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India is about 1/3 the size of the United States, India is the seventh largest country in the world, the second most populous country in the world. ● ● India is the largest democracy in the world. ● ● The Kumbh Mela (or Grand Pitcher Festival) is a huge Hindu religious festival that takes place in India every 12 years. In 2001, 60 million people attended, breaking the record for the world’s biggest gathering. The mass of people was photographed from space by a satellite. ● ● To avoid polluting the elements (fire, earth, water, air), followers of Zoroastrianism in India don’t bury their dead, but instead leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence” for the vultures to pick clean. ● ● India has one of the world’s highest rates of abortion. ● ● Most Indians live on less than two dollars a day. ● ● Cows are considered one of humankind’s seven mothers because they offer milk as does one’s natural mother. ● ● Dancing is one of India’s most highly developed arts and was an integral part of worship in the inner shrines of every temple. It is notable for its expressive hand movements. ● ● Many Indian wives will never say their husband’s name aloud, as it is a sign of disrespect. When addressing him, the wife will use several indirect references, such as “ji” or “look here” or “hello,” or even refer to him as the father of her child. ● ● The Indian flag has three horizontal bands of color: saffron for courage and sacrifice, white for truth and peace, and green for faith, fertility, and chivalry. An emblem of a wheel spinning used to be in the center of the white band, but when India gained independence, a Buddhist dharma chakra, or wheel of life, replaced the spinning wheel. ● ● ● ● ● The temples of Khajuraho are famous for their erotic sculptures and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in India. Scholars still debate the purpose of such explicit portrayals of sexual intercourse, which sometimes involve animals. ● ● The earliest cotton in the world was spun and woven in India. ● ● The Himalayas—from the Sanskrit hima, meaning “snow,” and alaya, meaning “abode”—are found in the north of India. They extend 1,500 miles and are slowly growing taller, by almost an inch (2.5 cm) a year. Several ancient Indian monasteries are found nestled in the grandeur of these mountains. ● ● With 150,000 post offices, India has the largest postal network in the world. ● ● The Bengal tiger is India’s national animal. ● ● Alexander the Great of Macedon (356-323 B.C.) was one of the first important figures to bring India into contact with the West. After his death, a link between Europe and the East would not be restored until Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) landed in Calicut, India, in 1498. ● ● The British Raj, or British rule, lasted from 1858 to 1947 (although they had a strong presence in India since the 1700s). British influence is still seen in Indian architecture, education system, transportation, and politics. ● ● Every major world religion is represented in India. Additionally, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India. ● ● India has the world’s largest movie industry, based in the city of Mumbai (known as the “City of Dreams”). The B in “Bollywood” comes from Bombay, the former name for Mumbai. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals. ● ● Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) is known around the world as Mahatma, which is an honorific title meaning “Great Soul” in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. ● ● ● ● ● The lotus is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. ● The Bahá'í house of worship in Delhi, known as the “Lotus Temple,” is shaped like a lotus flower with 27 gigantic “petals” that are covered in marble. ● ● The banyan, or Indian fig tree, is considered a symbol of immortality and is mentioned in many Indian myths and legends. This self-renewing plant is India’s national tree. ● ● Marigold flowers are used as decoration for Hindu marriages and are a symbol of good fortune and happiness. ● ● The name “India” derives from the River Indus, which most likely is derived from the Sanskrit sindhu, meaning “river.” The official Sanskrit name of India is Bharat, after the legendary king in the epicMahabharata. ● ● Indians made significant contributions to calculus, trigonometry, and algebra. The decimal system was invented in India in 100 B.C. The concept of zero as a number is also attributed to India. ● ● The national fruit of India is the mango. The national bird is the peacock, which was initially bred for food. ● ● Hindi and English are the official languages of India. The government also recognizes 17 other languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali, Manipuri, Konkani, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Apart from these languages, about 1,652 dialects are spoken in the country. ● ● India has the world’s third largest road network at 1.9 million miles. It also has the world’s second largest rail network, which is the world’s largest civilian employer. ● ● Bathing in the Ganges in particular is thought to take away a person’s sins. It is not unusual to spread a loved one’s ashes in the Ganges. ● ● Most Indians rinse their hands, legs, and face before eating a meal. ● ● It is traditional to wear white, not black, to a funeral in India. Widows will often wear white in contrast to the colorful clothes of married or single women. ● ● India is the world’s largest tea producer, and tea (chai) is its most popular beverage. ● ● The Taj Mahal (“crown palace”) was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). Made of marble it has intricate workmanship. It took 22,000 workmen 22 years to complete it. ● ● The first and greatest civilization in ancient India developed around the valley of the Indus River (now Pakistan) around 3000 B.C. Called the Indus Valley civilization, this early empire was larger than any other empire, including Egypt and Mesopotamia. ● ● After the great Indus Civilization collapsed in 2000 B.C., groups of Indo-Europeans called Aryans (“noble ones”) traveled to northwest India and reigned during what is called the Vedic age. The mingling of ideas from the Aryan and Indus Valley religions formed the basis of Hinduism, and the gods Shiva, Kali, and Brahma all have their roots in Aryan civilization. The Aryans also recorded the Vedas, the first Hindu scriptures, and introduced a caste system based on ethnicity and occupation. ● ● Chandragupta Maurya (340-290 B.C.), a leader in India who established the Mauryan Empire (321-185 B.C.), was guarded by a band of women on horseback. ● Sanskrit is the mother of all the European ● languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software reported in Forbes magazine, ● July 1987. ● Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● ● India never invaded any country in her last 10,000 years of history. ● India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. ● ●
Rashtrapati Bhawan

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The Rashtrapati Bhavan is one of India's best architectural marvels. A magnificent four-storeyed mansion,
it has a floor area of 200,000 square feet. It was built by using 700 million bricks and
three million cubic feet of stone.

