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Table of contents

8.2. EPICS
9.1. DANCE
9.3. MUSIC
11.1. SPORTS
12.2. CINEMA



The culture of India is the way of life of the people of India.
India'slanguages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs
differ from place to place within the country. The Indian culture, often
labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian
subcontinentand has been influenced by a history that is several millennia
old. Many elements of India's diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, yoga,
andIndian cuisine, have had a profound impact across the world.

Religion has had obscure origins, and there are a lot of debates on
how the religious practices and beliefs may have evolved over the ages. However,
studies in cultural anthropology give us an idea about the possible origins of religious
worship and practices. Three possible origins have been put forth viz.,
the worship of superhuman powers of the natural forces such as thunder, lightning,
flowing of water, growing of trees, and so on;
the veneration of ancestral spirits, and;
the propitiation and invocation of a singular, ultimate reality, which cannot be
Bearing one of these probable origins, religion has come a long way today. Classifying
religions into different categories is a difficult task, as every religion bears its own
unique characteristic that one would not find in any other faith. Owing to this, it is
better to consider each religion as a distinct set of beliefs, rather than grouping them
under various categories.




Christianity, the monotheistic (belief in one God) and Abrahamic (tracing its
origins to Abraham, a biblical patriarch found in Christianity, Judaism as well as Islam)
religion, is one of the largest of the world religions, with followers spread across all the
continents. When it originated in the middle of the first century, it was but a marginal sect
of Judaism, limited to a small province called Levant, on the eastern boundary of the
Roman Empire. However, by the fourth century, Christianity became the official religion of
Roman Empire, replacing all the other faiths practiced before.
Christianity is based on the life, experiences, and teachings of Jesus Christ. It considers
Jesus to be the Son of God. He is thus, a divine being born into the mortal world, and has
both, divine as well as mortal affiliations. Owing to Jesus' hypostatic character, he is both,
the 'prophet' of the Almighty, and the 'messiah', who will save humanity. Added to this,
there is a concept of Godhead in Christian faith, which says that within the personality of
God, the Ultimate One, there are always three eternally co-existing characters viz., the
Father (creator and controller of universe), the Son (Jesus Christ, the messiah), and the
Holy Spirit (the transcendent reality that permeates the cosmos). The sacred book of the
Christians is the Holy Bible, which features various canonical gospels, and other New
Testament writings.


1.2. ISLAM
Islam is also a monotheistic Abrahamic religion, like Christianity. The followers of Islam
are known as Muslims, and its teachings are lucidly expressed in the Qur'an, its sacred
text. The words written in the Qur'an are considered to be the verbatim words of God
himself, brought and taught to the mortals by His prophets. According to a Hadith (a
statement of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), there were as many as 124,000 prophets
send by God to spread his message, but only 25 of them have been mentioned in the
Qur'an. However, Muhammad, the last Islamic prophet is important, in that he was
attested the responsibility to convey the final word of God to the world.

Testimony (shahadah), prayer (salh), giving of alms (zakt), fasting (sawm),
and pilgrimage (Hajj) are considered to be the five pillars of Islam, and every Muslim is
expected to perform these acts in his life. Added to this, an ideal Muslim is expected to
perform namz (daily prayer) five times a day. Mecca, the birthplace of prophet
Muhammad, is the holiest city of the Muslims, where the Kabba, their most sacred site is
located. Medina is regarded as the second holiest city in Islam, as it was here that prophet
Muhammad was buried. Apart from worshiping God, the Muslims also worship tombs of a
large number of saints. This, however, is a part of Muslim folk religion, wherein a
particular saint is important in a particular region, and is hence venerated there.




Hinduism is a predominant henotheistic (belief in one God but not refusing the existence
of the others, who may also be worshiped) religion of the Indian sub-continent, and is
considered to be the oldest surviving religious tradition in the world. The religion
developed step by step throughout the ages, and has no designated founder. Adherents of
Hinduism are known as Hindus.
The faith developed, initially as Santana Dharma (the eternal law), and
later on as Brahmanism, before it could consolidate at a later date as Hinduism. Because
the religion does not bear one particular founder, it also does not have one
particular/standardized philosophy. On the contrary, diverse ethnic and cultural traditions
went on assimilating into each other, as they spread through various religious movements
in the entire Indian sub-continent. The end result was an independent religious tradition
devoid of heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy.

Hinduism is based on a number of scriptures including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the
Puras, the two epics viz., Rmyaa and Mahbhrata, the Bhagavad Gt, and the
gama texts. The key concepts on which Hinduism is based are dharma (morality), karma
(actions and consequent reactions), samsra (the eternal cycle), moksha (salvation), and
yoga (spiritual path). God, in Hinduism, is a very complex concept. In the early Vedic
period, natural entities and phenomena came to be worshiped as divinities, while the
religion of the later Vedic period was sacrificial in nature, which means that gods and
goddesses were invoked by making sacrificial offerings to them.
In the subsequent periods, worship in Hinduism became
anthropomorphic in nature, with each divinity being assigned with a particular function,
and a specific attribute that he/she would carry, alongside other iconographic standards.
Worship in Hinduism, today, pertains largely to seeking the blessings of the divinities by
means of pj (making offerings to deities), symbolic sacrifices or chanting of devotional
hymns and meditation.


In Hinduism, human life has been classified into four distinct stages, termed as the four
ramas. These include brahmacharyrama (studenthood), grihasthrama (life of a
householder), vanaprasthrama (retirement), and sanyasrama (renunciation).
Particular age range is assigned to each of these ramas, and it has been said that
entering the right rama at the right age is the key to living a fruitful life. Moreover,
special occasions such as birth, marriage, and death involve elaborately defined religious
customs. The sixteen rites of passage, soaa saskra, are a set of religious rites
performed on a Hindu individual, right from his birth up to his death. Similarly, religious
Hindus do go on pilgrimages, though this is not mandatory in the religion. Moreover,
Hindu festivals are regarded as symbolic rituals taking individuals on the path of dharma.

Hindus also have a number of denominations, owing to the various religious movements
that have taken place over a period of time. Some of the significant denominations in
Hinduism include Vaishnavaites (worshipers of Vishnu as a supreme deity), Shaivaites
(worshipers of Shiva as a supreme deity), Shaktas (worshipers of the divine mother), the
Ganapatyas (the cult of Ganesha), and the Sauras (worshipers of Sun as a supreme entity).
According to the CIA World Factbook and International Religious Freedom Report, 2006,
about 81% of the total population of Nepal is Hindu, followed by 80.5% in India, and about
50% in Mauritius.




Buddhism originated as a heterodox religious ideology, sometime between 600 B.C. and
400 B.C., in the Indian subcontinent. When the orthodox Brahmanism became very
stringent and exploitative, especially towards the lower classes, Siddhartha Gautama,
commonly called the Buddha (the enlightened one), came up with new philosophical
doctrines, and established a sect of yellow-robed followers belonging to all strata of the
The entire Buddhist faith rests on the Four Noble Truths (cattri ariyasaccni), which are
the core of all Buddhist teachings. They are as
Life is full of suffering.
Desire is the root of all suffering.
Suffering can be overcome by eliminating all
Elimination of desires can be attained by following
the noble Eightfold Path (agika mrga).
The Eightfold Path has been prescribed by the
Buddha as a right way to live life, and as a path
that ultimately leads to salvation. Following are
the factors of the Eightfold Path:
Right view
Right intention
Right speech
Right action
Right livelihood
Right effort
Right mindfulness
Right concentration
An important principle in Buddhist doctrine is the
Middle Way, the madhyam-pratipada, which
states that in order to attain salvation (nirva),
an individual need not be too extreme or too moderate in his behavior/practices. He only
needs to achieve a control over his senses.



Sikhism, a monotheistic religion founded by Gur Nnak in the 15th century,
is one of the world's youngest religions. This religious faith, established in the Punjab
region of northwestern India with a limited number of followers in the beginning, is today,
the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Even today, though Sikh diaspora is quite
visibly present in numerous parts of the world, Punjab remains the only region, where
majority of the population is Sikh. A devoted Sikh is expected to be an amalgam of a saint
and a soldier. That is to say, he must be both compassionate as well as aggressive, and
should be able to distinguish between good and evil, and apply his traits accordingly.

