5 Interesting Facts About the Indian Culture
India is a diverse country with a rich and interesting culture. It is best known for its magnificent temples, mouth-watering spicy food, stunning clothing, amusing classical dances, and more. Aside from the aesthetics and delicacies, India is also quite known for its unique beliefs and traditions. One of the most distinctive and intriguing of these is the belief of many Indians in the holiness of a cow. This belief stem from a Hindu tradition – Hinduism is one of the largest religions in India – that sees cows as a ‘caregiver’ or maternal figure that should be deeply respected.
Holy Cow by Nicki Geigert is a great book that gives people a glimpse of this unique traditional belief in the sanctity of the cow in India. It takes its readers on a journey through the country where, no matter where one goes, he or she will always see the cows. At the same time, one can also see a grim illustration of the unintentional cow abuse in India, which the author herself has documented through her photographs.
Aside from the belief in the sacredness of cows, there are plenty of other unique beliefs and traditions in the Indian culture. Some of them are controversial, while some are astounding. To learn more about these beliefs and traditions, here are five interesting facts about the Indian culture that might prompt you to want to visit India:
Elephant as a symbol of pride and royalty
Indians are generally fond of animals. Interestingly, the Indian culture loves to designate meanings to animals. Just like cows, which, as mentioned, are considered sacred by many Indians, elephants are also very much respected and revered in India. For the Indians, elephants are a symbol of pride and royalty. Because of this, it is common for people in the country to spend time with elephants through elephant spas, for example, which permit visitors to bath, feed, and play with these animals.
A wide variety of dessert
The largest spice market in the world can be found in India. Because of this, India is very much known for its spices. Aside from its mouth-watering spicy food, however, India is also a place where a wide variety of tasty desserts can be found. In general, the country has around 140 kinds of desserts. These desserts are special compared to the desserts found in other countries because they are usually mixed with herbs and spices.
The left hand is considered unclean
Indians treat their bodies as a temple because they believe that their bodies are sacred. Several body parts, such as hands, fingers, and feet, have significant meanings in India. In terms of hands particularly, the Indians have this certain belief that the left hand is considered unclean. For this reason, the left hand should not be used for eating nor for setting up anything, as it should only be used for cleaning.
Fondness for welcoming guests
Indians are fond of welcoming guests into their homes. They generally love to establish friendships or relationships with other people. If ever an Indian family invites you to their place and offers you food, you should take it as an honor. It is usually a sign of adoration, love, or respect. As an honored guest of an Indian family, however, you have to at least offer them a gift for being a good host. Giving a gift usually signifies that you appreciate their hospitality.
A love for temples
The love of the Indians for temples can be obviously seen in the stunning structures that are built around the country. As mentioned, temples are indeed a popular feature of India. Temples are an integral part of the Indian culture, especially since different types of religion are abundant across the country. These temples are generally considered as a symbol of sacredness. Indians and tourists alike go to these temples often to pray and worship. Aside from this, they also go to temples to express their gratitude to the gods for their festivities.
In conclusion, the Indian culture is indeed rich and interesting. It is filled with aesthetics and delicacies, and it is home to a number of distinctive beliefs and traditions that could not be found anywhere else in the world. Despite the controversies that might be surrounding some of its beliefs and traditions, such as the unintentional cow abuse in the country as documented in Holy Cow by Nicki Geigert, the animals, food, and temples in India as well as the attitudes of the Indians are a manifestation of just how intriguing but beautiful the Indian culture is. Hopefully, the interesting facts about the Indian culture tackled in this article have convinced you to consider visiting the lovely country soon.