India is a South Asian country with a population of 1.2 billion people according to its 2012 census. It was one of the Britain colonies and was ruled for nearly 200 years before gaining Independence in 1947. India is a very religious yet liberal country and so there is freedom to practice any religion according to one’s belief and faith. The prevalent religion is Hindu practised by 80% of the population and followed by the 14% which are Muslims and 2% Christians, some Buddhist, Sikhs and Jains.
Though English is the official language, there are 18 other main languages; Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. These languages are divided into two categories namely, Indo- Aryan (language of invaders) and Dravidian (the native south Indian languages).
In India, traditions are taken seriously as they are values that transcend down generations. Showing respect to elders is one of these beliefs and touching their feet to ask for blessing is customary. Indians are generally very hospitable and welcoming. Irrespective of their means, a visitor is properly taken care of and never allowed to go hungry.
The most common traditional Indian clothing is the Sari for women and Dhoti for men. The sari is an intricately designed and embellished wrap. Teenagers wear half saris and the women wear full ones. The Dhoti is worn with a Kurta (shirt) and Ghandi Ttopi (cap). These are mostly sown out of cotton. Saris sown out of silk are considered elegant and worn mostly by the rich or the royal family. Indian women do not hold back when it comes to adornments, they lavishly decorate themselves with flowers on their braids and ornaments like anklets, nose chains, necklaces, bracelets, long earrings, beads gracing their waist and tattoo known as henna.
Women in India are greatly reverenced as they are seen as gods according to tradition. One of the powerful deities in India, Durga, is a woman and some of the most important temples in the country are dedicated to goddesses. Though most women were denied education in the past hence rarely pursuing a career, 124 million of the 397 million India workers are now women with role models such as Indira Gandhi in Politics, Medha Patker in social movements, P.T.Usha and Malleswari in Sports, to name a few taking the lead and fairing excellently in their profession.
Indians are also known for their peculiar music and dance forms. The dances involve hand, feet and waist movements done in graceful style and poise. Enhanced by make- up and costume each stroke and facial expression communicates a certain message. One of the popular one is Bharatanatyam, it is highly revered and seen as a form of religion by its performers.
Rural areas in India are economically and traditionally significant as they hold the essence of the country’s custom and though Indians have imbibed the western culture, there is a distinct persistence of “Indianess”. The artefacts, cuisine, handicrafts, attire and lifestyle of the rural folks is still followed and preserved by Indians.
India is the tenth largest economy in the world with 6.23% contribution from tourism. Apart from the Taj Mahal that it is popularly known for, other interesting tourist attractions are Tso Moriri Lake, Ladakh, Gao, Charminar in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Jaipur also known as the Pink City, Kashmir (one of the most beautiful places in the world) and numerous temples. The best time to visit India is between March and May which is summer. There is a lot to see and the people are welcoming!
“India’s population ‘to be biggest’ in the planet”. BBC News. 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2012-09-24.