India’s originality and attractive spirit are shaped by the blending of its different cultures and religions. Many of the world’s religions have their origins in India, including Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
This article has collated some Indian culture facts to assist you in better understanding this interesting country, its people, and its culture. Knowing some of this information can help you get the most out of your trip to Mother India.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his first book, ‘Hind Swaraj,’ contemplated and thought over a lot of Indian civilization and Western civilization. India constantly preoccupied his thought processes. Distinguishing other civilizations and Indian civilization, he commented:
“I believe that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors. Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become Westernized; of China, nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation.”
That is, in brief, the subliminal essence of Indian culture and India. It is pluralistic, it is inclusive, it is embracing, and it is diverse. The base of Indian culture lies in the Indus valley civilization and the symbol of the swastika. The symbol was found in the Indus valley civilization and is still used by the inhabitants of our country, India. This unbroken civilization has endured all calamities and is still alive and thriving.
Brief About Indian Culture Facts
It is impossible to talk about Indian culture without once mentioning one of the world’s seven wonders: the Taj Mahal, which stands today in the state of Uttar Pradesh of the city of Agra. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan made this splendid monument in honor of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal is the personification of beauty. Taj Mahal gives every visitor a sense of wonder and awe. It looks almost divine and is glittering. India is intrinsically woven with the rawness of this monument.
India has manifested its influence because of its unity in diversity. It has spread into Southern Asia and the Western world in the remnants of practices like Yoga and meditation. The cultural influences of Indian culture are beyond the geographical location of India.
Some vested interests have continuously made deliberate attempts to show that Northern India and Southern India are two completely alien entities with no cultural connection whatsoever. It has been the modus operandi of all separatists, and they focus on differences and scorn whatever unites two groups. Those differences are the essence of their identity, they proclaim. They highlight those differences, insist, and stoke them. That is the sinister stratagem of every Jinnah; while Mahatma Gandhi focuses on what unites them, he tries to bridge the gap where differences exist.
Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar has presented a persuasive argument that establishes cultural unity between Northern India and Southern India. He wrote: “Indians are quarreling, and no one can prophesy when they will stop quarreling. But granting the fact, what does it establish? Only that Indians are a quarrelsome people. It doesn’t destroy that India is a single geographical unit. Her unity is as ancient as nature itself. There has been a cultural unity within the geographic unit from time immemorial.”
That establishes that there is a cultural unity between North India and South India. This fact should perennially be kept in mind that despite all diversity we’ve in our country, there’s an underlying fundamental and inherent cultural unity of India with a long history with some established tempers.
Indian cuisine consists of various regional and traditional cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Indian cuisine has influenced many cuisines across the globe, be it the Middle East or Europe. Indian cuisine has almost eight thousand years with very interactive and cooperative trade relations with other regions.
Indian food recipes are also very diverse from region to region. Traditionally Indian cooking has been dominated by womenfolk. Traditional Indian food majorly consists of a dish of rice alongside rotis. Most Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains have an aversion toward beef, while Muslims show an aversion towards pork. These dietary restrictions have created different cultural groups in India, sometimes leading to violence and riots.
There are four major religions of the world that originated in India. They are collectively referred to as Dharmic religions. They are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. These religions have flourished in the Indian subcontinent for centuries and contributed to the emergence of unique Indian culture.
The Indian culture that is pluralistic and inclusive seeped into the values of catholicism have been possible only because of the broad outlook of Dharmic religions. Hinduism is the largest religion in India, followed by nearly eighty percent of India’s population. India is home to more than 200 million Muslims around the world.
Indian Beliefs and Practices
India is diverse, with people of multiple faiths, ethnicities, and languages living together. Indian population has tremendously shown respect for each other’s beliefs and practices. Indo-European and Dravidian languages are two families of languages spoken in India. English and Hindi are two official languages of India for administrative purposes, as recognized by the Indian constitution. English is designated as the subsidiary official language. According to the census of 2001, India has 122 major languages alongside 1599 other languages. Apart from Hindi and English, there are 21 other official language groups recognized by the constitution of India, commonly referred to as scheduled languages.
Ancient India was a land imbued with pluralistic religious beliefs, not dogmas. Indian civilization is still thriving because of the set of lofty ideals and values carved out by ancient Indian sages and philosophers. Ideals such as “My guest is my God” (Atithi Devo bhava in Sanskrit) or “The world is my family” (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, in Sanskrit) were those magnificent and lofty ideals. These lofty ideals ensured that the civilization of India would absorb all evils forced upon it through the ages and yet survive through eternity. These lofty ideals became a way of life for the inhabitants of this holy land of India. This way of life came to be known later as Hinduism.
Hindu ethos, which has sustained the soul of the Indian nation, has been deeply affected by the Hindu scriptures and mainly Hindu mythology. Hindu mythological stories contain many unique and ubiquitous stories that inspire our courage, valor, and bravery alongside morality and virtue of compassion and kindness, thus creating a national churning in India.
