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.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Setting a world record, India launched on April 28 2008, a rocket PSLV-C9 carrying 10 artificial satellites, a record number for the country's space program, national television reported. It is for the first time in the world that ten satellites were launched in a single mission. Russia had earlier launched eight satellites together. This was the PSLV's twelfth successful flight (one was unsuccessful). This is the third time, the PSLV has been launched in the core alone version, without the six solid propellant first stage strap-on motors.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) carried out the launch from the Sriharikota island in the Bay of Bengal. At the end of the 52-hour countdown, the PSLV-C9, with a lift-off mass of 230 tonne, blasted off from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and soared into the clear sky in a textbook launch. Fourteen minutes after lift off, the fourth stage of the ISRO's workhorse launch vehicle, in its 13th flight, injected the ten satellites, into the 635 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

PSLV-C9, in its thirteenth flight, delivered into polar sun-synchronous orbit two domestic satellites and eight foreign spacecraft, including nanosatellites belonging to Canada, Germany, Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands. The total payload was of 824 kgs .

India's 690-kg Cartosat-2A remote sensing satellite carried the latest panchromatic camera that can record images with spatial resolution of around one meter. The satellite can be maneuvered in orbit to facilitate the operation of the camera.

PSLV-C9 blasting its way
The second Indian spacecraft, an experimental 83-kg Mini Satellite (IMS-1) will be used for testing advanced technology in future launches. Eight nanosatellites were built by foreign universities and research institutions specifically for the PSLV-C9 launch under a commercial agreement with Antrix Corporation. They weigh from 3 to 16 kilograms with a total weight of about 50 kg.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Leaf Muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis), just discovered in 1997, is the smallest deer known in the world. An adult deer measuring just 20 inches at the shoulder and weighing no more than 25 pounds has been confirmed through DNA testing as a new species, making it the world's smallest deer, according to a recent study led by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The "leaf deer" or "leaf muntjac," which lives in remote mountain regions of Southeast Asia, was first seen by WCS biologist Alan Rabinowitz in 1997 during field surveys in northern Myanmar (Burma). After obtaining specimens from local hunters, Rabinowitz brought samples to New York for DNA analysis. The results of the genetic work, published in the recent issue of the journal Animal Conservation, confirmed the leaf deer as unique. The study, a collaborative effort between WCS and the American Museum of Natural History's Molecular Systematics Laboratory, represents a relatively new approach to conservation biology, where molecular genetics dovetails with classic field biology to catalog unique wildlife living in some of the world's most remote areas. "Through DNA sequencing, we were able to determine that this particular species of mutjac was clearly distinct," said the study's lead author, Dr. George Amato, director for conservation genetics for WCS. "It's a very exciting discovery."

The leaf muntjac is found in dense forests of Myanmar, in the Hukawng Valley region to the Northeast of Putao, hence its scientific name, and to the south of the Nam Tamai branch of the Mai Hka River. It is found at an altitude of 450 to 600 m — the transition zone between tropical forests and temperate ones. In 2002, it was discovered also to exist in Namdapha Tiger Reserve in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India (see Current Science, vol. 84, p. 454).

Muntjacs are also known as "barking deer" because they make a deep, barklike sound as a warning if they sense a predator nearby. Leaf Muntjac males have unbranched antlers that are about 1 inch in height. Other than this, the male and female deer are identical. This species is unusual among other deer because their offspring do not bear any spots. It also differs from other muntjacs because both the male and female have pronounced canine tusks.The leaf muntjac eats mostly fruit (Rabinowitz 1998).

Monday, August 18, 2008


Habib Mian of Jaipur, blind for the last 55 years is the oldest living man on earth. He was born at Rajgarh in Rajasthan's Alwar district. But there is some controversy regarding his actual age. He claims his date of birth to be 28th May 1870. That makes his age 138. But according to his pension documents his date of birth is 28th May 1878. So there is a difference of eight years.

A Trumpet and clarionet player in the erstwhile royal band of the ruler of Jaipur, Sawai Madho Singh, he retired from service in 1938. Habib Miyan has been drawing pension money since his retirement. His pension at the time of his retirement after 20 years of service was fixed at 1 rupee and 86 paise a month. He now gets about Rs. 2,000 a month and an ex-gratia from the erstwhile royal family. He also holds the distinction of being the oldest Haj pilgrim — he went to Mecca for Haj in 2004 — and the longest beneficiary of pension benefits since 1938, first from the Jaipur Riyasat, and later from the State Government after Independence.

