47 Interesting & Unusual Facts About India (2023 Edition)

India flag

The Republic of India is a vast country in south Asia, full of breathtaking landscapes, spiritual wonder, a wealth of diversity and culture, and a rich history.

Known as the world’s largest democracy, India is a truly fascinating country with a very proud people. It’s so awesome that I’ve been fortunate to visit India four times, and yearn to go back again.

Did you know: India was once an island, and even a part of Antarctica! About 50 million years ago, it connected with the Asian continental plate, and the Himalayas was born.

So, this is not only a basic facts about India post. I’ve compiled together a collection of the most incredible facts about this amazing country, including unusual, shocking, and lesser-known facts I can find, that will leave you in awe.

Did you also know: 47 is not only the number of awesome facts in this post, but is also the year (1947) that India became an independent nation!

Scroll on to read more fun, random, interesting, and cool facts about India with pictures.

This post may contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you use these links.

Table of Contents

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47 Interesting & Unusual Facts About India (2023 Edition)


General Facts About India:


1. The name ‘India’ derives from the river Indus.

The name ‘Hind’ is derived from the Persian equivalent of ‘Sindh’, as the Persian ‘H’ is cognate with Sanskrit ‘S’. And the Persian word ‘stan’ means land or country, hence the name: Hindustan.



2. India has the second-largest population in the world.

As of 2022 there are more than 1.4 billion people in India. China currently is the most populous country in the world with 1.44 billion, however, India is predicted to take the top spot by 2027.



3. India is the 7th largest country in the world.

The total land area of India is 3.287 million km². It is world’s largest democracy (by population size).

4. Thousands of languages are spoken all over India.

There are 22 recognised languages, with Hindi and English being the official languages. However, other commonly-spoken languages include Bengali (the second most spoken language), Telugu, Tamil, Urdu and Punjabi. There are as many as 19,500 known languages and dialects across the country.

Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world – with 310 million native speakers (4.5% of the world’s population). Bengali is the world’s 7th most spoken language and Punjabi is the 10th most spoken language.

Source: Gulf News



5. The national symbol of India is the endangered Bengal Tiger.

Thanks to conservation efforts, the population of the Bengal Tiger has been slowly increasing – from around 1,800 tigers in 2010, to 2,967 as of 2021. India hosts 70% of the global tiger population.

bengal tiger



6. India is the second largest English speaking country in the world.

With around 125 million speakers (about 10% of the population), it is second only to the USA, which currently has more than 300 million English speakers.

7. Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion, is the most popular religion in India.

Nearly 80% of the Indian population follows Hinduism. Islam is the second most popular, (14.2%), then Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%) and Jainism (0.4%).



8. India gained independence from Britain in 1947.

After nearly a century of British rule (known as the British Raj) – from 1858 til 1947. Prior to British rule, much of the Indian sub-continent was ruled by the Mughal empire for more than 300 years.



9. Superstar Freddie Mercury is of Indian origin.

Known as the world’s first Indian rock star, Freddie was born of Parsi origin with the name Farrokh Bulsara.

freddie mercury statue



10. 70% of all the world’s spices come from India.

11. India is the world’s largest arms importer.

Much of India’s expenditure is focused on defense against its neighbouring arch-rival: Pakistan, and on countering Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.



12. India has the world’s second-largest military, with over 1.45 million active troops.

indian army parade



13. During WW2, India produced the largest volunteer Army in world history.

Over 2.5 million men served for the British Empire. At least 38 Indians received the Victoria Cross or the George Cross.



14. Chess was invented in India.

One of the oldest games in the world that is still played, the popular game was invented around the 6th Century AD.



15. India is the world’s largest producer of milk.

Having recently overtaking the European Union, milk production in India reached over 132.4 million tonnes in 2014.



16. Children’s Day is celebrated in India on November 14th.

Exactly 9 months after Valentines Day. Is it a coincidence?

group of indian children



17. India has over 300,000 mosques.

There are more mosques in India than in any Islamic nation on earth.



18. India has the largest number of vegetarians in the world.

Around 20-40% of the population are vegetarians. Religious reasons is a major factor – especially Hinduism and Jainism, and another factor is personal choices.

