Toe Wedding Rings
In Tamil Nadu, a region of India, the wedding ring is not placed on the finger, but rather on the “index” toe of the foot. Two silver rings are placed on the foot of the soon-to-be groom’s beloved and are traditionally supposed to bring about a healthy pregnancy whilst gold rings are actually to be avoided in this case.
That’s because gold is the symbol of the goddess of abundance, and putting it on the feet — considered to be the most humble part of the body — would be frowned upon.
The World’s Worst Electrician Hassle
When you have over a billion people tucked into one country, you’re going to have issues with housing. Electricity is one such problem that many people in India face, not because they don’t have it, but because they need a whole lot of wires to make everything work.
Needless to say, we’re sure this is the worst place in the world for an electrician to work. Sure, they may always have something to do, but are they getting paid enough?
Extremely Risky Train Riding
India has a population of over 1.3 billion, which, putting it lightly, is a lot. That being the case, public transportation can be a serious problem, and it may require some radical solutions. The one you can see in the picture below is such a solution that makes us totally nervous.
We get it, India — you have a lot of people. But honestly, this just doesn’t seem safe. Then again, you gotta do what you gotta do even if it looks extremely risky.
Mistaken Brand Identities
You could probably see something like this in many countries, but it’s certainly something you’re going to see a lot of in India. Sometimes the name of your store is less important than having a logo that everyone can recognize. Who said everything had to make sense?
We’re assuming that the brands being mimicked here simply don’t care about trying to get any money from a few tiny stores in India that are making use of the names.
The Crazy Sport of Bull Surfing
No waves, no problem! In the village of Anandapally, a harvest season sport race takes place called bull surfing, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A pair of yoked bulls are used to plow football-field-sized rice fields covered in ankle-deep water, while their handlers surf a wooden plank, hanging onto nothing but the bull’s harnesses or even their tails.
We don’t think we would want to engage in such a sport personally, but there’s no denying that it would be extremely fun to watch.
Some Casual Flooding
Floods happen all around the world, but in some places, there’s no choice but to deal with them as they are. India is one of those places, for many families. If a flood isn’t that severe, you may find people just walking around in ankle-deep water because there’s no alternative.
Technically these types of floods aren’t that bad, but only relatively speaking. It’s just that they could certainly be much worse.
Masculine Friendship Over Romantic Affection
It’s a little sad, but in many parts of the world, men can’t really be too physically intimate with each other without people making assumptions about their relationship. Even something as simple as holding hands can be judged. But in India, you’ll find many men holding hands, simply as a sign of their deep friendship.
Ironically, you’ll see a lot less affection between men and women in India, as public displays of romantic affection are seen as uncouth. This may not be specific to India, but it’s definitely something you’re likely to see there that’s unusual elsewhere.
When we say self-built car, we don’t mean as in actually building a legitimate, road-safe vehicle. We mean building a means of transport, however odd, to get from one place to another. Case in point, the image below. Needless to say, you wouldn’t be able to drive this in the United States.
But, in a place where road laws aren’t quite as stringent, you may find things you struggle to call a “vehicle” driving about on public roads.
The Tower of Silence
In the Zoroastrian religion, Earth and fire are sacred. This means neither can be used for the disposal of bodies. As a solution to this, the Dakhma — also called the Tower of Silence — was built. It’s a circular, raised structure intended to expose bodies to carrion birds like vultures for disposal.
Technically, Iran has such towers as well, but they are not actually used, meaning that India is the only place one can actually see these structures.
The World’s Largest Film Industry
Believe it or not, the film industry in India is even bigger than that of Hollywood. Dubbed Bollywood and based in Mumbai, India’s film industry produced 1,813 films in 2018 alone. In fact, as far as sheer volume of films is concerned, the combination of Bombay and Bollywood surpassed the American industry in 2012.
Of course, quantity isn’t everything, but regardless of how you feel about that, it’s an achievement no other country can lay claim to — and it’s something unique to India.
The Magnetic Hill of Ladakh
This legendary location in India is one many people have heard of. It possesses extreme magnetism that planes must often avoid, and it can seem like cars are moving uphill even when in neutral, though this is more of an illusion than reality.
Even still, it’s a famous tourist location. Gravity does not in fact work in reverse there, but you’ll swear it does when you see a ball that’s seemingly rolling uphill.
