In conjunction with China, Indian Culture is one of the oldest that exists in the history of mankind. This civilization is full of religious beliefs, customs, traditions and ceremonies that are fascinating to anyone.
The places and landscapes that surround the nation are unprecedented, we could mention the Himalayas and one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal. For this reason, it is important to know a little more about its culture before going to visit it.
What is Indian Culture?
Indian culture is one of the oldest civilizations that exists in the world. With an origin dating back more than six thousand years agoThis had its development in the south of the Asian continent, specifically between the Indus and Ganges rivers. Being a large peninsula, at one point it was known as Hindustan. Towards the north side, its territory includes the mountains of the Himalayas and its surroundings, with an icy and inhospitable climate for humans.
As for its central part, It is occupied from the Arabian Sea to the Bengal region, crossed by immense bodies of water such as the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra rivers, reason that turns it into a quite fertile territory and with a great population density. To the south, it extends with an elevated plain, which manages to cover considerably the entire lower end of the nation, including two of its largest and most inhabited cities, Mumbai and Chennai.
India was home to the culture of the Indus Valley, today it is a federal republic divided into 29 states and 7 territories, which is ruled politically by a parliamentary system. The United Nations (UN), considers it as a developing nation, despite the great social and humanitarian difficulties that its complex political history has inherited.
The origin of Indian civilization dates back to the Lithic Stage of humanity, since vestiges of paintings have been found in the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, an archaeological site located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. As for its first settlements, there is a record from 6000 BC These were located around the Indus Valley, which gave rise to a culture that bears the same name.
However, this had its heyday as such, in the year 3300 BC. As soon as it disappeared in 500 BC, what was cataloged as the Vedic Period began, where the oldest sacred texts of Indian literature were composed and the foundations of Hinduism were laid.
As a result, autonomous kingdoms and other states began to be established under the title of Mahajanapadas. In the III century a. C., the Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, unifies a good part of the Indian subcontinent and founds the Maurya Empire, so that it finally flourished under the rule of his grandson, Aśoka “The Great”.
Many centuries later, specifically in the 3rd century AD, the Golden Age of India, led by the government of the Gupta dynasty, took place. This lasted between 320 and 550 AD. C. and occupied a large part of northern India and the present nations of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Subsequently, came the Empires of the Chalukia, the Chola and the Vivía Nagara, whose main achievement was to make great advances in art, science, technology, astronomy and, above all, religion. The territory of what is now India, Bangladesh, Burma, and Pakistan, was once known as the British Raj (1858-1947). This vast region was a colonial state controlled politically and economically by the British Crown.
One of the most prominent names of those who led the Indian independence struggle was Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Hindu politician, lawyer and thinker. This created the most prominent independence movement in the world, the “Movement of Nonviolence.” He is credited with the emancipation of his country in 1947.
Cultural contributions of the Indian Civilization
Thanks to its wide cultural diversity and millennia of existence, India has provided the rest of humanity with contributions in different areas of study. Among the most important we find:
In the first place, we find the perfection of mathematics, since the Indians, along with the Mayans, were among the first civilizations that successfully achieved the implementation of zero as part of the numbers.
Added to this, is added the fact that they created the main decimal system used today, developed algebra and discovered the relationship between diameter and circumference, better known as the number Pi (π).
As for architecture, Indian civilization is also a universal reference. It is famous for the construction and design of exceptional monuments, temples and palaces, such as: the Taj Mahal, Brihadishwara Temple, Mysore Palace, among others.
They have always been recognized for being capable of remarkably enhancing urban planning. The vast majority of its constructions were made with adobe bricks and geometry was used to obtain optimal results. Many years later, his techniques are still used by current societies.
Traditional Hindu medicine is another of his great contributions to world culture, since the various procedures used in ancient times are still useful in modernity. As examples we could mention the Ayurveda natural medicine system and its ancient sterilization technique. In this field of science, important discoveries were made to carry out surgeries and some other medical procedures, which greatly influenced contemporary methods.
Hindu philosophy is recognized for being the oldest in all of history, even much earlier than that of Ancient Greece. Therefore, it is one of those that has generated the most influence in subsequent societies. It is mainly based on Buddhism and Sikhism.
The characteristics of the Indian culture are many, because they have stood out in countless social areas. For this reason, we have selected the most important of all, these are:
- From the beginning, in the Indian territory there have been multiple religions, such as: Brahmanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, among other. All in their own way incorporate the premise of the search for happiness and balance in human daily life.
- Its economy is diversified and free market. Agriculture is the main economic activity in the country, they mostly grow wheat, barley, sesame and rice. In smaller quantities, cotton is also planted, cattle are raised and metallurgical techniques are used for further development in commerce.
- The official languages of the country are Hindi and English. The latter as a result of the colonial heritage and considered as the “language of business” and that of university education. In addition to this, 21 other classical languages are legally recognized, such as Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. On average 216 languages could be listed.
- The food and gastronomy of the region is characterized by being mostly vegetarian, since Hinduism is based on non-violence against all forms of life, including animals. Many spices and condiments are used in its preparations, especially curry. Their diet is based on rice, wheat, and lentils.
- The garments most used within the culture are the sari for women and kurta for men. The first consists of a fabric of approximately 5 meters, which is rolled around the body and placed on top of a blouse. The second is a wide and loose cotton shirt that reaches the knee area and is used in conjunction with white or cream-colored pants, called dhoti.
- In Indian culture, music and dance are really importantThe most recognized dances are the Bhangra, the Bihu and the Chhau, all three from indigenous peoples. In addition, they have a very recognized film industry around the world that goes by the name “Bollywood” and incorporates dance, music and acting.