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10 India facts that will blow your mind

Last updated on: June 06, 2014 20:49 IST

10 India facts that will blow your mind

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Which Indian leader was featured in Vogue way back in 1964?

You probably know that the Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India. But what is our national game? (Do we even have one?!?)

Answers to these and more questions in the pages to follow!

India continues to surprise us every single day.

The diversity, the history, the varied cultures, the delicious cuisines... there is nothing even remotely everyday about this wondrous country.

Over the last few months, we've been bringing you stunning photographs from around the country, taking you down memory lane and even making a bucket list of things to do in India :-)

Today, we list out a few things about India that you probably didn't know and most certainly should be proud of.

So keep clicking and be amazed!


Image: Get ready to have your mind blown! :-)
Photographs: Pawel Kopcznski/Reuters
Tags: India , Vogue

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1. The Brihadeeswarar Temple was the full-granite building in the world

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Let's start from Tamil Nadu shall we?

The Brihadeeswarar Temple, located at Thanjavur was constructed by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and boasts of a shikhara or the peak made out of a single 80-tonne piece of granite.

Also known as 'the Big Temple', it turned (and you might need to sit down for this) 1,000 years in 2010.


Image: The Brihadeeswarar Temple
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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2. Indian Railways is the country's largest employer

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The Indian Railways employs some 1.4 million people, making it the largest employer in the country.

That's more people than the entire population of countries such as Fiji, Barbados, Maldives and The Bahamas!

With a railway length of 64,460 km, the Indian Railways also boasts of the fourth largest network of rail transport in the world after the US, China and Russia.


Image: Commuters disembark from crowded suburban trains during the morning rush hour at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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3. And the combined strength of India's armed forces is...

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A little over 1.3 million!

Which should explain why no one wants to mess around with us :-)


Image: Indian Army soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Tags: India

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4. Snakes and ladders was invented in India

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True story!

It was called Mokshapat and the ladders represented virtues while the snakes indicated vices suggesting that one's good deeds would lead one to salvation or moksha and evil would lead to a cycle of rebirths.

Come think of it, the fact that this game was invented by us shouldn't come as a surprise.

Who else would've connected karma and a board game but us?


Image: Mokshapat... now known as Snakes and ladders :-)
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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5. As were buttons!

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The good folks in the Indus Valley were using ornamental buttons made out of seashells in 2000 BC.

At about the same time the chaps in (what would come to be called) England were celebrating because they completed this.


Image: Yup! We made 'em first! :-)
Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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6. Jawaharlal Nehru was featured in Vogue

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Talking of fashion, our very on Chacha Nehru received a nod from the fashionable folks at Vogue magazine.

Nehru, who was pictured in his trademark single-breasted mandarin-collared jacket, triggered a trend, with the 'Nehru jacket' becoming the thing to be seen in.

The Beatles wore it, Johhny Carson wore it and gurus of high fashion went on to include it in their collections.

While its popularity waned in the '60s, the jacket has made a comeback to the runways in the last few decades.




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7. Textiles industry is the second largest source of employment in India

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While we're on clothes, here something you should know:

India's textile industry offers direct employment to some 35 million people in the country.

As of 2009-2010, Indian textiles industry was pegged at $55 billion.

64 per cent catered to the local markets.

We are an agricultural economy. So agriculture, of course, ranks number one here.

More facts about India's economy here


Image: An employee works at the production line of a carpet manufacturing factory in Jammu.
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
Tags: India

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8. Varanasi has been inhabited for 4,000 years

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The fortunes of Varanasi have risen and fallen many times over but the city itself has stood strong since circa 1986 BC.

This makes it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world!

Great many things have been said about Varanasi (or Benaras as it is also called). 

This one's by Mark Twain: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

 


Image: Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the Karthik Purnima festival on the occasion of Dev Deepawali at Dasasumerghat in Varanasi.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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9. Field hockey is NOT the national game of India

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An RTI query from a ten-year-old girl, Aishwarya Parashar, revealed that hockey is not the national game of the country.

Responding to the query, the union ministry of youth affairs confessed that there was no official order or notification that names hockey as the national game.

As it turns out, officially, India doesn't have any national game at all!

Our school text books were wrong all along! :-)

Stumped? :-P


Image: India's Raghunath Vr lies on the pitch after being injured during the men's Group B hockey match against Germany at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

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10. The Mumbai dabbawala are freaking rockstars

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But you probably knew that right?

We won't bore you with the six sigma story that you've heard so many times over or how Prince Charles came to meet these industrious people.

We will however leave you with the official figures as they appear on the website of the Mumbai dabbawala:

Just about 5000 of them deliver 200,000 lunch boxes every single day to and from offices all over the city.

The fact that they have been doing it for 125 years, carrying out their job during peak traffic hours, travelling in trains that ferry over 4500 passengers instead of their capacity of about 2500 and never let the smile vanish from their faces, makes this achievement downright superhuman!


Image: The Mumbai dabbawala
Photographs: Courtesy Mumbaidabbawala.in

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