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I learned some really interesting facts about India on my recent trip there that I want to share with you today.

These fascinating tidbits about India will do all of the following:

  • Shock you
  • Inspire you
  • Make you hungry
  • Make you VERY hungry
  • Make you not so hungry (vegetarian burgers at McDonalds?)


There’s a saying: In the beginning, you’re overwhelmed by India. Then, you HATE it. By the time you leave, you LOVE it. 

I went through all of these stages…some more than once. But toward the end of my trip, I was getting emotional about leaving a country that I had just hated only a few weeks prior.

If you’re thinking about traveling to India, you 100% SHOULD. I’m serious. Close this tab, fire up SkyScanner, and book your trip. 

It’s an INCREDIBLE country with some of the best food, people, and sightseeing I’ve ever experienced.

Before you book that flight, though, check out these 24 interesting facts about India first.

1. The Taj Mahal Is Slowly Changing Color

The Taj Mahal at Sunrise

If you’re thinking of visiting the Taj Mahal, you better hurry up. 

The walls are slowly turning from white to yellow due to air pollution. Also, 7-8 million tourists visit every year, so that’s not helping either.

I know it’s a tourist trap, but there’s a reason this is one of the most famous buildings on Earth. 

This private day trip from Delhi (which also gives you the opportunity to discover Agra Fort and Baby Taj) was worth every penny. 

Fun Facts: Did you know this palace was built under order of emperor Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire in honor of his wife? Chill out, bro. You’re making us look bad!

Oh, and another quick fun fact, to protect the building during World War II, the entire palace was covered with bamboo scaffolding, completely hiding the true structure from bomber planes flying overhead.

The trick seemed to work because the Taj Mahal was never struck during the war.

2. Cows Are Considered Sacred (And Protected by Law!)

Sacred Cows in India

Cows are so sacred in this country that they’re even protected by the Constitution of India.

How incredible is that? It’s the only country I know of that protects this animal by law.

The law protecting the cow appears in Article 48 of the constitution. It roughly states that the government should make efforts to ban the slaughtering of cows and calves.

But do you actually know the reason why?

The reason for this is that cows are sacred in Hinduism. Hindus believe that they represent wealth, strength, and motherly love.

On my trip to India, I saw them roaming the streets like they owned the place. And there’s literally nothing you can do but drive around or wait for them to move.

Further Reading: Check out how India totally changed my mind on my most recent trip. There really is no place like India.

3. India Has Over 300,000 Mosques and Over 2 Million Hindu Temples 

Amritsar Temple

Did you know that the Taj Mahal was actually an example of Islamic architecture?

I did NOT.

India is shockingly one of the best places in South Asia to see Islamic architecture. If you’re into ornate and almost intimidating architectural design, this is one of the best places to visit.

I traveled there expecting to see mostly Hindu temples.

But when I arrived, I was shocked to learn that almost 15% of India’s population was Muslim.

Some of my other favorites include:

  • The Agra Fort
  • Makkah Masjid
  • The Red Fort

India’s Hindu temples are just as amazing, though. 

Hindus account for around 79.8% of the population. Incredibly, there are more than two million Hindu temples within the country. 

The holy city of Varanasi alone has over 23,000.

Tip: Some of the most beautiful temples in India are in Madhya Pradesh. And not many tourists flock to see them. It’s a great place to enjoy temples without the crowds. Also, Airavatesvara temple in Tamil Nadu is home to the oldest optical illusion in the world.

Further Reading: Thinking of traveling to India? Check out my guide on the best places to travel each month of the year to learn when it’s best to go to the sub-continent.

4. India is Now the Most Populous Country in the World

Vintage Map of China

India has officially surpassed China as the most populous country in the world.

There are more than 1.4 BILLION people in the country. That’s more than all of Europe, the USA, and Canada COMBINED.

It’s mind blowing to think there are more people in India than in the entire Western Hemisphere!

5. India Is Home to the World’s Highest Motorable Road (The Leh-Ladakh Pass)

Leh Ladakh Road in Snow

This is a major bucket list item for any hardcore traveler. It’s a dream drive for anyone who’s into adrenaline-pumping adventure.

