At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks


GloboTreks is reader-supported through affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! – Norbert

India is on the bucket list for many travelers, and it’s no mystery why! The diverse landscape, colorful festivals, and spicy-hot cuisine are already reasons enough to pack your bags to visit Mumbai or Varanasi.

Whether you’ve been to India before or are just fascinated with this country, here are 40 interesting facts about India that might surprise you.

I’ve also included some recommendations of places to visit and amazing road trips that I’ve gained from first-hand experience.

1. Cows are considered sacred

If hamburgers are a regular part of your diet, you’ll need to make some adjustments before visiting India. Cows are protected by their own set of rules in the Constitution, making killing a cow a crime.

Even on crowded city streets, cows have the liberty to roam where they please without fear of being harassed by humans.

2. India is the wettest inhabited place on Earth

Meghalaya village 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!

3. India has over 300,000 mosques and over 2 million Hindu temples

About 15% of India’s population is Muslim, so get ready to be awed and amazed by all the stunning Islamic architecture India has to offer.

The mosques across the country range from small village buildings to immense ones, like the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad or the Jama Masjid in New Delhi.

The same can be said about India’s Hindu temples, as Hindus account for around 79.8% of the population. Incredibly, there are more than two million Hindu temples within the country. Incredibly, the holy city of Varanasi alone has over 23,000 temples.

Indian Railway

4. Chenab Bridge is the highest rail bridge in the world

Not all of India’s famous monuments are religious. The jaw-dropping bridge spanning the Chenab River in Jammu is 1,178 feet above the water. If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one!

5. Rajasthan has a Temple of Rats

This is probably one of the most surprising facts about India – there is a temple in Rajasthan dedicated to rats. Thousands of rats call the temple home, making it one of the most unique attractions in the whole of the country.

Many pilgrims visit the temple every year on their own religious journeys, so make sure to be respectful of local customs when visiting.

6. Ranked the second-most populous country in the world

After China, India is the second most populated country on earth with roughly 1.37 billion people… and the number keeps climbing. It’s estimated that by the year 2050, India will have surpassed China to become the most populated country in the world.

7. India has one of the lowest percentage of population using the internet

India has the second largest number of internet users in the world. However, as its population is so large, the percentage of its citizens that use the internet is actually one of the lowest in the world, at 48.7%. This is way behind the world average of 65.7% (as of 2023).

The Internet has faced many roadblocks throughout its development and adoption in India, so using a VPN is recommended for a more secure browsing experience.

The Himalayas in India

8. You can drive on the world’s highest motorable road

At over 19,300 feet, the Ladakh road is the highest motorable road in the world. It offers breathtaking landscapes and exciting road trips, particularly along the famous Leh–Manali Highway.

9. It’s home to a mysterious skeleton lake

Located in the Himalayas at about 16,470 feet, the glacial Lake Roopkund has become famous for the human skeletons found in the lake and surrounding areas.

It is thought that the skeletons are the remains of people from the 9th century who perished during a severe hail storm. This is one of the more gruesome inclusions on this list of facts about India – but I thought it was pretty interesting!

10. The popular game “Snakes and Ladders” originated in India

Now sold across the world (sometimes adapted to “shoots and ladders”), this board game traces its roots back to India.

It was first created to teach morals and lessons about karma in a way that young children would understand and remember. The squares on the board originally represented different virtues and vices, and the player’s route along the board represented the path to enlightenment.

11. India was the first country to mine diamonds

For around 1,000 years, from the 4th century BC, India was the only source of diamonds in the world. The original diamonds were found in the Krishna River Delta.

In the 18th century, more diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil, and soon after, in South Africa, adding to the market of diamonds. 

Ganesh

12. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world

With documents dating back to around 3,000 BCE, Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. In fact, some scholars claim it’s the oldest religion in the world. There is also no known founder of 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. Hinduism is a very complex religion, and while some Hindus believe in many gods (polytheists), some only believe in a single, all-pervasive god (monotheists). It’s up to each Hindu to decide which god they worship.

And here’s another fun fact about Hinduism: the number 108 is the most sacred number for Hindus.

