ITOPC
Indian Tour Operators Promotion Council




Indian Culture

Majestic Snow - clad peaks reaching for the sky, shimmering blue lakes, lush green forests, rare flowers, breathtaking scenic beauty and sweeping panoramic view. Wow! everything about India is so beautiful and its diverse unique culture adds cherry to the cake. The Indian culture has been the outcome of many absorptions of customs, traditions and ideas from both raiders and immigrants. It has not died out with the throes of modernity wafted across the Indian Ocean. In spite of the great cultural diversity the entire country is bound as a civilization due to its common history.

Whenever we talk about the culture of India a flash of vivid images of flowing saris, sounds of the crowded bazaars and exuding aroma of curry and sandalwood evoke in our minds. The quality ingredients that have played a huge role in making the culture of India gain international recognition are-

Music - Music has always enjoyed a pivotal role in the lives of the Indians. The range of musical phenomenon extends from simple melodies to the most developed systems of classical music in the world. Music also held a significant role during the pre Vedic age as evidence of several strings and wind instruments, drums and cymbals have been found in the Vedas. Ragas on which our Indian music is based came in to existence in the 10th century. By the 16th century the distinction between the North Indian ( Hindustani ) and South Indian ( Carnatic ) music was recognized in a full fledged manner. Classical Indian music entered a new phase in the 1960's and began to acquire Western students. The sitar of Pd. Ravi Shankar was heard on the Beatles' album. Satyajit Ray, the great Indian director through his neo-realist films brought the Indian classical music to the attention of the Westerners. Indian genres like filmi and bhangra have also gained momentum in the west.
Music

Dance - The classical Indian dance forms have their audiences world wide. Each dance form of India represents the culture and ethos of a particular region. Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Kucchipudi, Bhangra and Kathakali are the various dance forms prevalent in India. Besides these there are certain Indian folk dances that are the true representatives of the rich culture of different lands of India.

Architecture - The most significant achievement of Indian civilisation is its architecture. The Taj Mahal of Agra, temple complexes of Khajuraho and Vijaynagara leaves the spectators spellbound. However the real beginnings of the Indian architecture can be dated to the advent of Buddhism, during the reign of king Asoka. The Buddhist art and architecture flourished with the construction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas. The contribution of the southern school of architecture cannot be unnoticed and the notable amongst them are the rock- cut temples of Mahabalipuram and the temples of Kanchipuram.

Art - The paintings and sculpture of India has remain a source of inspiration for many. The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of the pre- historic times. Cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora exhibits the love for nature and God. Madhubani painting, Rajputana painting, Tanjore painting and Mughal painting are some of the specialties of India.

Cinema - Indian film industry holds the pride of being one of the oldest in the world. Dadasaheb Phalke, commonly called the father of Indian cinema made and screened the first film of India- Raja Harishchandra which became a huge commercial success and motivated other people thereby giving birth to umpteen classic directors like Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee , Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt. Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt took the Indian cinema to the new zenith and gave it the international recognition by making neo- realist films inspired by Vittorio De Sica's " Bicycle Thieves".The Neo-Realist cinema captured the real life of humans and did not regard them as superheroes in fabricated situations.

Cuisine - The Indian cuisine has undergone a great change with the passage of time. Wheat, lentils, rice and occasionally meats were the earliest Indian food. The modern Indian cuisine offers great variety and each reason has its own distinctive flavours. North Indian staple food consists of Rotis, Rice, Dal, Curry, Yogurt, Chutney and Achars. On the other hand south India dishes comprises sambhar, dosa, Rasam, Yogurt and Curries. Fish is quite popular in the coastal areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala. Street food like Panipuri, Bhelpuri, Samosa and Vada are enjoyed in every nook and corner of India. It is said that vegetarianism gained importance with the spread of Buddhism and Jainism.
Indian Cuisine

Festivals - India is the land of some of the most fascinating festivals which adorns the canvass called life with rainbow colours. Most of the festivals celebrated here have religious associations like Holi, Dussera, Janmasthmi, Hanuman Jayanti, Ganesh Chaturthi, Muharram and Deewali which are enjoyed in most part of the country with pomp and gaiety. Pongal- Sankranti are harvest festivals celebrated with full fervour in south India. Whereas Karwa Chauth is strictly observed by the Hindu married woman. Festivals give people a reason to smile.

Literature- India has always used writing as a major means of putting across any piece of idea or any other expression. It has a long tradition of poetry and prose writing. The Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two Indian epics that are not only the epics of India and Hinduism but also serves as the folk epics of other Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dressings - Dresses in India are worn according to the region. However sarees among Indian women and dhoti among Indian men are the everyday dress form with a slight variation in various regions. Working class and Muslims wear a Lungi. In Punjab loose- fitting pajamas called Shalwar are worn. In Bengal and Maharastra sarees and dhotis are the major dress forms but the wearing style varies.

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