9 Strange Things You’ll Only See In India

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

India is a country known for its rich culture and diverse population. The diversity is so much that on one side we have millionaires who build skyscrapers as their homes and on the other side we have malnourished children who die of hunger. And when we speak about Indian culture, we own millions and millions of beliefs, practices, and places that are beautiful wonders to foreigners. However, just like our lives, the culture and practices in India have a dark side too. Diversity applies to everything here indeed. In this article, we’ve got you some of the weirdest things that are exclusive to India, the land of mystery. They might make you cringe, drop your jaws, and leave you wondering. So, read at your own risk!

1. The Temple With The Hidden Treasure

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Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, Kerala, is a temple that is home to a massively huge treasure. Five out of six vaults in the temple were opened as per the instructions of the Supreme Court in 2011. The treasure gained national and international publicity since it has the world’s largest collection of precious stones and gold ever recorded in history! The weirdest (and the spookiest) part of the story is the sixth and the last vault which is believed to unleash wrath upon whoever tries to open it. The door to this vault has an imagery of serpents and yakshi (a mystical bloodsucking female spirit) to hint the danger. It sounds quite similar to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, right? Well, this one isn’t fiction.

2. The Aghori Sadhus

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Aghori sadhus are often seen near cremation grounds in black clothes with long untidy locks of hair and beard. The Aghoris are very different from the rest of the sadhus who follow conservative Hinduism. They are strong worshippers of Shiva and Kaali and believe in finding sanctity in even the most rotten things. This is why they are believed to smear ashes of burned corpses over their bodies and eat human flesh. Some people believe that Aghori sadhus have intercourses with human dead bodies as well!

3. 330 Million Gods

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India is not only diverse in terms of the people living here but also because of the 330 million gods worshipped. It’s not just the mythical gods that are worshipped in India but also trees, animals, and even human beings who claim to have god-like powers!

4. The Color Of Mourning Is White

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While black is the color that represents the mourning period in most of the countries, In India it’s exactly the opposite. Widows wear white after the demise of their husbands and people wear white to funerals. Whereas in western culture, black is worn to represent the darkness that the death of the person has brought, the Hindus wear white as a symbol of peace and salvation.

5. The Tower Of Silence

The Tower of Silence or the dakhma is a circular fort-like structure that is built by Zoroastrians to dispose of their dead bodies. Since these people consider fire and earth to be holy and corpses to be impure, they can neither bury them nor cremate them. The dead bodies are left on top of the tower in order to be eaten by scavenger birds like vultures and crows! Even though they are present in Iran too, India is the only place where the centuries-old practice is still continued.

6. The Magnet Hill In Ladakh

Image: Instagram @htc.ladakh

The magnetic hill is located near Leh in Ladakh and it has forced planes to change their routes to avoid magnetic interference! Cars and other vehicles appear to roll uphill even though they are going downhill. It is explained as an optical illusion by many. However, for the locals of the place, this stretch of road is a supernatural one. According to them, the road was once a path to heaven and it would pull forward those who deserved it (creepy!).

7. Wedding Rings On The Toe

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In some Indian traditions, women wear toe rings to represent their married status! They are mostly worn on the second toe on both their feet and are mostly made of silver.

8. Paintings of Deities On Compound Walls To Prevent Urination

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If you’re an Indian or if you’ve ever visited India, you’re bound to see at least one man peeing on a compound wall in the street. Village or city, it doesn’t really matter. To avoid people urinating on compound walls, some people paint pictures of gods and goddesses on them!

9. Pre-matrimonial Detective Agencies

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The concept of arranged marriages is often not easily digested by the westerners. The idea of getting married to someone you barely know can be bizarre but it’s all decided by the family for most of the Indian youngsters. While some parents blindly trust wedding proposals for their son or daughter, many others seek the help of professional detectives to verify their information and get a background check done! Now, is that smart or pathetic?

This list is just a handful of sand from a desert! There are millions of other beautiful, mysterious, and creepy things in India that even Indians don’t know about. What is the strangest thing you know about India? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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