Out of all the countries in the world, India has the second-largest population with an estimated 1.4 billion people. The country’s dynamic history dates back to the very beginning of civilization. Here are 8 fun facts about Ancient India.
1. They established the first universities
India established some of the world’s first universities. One of the best-known is Nalanda, in the Indian state of Bihar. From 427 through 1197 AD, Nalanda was a Buddhist learning center, and it is believed that its library was the largest in the ancient world during its time.
2. They were all about the numbers
They created the Arabic numeral system, which is used to this day. They are also credited with the discovery of the number of “Pi” during the 9th century BC, inventing the decimal system, and developing the symbol for 0.
3. They played Chess and Snakes & Ladders
The games of chess and snakes and ladders both originated in India. The earliest forms of chess were played around the 6th century AD; while Snakes & Ladders is even older, and was played in the 2nd century BC.
4. They used shampoo
The roots of modern-day shampoos can be traced back to India’s ayurvedic concoction of herbs and oils, which they used to cleanse their hair. The word is derived from Hindi champo – which means to press, knead or soothe.
5. They had an advanced toilet system
The first known toilet systems were used by the Indus Valley Civilization, around 2,800 BC. Archeological evidence of a sophisticated toilet system suggests that each house had running water and a private toilet, connected to a sewage system.
6. They understood the solar system
The first known mention of the solar system was found in the ancient Hindu text Rigveda (written around 1,500 BC), approximately 3,000 before Copernicus. The Indian scholars realized that the Earth was not the center of the universe, that the sun had its own orbit, and the existence of other planets orbiting the sun.
7. They mined the first diamonds
Diamonds have been mined in India since 700 BC. Workers gathered them from sources found in Indian rivers, including the Krishna. They were valued for their strength and their ability to reflect the sun and engrave metal.
8. They practiced Yoga
An ancient practice of living healthy and in harmony with the body and the mind, Yoga originated in India some 5, 000 years ago. By the 6th and 5th centuries BC it was widely spread throughout the ancient civilization and documented extensively in religious Hindu texts.