A Different Color of Mourning
In many countries, black is the color of mourning. But in India, it’s actually white, the color of purity. Even years after losing a spouse, the survivor will wear white. A widow will wear a white saree, while a widower will wear a white turban, though the latter is especially so for the Indian State of Rajasthan.
Black isn’t a universal color of mourning, but for many people it’s what they are used to, making this something visitors may only see in India.
The World’s Tallest Statue
India holds the record for the world’s largest statue, that being a statue that is 597 feet tall. It’s known as the Statue of Unity, and it represents the Indian independence movement leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, often called Sardar Patel.
Needless to say, such a huge statue is a major tourist attraction that a lot of people go to India to see, or at least decide to visit while on vacation there.
A Man That Has Fasted for 80 Years
OK, so maybe you won’t be able to see this man when you visit, but he is unique to India, in a manner of speaking. Prahlad Jani, a monk, claims to have lived without food or water since 1940 — and is sustained by the goddess Amba.
Two scientific studies were conducted confirming that he could survive during the study periods without nourishment, but the studies were not posted to any scientific journals. We’ll admit that we’re a bit skeptical of it all, but either way, it fits pretty cleanly on this list.
The Hindu Trinity
80% of the Indian population is Hindu, and in Hinduism, they worship one God — contrary to popular understanding. Brahman, the eternal origin, is the cause and foundation of all existence.
Different Hindu communities may have their own divinities whom they worship, but these are essentially just different ways of approaching the Supreme God. Hindus recognize three principal deities or gods including Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer.
The 16 Adornments of a Married Woman
In India, there are special adornments that only a married woman may use. They are called the Sola Shringar, and there are 16 of them. Two of the most well known are the Bindi, the red dot placed on the forehead, as well as the Nath, a large circular nose piercing.
This type of jewelry adornment is definitely something you’ll only see in India, as it is a huge part of the marriage culture there.
The World’s Richest Hindu Temple
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest Hindu temple in the world. Not only does it have that distinction, though, but it’s also the richest place of worship to ever exist. In 2011, secret compartments in the temple were opened to reveal items of gold, silver, and gems worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Located in the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, it’s a destination that many people are eager to pay a visit to — which isn’t surprising considering its reputation.
Bridges Made of Roots
Like something out of a fantasy setting, some of the bridges in the state of Meghalaya are made entirely out of roots. The purpose is to prevent these bridges from rotting due to moisture, which is a problem that traditional bridges face.
Of course, it takes many years to grow a bridge out of roots, but they are immensely sturdy and they look incredibly cool, so it’s well worth it in the long run.
The World’s Largest Gold Consumerism
Oddly enough, India is one of the largest consumers in the world when it comes to gold. Indian demand has, on average, been 838 tons per year over the course of the last decade. In 2018 alone, 760.4 tons of gold were consumed, with the vast majority of it being used for festival and wedding jewelry.
Needless to say, you’ll find a lot more gold out and about in India than you will in almost any other country, making it something unique to experience there.
Unique Endangered Species
You can find endangered species anywhere, unfortunately. But, there are a few that are native to India, and you won’t find them anywhere else other than zoos. Two of the most well-known are the Asiatic Lion and the Purple Frog.
The Purple Frog is definitely the more noteworthy of the two, since it doesn’t look like anything one would expect it to. Honestly, it doesn’t even look like a frog, but that’s what makes it even more special compared to other animals out there.
Extremely Unusual Post Offices
India has some weird post offices, much different than the ones Westerners are likely used to. You can find one that floats, as it’s carved out of a boat, or you can even find the highest one in the world at 15,500 feet. You may not find these particular ones today, but in the past, India even had mobile camel post offices.
In fact, as far as that floating post office is concerned, it’s the only one in the world, so India is quite literally the only place you could find one.
The First Book on Plastic Surgery
One major part of India’s history is a book called the Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine that many consider to be one of the first texts in history regarding medicine and surgery. Written by Sushruta, it has been accurately dated as written around sixth century BC.
It’s believed that the Sushruta Samhita is where modern plastic surgery originated from, as the text describes the reconstruction of the lips and the nose by using a flap of skin on the cheeks.
