Monday, 30 July 2012

Indian Temples

India is a land of traditions, customs, festivals, celebrations and rich history. Each and every corner of India is soaked in charm and elegance. It is a land of diversity and paradoxes. Home to one of the most ancient civilisations of the world and numerous religions, races, caste groups and more than billion population belonging to different ethnicity and caste group, India is a truly magical country. One thing that separates India from the rest of the world and makes it unique and distinct is its culture. The culture of India clearly reflects in the lifestyle of its people, its historical monuments and buildings and its festivals.

 india temples
Religion is one of the very important aspects of the life of Indians. It places significant influence on their social life. And since they are very religious and spiritual, they have equally majestic and marvellous temples where they offer prayers and devotion to their gods. The Indian temples are a reflection of its rich history and people’s deep devotion to god. It reflects the nature and characteristics of the Indians. Hinduism, which is considered the oldest religion of the world originated in India, thousands of years ago. It is a religion which has elaborate rituals, customs and traditions. And since majority of the Indians are Hindus, who worship their gods in temples there are hundreds of temples in India. The Hindus have about 33 crore gods, and they worship each and every one of them with great devotion. They have temples for them, festivals for them and special days where they worship them and offer various offerings and sacrifices. Every Hindu household will usually have small prayer room where the entire family do puja every day. Besides this they also visit temples, located far and wide in the country to experience peace and spirituality.
Kerala templeThe Indian temples are a marvel in themselves. Some of them, built in ancient days by the kings are very grand and marvellous. They are built using extensive architectural design and excellent craftsmanship. Some of them even have beautiful paintings on their walls and ceilings. Hence these temples are not only holy places, but also of great interests for architects and art enthusiasts. These kinds of temples are usually found in the southern part of India like the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh etc. Another important feature of the temples in India is its locations and mythological importance. They are always built at places which have historical and spiritual importance. The cave temples are also quite popular and considered highly religious like the Amarnath Temple in Jammu dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are also various temples dedicated to goddesses which are located all over the country. The temples in Indian are visited by thousands of devotees every year who go on a pilgrimage. They go with their families, friends or sometimes even alone. What matters to them is their devotion and faith. All this is due to the spiritual values deeply embedded in the life and mind of the Indians.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Indian Lifestyle

India is a country of diversity and paradoxes. There are multiple religions, races, caste groups, class groups, rituals, customs, traditions, languages, food, behaviours, attitude of the people etc. Indian civilisation is one of the oldest in the world, and their contribution towards the shaping of the world culture and civilisation is well known and well documented. From the invention of numbers to breakthrough in science and technology, Indians have done it all. It has also been invaded, looted and plundered by many  foreign rulers who have either taken the wealth and went away or have stayed back to rule the Indians, thereby impacting their lifestyle and living conditions. These foreign rulers have also contributed to the development of the nation in many ways and set it on path of modernity. Different conflicting forces and their existence at the same place, in total harmony is what defines Indian and exerts important influence on Indian Lifestyle.
Lifestyle in India is deeply influenced by the religion, caste and class one belongs to. It shapes their habits, manners, attitude to others, their social, political and sometimes even economic life. Hinduism, which is the oldest religion in the world, was born in India. Even though India is a secular country, it has a large number of Hindu populations and thus Hindu way of lifestyle sometimes becomes synonymous with Indian Lifestyle. However changes caused due to the existence of other religions can also be seen. Caste system which is a very important aspect of Hinduism impacts the life of majority of Indians in many ways. Their status in society is defined according to the caste they belong to. Usually the high caste like Brahmins enjoys greater facilities and privileges, whereas the lower castes like the untouchables live in very difficult social conditions. Caste which divided people into various groups based on their profession later took the rigid form and hierarchied the Indian society into high and low ranks. Even though the constitution of India abolished such discriminatory practices, it still remains a stark reality in the social life of many Indians.
With the onset of modernity the country has not been immune to the forces of westernisation. It has had considerable impact on the lifestyle in India. Today many people have shed their superstitions and dogmas and have embraced modernity discarding many negative and detrimental aspects of Indian culture,
like the practice of sati, child marriage etc. They have now opened their mind to more egalitarian practices like equality for women, widow remarriage, valuing the girl child etc. Indians have a very simple lifestyle where they live by their values. They have a strong sense of family bonding, respect for the elders, love for the younger ones, belief in god, sense of belonging to a community etc. All these values and virtues of Indians make them different from the rest of the world. Indians children live with their parents even after marriage in joint families. However due to westernization Indians have been losing a lot of such values which may not be good for the Indians in the long run.