Culture of North India
Culture can be termed as collective achievements by a group of people. It comprises of customs, values, beliefs, life style, heritage and arts (music, painting, dance and handicrafts etc.). The social attitude and behavior of any social group are determined by its culture.
The diverse culture of North India has paved the way for the invaders like Aryans, Huns, Greeks and Afghans to capture its different parts and rule for years. Therefore the regions representing different culture live in harmony with each other. The cultural diversities of North India are reflected through its distinct Architectural heritage monuments and religious places of worship.
The cultural heritage of the seven states of North India Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh (Union Territory), Delhi, Haryana and Punjab together represents the culture of north India. The other states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar which are considered as North Indian states for their cultural and linguistic similarities are not formally part of North India.
North Indian Culture is mainly associated with Indo-Aryan traditions and customs with impact from prolonged historical culture.
The women of North India generally wear Salwar-Kameez or Saree, but it is the traditional outfit of the women of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and northern Haryana. In Rajasthan and its adjoining areas like southern Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, women wear Ghagra Choli. In the rural northern region men wear dhoti-kurta or shirt-dhoti, kurta-salwar/payjama. Men also wear headgear such as topi, turban or pagdi which are considered as honor.
The staple food of North India is wheat which is consumed in the forms of rotis or chapatis with sabzi or curry. Most of the North Indian people prefer vegetarian diet except the Kashmiri. Non-vegetarian dishes are famous as well which includes Mughlai.
Tasty and Spicy Punjabi food such as Lassi, Sarson da Saag, Dal Makhani, Rajma, Choley, Kadhi Pakora, etc. are widely consumed by the North Indians.
Popular Rajasthani cuisine includes Daal-Baati Churma etc. Besides many relishing desserts are also popular in North India like Halwa, Gujia, Kheer, Imarti, Petha (specially petha from Agra), a very famous dessert called Bal Mithai from Kumaon are a few.
The music of Northern India is called Hindustani classical music or Shastriya Sangeet originated from Vedic ritual chants. This Hindustani classical music came to be known as Carnatic Classical Music around 12th century. Indian classical music is comprised of seven notes - Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni and five half-notes mingled with the basic notes, result into 12-note scale.
The rhythmic patterns of Indian Classical Music are called Taal and Ragas are the melodic foundations of classical music.
Many folk dances from different areas of North India represent its cultural diversity. To begin with the folk dances of Punjab, Bhangra for men and Giddha for women are very famous.
The folk dances of Rajasthan include Ghoomar and Kalbeliya dance, Kinnauri Nati from Himachal Pradesh; Karma from Jharkhand, Panthi from Chhattisgarh, Jagars and Pandva Nritya from Uttarakhand, Rouf of Kashmir enriches the culture of North India. Kathak is one of the well-known classical dances originated in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
One of the great scholars from past Kalidasa was born in North India. Classic Sanskrit plays such as Abhijñānaśākuntalam, Mālavikāgnimitram and Vikramōrvaśīyam and poetries like Raghuvaṃśa, Ṛtusaṃhāra, Kumārasambhava and Meghadūta are some of his gifts to Indian Literature. These pieces of literature are considered as masterpieces from such legend.
Tulsidas, Surdas, Amir Khusro and Chand Bardai are the names of other great literary scholars from Medieval North India. Ramcharitmanas, Prithiviraj Raso, Sur Sagar and Khamsa-e-Nizami are some of the great literary contributions of these legends.
During 19th century, the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Munshi Premchand, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Gopala Sharan Sinha and R N Tripathi were much admired. Godaan and Gaban are the famous literary work of Premchand which have been translated into various languages.
Take the North India Tour Package which we have specifically tailored for the tourists to get the most of North Indian culture covering all the aspects.
India is known as the land of spices! From north to south, east to west, there is a large variety of food found in India.
