What is India famous for, you ask?
The answer may surprise you.
India is one-of-a-kind. Amidst its craziness, it’s home to mouth-watering food, jaw-dropping nature, surprising inventions, and cheap living.
In this guide, we’ll cover the top things India is known for, plus some fascinating facts about India.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- What is India famous for in the world?
- What food is India famous for?
- Famous landmarks in India
- What is India famous for culture-wise?
- Interesting India facts
- Bad things India is known for
What is India famous for in the world?
As the second most populated country in the world, India is famous for reasons that are as diverse and numerous as its 1.2 billion citizens. To give you a taste of what it means for a country to have 1.2 billion citizens, I’ll leave you with this crazy rush hour video:
Known officially as the Republic of India, the country is a mecca for some of the world’s most brilliant minds, bustling cultural innovation, and spiritual fulfillment.
If that’s not enough, its contributions to entertainment (specifically Bollywood) permeate international circles.
Whether you’re looking for a country with a rich history, vast landscape, or delicious food, you’ll probably never be able to absorb all India has to offer.
But that hasn’t stopped people from trying.
India is located on an Asian peninsula sharing borders with China, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. It is also connected by a bridge to the wonderful country of Sri Lanka (speaking of which, Sri Lanka is famous for some cool things as well!).
70% of the world’s spices
Some of the earliest and most pivotal wars were fought over food – spices, in particular.
And while that might sound trivial in a world where food scarcity has always been (and remains) a major problem, you have to consider that spices weren’t just used for flavoring food, but also for medicinal and spiritual practices.
Long story short: spices are a hot commodity, one that India has in droves.
One of India’s nicknames is the “land of spices,” a fitting moniker given that it produces 70% of the world’s spices.
Ginger and garlic are the country’s greatest output by volume, but it’s known for providing much of the world with cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric.
And that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg.
India’s contributions to the textile industry are universally unmatched.
Because of its large, diverse natural landscapes, India has a surplus of materials like cotton and silk that have been plentiful for centuries. And as early as the 12th century, this perfect storm of natural resources and widespread skilled laborers made the country’s textiles sought across the world.
From there, the Indian people perfected the art of handmade and handspun garments, carpets, sheets, and bed linens, using their superior quality to their advantage. If you have the space, these all make good souvenir ideas.
If you’ve ever bought the generic version of a drug, you probably should thank India for that.
India might only be known as the 12th largest producer of pharmaceuticals in the world, but it’s the largest exporter of the less expensive alternatives of life-saving drugs.
According to IBEF, India is responsible for producing 40% of the generic medications available in the U.S. and a quarter of all of the UK’s medicine.
Given pharmaceutical company’s overinflated prices, that makes them an invaluable player in the global wellness movement.
What food is India famous for?
Indian cuisine is a delicious blend of the country’s vast regions. Whatever part you travel to, you’re guaranteed to find food packed with flavor.
The northern regions contribute rich, savory, milk-based sauces and breads, while the southern zones rely on lighter spreads and various vegetables and roots.
As for meat, much of the country abstains from pork, so poultry and seafood reign supreme.
Of all the foods India is known for, curry is the most popular. And the most confusing.
This is because curry isn’t sharply defined. For the British, who have great cultural influence over India, curry means any meat with sauce, usually served along with rice.
But curry is also the name of a plant. And curiously, none of the powder made from the seeds or leaves actually ends up in the dish.
Yeah, that’s right. Indian curry contains none of its namesakes.
And while the meat served in the dish usually determines the type of curry it is, the real star is the creamy, seasoned tomato base that’s usually flavored with various spices and coconut milk.
India is known for several famous chicken dishes, but none of them come close to tandoori chicken.
Simply put, tandoori chicken is marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor (a large, clay oven or grill).
It’s a staple among Indians, who frequently eat the meal for lunch or dinner.
Tandoori chicken is extra delicious because the tandoor catches the juices from the chicken as it cooks. This makes it moist and tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside.
If you’re a connoisseur of Indian cuisine, then you know that most meals are served with various sauces and chutneys.
So it’s no surprise that most meals come with nice, crispy bread to dip in all the deliciousness.
India is known for several breads, like Naan, Parrota, and Roti. But Papadum is the most popular.
Papadum is thin cylindrical bread that can either be baked, fried, or better yet, deep-fried.
The texture is more like a cracker or crusty bread than a roll, which makes it perfect for dipping.
Here’s a closer look at some other mouth-watering food India is famous for:
Famous landmarks in India
India has a rich, triumphant, sometimes tragedy-ridden, history — and the landmarks to prove it.
India is home to the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s a stunning, all-white, marble mausoleum that former ruler, Shah Jahan built during the 15th century.
Jahan ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal to honor Mumtaz Muhal, one of his three wives who died while giving birth to their 14th child. To cope, he commissioned the building to be her final resting spot.
The Taj Mahal is located on the edge of the Yamuna River and was meticulously built in an area that provides visitors with beautiful, otherworldly sunrises. This makes the morning the prime time to visit.
Tourism is important in India. And over the last few hundred years, the Taj Mahal has become the perfect tourist attraction for romantic types who want pristine close-ups of India’s gorgeous architecture and beautiful natural scenery.
