Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hindu Scriptures

The Hindu tradition has produced a wide range of religious literature, although some are regarded sacred across the broad spectrum of Hinduism, others are considered sacred within different communities or sects. Earlier religious texts predominantly or almost exclusively were composed in Sanskrit. It seems as though, to be considered a credible author it was necessary to be proficient in and compose the work using only Sanskrit. However it does seem this rule was later relaxed and later texts were acknowledged upon acceptance of religious and authoritative sources.

Hindu literature can be classified into two main categories śruti and smriti. Śruti can roughly be translated as ‘that which is heard’, this notably is referring to the divine revelations dealing with higher metaphysical reality. Smriti denotes ‘that which is remembered’, these texts use the tenants of śruti to develop further ideas of Vedic theology. Although smrititi texts are composed by divine personalities they are still authored by man and hence cannot be equated to śruti, in this respect smriti literature is always considered secondary texts.

Śruti, the divine revelations were revealed in deep meditation to seven ancient seers known accumulatively as the sapta ṛṣīs. Initially these realisations were not systematically recorded but rather passed down orally through a disciplic succession. It was then formulated that the collective revelation would be referred to as Veda. The term veda is derived from the root Sanskrit word ‘vid’ meaning knowledge.
However in later times the text was organised and elaborated by Sage bādarāyaa into four divisions (g, sāma, yajur, atharva ) which then led to the Sage being named veda vyāsa meaning the organiser of the Veda. Each veda in turn again is subdivided into four. There are four Vedas:
  • The Rig Veda -"Royal Knowledge"
  • The Sama Veda - "Knowledge of Chants"
  • The Yajur Veda - "Knowledge of Sacrificial Rituals"
  • The Atharva Veda - "Knowledge of Incarnations"
There are 108 extant Upanishads , of which 10 are most important: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taitiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka.
The Upanishads focus on spiritual insight and philosophy whereas the Vedas focus on rituals. These texts constitute a major portion of the Jnāna Kānda, and contain much of the Vedas' philosophical teachings. The Upanishads discuss Brahman and reincarnation. While the Vedas are not read by most lay Hindus, they are yet revered as the eternal knowledge whose sacred sounds help bring spiritual and material benefits. Theologically, they take precedence over the Smriti.
The smriti texts form the secondary body of vedic literature. Unlike the sruti, the smriti texts were developed much later and deal with more traditional legends that are prevalent today. Modern Hinduism mainly derives its law, ethics and spiritual practice from these texts. The term smriti translated as ‘that which is remembered’, are mainly composed by revered and spiritual figures who are perceived to be pivotal personalities in the development and propagation of Vedic dharma.
The development of smriti texts offers a number of explanations for its creation. Firstly the texts assisted in codifying religious and social law, even offering a more simplistic and practical form of life. Secondly due to the complex and lofty religious and philosophical import of the Vedas, not all individuals were eligible to learn sruti texts, for this the smriti text offered the religious basis for Vedic life. Thirdly smriti texts allow sectarian traditions to propound their own philosophy using the tenants of sruti supposedly permitting them to be authoritative literature.

As mentioned earlier the smriti texts are exhaustive in nature and hence to accommodate for all the texts is virtually an impossible task. However we could broadly categorise the texts into socio-religious works, philosophical works, historical events and traditional legends.

Indian States and their Folk dances:

India is a land of diversities. Various climatic conditions have made India a diverse country. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible. These diversities have made the Indian culture a unique one. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are also varied and different. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are performed on small occasions.

