India’s culture is among the world's oldest. Civilization in India began about 4,500 years ago. Many sources describe it as "Sa PrathamaSanskratiVishvavara" — the first and the supreme culture in the world, according to the All World GayatriPariwar (AWGP) organization. India's social, economic, and cultural configurations are the products of a long process of regional expansion. Indian history begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. These two phases are usually described as the pre-Vedic and Vedic age. Hinduism arose in the Vedic period.
The fifth century saw the unification of India under Ashoka, who had converted to Buddhism, and it is in his reign that Buddhism spread in many parts of Asia. In the eighth century Islam came to India for the first time and by the eleventh century had firmly established itself in India as a political force. It resulted into the formation of the Delhi Sultanate, which was finally succeeded by the Mughal Empire, under which India once again achieved a large measure of political unity.
It was in the 17th century that the Europeans came to India. This coincided with the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, paving the way for regional states. In the contest for supremacy, the English emerged 'victors'. The Rebellion of 1857-58, which sought to restore Indian supremacy, was crushed; and with the subsequent crowning of Victoria as Empress of India, the incorporation of India into the empire was complete. It was followed by India's struggle for independence, which we got in the year 1947.
- Our archaeology holidays feature a wide selection of individual/ group tours exploring the ancient and medieval India, from Ancient Harappan civilization to medieval Guptas, Murayas, Mughals, Rajputas.
Expert lecturers, chosen for their companionability and communication skills as well as their scholarship, lead our award-winning, meticulously-planned archaeological tours throughout India, visiting sites as famed as The TajMahal, Palaces & Forts of Rajasthan, Caves & rock cuttings of Ajanta &Elora, the temple complex in Khajuraha Huge fortress by Mughals & then finally the English Grandeur of Brits..
* Customs & Traditions
– India is very rich in its customs and traditions which keep its people binding together. As with any other ancient civilizations, India is a land of deep rooted customs. Customs are nurtured and nourished to maintain deeply held values. Today we often shy away doing things which have no seemingly immediate gratifications, thus loosing what our ancient civilization had instilled upon our fore-fathers. India is a multi-cultural combination of a mix of a myriad of peoples, religions, ethnic backgrounds all resulting in a multitude of customs. You will find different customs being practised in different parts of India.
Traditional beauty treatments have been handed down by word of mouth and practice down the generations in India. Quite a few of the methods and practices followed by our elders had a very scientific and rational base with a major usage of items that we use every day in the kitchen, (like milk, turmeric, curd, gram flours, etc), leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds & the bark and roots from plants (like hibiscus & flowers, henna leaves, baadametc). All of these items were widely used to beautify but also to maintain and condition the body. Each of the beauty aids has the required moderating effect. Today, the use of natural items in food, beauty treatment, and medicine is gathering momentum with a lot of herbal products in the market.
– India being the country with its diversified religions & communities, different rituals are being practised in each religion, most of the rituals fall in the Hinduism itself. The religious life of many Hindus is focused on devotion to God (perceived as Brahman, Shiva, Vishnu, or Shakti) or several gods. This devotion usually takes the form of rituals and practices associated with sculptures and images of gods in home shrines.More philosophically-minded Hindus ignore the gods altogether and seek Realization of the Self through intense meditation. Still others focus primarily on fulfilling the social and moral duties appropriate to their position in life.
These various approaches are regarded as equally valid, and in fact are formally recognized as three paths (margas) to liberation: bhaktimarga (the path of devotion), jnanamarga (the path of knowledge or philosophy), and karmamarga (the path of works and action).
* Art & Architecture
- Indian art and architecture, works of art and architecture produced on the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided among India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In the Western world, notable collections of Indian art can be seen in the British Museum, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Although a great deal of Indian secular art was produced, it was essentially made of perishable material and has not survived. What has survived in the medium of stone is religious art. In both Buddhist and Hindu art, symbolism in gesture, posture, and attribute contains many levels of meaning. In images of the Buddha, different hand positions (mudras) signify religious states, such as the Enlightenment (Nirvana), Meditation, and Preaching. In Hindu sculpture, deities (Vishnu, Krishna, and Shiva) are frequently represented with many hands to indicate their power to perform multiple deeds at the same time, and the hands each carry their characteristic attributes. With the exception of Mughal art and architecture, which demands separate treatment, the major trends in Indian art–Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain–are much discussed in the context of Art & Architecture?
– India being the Land of Diverse cultures & religions, countless festivals are celebrated throughout the year. People of the same religion follow different customs, based on the region in which they live.The celebrations include prayers to the Gods, rituals, meeting with friends, sharing of sweets &gifts.There are festivals to the various Hindu Gods, Lords of the season. Most Indian festivals follow the lunar calendar and not the solar calendar.
- India is famous for its kind of fairs, most of the fair held in India are either religious fairs or celebration of change of seasons. A number of big fairs are held at important places of pilgrimage, KhumbhMela the largest gathering in the world held at three Holi cities of India. Kolkata Book Fair is the world’s third largest annual conglomeration of books and world’s largest non-trade book fair. The famous Sonepur Cattle Fair near Patna is the biggest cattle fair in Asia and world’s largest animal fair. India is a land of fairs and festivals, every month there is a fair held at different regions of India, Some of the big religious fairs in India are Pushkar Fair, Baneshwar Fair Gangasagar Fair, TarnetarMela, ChaitreChaudashmela, Nagaur fair, and many monsoon fairs.
* Craft & Paintings
- The crafts of India are diverse, rich in history and religion. The craft of each state in India reflect the influence of different empires. Throughout centuries, crafts have been embedded as a culture and tradition within rural communities. The crafts of India have been valued throughout time; their existence today proves the efforts put into their preservation.
Indian painting has a very long tradition and history in Indian Sub-continent. The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of pre-historic times, the petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka rock shelters, some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. India's Buddhist literature is replete with examples of texts which describe palaces of the army and the aristocratic class embellished with paintings, but the paintings of the Ajanta Caves are the most significant of the few survivals. Smaller scale painting in manuscripts was probably also practised in this period, though the earliest survivals are from the medieval period. Mughal painting represented a fusion of the Persian miniature with older Indian traditions, and from the 17th century its style was diffused across Indian princely courts of all religions, each developing a local style. Company paintings were made for British clients under the British raj, which from the 19th century also introduced art schools along Western lines, leading to modern Indian painting, which is increasingly returning to its Indian roots.
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