India! The country with amazing diversity and wonders has many champions. All these are real facts and real records. Most of them are certified by authentic record books like Guiness Book of Records & Limca Book of Records. I am trying to tabulate as many as I can. Please help me in my efforts by adding more facts and records.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


The Chundan Vallam (Beaked Boat) known to outside world as Kerala snake boats has the record as "the biggest water vessel used for sports purpose". Chundan Vallam is one of the icons of Kerala culture used in Vallamkali (boat race). Constructed according to specifications taken from the Sthap Athya Veda, an ancient treatise for the building of wooden boats. These boats are about 100 to 138 ft in length, with the rear portion towering to a height of about 20 ft. and a long tapering front portion. It resembles a snake with its hood raised. Its hull is built of planks precisely 83 feet in length and six inches wide. The boats float low in the water and have a long curving stern. The prow is pointed in shape or may have a decorative knob at the end. The prow rides low in the water with the length of the Snake Boat extending behind it.

The 'Snake Boat' Nadubhagom 41.1 m 135 ft long From Kerala, southern India has a crew of 109 rowers and nine 'encouagers'. The 100-138 feet long canoes made of a forest wood locally called "Aanjili thadi" carrying 90- 110 rowers which moves like a snake through the channels (hence the name), is an eye catching sight for any tourist.

Aries Punnamada Chundan, an initiative of the Aries Group of Companies, is widely acclaimed to be the longest Snake Boat with a length of 144 ft. It is also the first Snake Boat to be constructed in steel. This `chundan' has found place in the Limca Book of Records for the longest snake boat made of steel. K Surendrababu from Kainakari was the chief architect of this 'chundan'. 'Aries Chundan', the first ever snake boat made of steel, is all set to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for accommodating the largest canoe crew of 141.

Snake Boat races festivals are held in many venues in Kerala, India, but the races in Alappuzha held just before the Onam festival are the best known. Teams of rowers compete for the Nehru Trophy. The rowers pull with all their might, sitting two in row along the length of the Snake Boat. Apart from rowers, the Snake boat carries a cox, and leaders who maintain the rhythm of rowing through chants, songs and exclamations.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The coconut crab (Birgus latro) is the largest terrestrial crab and also the largest land-living arthropod in the world. It is a highly apomorphic hermit crab and is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers in order to eat the contents. It is the only species of the genus Birgus. It is also called the robber crab or palm thief, because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents.

Reports about the size of Birgus latro vary, but most references give a weight of up to 4 kg (8.8 lb), a body length of up to 40 cm (16 in), and a leg span of around 20 cm (0.66 ft), with males generally being larger than females. It is believed that this is near the theoretical limit for a terrestrial arthropod. They can reach an age of up to 30–60 years (references vary). In India, they are found in large numbers on the Sentinel island of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands archipelago.

The body of the coconut crab is, like that of all decapods, divided into a front section (cephalothorax), which has 10 legs, and an abdomen. The front-most pair of legs has large claws used to open coconuts, and these claws (chelae) can lift objects up to 29 kg (64 lb) in weight. The next two pairs, as with other hermit crabs, are large, powerful walking legs which allow coconut crabs to climb vertically up trees (often coconut palms) up to 6 m high. The fourth pair of legs is smaller with tweezer-like chelae at the end, allowing young crabs to grip the inside of a shell or coconut husk to carry for protection; adults use this pair for walking and climbing. The last pair of legs is very small and serves only to clean the breathing organs. These legs are usually held inside the carapace, in the cavity containing the breathing organs. There is some difference in colour between the animals found on different islands, ranging from light violet through deep purple to brown.

Although Birgus latro is a derived type of hermit crab, only the juveniles use salvaged snail shells to protect their soft abdomens, and adolescents sometimes use broken coconut shells to protect their abdomens. Unlike other hermit crabs, the adult coconut crabs do not carry shells, but instead harden their abdominal armor by depositing chitin and chalk. They also bend their tails underneath their bodies for protection, as do most true crabs. The hardened abdomen protects the coconut crab and reduces water loss on land, but has to be moulted at periodic intervals. Moulting takes about 30 days, during which the animal's body is soft and vulnerable, and it stays hidden for protection.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Pilgrims to the Tirupathi Temple in Andhra Pradesh, India, which attracts an average of 30,000 visitors per day, donate their hair as a form of sacrifice. They have their hair shaved off and offer it to the deity in the hope that their troubles will disappear along with their hair. This has for long been a tradition at the temple (and has also led to a booming business in hair export for wigs etc.).The 600 barbers employed by the temple shave the pilgrims' heads 24 hours a day and more than $2.2 million (1.4 million pounds) a year is raised through the auction of the hair.

