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  • Alex Gillam

Where in the World: India

A land some 5000 years in the making, India swells with ancient traditions, cultures and settings. As richly varied as the Himalayan and coastal topography of its borders, India proves a country of fascinating juxtapositions; frenetic bazaars amid surreal coastal villages, majestic temples abreast contemporary metropolises, sprawling wildlife reserves alongside ancient settings of religious sanctity - this is India, vibrant and intriguing in every of its many facets.

It is fitting, then, that this boundless land of wonder introduced diamonds to the world; historians estimate that as early as the 4th Century BC, diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams and sold almost exclusively to the country’s wealthy classes. As European traders began bringing home exotic treasures from India, diamonds were introduced to the western world as a result, and by the 1400s, the gleaming gemstone had already cemented itself as a staple of the European elite.

In addition, the world owes its thanks to India for the creation of both sugar and shampoo; about 2500 years ago, India was the first country to refine sugar – after trading with both the Romans and the Chinese, the ever addictive treat quickly spread throughout the world and never looked back.

And as early as the 16th Century, the people of India were known to shampoo their hair; after British colonial traders noticed the mixture locals were using to wash their hair (pulp of soapberries mixed with some herbs and hibiscus), they returned home and introduced the western world to the concept of shampooing your hair.

To top it all off, India is also home to the wettest place on Earth, the damp, quiet village of Mawsynram; on average, Mawsynram receives more than 32 feet of rain per year.

Want to learn more about India? Visit our Destination Page for additional info, travel resources, and more.

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