India is a fascinating country where people of many different communities and religions live together in unity.
In a country as diverse and complex as India , it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian. According to five thousand years of recorded history, India has been invaded by armies, traders and immigrants who brought with them their own habits, faiths, practices and observances which have all contributed to the rich texture of Indian life and living.
From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography. The food, clothing and habits of an Indian differ in accordance to the place of origin.
The average Indian is naturally a very curious person. Don't be too surprised if a stranger walks up to you, introduces himself and then subjects you to a barrage of questions about your origins, America, the purpose of your visit here, etc.Women prefer to be greeted from a distance with a simple "Namaste". But, in urban cities, handshakes between both sexes are quite common. Any other demonstration of public affection is usually frowned upon.
Deep-rooted family values continue to exist in Indian families. The surname of an Indian is based on his caste or place of origin or his family occupation. Men are still considered the head of a family and are consulted for all decisions though they no longer continue to be the single breadwinner. A wife will always serve her husband before she eats. Parents are looked upon with respect and regard. Childrenare financially supported by their parents throughout their education.
Indians believe in sharing happiness and sorrow. A festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or a home. The whole community or neighborhood is involved in bringing liveliness to an occasion. A lot of festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id, Christmas, Mahaveer Jayanthi are all celebrated by sharing sweets and pleasantries with family, neighbours and friends. An Indian wedding is an occasion that calls for participation of the family and friends.Similarly, neighbours and friends always help out a family in times of need.
Indian dressing is greatly influenced by their background and culture of it's people. India is well known for its garments and classic fashion styles all around the world. Indian women wear traditional Indian dresses, the men in India can be found in more conventional western clothing like shirts and trousers.The traditional Indian dress is the Sari which can be worn in many ways. Underneath the sari one wears a Petticoat: - a waist-to-floor length skirt, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring and a Choli : a blouse that ends just below the bust. The Salwar Kameej is the second most popular dress and is gaining in popularity fast with the younger generation. The Salwar Kameej too has had many design changes. The new designers have come up with great variations of the Salwar Kameej. Women also wear Lehangas. Though the majority of Indian women wear traditional costumes, the men in India can be found in more conventional western clothing. Shirts and trousers are worn by men from all regions in India. However, men in villages are still more comfortable in traditional attire like kurtas, lungis, dhotis and pyjamas.
India is rich in languages, boasting not only many indigenous language groups, such as the Dravidian languages, but also the Indo-European Indo-Aryan languages, and the absorption of Middle-Eastern and European influences as well. Distinct, often ancient, and rich literary traditions are to be found in several languages.Hindi is the official and main link language of India. Its homeland is mainly in the north of India, but it is spoken and widely understood in all urban centers of India.Individual states, whose borders are mostly drawn on socio-linguistic lines, are free to decide their own language for internal administration and education, so there are 22 official languages spoken throughout the country, namely Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
India, the land of spirituality and philosophy considers religion as an integral part of its entire tradition. The worship of various religions and its rituals play a significant role in every aspect of human life in the country.India is the birthplace of two great religions of the world, namely, Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also the birthplace of one of the oldest religions of the world, Zoroastrianism, and home to an ancient religion, Jainism. Sikhism is another very recognizable religion which began here bringing together the best aspects of Hinduism and Islam. Followers of religions originated in other countries such as Islam, Christianity, Bahaism and Judaism also form a part of the population of secular nation, India.
One of the best ways to sample authentic Indian food is at an Indian home, rather than at a restaurant. Indian food is not just unique to a particular state, but also to different communities within the same state. Dining at an affluent and educated Indian's home is not very different from the western way. However, in a traditional middle-class home, one may be expected to sit in a cross-legged, yogic position on the floor and eat with the right hand from a banana leaf. It is customary to leave one's footwear outside the door to the house.. India offers you a large number of vegetarian & non-vegetarian meals. Vegetarian Food is quite common in India & usually comprises Rice, Bread, Dhal (Pulses), Vegetables, Curd, Pickle & other add ons. So many times it also include some sweets.
Though ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, eat the most diverse varieties of food, there is still a richness in Indian arts and culture which is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. The beauty of the Indian people lies in the spirit of tolerance, give-and-take and a composition of cultures that can be compared to a garden of flowers of various colors and shades of which, while maintaining their own entity, lend harmony and beauty to India !