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Culture and Heritage
cultural diversity in India widely varies from state to state and even
within some large states you might find diverse cultures. But underneath
this cultural diversity one could find the common heritage, a fabric that
binds all these apparently diverse cultures together. Large number of
language and dialects are just one reflection of the cultural diversity.
Eighty percent of Indians follow Hindu religion and religious rites
performed after birth, death and during marriage ceremonies are fairly
similar following mostly Vedic traditions, with some local variations in
customs in many state.
large number of religious festivals take place and nearly every month
there are one or two religious festivals.
Celebration of some of these religious festivals also varies widely
within India, with some festivals being peculiar to certain regions of the
not the complete list of festivals in India but shows the diversity in
celebration of religious festivals).
Durga Puja – West Bengal
·Navratri and Dusshera – More in North and
Western India (Gujrat, Maharashtra)
·Jagganath Rath Yatra – Orissa and Bengal
·Krishna Janmashtami – More popular in
North and East of the country
·Dipavali or Diwali (festival of light) –
Celebrated nearly all over India.
·Holi (festival of colors) – More popular
in North and Western India.
·Baisakhi –North India specially Punjab
·Chat Puja – Bihar and Eastern U.P
·Bihu – Assam
·Pongal – Tamil Nadu
·Onam – Kerala
·Teej – In Rjasthan and North India
religious occasions and festivals include Shivaratri, Makar Sankranti,
Basant Panchami, Nag Panchami.
Ugadi -Andhra Pradesh (new year)
festivals of Idul- Fitar , Idul-Zuhat and Muharram.
·Buddhist festival– Buddha Jayanti
·Jain festival – Mahavir Jayanti
·Sikh festivals – Guru Nanak’s birthday,
Shaheed Diwas and Guru Gobind Singh birthday.
·Christian festivals – Christmas, New Year
day and Republic day are two national festivals and Holidays.
Some major fairs in India –
Kumbh Mela – Held every three years by rotation
in Allahabad (Prayag), Hardwar, Nasik, Ujjain.
Pushakar and Nagaur fair – In Rajasthan
Nauchandi Mela – Meerut, U.P
Trade Fair – Delhi
Kullu Mela- Himachal pradesh
Besides these there are hundreds of other
smaller fairs and festivals taking place all over India round the year.
Dances are usually always spiritual in content. Most of classical dances
have some sort of religious or mythological themes. Indian dance is divided
into - ‘Nritya’ - the combination of rhythm with expression and
‘Natya’ - the dramatic element. Facial expression, eye movement and hand
postures are some of the characteristic features of Indian classical dances.
Indian mythology and religious scriptures provide details about music and
dances in ancient times. Nataraja or God Shiva is considered as the as the
original creator of rhythm in Universe. Narad Muni (a sage) is the patron of
Music and dances. Numerous. In Indian mythology Gandharvas (demigods) were
the great promoters of music and dances. Rambha, Maineka, Urvashi were some
of the famous Apsara´s (court dancers) of Lord Indra (King of demigods).
The most popular classical dance styles seen
in the India are:
Bharatanatyam - Tamil Nadu,
Kathakali and Mohiniyattam - Kerala,
Odissi - Orissa,
Kathak - Uttar Pradesh,
Kuchipudi - Andhra Pradesh
Manipuri – Manipur
Indian Classical Music -
Indian Classical Music is broadly classified
in two categories-
Hindustani music is
from North India. Dhrupad is the older style of Hindustani music, now rare.
Carnatic music is the music of South India, different in many of its terms
and formal demands, although similar in overall outline. Both probably have
a common origin. Indian music is based on melody. The melody is brought out
through the medium of the raga. Typically, a taal is played on the
percussion instrument to accompany the performer. Although the total number
of ragas in Hindustani classical music was as big as 300, several of
them have been lost over the centuries. About 100 ragas are known and
performed these days. Indian music can be learnt mainly through listening
and practice. It is very helpful to have a Guru to teach if anyone is
seriously interested in Indian classical music.
Some Links to Indian Heritage and Culture -
Encyclopedia - This online
encyclopedia gives concise information on people and culture of India. Also
provides some good links.
India heritage -
comprehensive website that is devoted to presenting information on the many
facets of Indian heritage and culture
Heritage - Provides detailed information on
Indian culture and heritage.
Heritage Indian visit -
You can check out the world Heritage sites and hotels in India at this site
and also get information on culture, arts, architecture etc.
India Profile - They have
tried to cover everything about India.
Culturopedia - Another
good site on Indian culture. Has much more than just culture and heritage .
Check this out!
monuments portal - Just as the name
suggests, if you want to know about great Indian monuments and heritage
sites, visit this portal.