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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Towards the Southeast of Patna, the Capital City of Bihar State in India, is a village called the 'Bada Gaon', in the vicinity of which, are the world famous ruins of Nalanda University, world's oldest residential university. The site is located about 88 kilometres south east of Patna, and was a religious center of learning from the fifth century CE to 1197 CE.

    Founded in the 5th Century A.D., Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. In its heyday, 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential International University of the World. It had dormitories for students. The famous Chinese traveller and scholar,Hieun-Tsang stayed here and has given a detailed description of the situations prevailing at that time. Careful excavation of the place has revealed many stupas, monasteries,hostels,stair cases,meditation halls, lecture halls and many other structures which speak of the splendour and grandeur this place enjoyed,when the place was a centre of serious study.

  Nalanda flourished between the reign of the Sakraditya (whose identity is uncertain and who might have been either Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II) and 1197 CE, supported by patronage from the Hindu Gupta rulers as well as Buddhist emperors like Harsha and later emperors from the Pala Empire.

  It is also one of the most famous universities.  The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. On the grounds were lakes and parks. The library was located in a nine storied building where meticulous copies of texts were produced. The subjects taught at Nalanda University covered every field of learning, and it attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. During the period of Harsha, the monastery is reported to have owned 200 villages given as grants.

Structure The library at Nalanda University was an immense complex. Called the Dharmaganja, or Piety Mart, it was separated into three large buildings: the Ratnasagara, the Ratnadadhi, and the Ratnaranjaka. The Ratnadadhi, meaning the Ocean of Gems, was nine stories high and housed the most sacred manuscripts including the Prajnaparamita Sutra and the Samajguhya. The towers were supposedly immense, bejewelled and gilded to reflect the rays of the sun. According to the Bhaskara Samhita, an ancient text on organizational practices, the library was to be built in a “finely built stone building” and each manuscript would have been placed on iron shelves or stack and covered with cloth and tied up. Furthermore, the librarian in charge, according to the text, was not only responsible for maintaining the materials but also for guiding readers in their studies. The exact number of volumes of the Nalanda University Library is not known but it is estimated to have been in the hundreds of thousands. The library not only collected religious manuscripts but also had texts on such subjects as grammar, logic, literature, astrology, astronomy, and medicine.

Monday, May 27, 2013


The Bombay Suburban Railway has the highest passenger density of any urban railway system in the world. The system carries more than 7.24 million commuters daily. It is a suburban rail system serving the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It is operated by Indian Railways' two zones, Western Railways (WR) and Central Railways (CR). The trains plying on its routes are commonly referred to as local trains or simply as locals. Spread over 465 km, the suburban railway operates on 1500 V DC / 25000 V AC power supply from overhead catenary lines. The suburban services are run by electric multiple units (EMUs). 191 rakes (train sets) of 9-car, 12-car & 15-car composition are utilised to run 2342 train services, carrying 6.94 million passengers per day. If annual ridership (2.64 billion) is taken into account, the Suburban rail would be the second busiest rapid transit system in the world.

Due to the geographical spread of the population and location of business areas, the rail network is the principal mode of mass transport in Mumbai. As Mumbai's population swelled, frequent overcrowding has become a serious issue, and numerous safety concerns have been raised over the years. Due to its extensive reach across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and its intensive use by the local urban population, the Mumbai Suburban Railway suffers from some of the most severe overcrowding in the world. Over 4,500 passengers are packed into a 9-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of  1,700. This has resulted in what is known as Super-Dense Crush Load of 14 to 16 standing passengers per square metre of floor space. Trains on the suburban line are on average more than 4 minutes apart, contributing to the problem of overcrowding. The impending introduction of new higher speed rakes may help address the issue.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Shakuntala Devi is a calculating prodigy who was born on November 4, 1939 in Bangalore, India. Shakuntala Devi is popularly known as a 'Human Computer' because of her extraordinary talents in solving complex mathematical problems without any mechanical aid. Manifested with an extraordinary love for numbers at the age of 3, she became an expert in complex mental arithmetic at the age of five. By age six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities at the University of Mysore. At the age of eight she had success at Annamalai University by doing the same. In 1977 she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. On June 18, 1980 she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered the question in 28 seconds. Her correct answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730. She also found her place in the Guinness book of records as a result of her extraordinary talents.

