13 Facts About India That Can Stun Even an Experienced Traveler

India is one of the countries where you feel a special atmosphere, and life there is not like anywhere else. When thinking about India, most people remember Bollywood, yoga, cows just walking around, spices, and women in sari. But this ancient country has a lot of other really interesting stuff worth learning about.

We at CHEERY tried to learn little-known facts about India that even people living there might now have heard of.

1. In the street, they sell food and perform dental procedures.

Street services in India are an integral part of lives of people who can’t afford going to professionals. The same goes for dentistry. Since 1948, only licensed dentists can perform dental procedures. But the vague and outdated definition of a dentist allows self-taught dentists work, too.

2. They don’t send out wedding invitations, but draw them on houses for everyone to see.

This happens only in small towns where everyone knows each other well. But lately, this has become a rare custom. In big cities, it’s not a thing at all.

3. Many girls have manicures only on their left hands.

This is because in India, people eat with their right hands, and the left one of considered dirty. The nails are not painted on the right hand because nail polish contains chemicals and there’s risk of swallowing the polish if a part of it breaks. This is why there are many women in India who have short nails on the right hand, and long polished ones on the left one.

4. In southern states, they still serve food on banana leaves.

From the very ancient times, the southern states of India have used banana leaves for serving food on. They have a waxy surface, so dust doesn’t settle on them, and they are easy to wash. Besides, they are rich in antioxidants, called polyphenols, which have a positive effect on health.

5. When you buy chips, you can get free 4G-internet.

According to a British price comparison website, India is the country with the cheapest internet. So, in 2021, 1Gb cost $ 0,09 there, while in the US, it was $ 8. The thing is, in 2016, a new provider Reliance Jio appeared that shook the Indian market with its cheap high-speed cellular internet and free calls.

Due to high competition, providers have to come up with different offers. So, to get several Gb of free internet, you can buy a pack of chips for around $ 0,3, enter the code on the pack and enjoy.

6. In India, there are a lot of men with mustaches.

In India, men have mustaches not only because it’s trendy, but because a mustache is part of the traditions and folklore. It’s about respect, privileges, and of course, masculinity. And policemen have them because they look more respected in the eyes of the population. For some time, they even got extra money for having a mustache.

There are a lot of fairy tales telling that when an enemy was defeated, his mustache was shaved off. They even have a saying, “He who has no mustache has no standing.”

7. Adult children sleep in the same bed with their mom.

Indian men (and women) are so attached to their mothers that they can sleep in the same bed with them even when they are adults, let alone in childhood or teenage years. The thing is, men and their mothers have a very close emotional connection.

This is what Indians themselves say, “We sleep beside our siblings and parents on the same bed. Yes, and this is not weird. I have also seen in some Hollywood movies that an actor is sleeping next to his dog. So what’s wrong in sleeping beside siblings and parent on same bed?”

8. Banners are everywhere.

India may shock you with the number of banners being seen literally everywhere. Announcements, protests, movie posters, and even birthday cards — they use banners for everything.

9. They have a unique railroad intersection.

In India, there’s a place called “Diamond Crossing in Nagpur”. It’s a unique marvel of engineering that exists in very few places in the world. It is where trunk railway lines running from Kolkata in the Eastern end of India to Mumbai in the Western end, and the one from Delhi in the Northern end to Chennai and other places in the southern end cross.

10. They sell books by weight.

In some places in India, books are sold by weight. And they might be brand new books or those that have been read several times. From bestsellers to books for kids. A kilogram of fiction books, for instance, would cost ₹100 ($ 1,25-2,5), and science-fiction or cooking books — ₹300 ($ 3,75).

11. They have a unique “Indian yellow” color.

In Harvard university, there is the division Forbes Pigment collection that has the biggest collection of historic pigments. They have more than 2,700 exhibits. One of them is called Indian Yellow. It’s said that it’s a product of dried cow piss that ate mango leaves.

12. They measure distance in minutes and hours.

If you ask anyone around the world about the distance to a certain place, they will say, for example, 20 miles. Indians take the type of transportation into account, predict the traffic, and the speed. And only then, they give an answer.

And it really depends on the person you ask. A guy on a bus will say 35 minutes, on a bike — 30 minutes, a car driver — 20 minutes, and someone on foot — 200 minutes.

13. They might look at you for a very long time.

In India, you can see people that will stare at you for a long time. A Quora user says, “I see someone staring and wonder whether I am looking extra beautiful or if my eye liner is smudged. But, no! It’s just an Indian thing to stare openly at people.”

Have you been to India? If yes, what impressed you the most? If not, what would you like to see or try there?

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