A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

“Being Indian is not as much about blood as it is about culture!” – Tony Hillerman

The badge we wear proudly on our sleeve, the gem we treasure beyond our lives, the very lifeblood that pulses through our veins- Indian Culture!

Trying to unravel the cultures of India is like unraveling a diamond which has many luminous facets, the more things that shine through, the more there are just beyond your sight. You might think you know it all, but just then this land of profound complexity will surprise you with something that will blow your mind away! Even being an Indian, no one can claim that they know everything there is to know!

Preserved over thousands of years and centuries, the cultures of India are as diverse as its geography itself. Thus, talking about it in entirety at one go would be a foolish attempt, but here we have at least tried to skim the surface, read through and tell us if you know more!

Indian culture


‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

If anything screams India and its diverse range of cultures and customs; it is the festivals! Celebrations like none other, the collective tradition initially started as a practice to bring people closer to each other.

However, even amongst the more innocent ones like Diwali, Holi and Ganpati, there are some that are bizzare and to others, may seem out of this world, but to us, they are just a way of life.

1. Nag Panchami:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Celebrated to appease the snake god, the practice of Nag Panchami was started by the farmers in order to pray the serpent to protect their farms from pests.

2. Jallikattu:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Banned now due to various atrocities being committed on animals used, Jallikattu was a sport played on Pongal, a holy festival which marks the Tamil New Year. The sport basically involves taming of the charging bulls by handlers or subduing it at a distance! If you think Matador originated in Spain, think again!

3. Dhinga Gavar:

Mainly celebrated in the state of Rajasthan, DhingaGavar is the Indian version of the Halloween and Carnival combined together! Basically it celebrates the occasion when Lord Shiva disguised as a cobbler in front of his wife Goddess Parvati and she retaliated by dressing up as a Bhil Woman.

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

The festival starts around midnight, when statue of DhingaGavar is worshipped and women dress up as gods, goddesses, dacoits, bandits armed with Lathis to protect the statue. Be careful of wandering near the statue, you might get hit!

4. Kila Raipur Rural Olympics:

A unique festival that began in 1933, the Kila Raipur Olympics was started by Inder Singh Grewal in order to get the farmers to meet at a common recreational ground. The idea gave rise to these rural Olympics that people from world over come to watch.

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

There’s some real action including bullock cart races, dog races, horse dance and even a tug of war. But what draws crowd is the freak sports such as people pulling tractors with moustache, teeth etc! Many people as old at 90 Years also participate in the festivals.

5. Theyyam:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

When the Gods dance amongst the humans! The festival of Theyyam marks the ritual of worship through dance, vocal and instrumental music, painting, sculpture and also literature. It is believed that gods manifest themselves amongst humans through dance and music.


‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

As incredible as that sounds it is believed that in India the dialect of the language changes every 40km, for some of us that is the distance we travel to work every day! While that maybe an exaggeration, it is true that in India over 1,652 languages are spoken and all of them mother tongues. Following are a few languages that are unique in their ingenuity.

1. Koro:

A language of a Sino-Tibetan origin, Koro was discovered in the north eastern states of India in 2010 by a team of linguists and explorers from the National Geographic . Majorly spoken in Arunachal Pradesh, it is used by 1000 people only! Until recently no data was available on the language of Arunachal Pradesh due to restrictive entry practices, but, the discovery of this language has put things into a newer perspective!

2. Akan-Bo:

The now extinct tribal language was spoken by the tribes in the Andamans as early as 1901. Decimated slowly by colonialism and natural causes, the tribe dwindled to 200 people and further became extinct along with the language.

3. Prakrut:

A relic of the Ardhmagadhi language spoken in ancient India, Prakrut was the language of most ancient Jain texts and religious scriptures. An inherent language of the land, another form of Prakrut was also Dramatic Prakrut in which drama texts were written.

4. Modi:

Not a language per se, but a script in which Devnagari was written in the days of the Marath Empire. Much like the cursive form of writing English, the Modi was an unbroken script that could be written without lifting of the hand unlike the current script style. Used until the beginning of 20th century, Kannada, Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi and Tamil were also written in the Modi script.

5. Awadhi:

Spoken by over 38 million people in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh, Awadhi is one of the dialects of the Hindustani language that is most widely in use. Spreading as far as Delhi, Nepal and even Mauritius, it is the language in which many important ancient texts such as RamcharitManas and Hanuman Chalisa were written.


‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Being an offshoot of the tradition and religions practiced in the country, the customs of India are both diverse and profound. Most religious practices have evolved and stayed over many years in fact centuries. It is important to note that most of them are very closely connected with nature and celebrate its bond with humanity.

1. Marrying a dog:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

A form of exorcism, it is widely popular in the interior regions of India! It is believed that if a girl is born with teeth, she has been possessed and must be married off to an animal, most likely a dog, to ward off the evil!

