SII
close button

Any talk about India is incomplete without the mention of the adjective 'diverse'.

In fact, the popular quote 'Unity in Diversity' perfectly defines the blend of various elements of India. Billions of people reside in different parts of the country, follow different religions, dress differently, speak different languages, yet, they all are a part of one country and this is where the beauty lies. The international students stepping their feet in India, to study, get introduced to a mixture of traditions, dance, music, arts and crafts, architecture, delectable food, religion and languages. Oneness is a unique feature of Indian culture and the country collectively takes pride in it. Here is a glimpse of this fascinating culture.

Collage depicting Indian culture Collage depicting Indian culture

Namaste From India

The first and foremost element of Indian culture is the way people usually greet i.e Namaste or Namaskar. Interestingly, the greeting custom is not only limited to India but people from other countries have expressed their likeness towards it as well. Several world leaders now greet people in the Indian way with folded hands (Namaste). The term simply translates to 'I bow to you' and the folded hands placed in front of the chest is a way to say 'may our minds meet'.Another popular cultural value of India is the philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' that translates to 'the world is one family and it emphasises holistic development and non-violence.'

The Graceful Dance Forms and Vibrant Music

Indian culture is also characterized by vibrant music and intricate dance forms. The art of dance and music has been passed on from generation to generation and in ancient times, it was used as a medium to tell mythological stories through hymns, facial expressions and movement of hands. Presently, there are around eight classical dance forms (such as Kathak, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, etc) and some folk dances (Bhangra, Ghoomar, Dekhnni, Chhau, etc) practised in India. Further, a range of melodies and musical hymns inked in ancient scriptures have formed the base for music in India. In the present time, multiple types of music including classical, folk, rock, and pop exist have become prevalent in the country.

Indian classical dance form kathak and Indian instrument Tabla Indian classical dance form kathak and Indian instrument Tabla

The Marvellous Architecture

The eye-catchy architecture is another distinguishable element of the culture of India. From caves, monuments, temples to mosques, India architecture is also characterised by diversity. The complex yet intricate carvings and technically sound artistry are the highlighted features of Indian architecture-. In fact, India is home to around 40 World Heritage Sites, declared by UNESCO. The architectural marvels like the Taj Mahal in Agra depicting grace, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur showcasing a perfect blend of creativity and innovation, the second largest monastery, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Qutub Minar in Delhi or the magnificent Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, continue to be popular tourist sites.

Indian marvellous architecture represented through forts, monuments and heritage sites Indian marvellous architecture represented through forts, monuments and heritage sites

In addition to the concept of Namaste, gracious dance forms, soulful music and eye-catchy architecture, the idea of community is also deep-rooted in the country. Be it the festive celebrations or eating food, the concept of sharing with the whole community is embedded in the customs of India. A moment of joy or grief, the people of the community readily get involved. Moreover, the culture of 'neighbourhood' is also prevalent in the country, wherein people celebrate, grief, eat and live together in harmony.

Another distinct concept of 'Atithi Devo Bhava' or 'the guest is equivalent to god' is an old verse but believed by people even today. The guest-host relationship represents the philosophy that guests must be respected, welcome and treated with warmth. By following the notion of 'Atithi Devo Bhava' India embraces each person coming from outside with utmost friendliness, kindness and making them feel at home. Lastly, there are several elements of Indian culture that have crossed the boundaries and travelled around the world. Be it colourful Sari (for women) or accessories such as bindi or bangles these authentic Indian things are loved by people around the globe.

If anyone wishes to comprehend India closely, the best way is to savour the taste of various delights and get indulged in the exuberant celebration of festivals. Navigating through a variety of cuisines and festivals lets people explore a distinct and vivid side of the country.

Festivals: The Celebrations of India

In India, people celebrate festivals in all grandeurs due to the coexistence of multicultural societies. Be it Diwali (the festival of light), Holi (the festival of colour), Eid (celebrating the day of breaking long fast), Christmas (celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ), Makar Sankranti (celebrating the harvest season) and many more, India is a land of festivals. The high spirit and enthusiasm of people leave room to celebrate various occasions with liveliness.

Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, Bihu, Vasant Panchami, Christmas collage Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, Bihu, Vasant Panchami, Christmas collage

In India, people celebrate festivals in all grandeurs due to the coexistence of multicultural societies. Be it Diwali (the festival of light), Holi (the festival of colour), Eid (celebrating the day of breaking long fast), Christmas (celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ), Makar Sankranti (celebrating the harvest season) and many more, India is a land of festivals. The high spirit and enthusiasm of people leave room to celebrate various occasions with liveliness. Interestingly, each festival signifies a reason or a purpose like the advent of the new year, harvesting season, etc. Also, since India is vast in terms of landscape, Indians go grand when it comes to celebrations and this is why the list of festivals is also long. Some of the prominent festivities include:

HOLI

A popular festival of the spring season, Holi is celebrated with colour and water balloons. A day before this celebration, people also get together to burn a holy bonfire and offer their prayers. Smearing faces with colours, unlimited dance and a special sweet dish that goes by the name Gujia (fried dumpling with sweet filling) makes the celebration magical.

DIWALI

The festival of lights, Diwali rings in during the onset of winters. On the occasion of this festival, people light earthen lamps and candles in their houses and outside of it. Around the time of Diwali, people also decorate their houses, shop for new clothes and exchange gifts. One of the most alluring sites is to witness the whole neighbourhood lightened up with the combined effect of candles and coloured lights.

EID

The festival of Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and people break their austere fasting (the daily fasting includes eating for a limited number of hours only). The occasion of Eid is characterized by offering prayers in the mosque, getting together for a lavish feast and the elderly giving some form of gifts to the younger ones.

CHRISTMAS

The festival of Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and it marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Apart from midnight mass and lighting candles in churches, people prefer enjoying, exchanging gifts and organizing a feast of different delicacies as well. The pudding cakes prepared on Christmas are worth giving a try.

ONAM

Onam is celebrated primarily in the Kerala state of India and it is a harvest festival. The several days’ celebrations are characterised by boat races, street parades, floral rangoli making, cultural programs, making some kind of donations in charity and spending time with family and friends over feasts.

This is just an overview of the types of festivals celebrated in India and the list is long. Other festivals include Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Janmashtami, Raksha Bandhan, Pongal/ Makar Sankranti, etc.

Food: The Marvelous Delicacies of India

The celebration and day to day get-together are incomplete without palatable food items. Known for the blend of spices and a plethora of sweets, Indian cuisine is an assortment of traditional and regional dishes. The variation in the cuisine of different regions of India comes with variety in local climate, soil type and culture. The Indian food and culinary techniques are influenced by Persian, Chinese and Mongolian cuisine as well as factors like colonization (Mughals, Portuguese), traders or settlers (French, Parsis). The most important thing is, Indians have a passion for food and love to feed people to make them feel home and welcomed. The types of cuisines and food items are as vast as the geographical area of the country but some top things the international students can binge on are:

Popular Indian dishes like Dosa, Kulcha, Samosa, Indian bread Popular Indian dishes like Dosa, Kulcha, Samosa, Indian bread

The perfect blend of spices and delicious flavours awaits you. Fuel yourself with mouth-watery food.

EAT. RELISH. REPEAT.

Popular Indian dishes like Dosa, Kulcha, Samosa, Indian bread

The most important thing is, Indians have a passion for food and love to feed people to make them feel home and welcomed. The types of cuisines and food items are as vast as the geographical area of the country but some top things the international students can binge on are jotted down below.

STREET FOOD

Street food is famous around the world but nothing can beat India when it comes to variety in food items. It is the true essence of the country and students can easily spot food carts around every street or corner. From steaming Samosas filled with flavourful mashed potatoes, different types of fritters prepared from onion, chillies, lentils to tangy Pani Puri and Chaat are a treat to the taste buds. In addition to these options, street food characterized by rich flavours includes Cholle Bhature Kathi Roll, Chicken Tikka, Kebabs and Pav Bhaji. There is also the availability of light eats like Idli, Dhokla, Vada Pav and Momos. In a nutshell, students coming to India will find some street foods that would suit their taste palate.

Indian street food like kababs, Raj Kajori Indian street food like kababs, Raj Kajori

MAIN COURSE

The hungry tummies can find a solution with yummy and delectable options in the main course. Where Biryani is the perfect dish for spice-lovers, the students looking for lighter flavours can opt for Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani or Butter Chicken paired with Indian flatbread ‘naan’. These food choices are primarily popular in the Northern parts. For health-conscious students, Southern Indian delicacies like Dosa, Idli or Uttapam can be a good choice. With an array of curries, all prepared distinctly having different flavours, the students have a long list of items to savour. The sea-food lovers can try popular dishes of Western India like Fish Curry or Shrimp curry. Lastly, the dishes from Eastern India incorporate rice, milk, vegetables with chicken or mutton. Therefore, students coming to study in India have a long list of items to savour.

