India: The Mesmerizing Segment of the Planet

Indian Culture
Image credits: pavan gupta via Unsplashed

The country is the enchanting beauty of nature that optimises with the twilling of the sun. It’s the land with the rich cultural dynamism where the relationships lay on the mutual trust and care and budding kids are nurtured within the shelter of grannies draped in saris.

The exotic magnificence of the loftiest Himalayas, a flamboyant vista of Taj Mahal, and awe-inspiring tropical beaches offering a serene evening makes the way from the fascinating New Delhi and weave a bridge to South surpassing the erratic roads that kindle haywire traffic.

The majestic architecture of India exhibits immaculate grandeur. It has a myriad of breathtaking flavours and spices, which soothe the tongue palate. The incredible aroma of scent, enthralling ringing bells and the enticing charm of the divine place projected together to soothe the soul.

India, the realm with the amazing fusion of saga Gurus, glamorous Bollywood kingdom, elevated technology empire, is the only locus where the cow is worshipped as a mother.

There’s a lot to talk about India. The Indian traditions and culture come among the world’s oldest and it is the second nation with high population. The country has different religions, languages, food and arts. Each of them is discussed here.

Indian Religion and Culture

India is a hub of a myriad of religions, which are Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism. According to the 2011 Indian censure, around 79.8% of people in India are Hindus, 14.2% are Muslims, 2.3% are Christians, 1.7% are Sikhs, 0.7% are Buddhists and 0.37% are Jains. In India, Hinduism originated between 2000-1500 B.C.E and the country is also the origin of Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.  

Religious practice is a major part of people’s lives in India. There is a large number of ancient temples, mosques and cathedrals everywhere. Further, there are different monasteries, shrines and sacred places that contribute to the rich religious diversity. Rivers such as Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati, etc., are considered holy ones in Hinduism. Also, Hindus worship cow and consider it as a mother. The medley of religions impacts contemporary society. Apart from the cultural level, religion has also influenced the country on an economic and political level.

Languages used in India

India has a huge diversity when it comes to language. As it is the second-most populous country and has the world’s oldest cultures, it has a myriad of languages. In India, there are 28 states and 7 territories and different languages are spoken in different states and regions. There are around 1652 different dialects spoken in India. The primary languages are- Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu, Kannada, Oriya, Malayalam, Punjabi, Maithili and Assamese. Though there is a range of languages in India, Hindi and English are the official languages, where English is mainly used for political, economic and business purposes. In India, most people speak Hindi, but 59% of people in the country speak a language other than Hindi. The majority of people in India write in Devanagri script which represents the sounds of the Hindi language. Sanskrit is the dominant classical language in India and is spoken by less than 1% of Indians. Typically, Hindu priests speak and use it while performing religious ceremonies.

Delectable Foods of India

India has a plethora of cuisine and dishes which vary from region to region. Dishes contain a myriad of spices such as cumin, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, chili, mustard seeds, to name a few. Chapattis are used to scoop up food like veggies and pulses. Basmati rice, wheat, pulses are some of the major staples of the Indian diet. Each state in India have its own special dish; for example, makki ki roti and sarson da saag are special in Punjab state, litti and chokha in Bihar, dhokla in Gujarat, doi machh in Bengal, biryani in Andhra Pradesh, daal-baati in Rajasthan, rogan josh in Jammu and Kashmir, vada pav in Maharashtra, dosa and idli in Tamil Nadu and phagshapa in Sikkim. There are many more decadent dishes famous in different regions of India. Apart from these, there are chutneys that are made of different fruits and vegetables. One can even find a variety of chutneys in the country. In a nutshell, there’s a large assortment of dishes in India that varies according to the place. When it comes to non-vegetarian, lamb and chicken are the common dishes. Many Hindus are vegetarian, whereas Sikhs and Muslims are usually non-vegetarians.

Clothing

Regarding the Indian lifestyle, ethnic wear is the key clothing in India where women wear saris or saree which vary from 5 to 9 yards in length and 2 to 4 feet in breadth. Colorful saris are wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder. Women do wear a petticoat or underskirt beneath the sari. Saris are worn with the top which is called a blouse. Men wear traditional cloth like a dhoti, which is an unstitched piece of cloth. It is tied around the waist and legs. Dhoti is paired up with the top which is called a kurta. It is a long loose shirt that is about knee-length. These were the traditional dresses of India. Saris are still worn by many women on a regular basis. Apart from saris, women wear suits. Suits consist of salwar kameez and churidar and these dresses are also decent wear. Where kameez is a long dress that is about knee-length and salwar and churidar are the pants in different styles. Women wear saris and men wear a sherwani (long coat) on special occasions. The majority of people keep traditional clothing for informal occasions. Now, Western outfits have also made their way in India. People wear jeans, t-shirts, and women wear gowns as well.

Architecture, Arts, and Culture

Indian architecture Taj Mahal is prominent and it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This Mughal architecture was built by Shah Jahan to honour his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is an ultimate amalgamation of different architectural styles. It is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Apart from this, India has a range of ancient temples.

Bollywood, the Indian film industry is famous worldwide. It is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Bollywood produces several films and the films are known for their splendid songs and dance.

Indian weddings are also famous where the celebration continues for 3 to5 days. Marriage in India is a big part of the lives of people where they spend excessive money in celebration. Arranged marriages in India are common. However, now urban people have set off to do love marriages.

The popular musical instrument used in the country is the sitar. As India is rich in tradition and culture, there are regional folk dances and different festivals that are celebrated throughout the country. Diwali, Holi, Dusshera, Navaratris are the major festivals in India.

Etiquette

Etiquette and gestures play a huge role in India. As there are different social norms among regions, religions and communities, it is vital to be aware of the practices regarding greetings and basic etiquette.

The Indian traditional culture comprises of etiquette and the most common way of greeting in Hindu culture is ‘Namaste’. While greeting one joins the hands and nod the head or one just bow down to touch feet of the elders. This type of greeting is in Hindi, so verbal greetings vary from region to region. Handshakes are common; however it is advised for men to wait for women to extend their hands first.

Here people do not greet others with a hug or kiss. However, if one knows the person well then one can greet by hugging the other. While addressing the name, one uses ‘ji’ after the first name to show respect towards the person.

There are deities and priests in Hindu temples and one should keep their feet away from deities, priests or spiritual leaders. One must not point their feet towards the deity. Women must cover their heads when entering the Muslim mosques. When it comes to Sikh gurudawaras, men and women must cover their heads.

One must take off the shoes before entering the other’s home. This is strictly followed in most homes of India. Tea, ‘chai’ in Hindi is usually offered when someone visits another’s home or big shops. One should avoid eating from the left hand as it is considered as a dirty hand because people use their left hand in washing themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Indian culture and tradition?

In India, there are multiple cultures and traditions but the roots are- religion, social norms, belief systems. Traditions are also a major part of India. Cultures and traditions vary from region to region.

2. What is special about Indian culture?

The country has distinct religions and people live together following their own religious practices and traditional customs and living together peacefully.

3. What is Indian culture and values?

India has diverse cultures with different religions and belief systems. Harmony, light-heartedness, pride and unity in diversity are the key values of Indian culture.

4. What is unique about Indian culture?

The strong bond between the family members, giving respect to every religion, and living peacefully makes the Indian culture unique.

5. What type of culture is there in India?

India has incredible cultural diversity between religions, custom traditions, languages and foods that varies from region to region.