Habib Mian is once again sprouting his third set of teeth and now even eats meat!.

Latest Update: News of great grief. Grand old Habib Mian, who had fever and a bout of dysentery, expired at 3 am on 19th August 2008, at an age of 139.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The world's highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after levelling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters (7,500 feet) above sea level. The ground itself is located three km from the village of Chail. The Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh was a cricket enthusiast and had a vast stretch of land flattened in the Himalayan terrain for cricket. The Maharaja used to play friendly matches with the Britishers.

History says that in 1891, Maharaj Bhupinder Singh of Patiala incurred the wrath of Lord Kitchener. It led to the restriction of his entry into the summer capital of India, Shimla. This incensed the Maharaja and he vowed to build a new summer capital for himself. So he rebuilt the place (Chail) as per his requirements.

For many years, the cricket ground merited a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. Though the record has not been broken, Guinness Book has decided to delete the documentation because no competitive cricket is being conducted there. Today, local youth use the venue for inter-school matches and units of the Indian Army located nearby hold their sports meets and march-pasts. The sprawling grounds are well-kept with manicured lawns. The cricket ground, and also the whole village of Chail is surrounded by the forests of Chir Pine and giant Deodars trees.

Despite its unique location, Chail cricket ground is today starved of first class matches. Since long no international cricket have been played there. However many world class players of India still come to practice there and HP cricket association has plans so as to bring international cricket to Chail soon.
You can enjoy an amazing view of Sutlej Valley, Shimla and Kasauli at night from here. On the other side of the town are situated the massive Himalayan ranges spectacularly gleaming in the sun and snow- covered every thing under it.

Local youth believe that the ground despite so much neglect can still be restored. It can also promote tourism in the region. They want the ground to be properly developed as a cricket ground.

Himachal Pradesh government is also interested in building a cricket stadium at this highest ground. "This cricket ground is under the possession of the Army. We are planning to request them to hand over the land to us for the purpose of making a stadium. Whether it is Chail''s cricket ground or Anne Dale Ground at Shimla, we are ready to give a compensatory land to the army people. We will speak to the State Cricket Association and will make good cricket stadiums at Chail and Shimla," said Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

See the bird's eye view from Wikimapia here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


With over a billion people, the Republic of India is the world's largest democracy. With a population nearly four times that of the United States, India modeled its government on the British parliamentary system, with thoughtful influences from the United States and the rest of the world. Though China is the most populous country in the world, it is not governed by a democratic system. People of India acquire voting rights at the age of 18. India is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of area. It is one of the most ancient and living civilizations (at least 10, 000 years old).

India is run by a parliament made up of two houses. These two houses are called the LOK SABHA, or "House of the People," and the RAJYA SABHA, or "Council of States." Of the two, the Lok Sabha holds more power, but the two houses work together to make the laws of the country. The parliament is located in India's capital, New Delhi.

Unlike Great Britain, another parliamentary democracy, on which the Indian system is primarily based, India does have a president. This president, a person elected to office for five years by members of both houses and important government officials from all over the country, serves mostly as a figurehead. The president's responsibilities include "officially" appointing ministers — even though someone else actually chooses those ministers. Most of the time, the president's job is simply ceremonial.

In a state of emergency, though, the president can take executive action that a large legislative body like the parliament might not be able to do quickly enough. If India faces a military threat, the president can declare a state of emergency and become the single governing authority in the country. Likewise, if an Indian state fails to function effectively, the president can step in and rule the state directly. Most of the time, however, the prime minister holds the most political power in India.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Asiatic reticulated python (Python reticulatus) is the world's longest snake with adults growing to a maximum length of more than 32 feet (9.75 m) . However, they are relatively slim for their length and are certainly not the most heavily built. The anaconda (Eunectes murinus), are heavier. The reticulated python is a non-venomous python species found in Southeast Asia. Normally not considered dangerous to man, even though large specimens are powerful enough to kill an adult and attacks are occasionally reported.The largest reticulated python ever found in the wild was reported in 1912 from the island of Celebes (now known as Sulawesi) in Indonesia. This snake measured almost thirty-three feet.

