India

Indian Culture and traditions are something which has now become renowned all across the world. We all refer to India and its culture as something very diverse and unique. But seldom do we give a thought to why things are done in certain specific ways. Indian Culture is full of several unique customs and traditions, which outsiders might find really intriguing. Majority of the population following Hinduism, around 29%-40% of the people are vegetarians,meaning vegetarian travelers are never far delicious dal (lentil), sabzi (vegetable), or paneer (cheese)-based dishes. (Vegans will have more trouble, as dairy products are used in abundance. The country is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of mangoes, accounting for more than 40% of the world’s supply. In fact, Indians love mangoes so much they made it their national fruit. 

Although around 80% of Indians are Hindus, the country is home to large, well-established communities of all the major world religions, as well as some smaller ones. Christian communities and churches are visible throughout Kerala and Goa, the latter housing the remains of Catholic Saint Francis Xavier at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The long history of Judaism in India can be seen in the Jewtown area of Fort Kochi in Kerala. Parsi Fire Temples and Towers of Silence are spread throughout Mumbai.
The number of English speakers in India is second only to that of the USA. English is one of the 22 official languages of India, and the joint official language (along with Hindi) of the Central Government. Only around 10% of Indians know English, and just a minority know it as a first language, but in a country with such a huge population, English-speaking travelers can count on being able to communicate almost everywhere they go.Indians are used to hearing a variety of accents and language capabilities, so no one will be perplexed if you don’t pronounce words perfectly or mix up your verb endings and postpositions. Chances are, the person you’re testing your faltering Hindi on speaks Bengali at home and English at work, and is used to bending their ear to the different sounds.

Uttar Pradesh has a population of more than 200 million — that’s more people than in Japan, Mexico…even Russia. UP is home to the Taj Mahal and Varanasi, but it’s so large (at almost 94,000 square miles, it’s about the size of Michigan) and densely populated that so much more can be enjoyed here: There’s the old Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, wildlife sanctuaries, the imambara complexes of Lucknow, the Buddhist sites at Sarnath…

India has the largest postal network in the world with over 1, 55,015 post offices. A single post office on an average serves a population of 7,175 people. The floating post office in Dal Lake, Srinagar, was inaugurated in August 2011.At an altitude of 2,444 meters, the Chail Cricket Ground in Chail, Himachal Pradesh, is the highest in the world. It was built in 1893 and is a part of the Chail Military School.

The namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs and isn’t really just restricted to the Indian territory anymore. You have Barack Obama, who has been seen doing it on various occasions, or you had Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, greeting everyone with a namaste at the Times’ Square in New York on the first International Yoga Day. But, what’s the significance? The Namaste, or ‘namaskar’, or ‘namaskaara’ is one of the five forms of traditional greetings mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas. It literally translates to “I bow to you”, and greeting one another with it is a way of saying “May our minds meet”, indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The word ‘namaha’ can also be translated as ‘na ma’ (not mine), to signify the reductions of one’s ego in the presence of the other.

India also sees a large number of festivals, mainly because of the prevalence of diverse religions and groups. The Muslims celebrate Eid, the Christians have Christmas, good Friday and so on, the Sikhs have Baisakhi (harvesting of crop), and the birthdays of their Gurus and the Hindus have Diwali, Holi, Makar Sakranti, the Jains have Mahavir Jayanti, the Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on Buddha Poornima, and quite honestly, the number is endless. All of these translate to holidays in our book, of course.

India used to be an island more than 100 million years ago? About 50 million years ago, it collided with the Asian continent and thus was born the Himalayas. Fascinating, isn’t it? With over a billion people from all kinds of religions and ethniciti

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