Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Uttarakhand Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The culture of a place depends upon its inhabitants, environment and its heritage. Uttarakhand has all the things in abundance. In fact, it has every thing that any tourist could want. The most significant donor for giving mass appeal to tourism in Uttaranchal is the state’s rich culture, an excellent intermingling of exoticism as well as the way of life. Frequently thought-out to be the belt of Hindu culture, the Uttaranchal’s culture is beyond doubt one of the most vital tourist attractions of Uttaranchal.

The highlights of the Uttaranchali culture should be its history, people, religion and dances. All of them are a beautiful amalgamation of different influences from all the races and dynasties it has been ruled by. Its history is chequered in comparison to the arts culture but still interesting enough to hold a person’s consideration. Its dances are connected to life and human existence and exhibit myriad human emotions. Any trip to this tranquil will be incomplete unless you explore the wonderful culture and lifestyle of the local people.

Majestic Himalayan Mountains of Uttarakhand have an array of legends and activities attached to them. The state of Uttaranchal has a rich tradition of performing arts and especially dances. Nearly all of the performing arts are tremendously popular in the Garhwal region of the state.

Uttarakhand literally means Northern Section. Earlier it was a part of the state of Uttar Pradesh but now it is an independent state. Uttarakhand also has the sobriquet of ‘The Land of Gods’ and ‘The Heavenly Abode’.

Uttarakhand is a region with great ethnic diversity. Though nobody can be called a native here, there are tribes and villages of people who have no other place to relate to. They are mostly dependent on agriculture and handicrafts.

Religion or faith can be defined as belief in a supernatural power that protects us, punishes us and provides us with whatever we need. It sometimes has a face and sometimes it doesn’t but the faith prompts people to worship this power.

Tripura Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Due to its multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities in Tripura, there are various festivals celebrated in the state. Garia and Gajan festival is celebrated in the month of April. Rabindra/ Nazrul Jayanti is celebrated in the month of May. Manasa Mangal is also celebrated in the month of August throughout the state. Tripura is mostly inhabited by the Bengalis who celebrate Durga Puja with pomp and grandeur throughout the state in the month of October. Ashokastami held during the month of April is celebrated in Unakoti. Boat Race held at Melaghar and Gandacherra is celebrated in the month of August. Diwali is celebrated within the premises of Mata Tripureswari Temple located at Udaipur in the month of November.

¤ Dance Culture of the State

The culture of dance in Tripura is vibrant and associated with the ethnic tribes that are both indigenous and native. The Tripuri community, the Reang Community, the Chakma community, Halam (Malsum) Community, Lushai community and Garo tribes are some of the tribes that has exotic dress code and dance form.

Garia Dance
Due to its mountainous region, Tripuris employ the Jhum cultivation. Tripuris culture and life mainly revolve around the Jhum cultivation. Usually they pray to the God 'Garia' for a good harvest after the sowing of the seeds had been done in the middle of April. Sometimes the celebrations go on for many days when they decide to entertain their respective deities with the feet of song and dance.

Lebang Boomani Dance
There is a period to rest, for the Tripuris after the Garia festival. Whenever folks of charming colourful insects known as 'Lebang' visit these hill slopes for the sown seeds, the tribal youths start indulging in merry-making. The men make a rhythmic sound by the help of the two bamboo chips in their hands and women run on the hill slopes to catch the insects. The fact is that the rhythm from the bamboo chips attract the insects and the women catch them. One of the most famous dances of Tripura, in these dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like khamb made of bamboo, flute, Sarinda, lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal.

Hozagiri Dance
This dance form of the Reang Community is quite different from other dances. The performer dances by moving his waist till his feet with a wonderful wave whereas movement of the upper torso and the hands is somewhat restricted. Here the belle of the dance stands on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it. The dance never fails to impress the onlookers. The Reang women put coin rings, which covers the entire upper part.

Bizu Dance
This is popular form of dance that is characteristic of the Chakma community. During 'Chaitra-Sankranti' this dance is performed and denote the end of Bengali Calendar year. The Chakmas dance and sing, bidding goodbye to the ending year and welcomed the new year. Orchestration of this dance is seen with the rhythm coming from the 'Khenggarang' and 'Dhukuk'(flutes).

Hai-Hak Dance
The social and economic life of the Halam also is based on the Jhum cultivation. When the harvesting season ends, the Malsum tribe, which comes under the Halam, adores and praises Goddess Laxmi. It is during this, they enjoy their Hai-Hak dance. Rhythms of the dance and the lively people reflect the tradition inherited through the ages.

Wangala Dance
This dance is performed by the Garo community. When the ceremony starts, 'Wangala' (1st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every house and the head of the community known as Sangnakma visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as part of the ceremony. The pumpkin is sacrificed and after the ritual is done, all the women would dance to the beats of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made out of buffalo horn. It usually explains the rehearsal for war.

Welcome Dance
Lusai community have Welcome dance for welcoming visitors. The Lusai girls wear colorful dresses and they dances whenever visitors come to their houses. These girls do not need much ornaments since the dress is so colourful.

Cheraw Dance
The Darlong community perform this dance. This dance stem from their faith in afterlife. They had the belief that man are destined to go to heaven after death. The firm belief in the afterlife had even made pregnant woman perform this dance through out day and night. Their thought that even when the woman dies , the woman goes to heaven with the courage and confidence along with the joy from the sound of the bamboo as the rhythm of dance produced till she dies.

Tamil Nadu Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Tamilnadu has a great tradition of heritage and culture that developed over 2,000 years ago and still continues to flourish. This great cultural heritage of the state of Tamilnadu evolved through the rule of dynasties that ruled the state during various phases of history. Many of the ruling dynasties gave patronage to art and culture that resulted into the development and evolution of a unique Dravidian culture that Tamilnadu today symbolizes with.

Under the rule of the Pallavas, Cholas and the Pandya kings, there were tremendous growth and development in the field of art, architecture and literature, which reached great heights. The history of Tamil language can be traced back to the age of the Tolkapiyam, the Tamil Grammar text, ascribed to around 500 B.C. Similarly, the Sangam literature dates back to 500 B.C.

People of Tamilnadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanized states of India but most of the people still live in villages. In Tamil Nadu, there is an established caste system with traditional differentiations a lot more pronounced than in many other parts of India. A large part of population is confined to the Chennai (covering industrial areas, townships and the surrounding villages) and those around Madurai, Tiruchchirappall and Coimbatore. About 80 percent of the people in Tamil Nadu follow Hinduism. A substantial percentage of population in Tamil Nadu follows Christianity and Islam.

Languages Spoken in Tamil Nadu
Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu state and one of the 18 languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution. Tamil is one of the classical languages of the world, with a rich heritage of literature. It is the most widely spoken language in Tamil Nadu. Besides Tamil Nadu, Tamil is also spoken by a number of people in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mauritius and Malaysia. The antiquity of Tamil is comparable to Sanskrit. Tamil is written in a derivative of the southern 'Brahmi' script. The alphabet of Tamil is unique (phonetic). That is, in Tamil language letters represent sounds, rather than ideas, as is the case in the 'Mandarin' language of China.

Religions in Tamil Nadu
The history and culture of Tamilnadu goes back to thousands years back. For centuries, people of various religions have been residing in the state. The main religions in Tamilnadu are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism. Hinduism, along with its various sects, is the oldest religion in the state. Hindus are followers of number of sectarian monastic institutions (called mathas).

Tamilnadu Cuisines
Like all other South Indian states, Tamil Nadu is also known for a wide variety of delicious food both for the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians. Grains, lentils, rice and vegetables are the main ingredients of the traditional foods of Tamil Nadu. Spices add flavor and give a distinctive taste to the Tamil cuisines. Some of the most common and popular dishes of the region are idly, dosai, vada, pongal and Uppuma. Coconut chutney and sambhar invariably form a part of most of the Tamil dishes.

