The land of colors, vibrancy, culture, and religion. An old nation with an age-old history of diverse cultures, religions, literature, art, and whatnot. If I were to ask you of a more uniquely divided country that stands strong nonetheless, not much comes to mind other than India, if you’ve lived here for a long time. And if not, there’s a lot you’ve been missing out.
The Cultural Heritage of India is so vast that It may take a whole life to study every little detail about it. Here, we try to explain about Culture and Heritage of India. This is not all but enough for your thirst for knowledge about Indian culture.
Apart from the regional and geographical factors, India is mainly divided into a multi-cultural federation by the major religions followed in India. India is massively inhabited by followers of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other subcontinental religions. Four of these religions are India borne and go way back into the history of Indian heritage. The rich mythology and folklore era of Indian culture is where a great nation was born.
Culture and Heritage of India
Indian heritage owes a major part of its intangible culture to these religions. A lot of traditional, folklore and language diversities transcend from the historical lineage passed on from generations. Different religious beliefs reasonably lead to various places of worship. And each of these religions is devoted to creating extremely beautiful holy spaces to keep their traditions and mythology alive. And it is equitable to say that every single one of these shrines is equally beautiful and play a significant role in the Indian culture and heritage history.
India participates to celebrate many festivals around the year too. Though most of the festivals are celebrated nationwide, some are celebrated exclusively in selected states or excessively in some states depending on the prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. These festivals can be celebrated on cultural, ethnic, religious or national modalities.
India celebrates three national holidays with utmost zeal and enthusiasm which are Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Different religions and states celebrate New Year at different times around the year. Bihu, Gudi padwa, Baisakhi and Ugadi are a few examples.
Apart from these, various harvest festivals are celebrated in multiple states according to their cropping seasons. Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Lohri, Onam, and Pongal are some of them.
As for cultural festivals, many states celebrate local festivals pertaining to ethnicity, religious prevalence, and regional importance. Many of these festivals are religiously divided and celebrated by only certain religions. Maha Shivratri, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Diwali, Dussehra, Janmashthami, Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi are some Hindu festivals popularly celebrated across the country. Eid-Ul-Fitr, Bakri Eid, Muharram, Shab-e-Baraat are celebrated with extreme enthusiasm by Muslims or Islam which is the second most followed religion in India. And of course, Christians celebrate Christmas and Good Friday ecstatically.
However, a few of these popular festivities are shared by multiple religions respectfully. Diwali is this colorful and appealing festival celebrated by not only Hindus but also Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. While Guru Nanak Jayanti is commonly celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs in Northern parts of India.
A lot of these festivals have evolved from being celebrated religiously to being celebrated by everyone in or around the state. And the best part of this religious diversity in India you ask? Indians get national holidays for every significant festival celebrated in any part of the country irrespective of religion, ethnicity or culture!
This was all about religious diversities but you know what makes the regional differences even better? Food! The food in India is just as diverse as India itself. Whether you move from North to South or East to West, you’re bound to experience such a wide range of soul food from different states each invariably different from the other in every way possible. Right from the use of ingredients and spices to the extreme end of the presentation. You would be surprised by how many delicacies we Indians can pull up with using Milk as the main ingredient exclusively.
Indian cuisine cannot be generalized since each state has a cuisine of itself. In simpler terms, it’s safe to say Indian cuisine is a packaged deal of at least 20 other cuisines. Each state has signature dishes that are naturally best served in the same state. Exciting much? That’s not all. Each of these states has its own traditional clothing too! India being a tropical country experiences different and extreme temperatures in different states which require the people to dress accordingly and hence the various outfits. These outfits are different in terms of the type of cloth, style, and fitting. The cloths are also an important part of cultural heritage of India.
India is also a multilingual country with 22 official languages of which 15 are Indo-European. Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Odiya are the 6 classical languages of India. The other languages spoken across the countries evolved with time diversifying with a change in accents and easier tongue.
Did you know India is just as versatile in written and performing arts too? There are basically eight classical Indian dance forms inspired by Indian mythology namely Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Yakshagana, Manipuri, Odissi, and Sattriya. In addition to these, there are a few other folk dances which include Bhangra, Bihu, Dandiya, Ghoomar, Lavani, etc. The discussion of the cultural heritage of India is incomplete if we don’t talk about folk dances and songs.
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Talking of Heritage, India might just be the richest country in terms of Visual beauties that go thousands of years back. At present, there are 38 world heritage sites in India protected by UNESCO. And apart from these, there is a tentative list of sites submitted to UNESCO. All in all, India houses a large number of sites that are both Independent and shared. These sites contrast between everything from holy places of worship to lakes, forts, and palaces to archaeological remains, villages to monuments, national parks, sanctuaries, gardens, and whatnot.
Some of these sites are also landmarked as sites of Satyagrah that is, these sites were a part of India’s non- violent freedom movement. There are also both Cold desert and hot desert landscapes that scale the northern and western parts respectively. And the old archaeological sites are so old they date back to the 16th century.
The Ajanta and Ellora caves, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, The Himalayan Range and lots and lots of palaces and tombs are peculiar among tourists.
Indian culture is eclecticism between multiple cultures, religions, and ethnicity which is what makes its rich cultural and historical heritage so appealing. Indian may not be competitive in economic terms but its heritage and diversified culture are richer than most countries.
Best Places Of Indian Cultural Heritage:
Well if you want to see the true cultural heritage of India, You must visit a few places that explain itself about the diversity of Indian culture. I am mentioning a few places here and you could read more about them by clicking the link.
- Taj Mahal
- Bahai Temple, Delhi (Lotus Temple)
- Ajanta Allora Caves
- Mysore Palace, Mysore
- Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar
- City Palace, Jaipur
- Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
- Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh
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India is an incredible country with diverse heritage and culture. After reading this article on the cultural heritage of India, you knew about many things about India.