19. Snakes & Ladders originated in India.

The game was initially invented to teach young children about morals and karma. It was later commercialised and has become one of the world’s most popular board games.



20. At over 5000 years old, Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited places on earth.

It is also one of India’s holiest cities. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva founded the city 5000 years ago.


14 Weird & Unknown Facts About India:


21. There are more people in India than in the entire Western Hemisphere of Earth!



22. The first rocket in India was transported on a bicycle!


It was so light and small that it was transported to the Thumba Launching Station in Kerala by bicycle.



23. In West Bengal, India, cows must have a Photo ID card!


holy cow


24. A cow-smuggling tunnel was discovered in 2017 under the India-Pakistan border!



25. After the United States and the UK, India is third in terms of records claimed in the Guinness Book of Records.

26. London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai or Delhi.



27. India’s first President only received 50% of his salary.


When taking office, Dr. Rajendra Prasad took just 50% of his pay, claiming he did not require more than that. Towards the end of his presidency, he only took 25% of his salary.



28. Only 3% of Indian citizens pay income tax!



29. It’s illegal for foreigners to take Indian currency (rupees) out of India.



30. A village in India is the wettest place on earth.


Due to its close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, Mawsynram in Meghalaya state, holds the record with with 11,873 millimetres of rain annually!



31. The world’s largest family lives together in India: a man with 39 wives and 94 children!



32. There’s a hill in India that defies gravity!


The strange phenomenon was discovered on a stretch of road near Tulsi Shyam in Gujarat. Signs at the road instruct drivers to park their cars and leave them in neutral, and the cars begin to roll up the hill against the pull of gravity!

33. A huge lake in India was formed by a Meteor.


One of the best-kept secrets in Maharashtra state is the Lonar Lake that was created when a meteor plummeted into it, some 52,000 years ago.



34. The number of people travelling on India’s trains each day is equal to the population of Australia.


With 7,172 stations, the Indian rail network is the largest in Asia – carrying a whopping 23 million passengers daily in 12, 617 trains.

12 Facts about India that make it an Awesome Holiday Destination



35. There is a spa just for elephants in India.


They receive baths, massages and food at the Punnathoor Cotta Elephant Yard Rejuvenation Centre in Kerala.



36. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is arguably the most famous landmark on earth, and tops the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.

taj mahal 2
Visit India’s most iconic landmark, the Taj Mahal complex at Agra

Guided Tours to Taj Mahal for Better Exploring

37. Chai (Tea) is the national drink of India.

The delicious masala chai consists of tea leaves with spices, and is a must for anyone visiting India!


If you are in New Delhi and want to learn more about the tea culture in India, then I highly recommend you to take a Small-group Delhi High Tea Experience and sample some the best of Indian snacks and tea with a personalized attention from your guide.

38. The Bailey Bridge, located in the Ladakh Valley, is the highest bridge in the world.



39. India is home to the world’s first floating post office, which was inaugurated in 2011.



40. The Golden Temple of Amritsar feeds up to 100,000 people – regardless of race, religion, or class – for free, every single day.

The Golden Temple – the holiest site in Sikhism – at Amritsar in North India



41. The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest festival.


The gathering is so huge that the crowds can be seen from outer space.

42. There’s an experimental township in India called Auroville, where citizens are from all over the world, and there’s no money or religion.



43. The Holiest River in the World


The River Ganges is so much more than a river to the 1 billion Hindus of India and beyond. Running 2,525km from the northern Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it is the lifeblood of millions of people who live along its banks, providing them with fishing, industry and agriculture. As well as that, it’s also believed to transport the prayers of believers to heaven, and its said that a dip in the river purifies the soul.



43. The Himalayas have 9 out of 10 of the world’s highest peaks.


The world’s biggest mountain range, the Himalayas, runs through north India. The highest peak being Mt. Everest (in neighbouring Nepal), standing at 8,848 metres.



44. The food of India is world-famous.

Although Indian cuisine is considered the favorite dish in many countries (including the UK), it is much more authentic and of better quality when eaten in India!

