Do you have any plans for your next vacation? How about seeing India? Hold on now!
Just because it might feel like it’s a world away (both figuratively and literally!), that doesn’t mean it isn’t a tourist-friendly country… And more importantly, a trip to India won’t cost you nearly as much as you’d think!
Don’t you have time to watch the full video?
Here are all TIMESTAMPS + full TRANSCRIPT :
00:27 — Did you know Taj Mahal is a mausoleum?
01:11 — The man who “sold” the Parliament House of India
01:42 — Why India is one of the world’s youngest populations
02:27 — Languages of India (it’s impressive!)
02:57 — Call service and mobile Internet in India
03:30 — Dinner for a dollar
04:08 — The Land of Spices
04:36 — Are Indians vegetarians or meat-eaters?
05:17 — The most popular sport in India
05:48 — Ganges river dolphin
06:20 — The Kumbh Mela gathering that is visible from space
07:02 — The color festival Holi
07:36 — Indian money
08:08 — Bad news to coin collectors
08:42 — Freddy Mercury was of Indian descent
09:02 — Indian beauties
09:33 — Are you familiar with Chutes and Ladders?
- Did you know the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum?
You didn’t think I’d talk about India and not mention the majestic Taj Mahal, did you? This famous Indian landmark has been one of the Seven Wonders of the World for quite some time, and seeing this architectural marvel in person makes it pretty clear why… The construction was commissioned in 1632, and it’s believed that it took up to 21 years to complete the entire project. I know you’ve heard of this monument, but did you know that it’s a mausoleum? Yeah, the emperor at that time, Shah Jahan, had this marble structure built to house the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Kinda sad she never got to see this ivory masterpiece built just for her.
- The man who “sold” the Parliament House of India
There was an infamous Indian conman who repeatedly “sold” different landmarks in the country, including the Taj Mahal and the Parliament House of India! He was arrested as many as 9 times but somehow managed to escape from prison multiple times… During his final escape, he was already 84 years old. Aside from the fact that he was breaking the law, ya gotta admit, that’s kind of impressive!
- Why India is one of the world’s youngest populations
Some tourists hope to avoid the crowds at major tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal and prefer to take the road less traveled. However, alone time might be hard to come by in India. With around 51 births every minute (that’s over 73,000 a day!), this country has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Roughly half of India’s population is under the age of 25, also making it one of the world’s youngest populations… India alone holds more people than the entire Western Hemisphere, and with so many people comes a colorful tapestry of cultures, religions, and languages.
- Languages of India (it’s impressive!)
There are about 780 languages spoken in India, but some sources put it in the thousands. Whatever the case, only 22 have been recognized as official languages… Good thing, English is in the mix too! India has one of the largest numbers of English-speaking people in the world, 2nd only to the US. This means you can enjoy this super diverse country without needing a translation app on your phone each time you wanna stop for lunch or buy a souvenir.
- Call service and mobile Internet in India
Your smartphone is obviously your closest traveling companion because, let’s face it, taking pictures is probably the easiest way to document your adventures abroad… You’ll be happy to know that cell service and mobile Internet are very cheap in India. So, there’s one reason why your trip won’t cost you nearly as much as you’d think. You can share every experience and discovery with your friends and family back home without breaking your budget. That alone should put this fascinating country at the top of your bucket list of places to visit!
- Dinner for a dollar
Another reason India won’t leave you with moths flying out of your wallet: the food there it’s so cheap… Check it out: if you go to a restaurant and order a whole meal with chicken or even fish, your bill could be as little as $1! As for a cup of tea, it’ll cost you about 20 cents. I mean, can you imagine filling your belly for under 5 bucks? Sign me up! Given that you’ll be saving so much on dining, you can dedicate more of that limited budget to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, something that India offers in abundance… (actually, one of these is the food itself!)
- The Land of Spices
In case you haven’t heard of the Land of Spices, India produces around 70% of the world’s supply. That means each authentic local meal will be an adventure itself… Hopefully, your stomach will be strong enough to tackle the rich variety of flavors! And for those of you with sensitive taste buds, here’s a pro tip: take small bites to test the intensity of the spice before biting off more than you can handle!
- Are Indians vegetarians or meat-eaters?
