunken ships — Grand Island;
- Rich underwater world — Netrani island;
- Treatment, Ayurveda — the state of Kerala;
- Spas — the south of Goa;
- Parties, clubs — the north of Goa;
- The best beaches — the west of India, Goa;
- History — Delhi.
If you are not scared of difficulties and you are ready to face challenges that will leave you with an unforgettable experience, pack your bags and buy a ticket! India is waiting for you!
Which fact about this country amazed you the most? Tell us in the comments section below!
Preview photo credit depositphotos.com