Check Out the Best Food Tours in India

45. India planted nearly 50 million trees in 24 hours on Monday 11th July, 2016, setting a new Guinness World Record!

Have a look at this spectacular cinematic travel film of some of the highlights of India, condensed into 3 minutes:

India Fact File:


General Information


More information, statistics and general facts in India, updated as of 2023:

  • Land area: 3,287,263 km2
  • Capital city: New Delhi
  • Largest City: Mumbai
  • Total Population: 1,405,242,280 people (as of 2022)
  • Life expectancy: 70.2 years.
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (₹ / INR)
  • Official languages: Hindi, English
  • Religion: Hinduism (80%), Islam (14%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Jainism (0.4%), Other
  • National Holiday: 26th January (Republic Day), 15th August (Independence Day), 2nd October (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday)
  • Government: Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Republic
  • President: Ram Nath Kovind
  • Prime Minister: Narendra Modi
  • Highest Point: Kangchenjunga (8,586m above seal level, 3rd highest mountain peak in the world)
  • Official Website: india.gov.in
  • Member of: UN. G20, G8+5, WTO, BRICS, Commonwealth of Nations
  • National anthem: “Jana Gana Mana” (Thou Art The Ruler Of The Minds Of All People)
  • Time zone: UTC+5:30 (IST)
  • Driving side: left
  • Country Number/Prefix: +91
  • Country Code: IN

10 Largest Cities in India


Here’s the ten largest cities in India. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, is the most populated while the national capital, Delhi, comes in second, followed by Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, and thirdly is Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. Source: holidify.com


































Commonly asked questions and facts:


Below are commonly asked questions about India, with more quick facts, general knowledge, and information:

  1. The name ‘India’ derives from the river Indus.
  2. India has the second-largest population in the world.
  3. India is the 7th largest country in the world.
  4. Thousands of languages are spoken all over India.
  5. The national symbol of India is the endangered Bengal Tiger.

India is home to some of the oldest civilisations in the world. Archeologist discoveries estimate that modern day India was first inhabited around 250,000 years ago.

Culture – India has an extremely diverse and varied culture, that changes depending on where in the country you go.

An Enormous Population – India is home to more than 1.3 billion people, the second-largest in the world, and soon to be the world’s largest by population.

Hindi Film Industry – India produces the highest number of movies in the world each year. Bollywood is the most famous of India’s Hindi film industry.

Delicious Food – India is famous for its world-class food that is loved by millions globally. 

An old but Reliable Train Network – its no secret that India has some of the oldest train networks in the world, a relic of its imperial British past. And yet, India’s train networks are reliable and outstanding, despite being notoriously overcrowded.

Colourful Festivals and Celebrations – India is well-known for its numerous vibrant and energetic festivals, celebrations and events all year round, with some of the most notable being the colourful Holi festival, the sprawling Ganesh Chaturthi, and the Diwali Festival of Light.

  • India is the 7th largest country in the world.
  • The name ‘India’ derives from the river Indus.
  • India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.
  • The national symbol of India is the endangered Bengal Tiger.
  • India has the second-largest population in the world.
  • 70% of all the world’s spices come from India.
  • Durning WW2, India produced the largest volunteer army in world history.
  • India has the largest number of vegetarians in the world.
  • Thousands of languages are spoken all over India.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • The official name of India is The Republic of India, or Bharat Ganrajya in Hindi.
  • The national symbol of India is the endangered Bengal Tiger.
  • Chess was invented in India.
  • India shares a land border with seven countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and China.
  • India is home to many large mammals including the Indian rhinoceros, the Asian elephant, the snow leopard, the water buffalo, and the Bengal tiger.
  • India’s biggest cities are: Delhi (29 million), Mumbai (22 million), Kolkata (15 million), Bangalore (12 million).
  • Tradition, social class and the caste system still exist in Indian society, though there are laws in place that make ‘Untouchability’ illegal, and discrimination based on the caste-system is becoming less-frequent.
  1. India will soon overtake China as the country with the largest population in the world.
  2. India is home to the river Ganges – the world’s holiest river.
  3. The national flag of India is a horizontal tricolour of India saffron, white, and India green, with the Ashoka Chakra: a 24-spoke wheel, in the centre, in navy blue.

