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Culture and Heritage

The 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.

 Festivals in India

In India 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 country –

(This is not the complete list of festivals in India but shows the diversity in celebration of religious festivals).

Durga Puja – West Bengal

·Ganesh Chathurthi – Mahrashtra

·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

·Other Hindu religious occasions and festivals include Shivaratri, Makar Sankranti, Basant Panchami, Nag Panchami.  

Ugadi -Andhra Pradesh (new year)


·Muslim 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 and Easter

·Thee Independent 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.

Indian Dances 

Classical Indian 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-

1.Hindustani Music

2.Carnatic Music

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

Indian 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!

Indian monuments portal   - Just as the name suggests, if you want to know about great Indian monuments and heritage sites, visit this portal.