It is illegal to climb Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan, so no-one has ever reached the top. It is the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
Since 1971, US diplomats and State Department workers who disagree with government policy can communicate their opposition through the Dissent Channel.
How about that time that the Egyptian Mamluks, with secret support from Venice, battled the Portuguese in the sea off the coast of India?
In 2018 an American missionary travelled to North Sentinel Island in an attempt to bring Christianity to one of the last uncontacted peoples in the world. He did not return.
Temulji Bhicaji Nariman was a knight, a dean, a plague doctor, a sheriff, a grandmaster, and his marriage lasted longer than almost any other in recorded history.
In 1836 a missionary in New Zealand learned of a strange artefact that had been in Māori possession for several generations: a bronze bell with an unfamiliar script. The script was Tamil, the bell came from Sri Lanka, and it was hundreds of years old.
Proto-Indo-European is thought to be the ancestor language of English, Latin, Greek, French, Russian, Urdu, Sanskrit, Farsi, and dozens of others. But what did it sound like?
The Hindu hymn Vishnu Sahasranāma lists one thousand different names for the god Vishnu. A surprising amount are about his bellybutton.
Through sophisticated mnemonics and error-checking mechanisms the Vedas, the canonical religious texts of Hinduism, have been transmitted orally for three and a half thousand years with shocking precision in both word and sound.
The Indian mathematician Mādhava was the first to use infinite series to calculate pi, some time around 1400 CE.
India prevented people patenting their foods, traditional medicines, and yoga poses by recording them all in an online database: 34 million pages’ worth.
The Kāma Sūtra suggests that lovers learn cryptography.
Some breeds of chicken – like the Kadaknath of India and the Ayam Cemani of Indonesia – are extremely black. Their feathers, beaks, skin, meat, internal organs, and even bones are black.
The use of the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac on cattle led – very indirectly – to the rise of rabies and leopards in India. And it’s all because of vultures.
Oh great, it’s raining blood again! I hope it’s just rain dust from the desert and not intercontinental cloud algae.
In southern and south-eastern Asia and the Pacific, teeth were blackened or lacquered to keep them intact and healthy.