Sikkim Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The culture of any place is often depicted through its cuisine, people, religion, language, art & crafts, music and dance. In Sikkim, you will find a perfect blend of all these attributes to make a distinct culture of its own. Not only this, Sikkim embraces a synthesis of various communities along with their practiced religions. Sikkim culture has also been imbibed from the neighboring countries without compromising on its own individuality. In this section, we have put in the various facets of Sikkim culture in the following articles.

Sikkim People
Sikkim has an interfusion of diverse communities, cultures, religions and customs. Sikkim is a fine specimen of harmony between people from different areas and regions. In Sikkim, the leading communities are the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. However, the municipal areas are dominated by the plainsmen, who have settled there, owing to their businesses and Government services.

Sikkim Cuisine
Sikkim has a blend of cultures and traditions of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet. So, has the cuisine of this state. The bizarre combination of various cuisines has resulted into a specific cuisine, which is now called as cuisine of Sikkim. Today, Sikkim boasts of its own dietary culture that comprises food habits and some special recipes.

Sikkim Languages
Language is undoubtedly a crucial medium to communicate. Sikkim is a multi-lingual state, where people of many communities reside harmoniously. Nepali can be termed as the major spoken language in Sikkim. However, English is also frequently used, though it is mainly spoken in municipal areas.

Sikkim Religions
The Sikkimese are highly devout people and religions play a major role in Sikkim. Buddhism and Hinduism are the two major religions of Sikkim. Perhaps, Buddhism comes into view as the predominant religious practice in Sikkim. Though, Hinduism is the actual religion that is followed by the majority of people.

Sikkim Art and Craft
Sikkim is renowned for its dazzling and appealing beauty. The charm of this state is ever enticing and no one can remain abstain from its allure. In fact, Sikkim is resplendent with not only its natural beauty but with its art and craft too. The cultural richness of Sikkim is visible in its quality handicrafts.

Sikkim Dances
The cultural heritage of Sikkim is expressed in its traditional folk dances. Sikkim is domiciled by many ethnic castes and tribes; each of them has its own interesting folk dances. These folk dances and music have become an inseparable part of Sikkim Culture.

Orissa Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Orissa has a glorious and ancient history spanning a period of over 2000 years. In ancient times, it was the proud kingdom of Kalinga. Kalinga was a major seafaring nation that controlled most of the sea routes in the Bay of Bengal. For several centuries, a substantial part of Southeast Asia, such as Kampuchea (Cambodia), Java, Sumatra, Bali and Thailand were colonies of Orissa. In fact the name of the country "Siam" is derived from Oriya/Sanskrit Shyamadesha. The temple of Angkor Wat is a fine example of Orissan architecture, with some local variations. Bali still retains its Hindu Orissan heritage. A major turning point in world history took place in Orissa. The famous Kalinga war that led emperor Asoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha was fought here in 261 BC.

Later on, Asoka was instrumental in spreading Buddhist philosophy all over Asia. In the second century BC, Kalinga flourished as a powerful kingdom under Kharavela. It is he who was built the superb monastic caves at Udayagiri and Khandagiri.Subsequently, the kingdom was ruled under various monarchs, such as Samudragupta and Sasanka. It also was a part of Harsha's empire.

In 795 AD, the king Yayati united Kalinga, Kosala and Utkala into a single empire. He also built the famous Jagannath temple at Puri. King Narasimha Dev is reputed to have built the magnificent sun temple in Konark. Although now largely in ruins, the temple would easily have rivaled the Taj Mahal in splendor. The ruins of a major ancient university and center of Buddhist learning, Ratnagiri, was recently discovered in Orissa. Scholars from far away lands, such as Greece, Persia and China used to study philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and science at this famed University. Taxila, Nalanda and Ratnagiri are the oldest universities in the world. The ruins of Ratnagiri University have not been fully excavated yet.

During the dark ages of Indian civilization, Orissa was ruled by a succession of Muslim kings. It was later annexed by emperor Akbar and became part of the Mughal empire. After the fall of the Mughals, the Marathas under Shivaji invaded the land and continued to rule until 1803 AD when Orissa fell prey to the barbaric British. Modern Orissa was carved out of Bihar in 1936. Contemporary Orissa has a proud cultural heritage that arose due to the intermingling of three great religious traditions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has been further enriched by Islam and Christianity

Nagaland Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Nagaland Society and Culture comprises of the tribal and sub-tribal communities, their living patterns, festivals and beliefs. The people of Nagaland are divided into several tribes. These tribes have again many sub-sections. Commonly known as Naga people, the local inhabitants of Nagaland are said to belong to the Indo-Mongoloid clan. Most of the tribal groups of Nagaland earn their livelihood from agriculture.

The ethnicity in Nagaland is a medley of many tribes and sub-tribes that have been living in the state, since time immemorial. Christianity is the widely followed religion of the various Naga ethnic groups of Nagaland. Besides, the communities other than Nagas living in the state are followers of Hinduism and Islam.

The social structure of each and every Naga tribe is different from the other. The rituals, festivals and beliefs of each of the Naga tribes differentiate it from another tribe or sub-tribe. The cultural heritage of Nagas is quite rich. Living in the state harmoniously from many ancient decades, the ethnic communities of Nagaland have developed a vibrant platform of cultural dynamism.

The tribes dwelling in the rural pockets of Nagaland preserve their own age-old customs and rituals. Known for their friendly demeanor and hard-working nature, the people of Nagaland have a significant contribution towards the socio-cultural development of the state.

Today, Nagaland houses many a socio-ethnic communities within its geographical premises all of which have their own distinct array of cultural and social identity.

Manipur Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Manipur, a beautiful northeastern state of India, boasts of a rich culture. In the company of vibrant dances and music, the Manipuris find ample of reasons in their fairs & festivals for celebration. Though the lovely people are superstitious sometimes, their belief in religion and customs is certainly creditable. The people of Manipur are very creative and their artistic abilities are best seen in their handloom & handicrafts.

Manipur people comprise of various sects, including Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Meitei Pangal and other colorful communities. For centuries these people have lived together peacefully, however, each ethnic group has its own distinctive culture and traditions. In far-flung villages, tribals still live while enjoying their lives to the most. Here people follow their own religions, but respect each other’s customs at the same time.

Religions form the backbone of the society in Manipur. Being mostly inhabited by the tribals, the state has numerous followers of animism. The customs of these people have been generally cropped out of superstitions. Besides animism, there are many people in the state who follow different religions, like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc.

Meitei-lon, also called Manipur, is the native language of the state of Manipur. Throughout the state, people speak and understand this language. Moreover, Meitei-lon is used as the medium of instruction up to the undergraduate level in Manipur. Bishnupriya Manipuri is another language which is spoken and understood by people. Many local dialects are also prevalent among the tribals. Hindi is not very common like other parts of the country though it is understood by many people. English is mostly used for official purposes.

This state observes numerous fairs & festivities, keeping the cheerfulness alive in its people. There are many cultural, social and religious festivals that keep up different aspirations. Some of the important festivals of Manipur are Dol Jatra, Rath Jatra, Lai-Haraoba, Ramjan ID, KUT, Gang-Ngai, Chumpha, Christmas, Cheiraoba, Heikru Hidongba, Ningol Chakouba, Lui_Ngai_Ni, and Kwak Jatra.

Archery, the ancient sport of India, is an important part of Manipuri culture. It’s an everyday activity of the state dwellers, in love with this game. Here one can see archers shooting as many as 500 arrows within duration of a few minutes. The State Government also organizes various contests of archery. On the whole, this ancient tribal sport is very much popular amongst Manipuris till day.

The true culture of Manipur livens up in its dance and drama. The Raas Lila (love story of Radha and Krishna) dominates the state’s performing arts. The 29 tribes of Manipur have their different dances to present, such as, Lai Haroba (representing celebration of Gods), Pung Cholem (Mridang dance), Mao Naga, the priestess dance of Malbe Jagoi, Thangal Surang dance, etc.

Manipuris are very fond of music and dance. A few types of folk music from the region are Khullong Ishei, Lai Haraoba Ishei, and Pena Ishei. All such types of music are accompanied by unique musical instruments like Pena. Other religious, classical and devotional songs are Thabal Chongba, Nat, Napi Pala, Gaur Padas, and Dhob. Another important class of songs is Manohar Sai, which is dedicated to a 19th century man. Khubaishei is another type of song that is accompanied by clapping.

