India Wildlife & History Trivia
Do you know why tigers have stripes? Any idea what the national bird of India is, or why the Taj Mahal was constructed? Take our quiz below to put your knowledge to the test, then share it with your family and friends to see who knows the most about
in the jungle! When you're finished, scroll down to reveal the correct answers and explanations. life
The regal Bengal tiger is the national animal of India. Why does it have orange and black stripes?
Correct Answer: To camouflage themselves from prey
Explanation: Explanation: As tigers stalk through tall, golden grass, their stripes break up the outlines of their body, making them difficult to spot. This camouflage aids them in stalking unsuspecting prey.
Fun Fact: No two tigers are alike! Each has a unique pattern of stripes, similar to a human fingerprint.
Header Credit—Kelly Hammons, Photo Credit—Surya Ramachandran
Nat Hab travelers fly to Jaipur on their way to Ranthambore National Park, which is one of the best places to view tigers in the wild. Jaipur is also known as:
Correct Answer: The Pink City
Explanation: Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and is known as the Pink City. Maharaja Ram Singh II had many of the buildings in the city painted terracotta pink—which represents hospitality—to welcome Prince Albert of Whales in 1876. Jaipur famously houses Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, a pink sandstone palace built in 1799. The five-story building was shaped in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. The Purdah system, at the time, royal women from appearing in public, and so latticed windows were designed to allow ladies to peek out at the daily happenings of the court while remaining hidden. forbid
A sea of indigo, Jodhpur is called the Blue City because its landscape is speckled with azure abodes. The blue pigment coating on the houses is used to signify that a Brahmin, a person of the highest caste, lived there.
The Golden City of Amritsar is named after its brilliant golden temple, Harmandir Sahib. This Gurdwara is revered as the most sacred pilgrimage site for Sikhs. A langar (community kitchen) serves vegetarian fare to all visitors, which reaches upward of 100,000 a day.
In Hinduism, Varanasi is the holiest city, founded by Shiva, who is one of the three principle deities along with Brahma and Vishnu. Pilgrims gather at the Ghats stone embankments along the river Ganges to bath and perform puja ceremonies. Varanasi is known as the City of Temples for its many enchanting shrines and ancient places of worship.
Photo Credit—Varanasi: Dennis Jarvis [ CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr
What is the primary diet of the sloth bear?
Correct Answer: Insects
Explanation: The sloth bear has an insect-based diet, breaking open termite and ant mounds with their sharp claws. The bears supplement their diet with honeycomb, tubers, seed pods, the flower petals of mowha trees, eggs, carrion, crops such as maize and sugar cane, and fruits such as jackfruit, wood apples and mangoes.
Fun Facts: The national fruit of India is the mango, which is said to have originated in India. There are more than 100 varieties! The national flower is the lotus, which symbolizes divine beauty and is closely linked with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. Parvati, goddess of love and devotion, is sometimes depicted holding a lotus in her hand. Many myths and legends are associated with the “immortal” Indian banyan, the national tree of India. India’s national reptile is the king cobra.
Photo Credit—Deer: Court Whelan
What is not a difference between Asian and African elephants?
Correct Answer: Asian elephants have larger ears
Explanation: Asian elephant ears are smaller and have often been alluded to looking like a map of India, while African elephant ears are much larger and resemble a map of Africa.
Photo Credit—Surya Ramachandran
India possesses an unparalleled diversity of cats. Which cat is not found in India?
Explanation: India is the only place in the world where wild lions and tigers coexist. The Asiatic lion population is restricted to Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat, India. The Asiatic cheetah is critically endangered and is only found in Iran. Jungle cats are the most common small wildcats in India.
Fun Fact: The tiger is the world’s largest cat!
Photo Credits—Leopards: Surya Ramachandran; Asiatic Cheetah: Behnam Ghorbani (Male Asiatic cheetah in Miandasht Wildlife Refuge, Iran) [ CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikipedia
What is the national bird of India?
Correct Answer: Indian peafowl
Explanation: The peacock is associated with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, who represents beauty, prosperity and fortune, as well as the deity Saraswati, goddess of compassion, knowledge and the arts. On safari, keep your eyes peeled for Indian rollers, kingfishers, parakeets, crested serpent eagles, paradise flycatchers, painted storks, the great Indian bustard and the delightfully named Asian Fairy Bluebird.
Fun Fact: The brightly feathered male peafowl is called a peacock, while the more lackluster females are called peahens.
Photo Credits—Peafowl: Court Whelan; Verditer Flycatcher: Surya Ramachandran; Indian Roller: Soumikbiswas [ CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons; Kingfisher: Shantanu Kuveskar from Maharashtra, India (Common Kingfisher) [ CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikipedia
What is the only ape found in India?
Correct Answer: Gibbon
Explanation: While macaques, langurs and other Old World monkeys are a common sight around the temples and forests of India, gibbons are the sole ape found there. Hoolock gibbons inhabit the rainforests of northeast India. Also known as “lesser apes,” they differ from great apes because they are pair-bonded, make nests and have some resemblance to monkeys.
Fun Fact: Gibbons are the fastest flightless, tree-dwelling mammal. Using their incredibly long arms, they travel at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour through the canopy by brachiation (arboreal locomotion through arm swinging).
