Interesting facts about Hinduism and India 1.) India is home to some of the world’s most ancient art forms. Indian classical dance forms include: Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from Uttar Pradesh, Kathakali from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Manipuri from Manipur, Mohiniattam from Kerala, and Odissi from Orissa. 2.) In addition to the many Indian classical dance forms, India is also known for its cultural folk dances which vary from region to region. Some of these include: the Chauu dance of Bihar, Garba of Gujarat, Bhangra of Punjab, and Banjara of Andhra Pradesh. 3.) Indian classical music originated from the Vedas. Classical music is based on seven notes: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. These notes are sung with different melodies, known as ragas, and set to different rhythms ,known as talas. 4.) Music in North India is referred to as Hindustani classical music, whereas music most popular in South Indian is known as Carnatic music. 5.) Instruments typically used in Hindustani music include the sitar, sarod, tanpura, bansuri, shehnai, sarangi, and tabla. Instruments typically used in Carnatic music include flute, gottuvadyam, veena, mridangam, kanjira, ghatam and violin. 6.) Since ancient times, India has been an active contributor in the field of Science and Technology. Indian sci-entists and Rishis have developed theories in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemis-try, medical science, fine arts, mechanical and civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding, and navigation. 7.) Indian Vedic literature includes descriptions of the concepts of zero, algebra, and algorithm, calcu-lus, square roots, and cube roots. It is believed that these texts were written many centuries before Newton and other Mathematicians were born. 8.) The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana. He also introduced the concept of the Pythagorean Theorem. 9.) India’s advanced technology in the field of civil engineering & architecture can be seen with the remnants of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Both these settlements are known for their grid-like layout and the advanced architecture of the buildings which were made with bricks made with mud and burnt wood. 10.) Charaka began Ayurveda over 2500 years ago which is the earliest school of medi-cine. Sushruta is regarded as the father of surgery. Over 2600 Indians are known to have conducted complicated surgeries such as cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, uri-nary stones and also plastic and brain surgeries. Did Vasco da Gama discover the sea-route to India? Plastic Surgery: A Gift from India Did Vasco da Gama discover the sea-route to India? It is commonly believed that Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. However, Suresh Soni, contradicts this belief in his India’s Glorious Scientific Tradition. In his diary, Vasco da Gama describes how he followed the ship of a Gujarati trader named Chandan whom he met at the coast of Zanzibar in Africa. The Gujarati trader had a ship three times the size of Vasco da Gama’s. This reveals not only India’s advanced ship-building, but also that the route Vasco da Gama took was already in existence and was routinely used by Indian merchants. Plastic Surgery: A Gift from India Sushruta, also the first surgeon of the world, in Sushruta Samhita, describes how surgery can be performed. Training in surgery existed even during the Vedic times through the guru-shishya tradition. Sushrutha describes 8 types of surgeries. The most common plastic surgery was the replacement of noses, lost quite commonly during wars, using skin from forehead. More Interesting Facts about Hinduism and India: Aeronautical developments of ancient India Iron Pillar (Garuda Pillar), Delhi Ram Sethu Aeronautical developments of ancient India Secrets to fly a plane:Sage Bharadwaj says that only one who knows the secrets or mysteries of the aircraft can be the rightful flier. The sastras speak of 32 secrets to fly a plane. They include the Sankocha, according to which, one can reduce the size of the aircraft as required, while flying. According to Vistrita, when required, the size of the aircraft can be increased. Sources of energy:Four kinds of energy sources were used in ancient India to fly an aeroplane, including vegetable oil, mercury vapour, solar energy, and energy from the atmosphere, just like a boat moves when the sail is opened, due to wind power. Iron Pillar (Garuda Pillar), Delhi The Iron Pillar at Delhi is a marvelous example of ancient India’s advanced metallurgy. It was made in 4th C.E and is 24 feet (735.5 cm) tall. It has a circumference of 16 inches (41.6 cm) at the base and 12 inches (30.4 cm) above. The