India: Sports                                                                   

  • Field hockey (photo) is the National Sport of India. The Golden Era of field hockey in India was the period from 1928 - 1956 when India won 6 consecutive gold medals in the Olympics. During the Golden Era, India played 24 Olympic matches, won all 24, scored 178 goals (at an average of 7.43 goals per match) and conceded only 7 goals. The two other gold medals for India came in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
  • Soccer, lawn tennis and golf are also quite popular sports.
  • Though field hockey is the national sport of India, cricket (photo) is the most popular sport in the country. Cricket was introduced to India by European merchant sailors in the 18th-century and the first cricket club in India was established in Calcutta in 1792. India's national cricket team played their first match in 1932. It won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and was runners-up in 2003. It also won the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007. The current team contains many of the world's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid who hold numerous cricketing world records.


India: Food                                                                     

Check out what Indians eat and how it has changed from 1961-2011 by finding the "pie" chart for India on the right side!

  • Indian cuisine is known for its spices that are not only used for flavor but as appetite stimulators and digestive aids. Care is taken to ensure that the spices used enhance rather than dominate the food.

  • Other than spices, some important ingredients in Indian cuisine include dairy products called ghi and dahi (curd).  Dahi is part of almost all Indian menus. Served to balance the chili heat in some dishes, it is often mixed with vegetables or fruit and is lightly spiced.
  • Indian cooking is often vegetarian.
  • The roasted and steamed food of the south is lighter than northern cooking.
  • Rice is the basis of most meals. It is served with sambhar (lentil stew), rasam (a thin, peppery soup), vegetables, and pachadi (food that has been pounded or mashed).
  • Coconut is used in cooked foods as well as chutneys.
  • Chutneys and pickles are sweet, sour, hot, or all three, stimulate the appetite and add relish to a meal. Many ingredients can be added such as: mint, coriander, mango, ginger, lime, or vegetables.
  • Breads are deep-fried or stuffed and can be made of combinations of refined and wholegrain flour. The most common bread is the simple chapatti which is baked on a griddle.
  • The huge array of Indian desserts is largely milk-based. Bengal is particularly well known for its confections. These include the rasagulla, sandesh, rasamalai and the steaming hot gulab-jamuns. Typical of the north are the barfis (milk cakes), some of pure milk, others of coconut or various types of nuts. Crisp golden jelabis, dripping with syrup, are made in bazaars all over the country.
  • In India, teas are defined by the regions in which they are grown: Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri, and Orissa. Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Indian tea is full bodied and strong. When invited for a cup of tea, you will most likely be served delicious sweets as well.  Indians are well known for their hospitality.