An excellent swimmer, it has even been reported far out at sea and has consequently colonized many small islands within its range. The specific name is Latin meaning net-like, or reticulated, and is a reference to the complex color pattern. No subspecies are currently recognized.

The color pattern is a complex geometric pattern that incorporates numerous different colors. The back typically has a series of irregular diamond shapes which are flanked by smaller markings with light centers. In this species' wide range, much variation of size, color, and markings commonly occurs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


The Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southwest Asia (including Turkey), southern Asia (coastal regions of India) and southern Europe (including Spain, Sardinia, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, and the Camargue region of France). Some populations are short distance migrants. Greater flamingo is the state bird of Gujarat, India.

This is a large species, averaging 120-140cm tall. Most of the plumage is pinkish-white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 100,000–1,000,000 km². According to IUCN, the global population size has not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., less than 10,000 mature individuals).

Monday, August 4, 2008


Orthopaedically handicapped, Masadur Rahman Baidya of Kolkata, West Bengal, India, conqueror of the English Channel, has become the first handicapped swimmer in the world as a double amputee below the knee to cross the strait of Gibraltar in the year 2001. The 32-year old Baidya took four hours 20 minutes to emerge victorious in his battle against waves in the difficult strait of Gibraltar on tuesday. "Masadur plunged into the water from a boat located at Tarifa Island in Spain at 8.20 a.m. and touched the finishing line at a natural point on the Morroccan coast at 12.40 p.m. covering the distance of about 22 km" Nishith Ganguli, manager of the ace swimmer said. For the last 12 days, baidya has been preparing and waiting for the weather to clear for the swim. He has won many long distance open swimming tournaments all over India including the 80 Kilometres river swimming competition in the Ganges and crossed the unpredictable english channel in 1997. Ganguli said "the Gibraltar strait differs because of its specific characteristics where the swimming starts from a boat located at Tarifa island. normally a swimmer takes about five to five and a half hours to cross the straight but Masadur has done it in a record time."

Masadur lost both his legs from the knee after a train accident in his childhood. He is out to create waves in the world of long-distance swimming: He has a target of conquering as many as 12 channels all over the world.

Friday, August 1, 2008


The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest of all living turtles. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. As a sea turtle, the leatherback is the largest and heaviest. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell (carapace). Instead, the carapace of the leatherback turtle is covered by skin and the turtle's oily flesh. Hence the name "leatherback". Dermochelys coriacea is the only extant member of the family Dermochelyidae.

The front flippers of a leatherback are longer than in the other marine turtles, even when you take the leatherback's size into account. They can reach 270 cm in adult leatherbacks. Leatherback hatchlings look mostly black when you are glancing down on them, and their flippers are margined in white. Rows of white scales give hatchling leatherbacks the white striping that runs down the length of their backs.

The largest leatherback on record was a male stranded on the West Coast of Wales in 1988. He weighed 916 kg.

The leatherback turtle is a species with a cosmopolitan global range. Of all the existing sea turtle species, D. coriacea has the widest distribution, reaching as far north as Alaska and Norway and as far south as the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and the southernmost tip of New Zealand. The leatherback is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and its range has been known to extend well into the Arctic Circle. Globally, there are three major, genetically-distinct populations. The Atlantic Dermochelys population is separate from the ones in the Eastern and Western Pacific, which are also distinct from each other. A third possible Pacific subpopulation has been proposed, specifically the leatherback turtles nesting in Malaysia. This subpopulation however, has almost been eradicated. While specific nesting beaches have been identified in the region, leatherback populations in the Indian Ocean remain generally unassessed and unevaluated. Recent estimates of global nesting populations indicate 26,000 to 43,000 nesting females annually, which is a dramatic decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980. These declining numbers have contributed to conservation efforts to stabilize the leatherback sea turtles and move their species away from the current status of critically endangered.
While there are few researches that have been done on Dermochelys populations in the Indian Ocean, nesting populations are known from Sri Lanka, the Nicobar Islands and the east cost of India. They come in large numbers to lay eggs on the coast of Orissa in India. It is proposed that these turtles form a separate, genetically distinct Indian Ocean subpopulation.