The latest edition of the Guinness World Records features more than 60 achievements from India, ranging from the oldest to the newest, the smallest to the largest, and the most to the least.
Rainfall Record Remains Unbroken Since 1861
One of the oldest records involving India is related to rainfall. Cherrapunji, a high-altitude town in Meghalaya, holds the record for the most extreme 48-hour period of rainfall on record. On June 15-16, 1995, the town received 2.493 m (8 ft 2 in) of rain over the complete 48-hour period, as verified by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Cherrapunji also holds the records for the highest rainfall in a calendar month and in a 12-month period. In July 1861, the town received 9,300 mm (366 in) of rain, and between August 1, 1860 and July 31, 1861, a total of 26,470 mm (1,042 in) of rain fell at Cherrapunji.
Mermaid Sculpture Stands Tall Since 1937
Another record that has stood the test of time is Jalakanyaka (or Mermaid), the largest sculpture of a merperson in the world. Created by Indian sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman, the concrete mermaid reclines in a shell-shaped pool at Shankumugham Beach in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The mermaid is 26.5 m (87 ft) long and 7.6 m (25 ft) tall, while the shell within which she lies is approximately 32 m (105 ft) long.
The sculpture was unveiled in 1937 and has since become a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Kerala’s culture and heritage.
Couple Circumnavigates the Earth by Car in 69 Days
A record that showcases India’s spirit of adventure and exploration is held by Saloo Choudhury and his wife Neena Choudhury, who became the first and fastest man and woman to have circumnavigated the earth by car, covering six continents under the rules applicable in 1989 and 1991.
The couple drove a 1989 Hindustan “Contessa Classic” starting and finishing in Delhi. They covered more than an equator’s length of driving (24,901 road miles; 40,075 km) in 69 days 19 hours 5 minutes, from September 9 to November 17, 1989.
The journey took them through countries such as Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Pakistan.
Folk Musician Receives Padma Shri Award at Age 98
A record that honours India’s rich and diverse musical traditions is held by Thanga Darlong (b. July 20, 1920), who was 98 years 319 days old when he was presented with the Padma Shri civilian award on June 4, 2019.
Born at Muruai village in Tripura, Darlong is celebrated as the last tribal musician to play the ‘rosem’, a flute-like instrument made from wood, bamboo and a traditional water pot used by the state’s Darlong tribe.
Darlong has dedicated his life to preserving and promoting the folk music and culture of his community. He has performed at various national and international events and has also taught many young students.
More Records from India in Various Fields
The latest edition of the Guinness World Records also features many other records from India in various fields such as sports, arts, media, science and technology. Some of them are:
- The shortest woman living is Jyoti Amge (born Dec 16, 1993), who measured 62.8 cm (24.7 in).
- The largest gathering of people born prematurely is 445 and was achieved by Rainbow Hospitals India on November 17, 2016.
- The current longest-running sitcom on TV (by episode count) is “Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah” (SAB TV), which has aired 3500 episodes, as of July 2, 2022.
- The largest private house in the world is Antilia owned by businessman Mukesh Ambani. The personal skyscraper has 27 storeys and cost an estimated $1 billion.
- The most searched-for World Heritage Site is Taj Mahal in Agra. It racked up 1.4 million searches in March 2022, according to a report by Zitango Travel.
- The most rotations of a hula hoop on one foot whilst in headstand position in one minute is 213 and was achieved by J Jessica from Tamil Nadu on March 21, 2021.
- The longest time to hold the mermaid yoga pose is 1 hr 15 min 5 sec and was achieved by Rooba Ganesan from Tamil Nadu on April 18, 2021.
- The largest turban is 345.25 m² and was worn by Aditya Pacholi from Madhya Pradesh on October 28, 2019.
- The most flags tattooed on the body is 366 and was achieved by Guinness Rishi from Delhi on May 9, 2014.
The Guinness World Records 2024 edition is distributed in India by Penguin Random House and has nine fact-packed chapters and five special features. The cover artwork takes readers on a deep-sea odyssey to the bottom of the ocean.
According to the edition’s editor in chief Craig Glenday, “The GWR 2024 edition is the end product of a year in which nearly 30,000 applications were reviewed by our records managers. Only a small percentage of claims have made it through the selection process, so the 2,638 records featured in the book really are the cream of this year’s crop.”