The former Manipuri fine dining was exactly a ‘sit-down’ affair, along with banana-leaf plates. Rice forms the staple diet of people. Manipuri cuisine is rich in non-vegetarian delicacies. Whether meat or fish, rice is consumed liberally by one and all. Kabok, a traditional specialty, is actually fried rice with lots of vegetables. Iromba is another fermented delicacy, which is actually an eclectic combination of fish, vegetables and bamboo shoots.

Kerala Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Kerala has a rich and fascinating culture. With people from many communities and religions living in this small state along the west coast of South India, Kerala is a melting pot of cultural influences. Some of the major cultural events of Kerala are the Onam Festival, the Temple festival at Thrissur, the annual Snake Boat Races at Alleppey and the festivals of Id and Christmas. Depending on the time of year you can see some of these celebrations on tours of Kerala with Kerala Backwater.

Some of the performing arts of Kerala, which form a part of the culture of Kerala are Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Kalaripayattu. There are many folk dances and performance styles in Kerala which include Theyyam - known for its fearsome masks and the trance like state of the performer, Thiruvathirakali - a graceful dance by women during Onam and Kaikotikalli a dance performed by women to celebrate a wedding.

The best known of Kerala's classical arts, which you can see on tours of Kerala with Kerala backwater are:

Kathakali is a classical dance form, which is very theatrical in its presentation. Depicting tales from the Indian epics, Kathakali is characterized by its elaborate costume, which takes hours for the performer to put on. A Kathakali performance is an enthralling sight,depicting the rich culture of the state .

Mohiniattam is also known as the dance of the celestial enchantress. This graceful classical dance is performed by women wearing the traditional white sari with a golden border that is characteristic of Kerala's culture.

Kalaripayattu is a traditional martial art of Kerala. Practiced by the troops of the rulers of Kerala, this martial art involves exercises and fighting with swords, shields, sword belts and leaping and acrobatic movements, which has been a part of their culture.

Karnataka Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Karnataka, the IT hub of Indian Subcontinent, like every other destination, has its own distinctive characteristics. Of all the characteristic features, the one which sets the state apart is the culture of Karnataka. The culture of Karnataka is so vibrant that it adds new flavor to its very existence. The local customs, dances and practices add new vibe to the state of Karnataka.

Dances in Karnataka:Dances are an essential part of any kind of a celebration in Karnataka. The most famous dance form of Karnataka is Bharatnatyam. Other common forms of Dance in Karnataka are Katthyak and Kuchipuri.

Music in Karnataka:The Vijayanagar Empire and the Wodeyars first saw the emerging of a new trend of local music in Karnatka. This new form of music has become as integral part of every celebration in Karnataka.

The Ramanavami celebrations are the best time to rear the cultural linkage of music into the lives of the natives. During this period music lovers flock to the city and participate in live music concerts.

About Karnataka:Karnataka, the eighth largest State in India is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Both in area and population Karnataka is an enormous state. The states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala surround Karnataka from all sides. The eastern and Western Ghats that fence Karnataka are the source of many east and west flowing rivers. The most important rivers that originate from these mountains are the Krishna, Kaveri and their tributaries. Karnataka is also considered as one of the most fast growing states in the Indian subcontinent.

Jharkhand Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The state of Jharkhand is home to a number of tribal communities since the ancient times. These tribal communities include Santhal, Munda, Gond, Oraon, Kol, Savar, Birhor, Chero, Birjia, Gorait, Karmali, Mahli, Kora, Parhaiya, Sauria-Paharia, Kisan, etc.

No wonder, the art and culture of Jharkhand reflects a vivid and colorful tribal tapestry. Jharkhand has about 30 tribes out of which 9 are primitive, maintaining their own, unique cultural identity till this day in undiluted forms. The tribals have their unique dance, music, and art and craft forms which doesn't fail to enchant the tourists. The masks, bamboo crafts, wood work, and folk paintings of Jharkhand are other expressions of this state's perennial culture, which have their roots in the tribal mosaic. The cultural affairs sector of the state organizes programs related to the culture of Jharkhand, which includes different dances, music, drama, kavi sammelans, paintings, and other related activities.

Culture of Jharkhand

Festivals- the important festivals of the state are Sohraj, Karma, Badna, Sarhul, Hal Punhya, Id, Holi, X-mas, Dussehra, etc.

Folk Dances- It comprises of the Jadur, Paika, Karma, Chhou, Nachni, Agni, Santhal, Natua, Matha, Sohrai, etc.

Local Languages- Mundari, Khortha, Sadri, Hindi, Urdu, Santhali, Kurukh, Malto, Ho, Bangla, Nagpuria, and Panchparagnia are the local languages of the state.

Folk Music- Faguwa, Mardana Jhumar, Janani Jhumar, Jhumta, Pahilsanjha, Dohari Domkach, Akhariya Domkach, Udasi, Pawas, etc.

One of the most exciting tribal dances of Jharkhand is the 'Chhou Naach.' The Chhou Naach is often performed in an open area and generally at night. The dancing area is covered by fire poles called as mashaals, for the sake of lighting. The performers play the character of Gods in the dance. They use colorful and beautiful big masks for their dance. The dance is based on the myths of 'Ramayana' and the 'Mahabharata.' They use traditional ornaments as well as the weapons. Chhou Nach is a unique expression of the culture of Jharkhand.

The musical tradition of Jharkhand contains different types of tribal forms and is well known for their diverse nature. Among the famous folk music forms of the state of Jharkhand is the Jhumar, that is followed by a dance. Traditionally, different forms of art are used by the people. The most popular among them are the bull painting, body painting, stone cutting, folk painting fresco, sculpting elephant, horse, etc. They also craft some unusual images in the wood. Decorating the walls is very commonly seen here.

Some of the major festivals of the state are:

1. Hal Punhya- Hal Punhya is the first day of the month of Magh and is also called Akhain Jatra. This means that the ploughing should be started now. The festival falls during the winter and symbolizes the onset of the farming session. The farmers start ploughing two- and-half circles in their land to symbolize the auspicious morning. It is regarded as a sign of good fortune.

2. Sarhul- It is worshipping of the village diety, who protects and supports the tribes. There is dancing and singing in the whole region accompanied with drinks, snacks and a variety of foods. The festival is celebrated in the season of the spring when the Sal trees start sprouting and blossoming, and becomes green. The offering of this festival is called diang or the hadia; a popular wine that is made out of stale rice.

3. Rohin- A festival of sowing seeds in the fields by the farmers. Here there is no such dancing or singing like other festivals, but the festivity is accompanied with a few rituals.

Himachal Pradesh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. Interacting with them can be extremely fruitful as you will get to know more about their religious and cultural life as it is.

Watch the various art forms of the people on metal, wood, leather and wool and collect some of these items as memory of your visit. Rejoice in their folk dance and music and even pick up a few notes and steps from the artists. The cuisine of Himachal is not as rich as some other states of the country yet there are quiet a few dishes that you must try out during your visit.

People & Lifestyle

The population of Himachal Pradesh is a mixed one though Hindus are definitely in majority. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some area, like Lahaul & Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in relatively small numbers. The physical feature of most of the people resemble the Aryans however, there are still many with prominent Mongoloid feature.

Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural work, however the more educated of them are now moving towards farming and other newer profession.

Traditional dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat, waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. The female of these two caste have kurtas, salwars, long skirts (ghaghri), embroidered tops (choli) and red head scarves (rahide) as their traditional attire. The dress up of the people has now become a mixed one with traditional blending gracefully with the modern.

Haryana Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Haryana is proud of a rich cultural heritage that goes way back to the Vedic times. The state is rich in folklore. The people of Haryana have their own traditions. The age old customs of meditation, Yoga and chanting of Vedic Mantras, are still observed by the masses. The seasonal and religious festivals glorify the culture of this region. The dance is said to be the mother of all arts. Music and poetry exist in tune, painting and architecture in space. The dance is just not a form of recreation but something needed to release the physical and emotional energy. Folk dances, like other creative art, helps in sublimating the performer's worries and cares.