Mughlai food is a famous North Indian cuisine made with a blend of spices, cream and vegetables or meat. It is enjoyed best when eaten with Indian breads called Naan and Tandoori Roti or white rice. Flour pancakes called Paranthas made with a choice of potatoes, cauliflower, or minced meat stuffing is a popular food for breakfast and lunch. Chhole bhature is a tasty combination of spicy chickpeas and deep fried dough famous all over the country. Biryani is an-all time favorite (pilaf) rice amongst many Indians. It can be made with mixed vegetables or meat.
Dosa and idli are famous rice based South Indian dishes that are usually eaten with a lentil soup called sambar. Indian sweets like bread or rice puddings called kheer, sweetened milk rolls called rasgulla and sweet fried dough called gulab jamun are a treat to the sweet tooth.
The sari is the most traditional piece of clothing worn in India. It is 9 yards of cloth elegantly draped by most Indian women. It comes in a variety of colors, design and fabric so it can be worn on all occasions as well as weddings.
Kurta-pajama or salwaar-kameez is a traditional two-piece set of tunic with pants and a scarf worn casually by many Indian men and women. Children and younger adults usually wear western outfits.
Festivals, holidays, Celebrations:
Diwali is the biggest Hindu celebration in India and marks the beginning of the Indian New Year. It is called the festival of lights and celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Besides Diwali, Holi and Rakhi are popular festivals. Holi is the celebration of colors and Rakhi is the celebration of the brother-sister relationship. Many more such festivals like Ganeshchaturthi, Navratri, Karwachauth, Onam, Baisakhi, Lohri, etc are celebrated in India that spread the message of love, peace and happiness. Many Indians celebrate Eid and Christmas as well.
August 15 – Indian Independence Day, January 26 – Indian Republic Day, October 2 – Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi’s birthday) are official holidays in India. One special school holiday celebrated is on the birthday of India’s late Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (November 14) who was very fond of kids.
Famous Stories or Epics:
Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest and most well known religious epics of India. Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama and his heroic deeds. Mahabharata is a tale of two families, namely the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fight a battle against one another to be the next king. Both stories are extremely long and detailed filled with drama, action and a moral that explains karma, which means, good things happen to people who do good to others and bad things happen to those who do bad to others.
One very popular Indian game played by all ages in India especially Indian children is the game of Antakshari. It is a music-based fun game that involves singing Indian movie songs. Two or more teams sing in turns starting from the last letter of the previous song sung by the other team. It is point based and the team that earns maximum points wins the game.
Verbal or nonverbal communication:
Namaste is a common form of greeting used by most Indians with both hands joined together as in prayer. Touching the feet of elders is considered a form of paying respect. India is the birthplace of Yoga. Yoga is the oldest and most popular form of meditation now practiced all over the world. It involves making a series of postures that are good for the body and mind.
Indians generally are God fearing and religious people. They strongly believe in the existence of God and His divine powers. Hindus worship idols of many Gods and Goddesses and follow various rituals and superstitions.
Also most Families in India live together as one big family. For example, children live with their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all in one house. Indians believe that joined families provide love, respect, help and support amongst the family members.
There are 26 states in India and almost each of them has their own language. Hindi is the national language of India and there are 15 other regional languages spoken in the rest of the states. Each state also has its own dress, food, custom, dance, music and art. India is a country of all kinds of people from many different backgrounds and cultures.
The Indian movie industry called Bollywood is perhaps as big as Hollywood today. The interesting thing about Indian movies is that they are mostly musical each including a variety of songs and dances.
The Taj Mahal of Agra, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and India’s most famous tourist attraction. It is a monument built completely in lovely white marble. Jaipur located in the state of Rajasthan commonly known as the Pink City of India is famous for its beautiful palaces. These palaces are massive and mostly built in pink and red stone. Guests who stay in some of these palace-like hotels are also treated like Maharajas and Maharanis (kings and queens of India). Mumbai situated in the state of Maharashtra, is one of the most important and popular cities in the world. It is compared to New York City of the United States for various reasons. Mumbai offers the best of shopping, food and entertainment. It is a must visit for tourists as well as Indians.
Indian Culture for Children By DinoLingo Writer: Stuti Jaggi Khanna
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