The Indian Culture is an assimilation of the customs, ideas and traditions of the various civilizations that ruled the country at various points of time in its history. Indus Valley Civilization is one of the great civilizations that influenced the culture of India to a large extent. Apart from Indus Valley Civilization, the Vedic culture, the Golden Age, rise and fall of Buddhism, the Mughal era and the British conquests also have a considerable influence on India's Culture. The multifariousness of the Indian customs, cultural practices, religion, language, art and architecture, music and dance are exemplary of this unique amalgamation over the past 5 millennia.
Religions in India
People belonging to various religions live in India. Following are the major religions practised in India:
Languages in India
About 415 languages are spoken in the different states of India. However, English and Hindi are recognized as the official languages.
Salwa kameez and sari are two most traditional clothes worn by Indian ladies. Dhoti and Kurta is traditional dress for Indian men. In rural parts of Rajasthan and Bihar, women prefer wear Ghaghra Cholis. But he people of metropolitan India are mostly comfortable in western garments and Salwar suits.
India is known for its architectural treasures. In the ancient period, the temples were mostly made of perishable materials like clay and timber. As days passed, the cave rock-cut temples came into existence. Structures with elaborate carvings and sculpture came centuries later.
The Gupta Period witnessed the construction of various brick and stone temples with elaborate sculptures. The excellence of Indian architecture is best witnessed in
- Ajanta and Ellora caves
- Aurangabad, Badami
- Khajuraho Temples
- Konark Temple of Orissa
The Buddhist Stambhas and Stupas are also exemplary of ancient Indian architecture at its best. Some of the well-known Stambhas include
- Laurya Nandangarh ( Nepal)
- Basarh Bakhira
- Sarnath Stambha
Indian Art and Culture:
As far as Indian art is concerned, music and dance from an integral part of Indian arts, the other form of art being theatre.
Indian Music is divided into Instrumental music and Vocal music. Completely based on the 'rags' and 'tals', Indian Classical music has been divided into 2 traditions:
- Hindusani Sangeet ( North Indian Tradition)
- Carnatic Sangeet ( South Indian Tradition)
Fundamentally both the traditions are similar but they exhibit difference in nomenclature. The way of performance is different in he two traditions of Indian Classical Music. Today, modern music is intensely practised in different parts of India. Modern Indian music includes different types of folk music and pop music. Modern Hindi Film songs are selling like hot cakes now-a-days.
Indian dance has been divided into various classical and folk forms. Major Indian Classical dance forms include:
- Kathak ( Uttar Pradesh)
- Odissi ( Orissa)
- Bharatnayam ( Tamil Nadu)
- Kuchipudi ( Andhra Pradesh)
- Kahakali ( Kerala)
- Manipuri ( Manipur)
Like Indian music and dance, Indian drama boasts of its long history. Meghadoota and Shakunala by Kalidasa are two famous famous among the ancient Indian plays. The plays of Bhasa are also popular among the Indian audience. Padma Shri Mani Madhava Chakyar brought back the dramatic art form from extinction. He staged the celebrated Kalidasa plays including Malavikagnimitra, Abhijnanasakuntala and Vikramorvasiya. He also popularized Pancharatra and Swapnavasavadatta of Bhasa on stage.
Paintings in India are generally categorized into:
- Murals ( Paintings on walls)
- Miniatures ( Paintings on perishable materials like cloth and paper)
Paintings in Ajantha and Kailasantaha temple serve as the biggest example of Murals. Mughal and Rajasthani Miniatures are exemplary of Miniature painting.