This is because it’s the ratio of the sun’s distance from Earth to the sun’s diameter, as well as the ratio of the moon’s distance from Earth to the moon’s diameter.

13. India has 22 officially recognized languages

The numerous languages widely spoken across India include Santali, Kashmiri, Bengali, Tamil, and Urdu. However, the official languages are English and Hindi.

India also has the world’s second-largest population of English speakers (first is the United States), since most Indians speak their own regional language as well as English for easier communication.

Sanskrit is considered the oldest language in the world, the “mother of all languages.” Every Hindu book is written in Sanskrit, and it is said that Sanskrit is the language of the demi-gods.

Sanskrit writing

14. Most Indians eat with their fingers

It’s customary in India to eat food with your fingers, including rice, sauces, meats, and vegetables. Some people argue that to truly enjoy an authentic Indian curry, it’s a requirement to eat the dish with your hands!

Don’t be afraid to forgo the use of a fork, knife, and spoon while you’re in India; just watch how the locals do it and try finger food out for yourself.

15. A village with no locks and doors may be the safest on Earth

The village of Shani Shingnapur is famous for not having a door or lock on a single house. Beyond that, there has not been a recording of a criminal act for almost 400 years.

Many people think that the shared vulnerability has created a neighborly trust between the residents, which has formed a protection stronger than a deadbolt or heavy gate.

Indian Food

16. Indian food has become one of the most widespread cuisines in the world

From London to New York City, Indian food has spread across the world and continues to gain popularity. However, many Indians will tell you that the authentic flavor and spice of their cuisine are lost in many of the restaurants outside of India itself.

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!

17. India has the highest population of vegetarians

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.

Vegetarianism is so widely spread that even Western food chains like KFC provide a vegetarian menu.

18. There are A LOT of holidays

In 2019, India recorded 26 official holidays, including Independence Day, Deepavali, Holi, and Christmas.

The wide range of celebrations arises from the fact that so many different cultural groups are blended into the Indian population, leading to a plethora of holidays and festivals.

Hands with Holi colorful powders

19. Holi is much more than a colorful powder festival

Holi, also known as the festival of colors, is the popular Hindu spring festival celebrated across India and Nepal.

Holi’s name comes from “Holika,” the sister of demon King “Hiranyakashyap,” and it signifies the victory of good over evil. It also marks the end of the winter season, welcoming the spring.

While the festival is well known for its colorful powders, water is also a big part of the event, as many people use water balloons to engage in play fights with family and friends. 

Beyond being a national festival in India, these days, Holi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.

20. The world’s largest sundial is located in India

The town of Jaipur in northwestern India is home to the largest sundial in the world, 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.

The Taj Mahal at Sunrise

21. The Taj Mahal is slowly changing color

Perhaps the most iconic landmark in India, the majestic white walls of the Taj Mahal are something almost every traveler dreams of seeing.

However, due to pollution and contaminants in the air, the marble walls are slowly transforming from white into a yellow color.

I highly recommend visiting the Taj Mahal on this private day trip from Delhi (which also gives you the opportunity to discover Agra Fort and Baby Taj).

22. During World War II, the Taj Mahal was disguised as a bamboo stockpile

Even if the color is changing, the Taj Mahal is still one of the most beloved and important monuments in the country.

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.

Local culture in India

23. In some places in India, Coke and Pepsi are used as pesticides

In the Chattisgarh state of India, which is one of the world’s largest rice-producing areas, farmers are known to spray their fields with Coke and Pepsi products, since it was cheaper than traditional pesticides and seemed to work just as well.

This method might seem a bit odd, but it’s thought that the sweet syrups attract ants to the field, which eat the eggs and larvae of insects that commonly destroy crops.

24. North Sentinel Island is one of the last “untouched” places on Earth

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.

25. The Kumbh Mela is visible from space

The Kumbh Mela is an important festival and pilgrimage site, and the largest gathering on Earth. While a celebration takes place each year, there is a festival of greater significance at four-year and twelve-year intervals.

The number of people attending the festival is so large that the crowd is visible in satellite photos taken from space.

Local Hindi Woman

26. India has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world

According to statistics, the divorce rate in India is about 1 out of every 100 marriages, making it much lower than most countries.

This may be partly due to cultural customs and the fact that arranged marriages still occur in India.