At over 19,300 feet, the Ladakh road is the highest motorable road in the world. The road is located near where India shares borders with Pakistan and China.

That means you’ll be driving at a higher elevation than Everest Base Camp

It offers breathtaking landscapes and exciting road trips, particularly along the famous Leh–Manali Highway. I highly recommend going in the summertime. The hotels and camps in the area have great rates, and it’ll give you a glimpse into a style of life that’s slowly dying out.

NOTE: You CANNOT drive this road yourself. It’s too dangerous. You must have a local driver take you on it.

6. Mumbai is the Largest City in India (Population: 22 MILLION)

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is the New York City, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley of India. And it’s been one of the most important cities in the world for the last 1,000 years.

Imagine a boiling cauldron full of frantic innovation, culture, language, and ancient history all squeezed into one of the most densely inhabited tracts of land on Earth.

That’s what “Bombay” is today.

Mumbai is a city where dreams come true for Indian people. 

You could visit the city a hundred times and still not even scratch the surface. It’s a foodie’s heaven, a shopper’s haven, and a history buff’s paradise.

I loved every minute here. 

New Delhi might be the political capital, but this city is the entertainment, financial, and business capital for sure.

Pro Tip: India is the largest spice market in the world. If you’re in this city, check out Lalbaug spice market. It’s one of the most unique travel experiences you can have in Asia. There are hundreds of stalls selling fresh spices, some you probably never have heard of. If you love cooking, your food will never taste the same. 

7. Northern India is Home to One The World’s Oldest Civilizations

Indus Civilization Ruins

Did you know that modern civilization partially started in India?

It’s true.

The Indus River Valley was home to the Indus Civilization more than 5,000 years ago! That’s older than the Pyramids of Giza!

Some things we still use today like weight standardizations and metallurgy were pioneered by Ancient Indians. Any time you step on a scale and hate the number (maybe after too much garlic naan), you can thank Ancient Indians.

NOTE: The Ganges River in this part of India also has some of its own ancient civilizations. The Ganges Valley Civilization followed the one in the Indus Valley a few thousand years later. It’s definitely worth looking up.

8. The Popular Game “Snakes and Ladders” Originated in India

24 Interesting Facts About India (This Country Shocked Me) 1

Snakes and Ladders is one of the most popular board games in history. Millions of kids across the world have played this game.,

Not many people know it comes from India.

You might know this game as “Chutes And Ladders”, but they’re both the same.

I had no idea that this board game traced its roots back to India. It was one of my favorites growing up.

Apparently, it was taken from India and brought to the UK in the late 19th-Century.

The idea of the game actually comes from the Hindu religion. It was first created to teach morals and lessons about karma in a way that kids would understand. 

Kids these days might find it a bit boring to learn about karma, but it’s an important part of growing up.

9. Hinduism Is One of the Oldest Religions in the World

A Young Sadhu at Pashupatinath Temple

Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. Some of its traditions even date back to prehistoric times! 

In fact, some scholars claim it’s the oldest religion in the world.

I was also surprised to learn that Hinduism was NOT the official religion of India. There is no official religion in the country at all! India is a tapestry of different religious cultures with a focus on tolerance of other people’s beliefs. 

Maybe we could all learn a thing or two, huh?

Anyways, back to Hinduism.

Currently, Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world, with more than 1 billion followers. 

Many Westerners assume Hinduism is a pure polytheism, but this isn’t always the case.

Fun Fact: Other religions that come from India include Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. 

10. India Has 22 Officially Recognized Languages

Sanskrit writing

There is no national language of India.

Instead, the country has officially recognized languages with equal standing that come from a diverse background. The languages include:

  • Hindi
  • Santali
  • Kashmiri
  • Bengali
  • Tamil
  • Urdu
  • English

Hindi and English are the official languages of the government in India. However, the Constitution of India does not claim any one language as the main language of the country.

11. The Bengal Tiger is India’s National Animal

Tiger in Southern India

Pretty intimidating for a national symbol, right?

The Bengal Tiger can be seen everywhere in Indian culture, and I love it.

India is currently home to about 75% of the world’s tiger population, so it makes sense that it’d be one of their national symbols.