The God of the Sikhs is called Whegur. He is omnipresent and possesses infinite power
to create, sustain, and destroy. But, at the same time, he is nirakr (shapeless), akl
(timeless), and alakh (sightless). The expression k akr (the supreme reality)
represents the universality of Godhead. It is believed that the entire universe was created
by God, and will be destroyed by Him, and that everything that happens around, is
according to His will. The main tenet of Sikhism is achievement of salvation through
communion with God. There is no concept of 'heaven' or 'hell' in the religion; on the
contrary, it is believed that being born a human is a great fortune, and hence one should
live free of all oppressive bondages. Idol worship is absent in the faith. Sikhism essentially
dwells on the principle of Grmat, meaning 'the teaching of the Gur'. In all, there have
been ten Sikh Gurs including Gur Nnak, and the Sikhs are supposed to follow the path
laid out by them. Their religious scripture, the Gur Granth Shib, which was composed
over a period of time from 1469 to 1708 by various Sikh Gurs, is regarded as the eleventh
Gur, and contains a compilation of teachings of the first five Sikh Gurs, alongside other
saints such as Kabir, Ravidas, and Baba Farid.


Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic faiths, which also include
Christianity and Islam. It is also one of the oldest monotheistic religions of the world. It
was founded in the Middle East, around 3,500 years ago, by a prophet called Moses, to
whom, it is believed that God revealed his laws and commandments. The Tanakh or the
Hebrew Bible is the Jewish canonical text through which most of the religion has been
studied and understood. In Judaism, the concept of God, and His relationship with
humankind has been brought out in a very interesting manner. The Jews believe that
there is only one God, and that they have a set agreement, a covenant with Him. In return
for all the good things which the God endows people with, they have to abide by His laws,
and live a sacred life spreading peace and harmony in the world. It is this 'give and take
relationship' with God that gives Him human characteristics, and thus makes Him all the
more approachable. But, on the other hand, owing to this one to one relationship with
God, every single act that a Jew performs may be considered as the act of worship. In lieu
of this, the Jews have the Halakha, a collection of their religious laws, the basis of which,
is the Torah, the five books dictated to Moses by the Almighty.
The places of worship of the Jews are the Synagogues, and their spiritual leaders are
known as Rabbis. Traditionally, the Jews are supposed to pray three times a day.
However, a fourth prayer is added to the routine on the day of the Sabbath, and on Jewish
holidays. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, on which a person is supposed to
rest, remember what he/she did during the last six days, and plan his future course of
action. On the other hand, the Jewish holidays are special days according to the Jewish
calendar, marking certain remarkable events in Jewish history. Added to these, there are a
number of festivals in Judaism, including the three pilgrimage festivals, and their festival
of lights, the Hanukkah.



Like Buddhism, Jainism also emerged as a heterodox sect of
Brahmanism, which later on transformed as a full-fledged religious ideology. In 600 B.C.,
Vardhamna Mahvira rose to prominence as an important proponent of Jainism, who
managed to build up a large group of followers for the faith. The Jain philosophy promotes
a non-violent and harmless existence for the welfare of the universe. Traditionally, there
have been 24 Tirthankras (ford-makers),
who preached the faith, and aided people to
achieve salvation.

The first and the foremost principle on with
the Jain faith rests is that of non-violence
(Ahims). The Jains believe that all living
things, plants and animals alike, have living
souls, and are thus equivalent to each other.
Harming any of the living things is hence, a
great sin. In lieu of this, the Jains strictly
adhere to vegetarianism, as killing of animals
is prohibited in the religion. Added to this,
there are five great vows (Mahvrata) that
every Jain is expected to take, and follow all
through his life. These are ahims (non-
violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya
(abstinence from stealing), brahmacharya
(celibacy), and aparigraha (renunciation). The
Jains believe in the concept of reincarnation,
and according to Jain metaphysics,
reincarnation and salvation depend on the
deeds that an individual performs
throughout his life.
Jainism does not believe in the concept of God as a supreme entity. On the contrary, they
believe in venerating mortal beings, who are worthy of worship. Jainism has thus been
regarded as a transtheistic faith, in which the existence of God is debatable. The Jains do
worship images of the Tirthankras in their temples, and all of these images bear
elaborate iconographies. However, the purpose of worship in Jainism, is to attain spiritual
purification. Furthermore, monasticism and meditation have been regarded important in
the Jain faith.



Founded by prophet Zoroster in ancient Persia (present day Iran) about
3,500 years ago, Zorostrianism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. For
about 1,000 years after its foundation, the religion remained one of the most influential
faiths in the world, and it was also the official religion of Persia from 600 B.C. to 650 A.D.
The adherents of Zoroastrianism are known as the Zoroastrians.

The Zorostrians regard Ahur Mazd to be the creator of all the good things in the
universe, aa, which the evil, druj tries to destroy. This represents the ongoing conflict
between good and evil forces existing simultaneously in the universe. However, Ahur
Mazd does not pervade the material world as he is assumed to be the 'uncreated
creator', but can be worshiped through a host of other lesser divinities called the Amesha
Spentas and the Yazatas. The place of worship of the Zorostrians is the Fire Temple,
known as the Agiry. However, contrary to popular belief, Zorostrians are not worshipers
of fire. According to their faith, fire symbolizes the light and wisdom of God, and hence is
the purest of all elements.

The sacred book of the Zorostrians, the Avest, contains holy scriptures, and consists of
their sacred writings. There are two sections of the Avest viz., the Avest consisting of 17
hymns believed to be composed by Zoroster; and the Younger Avest that comprises
commentaries, myths, and detailed descriptions of various ritual practices. Wedding is a
religious ceremony in the Zorostrian faith, wherein a man and a woman, preferably of
the same religion, are united. Wedlocks outside the faith are highly discouraged.

Today, the highest concentration of Zorostrian adherents is in India, where they are
commonly known as Prsis. India has some 70,000 Zorostrians



India's diversity has inspired many writers to pen their perceptions of the country's
culture. These writings paint a complex and often conflicting picture of the culture of
According to industry consultant Eugene M. Makar, for example, traditional Indian culture
is defined by a relatively strict social hierarchy. He also mentions that from an early age,
children are reminded of their roles and places in society. This is reinforced, Makar notes,
by the way many believe gods and spirits have an integral and functional role in
determining their life. Several differences such as religion divide the culture. However, a
far more powerful division is the traditional Hindu bifurcation into non-polluting and
polluting occupations. Strict social taboos have governed these groups for thousands of
years, claims Makar. In recent years, particularly in cities, some of these lines have blurred
and sometimes even disappeared. He writes important family relations extend as far
as gotra, the mainly patrilinear lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. In rural areas
& sometimes in urban areas as well, it is common that three or four generations of the
family live under the same roof. The patriarch often resolves family issues.
Others have a different perception of Indian culture. According to an interview with C.K.
Prahalad by Des Dearlove, author of many best selling business books, modern India is a
country of very diverse cultures with many languages, religions and traditions. Children
begin by coping and learning to accept and assimilate in this diversity. Prahalad - who was
born in India and grew up there - claimed, in the interview, that Indians, like everyone
else in the world, want to be treated as unique, as individuals, want to express themselves
and seek innovation. In another report, Nancy Lockwood of Society for Human Resource
Management, the world's largest human resources association with members in 140
countries, writes that in the past two decades or so, social change in India is in dramatic
contrast to the expectations from traditional Indian culture. These changes have led to
Indian families giving education opportunities to girls, accepting women working outside
home, pursuing a career, and opening the possibility for women to attain managerial roles
in corporate India. Lockwood claims that change is slow, yet the scale of cultural change
can be sensed from the fact that of India's 397 million workers, 124 million are now
women. The issues in India with women empowerment are similar to those elsewhere in
the world.


According to Amartya Sen, the India born Nobel Laureate in Economics, the culture of
modern India is a complex blend of its historical traditions, influences from the effects of
colonialism over centuries and current Western culture - both collaterally and
dialectically. Sen observes that external images of India in the West often tend to
emphasise the difference - real or imagined - between India and the West. There is a
considerable inclination in the Western countries to distance and highlight the differences
in Indian culture from the mainstream of Western traditions, rather than discover and
show similarities. Western writers and media usually misses, in important ways, crucial
aspects of Indian culture and traditions. The deep-seated heterogeneity of Indian
traditions, in different parts of India, is neglected in these homogenised description of
India. The perceptions of Indian culture, by those who weren't born and raised in India,
tend to be one of at least three categories, writes Sen:

Exoticist approach: it concentrates on the wondrous aspects of the culture of India. The
focus of this approach of understanding Indian culture is to present the different, the
strange and as Hegel put it, "a country that has existed for millennia in the imaginations of
the Europeans."

Magisterial approach: it assumes a sense of superiority and guardianship necessary to
deal with India, a country that James Mill's imperialist history thought of as grotesquely
primitive culture. While great many British observers did not agree with such views of
India, and some non-British ones did, it is an approach that contributes to some confusion
about the culture of India.

Curatorial approach: it attempts to observe, classify and record the diversity of Indian
culture in different parts of India. The curators do not look only for the strange, are not
weighed by political priorities, and tend to be more free from stereotypes. The curatorial
approach, nevertheless, have an inclination to see Indian culture as more special and
extraordinarily interesting than it actually may be.