One of the World’s Largest Pilgrimages
The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage that takes place every 12 years. Moreover, it’s the largest human gathering in the whole world, to the extent that you can see it from space. The Kumbh Mela was held in Ardh of Allahabad from January 15th to March 4th in 2019, and estimates place the number of participants at approximately 130 million people.
Participating in something that massive sounds kind of tiresome, but nevertheless, it would certainly be a once in a lifetime experience. Of course, the next one is more than a decade away…
The HIjras, the Third Sex
In India, the term Hijra is used to refer to individuals who consider themselves transgender or transsexual. But, unlike many other societies — which have only recently started paying attention to such things — Hijras have been a part of Indian culture since ancient times, as suggested also by the Kāma Sūtra.
In April of 2014, India’s Supreme Court recognized transgender people as a ’third sex’ in a special law concerning official legal documents. Seems like their government was a little slow on the uptake there.
A Bull in a China Shop
‘A bull in a china shop’ is just a phrase in most cultures, but there’s actually a chance of it being reality in India, believe it or not. After all, bulls are actually pretty common over there, and that means they have a bit more leeway in where they go.
We’re not saying you’re going to see this extremely often, but as far as chances of seeing it go, it’s much more likely in India than in any other country around the world.
Intimate Elephant Friendships
Even people that don’t know a lot about India know that elephants are a big part of its culture. They are used for all sorts of ends within the country, and they often have a very close relationship with the humans around them. They are, after all, gregarious animals used to being in groups.
You’ll definitely see more elephants in India than you will in any other location, and you’ll definitely see just how friendly they can be when they’re treated right.
Snake Charming Civilians
For most of us, snakes are scary and we dare not go near them if we can help it. After all, why would you want to do that knowing the dangers? But in India, there’s plenty of people that have no issue with snakes, and may even make a show out of interacting with them.
This may have something to do with snakes being very common in India — you can’t afford to be scared of something that you’re going to run into with any frequency, or you’ll never get anything done!
A Strange Combo of Old and New
Most of the world has moved on to vehicles when there’s a need to transport goods or people. India, of course, has cars, trains, and bikes — but in many instances, they still use animals like donkeys to get around. This can make for a very interesting combination when traveling around.
Of course, in some cases, those animals are actually just getting rides themselves. After all, they also get tired and they deserve a break sometimes, don’t you think?
Cows Outside of Burgers
Sure — you can see cows in plenty of countries, but in most of them, those cows are slated for consumption in the form of beef at some point. In India, cows are sacred, so don’t expect to find burgers on the menu even at places like McDonald’s.
In fact, you’ll find cows boldly strutting their stuff all over India, and why not? They’re safe from almost any harm, at least as far as intentional harm is concerned.
The Trusty Rickshaw
OK, the rickshaw isn’t exclusive to India. You can definitely find them in other countries, but they have a very prominent place in India, offering a viable alternative to cars in a place where roads are usually packed to the brim. You’ll find plenty of people being pulled around in these contraptions in India.
Of course, you may also find some people benefitting from rickshaws in other ways. All you need is a pair of wheels and some folks who don’t mind you hanging on for the ride.
Mannequins of All Sizes
Odd though it may be, most countries use mannequins that are thin, even though body types are so diverse and different. India, on the other hand, allows the use of mannequins of various shapes and sizes that you may not expect.
We have to say, it’s a little strange seeing such mannequins with what we’re used to, but to be fair, it’s definitely something that other countries could benefit from adopting — if they just chose to do so.
Camel Aesthetic Appreciation
Much like how some people will cut their dog’s hair in certain ways in order to get a particular look, in India, you may find camels with special haircuts to show off a cool aesthetic. In fact, they even have a festival for camels, where you’ll find many such decorations.
Camels deserve some praise, though, considering they’ve been working so hard for humanity for centuries. These festivals in which they get a little love is the least we can do.
Sardar’s Fish n’ Chicken
Look at this sign for just a few moments and you will swiftly see a few uncanny similarities between it and a certain Western food chain, that being KFC. You can find knockoff brands anywhere, but you won’t find this one anywhere except India.
Of course, just because there’s a little copy and paste going on here doesn’t mean the food itself isn’t good. Who knows, maybe it’s even better than KFC?
