There has got to be no other country in the world that is such an assault on the senses as India.
India surprises with its unusual customs, lifestyle and often confronts you with some quite shocking traditions.
It’s diverse and enigmatic – so to lift the lid on some of those enigmas, here are Booked.net‘s 10 things you never knew.
1. The largest number of post offices in the world can be found in India, numbering 152,792 across the country, while the United States has 38,000 in comparison. Its postal system dates back to 1837, when the citizens of India could use the post office services for the first time. Despite its age, the system is not perfect – it is not unusual to wait for a letter for two weeks, even if it was sent from a few city blocks away.
2. India is the birthplace of surgery.
Sushruta, the famous surgeon of Kashi, is known as a “father of surgery” and was performing difficult operations, such as cesarean section, prosthetics, surgery to remove bladder stones, plastic surgery and brain surgery as far back as 2600 years ago.
Anesthesia was widely used at that time in ancient India, as well as more than 125 different surgical instruments were available to be used during an operation.
Deep knowledge of anatomy, genetics and physiology were described in ancient texts, which prove India to be the country, where surgery was invented.
3. India can boast of having the largest movie industry in the world, Bollywood, which is located in Mumbai and is called “The City of Dreams”. The letter B in Bollywood means Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Starting from the beginning of this century, Bollywood cinematography started to influence Western film-makers and became a prime reason behind the resurgence of the musical film genre.
4. Despite the common-held belief that India is a peaceful country, a surprising fact is that this country is a leaders the world for homicide. In 2009 it was number one, last year India was second in the world in terms of the number of murders per year (40,752+ in 2011). Brazil narrowly edged ahead with 40974 murders in 2011.
5. In India a widow is believed to be a bad person.
It is considered you husband would never die, if you were a good person. Widows shave their heads to attain the same planet as their husbands. Indians believe in life after death and by doing so (shaving heads) can meet their husbands later after death.
In some villages and families, widows are never invited to parties or celebrations and most people prefer not to communicate with those who lost their husbands.
A widow in India is also sometimes can be called a “pram” or creature, as only a husband’s presence can give women human status.
6. India has also a national food, bird and mammal. The mango is recognized as the national fruit in India, the national animal is the cow, while the national bird is the peacock.
7. The vast majority of married women in India show their respect to their husbands by never pronouncing their names aloud. There are plenty of euphemisms women use to address their husbands in India – from greetings such as “hi” and “hello”, to “the father of my child/children” and other indirect references.
8. There is also an unusual habit related to funeral traditions.
Unlike the rest of the world, an Indian funeral requires mourners to wear white clothes.
Widows wear white dresses, while married women dress in colorful ones. The corpse is usually decorated with flowers and sandalwood and dressed in white.
9. There are six seasons in India. Apart from the four known to all other countries, Indians also treat their rainy seasons as distinct and separate. Therefore the is also the winter monsoon and the summer monsoon.
10. India is the country, where the largest time unit, the “Kalpa” was invented – the time covers the birth of the planet up until its anticipated full destruction. A Kalpa is equal to 25 billion years, the time believed to be the period covering all steps of Earth’s development, decline and ultimately the end of the world.