27. Frogs are married off 

Speaking of marriage, frogs are married in India! Well, at least in the holy city of Varanasi.

According to the old traditional beliefs and rituals of Varanasi’s population, when the rains are delayed, frogs are caught and married to each other to please the rain gods.

28. The Hindu calendar has six seasons

Instead of the typical four-season cycle most countries recognize, India follows a six-season calendar, recognizing spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, prewinter, and winter.

Varanasi, India

29. Varanasi is the most ancient surviving city in the world

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.

30. The Origin of Ayurveda and Yoga 

In addition to being well known as the holiest city in India, Varanasi is also known as the birthplace of Ayurveda and Yoga and their ancient healing systems.

31. India is divided into 29 states

India is subdivided into many different states. Some of these states – like Assam, Kashmir, and Goa – are more easily recognized thanks to products like Assam tea, Kashmir silk, or the popular tourist destinations in Goa.

This might not be one of the most mind-blowing facts about India on this list, but it’s surprising how few Westerners are aware of the country’s state system.

Tea in India

32. Tea is the national beverage of India

It’s no secret that Indians love tea; the beverage is served throughout the day and with meals in every household. India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, following closely behind China.

33. Around 70% of the world’s spices come from India

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.

Statue of Unity in India

34. India has the current tallest statue in the world

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.

Amritsar Temple

35. The Amritsar Golden Temple serves free meals….for thousands

The Amritsar Golden Temple is one of the most dazzling architectural monuments in India, but it is also a site of generosity and compassion. This Sikh temple is open to people of all religions.

Every day, it serves a simple vegetarian meal, often to over fifty thousand people. What’s even more impressive is that almost all the ingredients are donated.

This private day tour to the Amritsar Golden Temple and Wagan Border is one that’s to not be missed.

36. India was the first country to refine and consume sugar

If you have a sweet tooth, you have India to thank for it. India was the first place where sugar was extracted, refined, and used in cooking – although once people got a taste of the delicious stuff, sugar production quickly spread around the world.

37. Shampoo originated in India

The word “shampoo” comes from the Sanskrit word “champu,” which means “to massage.”

Ground herbs mixed with water were the very first forms of shampoo. Later, when the idea caught on, commercial bottles started to be produced.

Step Well in India

38. India is famous for its iconic step wells

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.

39. The steel wires in the Bandra Worli Sealink could stretch around the world

Completed in 2010, the incredible Bandra Worli Sealink bridge required 90,000 tons of cement to build. To hold that all up, enormous steel cables – each with the ability to hold 900 tons of weight – were put in place along the bridge.

If they were laid out end to end, the cables could reach around the circumference of the globe.

Gandhi in India's Rupee

40. Gandhi is one of India’s most famous icons

Revered the world over for his nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was known to his many followers as Mahatma, or “the great-souled one.” He was also commonly referred to as “Bapu,” which means father.

In the years following World War I, he became the leading figure in India’s struggle to gain independence from Great Britain.

After Partition in 1947, he continued to work toward peace between Hindus and Muslims until his death, when he was fatally shot in Delhi in January 1948 by a Hindu fundamentalist.

Gandhi’s face has appeared on all denominations of Indian Rupees printed since 1996.

41. There’s a floating post office in India

Last up is one of the most interesting facts about India on this list.

Not only does India have the largest network of postal services in the world, but it also has some very unique post offices, including one that floats on the water.

Located in Dal Lake, Srinagar, the floating post office has begun to serve as a tourist destination for curious visitors who hope to photograph the unique site. Trust me, Srinagar is one of the most beautiful places in the country.

These amazing facts about India are just the tip of the iceberg; this country has so many surprises in store for travelers!

There’s nothing quite like real-life experience, so if these fun facts about India have piqued your curiosity, get ready to have your mind blown when you travel there in person.

40 Fun and Interesting Facts about India That Might Surprise You
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55 Comments

  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.

  18. THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT MY HOME COUNTRY INDIA. I WAS BORN IN THE U.S BUT MY MOMMY AND DADDY ARE FROM INDIA. THANK YOU FOR TEACHING MORE THINGS ABOUT INDIA.

  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.