The curatorial approach, one inspired by systematic curiosity for the cultural diversity of
India within India, is mostly absent.


Susan Bayly, in her book, observes that there is considerable dispute in India and
Orientalist scholars on perceived Indian culture. She acknowledges that many dispute
claims of pervasiveness of caste and strict social hierarchy in modern India. Bayly notes
that much of the Indian subcontinent was populated by people for whom the formal
distinctions of caste and strict social hierarchies were of only limited importance in their

According to Rosser, an American sociologist, Americans of South
Asian origins feel the Western perception of the culture of India has numerous
stereotypes. Rosser notes that the discourse in much of the United States about the
culture of India is rarely devoted to independent India. People quickly make sweeping and
flawed metaphysical assumptions about its religion and culture, but are far more
circumspect when evaluating civil society and political culture in modern India. It is as if
the value of South Asia resides only in its ancient contributions to human knowledge
whereas its pathetic attempts to modernise or develop are to be winked at and
patronised. Rosser conducted numerous interviews and summarised the comments. The
study reports a stark contrast between Western perceptions of the culture of India, versus
the direct experience of the interviewed people.
For example:
"The presentation of South Asians is a standard pedagogic approach
which runs quickly from the "Cradle of Civilisation"contrasting the Indus Valley with
Egypt and Mesopotamiaon past the Aryans, who were somehow our ancestors to the
poverty stricken, superstitious, polytheistic, caste ridden Hindu way of life ... and then
somehow magically culminates with a eulogy of Mahatma Gandhi. A typical textbook
trope presents the standard Ancient India Meets the Age of Expansion Approach with a
colour photo of the Taj Mahal.
There may be a side bar on ahimsa or a chart of connecting circles graphically explaining
samsara and reincarnation, or illustrations of the four stages of life or the Four Noble
Truths. Amid the dearth of real information there may be found an entire page dedicated
to a deity such as Indra or Varuna, who admittedly are rather obscure vis--vis the beliefs
of most modern Hindus."




For generations, India has had a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It is a
system under which extended members of a family parents, children, the children's
spouses and their offspring, etc. live together. Usually, the oldest male member is the
head in the joint Indian family system. He makes all important decisions and rules, and
other family members abide by them.
In a 1966 study, Orenstein and Micklin analysed India's population data and family
structure. Their studies suggest that Indian household sizes had remained similar over the
1911 to 1951 period. Thereafter, with urbanisation and economic development, India has
witnessed a break up of traditional joint family into more nuclear-like families. Sinha, in
his book, after summarising the numerous sociological studies done on Indian family,
notes that over the last 60 years, the cultural trend in most parts of India has been an
accelerated change from joint family to nuclear families, much like population trends in
other parts of the world. The traditional large joint family in India, in the 1990s, accounted
for a small percent of Indian households, and on average had lower per capita household
income. He finds that joint family still persists in some areas and in certain conditions, in
part due to cultural traditions and in part due to practical factors. Youth in lower socio-
economic classes are more inclined to spend time with their families than their peers due
to differing ideologies in rural and urban parenting



For centuries, arranged marriages have been the tradition in Indian society.
Even today, the majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and
other respected family-members. In the past, the age of marriage was young. The average
age of marriage for women in India has increased to 21 years, according to 2011 Census of
India. In 2009, about 7% of women got married before the age of 18.



In most marriages the bride's family provide a dowry to the bridegroom. Traditionally, the
dowry was considered a woman's share of the family wealth, since a daughter had no
legal claim on her natal family's real estate. It also typically included portable valuables
such as jewellery and household goods that a bride could control throughout her
life. Historically, in most families the inheritance of family estates passed down the male
line. Since 1956, Indian laws treat males and females as equal in matters of inheritance
without a legal will.Indians are increasingly using a legal will for inheritance and property
succession, with about 20 percent using a legal will by 2004.

In India, the divorce rate is low 1% compared with about 40% in the United
States. These statistics do not reflect a complete picture, though. There is a dearth of
scientific surveys or studies on Indian marriages where the perspectives of both husbands
and wives were solicited in-depth. Sample surveys suggest the issues with marriages in
India are similar to trends observed elsewhere in the world. The divorce rates are rising in
India. Urban divorce rates are much higher. Women initiate about 80 percent of divorces
in India.

"Opinion is divided over what the phenomenon means: for traditionalists the rising
numbers portend the breakdown of society while, for some modernists, they speak of a
healthy new empowerment for women."

Recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged
marriages. Banerjee et al. surveyed 41,554 households across 33 states and union
territories in India in 2005. They find that the marriage trends in India are similar to trends
observed over last 40 years in China, Japan and other nations.

The study found that fewer marriages are purely arranged without consent and that the
majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent. The percentage of self-
arranged marriages (called love marriages in India) were also increasing, particularly in the
urban parts of India. A 2014 article reported that the proportion of love marriages has
soared in India in the most recent decade, still some 70% of unions are arranged.




A Hindu wedding ritual in progress. The bride and the groom are seated together,
receiving instructions from the priest. The sacred square fire container (yajna kund) is
behind the priest.

Weddings are festive occasions in India with extensive decorations, colors, music, dance,
costumes and rituals that depend on the religion of the bride and the groom, as well as
their preferences. The nation celebrates about 10 million weddings per year, of which
over 80% are Hindu weddings.


While there are many festival-related rituals in Hinduism, vivaha (wedding) is the most
extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. Typical Hindu
families spend significant effort and financial resources to prepare and celebrate

Although your wedding day is filled with significant moments, the ceremony is the
pinnacle of the entire celebration. It's the reason everyone has joined together, and it's
more than just a formality. Whether you're having a religious or secular service, your
ceremony is your chance to express who you are as a couple; you can personalize your
readings, add rituals that have significance for you, or even infuse your love story
throughout the service. Here, officiants share some of the most creative touches their
couples have been adding to their ceremonies lately.

The rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary depending on region of
India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the
groom. Nevertheless, there are a few key ritualscommon in Hindu weddings -
Kanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi; these are respectively, gifting away of daughter
by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and taking
seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows.

After the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi, the couple is legally husband and
wife. Sikhs get married through a ceremony called Anand Karaj. The couple walk around
the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib four times. Indian Muslims celebrate a
traditional Islamic wedding following customs similar to those practiced in the Middle
East. The rituals includeNikah, payment of financial dower called Mahr by the groom to
the bride, signing of marriage contract, and a reception. Indian Christian weddings follow
customs similar to those practiced in the Christian countries in the West.




Pressing hands together with a smile to greet Namaste - a common cultural practice in
Namaste (Hindi), Juhar/Namaskar in Odia, Namaskar, Swagatam
(Marathi) orNamaskara (Kannada)
or Namaskaram (Telugu, Malayalam), Vanakkam(Tamil),Nomoshkaar (Bengali), Nomoskar
(Assamese) is a common spoken greeting or salutation when people meet or a form of
farewell when they depart. Namaskar is considered a slightly more formal version than
Namaste but both express deep respect. It is commonly used in India
and Nepal by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the
(Indian subcontinent). In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of
written or verbal communication. However, the same hands folded gesture may be made
wordlessly, or said without the folded hand gesture. The word is derived
fromSanskrit (namah): to bow, reverential salutation, and respect, and (te): "to you".
Taken literally, it means "I bow to you". In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in
you." In most Indian families, younger men and women are taught to seek the blessing of
their elders by reverentially bowing to their elders. This custom is known as Pranma.
The handshake is another common form of greeting between men and men and also
between women and women. Men should greet Indian women with a slight nod unless
the woman offers her hand for a short shake.






This is celebrated on 15th August as India gained independence from British rule on this
day in 1947.

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-
governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag
hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned
with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the
occasion. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to
the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with
replicas of the tri-colour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed emphasis
from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.


This is celebrated on 26
January. On this day India became a republic.
The main Republic Day celebration
is held in the national capital, New
Delhi, at the Rajpath before
the President of India. On this day,
ceremonious parades take place at
the Rajpath, which are performed as
a tribute to India.

In 2014, on the occasion of the 65th
Republic Day, the Protocol
Department of the Government of
Maharashtra held its first parade on
the lines of the Delhi Republic Day
paradealong the entire stretch
of Marine Drive in Mumbai.


