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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.