Opinion

Did you know that Tirupathi Balaji temple and Kashi Vishwanath temple individually get more tourists than the Mecca and the Vatican combined

The great Indian context – inclusive of history, religious diversity, the independence saga and the journey towards modernization – never fail to surprise a curious soul when explored upon.  Surprising facts lie on every corner of the country, and here are a few selected ones that will bring you a smile or leave you in a state of wonder!

1. The plates changed everything.

Around a 100 million years ago, India was an island, like Australia. The movement of tectonic plates changed everything and joined the country to the Asian continent. Fortunately or unfortunately, that is hard to say.

2. The game of intellectuals originated here

India is the birthplace of chess, the game considered to be for the smartest. It was initially called ‘Chaturanga’ in Sanskrit, which translates to ‘four members of an army.’ The four members are the elephants, knights, chariots and foot soldiers.

3. India has a ‘floating’ post office

The Indian Postal Department is the pride of the country, as it is the largest postal service in the world. With a total of 1,55,015 post offices all around the country, not even lakes and remote areas are spared. Srinagar has a floating post office over the Dal lake since 2011!

4. More voters than half the world combined

The 2014 elections, that pretty much changed the entire scenario of the country, was also a record breaker in terms of voter strength. A total of 54 crore people voted during the election, which is a figure higher than the populations of USA, UK, Japan and Australia combined!

5. Show of strength in unity

The Kumbh Mela in 2001 broke all records and became the biggest gathering in human history. 60 million people (Hindus, in particular) gathered at the banks of Ganga and the triveni sangam (the place where three rivers meet) to bathe in holy water. This religious festival has stayed as the biggest religious gathering of humankind, which takes place every 12 years in Uttar Pradesh. A picture of the mela taken from space had gone viral on social media.

6. No one beats India’s religious identity

Put together the two most known religious attractions in the world from Islam and Christianity – the Mecca and the Vatican City.  Well, the Tirupathi Balaji temple in South India and the Kashi Vishwanath temple in North India individually get more tourists than the Mecca and the Vatican combined! Beat that!

7. Speak of secularism

Although a Hindu country by historic essence, India has embraced all religions as its own. The true evidence of that is the fact that India is home to a total of 3,00,000 mosques all around the country, with more of them coming up. This figure is greater than that of Islamic nations as well, that speaks of secularism like no other!

8. Speak of embracing cultures

Regardless of whether or not English is our native language, and regardless of the oppositions against imposition of English in India, India has the largest English speaking population in world.

9. The one engineering wonder

No wonder India mass produces engineers every year; they’re all in a quest to turn India into an engineering wonder. One example for the same is the Bandra-Worli sea link, which is a bridge constructed with steel wires whose collective length equals that of the earth’s circumference! It took a total of 2,57,00,000 man hours to build this bridge, which weighs as much as 50,000 African elephants!

10. The lone Kabaddi world champion

Yes, India has won all the world championships in Kabaddi so far. Both men’s and women’s teams have won every world tournament they’ve taken part in, keeping up the glory of the indigenous high-adrenaline game!

11. ISRO literally pedalled its way to top

The first rocket launched by India was ferried to its launch location on a bicycle. The first satellite launched by India was ferried to the launch pad on a bullock cart. Today, ISRO is one amongst the world’s top most space programs in the world. Talk of hard work for glory.


Ashwini Jain

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