1. The name “India” is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshipers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu. The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name “Hindustan” combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
2. The number system was invented by India. Aryabhatta was the scientist who invented the digit zero.
3. India exports software to 90 countries.
4. Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
5. Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
6. The World’s first university was established inTakshashila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. TheUniversity of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
7. Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.(a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987).
8. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidatedAyurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
9. Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British invasion in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India’s wealth.
10. The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindhu 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit ‘Nou’.
11. Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart in 5th century that time taken by earth to orbit the sun 365.258756484 days.
12. The value of “pi” was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as thePythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.
13. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10**53(10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 10**12(10 to the power of 12).
14. IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdish Chandra Bose and not Marconi.
15. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
16. According to Saka King Rudradaman I of 150 BC, a beautiful lake called Sudarshana was constructed on the hills ofRaivataka during Chandragupta Maurya‘s time.
17. Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
18. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
19. When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians establishedHarappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
20. The four religions born in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
21. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.
22. India is one of the few countries in the World, which gained independence without violence.
23. India has the second largest pool of Scientists and Engineers in the World.
24. India is the largest English speaking nation in the world.
25. India is the only country other than US and Japan, to have built a super computer indigenously.
26. The first six Mogul Emperor’s of India ruled in an unbroken succession from father to son for two hundred years, from 1526 to 1707.
27. The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara temple at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The shikhara is made from a single ‘ 80-tonne ‘ piece of granite. Also, this magnificient temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.
28. India is the Largest democracy in the world, the 6th largest country in the world AND one of the most ancient and living civilizations (at least 10, 000 years old).
29. The game of snakes & ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat.‘ The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowry shells and dices. Later through time, the game underwent several modifications but the meaning is the same i.e. good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
30. The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
31. India has the most post offices in the world!
32. The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system, employing over a million people!
33. Until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world. (Source: Gemological Institute of America)
34. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
35. Jainism and Buddhism were founded in India in 600 B.C. and 500 B.C. respectively.
36. Islam is India’s and the world’s second largest religion.
37. There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.
38. The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
39. Jews and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D. respectively.
40. The largest religious building in the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple in Cambodia built at the end of the 11th century.
41. The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (US) to the temple everyday.
42. Sikhism originated in the Holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. Famous for housing the Golden Temple, the city was founded in 1577.
43. India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution.
44. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharmashala in northern India.
45. India is the world’s largest, oldest, continuous civilization.
46. India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history.
47. India is the world’s largest democracy.
48. Varanasi, also known as Banaras, was called “the ancient city” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C.E, and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
UPDATED ON 14/12/2010.
49. Most historians agree that the first recorded account of plastic surgery is found in ancient Indian Sanskrit texts.
50. India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai (known as the “City of Dreams”). The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals.
51. With 150,000 post offices, India has the largest postal network in the world.
52. India is the world’s largest producer of dried beans, such as kidney beans and chickpeas. It also leads the world in banana exports; Brazil is second.
53. The earliest cotton in the world was spun and woven in India. Roman emperors would wear delicate cotton from India that they would call “woven winds.” Mogul emperors called the fabrics “morning dew” and “cloth of running water.
54. India is the birthplace of chess.l The original word for “chess” is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning “four members of an army”—which were mostly likely elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers.
55. Hindi and English are the official languages of India. The government also recognizes 17 other languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali, Manipuri, Konkani, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Apart from these languages, about 1,652 dialects are spoken in the country.
56. India’s pastoral communities are largely dependent on dairy and have made India the largest milk-producing country in the world.
57. India has the world’s third largest road network at 1.9 million miles. It also has the world’s second largest rail network, which is the world’s largest civilian employer with 16 million workers.
58. India experiences six seasons: summer, autumn, winter, spring, summer monsoon, and winter monsoon.
59. India is the world’s largest tea producer, and tea (chai) is its most popular beverage.
60. The Taj Mahal (“crown palace”) was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). This architectural beauty has been called “marbled embroidery” for its intricate workmanship. It took 22,000 workmen 22 years to complete it.
61. The first and greatest civilization in ancient India developed around the valley of the Indus River (now Pakistan) around 3000 B.C. Called the Indus Valley civilization, this early empire was larger than any other empire, including Egypt and Mesopotamia.
62. After the great Indus Civilization collapsed in 2000 B.C., groups of Indo-Europeans called Aryans (“noble ones”) traveled to northwest India and reigned during what is called the Vedic age. Aryans spoke and imported Sanskrit into India, which is the mother of all European languages. The mingling of ideas from the Aryan and Indus Valley religions formed the basis of Hinduism, and the gods Shiva, Kali, and Brahma all have their roots in Aryan civilization. The Aryans also recorded the Vedas, the first Hindu scriptures, and introduced a caste system based on ethnicity and occupation.
63. Alexander the Great invaded India partly because he wanted to solve the mystery of the “ocean,” which he had been told was a huge, continuous sea that flowed in a circle around the land. When he reached the Indian Ocean, he sacrificed some bulls to Poseidon for leading him to his goal.
64. Greek sculpture strongly influenced many portrayals of Indian gods and goddess, particularly after the conquest of Alexander the Great around 330B.C. In fact, early Indian gods had Greek features and only later did distinct Indian styles emerge.
65. Chandragupta Maurya (340-290 B.C.), a leader in India who established the Mauryan Empire (321-185 B.C.), was guarded by a band of women on horseback.
66. When the first independent prime minister of India, pacifist Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), was featured in Vogue, his distinctive close fitting, single-breasted jacket briefly became an important fashion statement for the Mod movement in the West. Named the Nehru jacket, the prime minister’s coat was popularized by the Beatles and worn by such famous people as Johnny Carson (1925-2005) and Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990)