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10 things you need to know about India

Last updated on: August 13, 2014 14:04 IST

10 things you need to know about India

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In the run-up to Independence Day, Rediff.com presents some interesting facts about India.

705 tribes live in India

iconIndia is home to 104.3 million people of various tribes.

Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have the largest percentage of tribals.

Among the smallest tribes are the Great Andamanese and Onge who live on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese and Great Andamanese are thought to have travelled to the Andaman Islands from Africa.

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Image: A tribal villager in the Koraput district of Orissa.
Photographs: Desmond Boylan/Reuters

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Indian trains can move the entire population of Australia in a day!

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The Indian Railways carry 23 million passengers a day and over 1 billion tonnes of freight every year. The population of Australia is 22.68 million.

The Vivek Express, that travels between Dibrugarh in Assam and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, is the longest train route in India. It has 56 stops and runs for 82.30 hours.

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Image: The Mumbai-Allahabad Duronto Express.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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More Indians have mobile phones than toilets

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Half of Indians do not have toilets at home, while more than half own mobile phones.

According to the 2011 Census, 46.9% Indians do not have toilets at home, while 63.2% have landlines or mobiles. 53.2% own mobile phones.

49.8% Indians defecate in the open.

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Image: A school boy shows his mobile phone to a rickshaw puller who takes him and other students to school on a cold winter morning in old Delhi.
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Tags: India

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India does more trade with UK than all of Europe put together

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There are 1,000 Indian companies doing business in Britain, led by the Tatas, which owns Jaguar and Land Rover.

On a recent trip to India, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that Indian investment in Britain tops all of Europe combined. The UK is the third biggest investor in India.

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Image: Actress Priyanka Chopra poses with Jaguar Land Rover's Range Rover LWB during its launch at the Indian Auto Expo in Greater Noida.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Some Pondicherry natives vote in the French elections

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There are around 5,000 French nationals in Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.

In the French legislative election held in 2012, two candidates in the fray were based in Pondicherry.

When Pondicherry became a part of India in 1954, the French government offered citizenship to those who resided in the Union territory. Twenty-five thousand people opted for French citizenship of which around 5,000 are based in Pondicherry and surrounding areas and the rest in France.

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Image: The French consulate located at Goubert Avenue, White Town, Pondicherry.
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Mahatma Gandhi is the Indian with most statues dedicated to him the world over

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Mahatma Gandhi's statues can be found in the USA, Africa, Switzerland, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Argentina, Sri Lanka...

A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be commemorated at Parliament Square in London.

The tallest Gandhi statue is in Gandhi maidan in Patna.

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Image: Mahatma Gandhi's statute at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Korondi is the centre of India

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Korondi, near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, is the centre of India.

Nagpur was the centre of British India, where a stone pillar called the zero mile stands as a historical monument.

After Partition, the geographical centre shifted to Madhya Pradesh, a state which Piyush Pandey and his team at the O&M advertising agency dubbed 'Hindustan ka dil' for the state's tourism campaign.

A poorly made replica of the Ashoka pillar marks the centre point in Korondi, but hardly anything has been done to promote this interesting geographical fact.

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Photographs: Courtesy Jagdish Chandra
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Kanyakumari is not the southern most tip of India

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It is Indira Point on the Great Nicobar island.

Indira Point was severely destroyed by the December 26, 2004 tsunami and submerged under water even a year after the tsunami.

A huge stone bust of the late prime minister Indira Gandhi at the venue was damaged and was retrieved by the Indian Air Force from the debris.

The name of the point was changed from Pygmalion Point to Indira Point in 1985.

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Image: Then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh at Indira Point on the Great Nicobar island.
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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There are 32 World Heritage sites in India

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In 1983, the Agra Fort, the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad and the Taj Mahal in Agra were the first Indian sites to be included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO's World Heritage list.

The latest Indian entry to the list is the Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. There are 1,007 World Heritage sites.

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Image: A tourist takes pictures of Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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The only active volcano in South Asia is in India

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After being dormant for 159 years, the Barren Volcano on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, became active in 1991.

The eruption in 1991 lasted about six months. It erupted again in 1994 and 2005 and has continued to eject smoke and ash since.

Barren Island is uninhabited and accessible only to the Coast Guard and naval ships which monitor the island on a regular basis for any eruption.

Barren Volcano can only be viewed from ships since it is not permitted to get onto the island.


Image: Barren Island volcano on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Photographs: Wikimedia commons

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