Popular Indian main course dishes like Indian bread, Naan, Dal Makhani, Chicken

DESSERTS

Like Indian savoury dishes, Indian sweets are also characterised by bursts of flavours. Magnificent to behold, most desserts are made from milk and a mix of nuts like cashews, almonds or raisins. The light and delicious desserts can be enjoyed during any meal of the day, be it breakfast, post-lunch or dinner. While studying in India students must try authentic desserts such as soft Gulab Jamun, spongy Rasgullas and Ras-Malai, Laddoo, etc. Furthermore, some special mentions include, flavoursome Jalebis soaked in sugar syrup, the Indian version of ice cream, Kulfi as well as Kheer, a sweet dish prepared with milk, rice and nuts.

Popular Indian desserts like Modak, Ladoo, Jalebi and Kulfi

BEVERAGES

Popular Indian beverages like chai, lassi and lemonade Popular Indian beverages like chai, lassi and lemonade

Last but not the least, the mention of Indian cuisine is incomplete without the talk of fulfilling beverages. While travelling through the roads of India, students will find many Chai or tea stalls at short distances. Be it the morning or evening, Indians love tea, a beverage that is prepared with milk, tea leaves and a touch of spices like clove, cardamom and ginger. This is what makes it stand out from other types of tea. Another drink that is consumed in abundance is Lassi, a drink simply prepared from yoghurt, sugar and is available in different flavours. Students can also enjoy savoury drinks like Nimbu Panni (lemonade), Aam Panna (prepared with raw mango).

The beauty of India is magnified by the brew of festivities and appetizing cuisine. The four corners of the country might be different with respect to food and celebrations but they all represent concoction. This is why India is incredible.

India is a South Asian country, covering an area of approximately 3.3 million sq. km. The country's landscape is marked by the presence of mountains, sea, and plains wherein it is separated from mainland Asia by the Great Himalayas and surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the East, the Arabian Sea in the West to the Indian Ocean in the South. Further, it is located in the Northern Hemisphere, the mainland of India lies between latitudes 8°4’ and 37° 6’ North, longitudes 68° 7’ and 97° 25’ East. Moreover, India is a democratic republic consisting of a total of 28 states and 8 Union territories. The mainland of these states and Union territories consists of four regions i.e. the great mountain zone, the desert, the plains of Ganga and the Indus and the southern peninsula.


To know about the key information about India, have a sneak at the following snapshot:

01. Country Name The formal name is the Republic of India and it is also known as Bharat.
02. Capital Situated in the northern part of the country, Delhi is the capital of India.
03. Government Type India is a democratic republic that follows the Parliamentary System of Government.
04. Area India covers an area of 3.3 Million sq
05. Coastline The coastline of India stretches along 7,517 km, enclosing Lakshadweep Islands, Andaman & Nicobar and the mainland.
06. Latitude and Longitude India is a part of the Northern Hemisphere and it stretches between 8° 4’ and 37° 6’ latitudes North of the equator as well as 68°7’ and 97°25’ longitudes to the East.
07. Calling Code The calling/country code is +91
08. Population As per the 2011 Census of India, the population stands at 1,210,193,422.
09. Languages A total of 22 different languages have been recognised by the Constitution of India.
10. Religions India is home to a range of religions and major of them include, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains
11. Climate Primarily, the climate of India is classified as tropical monsoon. Also, there are a total of four seasons: Winter (December-February), Summer / Pre-Monsoon (March-June), South-West Monsoon (June-September), Post Monsoon (October -November).
12. National Days There are 3 national days in India including, 26 January (Republic Day), 15 August (Independence Day) and 2 October (Gandhi Jayanti).
13. Transportation Options India has multiple options for transportation including flights, trains, buses, cabs and autos.

India is home to the second-largest pool of Engineers and Scientists.

Blog

What It's Like To Study In The Multicultural Land Of India

Why consider studying in India? Experience the incredible culture, colourful festivals, variety of cuisines & explore beautiful landscapes

Read More

What the World can Imbibe from Indian Culture

Amazing things the world can learn from India - unity in diversity, wellness practices, zeal for innovation, spirit of charity

Read More

Made In India, Now Gone Global!

India gave to the world - joining hands for Namaste, ways to boost immunity, online creative content, high-tech & user-friendly apps

Read More