The women are devoted and diligent and assist their men-folk on the farms. The people have simple food habits. They are known for their love for cattle and the abudance of milk and curd in their diet.

Haryana has always been a state of diverse races, cultures and faiths. It is on this soil that they met and fused into something truly India. The people of Haryana have preserved their old religious and social traditions. They celebrate festivals with great enthusiasm and traditional fervor. Their culture and popular art are Saangs, dramas, ballads and songs in which they take great delight.

With Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English forming the main languages, there are numerous dialects which are spoken in Haryana. However, almost all of them have their base in Hindi with a smattering of Urdu and Panjabi thrown in. Sanskrit is also taught in most of the schools in Haryana. In towns and cities, English is still to be adopted as the household lingo, but is spoken in a hazy mixture of Hindi. The most striking feature of Haryana is its language itself; or rather, the manner in which it is spoken. Popularly known as Haryanavi, Bangaru or Jatu (language of Jats), it is perhaps a bit crude, but full of earthy humor and straightforwardness. With rapid urbanization, and due to Haryana's close proximity to Delhi, the cultural aspects are now taking a more modern hue.

Goa Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The Heritage of Golden Goa

For the Portuguese, she was Golden Goa, the epicenter of the Portuguese empire in Asia. The Portuguese were great church builders, their desire to spread their faith an important motivation. Little wonder then that modern day Goa is a quaint blend of the old and the new, of Portuguese and Indian elements. It is also a land of great variety - with its many churches and temples, Goa has a deeply religious ambience which contrasts sharply with the highly hedonistic spirit prevalent on her beaches.

Hindu temples are as much a part of Goa as are Christian monuments. Large hotels and resorts co-exist with small hotels and paying guest accommodations; fancy restaurants with casual cafes.

Goan People

The people of Goa are very friendly and extremely happy-go-lucky. They are fond of the good things in life and are certainly not caught up in the rat race. Siesta is an important part of life in Goa with shops downing their shutters from one to four the most Goans retiring for the afternoon. Though the people of Goa are of different faiths and from different cultural backgrounds, they have come together to create the easygoing Goan culture with its emphasis on good living.

Goan Food

Food in Goa is a very serious matter and capitalizes on the range of food products available here. Goa boasts of many different cuisines - the Konkan, the Portuguese and the Bahamani Nawabi traditions. The fruits of the sea are used lavishly in Goan food different types of fish, prawns, mussels, oysters, crabs and many more.

Fairs and Festivals of Goa

Festival time in Goa leaves you with your senses reeling - in more ways than you can imagine for the Goans celebrate any occasion with great gusto. They actually have a festival that celebrates the very idea of fun and fiesta!

Nightlife in Goa

Nightlife in Goa is exciting and there are many ways to liven up the evening. Goans enjoy going out and it is not unusual to find families out for a night of merriment. In certain areas, almost every third house has a bar-cum-restaurant.

Chhattisgarh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Chhattisgarh is the central state of the union of India and is now-a-days one of the burgeoning tourist destinations of India. People are bound to get captivated by its culture that finds expression in its dance styles, cuisine, and music. The culture of Chhattisgarh speaks for the state and is quite apparent in the lifestyle of the local people. From the normal day routine to any auspicious occasion, Chhattisgarh embodies the essence of true Indianness.

The ethnic class of the people has contributed a lot to the rich cultural background of Chhattisgarh. Lots of people have settled in this region from different parts of the country. The nature of the local language is such that the people of this region are recognized for their ability to use their language to humorous effect. The people can adapt themselves easily to the new lifestyle and anything that is in vogue. Thus one clearly gets the picture of the rich culture of Chhattisgarh that manifests itself in every aspect of the local people’s style of living.

Chhattisgarh flaunts its own unique dance styles, cuisine, & music. “Raut Nacha” (The folk dance of cowherds), Panthi and Soowa dance styles are very popular in the region. The people‘s love for colors is manifested in the various aspects of their daily lives. They wear multihued dresses. Women are generally draped in sarees with Kardhani. The people are simple, affable and kindhearted.

The Culture and tradition of Chhattisgarh manifests itself through popular folk plays that are Chandaini-Gonda, Sonha-Bihan, Lorik-Chanda, Kari, Hareli, Gammatiha. Rahas which happens to be the modern folk play of Chhattisgarh should not be missed out if one is going for a tour to Chhattisgarh. Every occasion is marked by a folk song which is sung by the elderly women and the occasion may relate to child birth, marriage celebration and lots more.

If you are planning your vacations in Chhattisgarh, ifn you are planning a vacation to Chhattisgarh, you’ll love the experience of exploring the rich culture of Chhattisgarh.

Bihar Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Culture of Bihar Besides usual rural handicrafts like hand-painted wall hangings, wooden stools, miniatures in paper and leaves, stone pottery, bamboo, leather goods and appliqué work, Bihar is famous for its Madhubani paintings. These works of art often adorn city homes and are also exported. A strict monopoly of women of Mithila, Madhubani artists work with natural colors on paper and cloth, making works that narrate mythological and religious events.

Ancient designs in bright colors can still be seen on the mud walls in the districts of Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Samastipur, and Bhagalpur and of course Madhubani the trade centre for this unique art.

Since most of the people are Hindu,traditional festivals like Holi,Saraswati Puja,Durga Puja or Dussehra,Deepwali and Bhaiya Dooj are all celebrated.But Chaath dedicated to Sun God is one festival that is unique to the place.The festival begins on the fourth day of the month of Kartik Shukhla Paksha(second fortnight of Kartik).This will correspond to late October to mid November depending on the year.It is one of the holiest festivals for Biharis and extends to four days.

Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs sung during important family occasions such as marriage, birth ceremonies. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of too many musical instruments though dholak and occasionally tabla and harmonium are used.

Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as Phagua filled with fun rhythms. During the 19th century when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule many Biharis had to migrate as apprenticed labourers to West Indian Islands, Fiji and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called Biraha became very popular in the Bhojpur area. Dramas on that theme continue to be popular in the theatres of Patna.

Theatre is another form in which the Bihari culture expresses itself. Some forms of theatre with rich traditions are Reshma-Chuharmal, Bihula-Bisahari, Bahura-GOrin, Raja-Salhesh, Sama-Chakeva and Dom-Kach.These originate in the Anga area of Bihar.

The state has also produced many Hindi writers like Raja Radhika Raman Singh,Shiva Pujan Sahay,Divakar Prasad Vidyarthy,Ramdhari Singh Dinkar,Ram Briksha Benipuri,Phanishwar Nath Renu and Baba Nagarjun.

Bihar is truly colorful state and a great tourist hotspot.

Andhra Pradesh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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Andhra Pradesh, also known as the Rice Bowl of India is like a melting pot of varied cultures. It is a region which has been governed by different dynasties and empires. This diverse exposure to the cultures and traditions of the empires has had an indelible influence in forming the Culture of Andhra Pradesh. The conglomeration of many cultures has formed the present day culture of the region. Some of the primary rulers of the region were the Ikshvakus, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagars and Mughals.

The influence of external powers has influenced every aspect of the Andhra society. From music, dance, cuisine and literature, the foreign powers have left a mark of their own. This variety and diversity has helped the culture to become richer and more successful.

Culture of Andhra Pradesh
Different fields of art comprise the Culture of Andhra Pradesh. The rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh is evident from the internationally renowned Carnatic music.

The region is home to some of the most popular classical musicians like Thyagaraja and Annamacharya. The state's popular form of dance, Kuchipudi showcases immense talent and creativity. This dance form had originated in 300 BC and since then it has been a great contribution to Indian classical dance.

The local language of the region, Telegu is an extremely intense language and many compositions and poems have been written in this language. The nuances of the language highlight the depth of the language. Influenced by Sanskrit, Telegu is an exceptionally rich language.

