Culture of North India
North India is a melting pot of various traditions and customs, having assimilated influences over centuries.
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Culture of North India: What to expect
Women predominantly wear the traditional salwar-kameez or sari, although in rural parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the ghagra-choli (skirt and blouse) is more prevalent. North Indian men usually wear a kurta with pyjamas or a traditional garment called dhoti. Turbans or headgear are worn as a sign of one’s status.
Traditionally worn to as a symbol of female energy designed to protect the wearer and her spouse, bindis today are no longer limited to married women. As a result, colorful and decorative bindis can be seen to line the foreheads of many women.
North India has various ethnic and religious groups such as Brahmins, Jats, Rajputs and Dalits. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains regularly rub shoulders in this multilingual and multicultural part of India.
Hindi is spoken and understood everywhere, although in the interiors of each state, local people converse in regional languages.
Varanasi, which is popularly called the oldest city in the world, is considered the spiritual capital of India. Thousands of pilgrims travel to the city every year, to bathe in the waters of the holy river Ganges and to perform Hindu funeral rites. The city also houses the Kashi Vishwanath – one of the most revered Hindu temples in India.
Art, painting, sculpting, dance and music are various important tenets of North Indian culture. Revered poet Kalidasa, as well as scholars like Panini, Tulsidas and Chand Bardai were all from this region. North Indian painting is not to be taken lightly either – Rajasthani art and Rajput miniature paintings have etched out their own niche in Indian history.
Hindustani classical music traces its roots back to the Vedic time in North India, and starting from the fun Bhangra to the traditional Kathak, the region boasts various forms of dance as well.
Did you know?
Garlanding is a sign of respect in North India and garlands are offered to deities or honored visitors. Flowers are supposed to be auspicious and their aroma is expected to rejuvenate you.
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