2. Though India has three of the top ten largest cities in the world, it is predominantly rural. 70% of the population lives in rural communities [rural in India is defined as living in a town/village of less than 49,000 with a population density of less than 1000/mile2 (400km2)]. India is less densely populated than 32 countries (including Israel, South Korea, Maldives, or the Netherlands).
3. India has more than 1000 languages. There are 122 languages spoken by over 10,000 people and six languages (Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu) spoken by more than 50,000,000 people. Hindi and English are the official languages but majority of Indians do not speak Hindi.
4. India’s climatic zones range from the backwater canals of Kerela to the deserts of Rajasthan, to the rainforests of Assam to Mount Kanchenjunga standing at 8,598m (28,209 ft). It has regions in 7 of the 8 major climatic zones (according to the Köppen Climate Classification System).
5. India is the birthplace of many religions. The four religions born in India—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—are followed by 25% of the world’s population. [Note: Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) was born in Nepal, but he first spread his teachings in India]
6. Cricket is, by far, the most popular sport in India. If you want to connect to any boy or man in India, talk about cricket. A quote by Pratiek Sparsh Samantara sums it up best: “Cricket is a religion in India… It is a game of the gods. Right from the day they’re born, babies are taught to worship their cricketers; and later when they’re grown up, they’re taught to vote for them in their countries’ legislatures. The game will never die out in this region, life would be unfathomable then! We wouldn’t have any clue what to talk to our neighbours about!”
7. India has the 4th longest railway network (65,000km) in the world but carries more passengers than any other network (8 billion passengers per year).
8. India has many academic achievements. Nalanda was likely to be the first residential university in the world; Indians made significant contributions to calculus, trigonometry, and algebra. The concept of zero as a number and place-holder along with the decimal system is also attributed to India.