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST


The cost of building this architectural wonder escalated to Rs 12.8 million, much higher than the
projected cost.
The building along with the Mughal Garden and the staff quarters together coast a whopping Rs 14 million at that time.
At the present rates, its value would runs into thousands of crores. The building was scheduled to be completed in four years. However, it took 17 years to complete this magnificent building.

st updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST


Edwin Lutyens was the chief architect of this impressive residence and Hugh Keeling was the chief engineer.
The most prominent and distinguishing aspect of Rashtrapati Bhavan is its dome which is superimposed on its structure.
Indian contractor Haroun-al-Rashid did most of the work of the main building and the forecourt was built by Sujan Singh and his son Sobha Singh.

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST


The British decided to build a palatial residence in New Delhi for their Viceroy. They wanted 'an empire in stone' to establish their colonial footprint in the Indian soil.

It is interesting to note that the building which was scheduled to be completed in four years took seventeen years and on the eighteenth year of its completion India became independent.



After independence when C Rajagopalachari assumed the office as the first Governor General of India, he refused to stay in the Ashoka Suite used by the British Viceroy terming it as too luxurious. He preferred to stay in one of the guestrooms.
The tradition was followed by successive presidents.



On 26 January 1950, when Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India, the building was renamed, Rashtrapati Bhavan - the President's House.



The sprawling edifice has 74 lobbies and galleries, one and a half miles of corridors, 18 staircases and 37 fountains. The building was made with materials from India. Only the Italian marble was imported for the flooring. Steel is hardly used in the building.



The luxurious apartments that were used by the British Viceroy were converted into a guest wing where the Heads of State
of other countries stay during their visit to India.




An interesting feature of the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the fusion of Indian and European designs. Temple bells, which are part of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions have been perfectly blended with the Hellenic style architecture. The idea to design bells in the pillars of Rashtrapati Bhavan came from a Jain temple at Moodabidri in Karnataka.




The highlight of the building is Chhajja. These are stone slabs which are fixed below the roof of a building and are designed for the purposes of preventing the sunrays from falling on the windows and protecting the walls from the rains. Chhatris adorn the rooftop of the building.




Jaalis are also of typical Indian designs, which add beauty to the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
These are the stone slabs containing lot of perforations, designed with delicate floral and geometric patterns.



The chhajjas, chhatris and jaalis give building a historic look. In some of the jaalis, Lutyens used European styles to enhance their beauty and utilities

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST


The Durbar Hall, Ashoka Hall, Marble Hall, North Drawing Room, Nalanda Suite are famous for its aesthetics and grandeur.

The Yellow Drawing Room is used for smaller state functions like swearing-in of Comptroller and Auditor General, Chief Election Commissioner and induction of a solitary Minister in the Union Council of Ministers.



The lavish Banquet Hall can accommodate 104 persons. The Ashoka Hall gives the feel of a large jewel box.
It was originally built as the State Ballroom. It has a wooden floor, a central dance space, and three vestibules.

 



Unlike most halls and chambers in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Ashoka Hall has a painted ceiling. The painting is in the Persian style.

The main painting on the roof depicts a royal hunting expedition while those towards the corners show scenes from court life.
The painting done on leather was commissioned by Lady Willingdon when her husband was the Viceroy.



The North Drawing Room is used for receiving visiting heads of state.

Two striking paintings are - The Transfer of power on August 14 by S N Goshal and swearing-in ceremony of First Indian Governor General.



The Rashtrapati Bhavan has a museum with autographed photographs of several heads of states.

The gifts received by the President during visits abroad or in India and from visiting heads of state at New Delhi are exhibited here.



Leaving a trail of the imperialist past are Statues of King George V and Queen Mary, oil portraits of former viceroys and governors General, the silver chair for the Queen, the brass replica of British Crown.



The Durbar Hall has a 2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 meters. This room was called the Throne Room during the British era.
There were 2 separate thrones for the Viceroy and Vicereine, which have now been replaced by a simple
chair for the President. The hall is used for state functions




The Mughal Gardens spread across 13 acres is a blend of Mughal and British styles. The Mughal Gardens
are open to the public in February-March every year

 



Two channels running north to south and two running east to west divide this garden into a grid of squares.



There are six lotus shaped fountains. The fountains add to the beauty of the tranquil surroundings,
rising up to a height of 12 feet.

A nature trail has been developed in the President's Estate to create awareness
about the environment. The trail is open for visitors on Saturdays.


The garden has a variety of exotic flowers and roses. The Rashtrapati Bhavan also has nine tennis courts,
a polo ground, a 14-hole golf course and a cricket field.

 
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