East India has housed many great educational centers over the centuries, including the famous Nalanda University which was located near Patna. Bengali is the dominant language of West Bengal, Oriya is spoken in Orissa, Assamese which is closely related to Bengali is commonly spoken in Assam while the Biharis speak Bhojpuri and the Sikkimese Nepali.
The majority of the population is a mixture of Hindus and Muslims, with a smattering of Christians, Buddhists and Sikh minorities. In this region, most Hindus worship the revered deities Shiva, Durga, and Kali.
The region has several pilgrimage sites:
- Puri: where the famous Jagannath temple stands
- Konark: hosting an ancient Sun temple
- Bengal: Dakshineswar and Kalighat temples.
- Bihar Sharif: an important pilgrimage site for Muslims
- Bodhgaya: sacred to Buddhists and Hindus alike.
West Bengal is famous for the festival of Durga Puja, held around the time when Navratri celebrations take place in North India.
Our tailor-made East India tours will take you to Kolkata – touted as the Cultural Capital of India as well as the City of Joy. An eclectic mixture of colonial conventions and urban living, Kolkata has plenty of gentlemen’s clubs, a race course, vintage cars rallies, malls, business centers and nightlife. Patna, on the other hand, is a chaotic, bustling city and the center of Bihar’s economy.
The Easterners are well-known for their art and cultural pursuits – most Bengalis are aspiring singers and the government of West Bengal has decreed that Rabindrasangeet – Bengali music by Rabindranath Tagore, be played at all traffic signals! The region also has a dominant folk music and art culture, for which the bauls and fakirs from rural areas are mainly responsible.
Odisha is famous for an ancient form of classical dance – Odissi. Assamese culture is rich in symbolism, and festivals, dance, music, and drama are important aspects of the culture. The region also boasts some wonderful cricket teams, football clubs, some of Asia’s most beautiful golf courses, polo, rowing and tennis clubs.
Top East India Tours Tip – Culture: Home to majestic mountains of the southern Himalayan range, Sikkim offers much peace and solitude away from the urban centers.