She has authored many books especially the world famous Figuring: the Joy of Numbers where she shares some of the methods of mental calculations. Puzzles to puzzle you, More Puzzles to Puzzle you, The Book of Numbers, Mathability: The Math Genius in Your Child, Astrology for you, Perfect Murder and Awaken the Genius in Your Child are some of the books authored by her. In 2006 she has released a new book called In the Wonderland of Numbers with Orient Paperbacks which talks about a girl Neha and her fascination for numbers.

 Update: Shakuntala Devi passed away at Bangalore on Apr 21, 2013 after brief illness. She was 83 and is survived by a daughter.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


By a strict definition of individuality, and using contending measures of size, , the giant banyan trees of India, Ficus benghalensis, are the largest trees in the world. In these trees, a network of interconnected stems and branches has grown entirely by vegetative, "branching" propagation. One individual, Thimmamma Marrimanu, in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, India,  covers 19,107 square metres (4 acres), making it the largest single tree by two-dimensional canopy coverage area. This tree is also the world's largest known tree by a related measure, perimeter length, with a distance of 846 metres required to walk around the edge of the canopy. Thimmama Marrimanu is likely also the world's largest tree by three dimensional canopy volume. It is present in the Indian Botanical Gardens and is more than 200 years old. Its branches spreads over 8 acres, and hence was recorded as the biggest tree in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989. A small temple dedicated to Thimmamma lies under the tree. An account of this lady in Telugu kept at the shrine reveals that she was the daughter of a Setti Balija couple Sennakka Venkatappa and Mangamma, born in AD 1394. She was married to a Bala Veerayya who died in 1434, and Thimmamma committed Sati. The banyan tree is believed to have sprouted at the place where she ascended the funeral pyre.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Sailendra Nath Roy was an Indian man from Siliguri, West Bengal, who registered his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for the farthest distance travelled on a zip wire using hair. He created the record at Neemrana Fort Palace, Neemrana, Rajasthan, India, on 1 March 2011. Sailendra zip lined the entire 82.5 m attached to the zip wire only by his hair, which he tied in a looped ponytail. Again in September 2012 he pulled a Darjeeling Himalayan Railway locomotive with his ponytail in north Bengal for 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) in the town of Siliguri, West Bengal. He worked as a home guard under West Bengal Police.

Roy died on 28 April 2013, while trying to beat his own record of farthest distance travelled on a zip wire using hair. Roy died due to heart failure during his record try at Teesta River. After completing about 40 per cent of the distance, which started from a point close to the Sevak Coronation Bridge, he got stuck on the wire and was unable to move. He was left hanging in midair for about 25 minutes. He died while struggling to free himself as helpless spectators looked on. He was 49 years old.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The Jantar Mantar, situated at Jaipur, Indua is the world's largest sundial. It is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Mughal Commander and served Emperor Aurangzeb and later Mughals. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District.

The name is derived from jantar("instrument/machine"), and Mantar ("formula", or in this context "calculation"). Therefore jantar mantar means literally 'calculation instrument'. This observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa masters.

The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and 'focused' tool. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.

The instruments are in most cases huge structures. The scale to which they have been built has been alleged to increase their accuracy. However, the penumbra of the sun can be as wide as 30 mm, making the 1mm increments of the Samrat Yantra sundial devoid of any practical significance. Additionally, the masons constructing the instruments had insufficient experience with construction of this scale, and subsidence of the foundations has subsequently misaligned them. The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a sundial, can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time.[3] The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is the world's largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute, which can be a profound experience.

Today the observatory is a popular tourist attraction. However, local astronomers still use it to predict the weather for farmers, although their authority is becoming increasingly questionable. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take some of their lessons at the observatory, and it can be said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the texts. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and its relation to function, for instance - the Ram Yantra.