Photo Credits—Macaque: Emily Kautz; Orangutan: Gita Defoe; Chimpanzee: Marian Herz; Gibbons: Vijay Cavale [ CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In Hinduism, many deities have vahanas, animal vehicles. Which deity is often depicted with a tiger or a lion as their vehicle?
Correct Answer: Durga
Explanation: Hinduism is the dominant faith in India, practiced by more than 80 percent of the population. The tiger or lion is the vehicle of the goddess Durga, the fierce form of the protective mother goddess who fights for the victory of good over evil. Indra is the Hindu god of thunderstorms and rain. He rides a white, winged elephant called Airavata. Airavata sprinkles the earth with water from her trunk, thereby creating rain. One of the most popular and important deities in Hinduism is Lord Ganesh, who possesses the head of an elephant. The elephant symbolizes wisdom, good fortune, peace, fidelity and happiness. Ganesh mounts a mouse, while Yama, god of death, rides a water buffalo.
Photo Credit—Srivatsan Kumar [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Why was the Taj Mahal constructed?
Correct Answer: As a tomb for a Mughal emperor’s wife
Explanation: One of the new seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal took 22 years, 20,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants to complete. Though onlookers gaze at the sheer spectacle, a closer look will reveal intricate details in the stonework, which are truly remarkable. Inlaid in the white marble are semiprecious gems in stunning patterns. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built this mausoleum as a tribute to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of her fourteenth child in 1631. Underneath the Taj Mahal are the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz in their final resting place, side by side.
Kaziranga National Park is renowned for its population of great Indian one-horned rhino and other rare wildlife. On a drive through Kaziranga along the banks of the Brahmaputra River, which endangered animal would you not be able to see?
Correct Answer: Vaquita
Explanation: The gharial is a fish-eating crocodile, distinguishable by its long, thin snout. The rare Gangetic dolphin (also called the Ganges River dolphin) is the National Aquatic Animal of India. This freshwater species hunts using echolocation and swims with its fin scraping the riverbed to feel for hidden prey. The fishing cat is an adept swimmer, preying upon fish in the Brahmaputra River. The vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world, having faced devastating population losses from being caught in fishing nets. The small porpoise wasn't discovered until 1958 and is found only in the northern Gulf of California.
Fun Fact: Kaziranga National Park and Haroocharai Tea Estate are in the state of Assam, and Nat Hab travelers have a chance to visit both on a Grand India Wildlife Adventur . Many say Assam is the largest tea-growing region in the world! e
India has the largest population of tigers in the world:
Correct Answer: True
Explanation: India has the largest population of wild tigers in the world. While India is the seventh largest country, it is the world’s second most populous country, with 1.2 billion people. As the population expands, tigers and other wildlife are increasingly displaced by human encroachment.
Nat Hab travelers go on safari in Kanha National Park, which inspired the famous novel The Jungle Book. What is the most common deer species found here?
Correct Answer: Spotted Deer (Chital)
Explanation: The chital is the most abundant deer in India. Predators such as Indian leopards, wild dogs and the rare Indian wolf prey upon this species. Sambar deer are a favorite food of tigers. Barasingha and hog deer are also spotted in the park.
Fun Fact: Sambar is also the name of a popular South Indian dish. This lentil-based vegetable stew is cooked in tamarind broth and is often served with idli (savory rice cakes) or dosa (potato filled crêpes).
Photo Credits—Sambar deer: Karthik Ramamoorthy; Barasingha & Hog deer: Surya Ramachandran
Cows are bovines and are respected throughout India due to their elevated status in Hinduism. Which Indian animal is the largest bovine in the world?
Correct Answer: Guar (Indian bison)
Explanation: Also called the Indian bison, the gaur is the largest living bovine. The Asian water buffalo is also a bovine, though it is smaller than the gaur. The nilgai, or blue bull, is the largest Asian antelope, and the chinkara is an Indian gazelle.
Fun Fact: In Hinduism, cows are respected for its gentle nature and strength and are seen as sacred providers of life for their dairy products, dung fuel and fertilizer. In India, you may see cows peacefully walking along the crowded streets.
Photo Credit—Toby Sinclair
World Wildlife Fund is helping conserve wildlife in India by:
Correct Answer: All of the above
Explanation: World Wildlife Fund is restoring wildlife corridors so that Asian elephants have access to their seasonal migration routes. As jungles are cleared for farms and plantations, elephants increasingly come into conflict with humans. Restoring elephant corridors will allow the animals to resume their traditional migratory routes without disturbing human habitations. WWF is also working with local partners to increase the number of greater one-horned rhinos in seven protected areas across Assam. In addition, WWF is tracking tigers, training rangers, tackling the illegal wildlife trade and providing ecotourism opportunities to see tigers in the wild. Poaching, habitat loss and inbreeding are pushing the tiger to the brink of extinction. Consumer demand for tiger parts poses the most significant threat to tiger survival, due to myths that have emphasized their power in Eastern traditional medicine (WWF). WWF has assisted with the Global Tiger Recovery Plan, which spans across the 13 countries in tiger range, to help recover populations and ensure tiger conservation is designated as a national priority.
Ecotourism has proved integral to conserving these remarkable species, which are at risk of vanishing forever. The economic impact of tourists visiting tiger reserves is substantial, benefiting communities, providing jobs to local people and providing incentives to protect the wild animals of India. Join Natural Habitat Adventures, the travel partner of WWF, on an Indian safari to seek out majestic Bengal tigers and other astounding wildlife.
Photo Credit—Court Whelan
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