In the Indian subcontinent Namaste, Namaskar or Namaskaram or Vannakam is a general way of greeting or salutation. However Namaskar is considered a little more formal than namaste but both are the ways of expressing deep respect. In India it is mainly used by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, and also it is used by many other outside the Indian subcontinent. In India, people usually write it at the beginning of a written communication or it is spoken at the start of a verbal communication. Both the hands are brought together in front of the chest while saying Namaste and during departure the same gesture is made generally without saying anything. In yoga, namaste is said to mean "The light in me honors the light in you", as spoken by both the yoga instructor and yoga students. For the instructor and the students, Namaste allows the two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection.
The word is derived from Sanskrit where "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
People generally slightly bow with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest while speaking Namaste to one. The gesture can also be performed wordlessly or calling on a god name E.g.: "Jai Ramji Ki" and it means the same.
India, being a country of multi-cultural and multi-religious, celebrates festivals of various religions. In India the three national holidays are, the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti, which are celebrated with a lot of spirit and enthusiasm. However many states and areas have local festivals depending upon the religions and languages adopted by that geography. Popular religious festivals include the Hindu festivals of Holi, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga puja, Rakshabandhan and Dussehra. Several harvest festivals, such as Sankranthi, Pongal and Onam,"Nuakhai" are also fairly popular.
There are some festivals in India which are celebrated by multiple religions. For examples Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, while Buddh Purnima is celebrated both by Buddhists and Hindus. Muslims across the India celebrate islamic festivals like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Ramadan. The Dree Festival is another one of the festivals which speak about the diversity of the Indian culture. It is a tribal festival celebrated by the Apatanis of the Ziro valley of Arunachal Pradesh, the easternmost state of India.
Saris and the Ghaghra Cholis (Lehengas) are considered as the traditional clothing for Indian women whereas for men it is Dhoti/pancha/veshti or Kurta. The traditional clothing will be worn mostly in some village parts of India. In southern India the men wear long, rectangular piece of unstitched cloth called dhoti in English and in Tamil. Over the dhoti, men wear shirts, t-shirts, short kurta or anything else. Women wear a sari, a long sheet of unstitched cloth ranging from four to nine yards in length with colorful patterns. This is draped over a simple or fancy blouse. This is mainly worn by young ladies and woman. Little girls wear a pavada, a long skirt worn under a blouse.
A bright dot of red color is also applied in the center of the forehead close to the eyebrows by Indian women, known as bindi. Traditionally, the red bindi (or sindhur) was worn only by the married Hindu women, but now it has become a decorative item worn by men, women and girls of any age. A bindi is also worn by some as their third eye. It sees what the others eyes cannot and is worn for the protection of the brain from the outside and the sun. Indo-western clothing is the fusion of Western and Sub continental fashion.
Delhi, India’s capital is also considered to be India's fashion capital, where the different annual Fashion weeks are hosted.
In India music includes different varieties of religious, folk, popular, pop, and classical music. The oldest conserved examples of Indian music are the melodies of the Samaveda. They are still sung in specific Vedic Śrauta sacrifices. India's classical music tradition is heavily influenced by Hindu texts. It has two different styles: Carnatic and Hindustani music. It is noted for the use of several Raga, melodic modes. It has a history spanning millennia and it was developed numerous eras. It remains instrumental to religious inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment.
Purandaradasa is considered the "father of carnatic music" (Karnataka sangeeta pitamaha). He ends his songs with a salutation to Lord Purandara Vittala and it is said that he has composed around 475,000 songs in the Kannada language. However, only about 1000 are known today.
Indian dance also stand for diversity, ranging from folk forms to classical dances. The most popular folk dances are the dandiya and garba of Gujarat, the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of Jharkhand and Orissa, the ghoomar of Rajasthan, the Yakshagana of Karnataka and lavani of Maharashtra and Dekhnni of Goa. Eight Indian dances, some of them with narrations and some with mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. Those dance forms are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathakali and mohiniattam of Kerala, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of the state of Orissa and the sattriya of Assam.
Kalarippayattu, or Kalari, is acknowledged as one of the world's oldest martial arts. It is preserved in texts such as the Mallapurana. Kalarippayattu and other later formed martial arts are said to have traveled to China, like Buddhism, and finally developing into Kung-fu. Other later martial arts are Gatka, Pehlwani and Malla-yuddha.
The various types of Indian cuisine can be distinguished by the wonderful aroma of the spices and herbs used. Each group of this cuisine is characterized by a wide range of dishes and cooking techniques. A significant part of the Indian food is vegetarian, whereas many traditional Indian dishes also consist of chicken, goat, lamb, fish, and other meats. In Indian culture food plays a very important role in the daily life and is also a crucial part of the festivals. Indian cuisine varies in each of the region, reflecting the varied demographics of the diverse culture subcontinent. Indian cuisine can be classified into five categories: North, South, East,West Indian and North-eastern India. Despite of the diversity, most of the cuisine will have something common in them. Use of different spices is a fundamental part of Indian cooking, which is mainly used to enhance the taste and create great zest and aromas. Indian Cuisine has also been influenced by different civilizations that entered India in past, such as the Persians, Mughals, and European colonists. Though the tandoor originated in Central Asia, Indian tandoori dishes, such as chicken tikka made with Indian ingredients, is popular throughout the world. Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines worldwide. In the history, Indian spices and herbs were one of the highly wanted trade commodities. The trading of spices between India and Europe made the progress of Arab traders so prominent that European explorers, such as Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, went out to find new routes for trading with India which led to a discovery known worldwide. The Indian curry has been so popular that across Asia it has often been named as the "pan-Asian" dish.