Elephant Transportation Hijinks
India has a lot of elephants, and those elephants need to get places. Sometimes, walking isn’t enough, especially if there’s a large body of water in their way. When that happens, a boat is the obvious answer, but needless to say, we’d expect a bigger boat than this.
Honestly, we’re amazed by the capacity of that small wooden boat more than anything else. But, one way or another, this is something you probably wouldn’t see anywhere except India.
The World’s Largest Family
People all over the world have big families. Some people may have a dozen family members when it comes to aunts, uncles, and siblings. However, even such a number is nothing compared to this family in Baktawng Village. The man of the house, Ziona Chana, has 39 wives, 94 children, 14 daughters-in-law, and at least 33 grandchildren.
They are the biggest family in the world, and they even live in one giant house with 100 rooms. Why would anyone want a family this big? No idea. But, at least you’d never be lonely.
Respect the ‘Stache
Whether or not you think mustaches demand more respect, some people in India do. In Madhya Pradesh, policemen may even receive extra pay just for growing out their mustache. Apparently, the guy in charge felt they got more respect when they had facial hair.
Whether or not it actually works would probably require some sort of in-depth study, but from a purely surface point-of-view, we could see some merit to the idea.
Super Wedding Parties
Partying for a wedding is not unique to India, but no one does it quite like India does. Parades of large groups in vivid and bright colors, tons of dancing and celebrations, and most importantly — many such parties just happen out in public, so you may be allowed to participate just because you’re around.
So yeah, maybe you can party anywhere, but nowhere parties like India does, and that definitely warrants a mention on this list of unique Indian attractions.
The Wedding Detective
In a society where it’s the entire family’s business who you’re marrying, some people may be concerned over whether or not a prospective spouse is all they’re cracked up to be. As you may imagine, there’s money to be had wherever people are worried about something, so cue the wedding detective.
Need that prospective spouse to be investigated to make sure they’re a good fit for you and your family? You can pay someone to do that in India.
Religion Specific Warnings
As we’ve said before, much of India believes in Hinduism, in which reincarnation — the act of being born as a new lifeform after death — is a major part. That being the case, India is one of the few places in which you’re likely to find signs such as this one.
We’re just saying, the odds of encountering such a sign in almost any other country is pretty low, so that means it probably deserves a spot on this list.
The Art of Dismounting
Because of India’s huge population, public transportation can often involve being stuck with large groups of people. So large that you may not even be able to properly get off of the vehicle you’re riding in. Something you are more likely to see in India compared to anywhere else is people dismounting buses via windows.
We can’t really blame anyone for doing this, though, considering how hard it would be to get off if you had two dozen people between you and the door.
Completely Unlocked Doors
In India, some people believe they are being protected by a local deity, and therefore have no need to lock their doors. Some villages don’t even have locks for their doors to use, and this includes businesses with things like ATMs. Heck, some villages don’t have doors at all!
We’re not trying to imply that there’s no crime in India, because of course, that isn’t true — but could you think of any place in America where a business wouldn’t lock its doors?
Freedom of Movement
There is a special agreement between India and Nepal that allows one to cross borders, free of charge! This gives you the chance to finally take the plunge and climb Nepal’s finest mountain, the renowned Mount Everest.
Additionally, in order to cross the border, you don’t need a visa permit or any specific paperwork, just your passport or any form of identification. If you do indeed plan on climbing one of the world’s highest peaks, then bring along the required hiking gear with you.
Food for All
Religion is a fundamental and well-respected part of India and no matter one’s socio-economic status, it binds the people together. At the Golden Temple, which is a holy place in India, all visitors are greeted with delicious foods.
This is known as The Langar, where a community kitchen provides special Indian food to anyone who wants it. So, there is such a thing as a free lunch after all!
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Every day at Wagah Border in India, the National “Beating Retreat” ceremony takes place where the nation’s guards lower the flags and perform a special dance.
This festive sighting is not to be missed as it’s part of Indian and Pakistani culture and epitomizes the relationship between the two nations. Go check it out when visiting India and learn some unique dance moves!
A Rare Sighting
India is full of strange, endangered, and wonderful species. In fact, they house so many different ones, you probably won’t be able visit them all but try your best to meet a Ganges river dolphin.
