Updated: Oct 21, 2022
What things come to your mind when you hear the word India? There’s a lot to know about this beautiful country & here’s your glimpse of it.
Built in the 20th century, India is one of the world’s most spiritual and diverse countries, with many religions, castes, tribes, and a number of linguistic groups. They are known for their divergent food, arts, and traditions. Bollywood, temples, spectacular scientists, music, yoga, henna, spices, curry, chai, and more. India has more under its belt than any other country!
The Power of Indian Cuisine
Known as the world’s spice capital, India’s cuisine is truly distinct. They pride themselves in the culinary world with their bountiful food from their treasure of spices and herbs. Even in the modern age, Indians remain traditional with their cooking– integrating their food with ingredients and methods passed down from generation to generation. Apart from that, India’s food identifies its diverse heritages. And it is worth noting the colors and flavors that illuminate every plate!
Chaat is a wonderful Indian popular snack. It is made from a combination of diced potatoes, chickpeas, crispy fried bread, garnished yogurt, tamarind sauce, dried ginger, and fresh coriander leaves. Did you know Chaat also means three things in the Hindi language? It means “licking a finger,” “a delicacy,” and “enjoying with relish”!
A great number of India’s population are vegetarians, and Korma is a top choice for them. It’s a tangy and flavorful stew from a combination of yogurt, chili, garam, saffron, and other spices. Although the dish is traditionally vegetarian, it is common to come with meat.
3. Dal Makhani
Another popular dish in India that was first introduced in Punjab, Dal Makhani is a dish with whole black lentils, red kidney beans, tomato sauce, ginger, garlic, chilis, and ghee or butter sprinkled on top. You can find this dish anywhere across the country.
Drinking Culture in India
Although Indians are not heavy drinkers because of their traditions, beliefs, and lifestyle influences, the country’s drinking culture was unearthed earlier than contrary claims. When drinking, Indians prefer spirit-based alcoholic beverages to beer, making them one of the countries that like it strong. And one thing’s for sure, Indians make it best with herbs, spices, and fresh fruits!
1. Nimbu Panni
Also known as Shikanji, this famous street drink is a blend of lemonade, sugar, coarse salt, and powdered cumin, or what Indians call “jeera.” With these ingredients, you can already tell a fizzy, sweet, and savory taste in your mouth just by imagining it! Oh, and its name means lime water. A favorite for street wanderers!
2. Masala Chai
Chai in Hindi means “tea.” In Indian drinking culture, Masala Chai is an antic drink from thousands of years ago when an Indian king demanded a drink that could heal. Masala Chai consists of ginger, black pepper to stimulate digestion, clover to relieve pain, cardamom to boost mood, cinnamon for blood circulation, and star anise for fresh breath. Although in the modern day, Masala Chai already varies according to regions, cultures, and family traditions, Masala Chai is still a traditional drink that is popular in every street of India from sunrise to sunset.
Thandai is a refreshing drink that celebrates spring and honors God Shiva, commonly served during India's most colorful festival. It is made with milk, rose water, sugar, saffron, almonds, watermelon seeds, fennel, and pepper. Fun fact: a type of Thandai called Bhang Thandai is served during the festival with cannabis paste added to its main ingredients!
Art in India
Culture plays an integral part in every country. Traditions, beliefs, and practices are what represents it. Indian art is deep-rooted in their customs, and the world sees them through India's vast multitude of art forms in their visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, traditional monuments, temples, festivals, wood and metal crafts, handicrafts, and more. Indian art forms are highly influenced by the range of cultures they have.
1. Henna (Mehndi)
Henna or Mehndi plays an integral part in Indian culture. This art form is used in Indian celebrations embodying different meanings behind its application on the hands or feet, such as in weddings, childbirth, pregnancy, and other traditional festivals. Even the images of India’s Gods and Goddesses are seen with the henna art on their body. It is made to a paste from grounded henna leaves. In addition, Henna is also proven to have natural healing effects on the human body.
2. Zari Zardozi
India is famous for its zari garments. Zari work is a gold thread embroidery where gold or silver threads are woven into colorful silk fabrics creating intricate patterns. This artwork is considered one of India’s elaborate art techniques and one of the oldest handicrafts.
Dhokra is an ancient Indian casting art form first explored in West Bengal. This art form is used to make magnificent metal figurines with bronze and copper-based alloys. Even though Dhokra is a tribal art form, nowadays, it is used to make various accessories, utensils, pieces of jewelry, and artifacts.
Immerse Yourself More in Indian Culture
There’s more to discover about “The Land of Diversity.” India’s food, drinks, and arts are more fascinating than what we could only imagine. They embrace you with open arms when you step onto India’s land. And as you wander through its streets, you will realize how every part of this charming country is in-depth with its culture.
We have made it accessible for you with our team of Indian locals from the pink city of Jaipur. Join us to experience two of India’s most-loved traditions through our Chai Making and Henna and Culture virtual events with DIY kits delivered anywhere you are. Experience India virtually like never before!