Interesting facts about India


=>The oldest references to Firewalking go back more than 3,000 years, when ascetics in India walked on embers to test and purify themselves. [Source: Fox News]

=>The dancer during the performance of an Indian dance form ‘ kuchipudi’ dances on a brass plate, adjusting the rhythm of the tabla (drum) with the clamour of the plate being beaten by her/his foot.[Source: Indian culture]

=>India is the largest producers of FILMS in the world. Over 800 full length feature films are produced every year in 14 languages. This amounts to more than TWO FILMS being produced EVERY DAY! In 1996 the Central Board of Film Certification certified 683 Indian language films, 139 foreign films, 492 Indian language and 209 foreign documentaries, and a total ( Indian & foreign ) Video films for distribution.[Source: General Knowledge sourcebook 1998]

=>Mc donald’s in india doesn’t serve beef — only chicken, mutton and fish[Source: notice displayed in mcdonalds bombay outlet ]

=>Approximately 3 billion movie tickets are sold in India every year.

=>The only country in the world that has a Bill of Rights for Cows is India.

=>Bananas were discovered by Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. when he conquered India.

=>India has the most post offices in the world.

=>The Indian election in 1984 was the largest election of any country.

=>The material to build the Taj Mahal was brought in from various parts of India by a fleet of 1000 elephants.

=>India used to be the richest country in the world until the British invasion in the early 17th Century.

=>Barbie’s boyfriend Ken was not sold in India until recently because it clashed with the traditional arranged marriage.

=>The Persian invaders converted India into Hindu.

=>India can be divided into three distinct geographic regions:
the Himalayan region in the north, which contains some of the highest mountains in the world, the Gangetic Plain, and the plateau region in the south and central part.

=>The republic of India was once referred to as ‘Aryavarta’. The phrase went out of usage long back, though its occurrence is common in ancient texts. Aryavarta means the Land of Aryas, Arya in Sanskrit meaning Noble.

=>Did you know that the word mongoose comes from India? The name is a folk alteration of the Marathi name ‘Mangus’ for the mammal. The plural form is mongooses and not the more popular mongeese. Goose and Mongoose are linguistically unrelated.

=>Bhaarat, the official name of India, has an interesting etymology In Sanskrit, “bha” means knowledge or light, and “rat” is a verb for ‘doing’. Bhāarat is thus ‘the one in search of enlighntenment or knowledge.’ Bharatavarsha also means The Land of Bharata, and The Cherished Land. The name Bharata means The Cherished One in Sanskrit. The name derives from the times of Vedic civilization after King Bharata, who also finds mention in the Abhignana Shakuntalam

=>One village called Mattur in Shimoga district of Karnataka, India still uses Sanskrit as the primary spoken tongue!

=>Do you know that the word Serpent comes from Sanskrit? The word Serpent comes from the Sanskrit word “Sarpam” meaning snake or more arguably any creature that hisses or stings.

=>The word Pariah comes from the name of a drummer community called ‘Paraiyan’ in the backward parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The members of this tribe were the Untouchables, per the Caste system prevalent in India for a long time. Hence this name has come to be a generalization for all social outcasts. The word Paraiyan in turn comes from the word ‘Parai’ meaning drum. ‘Paraiyan’ also means to say. In olden days important messages were sent through a man with a drum. The drum was to attract attention so he could deliver the message to the public. Hence drumming and communication came to be associated together.

=>Everyone has heard of the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Did you know that the word Amritsar comes from the Sanskrit Amŗita-sarovar which means the “Lake of Nectar”.

=>There’s nothing that gives a more masculine image than a guy with a cigar between his fingers. Well, for something that is known the world over as a Cuban gift to the world, here is a something from much closer to the sub-continent. Cheroot, the variety of cigar actually gets its name from a Tamil word. In olden days, tobacco was rolled up on leaves or a piece of paper and smoke which was originally called “Surruttu”. Surruttu means “Rolled up”.

=>The word shampoo entered English in the late 1700s, with the meaning “to massage” with its origins in Hindi where “champna” or “champo” implies to “press or to knead.”

=>Arabic numerals are not Arabic; they were invented in India.

=>The game of snakes & ladders was created by poet Gyandev, in the late 13th century. The original name for the game was ‘Mokshapat.’ The ladders in the board represented virtues and the snakes were vices. The game was originally played with cowrie shells and dices. With the course of time, the game went through numerous modifications but the essence of the game still is the same i.e. good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.

