Incredible India

Sakal Times
Friday, 24 May 2019

Watch the tale of an intriguing, bewildering and thrilling country with Joanna Lumley

Do you think you know your country? We bet you don’t unless you have been to every one of India’s 29 states, unless you have met a good percentage of India’s 1.3 billion people and unless you know most of the languages spoken here, you don’t quite know India. You might know a fragment of it but not the whole of it. The tales  of the country are one of the most intriguing, bewildering and thrilling. You may not believe everything you read, you may not agree with what’s written, but one thing is for certain, you just can’t stop reading tales of this captivating country. Because, the more you read, the more fascinating it gets. Sony BBC Earth’s popular series, Joanna Lumley’s India gives you a sneak peek of the many interesting facets of the country. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts:

Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus, and to members of the Hindu religion, elephants are a sacred animal as they are the living incarnation of one of the most important gods: Ganesh, an elephant-headed deity. It is this elevated standing in Indian culture that prevents elephants from being killed, even when they pose a threat to humans and properties. In an attempt to reduce the casualties, a team of scientists have been funded who can now track the elephants and warn people of their whereabouts. The work of the team has helped reduce fatal elephant encounters and man and elephant have co-existed in relative harmony amidst populated areas.

Sikkim, a state in North East India, and Buddhism are almost synonymous as Sikkim is replete with Buddhist sites all across the state. Buddhist prayer flags are a common site in the state. The locals believe that all the prayers which are written on the flags, as the wind blows, the prayers and blessings are released into the world, which is why they’re quite often put where the mountain air can take them.

Cows are sacred to Hindus as it is believed that they have 33 million gods and goddesses reside within them. Hence, all over India, the cow is a big part of any auspicious occasion. So much so, that even cow urine when mixed with sugar, milk, curd, honey and ghee is sacred and is used on the body for a bath as it helps to purify oneself. The auspicious ceremonies continue with the burning of dried cow dung, which purifies the new property - house, factory, office.

Camels have been an integral part of Indian royal history in Rajasthan. The Raika people of Rajasthan have used camels as a mode of transport and have tended, bred and made their living from camels for over six centuries. Just 20 years ago, there were as many as 800,000 of these wonderful creatures here. But now that cars and trucks are replacing them, the Raika need alternative ways of earning a living from their beloved animals and one way is by selling their milk. Surprisingly, camel milk is much more nutritious than cow’s milk and has medicinal properties. It has a very high vitamin C content, six times as much as cow milk and it has a very low fat content. It also has something which is very much like insulin which helps lower blood sugar and hence helps with diabetes.

India is full of varied cultures, religions, states, beliefs, customs and makes for one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Watch out for more such explorations in Joanna Lumley’s India on Sony BBC Earth.

Joanna Lumley’s India will air on May 23 and 24 at 6 pm on Sony BBC Earth Watch this space to win exCiting prizes!

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