The Indian dances are broadly divided into Classical dances and folk dances. The Classical dances of India are usually spiritual in content. Though the folk dances of India are also spiritual and religious in content but the main force behind the folk dances of India is the celebratory mood. Dances are a form of coherent expression of human feelings. Like the Indian culture, Indian classical dances are equally diverse in nature. There are numerous classical dance forms in India and innumerable folk dances. Each dance form can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people

In ancient India, there were no dedicated auditorium halls or theaters, and dance was usually a functional activity dedicated to worship, entertainment or leisure. Dancers usually performed in temples, on festive occasions and seasonal harvests. Dance was performed on a regular basis before deities as a form of worship. Even in modern India, deities are invoked through religious folk dance forms from ancient times

 Indian States and their Folk dances:

1. Andhra Pradesh: Kuchipudi, Ghantamardala, Kolattam, Veedhi-Bhagavatham
2. Arunachal Pradesh : Bardo chham
3. Assam : Bihu, Oja pali, Bagurumba, Ali ali ligang, jumur Nach
4. Bihar : Jata-jatin, Bidesia, Purbi, Faguna
5. Chhatisgarh : Panthi, Raut Nacha
6. Gujarat : Garba, Dandiya Ras, Tippani juriun, Bhaval, Padhar, Rasila
7. Haryana : Swang
8. Himachal Pradesh : Luddi dance, Munzra,Kinnauri Nati,Namgen
9. Jammu and Kashmir : Hikat, Rauf, Chakri, Dumhal
10. Karnataka : Yakshagana, Suggi, Bayalata, Dollu Kunita, Veeragase, Kaamsaale, Huli Vesha kunitha,Bhoothaaradhane, Pooja kunitha, Nagamandala, Krishna Paarijatha, Devara thatte kunitha, suggi kunitha, pata kunitha, Gorava kunitha
11. Kerala : Kathakali, Ottam Thulal, Mohiniattam, Kaikottikalai, Padayani
12. Madhya Pradesh : Tertali, Charkula, Jawara, Matki dance, Phulpatti dance, Grida dance,Maanch
13. Maharashtra : Tamasha, Lavani, Dahi Kala, Lezim, Pavri Nach, koli
14. Manipur : Manipuri, Maha Rasa, Lai Haroba, Thang ta, Dhol Cholom
15. Mizoram : Chiraw (Bamboo Dance )
16. Odisha : Odissi, Bhaka Wata, Dandante, Gumura Dance,Ruk Mar Nacha, Goti Puja,Nacni,Baagh naach, Dalkhai, Dhap,Karma, Naach, Keisabadi
17. Punjab : Bhangra, Gidda, Jhumar, Karthi, Sammi, Malwai Giddha, Kikkli,Dandass, Ludi, jindua
18. Rajasthan: Ghoomar, Kalbelia, Kayal, Julan Leela, Chamar gindad, Bhavai, Tere tali, Chirami, gair
19. Tamil Nadu : Bharatanatyam, Devarattam, Kummi, Puliyattam, Kaman Pandigai, Kolattam, Karagam, Mayli Attam, Paampu attam, oyilattam, Poikal Kudlrai Attam, Bommalattam, Theru Koothu
20. Uttar Pradesh: Kathak, Nautanki, Kajri
21. West Bengal: Chau, Jatra, Kathi, Gambhira, Kalikapatadi, nacni, Alkap, Domni
22. Goa: Mando, koli
23. Lakshadweep: - Lava
24. Nagaland: - Chang Lo or Sua lua
25. Pondicherry: - Garadi
26. Sikkim: - Singhi Chham
27. Tripura: - Hojagiri

Friday, January 16, 2015

Incredible Colours of India

The Colours of India campaign emphasized India’s diverse cultural spectrum. Featuring breathtaking images and colour-based headlines such as Coffee Brown and Red Hot, the campaign was launched globally in 71 leading newspapers and magazines.

Red Hot
Hundreds of spices. Thousands of curries. Millions of colours. Billions of people. Incredible India. Food for thought.

Pure White
It took 20,000 workers, 1,000 elephants and 17 years to build the Taj Mahal. World heritage site. Ultimate symbol of love

Mustard Yellow
100% recyclable. 100% biodegradable. 100% eco-friendly. 100% self-sufficient. 100% rural tourism.