The museums of Andhra like the Salar Jung Museum display a wide selection of sculptures, artifacts, paintings and ancient objects that were left behind by the different rulers of the region. The museums highlight the Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu influences on the region.

The culture of Andhra Pradesh is an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of the country. The art and crafts of the region like Kalamkari, Bidri, the fabulous weaving of Gadwal and Venkatagiri, the exclusive metal ware, brass, stone and wood carving highlight the immense talent of the Andhra craftsmen.

Arunachal Pradesh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

Arunachal Pradesh, the Land of Rising Sun, is much celebrated for its natural beauty, but very few people know that this Indian state has a great cultural background too. Its god-fearing people celebrate numerous festivals round the year, together with their own set of rituals, music and dance. Regardless of their religions and communities, people live here harmoniously and share each other’s joys and sorrows. The rich culture of the state gets its colors from the handicrafts that reveal the expert craftsmanship of artisans. Scroll down to get more information on art & culture of Arunachal Pradesh.

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The people of Arunachal Pradesh are polite and friendly. Nearly all people residing here are either of Tibeto-Burman or indigenous tribal origin. The state’s 16% of population are migrants, together with 30,000 Bangladeshi and Chakma expatriates, and immigrants from other parts of the country, especially Assam and Nagaland. It has 20 major tribes and numerous sub-tribes living in the villages across the state. The majority of these communities are culturally identical; however, geographical division has crafted different characteristics in language, dress and customs within them.

Different tribal groups have their own set of beliefs and notions about their religion. As the people of Arunachal Pradesh are segregated into three cultural groups, each group practices its own religion. The people of the first group are usually Buddhists, while people of the second group practice Donyi Poloism (worship the Sun God and the Moon God). Christianity and Hinduism are generally observed by people of the third group.

Dance is not only meant for recreation but it also helps to boost festive spirit amongst people. Here people usually prefer group dances, in which both men and women coordinate their steps. Igo dance of the Mishmi priests, War dance of the Adis, Noctes and Wanchos; traditional dances of the Buddhists are some the popular dances, in which women are not allowed to participate. Aji Lamu (Monpa), Roppi (Nishing), Buiya (Nishing), Hurkani (Apatani), Popir (Adi), Pasi Kongki (Adi), Chalo (Nocte), Ponung (Adi), and Rekham Pada (Nishing) are some of the famous folk dances from Arunachal Pradesh.

Music plays an important part in the festivities, whether it’s of marriage or festival, in Arunachal Pradesh. Here songs’ themes are based on fables related to creatures and animals. The folk songs of Pailibos are correlated to their folk history, mythology and their historical accounts. Ja-Jin-Ja is a special song that is sung on occasions of feasts and merriment, like marriages and social gatherings.

Baryi is another song in which the history, religious lore and mythology is narrated. Music is often accompanied by musical instruments, like Drums and Cymbals.

Art & Craft

Most of the tribal groups in the state are recognized for their own artistic craftsmanship. The Buddhist tribe specializes in making amazing masks. In fact, silverwares and beautifully painted wooden vessels are also famous from this community. Carpet making is also practiced by the Monpas; these carpets are known for their exotic designs. The central part of the state has got skilled craftsmen of cane and bamboo; their products include a variety of hats, baskets, cane vessels, cane belts, bamboo mugs, and ornaments. The eastern part is celebrated for its wooden carvings, and here you can get exquisitely carved cups, dishes, fruit bowls, etc. Other crafts known from the state are paper makings, smithy work, carpentry, pottery, weaving, and ivory work.

In Arunachal Pradesh, festivals make an essential part of the socio-cultural lifestyle of the people. A number of festivals are celebrated throughout the year in the state by one or the other tribe. Even festivals are observed in a wide range, including agricultural festivals, religious festivals, and socio-cultural festivals. Generally agricultural festivals are commemorated at bigger scale with rituals to thank the God for his kindness. Some of the major festivals are Mopin, Solung (Adis), Losar (Monpas, Sherdukpens), Boori-Boot (Hill Miris), Dree (Apatanis), Si-Donyi (Tagins), Nyokum (Nishis), Reh (ldu Mishimis), etc.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mizoram Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

Mizoram, hooked into the southern part of the north eastern part of India is land of rolling hills, rivers and lakes. The state of Mizoram in India is close to both the Indo-Bangladesh border and the Indo-Myanmar border. The closeness to the numerous international borders has made Mizoram a blend of various tribes that migrated from China, Myanmar (the erstwhile Burma), and the other parts of the Northeast. Some Mizo tribes may have formed a part of the people who lived in the Tao valley in northwest China. They slowly proceeded towards the border of Tibet and Myanmar and around 1700 AD, these tribes shifted to what is known as Mizoram today.

The Influence of Christianity in Mizoram

The social and cultural life in the Mizo society has undergone enormous changes over the years. The Mizo people belong to a Mongoloid race associated to the Shaans of Myammar (Burma). The Lushai, Hmars, Paithes, Raltes, Pang, Mara, Lakher, Kukis and Pawis of Mizoram are the tribes who were originnally the believers of the Pathan (good spirit). With the immigration of the British and consequently the settling of the Christian missionaries in the region, most people got converted to Christianity. Thus, due to the influence of the British in this region, most of the population speak in English besides Mizo. Mizo is written in Roman script. The nomadic Chakmas practice a curious mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism.

The Society of the Mizos

The Mizos are impregnable society with no class difference and no discrimination on the grounds of sex. 90% of the total society are into cultivation and the village seems like a big family. Birth of a child, marriage in the village and death of a person in the village or a community feast organised by a member of the village are prime events in which the whole village takes part.

The Art of the Mizos

Although the advent of Christianity brought about a big change, the colourful culture of the Mizos has remained intact. The traditional crafts of Mizoram are weaving, cane and bamboo work. The Mizo women weave intricate traditional designs and patterns on their looms. For example, the shawls carrying tribal clan motifs woven into them and are passed down the generations.

The Food of the Mizos

Mizo food is simple, basically made up of lentils, bamboo shoots and fish; pork, chicken and wild game meat and rice are hot favourites. Maize is widely grown and eaten.

Meghalaya Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

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The Culture of Meghalaya
The Khasi, Garo and Jaintia are people with a rich cultural heritage. The important crafts of the Khasi and the Jaintia districts are artistic weaving, wood-carving and cane and bamboo work. Carpet and silk weaving and the making of musical instruments, jewelry and pineapple fibre articles are among its minor craft.

The popular handicrafts of the Garo hills district are artistic weaving, cane and bamboo work including poker work (in which designs are burnt into the bamboo with a red-hot pointed rod), wood carving, jewelry and making of clay toys and dolls and musical instruments.

Dances of Meghalaya

Shad Sukmynsiem (Dance of the Blissful Heart) 

This dance is popularly known as Shad Weiking and is so called after the name of the ground where the dance used to be held every year. Being a thanksgiving festival, Shad Suk Mynesiem is a symbolic offering of salutations to God, homage to their ancestors and proclamation of
unity of the Khasi people.  It is organized by the Seng Khasi (Khasi Religion). The dance lasts for three days. Only unmarried men and women are allowed to take part in the dance. The dancers dance rhythmically making regular movements and keeping time with the beat of the drum and pipe (Tanguari). Damsels (unmarried) dressed colourfully.

Shad Nongkrem 

Another folk dance of the Khasis, Shad Nongkrem is associated with Ka Pomblang Nongkrem. Like all other ceremonies of the Meghalayans, it is performed to propitiate the all powerful Goddess Ka Blei Synshar for a rich bounteous harvest and prosperity of the people (subject). There is no fixed date for this festival. It is generally celebrated in November of every year. 


Another dance among the Khasis is Doregata in which the women try to knock off the turbans of their male partners, using their heads. Another dance that the performer dangles a pomelo or any other fruit on a cord tied to his waist and then whirls it round and round after the initial impetus with a barely perceptible movement of his hips. Some experts can control two separate pomelos in this way. 

Do Dru-su’a

The Garos have traditional dance called Do Dru-su'a in which two women dance like doves pecking each other.