Lutyens Delhi isn’t so much a singular landmark as it is a gorgeous, affluent neighborhood. It was designed and named after the famed architect, Edward Lutyens.
Though it was constructed during the early 20th century, Lutyens Delhi currently serves as the home of prominent Indian government officials, such as the Prime Minister, bureaucrats, and other high-ranking business people.
Even more impressive than the inhabitants are the upscale homes and establishments in the area.
That said, if you’re thinking about visiting its most famous district, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (home of the Indian President), you may want to plan accordingly. The government only permits tours four days a week.
Konark Sun Temple
The Konark Sun Temple is a temple in India honoring the god of the Sun, Surya.
Built around 1250 AD by King Narasimhadeva, the Buddhist monument is one of several monuments honoring Surya.
Religious affiliation aside, the Konark Temple is a sight to behold, with its stone carvings and chariot shape.
Each year, around 1.5 million people visit the temple.
What is India famous for culture-wise?
Martin Luther King’s nonviolent approach to racial unrest cemented him as one of the great pillars of the United States’ Civil Rights movement.
And while King contributed his ideology, he credited the basis of his belief system to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Or, better known as just Gandhi.
Gandhi was an Indian lawyer who believed the key to freeing India from British rule was a nonviolent course of action.
And though he was assassinated nearly a century ago in 1948, his philosophies live on across the globe.
India doesn’t have an official religion, but unofficially, the numbers don’t lie — Hinduism is the belief system of the land.
Of the 1.2 billion citizens, nearly 80 percent of them subscribe to Hinduism, with Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity coming in as second, third, and fourth, respectively.
Historically, Hinduism is believed to be the oldest religion in the world. It’s also been seen as a collection of religions, rather than one concrete faith.
As 95% of the world’s Hindus live in India, Hinduism shapes every facet of life within the country.
For example, Hindus don’t eat pork, and they revere cows as sacred animals. That means Indian food is largely devoid of these proteins.
It’s also the reason that India is crawling with religious temples and monuments, which are mostly accessible to the public.
No, that’s not a typo. We’re talking about Bollywood, not Hollywood. As in, India’s largest movie and entertainment industry.
A mixture of “Hollywood” and “Bombay (which used to be Mumbai), Bollywood encompasses India’s unique approach to movie and film production.
Originating in 1913, Bollywood movies are known to include colorful wardrobes, and flashy, upbeat dance sequences that have captivated not only India, but the world at large.
And while the Indian film industry is the largest in the world, boasting films made in twenty-plus languages, Bollywood is even more popular.
Like many American movie stars, the most popular Bollywood actors are known and revered worldwide. Such notable names include Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra.
Interesting India facts
India was the first country to mine diamonds
Diamonds are a natural part of everyday life now.
From engagement rings to necklaces to earrings, diamonds are a common decorative stone used to commemorate various milestones in life. But they weren’t always as widely accessible.
India was the first country to ever mine the precious stone, around the fourth century, BC. And for about 1,000 years after, India was the world’s only producer of diamonds.
An Indian boy invented shampoo
Well, kind of.
Champu, the Hindi word for shampoo, is an anxiety practice that involves massaging a person’s head with various herbs and potions.
And while Champu is phonetically similar to shampoo, the practice was based more on relaxation than hygiene and hair care.
Still, the scalp cleansing shampoo that we know and love today traces back to 18th century India and a boy named Sake Dean Mahomed.
After moving from India to London, Sake, who had family members within the barbering industry, opened a spa and started giving out head massages.
These massages were so good that word spread quickly across town, and his Champu service was a huge hit.
Indian weddings are legit events
When singer Nick Jonas married Bollywood star, Priyanka Chopra, the American public gaffed at their decision to have three weddings. But what many people didn’t realize is that Chopra, who is Indian, was just embracing her culture.
Indian weddings are notorious for being big, decorative spectacles that can last days or even weeks.
The budding couple usually kicks things off with a private ceremony to acquaint both families, an outing for the bride and her bridesmaids where she gets her hands henna’d, and then, a sangeet, or lively musical event that closes out the festivities.
India is home to the world’s largest school
If you’ve ever begrudged American schools for being overcrowded, prepare to change your perspective.
India is home to the City Montessori School, the largest school in the world.
Founded in 1959 and located in the city of Luckow, the City Montessori School boasts over 56,000 students. That’s the size of an entire small town!
Bad things India is known for
No country is perfect.
And among the beautiful, historic landmarks and delicious food, comes things that are less desirable about India.
Let’s start with the caste system, which is a hierarchical structure that determines which class a citizen is born into.
The four main castes, in descending order, are Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and the Shudras.
Linked to Hinduism, many Indians believe that the system originates from Brahma, the god of creation, and that the placements are supernaturally ordained.
Because of this, the caste system allows very little room for advancement. So if you’re born at the “bottom”, you’ll likely be there for life.
Officially, India discourages discrimination based on caste status on a national level, but the basis of the system is pervasive and influences everything from job placement to marriage and family planning.
India is the third most polluted country in the world (behind Bangladesh and Pakistan).
Most of India’s pollution is attributed to its widespread industrialization and large population.
Unfortunately, air pollution negatively impacts the lifespans of its citizens, decreasing it by as much as seven to ten years in some cases.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
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