=>”Navigation” comes from the Sanskrit word “navgatih” meaning “nine motions” referring to the 9 transiting planets (excluding the outer planets), which were apparently used for navigation during the early times in India.

=>The word ‘Khakhi’ originates from an Indian word for mud. During the 19th century, British soldiers stationed in India noticed that when their white service uniforms became stained by a type of mud there was a tan, camouflage effect. The term was coined from the natives word for that particular mud.[now u noe why the police uniform is kahkhi in color]

=>The great Indan epic, the Mahabharata, traditonally believed to have been dictated to Lord Ganesha by Ved Vyas, is eight times longer than theIlliad and Odyssey combined.

=>The statue of Tiruvalluvar at Kanyakumari is exactly 133 feet high, to commemorate the 133 chapters of the Tirukkural. The base, which is 38 feet high, denotes the first book of the Tamil epic, which has 38 chapters. The remaining portion of the statue is 95 feet high to denote the other two books having 70 and 25 chapters each.

=>The word “avatar”, recently added to the Oxford dictionary, means incarnation and originates in the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu Deity.

=>Malayalam is the only spoken language in the world whose name when spelt in English is a palindrome

=>The legendary filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, received the highest civilian award of France, the Legion d’honneur, for his short stories and not for his films.

=>The oldest surviving written grammar for any language is believed to be the Tolkāppiyam (தொல்காப்பியம்), a grammar of the Tamil language, written around 200 BCE by Tolkāppiyar.

=>The Hindi-language film “The Warrior” was chosen by the British Academy of Film and Television to represent the UK in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category at the 2003 Oscars. It was rejected by the AMPAA on the grounds that Hindi was not a language indigenous to the UK. However, “The Warrior” went on to win “Best British Film” at the British Academy Awards the following year.

=>Satyajit Ray the great Bengali film-maker, who received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, ” In recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and of his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world,” created two fonts named after him – Ray Roman and Ray Bizarre! The legend was fascinated by typography both Bengali and English. His two typefaces ‘Ray Roman’ and ‘Ray Bizarre’ would go on to win an international competition in 1971. His love for typography and illustration surfaced in the credits and the publicity posters of his films.He was also involved in introducing more of Indian motifs and calligraphic elements to the world of advertising as he began his career at D.J.Keymar.

=>1650 is the approximate number of dialects in India.

=>22 languages are officially recognized by the Constitution of India.

=>Bengali is the highest spoken Indian language in the world.

=>The writer of the National anthem of India also penned the National anthem for Bangladesh.

=>Hindi is the highest spoken language in India.


About Illakiyaa

அவ்வப்போது ஏற்படும் எண்ணங்கள் கிறுக்கல்களாக தோன்றும் இடம் இது.

17 responses »

  1. A very good read ! I recommend it to every literate Indian Citizen. Why don’t you put the facts in print in leading newspapers/publications ?

  2. Persians did not bring Hinduism to india.
    Hinduism is often stated to be the “oldest religious tradition” among the world’s major religious groups,or as “oldest living major tradition”. It is formed of diverse traditions and types and has NO SINGLE FOUNDER!



  3. happy that this info cld be useful..but do check its validity as I got this through email as a forward..and as u can see from the comments there could be some mistakes… 🙂

  4. very helpful for my “random facts” page on my report
    thx a lot!
    and also very interesting!

  5. Probably Illakiya meant the word INDIA was converted to HINDU by the Persians. This is still debated by historians. Some say it originated from the Arab word HIND (meaning DEAR, I am told). Arabs still name their girls HIND (meaning Priya). Theories galore.

  6. Interesting collection.

    You may wish to add some more “made in India”:

    1. English word “Mango” fruit is norrowed from tamil word ” Maa(n) kaai” (As per tamil adage “Mangum kalam maa kaikkum and ponkum kalam puli kaikkum” means mango will give plenty of fruits in driest seasonal years and Tamarind will give more fruits in good wet seasonal years.)

    2. English also adopted the words “Pandit”, Guru, Curry, Banglow, Verandah etc from India.

    3. According to Dr Perceival, the swimming pool idea was borrowed by the west from India . Even today we can see “padithurai” in rivers and theppakulam (place for swimming or taking bath).

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