The Bengal Tiger represents power, grace, and agility. A bit like India on the national stage these days!

12. India is the 7th Largest Country in the World

Map of India

India is the seventh largest country in the world by land area, and the second largest country in Asia behind China.

You don’t really realize how massive the country is until you set foot in it and begin to travel. 

Just to put it in perspective, India touches:

  • The Arabian Sea
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Bay of Bengal (mostly in Andhra Pradesh)
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan (in Northwestern India)
  • China
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh

And it includes extremes in geography from the massive Himalayan Mountains to the Thar Desert in the Northwest.

Fun Fact: It’s about 2,700 kilometers (~1,700 miles) from Uttar Pradesh in the north to the southernmost point of India. That’s about the distance from Boston to Austin, Texas!

13. Most Indians Eat With Their Fingers

Indian Food on a Leaf

Would you ever eat curry with your hands?

I was SHOCKED when I saw people eating rice, meat, and even sauces with their hands here. It’s said that if you want a true authentic culinary experience in India, you must eat with just your hands.

I’m not sure why, but someone told me it was due to an ancient tradition that claims eating with your hands aids digestion.

Not sure I believe that, but to each their own!

Don’t worry, pretty much every restaurant lets you use utensils. But man, they really take finger food to another level here.

If you’re ever in doubt, just watch what the locals are doing and take their cues. You might actually like it!

14. Indian Food Is One of the Most Widespread Cuisines in the World

Indian Food

Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines on Earth for a few interesting reasons.

For one, there’s a massive Indian diaspora across the planet that brought their love for their home cuisine to all corners of the globe.

But one of the major reasons it’s so popular is because of the history of British rule. The British ruled India for centuries, and this resulted in Indian dishes being offered in London and other British cities.

If you’re about to visit India and are starting your trip in Delhi, then this food tour is the best and safest way to introduce your palate to authentic Indian food! You have to try the authentic garlic naan!

15. India is the Most Vegetarian Country in the World

McDonalds in India

Imagine getting vegetarian food at KFC or McDonalds.

That’s reality in India. Just check out the McAloo Tikki Burger made with potato and peas.

It’s estimated that between 20% and 40% of India’s population follow a strict vegetarian diet, while many others will only consume fish and no land animals.

That means that India has the largest population of vegetarians of any country. 

The reason is because Hinduism praises vegetarianism. And as you already know, cows are sacred, so beef is off the list. Hey, might as well go all-in on something, right?

As a tourist, you might find it difficult to find non-vegetarian options in many places.

16. Holi Is Much More Than a Colorful Powder Festival

Holi Festival in India

Holi (the festival of colors) is a vibrant and energetic attack on the senses celebrated in Spring across India and Nepal.

Each Spring, locals smother themselves in colorful powders and paints in devotion to the gods Krishna and Radha. That’s the gist of it, but it’s so much more than that too.

So, why are they throwing paint at random strangers just trying to enjoy their vacation?

Holi marks the end of winter, but it’s also the celebration of love and the triumph over evil. So, of course, you need gallons of pink paint canvassing every inch of your body to signify that.

Seriously, though, the colors signify certain deities in hinduism. The more colors, the better.

NOTE: Holi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. There might be a local festival in your area, so look for it online. 

17. Around 70% of the World’s Spices Come from India

Spices in the City Market

India is by far the largest producer of spices, which are shipped across continents to restaurants and kitchens worldwide. Some of the best-known spices are turmeric, cumin, saffron, and chili powders.

18. Gandhi Appears on All Denominations of Rupees

Gandhi in India's Rupee

Did you know that Gandhi appears on every denomination of Rupees. 

No surprise to me though. 

Gandhi campaigned for human rights, the rights of women, Indian independence, and many other causes. He deserves to be on India’s currency.

By the way, Indian money looks AWESOME.

US Dollars are boring, in my opinion. It’s all just green (I’ll take some if you’re giving it away, though).

Indian Rupees are so colorful and full of writing. It’s fun just to look at it.

Fun Fact: Mahatma Gandhi was President of the Indian National Congress, but never actually held office. Indira Gandhi, however, was India’s 3rd Prime Minister!

