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What Is India Known for & Famous For

India is one of the world’s most densely populated and culturally diverse countries. Known for its religious diversity and incredible cultural heritage, India is a unique, anthropologically rich place with an alluring history.

India is known for being the biggest democratic country in the world. Its food, rich cultural heritage, and embattled history are famous. Religion is one of the most significant influences on Indian culture, whether Jaina, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian. 

The rest of this article will explore everything India is known for, from its language diversity to its unique religious culture. I’ll also discuss the wildlife in India, their beaches, and the long-standing traditions of Indian food culture.

Largest Democracy in the World

India is a vast country and just so happens to be the largest democracy in the world. With almost 1.5 billion inhabitants, the Republic of India began its democratic journey in 1950, when it was written into the constitution that residents would be allowed to select the government of their choice in general elections. 

Languages

The most widely spoken local language in India is Hindi. Bengali and Punjabi come in close after Hindi – but overall, there are 122 languages spoken in India.

English is also widely spoken throughout the country and is designated an official government language along with Hindi.

Cricket

There is no shortage of cricket fans in India, and many of them are known to attend betting markets before games as well. In fact, around 93% of all sports fans in India are known to watch cricket – making it the most popular sport in the country. 

It is so popular that, in every major town, there are cricket grounds and stadiums for people to watch and play the sport.

Second / first Largest Country in the World By Population

India is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with a population that amounts to over 17% of the total global population.

Much of India’s populace lives in urban areas, making places like Delhi and Mumbai overcrowded and crammed to the brim with inhabitants. 

According to experts, India is predicted to become the most populated country in the world by 2023 and be more densely populated than China by the end of the decade.

Currently India has a population of over 1.4 Billion people. Almost 800 million more than the United States.

History

India has a long and complex history, bringing together different cultures and religions into one giant melting pot of cultural diversity. The birth of the Indus in the region is said to be the beginning of civilization in India, which used to incorporate the lands of what we now know to be Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Islam profoundly affected India during the Medieval period, and Hinduism and Buddhism blended into this archetype to create a mishmash of values and architectural infusion.

In the early 17th century, for almost 200 years, the British colonized India and changed the face of India forever.

British Colonialism

In what is now criticized for being a violent surge of brutal colonization of what was seen as an inferior nation, the British Raj – removing power from the East India Company in 1858 – served their reign over India for almost a century. 

Usurping the traditional role of government and using systematic abuse and terror to intimidate their subjects, the British Raj put India through a century of disease, poverty, and social exclusion that hit the poorest of society the hardest.

Food

Indian food is famous for its heavy (and delicious) use of natural ingredients, spices, and herbs. Food is an essential component of India’s cultural heritage, and food-sharing is said to be one of the essential parts of home life.

Since India is so widely influenced by religion, you may find that certain groups in India will avoid specific diets or ingredients based on their religion. For example, many Indians are vegetarian in states where Hinduism is the most prevalent religion. 

Natural agricultural seasons play a big part in the food eaten in India, especially in rural areas. You’ll commonly find wheat and rice in most parts of the country since these are agricultural staples and are grown in great abundance.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, finished in 1648 by Shah Jahan for his late wife, is an overwhelmingly beautiful and architecturally-enchanting mausoleum that rises high into the skies above the River Yamuna.

Built of shimmering marble and rising minarets in all four corners, this incredible structure has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983

It took a whopping 22 years to finish, and it has been excellently preserved throughout the centuries by the Indian government, which takes great pride in the structure.

Mountains

Rocky mountain overpasses and sheer drops into scorched valleys – you’ll find plenty of these glorious views across the mountains of India. Perhaps the most well-known range, the Himalayas, feeds the country with essential water sources for hundreds of miles around.

The Himalayas stand as a symbol of the intertwining of the most prevalent religions in the country, with societies of different histories and cultures fed from the same river.

India is also home to six other mountain ranges with some of the highest peaks in existence, making it an excellent place for hikers and adventurers looking to explore some of the most dazzling views in the world. 

Tigers

Sadly, these majestic creatures are diminishing in number worldwide – except for Bengal Tigers. Prowling in relative freedom throughout India, it is said that their numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years.

However, the fate of these animals is concerning since 200 years ago, there were almost 60,000 tigers present in the country – whereas now, there are just over 2,000.

