This Indepedence Day get to know some of the most interesting facts about our diverse land.
India is especially well known for its cultural heritage and rich diversity. It’s also the seventh largest country in the world and the largest democracy. However, besides its varied religions, races, communities, cultures, languages, geographies, and philosophies, there is still a lot about India that most residents don’t know. Here are 10 facts to get you started on that journey.
1. USB was invented by an Indian-American
The man behind the modern day USB is an Indian-American computer architect by the name of Ajay V Bhatt. While leading a chipset architecture team formed as a collaboration between Intel, Microsoft, Compaq, LSI, Apple and Hewlett-Packard, DEC, NEC and Nortel, in 1995, Ajay developed the USB , along with his team. He was also responsible for the development of AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port), PCI Express, Platform Power management architecture, and several other chip-set improvements.
Photograph: Intel Free Press/Creative Commons
2. Hockey is not India’s national game
While it is a common misconception, hockey is most certainly not India’s national sport, but similarly, neither is cricket, although it continues to be the most popular. According to an RTI reply, India actually doesn’t have an official national game, and the only reason the misconception about hockey has grown is because India, during the pre-independence era, was the world’s most dominating force in the sport, having won as many as eight gold medals at the Olympic Games.
Photograph: Rohit Markande/Flickr
3. India has the highest cricket pitch in the world
A quaint little hill station situated in Himachal Pradesh, Chail is a popular tourist destination owing to its natural beauty and serene splendour. However, the actual reason behind the town’s popularity is not its natural beauty, but rather, being home to the highest cricket ground in the world at an elevation of 2250 m above sea level, surrounded on all sides by a forest of Chir Pine and towering Deodar trees.
Photograph: Lt. Col. Dilbagh Singh Grewal/Creative Commons
4. India is home to a skeleton lake
Roopkund Lake, situated in the state of Uttarakhand, is a high altitude glacial lake situated 5,029 metres (16,499 feet) above sea level. The lake is infamous for being home to more than 500 human skeletons, which litter the edge of its banks. While opinions are still divided, it is now believed that the skeletons belonged to a tribe of inhabitants living near the lake in the middle of the 12th and 15th century, who were buried alive under a layer of snow and soil, due to a massive landslide or blizzard.
Photograph: Schwiki/Creative Commons
5. India has one of the highest bridges in the world
The Bailey bridge, located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains, was constructed by the Indian Army in 1982, and is to this date one of the highest bridges in the world. At an altitude of 5,602 meters (18,379 ft) above sea level, the bridge is 30 meters (98 ft) long.
Photograph: Creative Commons
6. India has a floating post office
The Dal Lake in Kashmir valley is home to the world’s first and only floating post office. Situated atop a maroon houseboat moored on the western edge of the lake, the post office was inaugurated in 2011.
Photograph: Mike Pence/Flickr
7. India is home to the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited city
Located on the banks of the river Ganges, the city of Varanasi, believed to have been founded by Lord Shiva, is the religious capital of India and a very popular tourist destination. However, besides that, it is also considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, and is one of the oldest centres of learning and knowledge known to man.
Photograph: Ken Wieland/Creative Commons
8. India has a gravity hill
Located near Leh in Ladakh, Magnetic Hill is an incredibly curious, naturally formed structure that has incredibly strong magnetic properties. The hill reportedly has such a massive pull that cars are easily pulled uphill, and aircrafts passing by the area are forced to increase their altitude, if they don’t wish to be pulled down to the ground in a violent crash.
Photograph: Kartikey Brahmkshatriya/Creative Commons
9. Hindi is not the national language of India
Contrary to popular belief, India has no designated national language. While hearing a PIL in 2010 had observed that while many believe it so there’s no official record or order issued stating this. English and Hindi are considered to be the official languages of the country, accepted at a professional or official level, however, among the 20+ different languages that are used in the country, there is no single designated national language.
Photograph: Yann (talk)/Creative Commons
10. Mahatma Gandhi didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize
In spite of having been nominated five times between 1937 and 1948 for it, Mahatma Gandhi was never actually the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. During his fifth year of nomination in 1948, talks were going on regarding presenting him with the award, but he was assassinated before that could happen, and at the time, the committee did not follow the practice of posthumously awarding an individual after his death. So that year they didn’t award anyone as as “there was no suitable living candidate”. Decades later, the committee publicly expressed regret for the omission.
Photograph: Creative Commons