19. India is the Wettest Inhabited Place on Earth

Mawsynram, India

Mawsynram town in the Meghalaya state in Northeastern India has won the Guinness world record title for the wettest place on Earth, with about 11,873 milliliters of rain annually. The monsoon season lasts six months, so make sure you pack an umbrella!

20. The World’s Largest Sundial is Located in India

Janta Mantar, Jaipur

The city of Jaipur in northwestern India is home to the largest sundial in the world, the Janta Mantar, which is an amazing 27 meters (90 feet) tall!

If that’s not impressive enough, the sundial is constructed from beautiful polished stone to create an awe-inspiring work of architecture.

The sundial has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every year, it attracts thousands of visitors, who come to witness the shadow moving at about six centimeters per minute.

21. North Sentinel Island is One of the Last “Untouched” Places on Earth

North Sentinel Island, India

The Indian government has prohibited anyone from going within three miles of North Sentinel Island, home of the Sentinelese people.

In 1991, the anthropologist Madhumala Chattophadhyay had several peaceful encounters with the Sentinelese, but in subsequent years, the people made it very clear (sometimes violently) that they did not want to be disturbed.

It is now considered one of the last places “untouched” by the outside world.

22. Varanasi is the Most Ancient Surviving City in the World

Varanasi, India

Several countries around the world claim they have the oldest living city in the world, and India is one of them.

The holy city of Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is believed to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. In fact, it is believed that this place was once the home of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. 

As Mark Twain puts it, Varanasi is “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

This city’s connection with eternity doesn’t end here, for it is believed that the person who inhales his final breath here actually attains salvation. 

This is why so many devout Hindus pilgrimage to Varanasi to spend their last days on earth. At the same time, many other devotees flock to the city throughout the year to experience its divinity.

If you’re visiting the city for the first time, I highly recommend this private half-day tour to immerse yourself in Varanasi’s culture, history, and (tourist-friendly) street food!

Also, Varanasi is a visually stunning city. From its architecture, its people, and rituals, every moment and every corner presents a photo-worthy capture. Make the most of this rich experience with this photo tour across the city.

23. India has the Current Tallest Statue in the World

Statue of Unity in India

Measuring 600ft (182m) in height, the Statue of Unity is currently the tallest statue in the world.

The statue, which is a tribute to the independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is located in the western state of Gujarat, where Patel was born. 

For comparison, this statue is almost twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty (305ft or 93m). It is made with more than 12,000 bronze panels and weighs about 67,000 tonnes.

The easiest way to visit the statue is with this day tour from Ahmedabad.

24. India is Famous for its Iconic Step Wells

Step Well in India

India’s abandoned step-wells, known as vavs in Gujarat and baolis (or baoris) elsewhere in northern India, are an important part of its history and architecture. 

While information about them is scarce, they’re believed to have started appearing mostly between the 2nd and 4th centuries to supply water from the country’s deep water tables – especially in the hot, dry states in northern India. 

Beyond their primary use, they were often used to provide shade, as temples, community centers, and layovers on trade routes.

Among the most stunning step wells is the Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Step Well), which is undoubtedly India’s most awe-inspiring step well and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These step wells are best explored on a tour. Here are some of the best step well tours in the region.

24 Interesting Facts About India | This Country Shocked Me
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  1. Norbet,
    Great information about India!
    India is one of the biggest populations in the world, but also with other factors like spices, tallest statue and tallest bridges, the slag suits,”Incredible India”.

    1. Yes beautiful india in everything but in occupation of jobs struggles alot due to high population

    2. India …..the country with a unique tradition of unity in diversity …..Proud to be an Indian. .Here animals are considered sacred …people celebrate the festivals together.
      .Maximum number of religions inhabit here ….it’s right to say that if you have travelled entire bharat. ..then you have travelled the entire world ….

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m really interested to read these facts because I have a flight in India next year. Quick question. What are the majority of Muslims in India? Is it Sunni or Shia? because there are 2 branches of Muslims.

