THE CULTURE OF INDIA
The culture of India is among the world's oldest, reaching back about 5,000 years. Many sources describe it as "Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara" — the first and the supreme culture in the world. India is a very diverse country, and different regions have their own distinct cultures. Language, religion, food and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture. Here is a brief overview of the culture of India. Language
India has 28 states and seven territories, and each has at least one official language. While the national languages are Hindi and English, there are about 22 official languages and nearly 400 living languages spoken in various parts of the country. Most of the languages of India belong to two families, Aryan and Dravidian. Religion
India is identified as the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism. A huge majority — 84 percent — of the population identifies as Hindu. There are many variations of Hinduism, and four predominant sects — Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakteya and Smarta. About 13 percent of Indians are Muslim, making it one of the largest Islamic nations in the world. Christians and Sikhs make up a small percentage of the population, and there are even fewer Buddhists and Jains. Food
Indian cuisine boasts Arab, Turkish and European influences. It is known for its large assortment of dishes and its liberal use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles vary from region to region. Wheat, Basmati rice and pulses with chana (Bengal gram) are important staples of the Indian diet. The food is rich with curries and spices, including ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, dried hot peppers, and cinnamon, among others. Chutneys — thick condiments and spreads made from assorted fruits and vegetables such as tamarind and tomatoes and mint, cilantro and other herbs — are used generously in Indian cooking. Many Hindus are vegetarians, but lamb and chicken are common in main dishes for non-vegetarians. Much of Indian food is...
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