This is celebrated on 2
October which is father of the nation Mahatma Gandhis
birthday. Mahatma Gandhi's birthday (Gandhi Jayanti or Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti) is a
gazetted holiday in India
on October 2 each year.
It marks the anniversary of
Mahatma Gandhi's birth
on October 2, 1869.
Gandhi is remembered for
his contributions towards
the Indian freedom



5.4. DIWALI:

Deepawali literally means an array of lamps is the Festival of Lights. Depawali is the
occasion of joy and jubilation for one and all in the entire Hindu world. All the illumination
and fireworks, joy and festivity, signifies the victory of divine forces over those of
wickedness. Deepawali symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual
darkness. Depawali is a festival that lasts 5 days.
In North India, Depawali is associated with the return of Sri Rama to Ayodhya after
vanquishing the demon Ravana. The people of Ayodhya, overwhelmed with joy,
welcomed Rama through jubilation and illumination of the entire capital.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over the
demon Narakasura.


Vijayadashmi is one of the most popular festivals of India. Dussehra is the
anniversary of the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo-headed demon,
Mahishasura, giving the goddess her name Mahishasura-Mardini (the slayer of
Mahishasura). Dussehra also commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana of
Lanka. The theme of this festival is the victory of good over evil.


Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesh, is celebrated in August-
September. Ganesh is the elephant headed son of Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva.
In Maharashtra, it is most important festival and is celebrated for 10 days. It is celebrated
from 4th to 14th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad month. In Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra
and Andhra Pradesh, images of Ganesh made of unbaked clay are worshipped on this day
in every house. A special sweet called Modak is prepared on this occassion. To mark the
end of the festivities, the clay idols are immersed in water.

Ganesha festival is celebrated as a public event since the days of Shivaji (16301680).

5.7. HOLI:

The full-moon day in February-March is celebrated as Holi, the festival of
colors. Holi is a festival of fun and gaiety for people of all ages. Bonfires are lit and people
smear colors on each other. Holi signifies the start of spring and end of winter. People
celebrate the new
harvest and return of
color in nature.
The mythological origin
of this festival varies in
North and South India.
In the South, especially
in Tamil Nadu and
Kerala, it is believed
that Kama Deva, the
God of love, aimed his
arrow at his wife Rati.
The arrow hit Shiva by
mistake. Kama was
burnt to ashes by the fire coming out of the third eye of the enraged Lord Shiva. Rati, was
so grief-stricken that Shiva relented and granted her the power to see Kama deva but
without a physical form. In Tamil Nadu, the festival known as Kaman vizha, Kaman
pandigai, or Kama Dahanam commemorates the burning of Kama.


The birth of Lord Krishna an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is celebrated
on the eight day (Ashtami) of a lunar fortnight in August-September hence the name
(Krishna + ashtami). Krishnastami is celebrated over two days. This first day is
Krishnastami or Gokulastami. The second day is called Kalastami or more popularly
Men and women fast and pray on the occasion of Janmashtami. As it is the worship of
infant Krishna, who was fond of milk and butter, women prepare a variety of delicacies
with milk products as offerings. This festival is a community celebration and people visit
temples which are specially decorated for this occasion.


This nine-day festival
of the Hindus is
celebrated in almost
all parts of India in
the month of
Ashvina, and is
marked by fasting
and praying to
different aspects of
Devi. Literally 'nine
nights', this nine-day
period from the new
moon day to the
ninth day of Ashvina
is considered the
most auspicious time
of the Hindu calendar.
It is celebrated as Durga Puja in the state of West Bengal. Durga Puja is the most
important and the most eagerly awaited festival of the state. It commemorates the
victory of Durga over the demon Mahishasura.
The nine different aspects of Devi are worshipped over the nine days.
Durga: goddess beyond reach;
Bhadrakali: the auspicious power of time;
Amba or Jagdamba: mother of the world;
Annapurna: giver of food and plenty;
Sarvamangala: auspicious goddess;
Bhairavi: terrible, fearful, power of death;
Chandika or Chandi: violent, wrathful, furious;
Lalita: playful;
Bhavani: giver of existence.
The festivities culminate on the tenth day on Vijayadashmi or Dussehra. In North India the
nine-day period from the first to the ninth day in the bright fortnight of the month of
Chaitra is also known as Navaratri and is dedicated to the worship of nine different
aspects of Devi. The ninth day in this month is also celebrated as Ramanavami.


On the 14th day of the dark half of Margshirsh month the great night of Shiva is
celebrated. On this day the devotees of Shiva observe fast. According to a legend once
King Bhagiratha left his kingdom to meditate for the salvation of the souls of his
ancestors. He prayed for the holy River Ganga from heaven to wash over his ancestor's
ashes to release them from a curse and allow them to go to heaven. But Lord Shiva was
the only one who could sustain the weight of her descent. So he prayed to Lord shiva and
Ganga descended on Shiva's head, and after meandering through his thick matted locks,
reached the earth.


This is a festival that falls on the brightest night of Shravan month.Raksha
Bandhan stirs up one of the deepest and noblest emotions - the abiding and chaste bond
of love between the brother and the sister. On this day sisters tie a rakhi which may be
a colorful thread, a simple bracelet, or a decorative string around the wrist of their
brother(s). The word "raksha" signifies protection, and "bandhan" is an association
signifying an enduring bond; and so, when a woman ties a rakhi around the wrist of her
brother, she signifies her loving attachment to him. He, likewise, recognizes the special
bond between them, and by extending his wrist forward, he in fact extends the hand of
his protection over her.


5.12. YUGADI:

The first day of the year according to the National Calendar of India is
significant both for its historical importance and for the advent of bountiful nature. On the
national plane, the day recalls the inspiring occasion when the invading Shakas - the
barbaric tribal hordes from Central Asia descending on India like locusts during the 1st
century A.D. - were vanquished by the great emperors Shalivahana and Vikramaditya.
The day falls in the beginning of spring - Vasanta Ritu - When the Goddess of Nature gets
bedecked as a divine bride. In some parts of India, the tender leaves of Neem mixed with
jaggery are distributed on the occasion. The Neem, extremely bitter in taste, and jaggery
sweet and delicious, signify the two conflicting aspects of human life - joy and sorrow,
success and failure, ecstasy and agony. The Neem-jaggery blend is offered to God as
naivedya and then distributed as prasad. This embodies one of the highest philosophical
attitudes taught by the Hindu spiritual masters.



Makara Sankranti festival coincides with the beginning of the sun's
northward journey, and falls on January 14 according to the solar calendar. According to
legend, Bhishma, a great hero of the Mahabharata, though wounded mortally, waited for
this auspicious time to give up his life. For, it is believed that, a person dying on this day
reaches the Abode of Light and Eternal Bliss.
In many states, the celebration has a special offering of rice and pulses cooked together
with or without jaggery and clarified butter. In many areas of India people distribute til-
gud - the sesame seed and jaggery. The til brimming with fragrant and delicious oil, stands
for friendship and comradeship and jaggery for the sweetness of speech and behavior.
In Tamil Nadu, Makara Sankranti is celebrated as Pongal, a three-day harvest festival. On
Bhogi Pongal, the house is cleaned and the discards are burnt, while children sing and
dance around the bonfire. On Surya Pongal, sweet Pongal is prepared and the Sun God is
worshipped for a good yearly harvest. The last day of Pongal, Mattu Pongal, is celebrated
to pay respects to the cows, the animal that is used in cultivation. In Uttar Pradesh, it is
called the Khichri Sankranti.


Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman,
the monkey god widely venerated throughout India. It is celebrated during Chaitra and is
especially important to Brahmacharis, wrestlers and bodybuilders. Hanuman was an
ardent devotee of Rama, and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to the god. From
the early morning, devotees flock Hanuman temples to worship him. The officiating priest
bathes the idol and offers special prayers to the gods. Then the entire body is smeared
with sindoor and oil, a symbol of life and strength.
According to a popular belief, once when Sita was applying sindoor to her hair, Hanuman
asked her the reason for doing so. She replied that by applying sindoor, she ensured a long
life for her husband Shri Ram. The more sindoor she applied, the longer Rama's life would
be. The devoted Hanuman then smeared his entire body with sindoor, in an effort to
ensure Rama's immortality. Hence Hanuman's idol is always daubed with sindoor.





Indian cuisine is diverse, ranging from very spicy to very mild, varying with seasons in each
region. These reflect the local agriculture, regional climate, culinary innovations and
cultural diversity. Food in India is sometimes served in thali - a plate with rice, bread and a
selection of sides. Above are thali samples.



Nimmatnama-i Nasiruddin-Shahi (Book of Recipes), written about 1500 C.E, documents
the fine art of makingKheer, a milk based dessert of India: Select the cows carefully; to get
quality milk, pay attention to what the cows eat; feed them sugar canes; use this milk to
make the best Kheer.