  3. Wonderful article. Beautiful photographs. I have explored many of these travel destinations in India. Thanks for sharing these amazing travel destinations, Now I have more places to explore here 🙂

  4. India is such a beautiful and diverse country, from handmade structure to natur it occupies these all. One should visit it at least once in a life time.

    1. Yes, Buddhism did originate from India, to be more precise Lord Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama was a prince in an Indian Kingdom but left the kingdom to pursue nirvana and spirituality. Basically left the kingdom and became an ascetic. It is also believed in India that Buddhism is a part of Hinduism due to him being from a royal family that followed Hinduistic traditions.

    2. Dear BE,

      The roots of All religions is Hinduism. Thats why Admin ask Hinduism is a oldest religion in the world.

    3. Yes, the origin of Buddhism was in India. Gautam Buddh, the funder of Buddhism was born in Nepal but grew up in India and in Gaya, Bihar he had a vision to see the God and founded Buddhism, a non-voilent, spiritual religion offering a peaceful path towards Moksha.

  5. I am an indian by birth and lives in this beautiful paradise. Now I am feeling so blessed to have taken birth here

  6. India is the best in all of the matters. It has never been compared to the other countries…..
    Love You India….. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  7. It’s not a fun fact about 108 which shows distance between sun, earth and moon …. Dude it’s scientific research which was conducted 1000 of years ago and that too without any modern devices or equipments. Hence don’t make fun of such things

  8. India is an emotion, it is just not a country. Anyone who loves knowing the world, may come to a place where they could just be greeted with the perfect way of people smiling, compassion, believes, facts, structures, nature’s iconics, history, festivals and what not! There are countries which have got beautiful places, and few which have many beautiful places. India has many!

  9. But INDIA has no official language…
    Hindi is just widely spoken but there are no official language for india 🙂

  10. ” Tamil is one the main root language for many languages. It is so rich” Where is this point?

    I do appreciate you for this article.

  11. Amazing article about the Incredible India. The only thing that was missing is the breathtaking architechture of the ancient temples of the Hoysala period. The tall vellore temple and very intrecately crafted stone statues where each and every jewellery can be seen crafted from a single stone.

  12. Please change photo identity of this article from Taj Mahal to another Lots of Popular Temple from India need to be identify from its Hindu culture and Monuments and not from Ruined History of the Real India.

  13. The most advanced developments made by Ancient India which are relevant even in today’s world without knowing they were discovered in india.

  14. Number ten is actually quite false. Christianity is the oldest recorded religion. Buddhism came thousands of years later. There are older copies of the Bible than there are any signs of Buddhism.

    1. Hey you believe this means you know that the creator of Christianity is Jesus and it is AC now you know that Mahabharata took place more than 2000 years ago and it is till not the oldest

  15. Norbert, your opinions are not necessarily facts.
    Right off the bat your claim that beef isn’t part of the Indian Diet must come from the skewed SitComs you watched on American Television.
    I suggest you do a more first hand deep dive research about the many diverse regions of India or anywhere for that matter, before posting your ‘Fun Facts.’

  16. India.. Where people are taught to hate and spread hate… Where people cannot stand people from different beliefs… Totally contrary to what they claim… Hypocrisy at its peak

  17. Excellent article, Nobert. It is nice to learn the 40 quick facts about India. India is the second most populous country in the world and has many regional languages. Indian food has become popular across the world. India is known as the land of temples and for its various festivals.


  19. South India has a rich heritage too ..pls do include facts about it
    The 40 facts are all of North India

  20. India the country with a unique tradition of unity in diversity Proud to be an Indian Here animals are considered sacred people celebrate the festivals together.
    Maximum number of religions inhabit here it’s right to say that if you have travelled entire bharat then you have travelled the entire world.

  21. uummmm, it was crazy that 70% of spices come from India! I love spice and I thought it comes from China or Japan.

  22. India has one of the lowest percentage of the population using the internet. – Now you need to correct this and do some research and update your content

    1. Would you care to elaborate on what’s incorrect? I did my research when writing this fact, so please provide your research to be considered for any edits.

    1. That’s totally fine! Honestly, India is not for everyone. It wasn’t for me when I first visited, but it then grew on me… veeeeeeery slowly.