2. Kashi Yatre:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

A funny custom! Popular among the Tamilian Brahmins, it is done before the boy is about to get married. The groom appears in the garb of an ascetic and announces that he wants to renounce the worldly pleasures including marriage. The bride’s father then beckons him to stay and marry his daughter who will give him all the happiness after which the rest of the traditions continue.

3. The Karni Mata Temple:

In Rajasthan there is a unique temple that pays obeisance to the incarnation of goddess Durga, who was a sage! It is believed that she resided here during the days as an ascetic.

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

The temple is also home to a number of black rats who are given protection in the walls of temple. People even say that the food touched by these rats is holy and that their scampering at your feet blesses you with luck.

4. The Aghori way of Life:

Like many extremes in India, this custom too has its origins in nature and its importance to man. The Aghori Sadhus with their bodies smeared with ashes and matted dreadlocks are a sight that is both revered and feared.

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

They believe that God can be found even in the most impure of places, even in filth! Their ways of life are rumoured to include cannibalism, necrophilia and even staying at cremation grounds. Ostracised from the society they are force unto themselves!

5. Kamakhya Devi Temple:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Located in the Guwahati region of Assam, the Kamakhya Devi Temple is just an example of how progressive our society was in the ancient times. An important pilgrimage centre for the Tantric worshippers, the temple actually worships the goddess in her menstruating form!


‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Talking about Indian food is like talking about the very lifestyles of the people. Carrying influences of many traditions and civilisations; the food is hard to be grouped into one category. However, according to many studies conducted, the most significant is that of the Mughal invasions; it was during this time that the rich, fragrant curries were born along with the use of different spices and flours. In fact, so important was food, that in the olden days peppercorns were a form of salary.

1. Khorisa:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

A traditional dish of Assam, Khorisa is made out of fermented Bamboo Shoots mixed together with mustard oil and spices. Khorisa can be made both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian with fish!

2. Chaprah:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Native to Chattisgarh, guess what this dish is made of? It is a traditional chutney made out of nothing but red ants and their eggs. The ants are dried and sweetner and spices are added to them to make this super tasty accompaniment to everyday food!

3. Black Rice:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

No, No. don’t wince yet! Black rice is a different variety of rice cultivated exclusively in the north eastern regions of India and China. Usually prepared with coconut milk, it also forms an important part of the Keralite and Bengali cuisine. The black rice is extremely high in its nutritive value and is likely to turn purple after cooking.

4. Bhang Thandai:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Wink, wink! Don’t we all know what this is? A heady preparation of milk, sugar, cannabis leaves and buds, spices, ginger and rosewater, Bhang has been consumed in the Indian region since times immemorial. Especially popular as ‘Thandai’during the Holi celebrations, handling this mixture is not everyone’s cup of tea..errr.. Bhang!

5. Eri Polu:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

Brace yourselves! This is a dish made out of Silkworm Pupae which are steamed or boiled in water. The delicacy is popular in Assam and some parts of the north east. Eaten with rice or just as an accompaniment, once you get over the cringe worthiness of the dish, it’s actually quite tasty!


The traditional items of dressing used in India are reflective of her rich and diverse heritage as well as well as of distant glimmers of a more prosperous past. The indigenous clothing items were initially invented to protect from the weather but gradually evolved to suit the social occasions and moods. Identified by the gorgeous nine yards i.e. Sarees, the clothing styles have evolved but remained just as vibrant and colourful.

1. Mundu:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

The first to take a place of pride in this list is a Mundu, a beautifully modest and yet starkly dapper attire worn by the South Indian Men at functions and important events. Usually white and golden, the mundu covers the lower part of the men’s body like a Sarong while the torso is usually required to be uncovered by both-tradition and religion.

2. Paithani Saree:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

A Hallmark of the prestigious and prosperous Indian tradition, Paithani is a Saree that is weaved out of threads of silk and gold! Usually made out of traditional silk or imported silk from China, the Saree is exclusive to the Paithan region of Aurangabad. The uniqueness of its design comes to the peacock motif that is often found on the pallu or the diagonal drape of the Saree.

3. Mekhela Chadar:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

A traditional Saree of the Assamese culture, Mekhala Chadar is a Saree draped on two parts. One on the waist down portion that is called the ‘Mekhala’ and the other tucked into the waist and rotated around and around upto the knees called ‘Chadar’. Worn during the traditional festivals or holy occasions, it is beautiful and intricate!

4. Nauwar:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

The whole nine yards, the most beautiful and sensual dress of all, the Saree can be draped in multiple ways, one of them is the ‘Nauwar’. A popular attire in the Maharashtrian and coastal belt of Konkan, it is usually longer than the regular Sarees and is made out of Silk or Cotton. Paired with the traditional nose ring, ‘nath’ ; the Nauwar is indeed an attire of both royalty and the commoners.

5. Banjara:

‘Namaste!’ The Astounding Culture Of Incredible India!

The Banjara costume is spectacular because of its colours and accessorisation. Colourful and diverse, the jewellery accompanying it is usually silver and chunky! Usually worn like a skirt and a top with the hues of red, black, yellow and green are predominant amongst the clothing of the Banjara community.

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