Posted On : 22-01-2022
The Indian culture is a blend of its ethics, values, morals, practices, goals, and shared beliefs. The world admires us for our astounding rituals, unique traditions, diverse customs, and intriguing beliefs that are part of our vibrant culture. We represent a strong united nation despite our cultural diversity. Here is a peek through some unique elements of divergent cultures in India that make it such a great nation.
India has witnessed the rise and fall of great empires. They all converge into significant religions in India. In the secular state of India, everyone has an equal right to choose and practice a religion. Here, you will find Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Zoroastrians under the same roof dining in a restaurant. That is the beauty of religious diversity found only in our motherland.
Northern India is famous for its sacred religious places to worship God Shiva and Goddess Durga. Likewise, Southern India is renowned for the temples of Rameshwaram, Sabrimala, Sringeri, and Dakshineshwar-Belur math. Many of the Hindu temples are located in symmetry with the magnetic wave lines of Earth. Such a disposition maximizes the available positive energy. Also, Muslims have well-known pilgrimages to Mecca and Dargah Sharif.
Sikhs have famous temples like Harmandir Sahib and Tarn Taran in Amritsar, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur, and Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda. The intriguing anecdotes about the hot springs of the Manikaran Gurudwara in Himachal Pradesh are also world-famous. Furthermore, India has innumerable churches in every state.
Different religions celebrate numerous festivals in India. For example, Hindus celebrate Diwali, Makar Sakranti, and Holi. Muslims celebrate Eid. While Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi and Guru Purab. Christians celebrate Christmas and Good Friday. While Jains celebrate Mahavir Jayanti. Also, Buddha Poornima is a famous festival of Buddhists.
You can find various sacred symbols associated with different religions. They indeed have profound meaning for the Indians. Some of these symbols are part of daily worship rituals. You can find many of them in religious texts and ancient scriptures. Every religion gets equal respect and space to nourish in India. Our nation depicts ‘unity in diversity.’ Here, people stay united despite diverse religious practices and different cultural beliefs.
The greeting customs in India are as diverse as the Indian religions. For instance, Hindus greet elders and guests with folded hands or ‘Namaste’. During the desperate times of pandemic, even different nations of the world have adopted this safe custom of greeting people. On the other hand, Muslims address outsiders by raising their right hand to their forehead or ‘Adab’.
However, the significance of a simple Namaste is much more than what first meets the eye. According to Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures; Namaste is one of the five traditional forms of greetings. Indians go by the Sanskrit verse from sacred Hindu scripture that says 'Atithi Devo Bhavah'. It means guests are equivalent to god. Some people also put flower garlands around the neck of the guests to welcome them. Indeed, no other western greeting custom can create the magic as reflected by the Indian customs of greeting people.
One of the astounding practices in Hindu culture is Upvas or Fasting. People practice fasting to express their gratitude towards the deity. People observe fasts on various religious occasions. Hindus strongly believe that depriving your body of food can cleanse off your sins and shower heavenly blessings.
Various animals are considered sacred in India. For example, Cow and Bull are considered holy animals in Indian culture. People worship cows on different religious occasions. You can also find various mentions to protect cows in Vedic scriptures.
Indian landscape has numerous architectural masterpieces and heritage sites. Each of them has a story to decipher. There are about 37 breathtakingly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Tourists from all over the world frequently visit these places. These include but are not limited to:
You can notice the diversity in Indian culture also in the languages and attire of Indian people. Although the widely spoken languages are Hindi and English. People in different states of India speak over 400 languages with differing dialects. You can notice the change in dialect even in adjoining states located a few kilometers away.
Many of the ancient languages have gone extinct over time. About 190 languages have been considered endangered because of the few people who can speak them now. Even clothing varies according to religion, region, and ethnicity in India. Our contemporary yet traditional Indian saris in beautiful colors and designs are famous worldwide. Women in traditional regional attire look graceful and noteworthy. Further, similar traditional clothing is available for Indian men in different religions.
Indians often complement their attire with a piece of jewelry. However, you can visibly make out the difference in the jewelry designs of North and South India. People wear uniquely-designed, hand-crafted, artistic jewelry pieces on auspicious occasions. They pass them on from one generation to another. The gesture exemplifies the uniqueness and grace of Indian culture.
You can find different types of ornaments popular in different states of India. For example, Lac jewelry is well-liked in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Some jewelry pieces also signify the sacred bond of marriage in India.
Food is an integral part of Indian culture. Indian food is prepared by adding different spices and exclusive herbs. They add aroma and enhance the taste. However, different states follow different styles of cooking. Almost every Indian state is famous worldwide for its signature dish. Despite the diversity, the staple food for the nation includes wheat, rice, pulses, and Bengal gram.
Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisines are strictly vegetarian. While Bengali, Mughlai, and Panjabi cuisines are primarily famous for non-vegetarian dishes. Some specific cuisines, including Kashmiri, are influenced by foreign cooking styles. North Indian food contains heavy spices and herbs. However, people relish Indian sweets and savory delights with equal enthusiasm worldwide. While people of North and West prefer using spoons and forks. People of East and South India would rather eat with their hands.
India has a rich cultural heritage in visual and performing arts. Almost every Indian state has an associated classical dance form. Furthermore, dance, drama, music, and theater uniquely portray the religious diversity in India. Visual arts indeed clearly depict the mythological beliefs and classic literature of Indian states.
Pottery is an ancient aesthetic visual art form. It has great religious significance in India. We even call our nation the land of Gods for the innumerable deities carved in potter’s clay. They are worshipped all over the country. A strong value system is a foundation for cultural diversity that is respected and admired with awe on the world stage.
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