Kheer is a traditional Indian sweet dish.
Food is an integral part of every human culture. Chang notes that the importance of food
in understanding human culture lies in its infinite variability - a variability that is not
essential for species survival. For survival needs, people everywhere could eat the same
and some simple food. But human cultures, over the ages, experiment, innovate and
develop sophisticated cuisines. Cuisines become more than a source of nutrients, they
reflect human knowledge, culture, art and expression of love.
Indian food is as diverse as India. Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients, deploy a wide
range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and culinary presentation. From
salads to sauces, from vegetarian to meat, from spices to sensuous, from breads to
desserts, Indian cuisine is invariably complex. Harold McGee, a favourite of many
Michelin-starred chefs, writes "for sheer inventiveness with milk itself as the primary
ingredient, no country on earth can match India."
"I travel to India at least three to four times a year. It's always inspirational. There is so
much to learn from India because each and every state is a country by itself and each has
its own cuisine. There are lots of things to learn about the different cuisines - it just
amazes me. I keep my mind open and like to explore different places and pick up different
influences as I go along. I don't actually think that there is a single state in India that I
haven't visited. ... Indian food is a cosmopolitan cuisine that has so many ingredients. I
don't think any cuisine in the world has got so many influences the way that Indian food
has. It is a very rich cuisine and is very varied. Every region in the world has their own
sense of how Indian food should be perceived. "



"... it takes me back to the first Christmas I can remember, when the grandmother I hadn't
yet met, who was Indian and lived in England, sent me a box. For me it still carries the
taste of strangeness and confusion and wonder."

Some Indian desserts from hundreds of varieties. In certain parts of India, these are
called mithai or sweets. Sugar and desserts have a long history in India: by about 500 BCE,
people in India had developed the technology to produce sugar crystals. In the local
language, these crystals were called khanda (), which is the source of the word candy.

According to Sanjeev Kapoor, a member of Singapore Airlines' International Culinary
Panel, Indian food has long been an expression of world cuisine. Kapoor claims, "if you
looked back in India's history and study the food that our ancestors ate, you will notice
how much attention was paid to the planning and cooking of a meal. Great thought was
given to the texture and taste of each dish." One such historical record is Mnasollsa,
(Sanskrit: , The Delight of Mind), written in the 12th century. The book
describes the need to change cuisine and food with seasons, various methods of cooking,
the best blend of flavours, the feel of various foods, planning and style of dining amongst
other things.

India is known for its love for food and spices. Indian cuisine varies from region to region,
reflecting the local produce, cultural diversity, and varied demographics of the country.
Generally, Indian cuisine can be split into five categories - northern,southern, eastern,
western, and north-eastern. The diversity of Indian cuisine is characterised by differing
use of many spices and herbs, a wide assortment of recipes and cooking techniques.


Though a significant portion of Indian food isvegetarian, many traditional Indian dishes
also include chicken, goat, beef, buffalo, lamb, fish, and other meats. Fish-based cuisines
are common in eastern states of India, particularly West Bengal.

Despite this diversity, some unifying threads emerge. Varied uses of spices are an integral
part of certain food preparations, and are used to enhance the flavour of a dish and create
unique flavours and aromas. Cuisine across India has also been influenced by various
cultural groups that entered India throughout history, such as the Persians, Mughals,
and European colonists.

Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines across the globe. In most Indian
restaurants outside India, the menu does not do justice to the enormous variety of Indian
cuisine available - the most common cuisine served on the menu would be Punjabi
cuisine (chicken tikka masala is a very popular dish in the United Kingdom).

There do exist some restaurants serving cuisines from other regions of India, although
these are few and far between. Historically, Indian spices and herbs were one of the most
sought after trade commodities. The spice trade between India and Europe led to the rise
and dominance of Arab traders to such an extent that European explorers, such as Vasco
da Gama andChristopher Columbus, set out to find new trade routes with India leading to
the Age of Discovery. The popularity ofcurry, which originated in India, across Asia has
often led to the dish being labeled as the "pan-Asian" dish.

Regional Indian cuisine continues to evolve. A fusion of East Asian and Western cooking
methods with traditional cuisines, along with regional adaptations of fast food are
prominent in major Indian cities.


Clothing in India varies from region to region depending on the ethnicity, geography,
climate and cultural traditions of the people of that region. Historically, men and women
clothing has evolved from simple Langotas, and loincloths to cover the body to elaborate
costumes not only used in daily wear but also on festive occasions as well as rituals and
dance performances. In urban areas, western clothing is common and uniformly worn by
people of all strata. India also has a great diversity in terms of weaves, fibers, colours and
material of clothing. Colour codes are followed in clothing based on the religion and ritual
concerned. For instance, Hinduladies wear white clothes to indicate mourning,
while Parsis and Christians wear white to weddings.

In India, woman's clothing varies widely and is closely associated with the local
culture, religion and climate. The traditional style of clothing in India varies with male or
female distinctions. This is still followed in the rural areas, though is changing in the urban
areas. Girls before puberty wear a long skirt (called langa/paawada in Andhra) and a short
blouse, called a choli, above it.


7.1.1. SARI:
A saree or sari is a female garment in the Indian subcontinent. A sari is a
strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from four to nine meters in
length, that is draped over the body in various styles. There
are various traditional styles of saree: Sambalpuri Saree from
East, Mysore silk and Ilkal of Karnataka and, Kanchipuram of
Tamil Nadu from South, Paithani from West
and Banarasi from North among others. The most common
style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one
end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff. The
sari is usually worn over a petticoat. Blouse may be
"backless" or of a halter neck style. These are usually more
dressy with a lot of embellishments such as mirrors or
embroidery and may be worn on special occasions.


A Ghagra Choli or a Lehenga Choli is the traditional clothing of women
in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Punjabis also wear them and
they are used in some of their folk dances. It is a
combination of lehenga, a tight choli and an odhani.
A lehenga is a form of a long skirt which is pleated. It is
usually embroidered or has a thick border at the
bottom. A choli is a blouse shell garment, which is cut
to fit to the body and has short sleeves and a low neck.
Different styles of ghagra cholis are worn by the
women, ranging from a simple cotton lehenga choli as
a daily wear, a traditional ghagra with mirrors
embellished usually worn during navratri for
the garba dance or a fully embroidered lehenga worn
during marriage ceremonies by the bride.
Popular among unmarried women other than shalwar
kameez are Gagra choli and Langa voni.

The Salwar kameez is the traditional wear of women
in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The suthan,
similar to the salwar is common in Sindhand Kashmir. The
salwar kameez has become the most popular dress for
females. It consists of loose trousers (the salwar) narrow at
the ankles, topped by a tunic top (the kameez). It is named
as "Punjabi suit" or simply "shalwar" in the north and
"churidaar" in Southern India. Women generally wear
a dupatta or odani (Veil) with salwar kameez to cover their
head and shoulders. It is always worn with a scarf called
a dupatta, which is used to cover the head and drawn over
the bosom. The material for the dupatta usually depends
upon that of the suit, and is generally of cotton,georgette,
silk, chiffon among others. This dress is worn by almost
every teenage girl in lieu of western clothes. The salwar
kameez is most common in the northwestern part of India.
Many actresses wear the salwar kameez
in Bollywood movies



Churidaar is a version of
salwar, which is loose up to knees and then fits the
calf below. A salwar is a baggy pyjama with pleats
which gets narrow at the ankles whereas churidaar
fits below the knees with horizontal gathers near the
ankles. Usually a long kurta, which goes below the
knees, is worn with the churidaar.


Pattu Pavadai or Langa davani is a traditional
dress in south India and Rajasthan, usually worn
by teenage and small girls. The pavada is a cone-
shaped garment, usually of silk, that hangs down
from the waist to the toes. It normally has a
golden border at the bottom.
Girls in south India often wear pattu
pavadai or Langa davani during traditional
functions. Girls in Rajasthan wears this dress
before marriage (and after marriage with sight
modification in certain section of society.




7.2.1. DHOTI:
A dhoti is from four to six feet long white or colour strip of
cotton. This traditional attire is mainly worn by men in villages. It
is held in place by a style of wrapping and sometimes with the
help of a belt, ornamental and embroidered or a flat and simple
one, around the waist.
In south India men also wear long, white sarong like sheets of
cloth known as Mundu. Its called dhotar in Marathi. In north and
central Indian languages like Hindi, and Oriya, these are
called Mundu, while in Telugu they are called Pancha,
in Tamil they are called veshti and in Kannada it is
called Panche/Lungi. Over the dhoti, men wear shirts.

A Lungi, also known as sarong, is a traditional garment of
India It is usually tucked in when the person is working, in
fields or workshops, and left open usually as a mark of
respect, in worship places or when the person is around
Though mostly worn by men, elderly women also prefer
lungi to other garments owing to its good aeration. It is
mostly popular in south India, though people of Bangladesh,
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Somalia also can
be seen in lungis, because of the heat and humidity, which
create an unpleasant climate for trousers, though trousers
have now become common outside the house.