Good news for traveling vegetarians that may be hesitant about the availability of meals suited for their dietary needs. India is also well known for being a vegetarian-friendly country. This is partially thanks to religious beliefs, but it’s mostly just a personal choice there out of respect for living beings… A State of the Nation Survey in 2006 showed that up to 31% of the Indian population is vegetarian, and another 9% do eat eggs but no forms of meat. So enjoying local cuisine isn’t reserved only for meat-eaters. Like I said before, this is a diverse country with enough variety to suit anybody!
- The most popular sport in India
Did you think I forgot about you, sports lovers? Well, if you love sports as much as experiencing new cultures, watching a live cricket match can be a way to enjoy both. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country, much like soccer in Europe or football in the US… So why not get your hands on a ticket to a local game, pack a picnic basket, and spend the day outdoors among locals to get a taste of true Indian sports culture!
- Ganges river dolphin
The Ganges River provides another outdoor activity for nature lovers while still keeping the focus on experiencing the culture. The Ganges is the longest river in India and serves as a hub of activity in this country. This activity includes dolphin-watching as the Ganges Dolphin is unique to this river… Unfortunately, their numbers are drastically decreasing due to increasing pollution. Let’s hope environmentalists can find a way to protect these creatures for future generations to enjoy when visiting India!
- The Kumbh Mela gathering that is visible from space
Again, you can’t talk about India without mentioning one of the many massive ceremonies that take place there. One of the most popular is the Kumbh Mela gathering, which is so big that it’s visible from space… Kumbh Mela is the two-month mass pilgrimage of those of the Hindu faith to bathe in the Ganges. The host city of Allahabad welcomed a staggering 120 million visitors in 2013 and a whopping 30 million on a single day! Even if you’re not into crowds, you should still try to buck up and witness this incredible event. I mean, at least you’ll be able to say you were present at the world’s largest gathering of people!
- The color festival Holi
Kumbh Mela is one of many festivals celebrated in the Indian culture, but the brightest has to be the color festival Holi… It celebrates love, the start of spring and the end of winter, and the triumph of good over evil in a very delightful way. People take to the streets to drench each other with water and colored powder. Everyone celebrates together in a spectacular display of good humor and, of course, lots of colors! Now, I’m not usually one for a crowd, but this just seems too good to miss!
- Indian money
As a matter of fact, color plays a very important role in Indian culture… It’s apparent from the traditional clothes, festivals, local cuisine, and even their currency! Yes, with a handful of rupees, you’ll quickly see their bright colors and variations in sizes. Even if the notes designers didn’t do it on purpose, they seem to symbolically celebrate the diversity of this nation. Indian bills also have Braille markings so that blind people can read their values. How considerate!
- Bad news to coin collectors
Another fun fact on the topic of Indian money: it’s illegal for foreigners to take rupees in or out of the country. Sorry for the bad news to any of you coin collectors that like to keep different types of money as a souvenir from your travels. So, yeah, not just a fun fact but one you should take note of to avoid any trouble with local authorities! There’s no limit on the amount of foreign currency you can bring with you on your visit, as long as you declare any amount over 5,000 US dollars in cash. But, then again, who’s carrying that kinda cash on them anyway?
- Freddy Mercury was of Indian descent
Now, Queen fans might be aware of this tidbit, but let’s see if you are! Did you know that the iconic band’s frontman Freddy Mercury was of Indian descent? His name at birth was Farrokh Bulsara, and both of his parents were from Bombay! Mercury himself, of course, was born in Tanzania, but still!
- Indian beauties
From beautiful music to beautiful people, India has the highest number of winners for the Miss World competition with a total of six! Only Venezuela has produced the same amount of title-holders since the beauty pageant’s start in 1951. The most recent Indian Miss World was Manushi Chhillar in 2017… So in addition to the delicious food and fun festivals, you’ll also be in the presence of people whose beauty is recognized worldwide!
- Are you familiar with Chutes and Ladders?
If you get tired of the hustle and bustle, you could also take a day and kick back with some old-school board games… Are you familiar with Chutes and Ladders? Well, this popular classic dates back to ancient Indian times and was known as ‘Moksha Patam’. It made its way to England, where it was sold as Snakes and Ladders. The name changed to the one we know today when it was first introduced to the US. The idea of the game was to teach kids the difference between good virtues and bad vices, represented by the ladders and shoots respectively. Thanks for the good childhood memories, India!