Tonsuring, the act of shaving your head to propitiate God - is a long standing ritual associated with Tirumala. As per the Vaishavite tradition, devotees offer their hair to the Lord which symbolizes effacing of the ego. Tonsuring used to be done at cottages itself in the past where a barber could be summoned, but new addition is a centralized system which has been put in place at Kalyana Katta, a huge building near the temple. Now, all the barbers sit there in along side each other once you enter the complex. The devotees can pay as per their discretion to the barbers after tonsuring.
The historic shrine of Sri Venkateswara is located on a hill at Tirumala, Chittor district. The temple attracts pilgrims from across the world who are known to stand in serpentine queues for long hours to get a glimpse of the chief deity.

Women devotees who come to Tirupati to tonsure their hair - there are around 4,000 out of the 50,000 who visit the temple every day - had been demanding female barbers for a long time. Women devotees felt uncomfortable sitting close to male barbers. The male barbers, around 400 of them, have been appointed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) board, which runs the temple. Some women even complained that male barbers touched them (sometimes in the face) or misbehaved with them while shaving their hair off.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) will soon leverage the power of the Internet to sell hair collected from tonsured devotees. TTD has sought the help of online auctioneer Matex Net Pvt Ltd to sell 80 tonne of hair worth Rs 60 crore, accumulated between May and October this year. After Tirupati, other temple boards including those of Samayapuram and Palani. with a similar tradition of tonsuring, have also shown an interest in using the online platform to sell collected hair, a company official said. According to the TTD website, on an average, at least 50,000 devotees visit the main temple. The hair collected from the tonsuring centre is reportedly separated into five different varieties. Exporters say hair from men is usually used for coat linings and to extract L-Cystein, a protein used as raw material for a range of products including baby food and doughnuts.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Meghalaya enjoys the distinction of having two of the world's wettest places: Cherrapunji and Mawsynram. These two places are only 16 kilometres apart.
Cherrapunji (also spelled as Cherrapunjee), is located at 25.30° N 91.70° E. It has an average elevation of 1484 metres (4872 feet). It is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It holds the world records of being the wettest place on Earth.
Mawsynram is located at 25º 18' N, 91º 35' E in the state of Meghalaya. Its altitude is about 1400 m. It is about 16 km west of Cherrapunji.
Cherrapunji's current yearly rainfall average stands at 11,430 mm (450 in). This figure places it behind only nearby Mawsynram, Meghalaya, whose average is 11,873 mm (467 in) and Mount Waialeale on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, whose average is 11,684 mm (460 in).
Cherrapunji holds two Guinness world records:
* For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single year: 22,987 mm (904.9 inches) of rainfall between August 1860 and July 1861
* For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single month: 9299.96 mm (366.14 inches) in July 1861.
But these records are carried forward from an era almost 150 years back. Compare these figures with the present situation of 11,873 mm (467 in) at Mawsynram and 11,430 mm (450 in) at Cherrapunji. Thus we see that the wettest places are drying up.
Cherrapunji sits on the southern tip of a plateau that looms over Bangladesh. The cliffs of Cherrapunji are the first place hit by the moisture filled clouds that forms over the Bay of Bengal. All the rain lands on arid, deforested, ground. As there is no reservoir to store the rain water, it rapidly runs down the hill towards the plains of Bangladesh, forming massive waterfalls such as the Seven sisters and Nokalikai. Cherrapunjee receives rains from the Bay of Bengal arm of the Indian Summer Monsoon. The monsoon clouds fly unhindered over the plains of Bangladesh for about 400 km. Thereafter, they hit Khasi hills which abruptly erupt out of the plains to reach a height of about 1370 m within a short distance of 2 to 5 km. The orography of the hills with many deep valleys channels the low flying (150-300 m) moisture laden clouds from a wide area to converge over Cherrapunjee which falls in the middle of the path of this stream. The winds push the rain clouds through these gorges and up the steep slopes. The rapid ascendance of the clouds into the upper atmosphere hastens the cooling and helps vapours to condense. Most of Cherrapunjee's rain is the consequence of air being lifted as a large body of water vapour. Extremely large amount of rainfall at Cherrapunjee is perhaps the most well known feature of orographic rain in northeast India.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Omkari Panwar, at the age of 70, gave birth to twins at Muzaffarnagar District, Uttar Pradesh, India, becoming the world's oldest mother. She gave birth to twins on June 27, 2008 by emergency Caesarean section after undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment at a hospital in Muzaffarnagar.
Panwar's doctor Nisha Mallik, who delivered the twins, explained some of the details of Panwar's pregnancy. "Omkari is a 70-year-old patient who has conceived through IVF fertilisation with a pre-term of 32 weeks. Due to some complications, we had to start with the caesarian section. She has delivered twins," explained Panwar.

