Club Mahindra ‘India Quotient’ study reveals Indians’ surprising gaps in knowledge about their own country

New Delhi : The ‘Club Mahindra India Quotient’ unveils Indians’ knowledge gap about their own country, its diversity, vastness, culture, heritage, and cuisines. It delves deeply into the nuances of interesting facts about India, its local communities, diverse geographical features, etc., and how aware Indians are of these facts. The research was commissioned to mark Mahindra Holidays’ 25 anniversary milestone, and highlight the depth of experiences available to local travellers and tourists across the country.

Data from our research reveals that a significant number of people have a limited cognizance of the nuances of our own culture, food habits, history, festivals, culture, etc. In fact, as many as 60% of the respondents admit that they don’t know much about Indian history, culture, geography/destinations, nature, food, etc. Moreover, only a third (30%) of the respondents claim that they know more than their peers. The largest proportion (36%) admit that they know only what they learnt in school, but have forgotten most of it.


India’s Geography Quotient

India offers variety of World Heritage sites and biogeographic zones; however many of them are not known to a large number of our public. Even when considering the geography of our nation specifically, there are many gaps in knowledge. For instance, more than a third of respondents (35%) remain unaware that the wall at Kumbhalgarh fort, the second longest wall, in the world, after the Great Wall of China, is located in Rajasthan.

On and off lockdowns for a year-and-a-half have given rise to a lust for travel among people like never before. Thousands have thronged hill stations and beaches to take a break from staying at home. Our research shows more than a third of respondents (39%) don’t know that Mussoorie is known as “the Queen of Hills”. One in every three respondents (33%) is unaware that Udaipur is known as the ‘City of Lakes’.

Gir is the only natural habitat of world popular Asiatic Lions. More than a third of the respondents (39%) don’t know which animal a wildlife enthusiast would like to spot in Gir forest. Furthermore, only 29% of the respondents are aware that they would go to Thekkady in Kerala for elephant rides.


Art and Culture Quotient

India is known for its richest cultural diversity preserved and practiced through the centuries. Culture in India has proven tremendous ability to sustain Tourism industry in all the states specially Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand, and surprisingly, people’s India Quotient in the domain of art and culture (57%) remains even lower than their India Quotient in terms of geography (58%).

Our data reveals that two-thirds of the respondents (66%) don’t know that the classical dance “Kathak” belongs to Uttar Pradesh. More than half (55%) of the respondents also don’t know that Aipan is the signature folk art of Uttrakhand.

Likewise, the country is internationally popular for its local festivals, landscapes, spiritual and religious abode. Our findings show that more than a third (39%) of the respondents don’t know that the Khajuraho festival is celebrated in Madhya Pradesh and nearly one-third of the respondents (32%) don’t know that the Dalai Lama’s residence is located in Dharamshala.

Items like Pashmina and Paithani sari have been a symbol of luxury and elegance, time immemorial. However, nearly a third don’t know Maharashtra is the best place to shop for the Paithani sari (32%), and Kashmir is the best place to purchase a Pashmina.


Cuisine Quotient

Food has always had a special place in Indian’s hearts. We express love through cooking, sharing, and eating it. However, our survey reveals that even though many people associate with being ‘foodies’ and claim to explore local cuisines on family vacations, only a select few are aware of many signature cuisines of popular travel destinations in India and the history behind them.

While the love for the local food experience is high for Indians, their ‘IQ’ (India Quotient) about food remains lowest of all (46%). In fact, as many as 40% of the respondents don’t know that Appam is the local cuisine of Kerala.

While India is tea loving country, less than a third of the respondents (32%) know that Mussoorie is not associated with tea while 26% of the respondents don’t know that Munnar is associated with tea.

Some of the other key findings

The study also revealed some interesting insights about family dynamics while people are on vacation:

  • 27% of the respondents claim that the top reason to take a family vacation is to bond with their family
  • One in every five respondents (21%) assume the role of the ‘Adventurer’ claiming they test their adrenaline and endurance
  • 49% of travellers say they would want to travel more in the future to make up for travel time lost in 2020
  • In 2020, most travellers have had extended time apart from friends and family. For many, it appears that distance has made the heart grow fonder as 67% of Indian travellers plan to use future travel as an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones
  • 15% of the respondents  play the role of ‘Foodie’ on their family trip claiming want to experiment   and experience local cuisine and  advise their family on the same
  • 77% of Indians mentioned they would only book accommodations if it was clear what health and hygiene policies a destination had in place, with 71% saying they would avoid certain destinations altogether due to safety concerns.
  • An overwhelming 94% of the respondents are reportedly eyeing travelling sustainably in their rebound trips. Making environment-friendly choices, indulging in socio-cultural experiences, and boosting local communities are some of the key trends expected to resurface.