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The Indian lifestyle

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India will offers visitors an invaluable experience if you are looking forward to a new way of life. The country not only has one of the largest populations in the world, but is also the origin of one of the oldest civilisations. Well-known for its rich cultural and historical heritage, India is a highly preferred destination for tourists and expats. The multi-ethnic population spreads across the nation, adding unique and vibrant quotient to the nation.

Indian culture

India is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. Scores of tourists and expatriates go there to experience its immense cultural legacy as portrayed by palaces, fortresses, museums and temples, in a very colourful folk ambience. In fact, India is one of the world's most ancient civilisations, that has witnessed different periods of colonial occupation, including Rajputs and Mughals first, then the British and Portuguese. The country has advanced a lot over the years, yet the remnants of India's rich past are reflected in the splendid art and architecture as well as in beliefs, rituals, festivals, etc..

Customs and beliefs

India is marked by the presence of different beliefs and customs. The vast Indian community includes people from various faiths including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Sikhism, not to mention Islam and Christianity. Every religion with its unique customs and rituals add a distinct flavour to the country that makes it an incredible land. Indians celebrate all special occasions like birth, marriage, harvest season, festivals and fairs with much zeal, following their own particular tradition.

Good to know:

Some animals in India are highly revered and even worshipped, especially cows. Vegetarianism is highly promoted and preferred by many.

Languages of India

India enjoys a wide linguistic heritage. The Constitution of India recognises 23 official languages, among which are Hindi and English. Hindi is said to be the official language of the country. However, while many people speak Hindi in India, the country is dominated by other regional languages. In fact, according to one of the reports of The Times of India nearly 59% of the Indians speak other than Hindi. Every region has its language, for instance in Bengal it is Bengali, in Maharashtra its Marathi, in Tamil Nadu its Telugu, in Punjab its Punjabi, etc.. English is the country’s administrative language and is widely used in the main cities.

Festivals in India

Because India enjoys a vast culture with a multitude of traditions, there are several festivals celebrated throughout the year. The Hindu calendar is marked by festivals and other celebrations all year long, regardless of the region. These include national and local public holidays, some of which are determined according to the lunar calendar.

The most popular festivals in India are the following: Makar Sankranti (the harvest festival), Holi (the festival of colors), Ganesh Chaturthi (the immersion of the God with an elephant head), Deepavali (the festival of lights), Durga Puja (the nine nights of the Goddess Durga), Maha Shivaratri (the great night of Shiva), Hanuman Jayanti (birth of the Lord Hanuman), Krishna Janmashtami (birth of the Lord Krishna), Rama Navami (birth of the Lord Rama), and many more.

Apart from these, there are other festivals including national festivals that are widely celebrated across the country like Independence Day on August 15, Republic Day on January 26, Gandhi Jayanti on October 2nd, as well as Eid-Ul-Fitr, Christmas and New Year.

Family values

Although the country has progressed a lot and adopted modernity in their culture and traditions, there are certain values that people continue to preserve. Family bonding and kinship is one such valued tradition that is given utmost importance in India. Even today you will find joint family systems where more than two generations live together under the same roof.  Important decisions are taken by the senior members of the family. Respect, love and care form the cornerstone of the family bonding.

Indian fashion and clothing

There are a variety of clothing styles worn in India. Some of the traditional clothing worn in India includes churidar, salwar kameez, sarees, lehenga, etc., which are worn by women, and kurta-pyjama, sherwani, dhoti etc., worn by men. Though simple versions are adopted for day to day life, more lavish styles are worn on special occasions like during festivals and weddings. Note that accessories and jewellery are also an important part of styling, and often have religious or cultural significance. In addition to Indian outfits, Western fashion is also popular, especially amongst the younger generation in major cities. Skirts, tops, t-shirts and pants are widely available and worn by a large number of Indians.

Indian cuisine

Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of tastes and flavours, that differs depending on the region. The traditional Indian cuisine is mainly divided into two types namely, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. While vegetarian cuisine includes lentils, pulses, chickpeas, cottage cheese, etc., the non-vegetarian cuisine includes varieties of chicken and mutton items, biryani, kebabs, fish, etc.. Meals are generally accompanied with rice, rotis, naans, poori, etc.. Note that Indian cooking style encompasses large assortment of dishes with liberal use of herbs and spices, and methods of cooking the same dish vary from region to region. Some of the desserts that you can enjoy include ras malai, rasgullas, kheer, jalebi, barfi, halwa, etc.. The traditional drinks like lassi, falooda and sharbat are delights to tastebuds.

Arts in India

India is a land of veritable treasure — dancing, singing, poetry, painting, acting; all types of creative art forms can be found here. Based on raaga, Indian music has been passed on from one generation to another. Apart from the traditional classical music, todays Indian music industry is also influenced by contemporary and Western-style music.

Several classical dance styles, such as bharatnatyam, kathakali, kathak, kuchipudi, dandiya raas and garba, as well as modern and contemporary dance, are also very popular.

Bollywood forms an integral part of the Indian entertainment industry which has a wide arts heritage, involving music, singing and dancing. Indeed, many Indian singers, musicians, dancers and choreographers are well known on the international stage.

Handicraft

Indian crafts are famous worldwide for its rare and beautiful artwork. You can find a range of handicrafts available, be it embroidered bedsheets, handloom woven sarees, Kashmiri carpets and shawls, pottery, kundan jewellery, handmade leather items like shoes, purses, jackets, etc.. You will find these high-quality products at different market places and even at fairs and exhibitions that are held from time to time.

 

 Useful links:

India Official Portal
I love India

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India is known to be one of the world's biggest and most densely populated country's, with a very diverse economy that attracts many foreigners.
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