For entertainment, the Pnars have their Laho dance, in which members of both sex
participate in their festival finery. Usually two young men on either side of a girl, linked together in arms, dance in steps. While in place of pipe and drum there is a 'Cheer leader', usually a
man with the gift of impromptu recitation.

Aasam Culture :: Regional Cultre :: Indian Culture

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Assam is a multiethnic
society with diversified culture. Forty five different languages are
spoken by different communities in Assam. Assamese culture is a rich
conglomerate of ethnic practices and assimilated beliefs. Its rich
folk music has its influence on artists like Bhupen Hazarika, Rudra
Baruah, Parbati Prasad Baruah, Jayanta Hazarika, Khagen Mahanta and
many others. Listed below are some cultural highlights.

  • Gamosa -
    meaning 'something to wipe the body’ is a white rectangular
    piece of cloth with red border which is of great significance
    for the people of Assam and is used for various occasions with
    high respect.
  • Cane and Bamboo
    - have remained inseparable parts of life in Assam. The Jappi,
    the traditional sunshade continues to be the most prestigious of
    bamboo items of the state.
  • Metal Crafts
    - Bell-metal and brass have been the most commonly used metals
    for the Assamese artisan. The Xorai and bota have in use for
    centuries, to offer betel-nut and paan to welcome distinguished
    guests. Gold, silver and copper too form a part of traditional
    metal craft in Assam.
  • Handlooms -
    Assam is the home for several types of silks, the most prominent
    and prestigious being muga, the golden silk exclusive only to
    this state. The women of Assam weave fairy tales in their looms.
    One of the world's finest artistic traditions finds expression
    in their exquisitely woven 'Eri', 'Muga' and 'Pat' fabrics.
  • Toys -
    There are four categories: clay toys, pith, wooden and bamboo
    toys, and cloth-mud toys.

  • Woodcraft -
    The various articles in a satra and naam-ghar(place of worship)
    are stiff cut on wood, depicting the guru asana (pedestal of the
    lords), apart from various kinds of birds and animals figuring
    in mythology. Modern-day Khanikar produce articles of commercial
    values, including figures of one-horned rhino and replicas of
    the world-famous Kamakhya temple - two items heading the list of
    demands of a visitor from outside.
  • Masks -
    Traditional masks have been widely used in folk theatres and
    bhaonas, made with the materials ranging from terracotta to pith
    to metal, bamboo and wood. Even in tribals too, varied colourful
    masks are used. The modern-day drawing rooms use masks as
    decorative items and wall-hangings.
  • Jewellery -
    Assamese traditional jewellery include the doog-doogi, loka-paro,
    bana, gaam-kharu, gal-pata, jon-biri, dhol-biri and keru. Jorhat
    of Assam is popular in manufacturing exquisite Assamese
  • Pottery -
    The Kumars and Hiras are two traditional potter communities of
    Assam. While the Kumars use the wheel to produce their pots, the
    Hiras are probably the only potters in the world who do not use
    the wheel at all. Also, among the Hiras, only the womenfolk are
    engaged in pottery work, while their men help them in procuring
    the raw materials and selling the wares. The most commonly-used
    pottery products include earthern pots and pitchers, plates,
    incense-stick holders, and earthen lamps.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Haryana Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

Haryana is a state in northwest India between 27 deg 37' to 30 deg 35' latitude and between 74 deg 28' to 77 deg 36' longitude and with an altitude between 700 to 3600 ft above sea level. Haryana was carved out of the Indian state of Punjab on 1st November 1966. It is bounded by Uttar Pradesh in the east, Punjab in the west, Himachal Pradesh in the north and Rajasthan in the south. The river Yamuna acts as the eastern boundary between Haryana and the states of Uttaranchal & Uttar Pradesh. The state is divided into four divisions for administrative purpose - Ambala, Rohtak, Gurgaon and Hissar. There are 19 districts, 47 sub-divisions, 67 tehsils, 45 sub-tehsils and 116 blocks. Haryana has a total of 81 cities and towns. It has 6,759 villages. An area of 1,553 sq.km is covered by forest. Haryana has a network of 43 tourist complexes, named after birds. These have been set up along the national / state highways and at districts, towns and at places around Delhi. Haryana has a network of educational institutions. There were 10399 Primary Schools, 1792 Middle Schools and 3838 High and Senior Secondary Schools functioning during 1998-99 in the State. Presently, there are four Universities and 214 Colleges with 161 Colleges of general education and 53 institutions exclusively for women in the State. As compared to All India Average of literacy rate of 52.21 per cent Haryana's literacy rate is 55.85 per cent. With just 1.37% of the total geographical area and less than 2% of India's population, Haryana has carved a place of distinction for itself during the past three decades.

Haryana is a State which astonishingly combines both-antiquity and plenty. It has been a cradle of Indian culture and civilization. The people of Haryana are simple, straight-forward, enterprising and hard-working. They are still conservative and continue to follow old practices as a matter of routine and custom. They celebrate festivals with great enthusiasm and traditional fervour. The region has its popular folklores, folksongs and musical instruments. The popular folklore of this area reflects the beliefs and piety of the people. Their culture and popular art are expressed through mimes, dramas, ballads and songs in which they take great delight. Harayan's population, are divided into a number of castes (jatis). The main classes of people in Haryana are the Brahmins, the Rajputs, the Jats, the Ahirs and the allied agricultural communities. The women are devoted and diligent and assist their men-folk on the farms. The dress of the people is generally simple. It consists of a dhoti, shirt, turban and a pair of shoes. A blanket or chaddar serves as wrapper. A duppata or overcloth, kamiz or skirt, pajamas, salwar or ghagra with differences in make and colour is generally the female dress. Among the educated classes in the villages women are taking to saris of different colours. The dresses worn by women display more variety than male attires. People are very fond of ornaments here. The ornaments are usually made of gold and silver. The main items include haar (necklace), hansli (heavy bangles) made of silver, jhalra (long hanging string of gold mohars or silver rupees) Karanphul and bujni of gold and dandle of silver for the ears. Some new types of ornaments are tops (balian) for the ears, churis for the wrists and pandels for the neck. The people have simple food habits. They are known for their love for cattle and the abudance of milk and curd in their diet. Haryana has always remained a rendezvous for diverse races, cultures and faiths.


Durri (carpet) manufacturing is a very important industry of the state. Manufacturing of scientific and surgical instruments is an old and important industry in the state and it is mainly located in Ambala district. Industrial units here are engaged in manufacturing of electric appliances like electric presses, electric ovens, electric motors of various sizes, electric grinders and mixies and electronic goods like voltage stabilizers, electric metres and accessories of refrigerators. Medium scale units are engaged in producing motor cycles, scooters, wheel rims, magnets, pistons, engines and break equipments, mobile cranes, hand tools, auto tyres, industrial tuggers and tubes, fans, printed cloth, A.C sheets and moulded pipes, tractor equipments, air compressors and pneumatic tools, rubber foot wears, diesel engines, yarn etc. The small scale units consist the manufacture of metal products and parts, rubber, plastic, petroleum products, wood and wood products, furniture and fixtures, cotton textiles, engineering goods, electronic goods and food products.


About 80% population of the State is engaged in agriculture, directly or indirectly. Mainly the crops of Haryana are divided into Kharif and Rabi crops. The main Kharif crops are Sugarcane, ground nut, paddy and maize. Minor Kharif crops are chillies, bajra, jowar, pulses and vegetables. The Main Rabi crops are gram, wheat, barley and oil seeds. Minor Rabi crops are massar, barseen, methi, onion and winter vegetables. The western Yamuna canal and the Bhakra canal system brings benefits to the cultivators of Haryana in a big way. The state has extensive tube well system. This irrigation net work has made Haryana into one of the front line states of India interms of good grains production. The state is not only surplus in food grains but also makes large quantities available to the central pool to serve the needs of the deficit states and provides some for export. High yielding varieties of wheat, paddy, sugarcane, barley, gram and a variety of other crops as well as vegetables and fruits are produced. Against the all-India average 31.6% of net irrigated area to the next sown area Haryana has a high average of 79.8%. The state is noted in respect of cultivation of as much of the land as is available. In Haryana, out of 100 hectares as much as 3/4 is cultivated and nearly 30% of the area under crop is irrigated. The out put of food grains per hectare is much higher in Haryana than the rest of the country and the state is a kind of granary. The Basmati rice produced in Haryana finds an easy market abroad. The State has Asia's biggest agricultural University known as Chaudhry Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University at Hisar, which has already made a significant contribution in ushering 'Green Revolution'. Electricity is supplied on subsidised rates to the agriculture sector. As a result of the various incentives being provided to the farmers, floriculture and horticulture are fast picking up. An ultra-modern fruit and vegetable market and food processing complex of international standard is being developed at Rai near Delhi to provide marketing and food processing facilities to the farmers and entrepreneurs of the northern region.