Water Colours
232 lakes. 273 rivers. 7,517 km of coastline. 350,000 picture postcards. Incredible India. Choose your colour

Revolutionary Green
Economists say this is the world's fastest growing region. With 130,000 species of flora and fauna and nearly 70 million hectares of forests, environmentalists would agree.

Mystic Maroon
Born 563 BC. Enlightened in 528 BC. Great passing in 483 BC. Still lives in millions of hearts. Buddha, The Enlightened One.
Deep Purple
Mountaineering. Ice skating. Trekking. Rock climbing. Paragliding. Snow skiing. Heli-skiing. Rock concerts. Welcome to the world's highest playground.

Charcoal Grey
Have a thirty-six course banquet cooked for you. Shop for over sixty kinds of tulips. Access e-mail round the clock. All without ever setting foot on land.

Tea Green
The world's largest crop, hand-picked from 1641 estates. Get to the source of your daily cup of tea and you'll find a truly refreshing vacation.

Flaming Orange
With over 147 dance forms, the world's longest epics and more festivals than there are days in a year, the last thing you watch here is cable.

Coffee Brown
29 states. 22 languages. 1652 dialects. 340 days of sunlight. A very warm welcome.
Pure Gold
476 forts and palaces. Three of the world's top five hotels. And a palace on wheels. The emperors are long gone, but their lifestyle remains.
15,641 religious monuments. 300 architectural styles. 117 world heritage sites. Work, that's worthy of worship.

Honey Brown
In a culture as steeped in hospitality as ours, the guest has pride of place. That would probably explain why we have three of the world's top five hotels.
60% of the world's tiger population. Spread across 60 national parks and 400 wildlife sanctuaries. Amazing holiday pictures, if you can keep your hands from shaking.
Golden Yellow
476 forts and palaces. Three of the world's top five hotels. And a palace on wheels to whisk you through the dunes. Whoever said life was hard in the desert.
For centuries Indian spices were traded and smuggled over dangerous waters and routes. Now easily available in 50g, 100g and 500g packets.
With three oceans lapping against our shores and 4,761 square miles of coastline, the picture above keeps reproducing itself.
Oil Paint
Way, way before spa treatments and natural care was popular, Indians were getting the best of both. Discover 5,000 years of Ayurveda.
Sun Tan
Shown here is the Sukasana. Cross your leg. Keep your spine straight. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat for relaxation and better posture. What's not shown above are the remaining 1,300 yoga positions.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Different Types of Bangles Worn by Indian Married Women

Different Types of Bangles Worn by Indian Married Women

The tradition of wearing bangles in India is obsolete, might be since Hindu religion had come into existence. Bangles are the symbol of a married woman in India.  Since India has diverse culture with its different states, the wedding customs and rituals are also diverse to be obvious.
Bridal Bangles With Mehendi Designs

Even in Indian mythology, bangles have been strongly mentioned emphasizing on the fact how important bangles are for a married woman. One of the oldest artifacts which was discovered in India is a bronze figurine of a dancing girl, wearing bangles on her left arm. This figurine was discovered from Mohenjodaro.
Other classic examples of bangles in India are the copper bangles excavated from Mahurjhari; the ornate bangles dating back to Mauryan Empire and the gold banglefrom the historic site of Taxila.

Even every goddess idol that has been so far discovered are seen wearing bangles. Research on ancient fragments show that bangles were used to be made from copper, bronze, shell, terra cotta, silver, gold, lac, glass and anything that could be used in craftsmanship.
From simple rings made of metals to the pieces adorned with exquisite handicrafts and minute detailing showing the masterly work of the artisans. While royal families had the privilege of wearing bangle studded with precious gems and stones.


Wearing bangles, especially lac, glass and shell are a must for married woman. However, the material and color varies from region to region. While in north India mostly Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan, the ivory bangles (chuda) are compulsory; in states like Odisha and West Bengal, bangles made of lac (pola) and shell (Shankha) are mandatory for married ladies.

Bangle is the symbol of marriage. In some parts of India, while changing bangles, women never allow their arms to be completely bar, instead they will wrap their pola around their arms while wearing the new set. Bangles are not for widows in Hindu customs. They can however wear gold bangles, but glass bangles are a strict no-no for them.