Two of my favourite history facts about India are:

1: Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest inhabited places, founded by Lord Shiva 5,000 years ago according to Hindu mythology.

2: India produced the world’s largest volunteer army in the history of mankind – fielding 2.5 million men for the British Empire during WW2.

  1. It’s illegal for foreigners to take Indian currency outside of India.
  2. Mawsynram village is the wettest place on earth.
  3. The world’s largest family lives together in India – a man with 39 wives and 94 children!
  4. A huge lake was formed by a meteor in Maharashtra state.
  5. The number of people travelling on India’s trains daily is equal to the population of Australia.
  6. There is a spa just for elephants in India.
  7. The Bailey Bridge in Ladakh Valley is the world’s highest bridge.
  8. India is home to the world’s first floating post office.
  9. The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest festival and can even be seen from outer space.
  10. India broke another Guinness World Record by planting nearly 50 million trees in 24 hours!

So thats it – 47 intresting facts about India. I hope you find this list an interesting read, and that it inspires you to visit India one day!


Further Reading:

India Travel Itineraries:

  • Planning on a visit to New Delhi? Check out my 3-Day New Delhi Itinerary here:
  • Click here to read my post: Delhi & Agra: 4 Day Itinerary


More India Travel Guides:



More Facts Posts:

Books About India

  • The God of Small Things (by Arundhati Roy) Amazon
  • Shantaram (by Gregory David Roberts) Amazon
  • A Passage to India (by E. M. Forster) Amazon

Movies About India

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my first visit to india

Book Your Trip to India: Budget Tips & Tricks


Flights: As always, I source the cheapest flights on the web from Skyscanner and Kiwi.com. They are considered the top flight search engines for the best deals.

Accommodation: I use Booking for the best hotel deals and HostelWorld for the cheapest stays. If you’re considering Airbnb, be sure to check Vrbo to find cheaper vacation stays. 

SIM cards: DrimSim is a universal SIM card that isn’t tied to an operator and works in any country/region.

Travel Insurance: Stay protected from theft, injury, illness, and cancellations. A safety net in case anything goes wrong, I never leave without it. World Nomads is my favourite agent for total peace of mind.

Tours & Excursions: I book all my fave activities and guided tours on Get Your Guide & Viator – they do superb deals whilst offering excellent customer support.

Renting a car? I always use DiscoverCars, make sure you book your car hire in advance. For airport transfers, I use KiwiTaxi for the best deals.

Need to store your luggage in a locker? Use Radical Storage to store your stuff in a locker in any city for just $5 per day.

Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.

Thank you for reading my post: 47 Interesting & Unusual Facts About India (2023 Edition).
Which are  your favourite gk facts about India? Comment below!


Lover of epic adventures, slow travel, and great coffee. When not travelling, Billy teaches dance, and creates performances on commissioned projects.

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Dominika | SundayInWonderland.com
Dominika | SundayInWonderland.com
4 years ago

Wow, that was a great list! I had no idea that cows need photo ID card in India! Like, really, all of them in West Bengal? So amazing!

3 months ago

thanks for sharing looks amazing, I would love to go in Bangalore for Holidays.

Lisa Rey
Lisa Rey
3 months ago

Thanks Billy for the in-depth wonderful article you turned out here Very Informative Loved It Thankyou Soo Much For Sharing It.

2 months ago

Great list. Please note, the British ruled India for nearly 200 years, not 100. An attempted revolution in 1857-58 was was throttled by the British and the British Raj over a united India began. 1757 to 1857 the British East India company was in charge and consolidating the smaller kingdoms, and in 1857-58 after quelling the revolution, the British “Empire” officially took over. Rest of the information is sound!

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Hey there! I’m Billy, the guy behind BRB | Gone Somewhere Epic. I’ve been travelling around the world for nine years, having an absolute blast going on epic adventures, without breaking the bank. Click here to read more about the art of budget travel.




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