7.2.3. SHERWANI:

A Sherwani is a long coat / jacket that usually sports
exposed buttons through the length of the placket.
The length is usually just below the knees and the
jacket ends around high on the calf. The jacket has
a Nehru collar, which is a collar that stands
up.[citation needed] TheSherwani is worn with tight
fitting pants or trousers called churidars. Churidars
are trousers that are loose around the hips and
thighs, but are tight and gathered around the
ankle. Sherwani is usually worn during the wedding
ceremonies by the groom and is usually cream, light
ivory, or gold coloured.[citation needed] It may be
embroidered with gold or silver. A scarf called a
dupatta is sometimes added to the sherwani.

7.2.4. HEADGEAR:
The Indian turban or the pagri is worn in many regions in the
country, incorporating various styles and designs depending on the place. Other
types of headgear such as theTaqiyah and Gandhi cap are worn by different
communities within the country to signify a common ideology or interest. DASTAR:
The Dastar, also known as pagri, is a turban
worn by the Sikh community of India. Is a symbol of faith
representing values such as valour, honour and
spirituality among others. It is worn to protect the Sikh's
long, uncut hair, the Kesh which is one of the Five
Ks of Sikhism. Over the years, the dastar has evolved
into different styles pertaining to the various sects of
Sikhism such as the Nihang and theNamdhari.



Pheta is the Marathi name for turbans worn in the state of Maharashtra. Its usually worn
during traditional ceremonies and occasions. It was a mandatory part of clothing in the
past and have evolved into various
styles in different regions. The main
types are the Puneri Pagadi, Kolhapuri
and Mawali pheta. Originally worn by
the kings of Mysore during formal
meeting in durbar and in ceremonial
processions during festivals, and
meeting with foreign dignitaries, the
Mysore peta has come to signify the
cultural tradition of the Mysore
and Kodagu district. The Mysore
University replaced the
conventional mortarboard used in graduation ceremonies with the traditional peta. GANDHI CAP:

The Gandhi cap, a white coloured cap
made of khadi was popularised
by Mahatma Gandhi during
the Indian independence movement.
The practice of wearing a Gandhi cap
was carried on even after
independence and became a
symbolic tradition for politicians and
social activists. The cap has been
worn throughout history in many
states such
as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar
Pradesh and West Bengal and is still
worn by many people without political significance. In 2013, the cap regained its political
symbolism through the Aam Aadmi Party, which flaunted Gandhi caps with "I am a
Common Man" written over it. This was partly influenced by the "I Am Anna" caps used
during Anna Hazare's Lokpal movement. During the Delhi Legislative Assembly election,
2013, these caps led to a scuffle between Aam Aadmi Party and Congress workers, based
on the reasoning that Gandhi caps were being used for political benefits.



Language families in India and its neighbouring countries. India has 22 official languages
15 of which are Indo-European. The 2001 census of India found 122 first languages in
active use. The second map shows the distribution of the Indo-European languages
throughout the world.

Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal
benediction ("rgayanama ;; Aum(3) ;;"), the first line has the opening words of
RV.1.1.1 (agni ; ie ; pura-hita ; yajasya ; deva ; tvija). The Vedic accentis
marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.


Literary records suggest India had interacted in languages of other ancient civilisations.
This inscription is from Indian emperorAshoka, carved in stone about 250 BCE, found in
Afghanistan. Inscriptions are in Greek andAramaic, with ideas of non-violence against men
and all living beings, as the doctrine of Eusebeia - spiritual maturity.

Numerous words from India entered English vocabulary during the British colonial
era.[80][81] Examples:bandana, bangles, bungalow andshampoo.
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect
than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet
bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of
grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no
philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung
fromsome common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason,
though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though
blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit ...
Sir William Jones, 1786[82]
The Rigvedic Sanskrit is one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Aryan language, and
one of the earliest attested members of theIndo-European language family. The discovery
of Sanskrit by early European explorers of India led to the development of comparative
Philology. The scholars of the 18th century were struck by the far reaching similarity of

Sanskrit, both in grammar and vocabulary, to the classical languages of Europe. Intensive
scientific studies that followed have established that Sanskrit and many Indian derivative
languages belong to the family which includes English, German, French, Italian, Spanish,
Celtic, Greek, Baltic, Armenian, Persian, Tocharian and other Indo-European
The evolution of language within India may be distinguished over three periods: old,
middle and modern Indo-Aryan. The classical form of old Indo-Aryan was sanskritmeaning
polished, cultivated and correct, in distinction to Prakrit - the practical language of the
migrating masses evolving without concern to proper pronunciation or grammar, the
structure of language changing as those masses mingled, settled new lands and adopted
words from people of other native languages. Prakritabecame middle Indo-Aryan leading
to Pali (the language of early Buddhists and Ashoka era in 200-300 BCE), Prakrit (the
language of Jain philosophers) andApabhramsa (the language blend at the final stage of
middle Indo-Aryan). It isApabhramsa, scholars claim,[83] that flowered into Hindi,
Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi and many other languages now in use in India's north,
east and west. All of these Indian languages have roots and structure similar to Sanskrit,
to each other and to other Indo-European languages. Thus we have in India three
thousand years of continuous linguistic history recorded and preserved in literary
documents. This enables scholars to follow language evolution and observe how, by
changes hardly noticeable from generation to generation, an original language alters into
descendant languages that are now barely recognisable as the same.[83]
Sanskrit has had a profound impact on the languages and literature of India. Hindi, India's
most spoken language, is a "Sanskritised register" of the Khariboli dialect. In addition, all
modern Indo-Aryan languages, Munda languages and Dravidian languages, have
borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (tatsama words), or indirectly via
middle Indo-Aryan languages (tadbhava words).[84] Words originating in Sanskrit are
estimated to constitute roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan
languages,]and the literary forms of (Dravidian)Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Tamil,
although to a slightly smaller extent, has also been significantly influenced by Sanskrit.
Part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, the Bengali language arose from the
eastern Middle Indic languages and its roots are traced to the 5th-century
BCE Ardhamagadhi language.
Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu, both languages being standardised registers
of Hindustani. Urdu is generally associated with South Asian Muslims. The main difference
between the two is that Hindi is generally written in theDevanagari script, whilst Urdu is
written in Nastaliq, but, when spoken colloquially, both are mutually intelligible. Mutual
intelligibility decreases, however, in specialised contexts where Urdu has borrowed words
from Persian and Arabic, whilst Hindi has done so from Sanskrit and English.

Tamil, one of India's major classical language, descends from Proto-Dravidian languages
spoken around the third millennium BCE in peninsular India. The earliest inscriptions of
Tamil have been found on pottery dating back to 500 BC.Tamil literature has existed for
over two thousand years[88] and the earliest epigraphic records found date from around
the 3rd century BCE.[89]
Telugu, one of India's major classical language, descends from South-Central Dravidian
language spoken around the third millennium BCE in all over south India. Early inscriptions
date from 620 AD and literary texts from the 11th century, written in a Telugu script
adapted from the Bhattiprolu script of the early inscriptions.
Another major Classical Dravidian language, Kannada is attested epigraphically from the
mid-1st millennium AD, and literary Old Kannada flourished in the 9th- to 10th-
century Rashtrakuta Dynasty. As a spoken language, some believe it to be even older than
Tamil due to the existence of words which have more primitive forms than in Tamil. Pre-
old Kannada (or Purava HazheGannada) was the language of Banavasi in the early
Common Era, the Satavahana andKadamba periods and hence has a history of over 2000
years.[90][91][92][93] The Ashoka rock edict found at Brahmagiri(dated 230 BCE) has been
suggested to contain a word in identifiable Kannada.[94]
Odia is India's 6th classical language in addition to Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and
Malayalam.[95] It is also one of the 22 official languages in the 8th schedule of Indian
constitution. Odia's importance to Indian culture, from ancient times, is evidenced by its
presence in Ashoka's Rock Edict X at Kalsi palitiditu (Dhauli, Jaugada palitiditu), dated to
be from 2nd century BC.[96][97]
In addition to Indo-European and Dravidian languages, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman
languages are in use in India. Genomic studies of ethnic groups in India suggests the
Austro-Asiatic tribals were likely the earliest settlers in India. India's language and cultural
fusion is not only because of large migrations of Indo-Aryans from central Asia and west
Eurasia through the northwest, the genome studies suggest a major wave of humans
possibly entered India, long ago, through the northeast, along with tribal populations of
Tibeto-Burman origins. Genome studies of Fst distances suggest the northeastern
Himalayas acted as a barrier, in the last 5000 years, to human migration as well as to
admixing. Languages spoken in this part of India include Austro-Asiatic (e.g. Khasi) and
Tibeto-Burman (e.g.Nishi).[98][99][100][101][102]