total weight of the pillar is 13,500 pounds (6096 kg). · For nearly 1600 years, the pillar has been standing undaunted under the open skies and during all types of weather conditions and has not rusted. · Inscriptions have survived the test of time on the iron pillar. · The secret of this pillar’s survival is in the chemical composition of the pillar which is made of extremely good quality steel and contains much less carbon in comparison to steel today. · The pillar is made by joining 44-66 pounds (20-30 kgs) of hot iron pieces, but not a single joint can be seen in the whole pillar! · Also called Garuda pillar, it was originally built in Mathura as a flag post in front of the temple of Lord Vishnu, by Chandra Raj (Source: Suresh Soni (2006).India’s Glorious Scientific Tradition) Ram Sethu Ram Sethu, the famous bridge Lord Rama and his Vanara army built to travel from India to Sri Lanka is found to exist under water as shown by NASA satellite images. Recent images show clear pictures of a broken bridge under the ocean floor, connecting Dhanushkodi near Rameshwaram in Southern India and Mannar in Northwest Sri Lanka.The recently proposed Sethusamudram Project, which involves destroying the Ram Sethu to build a canal, stirred up numerous protests worldwide because the bridge not only represents the rich cultural heritage of India, but has also been found to benefit the environment. Detrimental effects of the Sethusamudram Project include: ¨ Changes in temperature, salinity, turbidity, and flow of nutrients ¨ Oil spills from ships and marine pollution would be able to reach coastal areas, especially the sensitive ecosystems of Gulf of Mannar. ¨ Dangers to the precious marine species Interesting facts about Hinduism and Akhand Bharat AngkorWat Maha Kumbh Mela Takshashila and Nalanda Indonesian currency Brihadeswar World’s Tallest Murugan Statue Angkor Wat Angkor Wat, located in Cambodia, is the largest Hindu temple in the world. Built during the 12thcentury, under the reign of King Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat is one of the world’s grandest and most visited temples. The temple covers an area of about 200 acres and features exquisite examples of Khmer and Hindu art. Maha Kumbh Mela The Maha Kumbh Mela, which takes place every twelve years in Prayag during the months of January and February, brings together millions of devotees from around the world. The Kumbh is held at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers. The major event of this festival is a ritual bath in the Ganga river. The Kumbh has a long history of over 12,000 years. Thirty million people came to the mela in 2001; it was the largest gathering of human beings in history. The mela was so huge that it was visible and photographed by a satellite in outer space. Takshashila, the world’s oldest university, was established in India in 700 BCE. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The brilliant economist and politician, Chanakya, was a professor at Takshashila and composed parts of his famousArthashastrathere. The University ofNalanda, established in the 4th century, was another great educational achievement of Ancient India. Nalanda had eight separate compounds, a nine-storied library, and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. The university attracted thousands of pupils and scholars from India, Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. Indonesiahas the largest Muslim population in the world, but has been influenced by Hindu culture enough to have Lord Ganesha depicted on its currency. Brihadeswara The world’s first granite temple is the Brihadeswara temple at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The shikhara (crown) of the temple is made from a single 80-ton piece of granite. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 CE and 1009 CE), during the reign of Rajaraja Chola. One of its many amazing features is a huge figure of Nandi carved out of a single stone; the statue of Nandi stands 13 feet tall and 18 feet long. World’s Tallest Murugan Statue at Batu Caves, Malaysia Murugan is a popular Hindu deity, and is worshipped primarily by South Indians in India and abroad. The tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world is located in Malaysia. Here are some facts about the statue: · Height: 42.7 meters (about 140 feet) · Location: SriSubramaniar Temple at the foot of Batu Caves,Malaysia · Cost: 2.5 million Malaysian Ringgit (approximately 670,000 U.S. Dollars) · Construction: 1,550 cubic meters (5,085 cubic feet) of concrete , 250 tons of steel bars, and 300 liters (79 gallons) of gold paint brought in from neighboring Thailand. · Duration/Manpower: Fifteen Indian sculptors worked on the project for three years. It was unveiled on January 29, 2006.