India is a fascinating, enigmatic and mysterious country that you would probably love to discover, not only because it is the origin of Bollywood film industry and its incredible dance styles, but also because it is a culturally unique and beautiful country.
India is a country south east Asia with more than 5000 years of history. Visiting India is an adventure since culturally speaking, it surprises you in a way that few other countries in the world would.
In this post, we want to share with you 10 novel features about India that you might not know.
1.-It is the second most populous country in the world and is very close to beating China!
Due to its vast extension, India is considered a subcontinent of Asia. India is the seventh largest country in the world and the second country in the world with the highest population after Chine, even though it is believed that it could overtake China in the coming years.
According to data in 2021, India has a population of 1,408 million, second only to China with a population of 1,412 million.
India has 28 states of various dimensions. Just for you to have an idea, the state of Rajasthan is almost as big as Germany.
2.- 4 different religions are followed in India
Indian has four main religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It is considered a secular country with no official religion. Among the four religions, Hinduism is the predominant one since it is practiced by 80% of the population.
Hinduism is one of the most popular religions in the world after Christianity and Islam.
3.- The cow is a sacred animal
All animals are considered scared in India since in Hindu mythology animals are usually the way in which Gods and Goddesses move around (like companions to divine Gods) or Gods themselves are incarnated in the form of an animal. For example, Ganesh the famous God with the head of an Elephant. The cow also has a special place in this religion since it is believed to be a generous animal, because it produces milk and its derivatives are a source of food for human beings.
4.- Moving your head could mean so many things in India depending on the context
Contrary to Western culture, head movements and gestures could either mean yes or No.
It is a fact when you travel to India, you will quickly realize that moving your head from one side to another could mean Yes, no or just empathize or agree with you depending on who you are talking to, the context and which part of India you are in (and sometimes the speed and force with which they move their head!!)
5.- Indians and Hindus are not the same.
It is common to make the mistake of calling Indians, Hindus. We have to clarify that Hindu is the person who practices Hinduism, while Indian is usually used to reefer to an inhabitant of India.
6.- One of the most predominant diets in India is the vegetarian diet
Indian cuisine varies depending on the region you visit, but the predominant ingredients in this style of gastronomy are rice and legumes.
As a curious fact, we can tell you that edible products are labeled with a green dot indicating that the product is vegetarian or a brown dot indicating that its ingredients are of animal origin.
7.- They have the largest religious festival in the world
Kumbhamela, is considered the largest religious celebration of Hinduism and the world, which is celebrated on the banks of the Ganges river. This Hindu festival is celebrated four times every 12 years and is celebrated at 4 different holy spots.
The most important event of this celebration is the immersion in the Ganges river. It is believed that immersion in the water cleanses you of all your sins and your ancestors for up to 88 generations. in addition, it is also considered that drinking its water purifies and washes away one´s sins.
8.- It is common to meet monks who are nomads in some regions of India
Sometimes, when one travels across India, you could come across monks who live their lives on the path of austerity to achieve enlightenment and happiness are known as “Sadhus”. They choose to ignore human pleasures. In fact, some of them even smoke weed or ride the train for free since they are believed to live in another state of consciousness
9.- There exists a third gender in certain areas of India: the Hijras
Hijras are usually are men who dress as women, but do not consider themselves to be of any sex or gender in specific. The official census of India does not mention them, but it is estimated that there are around 5 million hijras in India.
10. Bollywood was born in India
As we have mentioned in previous posts, the Bollywood film and dance industry was born in India, where it has grown and thrived ever since.
Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world, which gave rise to Bollywood dance: a fusion between various elements of Indian dance styles as well as hip hop and latin dances.