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Dances of India

India is a land of diversities. Various climatic conditions have made India a diverse country. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible. These diversities have made the Indian culture a unique one. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are also varied and different. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are performed on small occasions.

The Indian dances are broadly divided into Classical dances and folk dances. The Classical dances of India are usually spiritual in content. Though the folk dances of India are also spiritual and religious in content but the main force behind the folk dances of India is the celebratory mood. Dances are a form of coherent expression of human feelings. Like the Indian culture, Indian classical dances are equally diverse in nature. There are numerous classical dance forms in India and innumerable folk dances. Each dance form can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people

The most popular classical dance styles of India are Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali and Mohiniattam of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh and Manipuri of Manipur.


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<Indian Classical Dances>
India has thousands of year old tradition of fine arts and classical and folk music and dances. Some of the world-famous dance forms that originated and evolved in India are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Odissi. All these dance forms use basically the same 'mudras' or signs of hand as a common language of expression and were originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses. They were also effective in carrying forward the various mythological stories from generation to generation while entertaining the audiences. It eventually became a part of 'Natya Shashtra', as propounded by Sage Bharata to compile and forge some rules and regulations of entertaining arts.

With time, the classical dances evolved to include the expressions and themes from social life and experiences. Lord Shiva is said to be the 'Nataraja' meaning 'King of All Dances', who is said to perform the Cosmic Dance that delicately balances life and death and all that is happening in the Universe in harmonious cycles. Bharatnatyam, popular in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, is said to be revealed by Lord Brahma to Bharata. Kathak is the art to tell a story and is a form of North Indian classical dance. Later, it became courtly entertainment.

Kathakali from Kerala makes use of colorful masks and costumes and belongs to Kerala. Kuchipudi is the dance drama of Andhra Pradesh that combines Natya, Nritta and Nritya. Manipuri, as the name suggests, is from Manipur, the Northeastern state of India, and is a combination of many dances prevalent in the region. Mohiniattam from Kerala is a solo female dance and is known for its rhythmic and unbroken flow of the body movements. Odissi from Orissa is a dance of love, joy and intense passion.

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<Indian Clothing>
Traditional Indian clothing has come into prominence once again. Well, if you notice the trends in fashion industry, you'll realize that modern fashion has aped the styling and designing of the bygone eras, the period of royalty, when Maharajas and Ranis used to spend extravagantly on their clothing. Whatever the royals chose to go in for was reminiscent of splendor and luxury. The creative fashion designers of today are in a lookout for ethnic designs that take us close to our cultural roots and remind us of the glorious past. Well, in this section, we will provide you with information on the different kinds of traditional clothing in India, so read on…

Indian Ethnic Wear

Dhoti
Dhoti kurta is the traditional Indian clothing of men. Unlike other dresses, it is an unstitched piece of cloth usually 5 yards long that is tied around the waist and legs. The knot is tied at the waist. Dhoti is known by different names at different places such as Laacha in Punjabi, dhuti in Bangla.

Kurta
Kurta is a term used to refer to a long loose shirt, the length of which falls below or may be just above the knees of the wearer. In the olden times, it was primarily worn by men, but today, it has become a unisex dress that both men and women can wear.

Indian Salwar Kameez
Salwar kameez is the traditional Indian clothing for women. Due to its high popularity in the region of Punjab, shalwar kameez is commonly referred to as Punjabi suit. The fashion of Shalwar Kameez in India is not new. Since the past many few centuries, women have been wearing this wonderful attire.

Indian Sari
Sari is one of the most wonderful dresses worn by Indian women. Infact, when one thinks of a typical Indian woman, the first thing that strikes the mind is a woman clad in sari, who is wearing the solah shringar including bindi, chudi, kajal etc.

Sherwani for Men
Sherwani is a long coat resembling achkan in styling. It is buttoned upto the collar and lengthwise it is usually below the knee. It adds to the charm and grace of men, especially the taller ones. Indian men spend lavishly on buying the sherwani suit for the special occasion of their wedding.