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry has been taken up as an integral component of diversified agriculture. Haryana has a livestock population of 98.97 lakh. Its 'Hariana' breed of cows and 'Murrah' breed of buffaloes are known throughout the world. Buffaloes constitute 45 % of the total livestock population and they contribute 80.5 % of the total milk production. About one lakh 'Murrah' buffaloes are exported every year to other States and abroad. The National Dairy Research Institute set up at Karnal and Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes at Hisar are constantly developing the breed of 'Hariana' cow and 'Murrah' buffaloe. There is a network of veterinary institutions to maintain the health of livestock. The State is regularly supplying eggs, layer-chicks and broilers to the neighbouring States of Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. However, it also has its markets in the far away States of Assam and Bihar.


Geographically Haryana has four main features:

- Shivalik Hills in the north

- Yamuna in the east and Ghaggar (Saraswati) plain in the west

- Semi-desert sandy plain

- Aravalli Range in the south western part which run through southern Delhi and the Gurgaon district upto Alwar. There are some high ridges running from the north-west to south-east with numerous spurs branching out in all directions. These hills are known as the Morni and Tipra ranges. They belong to the outer ranges of the Himalayas.
Haryana has no perennial rivers. The important rivers are Yamuna, the Saraswati and the Ghaggar. Several small streams flows through the state they are the Markanda, the Sahibi and Indori. Yamuna is the most important river in the state. It has its source in the hills at Kalesar and is the source of irrigation for large tracts in the districts of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Hissar and Rohtak through the western Yamuna canals. The river Saraswati begins in the large depression at Kalawar in the north of the Mustafabad Pargana of Jagadhri. The Ghaggar rises in the outer Himalayan ranges between the Yamuna and the Sutlej. The climate of Haryana over most of the year is of a pronounced continental character. It is very hot in summer and markedly cold in winter. The rainfall in the region is low and erratic except in parts of the Karnal and Ambala districts. The rainfall is unevenly distributed during the year except for two well marked seasons. One is the monsoon period lasting from the middle of June to the end of September on which autumn crop and spring sowing depend and the other is the winter rains which occur from December to February, benefiting rabi crop. Rainfall is meager, particularly in the districts of Mahendragarh and Hissar. The hottest months are May and June and the coldest being December and January. Best time to visit is October to March.

Punjab Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

Punjab the “Golden State” of India has a rich and vivacious culture. Versatility is the keyword of its legacy. Vibrant are the colours of Punjabi culture. Rich cultural heritage of Punjab can be classified under: Artsand Crafts, Music and Dance, Festivals, Cuisine and Attire.

Arts and Crafts:

Punjabis are renowned for their utmost interest in arts and crafts. Women used to weave wollen attire for everybody in the family. “Phulkari” is recognized worldwide for its intricate work. Shawls in silk are carefully hand-woven using traditional motifs as designs. Other famous crafts of the region include lacquer work, wooden work, Calico painting, paper mache` and many more. Wooden furniture is beautifully crafted by artisans with exquisite craftsmanship. Venetian lanterns known as “Fanoos” by Muslim artisans are a great display of craftsmanship.

Music and Dance:

Music and Dance is the vein of Punjabi culture. Punjabis give importance to music and dance, never neglected at any occasion. Traditional music and dance has been engrained in its folk form.

“Bhangra” is one of the most famous dance forms of Punjab. With the loud drumming of the dholak, people dance with zeal to the tunes of the music. “Giddha” is another important variant of dance practiced by Punjabi women. Bolis are lyrically sung and danced by women. Other popular dance forms are Jhumar, Dhankara and Gatka. Irrespective of age or religion, Punjabis love to dance and enjoy themselves to mark festivity.
Folk music is the soul of Punjabi culture. Folk music comprises of simple musical instruments like dholak and dhol drum. Punjabi music relates to the zestful people of Punjab. Bhangra is a popular music form of Punjab. Boliyas are sung and music is played in tune with the lyrics.


Festivals of Punjab mark fervour and happiness. Every festival is marked with music bringing the family together. Some of the major festivals are Lohri, Baisakhi, Holla Muhalla, Guru Nanak Jayanthi and Maghi. Lohri is celebrated as harvest festival on the solar equinox when the sun moves to Uttarayan position, by burning huge bonfires. Baisakhi is another important festival marked with the birth of Khalsa. This is celebrated in the month of April, as three days celebration. Holla Mohalla (Holi) is celebrated with great fervour using colours to mark the onset of spring season. Guru Nanak Jayanthi: birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib is celebrated on Karthik Purnima, with utmost devotion by the whole Sikh community.


Punjab is renowned worldwide for its extensive range of delicacies. Cuisine deals with generous spread of chaats, stuffed paranthas, vegetarian and non-veg dishes and desserts. Makki ki roti and Sarson di saag are trademarks of Punjabi cuisine. Dishes are flavoured using extensive spread of spices. Rotis made of wheat flour, corn flour, bajra are a true delicacy of Punjab.
Punjabi cuisine is extensive and lavish. Extensive use of butter and ghee make the dishes rich in taste and calories too. Lassi is an all time favourite.


The traditional attire of people is Kurta-pyjama with turban for men. Women prefer Patiala suits as part of their traditional attire. However, the younger generation prefers trendy attire as per the fashion scenario. The NRI population has been a major influece regarding attire of the Punjabis.

Himachl Pradesh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

Traditional dance, Himachal Pradesh

The people of Himachal Pradesh have a rich culture which is very much apparent in their day to day lives. The colourful dresses of Himachalis will strike you instantly as you make your way through the state. However, more than the dresses or even the notable physical features of the people, it is their warm and friendly nature that will draw you towards them. Interacting with them can be extremely fruitful as you will get to know more about their religious and cultural life
as it is.

Watch the various art forms of the people on metal, wood, leather and wool and collect some of these items as memory of your visit. Rejoice in their folk dance and music and even pick up a few notes and steps from the artists. The cuisine of Himachal is not as rich as some other states of the country yet there are quiet a few dishes that you must try out during your visit.

People & Lifestyle

The population of Himachal Pradesh is a mixed one though Hindus are definitely in majority. The Hindu communities residing in Himachal include the Brahmins, Rajputs, Kannets, Rathis and Kolis. There are also tribal population in the state which mainly comprise Gaddis, Kinnars, Gujjars, Pangawals and Lahaulis. In some area, like Lahaul & Spiti, there is a majority of Buddhist population. A percentage of people are also Tibetans. Muslim, Christian and Sikhs are in relatively small numbers. The physical feature of most of the people resemble the Aryans however, there are still many with prominent Mongoloid feature.

Though Hindi is the state language, many people speak Pahari. Pahari itself has many dialects and all of them trace their origin to the Sanskrit language. A majority of the population is engaged in agricultural work, however the more educated of them are now moving towards farming and other newer profession.

Traditional dress of the Brahmin male includes dhoti, kurta, coat,waistcoat, turban and a hand towel while that of the Rajput male consists of tight fitting churidar pyjamas, a long coat and a starched turban. The female of these two caste have kurtas, salwars, long skirts (ghaghri), embroidered tops (choli) and red head scarves (rahide) as their traditional attire. The dress up of the people has now become a mixed one with traditional blending gracefully with the modern.