Tanishq Bengali Bride Jewelry

The accessories which symbolize marriage are the most powerful expressions in Indian Hindu culture. The symbols like shankha, pola, sindoor and toe rings imbibe those region’s age-old traditions. Although culture is never stagnant, such traditions can never fade as long as Hindu religion is prevalent.
types of Bangeles

Shankha are white bangles made up of conch-shell and pola are red bangles made up of red corals. The opulent ladies used to wear shankhas made up of elephant teeth.  Apart from these bangles, sindoor and toe rings are other mandatory accessories worn by a married woman not only in Odisha and West Bengal but in north and north-eastern states as well.


Bangles worn by married Punjabi women

Ivory bangles, popularly known as chuda are worn by Punjabi brides. They are given these slender ivory bangles in white and red decorated with stones in multiples of four by their mothers during the time of marriage.
The brides are supposed to wear them for a year and in some communities like the Mohyal communities for 15 months. The chuda wearing ceremony is significant in Punjabi marriages. This ritual is held on the morning of the wedding.
Types of Bangles Worn by Indian Married Women

The pandit performs a puja and the bride’s maternal uncles give her a set of chudas (21 bangles in red and white ivory) after washing them in milk. As per tradition, she should not remove for one year. These bangles are usually worn in larger size as the newly married girls are going to wear them  in every season till one year.


In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the bride’s mother gifts her a pair of ivory bangles. Only after  wearing these ivory bangles that the bridal couple can perform the ‘saptapati’ ritual or saat phere. The saptapati ritual is of seven steps that are taken around the fire, without which no Hindu marriage is considered complete.

Another interesting ritual associated with the chuda ceremony is putting the ‘kalire‘ or tinkling bells. These dome shaped streamers with tinkling silver and gold bells are considered auspicious for the bride. These bells are tied to the chuda by bride’s cousins and friends.
They are like blessings for the bride for her new life and also to remind her of her old friends. It is said that the bride has as many friends as there are leaves in the kalire. So the more leaves the merrier!
Different types Bangeles

When the bride bids adieu, she is supposed to hit her unmarried friends and cousins with the kalire and the tinkling bells falls on the girl’s head is considered to get married next, just same as like the Christian wedding; where the bride tosses her bouquet and the girl who catches it is purported to be the next in line to marry.
The dreams and desires of an Indian contemporary woman may vary, but it always adheres something special to define her persona and reflect the woman that she is. Following the dictates of a poignant past and these tiny symbols of marriage can indeed make her feel so married and so much like a woman.


With families having double-income and duty groups, where both husband and wives are working to be economically independent for a better future.. Initially, the newly-married brides do not want to hurt the sentiments of their in-laws, so to respect the culture of their husbands’ families, they put on everything that is required for a married woman.
The age-old cultural pressure makes them believe that the image of the bride is complete only with these accessories and in way they enhance the beauty. They mostly wear to make the society aware that they are no more available and they also celebrate their new-found status in the society.

The identification marks on the Hindu married women, such as the bangles, chuda, sindoor, toe rings etc. indicate that they have to observe the societal norms after marriage. However, no other social relations, like being a daughter, sister, mother etc. demand such symbols.
 bangles chuda sindoor toe rings

A woman continues to play other important roles simultaneously, still the role of wife has always come up with the highest responsibility in a woman’s life.

Top 10 cities for the Indian foodie

Top 10 cities for the Indian foodie A culinary adventure is one of the best ways to end the year. Here is what you can get in top ten food destinations in India.  

If you are out of ideas for an adventure, how about a culinary adventure this vacation? Take your pick from our list of top ten Indian locations you shouldn’t miss a meal at: 

1. Delhi: 
The capital city can also be safely termed the food capital of India. A plethora of dishes, from chaats, cholebature torajma chawal and parathe, make it an ideal destination for an outstanding gastronomic treat. A good mix of popular Punjabi dishes and street food, Delhi offers innumerable goodies. One should not miss the variety of delights at Chandni Chawk and Bengali market. 