Wildlife

The sheer immensity and population of wildlife in India is profound. It is one of the few places in the world with such a large number of endemic species. Just over 7% of the mammals in the world live in India, and due to its wild animal reserves and national sanctuaries, these numbers are growing. 

Elephants

Elephants, some of the most emotionally intelligent creatures in existence, bear the emblem of Indian nationality and pride. Indian elephants live in simmering grasslands throughout the country, spending almost 20 hours a day eating. 

Unfortunately, poaching laws are not strictly enforced in many states in India, and many of these beautiful creatures are killed for their tusks. While this issue is currently being addressed, more must be done to protect Elephant groups from extinction.

Beaches

If you don’t think India is a good place to go for a beach vacation, think again. India has a vast coastline, with beautiful beaches in long, sandy stretches and crystal clear waters. 

Some of India’s quietest and most treasured beaches are often those off the beaten path. For example, Gorkana is boho heaven for travelers and locals alike, with ancient temples with curved arches in its vicinity.

Goa is also famous for its resplendent beaches, with glittering sands and plenty of surfing opportunities. However, there is a growing pollution problem around many of these most-visited beaches, with plastic trash and other pollutants clogging up the beachline in many areas that don’t have environmental initiatives.  

Goa

In Goa, a city that sits south of Mumbai, you’ll find stunning landscapes, cropland, and forestry that covers a huge portion of the region.

Goa’s primary source of income is the export of agricultural products, such as cashews and rice. Lived experiences through Portuguese colonization have created a mishmash of Portuguese-style architecture and temple-like structures.

Some of the most divine beaches are located in Goa. 

New Delhi

New Delhi, the country’s official capital, spreads across the west of the River Yamuna This densely-populated city is a concrete haven of smog and congestion. Although beautiful, New Delhi has been developed as a modern-day city, whereas its counterpart, Old Delhi, has more traditional winding streets and ancient structures built by the Mughal Empire.

King George V of the British Raj recognized New Delhi as the capital in 1911. India’s original capital was Kolkata.

Spices

India is perhaps most famous for its spicy food. Many of these natural ingredients typically used throughout the country also have plenty of medicinal benefits, with traditions of healing that go back centuries in time.

Since the 8th century BCE, spices have been grown and used in food and medicine in India. A few indigenous spices are widely grown in many regions, including coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamon.

Garam Masala is another popular spice used in Indian cooking. Garam Masala is a blend of various indigenous spices that are ground up and used in different dishes across different regions. Each area likely has varying measurements of each spice used in Garam Masala, and no two pots are the same.

Tea

Tea has been a staple in India since at least the 12th century, with wild tea growing in many regions. The beverage has been known for its health properties in the region since well before the British Raj took power, but the British wanted to compete with the Chinese market and forced local farmers to grow it on huge plantations built for this purpose.

Most of the tea grown in India during this time was exported, so not many indigenous Indians actually drank it at the time. However, today, India is one of the biggest exporters of tea and has a considerable number of people working in the industry.

Spiritual Leaders

India has many spiritual leaders from numerous sects. Recognized the world over for its enlightened philosophies and non-violent doctrines, India is also home to the 14th Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader and spiritual guide who will reincarnate after his death to become the 15th Dalai Lama. 

Spiritualism

Spiritualism is a pillar of Indian life and community. With festivals celebrating spiritual beings and traditions throughout the year, the evolution of Indian spiritualism can be witnessed everywhere.

Spiritualism also plays a vital role in architectural traditions in the country. The presence of ancient religious sites and cascading golden temples give meaning to the essence of Indian spirituality across all religions.  

Hinduism

Hinduism has more followers in India than any other religion in the country. A religion derived from ancient, peaceful philosophies and spiritual practices that have traveled through many thousands of years, Hindus make up the majority of India’s religious community. 

Nationalism and Hinduism tend to go hand in hand in India, with just over 50% of Indian Hindus believing that their language and religion are essential components of Indian patriotism. 

Education

The state education system is largely the same across the board in India, with free education offered to children under the age of 18 as of 2020. However, there are still many challenges to face since half of all Indian teenagers don’t finish high school. 

However, the university system is world-renowned, with the University of Delhi being the most revered in the country. 

Origin of Religions

Since the connection between religion, spirituality, and culture is so strong in India, this link can be traced back to the ancient traditions present many thousands of years ago. All the native religions in India burgeoned under several rulers in the country, with Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jaina all tracing their religious ancestry back to their own country’s history.