The typical house in Himachal Pradesh is constructed of clay bricks and the roofs are of slate. The hilly areas have their own kind of house which is made of stone. The slate roof is replaced by timber. The houses are pucca and cattle shed is nearby. The tribals usually have two storied ouses wherein the cattle house occupies the ground floor while the first floor is meant for ersonal use. Labourers have thatched roofs house for themselves.

Art & Craft

The people of Himachal Pradesh are extremely hard working and talented and this reflects in their art and craft. The extremely beautiful handicraft that come out of this state is really worth appreciating. Carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork and paintings are just some of the craft forms of the people here. The much in demand Pashmina shawl is the product of this state. Colourful Himachali caps are yet another famous art work of the people. A tribe by the name of Dom is expert in manufacturing bamboo items like boxes, sofas, chairs, baskets and rack. Clay pots and statuettes are also famous and make for a good buy. Metalware of the state include utensils, ritualistic vessels, idols, gold and silver jewelleries.

Music and Dance

Music and dance in Himachal Pradesh revolves around religion. Through their dance and music, people entreat gods during festivals and other special occasions. There are also dances that are specific to certain regions and are best performed by the people of that area.

Some of the dance forms of Himachal are Losar Shona Chuksam (Kinnaur), Dangi (Chamba), Gee Dance and Burah dance, (Sirmour), Naati, Kharait, Ujagjama and Chadhgebrikar (Kullu) and hunto (Lahaul & Spiti).

As for the music of Himachal Pradesh is concerned, there is no classical form though there plenty of folk music to listen to. The folk stories of mountainous regions often find a mention in these music. The stories range from romance, chivalry and changing seasons. Musical instruments that are quiet frequently used by the artists here Ranasingha, Karna, Turhi, Flute, Ektara, Kindari, Jhanjh, Manjara, Chimta, Ghariyal, and Ghunghru.

Fairs & Festivals

Apart from the festivals that are celebrated on an all India basis, there are numerous other fairs and festivals that are the high point of Himachal Pradesh. These festivals are time when the eligious and cultural faith of the people can be seen and felt clearly. These festivals are also the time for them to adorn colourful dress and accessories and mingle with the rest of their kins reely. Amongst these fairs and festivals are the Kullu Dussehra, Shivratri Fair (Mandi), Minjar Fair (Chamba), Mani Mahesh Chhari Yatra (Chamba), Renuka fair (Sirmaur), Lavi Trade Fair (Rampur), Vrajeshwari fair (Kangra), Jwalamukhi Fair (Jwalamukhi), Holi Fair (Sujanpur),
Shivratri Fair (Mandi) and Naina Devi Fair (Bilaspur).


The day to day dishes of the people of Himachal Pradesh is very similar to the rest of north India in the sense that they too have dal-chawal-subzi-roti (lentil broth, rice, dish of vegetables and
bread). However, one difference is that non vegetarian items are more in famous here than other north Indian states. Till recently, all that Himachal knew of vegetables were potatoes and turnips. However, now gradually, green vegetables are making their importance felt more and more. Some of the dishes that are unique to Himachal include Pateer, Chouck, Bhagjery and hutney of Til. Apart from these Nasasta is a sweetmeat of the Kangra region, Indra is dish prepared of Urad dal and Bada/Poldu is cooked in the Shimla region.

Uttar Pradesh Culture :: Regional Culture :: Indian Culture

One of the most populous states of India is the state of Uttar Pradesh. The biggest city here is Kanpur while the other cities here are Allahabad, Agra and Varanasi. This is a state of diverse castes of the people of India where those from the upper classes; Brahmins, Vaishyas and Kshatriyas, though a minority, have managed to dominate the political and economic scenes here for many years.

The majority of the population here consists of people from scheduled castes, tribes and backward classes. You can find more of tribal people in the hill, Vindhya and terai-bhabhar regions. Five tribal communities; Tharus, Rajis, Bhoksas, Bhotias and Jaunswaris have been recognized by the central government. The scheduled tribes and castes of Uttar Pradesh are found in rural areas and are dependant on agriculture for their living. Besides the upper class population, there are other Hindu, Christian, Jain and Muslim communities found in UP.

Most of the population here comprise of people from Indo-Aryan sub races which belong to the Aryan race that had separated from the one in Iran. In fact, some people based on hills, on the districts bordering Nepal also have Mongoloid features. The Jaats and Gujjars from the race arisen from the mix of Indo-Aryan and Indo-Scythian tribes. Their physical features are very much different from the people settled in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Oudh. There is also a tribe in Rohikhand region of UP, Rohila Pathan, claim lineage to the tribes of Central Asia like Mongols.

Despite this diversity in castes of the population of UP, the people here are rather hard working, simple, place emphasis on family values and are social in their outlook. They are very touchy and don’t make jokes pointed to one’s caste, religion or family member; this is why sentiments of local people have to be respected. Though hard working, the people here are ridden with widespread poverty. However they have learnt to live happily despite all this.

This north Indian dance form is inextricably bound with classical Hindustani music, and the rhythmic nimbleness of the feet is accompanied by the table or pakhawaj. Traditionally the stories were of Radha and Krishna, in the Natwari style (as it was then called) but the Moghul invasion of North India had a serious impact on the dance. The dance was taken to Muslim
courts and thus it became more entertaining and less religious in content. More emphasis was laid on nritta, the pure dance aspect and less on abhinaya (expression and emotion).

Dances of Uttar Pradesh

Hurka Baul

The Hurka Baul is performed during paddy and maize cultivation. On a fixed day, after the preliminary ritual, the dance is performed in different fields by turns. The name of the dance is derived from hurka, the drum which constitutes the only musical accompaniment, and baul, the
song. The singer narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds, the players enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements. The farmers form two rows and move backwards in unison, while responding to the tunes of the song and the rhythm of the players.


A famous dance of Kumaon, Uttar Pradesh, is the Chholiya, performed during marriages. As the procession proceeds to the bride's house, male dancers, armed with swords and shields, dance spiritedly.

Ramalila and Rasalila

Ramalila and Rasalila are two most popular dance-dramas of Uttar Pradesh. The former is associated with Rama and the later with Krishna. Ramalila is based on the epic story of the Ramayana. It is staged as a dance-drama at various places in most of the cities, towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh with great fervour as a ritual. During the performance the Ramayana is constantly recited accompanied by dance and music. It presents a fine blending of dance, music, mime, abhinaya and poetry before an
enthusiastic and religious audience.

Rasalila folk-dances are performed with great pomp and pageantry in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, in general and in Braja Mandala, that is Mathura, Vrindavana and adjoining areas in particular. They commemorate in music and movement the most cherished divine love of
Radha and Krishna. In dance and song are enacted the legends connected with the childhood, adolescence and early youth of Krishna with cow maids and cowherds. The dances are highly developed in terms of footwork, mime and music, all requiring great skill and technique. Rasalila is a group dance performed in a mandala or a ring to the accompaniment of songs relating to Krishna legends and the music of drums, cymbals, and flutes. Many of the steps of this complex dance-pattern are common with those of the Kathak.

Arts and Crafts

Agra's Zardoji

Agra's Zardoji is very uniqueart of embroidery. The artist first makes free hand sketches of the subject. Then he embroiders in cotton threads over and over till he gets the required thickness and movements. Finally the artist takes fibre from silk threads, twists then together in the shades required for and embroiders with them the particular piece. In the process he creates original unparallel work of art.

The Chikankari Embroidery of Lucknow

The name ‘chikan’ seems to have been derived from the Persian word, either ‘Chikan’, ‘Chikin’ or ‘Chikeen’. It means a kind of cloth wrought with needle–work. Although it originated as a court craft, today it is a practiced tradition and an important commercial activity.

Chikan work has very light, gossamer – like quality. This makes it very suitable for the seemingly hot climate of the northern plain region. Chikankari received great impetus during the Nawabi period. The source of most design motifs in Chikankari is Mughal. These motifs can also be seen in the ornamentation of Mughal buildings like the Taj Mahal and the monuments of Fatehpur Sikri.