2016 review for records set by India
Insofar as records are concerned, India's performance in 2016 was mixed. As if reflecting the sheer amount of diversity in the subcontinent, India set records this year ranging from sheer genius to absolutely bizarre. We explore some of these records, which range from the having the largest solar power plant in the world, to having the maximum number of selfie deaths in the world.
Kamuthi, located 90 km outside Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is now home to the world's largest solar power plant. The $679 million project spans a 10 km area and has a capacity of 648 MW, enough to power 150,000 homes. The plant was constructed in eight months - faster than California's Topaz Solar Power Plant, the former leader in solar power plants.
In a bid to fight climate change and honour the conditions of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, 800,000 Indians in the city of Allahabad got together to plant 49.3 million saplings on 11th July 2016, thus setting a new Guinness World Record. In doing so, India displaced former-record holder Pakistan, whose citizens had planted 847,275 saplings in a day in 2013.
India also broke a record in civil aviation in 2016. State-run airline Air India's flight AI173, in October, flew 15,300 km non-stop, from Delhi to San Francisco, in a record 14 hours and 30 minutes. The previous record was held by Emirates, which covered the 14,200 km long Dubai-Auckland route in 16 hours and 30 minutes.
In August 2016, hundreds of volunteers in Mumbai, including citizens, celebrities and UN officials participated in the largest beach clean-up in the world. The volunteers cleaned over 4 million pounds of trash in a 2.5 km stretch of beach in Mumbai's Versova area. The event also saw the participation of Eric Solheim, the chief of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Sheetal Kalpesh Shah, a Surat-based hairdresser, gave haircuts to 571 people in 24 hours without a break, thus breaking the old record of 521 haircuts in 24 hours which was held by a London-based couple. Using 57,000 plastic cups, Kushagra Tayal, a teenager from Delhi, set a new Guinness World Record for the largest plastic cup pyramid beating the old record of 42,395 cups.
In a study conducted by scholars from Carnegie Mellon University, India emerged as the world leader in selfie deaths in 2016. In the study, out of the 127 deaths which occurred in the world while taking selfies, India alone accounted for 76. Interestingly, India had also claimed this dubious record last year, when more than half of the 27 deaths happened in India.
PVVS Mallikharjuna Rao from Andhra Pradesh made a massive 29,465 kg version of a laddoo, a popular Indian sweet, thus setting a Guinness World Record. During the Yoga World Festival, held in Chennai, 648 simultaneously did headstands and set a new Guinness World Record. Krishna Kumar from Hyderabad set another bizarre Guinness World Record when he hugged 79 people in 60 seconds.