Manuscript illustration of theBattle of Kurukshetra.
According to the 2001 and 2011 India census, Hindi is the most spoken language in India,
followed by Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.[103] In contemporary Indian
literature, there are two major literary awards; these are the Sahitya Akademi
Fellowship and the Jnanpith Award. Eight Jnanpith awards have been awarded in
Kannada, six in Hindi, five in Bengali, four in Oriya and Malayalam, three each in
Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu and two each in Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.
8.2. EPICS
The Rmyaa and the Mahbhrata are the oldest preserved and well-known epics of
India. Versions have been adopted as the epics of Southeast Asian countries like
Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in
seven books (kas) and 500 cantos (sargas),[104] and tells the story of Rama (an
incarnation or Avatar of the Hindu preserver-god Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by
the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. This epic played a pivotal role in establishing the role
ofdhrma as a principal ideal guiding force for Hindu way of life.[105] The earliest parts of
the Mahabharata text date to 400 BC[105] and is estimated to have reached its final form
by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century AD).[106] Other regional variations of these, as
well as unrelated epics include the Tamil Ramavataram, Kannada Pampa Bharata,
HindiRamacharitamanasa, and Malayalam Adhyathmaramayanam. In addition to these
two great Indian epics, there are five major epics in the classical Tamil language
Silappatikaram, Manimekalai, Civaka-cintamani and Valayapathi-kundalakesi.

an Odissi performer.
9.1. DANCE


Bhangra folk dance fromPunjab.

Bharata Natyam dance from Tamil Nadu.
Let drama and dance (Ntya, ) be the fifth vedic scripture. Combined with an epic
story, tending to virtue, wealth, joy and spiritual freedom, it must contain the significance
of every scripture, and forward every art.
First chapter of Ntyastra, sometime between 200BC - 200AD[107][108]
India has had a long romance with the art of dance. Ntyastra (Science of Dance)
andAbhinaya Darpana (Mirror of Gesture) are two surviving Sanskrit documents, both
estimated to be between 1700 to 2200 years old.[108]
The Indian art of dance as taught in these ancient books, according to Ragini Devi, is the
expression of inner beauty and the divine in man.[109] It is a deliberate art, nothing is left
to chance, each gesture seeks to communicate the ideas, each facial expression the

Indian dance includes eight classical dance forms, many in narrative forms
with mythological elements. The eight classical forms accorded classical dance status by
India'sNational Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama are:bharatanatyam of the state
of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar
Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniattam of Kerala, kuchipudiof Andhra
Pradesh, yakshagana of Karnataka, manipuriof Manipur, odissi (orissi) of the state
of Odisha and thesattriya of Assam.[110][111]
In addition to the formal arts of dance, Indian regions have a strong free form, folksy
dance tradition. Some of the folk dances include the bhangra of Punjab;
the bihu of Assam; the zeliang of Nagaland; the chhau of Jharkhand and Bengal;
the Ghumura Dance, Gotipua, Mahari dance and Dalkhai of Odisha; the qauwwalis, birhas
and charkulas of Uttar Pradesh; the jat-jatin, nat-natin and saturi of Bihar;
the ghoomar of Rajasthan; the dandiya and garba of Gujarat; the kolattam of Andhra
Pradesh; the yakshagana of Karnataka ; lavani of Maharashtra;Dekhnni of Goa. Recent
developments include adoption of international dance forms particularly in the urban
centres of India, and the extension of Indian classical dance arts by the Kerala Christian
community, to tell stories from the Bible.[112]
Drama and theatre[edit]
Main article: Theatre in India
Indian drama and theatre has a long history alongside its music and dance. Kalidasa's
plays like Shakuntala andMeghadoota are some of the older dramas, following those of
Bhasa. One of the oldest surviving theatre traditions of the world is the 2,000-year-
old Kutiyattam of Kerala. It strictly follows the Natya Shastra.[113] Ntychrya Mni
Mdhava Chkyr is credited for reviving the age old drama tradition from extinction. He
was known for mastery of Rasa Abhinaya. He started to perform the Kalidasa plays
like Abhijnakuntala, Vikramorvaya and Mlavikgnimitra;
Bhasa'sSwapnavsavadatta and Panchartra; Harsha's Nagananda.[114][115]


Images of musical instruments drawn by Pierre Sonnerat, the French explorer, in 1782
during his voyage through India.
Main article: Music of India
Music is an integral part of India's culture.Natyasastra, a 2000-year-old Sanskrit text,
describes five systems of taxonomy to classify musical instruments.[116] One of these
ancient Indian systems classifies musical instruments into four groups according to four
primary sources of vibration: strings, membranes, cymbals, and air. According to Reis
Flora, this is similar to the Western theory of organology. Archeologists have also reported
the discovery of a 3000-year-old, 20-key, carefully shaped polished basalt lithophone in
the highlands of Odisha.[117]
The oldest preserved examples of Indian music are the melodies of the Samaveda (1000
BC) that are still sung in certain Vedic rauta sacrifices; this is the earliest account of

Indian musical hymns.[118] It proposed a tonal structure consisting of seven notes, which
were named, in descending order,
as Krusht, Pratham, Dwitiya, Tritiya, Chaturth, Mandra and Atiswr. These refer to the
notes of a flute, which was the only fixed frequency instrument. The Samaveda, and
other Hindu texts, heavily influenced India's classical music tradition, which is known
today in two distinct styles: Carnatic and Hindustani music. Both the Carnatic music and
Hindustani music systems are based on the melodic base (known as Rga), sung to a
rhythmic cycle (known as Tla); these principles were refined in the ntyastra (200 BC)
and the dattilam (300 AD).[119]
The current music of India includes multiple varieties of religious, classical, folk, popular
and pop music.
Prominent contemporary Indian musical forms included filmi and Indipop. Filmi refers to
the wide range of music written and performed for mainstream Indian cinema,
primarily Bollywood, and accounts for more than 70 percent of all music sales in the
country.[120] Indipop is one of the most popular contemporary styles of Indian music
which is either a fusion ofIndian folk, classical or Sufi music with Western musical
Visual arts[edit]
Main article: Indian art
Main article: Indian painting

The Jataka tales from Ajanta Caves.
Cave paintings from Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora and Sittanavasal and temple paintings testify to a
love of naturalism. Most early and medieval art in India is Hindu, Buddhist or Jain. A
freshly made coloured flour design (Rangoli) is still a common sight outside the doorstep
of many (mostly South Indian) Indian homes. Raja Ravi Varma is one of the classical
painters from medieval India.

Pattachitra, Madhubani painting, Mysore painting, Rajput painting, Tanjore
painting, Mughal painting are some notable Genres of Indian Art; while Nandalal Bose, M.
F. Husain, S. H. Raza, Geeta Vadhera, Jamini Roy and B. Venkatappa[122] are some
modern painters. Among the present day artists, Atul Dodiya, Bose
Krishnamacnahri, Devajyoti Ray and Shibu Natesan represent a new era of Indian art
where global art shows direct amalgamation with Indian classical styles. These recent
artists have acquired international recognition. Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Mysore
Palace has on display a few good Indian paintings.

The 5th-century Buddhistvishvakarma cave at Ellora, Maharashtra.

Marble Sculpture of female, c. 1450, Rajasthan
Main article: Sculpture in India
The first sculptures in India date back to the Indus Valley civilisation, where stone and
bronze figures have been discovered. Later, as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism
developed further, India produced some extremely intricatebronzes as well as temple
carvings. Some huge shrines, such as the one at Ellora were not constructed by using
blocks but carved out of solid rock.

Sculptures produced in the northwest, in stucco, schist, or clay, display a very strong blend
of Indian and Classical Hellenistic or possibly even Greco-Roman influence. The
pink sandstonesculptures of Mathura evolved almost simultaneously. During the Gupta
period (4th to 6th centuries) sculpture reached a very high standard in execution and
delicacy in modeling. These styles and others elsewhere in India evolved leading to
classical Indian art that contributed to Buddhist and Hindu sculpture throughout
Southeast Central and East Asia.
Main article: Architecture of India

Considered to be an "unrivaled architectural wonder",[123] the Taj Mahal in Agra is a
prime example ofIndo-Islamic architecture. One of the world's seven wonders.
Indian architecture encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time,
constantly absorbing new ideas. The result is an evolving range of architectural production
that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history. Some of its earliest
production are found in the Indus Valley Civilisation (26001900 BC) which is
characterised by well planned cities and houses. Religion and kingship do not seem to
have played an important role in the planning and layout of these towns.

The Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, is one of many World Heritage Sites in India.[124]
During the period of the Mauryan andGupta empires and their successors, several
Buddhist architectural complexes, such as the caves of Ajanta and Elloraand the
monumental Sanchi Stupa were built. Later on, South India produced several Hindu
temples like Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and
the Kesava Templeat Somanathapura, Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur built by Raja

Raja Chola, the Sun Temple, Konark, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, and
the Buddha stupa (Chinna Lanja dibba and Vikramarka kota dibba) at Bhattiprolu. Angkor
Wat, Borobudur and other Buddhist and Hindu temples indicate strong Indian influence
on South East Asian architecture, as they are built in styles almost identical to traditional
Indian religious buildings.

The Umaid Bhawan Palace inJodhpur, one of the largest private residences in the
The traditional system of Vaastu Shastra serves as India's version of Feng Shui, influencing
town planning, architecture, and ergonomics. It is unclear which system is older, but they
contain certain similarities. Feng Shui is more commonly used throughout the world.
Though Vastu is conceptually similar to Feng Shui in that it also tries to harmonise the
flow of energy, (also called life-force or Prana in Sanskrit and Chi/Ki in Chinese/Japanese),
through the house, it differs in the details, such as the exact directions in which various
objects, rooms, materials, etc. are to be placed..
With the advent of Islamic influence from the west, Indian architecture was adapted to
allow the traditions of the new religion. Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbaz, Qutub
Minar, Red Fort of Delhi are creations of this era, and are often used as the stereotypical
symbols of India. The colonial rule of the British Empire saw the development of Indo-
Saracenicstyle, and mixing of several other styles, such as European Gothic. The Victoria
Memorial or the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus are notable examples.

The Victoria Memorial in Kolkatailluminated at night.

Indian architecture has influenced eastern and southeastern Asia, due to the spread of
Buddhism. A number of Indian architectural features such as the temple mound or stupa,
temple spire or sikhara, temple tower or pagoda and temple gate or torana, have become
famous symbols of Asian culture, used extensively inEast Asia and South East Asia. The
central spire is also sometimes called avimanam. The southern temple gate, or gopuram is
noted for its intricacy and majesty.
Contemporary Indian architecture is more cosmopolitan. Cities are extremely compact
and densely populated. Mumbai's Nariman Point is famous for its Art Deco buildings.
Recent creations such as the Lotus Temple, and the various modern urban developments
of India like Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh, are notable.
Sports and martial arts[edit]

Cricket was introduced to India by the British. Now it is the country's most popular sport.

The annual Snake boat race is performed during Onam Celebrations on the Pamba
River at Aranmula nearPathanamthitta.

In 2011, India hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix event.


Yoga originated in India. Patajali, in India's ancient books, suggests yoga's goal is to help
one focus, reflect upon, know and express one's highest self.[126][127] India's cultural
journey with yoga is now popular in many parts of the world.
Main article: Sports in India
Field hockey is the official national sport in India.[128][129] At a time when it was
especially popular, the India national field hockey team won the 1975 Men's Hockey
World Cup, and 8 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals at the Olympic Games. However,
field hockey in India no longer has the following that it once did.[129]
Cricket is considered the most popular sport in India.[128] The India national cricket
team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the2007 ICC World
Twenty20, the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and shared the2002 ICC Champions
Trophy with Sri Lanka. Domestic competitions include theRanji Trophy, the Duleep
Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and theChallenger Series. In
addition, BCCI conducts the Indian Premier League, aTwenty20 competition.
A large number of football is played in the Indian state of Poschim Bongo. The city
of Kolkata is the home to the largest stadium in India, and the second largest stadium in
the world by capacity, Salt Lake Stadium. The city of joy is a centre of football activity in
India and is home to top national clubs such as Mohun Bagan A.C., Kingfisher East Bengal
F.C., Prayag United S.C., and the Mohammedan Sporting Club.[130]
Chess is commonly believed to have originated in northwestern India during theGupta
empire,[131][132][133][134] where its early form in the 6th century was known
as chaturanga. Other games which originated in India and continue to remain popular in
wide parts of northern India include Kabaddi, Gilli-danda, and Kho kho. Traditional
southern Indian games include Snake boat race and Kuttiyum kolum.
In 2011, India inaugurated a privately built Buddh International Circuit, its first motor
racing circuit. The 5.14-kilometre circuit is in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, near Delhi. The
first Formula One Indian Grand Prix event was hosted here in October 2011.[135][136]
Indian martial arts[edit]
Main article: Indian martial arts
One of the best known forms of ancient Indian martial arts is
the Kalarippayattufrom Kerala. This ancient fighting style originated in southern India in
the 12th century BCE and is regarded as one of the oldest surviving martial arts.[137] In
this form martial arts, various stages of physical training include ayurvedicmassage
with sesame oil to impart suppleness to the body (uzichil); a series of sharp body
movements so as to gain control over various parts of the body (miapayattu); and,

complex sword fighting techniques (paliyankam).[citation needed]Silambam, which was
developed around 200 AD, traces its roots to the Sangam period in southern
India.[138] Silambam is unique among Indian martial arts because it uses complex
footwork techniques (kaaladi), including a variety of spinning styles. A bamboo staff is
used as the main weapon.[138] The ancient Tamil Sangam literature mentions that
between 400 BCE and 600 CE, soldiers from southern India received special martial arts
training which revolved primarily around the use of spear (vel), sword (val)
and shield (kedaham).[139]
Among eastern states, Paika akhada is a martial art found in Odisha. Paika akhada, or
paika akhara, roughly translates as "warrior gymnasium" or "warrior school".[140] In
ancient times, these were training schools of the peasant militia. Today's paika akhada
teach physical exercises and martial arts in addition to the paika dance, a performance art
with rhythmic movements and weapons being hit in time to the drum. It incorporates
acrobatic maneuvres and use of thekhanda (straight sword), patta (guantlet-sword),
sticks, and other weapons.
In northern India, the musti yuddha evolved in 1100 AD and focussed on mental, physical
and spiritual training.[141] In addition, the Dhanur Veda tradition was an influential
fighting arts style which considered the bow and the arrow to be the supreme weapons.
The Dhanur Veda was first described in the 5th-century BCE Viu Pura[137] and is also
mentioned in both of the major ancient Indian epics, the Rmyaa and Mahbhrata. A
distinctive factor of Indian martial arts is the heavy emphasis laid on meditation (dhyna)
as a tool to remove fear, doubt and anxiety.[142]
Indian martial arts techniques have had a profound impact on other martial arts styles
across Asia. The 3rd-century BCEYoga Sutras of Patanjali taught how to meditate single-
mindedly on points located inside one's body, which was later used in martial arts, while
various mudra finger movements were taught in Yogacara Buddhism. These elements
of yoga, as well as finger movements in the nata dances, were later incorporated into
various martial arts.[143] According to some historical accounts, Indian Buddhist
monk Bodhidharma was one of the main founders of the Shaolin Kungfu.[144]
Popular media[edit]
Main article: Television in India
See also: List of Indian television stations


Bollywood actors at International Indian Film Academy Awards, Toronto 2011
Indian television started off in 1959 in New Delhi with tests for educational
telecasts.[145][146] Indian small screen programming started off in the mid-1970s. At that
time there was only one national channel Doordarshan, which was government owned.
1982 saw revolution in TV programming in India, with the New Delhi Asian games, India
saw the colour version of TV, that year. The Ramayanaand Mahabharat were some among
the popular television series produced. By the late 1980s more and more people started
to own television sets. Though there was a single channel, television programming had
reached saturation. Hence the government opened up another channel which had part
national programming and part regional. This channel was known as DD 2 later DD Metro.
Both channels were broadcast terrestrially.
In 1991, the government liberated its markets, opening them up to cable television. Since
then, there has been a spurt in the number of channels available. Today, Indian small
screen is a huge industry by itself, and has thousands of programmes in all the states of
India. The small screen has produced numerous celebrities of their own kind some even
attaining national fame for themselves. TV soaps are extremely popular with housewives
as well as working women, and even men of all kinds. Some lesser known actors have
found success in Bollywood. Indian TV now has many of the same channels as Western TV,
including stations such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, HBO, FX, and MTV India.
Main article: Cinema of India
Bollywood is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based film industry in
India. Bollywood and the other major cinematic hubs (in Bengali Cinema, Oriya film
industry, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi and Telugu) constitute the
broader Indian film industry, whose output is considered to be the largest in the world in
terms of number of films produced and number of tickets sold.
India has produced many cinema-makers like Satyajit Ray, K. Vishwanath, Bapu, Ritwik
Ghatak, Guru Dutt, K. Vishwanath, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun, Girish
Kasaravalli, Shekhar Kapoor, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Shankar Nag, Girish Karnad, G. V. Iyer,
Maniratnam, K. Balachandhar etc. (see Indian film directors). With the opening up of the
economy in the recent years and consequent exposure to world cinema, audience tastes

have been changing. In addition, multiplexes have mushroomed in most cities, changing
the revenue patterns.