Turban
In India, one can spot many men wearing turban. Well, turban is tied not for the sake of fashion, but because it has a lot of significance in the lives of Indians. The hair turban is a headdress that basically consists of a long piece of unstitched cloth, which is wrapped around the head.
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<Indian Food>
The traditional Indian food has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes. The cooking style varies from region to region. India is quite famous for its diverse multi cuisine available in a large number of restaurants and hotel resorts, which is reminiscent of unity in diversity. The staple food in India includes wheat, rice and pulses with chana (Bengal Gram) being the most important one. To know more about the Indian traditional food, read on.

Bengali Food
Bengali cuisine is appreciated for its fabulous use of panchphoron, a term used to refer to the five essential spices, namely mustard, fenugreek seed, cumin seed, aniseed, and black cumin seed. The specialty of Bengali food lies in the perfect blend of sweet and spicy flavors.

Gujarati Food
The traditional Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian and has a high nutritional value. The typical Gujarati thali consists of varied kinds of lip smacking dishes. Gujarati cuisine has so much to offer and each dish has an absolutely different cooking style.

Kashmiri Food
Kashmiri food that we have today in the restaurants has evolved over the years. Highly influenced by the traditional food of the Kashmiri pundits, it has now taken some of the features of the cooking style adopted in Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan.

Mughlai Cuisine
Mughlai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines, whose origin can be traced back to the times of Mughal Empire. Mughlai cuisine consists of the dishes that were prepared in the kitchens of the royal Mughal Emperors. Indian cuisine is predominantly influenced by the cooking style practiced during the Mughal era.

Punjabi Food
The cuisine of Punjab has an enormous variety of mouth-watering vegetarian as well as non vegetarian dishes. The spice content ranges from minimal to pleasant to high. Punjabi food is usually relished by people of all communities. In Punjab, home cooking differs from the restaurant cooking style.

Rajasthani Food
The cuisine of Rajasthan is primarily vegetarian and offers a fabulous variety of mouthwatering dishes. The spice content is quite high in comparison to other Indian cuisines, but the food is absolutely scrumptious. Rajasthanis use ghee for cooking most of the dishes. Rajasthani food is well known for its spicy curries and delicious sweets.

South Indian Cuisine
The cuisine of South India is known for its light, low calorie appetizing dishes. The traditional food of South India is mainly rice based. The cuisine is famous for its wonderful mixing of rice and lentils to prepare yummy lip smacking dosas, vadas, idlis and uttapams.
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<Indian Forts>
Of all the Indian monuments, forts and palaces are most fascinating. Most of the Indian forts were built as a defense mechanism to keep the enemy away. The state of Rajasthan is home to numerous forts and palaces. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are also not far behind. In fact, whole India is dotted with forts of varied sizes. The magnificent forts and palaces of Rajasthan were built during the medieval period. The notable feature about each of the forts and palaces is the exquisite carving work that has survived till date and still receives appreciation from people worldwide.

These magnificent forts can not be described in words as they will look too small in front of splendor of forts that beautify India. Some prominent forts of Rajasthan are Amber fort, Chittorgarh fort, Jaisalmer fort, Lohagarh fort, Bikaner fort and Jaigarh fort. Delhi, the capital of India also boasts of some great forts. Some of the notable forts of Delhi are the Red fort, Purana Quila and the Tughlaqabad fort. These grand forts clearly depict the glory of Indian majestic past. There are many other forts of importance in India. Some of the most notable are the Red fort, Agra, the Gwalior fort and the Junagarh fort.


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<Indian Folktales>
The folklores and folktales have been an eternal part of every culture since ages. When it comes to Indian folk tales, the country of diverse religions, languages and cultures has a complete range of tales and short stories. Indian folklore has a wide range of stories and mythological legends, which emerge from all walks of life. The interesting stories range from the remarkable ‘Panchatantra’ to ‘Hitopadesha’, from ‘Jataka’ to ‘Akbar-Birbal’.

Not only this, the great Indian epics like ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Bhagvad Gita’ are full of didactic stories inspired from the lives of great souls. Being full of moralistic values, Indian folklore makes perfect stories for children, who are required to be, instilled with right values. All these ancient stories have been passed from generation to generation, creating bondage of traditional values with present-day generation.

Hitopadesha Tales
The Hitopadesha is a remarkable compilation of short stories. Composed by Narayana Pandit, Hitopadesha had its origin around a thousand years ago. In Indian Literature, the Hitopadesha is regarded more or less similar to the Panchatantra. In the vein of Panchatantra, the Hitopadesa was ...


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