The father of the twins, Charan Singh, who himself is 76-years-old, said he was happy to finally have a boy who could look after his daughters and the family's business after his death. "I always wished to have a boy who would protect and take care of my daughters. After my death he would take care of my property and carry forward my family," he said. Charan Singh, a retired farmer, told how he had mortgaged his land, sold his buffaloes, spent his life savings and taken out a credit-card loan to fund the IVF treatment, which cost 350,000 rupees (£4,375).
Mrs Panwar, who has no birth certificate and does not know the day she was born, uses the date of India's independence in 1947 to gauge her age. She remembers being nine when the British Raj left India - meaning she is now 70.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The largest integrated film production complex is the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad which opened in 1996 with 47 sound stages. Spread over an picturesque 2,500 acres and studded with hills, woods, lakes and striking architecture, it provides camera equipment, set construction, properties, costumes, audio post production, digital post-production / SFX and film processing. Guinness World Records certifies Ramoji Film City as the World's Largest Film Studio Complex. Film producer Ramoji Rao, head of the Ramoji Group, opened the facility in 1996.
It is also a popular tourist attraction as there are top class facilities to promote tourism. A Japanese garden, the ETV planet (a multi-purpose editing suit), a pool, artificial waterfalls, breathtakingly accurate airport terminal, hospital set, railway station, churches, mosques and temples, shopping plazas, palace interiors, chateaus, rural complexes, urban dwellings, and a winding highway are some other places for tourists to visit. The Film City even has honeymoon packages for the newly married couples who are on the lookout for a getaway destination. It caters to the corporate world by offering banquet halls.
For shopping enthusiasts, there are nice handicrafts, pottery and other decorative articles for purchase. Magadha, Meena Bazaar, Frontierland or Black Cat Warehouse are a few avenues from where the visitors can carry home souvenirs of their visit.


Saturday, July 5, 2008


The world's largest ever wedding banquet was hosted and paid for by Jayalalitha Jayaram, a movie star and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, India. The luncheon was attended by over 150,000 guests at the wedding of her foster son, V.N.Sudhakaran to N.Sathyalakshmi. The banquet was served by the coast in the state capital, Chennai, on 7 Sept 1995.
Jayalalithaa’s detractors draw attention to the wedding of her adopted son as an example of her extravagant show of wealth. Guinness Book of Records certifies the ensuing wedding banquet as the largest ever. TIME magazine, and many other newspapers in India observed that the ceremony was “a vulgar display of wealth”.
The politician, Jayalalitha Jayaram, is a former movie star who succeeded her companion, a still bigger star named M. G. Ramachandran, after he died as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State.
She has set new benchmarks for outlandishness in a country that has never lacked color in its politicians, building a personality cult and, her opponents say, a vast personal wealth.
That many in Tamil Nadu disagree was evident from the turnout for the wedding, which drew more than 150,000 people, many of them Jayalalitha supporters who were bused in from villages all across the state, some journeying a dozen or more hours. In a state where the per capita income is less than $400 a year, and 40 per cent of the population is illiterate, some of the poorest of the wedding guests seemed to be the least concerned about its cost.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The longest railway platform in the world (1,072 metres, or 3,538 feet) is at Kharagpur, West Bengal (India).

The platform was originally 716m long. It's length was extended twice, once to 833m and then to its present length. Excluding subway platforms (the Chicago subway has the longest one), Kharagpur has the longest railway platform in the world. Kharagpur is located in the Midnapore West district of the state of West Bengal. It is famous as the place where the first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was established.
Kharagpur also has one of the biggest railway workshops in India. Kharagpur station lies on the busy and important rail route connecting Howrah with the southern states of India.