India, it is often said, is not a country, but a continent.Walk the streets of any Indian city and you’ll rub shoulders with representatives of several of the world’s great faiths, a multitude of castes and outcasts, fair-skinned, turbanned Punjabis and dark-skinned Tamils.
Travelling in India is like a trip to heaven(imaginary) itself. India has something to offer to every traveller: Beauty, beaches, mountains, animals, adventure sports, luxury hotels, historical monuments, a cultural treat for all the senses…
Many first-time visitors find themselves unable to see past such glaring disparities.
Here we are highlighting some unusual things and places you won’t believe existed in India —
(1) Twin Town Village: Kodinhi
Kodinhi is a village in Malappuram district in Kerala, India. The village came to international attention for the unusually large number of multiple births in the region. The village is noted for having a high twinning rate although India has one of the lowest twinning rates in the world. The first association of twins in the country, The Twins and Kins Association, was also founded in the village.
In a population of 2000, Kodinhi has 350 pairs of identical twins!.
Mohammedpur Umri village, Near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh has a similar story of twin births.
(2) Bhangarh(Fort)- The ghost city
Bhangarh in Rajasthan is famous for being the most haunted place in India. “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions”-says the Archaeological Survey of India. Locals say whoever has tried to stay inside after sunset have never come out. Nevertheless, it is these very tales that continue to attract thousands of tourists every year, eager to experience the haunted and cursed city of Bhangarh.
The fort, which is actually a small city composed of temples, palaces, and multiple gates, covers a large area of land at the foot of a mountain. But despite its beauty and the picturesque scenery, the fort is steeped in dark tales and became completely abandoned by 1783, with locals moving their village elsewhere.
(3) Levitating Stone
Do you, for instance, know of stones which levitate?
Shivapur is a small town in the state of Maharashtra. The village is famous for its levitating stone that mysteriously levitates in accordance with a Muslim Sufi mystic Qamar Ali lived six centuries ago in India.The 70 kg rock can only be lifted by 11 finger tips touching it and calling out his name loudly. Till date, the Stone of Qamar Ali can be magically lifted by chanting his name!
(4) Mayong- Land of black magic
Morigaon is a small district in Assam. This district inhabits a small village “MAYONG – The village of Black Magic”. It lies on the bank of the river Brahmaputra, approximately 40 km from the city of Guwahati.
Till date, there are lots of texts in Mayong that are untapped and contain rich information about magic. Most of the families at Mayong village also possess these texts that are inherited from their ancestors. Some of the families have preserved these but some have destroyed these texts merely out of fear that these might fall into the wrong hands. People do not reveal the art of magic to anyone and keep this as a secret…..
(5) Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi
Lepakshi is a small town, in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh state. The most unusual thing related to Lepakshi is its floating pillar. A pillar which is believed to be attached to the ceiling but not to the floor. Though it is popular as floating pillar but it is a Hanging Pillar.There is enough space to easily pass a sheet of paper a towel underneath.
(6) Land of Snakes
Shetpal, a small sleepy village in Sholapur district of Maharashtra goes one step ahead and is different from other exciting Indian villages.Here in this village, there is no house that does not have a resting place – they call it Devasathan meaning resting place of Gods – for the cobras. Each house has resting places preferably in the hollow spaces of wooden rafters in the ceiling where these reptiles feel cozy and comfortable. No cases of snake bites have been reported in this village despite snakes moving about freely in every household.
(7) Jwala Ji temple, Kangra
JwalaJi Temple is located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh state of India, about 55 kilometers from the larger town of Dharamsala. The temple style is typical of Jwala Ji shrines, four cornered, with a small dome on the top and a square central pit of hollowed stone inside where the main flame burns endlessly.
It was Dhyanu Bhagat who spread Devi Mata’s name. He lived at the time of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Dhyanu Bhagat was passing through Delhi with a group of pilgrims on their way to Jwalaji. Akbar summoned him to his court to inquire into the nature of their Goddess. Dhyanu Bhagat told him She is all powerful and answers the prayers of Her devotees.
To test Her power, Akbar cut off the head of Dhyanu’s horse ordering him to have the Goddess put it back. Dhyanu went to Jwalaji and prayed day and night to no avail. Out of desperation, he cut off his own head and offered it to Devi Ma. She then appeared to him riding a lion. She reconnected both his head and that of the horse. Devi Ma also offered Dhyanu Bhagat a boon. He requested that it should not be so difficult for Devotees to show their devotion. Mata said that in the future if someone offered a coconut she would accept it as if they had offered their own head. To this day, people continue to offer coconuts to the Goddess in Her temples all over the world.
To this, the amazed Akbar still did not want to believe in the powers of Maa Jwala and sent his general again to Jwalaji to test her presence in this world. The general tried to extinguish the jyotis by putting various thick sheets of iron on top. However, the powerful and miraculous jyotis of Maa Jwala came above tearing the iron sheets.
The foolish general was not ready to accept his defeat and went up the hill around 2 kilometers to get a river down the temple through a temporary path of stones. He then flooded the auspicious Jyotis with the running water. As and how the water started filling the area, the more powerful became the Jyotis(flames). When the temple was completely flooded with water, the jyotis started floating over the water.The general hard to accept and with grief, reported the same to Akbar who realized his mistake of testing Maa’s powers. He realized that he should have never done such a deed of sin. He decided then to walk barefeet to Maa Jwalaji and offer a sava mann (one and a quarter quintal) Chhattar of Gold as an apology. Maa Jwala Devi refused to accept the same as the Gold Chhattar turned immediately dark to an unknown metal or alloy. Seeing this Akbar fell on his feet and begged for forgiveness for the sin of testing Maa Jwala. Maa is said to have forgiven Akbar. He later offered and prayed Maa with Paan, Supari, Dhwaja (flag), Nariyal(coconut) and Chunari (Stole) and he thereafter returned back to Delhi happily. The Chhatra is still there in the temple.
(8) Bullet Baba, Bandai(Rajasthan)
Om Banna (also called Om Bana and Bullet Banna) is a shrine located in Pali district near Jodhpur, India, devoted to a deity in the form of a motorcycle. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Pali and 50 kilometres (31 mi) away from Jodphur on the Pali-Jodhpur highway, near Chotila village. The motorcycle is a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet. Hundreds of devotees turn up every day to pray for a safe journey.
(9) Floating Stones
Rameshwaram has great significance in Hindu mythology. It is from here that Rama is believed to have built a bridge across to Lanka to rescue Sita. Stones used to build this bridge had Rama’s name engraved on them and they never sank in water. The curious fact is that such ‘floating stones’ are still found around Rameshwaram!
(10) Red Rain
The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. Ever since Idukki has witnessed this unusual sight intermittently. Idukki has been classified a ‘Red Region’. In Hinduism, red rain is the wrath of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of destruction and woe. Some believe the killing of innocents leads to red rain. Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation.