· Our Religions
· Our Languages
· Dance, Music and Art
· Our Scientist
· The Food We Wear
· Our Festivals
India has one of the richest and most exciting cultural tradition in the world our culture goes back several thousands year. That is why ours is known as one of the oldest civilization in the world. India is a land of festivals. There is hardly any month of the year without any festival. Therefore the festivals also play an important in our life & they remains our culture evergreen similarly there are many states in our India, all having their own traditional dress& food also because of all this about India it has be said that India has unity in diversity. In this project will learn about the varieties of our India & I will try to attract you towards the Indian culture or a great culture.
India, being a secular country does not have any state religion. The state of India allows for freedom of faith, worship & religion. People of many different religions live in our country. They are free to follow & preach the religion of their choice. Among the major religion in India, Hinduism is the largest, followed by Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddism, Jainism & Zoroastrianism.
Hinduism is among the most ancient religions of India. The followers of Hinduism account for over 80% of India's total population. The holy books & scriptures of Hinduism include the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita & the epics like the Ramayana & the Mahabharata.
Hindus believe in one supreme God but they worship God in different avatars or forms. Hinduism has a rich & varied philosophy. They have been many well-known Hindu thinkers & reformers like Adi Shanker, Dayanand Saraswati, & Swami Vivekananda. They all have tried to teach us how to be better human beings.
The followers of Islam are known as Muslim. They are second largest religions community in India accounting for over 11% of her total population. Muslims believe in only one God of or Allah. Prophet Mohammad is believed to be the last & the greatest of the Prophets. He was born in 570 A.D in Mecca. He preached & spread Islam. The Koran is a holy book of the Muslims. The devout Muslim has five duties belief in one God; prayers five time a day; the giving of alms; a month’s fast every year; and a pilgrimage to Mecca atleast once in life time. The Muslims do not allow idol worship. Neither do they allow any picture of Allah.
Christians comprise about two & a half % of India’s population. Christianity was founded by Lord Jesus Christ. He was born at Bethlehem in Israel near two thousand year ago. Jesus taught the people the importance of peace, love & compassion. The teachings of Jesus Christ are contained in the holy book, Bible Christians worship in a Church. The symbol of a Church is cross signifies the crucifixion of Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sikhs constitute a little the 2% of India’s population. Sikhism, which emerged in the15th century, was founded by Guru Nanak Dev. Sikhism tried to bridge the gap between Hinduism & Islam. Guru Nanak Dev said that the God for Hindus & Muslims was the same. Sikhs worship in a Gurudwara. Their holy book is called the Guru Nanak Dev & the nine Guru who came after him.
Buddhism originated in India and its follower’s formless then 1% of India’s population. The founder of Buddhism was Lord Gautam Buddha. He was the son of an India, King. Who lived 2500 years ago. His childhood name Siddharatha. He gave up his princely life & went out for true knowledge. At last he become enlightened under the Bodhi tree in Gaya. From that day he become known as the Buddha or the enlightened one. Buddha believed in non- violence. He thought that every human being must follow the middle path & adopt good behaviour & simple habits. Buddism spread to China, Sri Lanka, Japan &many other countries in Asia.
The Jains form about half of a percent of India’s population Jainism was founded by Mahavira. He lived about 2,500 years ago. He preached Ahimsa, right conduct, right faith and tolerance. The followers of Jainism are strict vegetarians & do not hurt living things.
The followers of Zoroastrianism are called Parsis. Zoroastrianism was founded by the great Persian. Prophet Zoroaster or Zarathushtra. He preached that there is a continuous battle going on between the forces of good and evil. And in the end God always triumphs or wins over evils. The parsis worship in a fire Temple. The holy book of parsis is Zend Avesta.
There are as many as 1,652 languages & dialects spoken in different parts of India. It is said that in India a dialect changes every thirty or 40km.
The constitution of India recognizes 18 major languages they are: -
(1) Assamese (2) Bangla
(3) Gujrati (4) Hindi
(5) Kannada (6) Konkani
(7) Malayalam (8) Manipuri
(9) Marathi (10) Nepali
(11) Punjabi (12) Tamil
(13) Sindhi (14) Kasmiri
(15) Sanskrit (16) Oriya
(17) Telgu (18) Urdu
Of these Sanskrit & Tamil are the oldest languages. The scripts of all these languages except Kasmiri, Sindhi & Urdu are written from left to right. The script of Kasmiri, Sindhi & Urdu are written from right to left.
Hindi is the official language of India. Before Independence English was the official language of India.
Dance & Music are an important part of the culture of our country. The people tell stories about their history through these forms of arts.
In India there are two main types of dances, folk dance & classical dance.
Folk dances are performed by a group of people. These dances are performed on special occasions. The occasion may be a feast, a festival or a wedding. Through these dances, people express their joy. In India there are numerous folk dances. The most well-known folk dances & their areas are listed below.
Falk dances State
Nati Himachal predesh
Kolattam Tamil Nadu
Rouf Jammu & Kashmir
Classical dance are entirely different from folk dances. They require training & prachce. They are based on different beats & rhythms. Each moment & gesture of the dancer has some meaning. The dancers wear special costumers like masks & head dresses.
The main classical dances & their areas are given below.
Perhaps these dances were performed in temples or place in the past. Now a day we can see these in films & on TV.
Classical music has a long & rich tradition in India. It is said that saint Narada, son of saraswati, taught music to men. The earliest book on India music is Rikaprahohakhaya. There are two main schools or divisions of music in India. The north India school is cornatic. Both Hindustani & carnatic styles of music are based on ragas. There are different ragas for different times, occasions & even for seasions. In the past there were great singers like tansen, haridas, &Baiju Bawra.Tensen, a great singer in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar has composed many ragas.
Instrumental Music is also very popular in our country. The popular musical instruments are the flite, shanai, sitar, harmonium, tabla, sarangi, veena, moidangam & dhalak. Some of the famous instrumental musicians of our country are Ravi Shanker, Allo Rakha, Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali Khan, Bismillah Khan, Hari Prasad Choursia & Zakir Husian.
Indian Painting has a style of its own. There have been artists in India for thousands of years. Kings employed artists & empeross to decorate their places & temples. Some kings were very found of art of & they employed artists even from other countries. For example, when mughals first came to India they bought with them the persain artists. They painted landscapes, hunting scenes, scenes from the royal durbars & battle fields. However, the most famous & the finest painting can be seen in the Ajanta caves. These paintings are nearly fifteen hundred years old. They were painted by the Boudha Bhikshus or priests. These paintings look bright even today. These painting at Ajanta are called Frescos.
When people think of India, they think of its architecture. India has an amazing variety of architecture. The ruins of the Indus valley civilization tell us how advanced we were even 5000 ago. The stupas of sanchi & sarnath, built by the emperor Ashok & his successors, are the finest specimens of Indian architecture.
The Kailash temple at Ellora is perhaps the greatest wonder of its kind. The whole temple has been carved out from a single rock. There is a long list of ancient temples which speak about their beauty. Mention must be made of the temple of Konark, Puri, Khajuarho, Bellur, Thanjavur, Tripati, Chennai and Madurai.
The Meenakshi temple at Madurai has a huge hall with one thousand pillars. Therefore, it is called the hall of a thousand pillars. Each pillar has been carved with sculptures which tell the stories about the lives of the Gods.
The Turks and Mughals introduced the special style of central Asian architecture in our country. These styles were combined with ours and thus resulted in a new style of architectural designs. Some of the examples of this new style of architectural designs are the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur, the Jama Masjid, the Red Fort and the Humanyun Tomp of Delhi, and the Taj Mahal of Agra.
The Qutab Minar is one of the word’s finest examples of tower building. Built in the thirteenth century, it rises over 230 feet.
The forts of Agra, Gwalior and Chittorgarh are very strong and huge structures.
With the coming of the Europeans, our architecture grew further. The British built huge churches and official building. Examples of the British architecture in India are the St. Xavier Church In Goa the Victoria Memorial at Kolkata, the present Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Parliament House in New Delhi.
The Victoria Memorial at Kolkata is one of the most impressive monuments in India. Made of white marble, it reminds us of the Europwan and Mughal architecture. It took fifteen years to build the Victoria Memorial. It has portraits and statues of almost all the main figure in British-India history.
Since independence, Indian architecture has made much progress. We have huge and beautiful buildings, temples and railway stations in almost every big city. The Assembly buildings of Mumbai and Jaipur and New Delhi municipal corporation office building are the example of new architectural designs. The Lotus Temple of Delhi is a valuable treasure of Indian architecture.
India is proud of having many scholars and scientists who have made great contributions in science, mathematics, astronomy and medical sciences. Aryabhatta & Varahamihir were celebrated Indian astronomers. They could study the heavently bodies like stars with great accuracy. Beside an astronomer, Aryabhatta was also a great mathematician. Indian’s first satellite, Aryabhatta was christened after him.
Charaka & Sushruta, were famous physicians of ancient India. Charaka is called the ‘king of Indian physician’. Sushruta was an expert surgeon. He is called the ‘father of plastic surgery’. Their writing are valued even today. The Truks & Mughals also made valuable contributions to medical science. Their system of medicine in know as Unani.
In the field of mathematic, the concept of zero was given by Indian thinkers. The numbers 1 to 10 & the decimal system are also entirely Indian. The Arab trader learnt these mathematical systems from Indians & carried them to Europe. The Arabs called these numbers Hindsa.
Today, Indians scientists are known through out the world. Indian scientists like C.V roman, J.C Bose, Homi Bhabha & Vikram sarabhai have made significant contribution to the growth of modern science.
Our country is very big. There are 26 States and 6 Union Territories in our country. People eat different kind of food in different state & union territories. In some parts people like to eat rice. There are other parts where most of the people prefer millet (Jower or Bajra). Thus, wheat, rice, & millet are the most popular food grains. Beside the food grains, people eat many other things like pulses, sugar, fruits, vegetable, egg, meat, fish, edible oil, bread & biscuits.
Generally people eat those foods items more which are grow in that area.
In the northern state of India like Punjab, Haryana, Utter pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and wheat is the main foods of the people.
In desert sate of Rajasthan, millets like jowar & corn are eaten beside wheat.
People living in Bihar, Bengal, Orissa, Assam & also the states of southern India generally prefer rice. People near sea cousts eat rice with fish.
Cereals & lentils like ragi & dals are eaten through out the country. Similarly, vegetables & fruits are also eaten all over the country.
Many people prefer meat, eggs & fish. People who eat meat & meat products are called non-vegetarians people who do not eat meat, egg, & fish are called vegetarians.
Let us see some special food eaten by the people in certain parts of our country.
The people of Kashmir prefer to eat rice, fish & karan ka sag. The popular food of the people of Punjabi is makki ki roti & sarson ka sag. The people of Bengal & other eastern states eat rice & fish. Their favorite sweet dishes are Rasgulla & Sandesh. The people of Gujrat & Maharashtra like to eat Rice, Dal, Curds, Vegetables & Papads.
Sambhar, Dosa, Idli, Rasam & Uthapam are favorite dishes of the people of south India.
India is famous all over the world for its spices. Spices are used to flavour different dishes. Some of the common spices are saffron, turmeric, chilies, ginger, conander, cloves, cardamom & garlic.
The country produces a rich variety of fruits. Himachal pradesh is famous for apples, Gujrat for chikus & Bihar for litchis. Mangos & bananas are found throughout the country. Orange of Nagpur is famous all over the world.
India has a vast population. In many part of the country sufficient foods is not available. So our Government sends foods articles to these areas. Fruits & vegetable are also transported from the place they are grown in plenty to other place.
The central government has a separate tood & civil supplies ministry. It arranges the food grains for the people all over the country. People get the food grains & other food articles from fair price shop or ration shop at reasonable price.
The surface of the land is different in different parts of our country. People living in different parts of India eat different type of foods.
Similarly, the climate is not the same in all parts of our country. Some places have very hot summer & very cold winters. Place near the sea have the same climate throughout the years. Therefore people living in different areas ware different types of dresses. However, there are some dresses women & men, which are common & very popular throughout the country.
The most common dresses of women in India are saree, salwar-kameez, blouse, skirt (ghagra) & a shawl (odhani) to cover the head.
The pattern & style of wearing a saree varies from state to state.
Let us see the popular dresses of women in different states of India.
Salwar-Kameez with Dupatta is the popular dress of women in Punjabi Ghagra-Kurta with Odhani in Haryana, Ghagra-Choli in Uttar predesh, Ghagra-Blouse with Odhani in Rajasthan, Lehnga & Choli in Gujrat & Baku in Sikkim.
The dresses of men also differ depending upon the place they live in. The most common dresses of men are Trousers, Shirts, Dhoti-Kurta, Dhoti-Shirt, Kurta-Pyjama and Kurta-Lungi.
In many states, people still follow their traditional style of wearing dresses. Achkan with a turban is popular in Rajasthan; Chundar Pyjama and Jecket are common in Gujart and Dhoti-Kurta in Utter Pradesh and West-Bengal.
Trubans and Caps are a part of Indian mans headgerar. But the style of tying a turban varies from state to state.
The people of Utter Pradesh and Gujrat use Gandhi cap to cover the head. The cap of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its beautiful embroidery.
India is a land of festivals. There is hardly any month of the year without a festival. We all celebrate festivals like Holi, Diwali, Id, Onam, Bihu, Guruparb, Chirstmas and Pongal with great Pomp and Slow.
A festival is a day of rejoicing. People wear new clothes and prepare many types of sweet and other dishes.
Some festivals are celebrated throughout the country. Other festivals are celebrated only in some parts of the country.
Festivals are mainly of three kinds:
Now some discussion about these festivals in detail
National Festivals are celebrated by all the people in country. Independence Day, Republic day, Gandhi Jayanti are our National Festivals.
Independence Day is celebrated on 15th August every year. The prime Minister of India hoists the National Flag at Red Fort & addresses the people. The National Flag is also hoisted in schools, offices & other important places throughout the country. On 15th August 1947, India got freedom from the British Rule.
Republic Day is celebrated on 26th January every year. A big parade is taken out at Rajpath on this day. The President of India takes the salute of the Republic Day parade Children who won awards for bravery also take part in the parade. Tableaux from different states are a big attraction of parade. We also remember the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters on this day. On 26th January, 1950, India becomes a Republic.
Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2nd October every year. We celebrate this day to mark the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. Prayers are held at his Samadhi at Rajghat in New Delhi. People spin on Charkha & sing the Ramdhum. The whole country pays homage to the Father of the Nation on this day.
Religious Festivals are celebrated by the people of different religions. Some of the important religious of festivals are Dussehra, Diwali, Id, Christmas, Ganesh Chathurthi, & Durga Puja.
Dussehra is celebrated throughout the country. It is a ten-day festival. Ramlila is staged for nine days. On the tenth day the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are burnt. This marks the day when Lord Rama killed the ten-headed demon king Ravana. This festival marks the victory of good over evil. That is why it is known as Vijay Dahmi.
Diwali is called the Festival of lights. It marks the return of Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. People express their joy by lighting oil lamps (Diyas), candles & electric bulbs. People clean their homes & wear new clothes. Lord Ganesh & Goddess Lakshmi are worshiped on Diwali night. The children play with crackers.
Business men & traders celebrate this day as a NEW YEAR DAY.
Id-Ul-Fitter is an important Muslim festival Id is celebrated at the end of Ramzan. Ramzan is the month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. On Id, Muslims wear new clothes & offer namaz in the Mosque Namaz is a form of worship of Good. They embrace each other & exchange greetings. They greet each other saying ‘Id MUBARAK’ Sewain, a special sweet dish, is prepared by the Muslims on this day.
Christmas is celebrated every day on 2 year on 25th December by Christians. It marks the birthday of Jesus Chirst. Christians go to church at midnight or in the morning for offering prayers. A small Christmas tree is set up in every house. This tree is beautifully decorated with paper stars, bell & coloured glass balls. Children believe that Santa Claus leaved gifts for them under the Christmas tree
The birthday of the ten G. Sikh Gurus are celebrated by the Sikhs as Gurupards. The birthday of Guru Nanak, Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Arjan Dev, & Guru Gobind Singh are celebrated with great pomp & show. Huge processions are taken out. The Sikhs go to Gurudwaras & listen to the Gurubani from their Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib.
Durga Pooja is the most popular festival of Bengal. It lasts for ten days. For nine days, people worship ten armed images of goddess Durga, the Goddess of Shakti. On tenth day, images are immersed in a holy river. Thousands of people participate in this festival.
Ganesh Pooja is celebrated in Maharashtra. People of all communities participate in it with great enthusiasm. Coloured idols of lord Ganesh are taken home.
The birthday of Gautam Buddha is celebrated as Buddha Purnima. Special prayers are offered by the Buddhists on this day.
Harvest Festivals are celebrated to mark the changes in seasons. Harvest is the time of gathering ripe crops.
Holi, as harvest festival, is mainly celebrated in North India. It is called the festival of colours. It marks the end of winter.
Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated for three days. Bhogi Ponal, the first day, is celebrated by worshipping the sun. Surya pongal, the second day, is celebrated as a family festival.
Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala. People believe that kind Mahadali visits the country on this day. People decorated their homes with coloured lights at night.
Baisakhi is the harvest festival of Punjab. It is celebrated in the month of April. People express their joy with the beat of dholak & perform the popular Bhangra dance.
Bihu is the harvest festival of Assam. It is celebrated three times a year. Young boys & girls in typical Assamese dresses perform the special Bihu dance.
There are many other festivals celebrated in various parts of the country. A list of such festivals is given below:
Reason for celebration
It marks deep affection between brother & sister. On this day sister ties a Rakhi on the wrist of her brother.
It is celebrated in the honour of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. It is a seasonal festival
Christians fast on this day. Jesus Christ was crucified on this day.
It is the birthday of lord Mahavira
It is the mourning festivals of the Muslims.
It is the birthday & death anniversary of Prophet Mohammad
It is the birthday of lord Krishna. It is celebrated all over India.
It is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva
It is the birthday of Chacha Nehru. It is celebrated on 14th November every year.
It is celebrated on 5th September. It is the birthday of Dr. Radha Krishnan.
Festivals bring people of different religions and regions close to each other. They speak of the cultural unity of our country.