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Culture of India

The culture of India is the way of living of the people of India. India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differs from place to place within the country. The Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and has been influenced by a history that is several millennia old. Many elements of India's diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, Indian philosophy and Indian cuisine, have had a profound impact across the world.

India is one of the world's oldest civilizations and one of the most populated countries in the world. The Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several various cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and has been influenced and shaped by a history that is several thousand years old. Throughout the history of India, Indian culture has been heavily influenced by Dharmic religions. They have been credited with shaping much of Indian philosophy, literature, architecture, art and music.Greater India was the historical extent of Indian culture beyond the Indian subcontinent. This particularly concerns the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism, architecture, administration and writing system from India to other parts of Asia through the Silk Road by the travellers and maritime traders during the early centuries of the Common Era. To the west, Greater India overlaps with Greater Persia in the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains. Over the centuries, there has been significant fusion of cultures between Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims (Sunni, Shia, Sufi), Jains, Sikhs and various tribal populations in India.

Bandanna Bangle
Bungalow Shampoo
Numerous words from India entered English vocabulary during the British colonial era. Examples: bandana, bangles, bungalow and shampoo.

  • Exoticist approach: it concentrates on the wondrous aspects of the culture of India. The focus of this approach of understanding Indian culture is to present the different, the strange and as Hegel put it, "a country that has existed for millennia in the imaginations of the Europeans."
  • Magisterial approach: it assumes a sense of superiority and guardianship necessary to deal with India, a country that James Mill's imperialist history thought of as grotesquely primitive culture. While great many British observers did not agree with such views of India, and some non-British ones did, it is an approach that contributes to some confusion about the culture of India.
  • Curatorial approach: it attempts to observe, classify and record the diversity of Indian culture in different parts of India. The curators do not look only for the strange, are not weighed by political priorities, and tend to be more free from stereotypes. The curatorial approach, nevertheless, have an inclination to see Indian culture as more special and extraordinarily interesting than it actually may be.
  • Public Broadcasting System, USA (2008). The story of India – history and culture
  • Sharma, Ram Sharan (2005), India's Ancient Past, (Oxford University Press, ).
  • Bajpai, Shiva (2011). The History of India – From Ancient to Modern Times, (Himalayan Academy Publications (Hawaii, USA), )
  • A.L. Basham, The Wonder That was India, , Picador London
  • Auboyer, Jeannine (2002). Daily Life in Ancient India, from 200 BC to 700 AD. (originally published in French in 1961), Phoenix Press, London
  • Dalmia, Vasudha and Rashmi Sadana (editors), The Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture, Cambridge University Press,
  • Grihault, Nicki. Culture Smart! India: A Quick Guide to Customs and Etiquette. .
  • Henderson, Carol E. (2002). Culture and Customs of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. .
  • Naipaul, V.S, India: A Million Mutinies Now, .
  • Nilakanta Sastri, A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar, Oxford University Press,
  • Tully, Mark. No Full Stops in India.
  • Patra, Avinash (2012), The Spiritual Life and Culture of India, Oxford University Press, England.


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