Take the story of demon king Mahishasura who was deceitful and cunning. He had the boon of not being killed by any man. This instilled arrogance, and he attacked the gods and defeated them in the battle. After the gods lost, they combined at the mountain and created the goddess Durga with their divine energies. The Hindu goddess Durga rode a lion and engaged in a ferocious battle of ten days with the demon king Mahishasura and slew him, eventually earning the title of Sanskrit word, Mahishasuramardini, meaning killer of Mahishasura.
This story contains the profound message of victory of good over evil in its very context. It tells us that when one becomes powerful, he must be humble and grateful and should never be arrogant towards anyone. Such are the subliminal messages most Indians have learned since childhood and deeply ingrained within themselves. Most Indians attach a great deal of attachment to the symbolism embodied in Hindu mythology, and they are willing to respect it with their life.
Holidays of India
The major holidays of India are observed at the festivals of different faiths, such as Holi, Eid, Diwali, Buddha Poornima, Mahavir Jayanti, and Christmas. There are three other national holidays too, Republic day on 26 January, Independence day on 15 August, and Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October. These holidays seek to exalt our national outlook and relish our patriotism with a certain spark.
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It has a blend of ancient India and modern India. It has given youthful energy and vibrant colors to the national resurgence of India. It has always been at the forefront of various protests and movements. It remains at the center of political debates and discussions in the country.
The heart of India has always been Delhi. It has assumed a national significance from ancient times. The Pandavas had their capital in this city which marks the relevance and importance of Delhi. The national memories associated with this city thus have already assumed delicate sensibilities that India could never afford to ignore.
Temples and Architecture
The temples and architecture of India are one of the most underrated things ever. The splendid architecture of magnificent temples fills people with amazement and appreciation for the makers of such monuments. Tamil Nadu contains many historical temples which provide the visitors with a sense of galore amusement. Many Indians see those temples with an admixture of awe and pride.
The ancient temples of Lord Shiva in Tamil Nadu, India, located on the island of Rameshwaram, are one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples in India. The jyotirlingas are considered sacred. Similarly, there is another magnificent temple of Lord Shiva situated in Varanasi, Kashi Vishwanath temple. Seekers who visit these temples come back with a great sense of affection for the cultural heritage of India.
There are many cultural events constantly organized in many places in India. The holy city of Varanasi is one of the top centers for cultural activities, and mainly the Yoga session is organized every morning at the Assi ghats. On special occasions, classical singing and dancing programs are happening too.
The Khajuraho temples situated in Madhya Pradesh are a group of Hindu and Jain temples, indicating the plurality of Indian culture. These temples have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. They were made from the eighth century to the tenth century. India is proud to preserve such cultural heritage and have it recognized internationally.
Eastern India was famous for its places of education and universities. Universities like Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Puspagiri were centers of excellence in ancient times. Students from far away places came to study there. Durga, Shiva, Jagannath, and Krishna are the most popular deities of the region. West Bengal is famous for its enthusiasm for Durga Puja in the whole of India.
Traditional Indian culture
One of the most complex institutions found in India is the caste system. It has existed for thousands of years, and in recent times it has weakened because of the process of urbanization and modernization. The Indian government has undertaken many steps to ensure that the discrimination of any particular caste is completely abolished, which arises due to the caste system.
Arranged marriages are yet another enduring system in India. The bride and groom’s family meet together, and both decide to tie the knot of the couple. In recent decades, love marriages have started to grow, and thus this custom is also in decline.
The famous Hindu calendar known as Panchanga is a lunisolar calendar traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent. It is primarily used in India and Nepal. It helps determine the festival dates and has an important religious significance.
Indian clothing varies from region to region. The clothing styles in rural India are traditional, while Western clothes are dominant in urban areas. Dhoti kurta is recognized as the national dress of India.
Kumbh Mela at Prayag holds the record of the world’s largest gathering of India and the whole world in a peaceful manner. It is considered a Hindu pilgrimage.
Indian dance, in its classical form, has eight types. Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Gaudiya Nritya, Sattriya, Manipuri, and Mohiniyattam are classic dance forms by Sangeet Natak Academy.
Indian Hill Stations
There are numerous scenic hill stations in Himachal Pradesh where one can go to enjoy the aesthetic nature in its purest, natural, raw form. Kullu, Shimla, and Dharamshala are famous hill stations in Himachal Pradesh. Assam is the largest producer of tea in India. Tea plantations in Assam are huge, and thousands of workers are employed in them.
India has three essential and strategic coastal areas: The Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal.
The monsoon season in India starts in June. After the crops are fully grown, Indians celebrate their harvest festival, which varies from region to region. Lohri, Baisakhi and Pongal are such festivals.
In Rajasthan of India, Jaipur is known as the pink city of India. Pink denotes a sign of hospitality. Jaipur was painted pink when Prince Wales arrived in Jaipur. Indian business culture is guided by reverence for the people sitting at the authority of decision making.
India is a union of states. There are 28 Indian states in India. The British rule had a catastrophic result on the psyche of India, and ultimately, because of their conspiracies, our India was divided. It is our duty of us never to let it happen again. The diverse culture of India is its strength, and we should always steadfastly hold onto it.
As Mark Twain remarked, India was the cradle of the human race and the birthplace of human speech. We ought not to forget our contributions to the world.
These were some important facts about India. These facts about India give us a glimpse of Indians and their beautiful cultural values.