Indian culture, by many sources, has been described as the first and the supreme culture in the world. India has made significant advances in architecture, mathematics and medicine. Today, India is a very diverse country, with more than 1.2 billion people, making it the second most populous nation after China. India has different regions having their own distinct cultures. Language, religion, food and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture.
There is no official language in India, though Hindi is the official language of the government. The Constitution of India officially recognizes 23 official languages.Different states have different languages. It is believed that majority of the people in India speak Hindi, but this is not true. Many people speak Hindi but a large percentage of residents of India speak some other language other than Hindi. The other languages spoken in India are Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.
India is identified as the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, the third and fourth largest religions. There are many religions being followed in India. Many of the Indians can be identified as Hindu. Some percentage of Indians are Muslim, a small percentage of population is made up of Sikhs and Christians.
Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes and its free use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles vary from region to region. Important staples of Indian diet are wheat, rice and pulses. The food includes variety of spices, including ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, peppers, and cinnamon, and many more. Varieties of chutneys are used with Indian cuisines in India. Some of the Hindus are vegetarian and some are non-vegetarian. Main dishes for non-vegetarians are chicken and lamb.
The most well-known example of Indian architecture is the Taj Mahal, which was built by Shah Jahan to honour his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. India also has many ancient temples. It is well known for its film industry. The country's movie history began in 1896 when the Lumière brothers demonstrated the art of cinema in Mumbai. India’s tradition of dance, music and theatre are present from more than 2,000 years.
There are many classical dance forms in India like Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Kathakali, and they have rigid rules of presentations.
Indian clothing is very different, colourful saris are there for Indian women and dhoti and kurta, sherwani, for special occasions are there for women. Men also wear dhotis, achkans or Nehru jackets. But nowadays trends have changed and only few Indians follow the traditional clothing trends.
India is a country of festivals, there are many festivals like Diwali, known as the festival of lights, lights symbolize the inner light of individuals that protects them from spiritual darkness, Holi, the festival of colours, Republic Day, Independence Day andGandhi Jayanti.
A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.