Islam didn’t originate in India, but it became prominent very early on during the initial spread of the religion. Arab conquests brought Islam to India around 712 AD

Non-Violence

The concept of non-violence, known in India as ahimsa, is a philosophy native to Buddhism and denotes the ultimate respect for all living creatures. It was a movement made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, who used non-violence to protest against discrimination and the treatment of India’s poorer communities. 

Bollywood

Bollywood bears its origins in 1930s Mumbai. With an upsurge of success, Bollywood has produced some of the most popular films (predominantly spoken in Hindi) of all time. The country now has one of the most prolific film industries in the world, and the famous kings and queens of Bollywood are the most prominent driving force behind it. 

Festivals

Festivals are constantly being held in India since there are so many different religions and cultures in the region. The colorful lights of Diwali and the grand Bikaner festival (the annual ode to camels in Rajasthan) are just a couple of the delights you could encounter while visiting India. 

Many festivals in the country last for several days, expressing the significance of Indian spirituality. The longest festival is Navaratri, a Hindu celebration that goes on for 9 nights.

  

Postal Service

Fun fact: the postal service in India wasn’t intended for civilian use. In fact, it was used to transfer messages between the East India Company and other political groups. In 1774, the British Raj formally made provisions to spread these services across the nation for civilians and politicians alike. 

There are more than 1 million postal offices throughout India – collectively comprising the largest postal service globally. 

Yoga

When you think of yoga, you might think of the downward-facing dog and other back-bending positions. However, in India, yoga is not the westernized version that most of us know and love. Instead, yoga is based on the concept of inner-body meditation, releasing you from your earthly concerns and connecting you with your mind. 

Yoga has been practiced in India for centuries, and much of its philosophies bear their origins in religious and spiritual practices. Yoga gurus are plentiful in this part of the world, where the transcendence of the body into the quieting of the mind is becoming ever more popular in a fast-moving world.

Partying

If you’re in India, you can definitely go on a yoga retreat – but you can also go partying. You may not realize it, but the country has a growing nightlife scene. While the legal drinking age varies from one region to another, many places like Goa boast plenty of midnight raves, beach clubs, hip-hop bars, and much more. 

Natural Beauty

You’ll be hard-pressed to find somewhere as beautiful as India. With a wide variety of topographical features ranging from steep mountain passes to dry shrubland, India’s richness and natural beauty is unrivaled.

Stunning waterfalls are dotted around the country, with great rivers seething at their edges. The Lidder River that races through the region of Pahalgam is one of the most spectacular scenes you’ll ever witness. 

Additionally, vast forestry that houses endemic mammals and tropical birds is particularly prevalent in India. 

Biodiversity

India is one of the most species-dense countries in the world, and many species are native to the region. The biodiversity here has inherent connections to agricultural traditions native to India, alongside a long history of living side-by-side with these native animals for many generations.

Just over 20% of India’s land is covered by forestry and shrubland, so it’s the perfect place for animals to thrive. 

Agricultural Exporter

Agricultural exports make up a large part of Indian revenue, and many essential crops such as wheat, rice, coffee, and sugarcane are exported annually.

Tobacco is also a famous export in India. India’s culture of growing tobacco has continued for many generations and feeds communities on a local and national level.

Shopping

If you’re an avid shopper, you’ll love India. It’s perfect for finding unique, handmade goods that are high quality and inexpensive.

You’ll be able to find chaotic street markets all over the urban landscape of India, pushing iconic souvenirs, silks, handmade jewelry, and much more at enticing prices. 

Textiles make up a large part of Indian commerce, so fabrics can be easily found at inexpensive rates wherever you are in India.

Railroads

Railroad systems are complex and efficient in India, although stations located in urban areas tend to be severely overcrowded. However, the trains travel all over the country, offering sleeper services for long-distance travel and cheap tickets for those in urban centers.

Statue of Unity

The largest statue in the world, the Statue of Unity, is a memoriam to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the man tasked with bringing together all the Indian states under one constitution. 

There are three areas around the statue open to the public – a museum, a display zone, and a viewing area where visitors can see the enormous figure up close. 

The statue took almost four years to build.

Invention

We have much to credit the Indians for, and many essential inventions have come out of this vast country. For example, the USB was invented in India, as was the concept of zero in 458 AD.

The country has also contributed to astronomical research, among many other things.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a significant festival in India that is celebrated every three years. This Hindu festival celebrates the concept of freeing oneself from the burdens of reincarnation and earthly suffering. 

