Hinduism, which has grown and passed down for around three millennia, permeates Indian society to this day, which makes it the bearer of art and culture. But other religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, the Sikh religion and Islam have also shaped Indian art in the field of architecture and painting. Impressive examples are the paintings in the Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta in the west of the country, the Hindu temples rich in relics in Khajuraho and Mahabalipuram from the 7th to 11th centuries in southern India and the monumental Muslim forts and palaces of the north, where the mausoleum of the Taj Mahal from the 17th century in Agra.
With the Veda , the holy scriptures of the Aryan immigrants of northern India, India has one of the richest and oldest literary treasures in the world (Indian scriptures). With the beginning of the colonial era, English in particular influenced Indian literature. The Bengali poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore , who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, was intermediate between India and the West. Salman Rushdie, who publishes in English, is one of the most successful contemporary authors. There are also a number of different authors who write in a regional language. They remain largely unknown internationally.
Indian theater looks back on a long tradition, in which poetry, music and dance merge into a total work of art. Classical Indian dance often has pantomime forms. The dancers are usually accompanied by a singer, a drummer, cymbals and other string or plucked instruments. The i companies the music was by performers such as the sitar player and composer Ravi Shankar also known in the US and in Europe. The two most widespread musical forms are called raga and tala. Raga is more melodic, tala more rhythmic. Due to the rapid rise of the Indian film industry (Bollywood) classical elements of Indian dance and music are still alive today. With over 1000 feature films per year, India is the largest film producer in the world. Commercial entertainment films predominate, which are also exported to Europe and the USA.
There are many colorful festivals in India, most of which are dedicated to the Hindu gods. The most famous celebrations include the pilgrimage festival Kumbhamela or Holi, the festival of colors, with which spring is welcomed. The largest Hindu festival is Divali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated in October / November.
Kumbhamela – the great festival of faith of the Hindus
Kumbhamela is considered the largest religious festival in the world and, with a 3,000-year tradition, is one of the oldest pilgrimage festivals of mankind. It takes place four times in twelve years, in turn in four holy places in India, and attracts millions of pilgrims. The myths report that gods and demons once whirled the ocean of milk until a pot (“kumbha”) rose out of it, filled with the elixir of life Amrita. In the subsequent dispute over the pot and its contents, four drops fell to the earth – on the places that are the scene of Kumbhamela today. The fight lasted twelve days, and because a god’s day corresponds to a human year, the festival is celebrated every twelve years. Visit cachedhealth.com for India travel package.
All four sites of the Kumbhamela are on rivers. At Prayaga (part of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh) the three sacred rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Sarasvati flow together. According to Hindu belief, the footprint of the god Vishnu is in Hardwar (Uttar Pradesh); at this point the Ganges leaves the Himalayan region. Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) is on the banks of the Sipra and Nasik (Maharashtra) on the banks of the Godavari. According to Hindu beliefs, bathing in the sacred rivers during Kumbhamela frees pilgrims from the sins committed by them – and eighty-eight generations of their ancestors – and cleanses them for their next life.
The most important Kumbhamela festival in terms of the number of pilgrims and best known outside India is the “Great Kumbhamela Festival” (“Mahakumbhamela”) in Prayaga in the twelfth year, at the end of the twelve-year cycle, which extends over several weeks. It was last celebrated in 2001 and brought together over 70 million pilgrims.
Astrologers determine the time of the festival. Jupiter and the sun play a special role. In Prayaga, the Kumbhamela festival takes place in January and February, when Jupiter is in the constellation Taurus and the sun enters the constellation Capricorn. In Hardwar, Jupiter must be in Aquarius and the sun must enter the zodiac sign Aries. At these times, the effect of the holy Ganges water is said to be greatest. According to Hindu beliefs, the river Ganges is a personal gift from the god Shiva to the people. This lets the rainwater run down his hair, which then collects in the river. If a pilgrim dies while taking a bath in the Ganges or immediately afterwards, according to Hindu belief, this means that for him the eternal cycle of rebirth is over and he can enter nirvana. In the water of the Ganges, the otherwise so important box features are also omitted.
Hermits – the sadhus – offer a special spectacle. For the festival, thousands of them gather in the pilgrimage sites and on the highest day of the festival they go to their ritual bath in the Ganges according to a set order. Above all, the Naga Babas – naked hermits stained with ashes, who originally formed a Hindu warrior order. They are followed by the other sadhuords and then by the pilgrims. In Hardwar they try to bathe as close as possible to the temple area, the “Har-ki-Pairi” (“Feet of the Lord”), where Vishnu left his footprint.
With the growing middle class, the enthusiasm for sports is also increasing in India. In addition to the traditional national sport of cricket , football and hockey are enjoying growing popularity. Badminton is the most popular sport among the younger generation. Successful players in this sport enjoy stardom.
World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)
- Ajanta cave temples and monasteries (K; 1983)
- Elura Cave Temple (K; 1983)
- Red Fort in Agra (K; 1983)
- Taj Mahal in Agra (K; 1983)
- Konarak Sun Temple (K; 1984)
- Mahabalipuram Temple District (K; 1985)
- Kaziranga National Park (N; 1985)
- Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (N; 1985)
- Keoladeo National Park (N; 1985)
- Churches and Monasteries of Goa (K; 1986)
- Khajuraho Temple District (K; 1986)
- Ruined city of Vijayanagar, temple district of Hampi (K; 1986)
- Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri (K; 1986)
- Pattadakal Temple Complex (K; 1987)
- Elephanta Cave Temple (K; 1987)
- Great temples of the Cola dynasty: Brihadishvara Temple of Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple and the Airavatesvara Temple in Darasuram (K; 1987)
- Sundarbans National Park (N; 1987)
- Nanda Devi National Park and National Park “Valley of Flowers” (N; 1988, expanded in 2005)
- Buddhist shrine near Sanchi (K; 1989)
- Tomb of Emperor Humayun in Delhi (K; 1993)
- Qutb-ud-din-Minar with its mosques and tombs in Delhi (K; 1993)
- Himalaya mountain railway to Darjeeling and Nilgiri mountain railway (K; 1999, expanded in 2005)
- Mahabodhi temple near Bodh Gaya (K; 2002)
- Bhimbetka rock caves (Vindhyakette) (K; 2003)
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (K; 2004)
- Station » Chhatrapati Shivaji Station ” in Mumbai (K; 2004)
- Red Fort in Delhi (K; 2007)
- Historical observatory (» Jantar Mantar «) in Jaipur (K; 2010)
- Western Ghats (N; 2012)
- Mountain fortresses of Rajasthan (K; 2013)
- Stepwell ” Rani Ki Vav ” in the north of Gujarat (K; 2014)
- Great Himalaya National Park (N; 2014)
- Government building by Le Corbusier in Chandigarh (K; 2016)
- Archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara in Bihar (K; 2016)
- Kangchenjunga National Park in the Himalayas (N, K; 2016)
- Old City of Ahmadabad (K; 2017)
- Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles in Mumbai (K; 2018)
- Downtown Jaipur (K; 2019)