Indian culture is known around the world as one of the most vibrant and mystical cultures that exist today, this fabulous Asian expression is the result of a fascinating fusion and assimilation of different elements. It is a great cultural mix that has absorbed trends from neighboring countries, creating a majestic heterogeneous cultural dynamic, which is reflected in aspects ranging from religion to architecture, art, gastronomy or customs. Its plurality has led it to become one of the most interesting countries on the planet, and an excellent tourist destination for travelers from all over the world.
This Hindu culture has been offering traditions for millennia, which go back to the Rig-Veda, the oldest text in India, from the XNUMXth century BC After Islamic invasions and the domination of Western countries over India, it was influenced by various cultures, but maintaining its essence and traditions. It is impossible to tell thousands of years of traditions and culture in a single post, but we will try to create a broad vision of Indian culture and what attracts us to it.
Table of Contents
A little history of India
The ancient history of India is divided into the Vedic period and Brahmanic period. The first is the oldest of the year 3000 BC, when the Dravidian civilization had a developed culture, with the bronze industry, agriculture and small communities, in addition to a polytheistic religion. The Brahmanic period came when the Brahmins, a casp from the Caspian Sea area, dominated the territories creating small kingdoms. However, after their main rule and despotism, the people rebelled and gave rise to Buddhism.
La most current story speaks of invasions of various cultures, from the Persians to the Arabs, Portuguese or English. It is a very broad summary, but it gives us an idea of all the influences that this ingrained Indian culture has received throughout history.
The caste system of Indian culture
This system of social stratification derives directly from Hinduism, the main religion of India. It teaches us that humans have been created from the different parts of the body of the god Brahma, thus creating the four castes by which they ruled for centuries.
From the mouth of the god Brahma emerged the Brahmans, the most powerful group, of priests. The chatria are the noble warriors, emerged from the arms of the god. The Vaisías are the merchants and farmers, who came out of the god's thighs, and the sudras or servants are the lowest caste, who came out of the god's feet. In addition to these are the untouchables, who are considered outcasts, and who are not part of the castes or society, since they could only do the lowest jobs, such as collecting human excrement. At present, the castes are legally suppressed, but they are maintained due to the uses and customs and how deeply rooted these are in society.
Religion in India
Religion is a very important part of Indian culture, and today there are four religions of Indian or Dharmic origin. Hinduism is the most popular religion, and the third largest in the world. Within it there are many different schools and traditions, and it is the religion that follows the tradition of the castes. Its main gods are Rama, Shivá, Visnú, Krisná and Kali.
On the other hand, there is Buddhism, the fifth most important in the world, founded by Sidarta Gautama, son of the Raja of the kingdom of Sakias, who renounced everything and became a beggar, calling himself Buddha, which means the enlightened one. It is based on the practice of good, charity, love and other virtues and is non-theistic. There is also Yainism, similar to Buddhism, and Sikhism, a monotheistic religion halfway between Islamism and Hinduism.
Music and dances of Hindu culture
Musical expression is also a rich mix of folk and classical sounds, which have led to the creation of exotic and typical dances of the country. However, there are 8 Hindu dances which have been classified as classics, and which have been incorporated into a traditional teaching system due to their status as a traditional Hindu classical expression. It is taught at the prestigious National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, and includes the dances of: bharatanatyam, kathak, kathakali, mohinyattam, kuchipudi, manipuri, odissi y sattriya. These are dances of extraordinary narrative forms that also include incredible mythological elements, you cannot travel to India without witnessing one of these wonderful shows.
There is also folk music that is still playing in some parts of the country. There is the Bauls in Bengal, the Bhangra music in the north or the Quawwali in the Pujab.
Gastronomy of Indian culture
Eating here is an adventure for the palate. Indian food is known for its delicious curries, and for the sophisticated use of various spices, always based on rice and corn. Many of the different spices that we consume today, such as black pepper, originate from here, so the Hindus have an extraordinary handling of them. However, this food could be a bit dangerous for allergy sufferers, having such a spicy food, more than one person could have a hard time.
There are typical dishes that you should not stop trying once you go to India, since gastronomy is always an important part of the culture of each country. Tandoori chicken is a roast chicken dish marinated in yogurt and seasoned with tandoori spices. There are also other dishes that may sound familiar to you, such as biryani, which is rice with a mixture of spices, since we must not forget that spices are very important in Indian cuisine. Indian pizza or uthathaappam is a base of dough made of lentil flour and rice flour with vegetables and other ingredients, similar to the usual pizzas. In the sweets section you have the jalebi, a sweet dough soaked in syrup, with a characteristic orange color and the shape of a rolled conch.