Kumbh Mela is not just attended by Hindus, however. Many non-Hindus attend the festival, making it a cultural pilgrimage for many groups of people. 

Jaipur

Also known as “The Pink City,” Jaipur’s rosy golden structures are widely renowned. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and has preserved much of its historical legacies within the city. 

Jaipur is also the dwelling place of the Royal Family of Rajasthan, who live inside an ancient rosy palace within the walls of the city. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Perhaps unsurprisingly, India is home to a fair few UNESCO World Heritage Sites – glorious throwbacks into a pre-colonial past can be witnessed across the land in ancient mosques, preserved temples, and old cities that have maintained their classic urban fabric over generations. 

The very first UNESCO-designated site in India was Ahmedabad. This spectacular city has sustained the age-old architectural prowess of its beginnings, and it’s also the biggest metropolis in Gujarat.

Mosques

Many of the beautiful mosques of Medieval India have been preserved, thanks to diligent worshippers dedicated to maintaining the integrity of their past. The most prevalent of these mosques is the Hazratbal Shrine in Kashmir. Overlooking the glimmering waters of Lake Dal, the domed turrets of the shrine can be captured in the foreground of beautiful mountainous scenery and stark cliffs.

There’s also the Jama Mosque in Delhi, by far the most prominent Islamic structure in India. This mosque can welcome over 20,000 worshippers at any given time. 

Varanasi

Located South of Uttar Pradesh and straddling the Ganges, Varanasi is one of the holiest sites for Hindu pilgrims in India. 

Varanasi is a pilgrimage site and center of scholarship and spiritualism. It is said that those who die in Varanasi will be freed from the burden of reincarnation and will achieve eternal life. 

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar is a giant tower located in Delhi, one of India’s most prestigious monuments to military victory. It was built by Qutbuddin Aibak in 1192 AD using the brick of Brahman temples.

Qutub Minar is an astounding structure and has been struck by lightning twice – but it still stands today. 

The Ganges River

The Ganges is located in the north of India and is considered a bastion of life for Indian communities around it. The Ganges basin is a lifeline to all who reside there and is used for commercial and residential activities. 

This river runs through the overpasses of the Himalayas and tapers into the Bay of Bengal.

Hot and Spicy Dishes

India’s spicy cuisine is famous all over the world- and for a good reason. Some of the dishes are so hot and spicy that most visitors to the country might be unable to handle them. 

For example, the Pork Vindaloo, a dish with relics of the Portuguese impact on Indian cuisine, is one of the spiciest dishes around. 

The Madras is also incredibly spicy and uses handfuls of chilies – making it difficult for non-Indians to digest. 

Vegetarian

Vegetarianism in India is associated with the Buddhist and Hindu population. This comes from ahimsa, which forbids acts of violence to live creatures. Vegetarianism is an obligation for the Jaina population and generally a personal choice for Buddhists and Hindus. 

Just over 30% of all Indians don’t typically eat meat. In fact, it’s the largest concentration of vegetarians in the world. 

Cows Are Holy 

Cows are considered holy to the Hindu population of India. This concept stems from ancient manuscripts detailing the sacred nature of the cow, which has its roots in several Hindu gods. 

The origins of this concept come from the Vedic period when the cow began to signify natural divinity on earth. 

Holi Festival 

The Holi festival, often referred to as the festival of color, is a celebration feast. This festival pertains to the defeat of evil and is a time Hindus use to show love and respect to their loved ones. 

It is also commonly dubbed the “festival of love” and typically brings family and friends together in appreciation once a year. 

Diwali

The most prolific of all the Hindu festivals, Diwali is well known for lamplit streets and the flickering candles burning inside each home. Signifying the struggle against evil, Diwali is a time when specific rituals are completed (typically on day three of the festival) to bring forth good fortune upon every home. 

Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was India’s bastion of independence and non-violent strength. He initially led the movement on civil disobedience by organizing peaceful protests across the country, inspired by early demonstrations in South Africa. 

Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, but he is still one of the country’s most beloved figures, and his legacy of non-violence continues to this day. 

Conclusion

India is one of the most culturally diverse and beautiful countries in the world. Known for its epic history and colonial struggles, the region has gone through so much – but its preservation of history is renowned. With incredible ancient structures and monuments and whispers of a precious spiritual past wherever you go, India is not to be missed. 

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