2. Goa: The tourist state offers a heady cocktail of good food. Go high on the Goan Feni (a drink made from cashew fruit), and dip your nose into Goan sausages, Vindaloo, Pao, sorpotel and the famous Goan fish curry. Do not forget the local sweet Bebinca, made from layered pancakes and sweetened coconut milk. 

3. Kolkata: If sweets like rasgullas and sandesh are what comes to your mind on hearing Bengal, those who’ve been to the streets of Kolkata will offer a list you wouldn’t hear the end of. The fiery jhaalmuri, puchkas that set your tongue on fire and the unforgettable taste of Hilsa (fresh water fish) cooked in mustard gravy; as well as the quick egg rolls wrapped in tangy sauce: all these are Kolkata’s very own. 

4. Lucknow: Wish to eat like a king? Head to Lucknow, an elaborate spread awaits you. The Lucknowi fare has come to be synonymous with that of royalty, what with the recipes being originally made for kings. Dig into variety of kebabs, ranging from Kakori, Shami, Boti, Patili, Ghutwa and Seekh. Dum style cooking andAwadhicuisine: we owe it all to Lucknow. 

5. Mumbai: Vadapav and masala tea, anyone? Mumbai deserves full credit for making the tasty, stomach- filling, yet cheap vadapav a staple. Just as it suits the office goers, here is a grub that can be had in a hurry, and yet is filling and nutritious. Mumbai is a melting point of a mix of food habits: Irani, Chinese, Korean, and Continental: the cosmopolitan dwellers imply that the city has a wide variety of cuisine to offer. Street food is most popular in Mumbai, including Panipuri, Bhelpuri, and Dabeli and South Indian dishes. 

6. Ahmedabad: A haven for vegetarians: one gets a banquet of delightful vegetarian indulgencesin Gujarat. From the tasty khandvi and Dhokla (both snacks made from gram flour and curd) to the rich, creamy Basundi, and again; an assortment of chaats – one cannot stop at just one pick. 

7. Hyderabad: One stop that is a non- vegetarian’s dream come true. Spicy and full of flavor, much of the cuisine is oriented around meat and rice: local biryani and the stew chaakna and Mirchkasalan (yes,chili curry!) will not fail the spice- lover’s tongue. Street food such as pakora, kheemesamosa, Tootak (spicy kheema in gram flour batter) are a few specialties from Hyderabad.          

8. Kochi: When it comes to serving guests, God’s own country is in top gear. If you cannot fathom the idea of having coconut in your food, Kochi will teach you otherwise. The traditional Kerala thali or sadya (cooked mostly in coconut oil) which includes close to 28 dishes, such as  the mixed vegetable dish, the tangy, tasty aviyal to the sweet- sour- spicy pulyinji (tamarind-ginger dish) has a unique flavor. Ripe banana chips is a favorite among non- Keralites. Non- vegetarians: do not miss the Kerala porota – beef fry combo.

 9. Coorg/ Kodagu: Tucked in coffee plantations and picturesque hills, the Kodava community has a very unique food culture. Snacks are largely rice and coconut based. Among these, what a foodie will take away is the taste of Coorgi pandi curry (pork in a spicy tamarind flavored sauce) with kadambuttu(steamed rice balls). 

10. Chennai:  Here’s the place that gave India its favourite breakfast menu: Dosa, Idly, Sambar. A variety of chutneys, Chennai’s authentic Rasam and vegetarian dishes the way only Tamilians can make it. And not to miss the fliter coffee, Chennai is a sure show stopper for the food lover.   

But really- to single out a few towns in India as serving the best food? We believe it is an impossible task that we set out to do; and one that we cannot do justice to. We say, every small town in India hasa share of indigenous and exotic recipes to tickle our taste buds. Nowgo on, and binge. And give us a new list next time. Happy eating!