Not only are they super cute and odd-looking with their long and flat beaks, they’re also sadly close to extinction. So, do yourselves a favor and visit Unchagaon to catch a sight of these rare river dolphins.
The Only Educational Toilet Museum
While visiting India, you’ll be educated on their unique culture, cuisines, species, and of course toilets. Wait, what? Yes, you did read that right. India has the only toilet museum in the world that educates its people on how sanitation has evolved.
While visiting the museum, you’ll be acquainted with different toilet seats from all over the globe and receive a history lesson on sanitation. So, whoever thought museums were just for art, you can flush that thought down the toilet.
Things Are Getting Spicy
While we are all commonly acquainted with a pepper shaker on most table settings in the world, this wasn’t always the case. For earlier generations, long pepper was the popular spice of choice and it originates from India.
Thanks to Columbus bringing back alternative spices from the Americas, the long pepper spice seemed to vanish from use. However, India still uses it commonly today and you’ll be able to try it exclusively there.
Hear Me Roar
India is known to have an extensive wildlife selection, but it’s the wild cats there that get the most publicity. India is home to the infamous five big cats which consist of Asiatic lions, snow leopards, clouded leopards, Indian leopards, and Bengal tigers.
India is also the only place in the world where you can see lions and tigers together from the same country.
The Capital of Yoga
Yoga is a beloved practice that helps you lead a healthier lifestyle and is even known to cure disease through its magical flow. India is the hottest spot when it comes to practicing the art of yoga and is even home to the yoga capital city of the world.
The city, Rishikesh, has been known for its beauty, tranquility, and spiritual nature for thousands of years. People from all over the globe come here to learn the authentic practice of yoga. Namaste guys!
We might have all heard of fireflies but few of us have actually had the experience to see them twinkle in real-life. Except, if you live in the land of Purushwadi in India. The magical village is 180 kilometers from Mumbai and is known for its sighing of the glow worms.
If you go to the village at dusk, millions of flies sparkle in the sky. It’s said to be a breathtakingly unforgettable sight and as Owl City put it, “You would not believe your eyes”.
The Creepiest Monument
If you consider yourself to be a ghostbuster then tempt fate by visiting the Agrasen Ki Baoli Monument. This place was even coined the “resident of the evil” with its eerie ambiance, strange noises, and historic ghost stories.
This haunted memorial is one of many abandoned places in India that will probably leave you trembling. If you choose to check out this spot, we warned you here first!
All to Yourself
Skyscrapers are generally not homes, because no one needs that many floors. But, if you’re rich, sometimes what you need doesn’t really matter as much as what you want. In Mumbai, there’s a skyscraper as tall as 40 stories that belongs to one man and his family.
The man who lives there is billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and the whole thing is lived in by himself and his wife, plus their three children. Talk about the lap of luxury.
Henna Tattoo Body Art
Henna tattoos use a type of paste generally called Mehndi. They’re often used as a form of body art, with intricate designs being put on the body prior to major events and celebrations, such as weddings. You can get Henna tattoos in other countries, but India is its home, and you’ll see a lot more of it there.
You may want to try getting one yourself one day. Don’t worry — they aren’t permanent, so it can be a temporary aesthetic statement if that’s what you want.
No Expenses Spared for Elephants
If you haven’t figured it out by now, elephants are a very important part of India’s culture. But, did you know that they are so important they even get spa days? The Punnathoor Cotta Elephant Yard Rejuvenation Centre is a place just for elephants to relax, and that includes getting massages.
Frankly, you probably won’t find any country as dedicated to elephant care as India is, but then again, no other country is as reliant on them either.
Confused Directional Signs
It’s possible this sign is pointing at three different locations that all have the same name, but honestly, we doubt it. It seems more likely that someone made a really big mistake when erecting this thing, leading to many, many confused drivers.
The real question is, why has no one fixed this yet? And exactly how many of these are there in India anyway? Hopefully, not a lot. Driving around there in India is confusing enough as it is.
Lost in Translation
We have no idea what they were attempting to say here, but we’re going to assume that it wasn’t this. India isn’t the only place you can find messed up English like this, but it’s definitely a place that has a lot of it. Thankfully, it’s all pretty amusing, honestly.
What was in the water before? We’re honestly scared to get the answer to that question, all things considered. Let’s just ignore it.