"India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."
These are not our words. These are the words of the great Mark Twain. And here are 25 Indians facts to support his statement:
1. A floating post office
India has the largest postal network in the world with over 1, 55,015 post offices. A single post office on an average serves a population of 7,175 people. The floating post office in Dal Lake, Srinagar, was inaugurated in August 2011.
2. Kumbh Mela gathering visible from space
The 2011 Kumbh Mela was the largest gathering of people with over 75 million pilgrims. The gathering was so huge that the crowd was visible from space.
3. The wettest inhabited place in the world
Mawsynram, a village on the Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, receives the highest recorded average rainfall in the world. Cherrapunji, also a part of Meghalaya, holds the record for the most rainfall in the calendar year of 1861.
4. Bandra Worli Sealink has steel wires equal to the earth's circumference
It took a total of 2,57,00,000 man hours for completion and also weighs as much as 50,000 African elephants. A true engineering and architectural marvel.
5. The highest cricket ground in the world
At an altitude of 2,444 meters, the Chail Cricket Ground in Chail, Himachal Pradesh, is the highest in the world. It was built in 1893 and is a part of the Chail Military School.
6. Shampooing is an Indian concept
Shampoo was invented in India, not the commercial liquid ones but the method by use of herbs. The word 'shampoo' itself has been derived from the Sanskrit word champu, which means to massage.
7. The Indian national Kabaddi team has won all World Cups
India has won all 5 men's Kabaddi World Cups held till now and have been undefeated throughout these tournaments. The Indian women's team has also won all Kabaddi World Cups held till date.
8. Water on the moon was discovered by India
In September 2009, India's ISRO Chandrayaan- 1 using its Moon Mineralogy Mapper detected water on the moon for the first time.
9. Science day in Switzerland is dedicated to Ex-Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam
The father of India's missile programme had visited Switzerland back in 2006. Upon his arrival, Switzerland declared May 26th as Science Day.
10. India's first President only took 50% of his salary
When Dr Rajendra Prasad was appointed the President of India, he only took 50% of his salary, claiming he did not require more than that. Towards the end of his 12-year tenure he only took 25% of his salary. The salary of the President was Rs 10,000 back then.
11. The first rocket in India was transported on a cycle
The first rocket was so light and small that it was transported on a bicycle to the Thumba Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
12. India has a spa just for elephants
Elephants receive baths, massages and even food at the Punnathoor Cotta Elephant Yard Rejuvenation Centre in Kerala. Now that's a BIG step for the country.
13. India is the world's second-largest English speaking country
India is second only to the USA when it comes to speaking English with around 125 million people speaking the language, which is only 10% of our population. This is expected to grow by quite a margin in the coming years.
14. Largest number of vegetarians in the world
Be it because of religious reasons or personal choices or both, around 20-40% of Indians are vegetarians, making it the largest vegetarian-friendly country in the world.
15. The world's largest producer of milk
India recently overtook the European Union with production reaching over 132.4m tonnes in 2014.
16. The first country to consume sugar
India was the first country to develop extraction and purifying techniques of sugar. Many visitors from abroad learnt the refining and cultivation of sugar from us.
17. The human calculator
Shakuntla Devi was given this title after she demonstrated the calculation of two 13 digit numbers: 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 which were picked at random. She answered correctly within 28 seconds.
18. Rabindranath Tagore also wrote the national anthem for Bangladesh
Rabindranath Tagore is credited not only for writing the Indian national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, but the Bangladeshi national anthem, Amar Sonar Bangla, as well. He was also offered knighthood by the British but refused the honour after the Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
19. Dhyan Chand was offered German citizenship
After defeating Germany 8-1 in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Major Dhyan Chand, the wizard of hockey, was summoned by Hitler. He was promised German citizenship, a high post in the German military and the chance to play for the German national side. Dhyan Chand however declined the offer.
20. Freddie Mercury and Ben Kingsley are both of Indian descent
Freddie Mercury, the legendary singer of the rock band 'Queen' was born a Parsi with the name Farrokh Bulsara while the famous Oscar winning Hollywood star Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji.
21. Astronaut Rakesh Sharma said India looks saare jahaan se achcha from space
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked the first Indian in space, Rakesh Sharma, about how India looked from space. His response was our famous patriotic song, "Saare Jahaan Se Achcha."
22. Havell's is purely an Indian brand & named after its first owner
Though the company was bought for just 10 lakh Rupees a long time ago and is now a multi-billion electrical goods company, it's an Indian company and is still named after its original owner, Haveli Ram Gupta.
23. Diamonds were first mined in India
Initially, diamonds were only found in the alluvial deposits in Guntur and Krishna District of the Krishna River Delta. Until diamonds were found in Brazil during the 18th century, India led the world in diamond production.
24. A special polling station is set up for a lone voter in the middle of Gir Forest
Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas has been voting since 2004 and during every election since then, a special polling booth is set up exclusively for him as he is the only voter from Banej in Gir forest.
25. Snakes and Ladders originated in India
Earlier known as Moksha Patamu, the game was initially invented as a moral lesson about karma to be taught to children. It was later commercialized and has become one of the most popular board games in the world.