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Tradition and Culture

  • 7 Scientific Reasons behind Indian Traditions

    Indians have been known over time to observe many rituals and traditions daily in their household. Some of these traditions are practiced outside India, where Indians reside. It has been discovered that some of these rituals are mentioned in Vedic scriptures and Brahman scriptures.

    We have put together some traditions and the scientific reasons behind them. Below is the list:

    1. Namaste

    Nameste, also known as Namaskar is a way of greeting and showing respect to others by the Hindus. It is done by joining the two palms together in a way that all the fingertips are together which creates pressure on points of the mind, eyes, and ears. It is believed that it helps us remember the person on the other end for a long time and not shaking hands helps prevent transmission of germs.

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    1. Toe ring

    This is popular among married Indian women, and the ring is mostly silver, worn on the second toes. There is a connection between the second toe and the heart through the uterus and it is believed that wearing a silver ring on the second toe helps in the effective management of menstrual cycle in the body of the woman. It also strengthens the uterus by regulating the blood flow to it.

    women-wearing-toe-rings

     

    1. Tilak on the forehead

    There is a spot which is considered as a major nerve point in our body and it is the small spot between the two eyebrows on the forehead. The Tilak is believed to give and retain energy at different degrees. When the Tilak is applied on the forehead between the two eyebrows, the Andaya-chakra is also pressed and this facilitates blood supply to the facial muscles.

    1. Henna

    Henna, also referred to as Mehndi is a medicinal herb which is applied on the feet and hands of Indian brides and grooms on weddings. It is believed to prevent stress, tension, fever, and headache too since weddings include various stressful activities.

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    1. Piercing the ears

    This tradition is practiced everywhere across the globe but in India, it is believed that piercing the ears boosts the power of decision making, the power of thinking and also increases the intellect. Piercing of the ears prevents contemptuous behaviours by restricting our speech.

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    1. Surya Namaskar

    Surya Namaskar is an early morning ritual by the Indians that serves as a way of paying respect to the Sun god, the god of energy. Indians offer prayers to the Sun through the use of water and also offer prayers to the Sun god by looking at the Sun through the water. It is believed that it helps the eyes by improving one's vision and making us appreciate the sunlight more.

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    1. CharanSparsh

    Charan Sparsh is also known as touching the feet of our elders. It is believed that there is a connection between two minds and hearts by the flow of cosmic energy in our body. This energy is concentrated at our fingers of both hands and feet. This energy can be transmitted through hugs and handshakes. So when you touch the feet of the elderly, you receive this emission of positive thoughts and energy.

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF DIWALI: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

    Diwali is celebrated by people all over the world belonging to various religions to mark different ancient events and beliefs; however they all represent the victory of good over evil knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness and faith over despair.

    Diwali is an Indian festival which is also known as Deepavali or festival of lights. This festival is actually a series of festivals honouring five ceremonious events. The festival starts with Dhanteras, also known as Dhanvantari Trayodashi. Second day is called Narak Chaturdashi followed by the night of Diwali on Amavasya and Goddesses Lakshmi is worshiped. Forth day, devotees worship Lord Govardhan Parvat. The last day is dedicated to the treasured bond shared between brothers and sisters and is known as BhaiDooj.

    SIGNIFICANCE OF DIWALI THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

    Legend behind these five ceremonies

    DhanTeras – Dhanteras is a festival about celebrating wealth and fortune. This is celebrated two days before Diwali.

    NarakChaturdasi – This festival symbolize the conquering of the demon named Naraka, by the hands of Lord Krishna and his beloved wife Satyabhama.

    Diwali – Diwali is celebrated on Amavasya. Devotees believe that on this day Goddess Laxmi will fulfil all their wishes generously. There is tradition of gambling on Diwali as ancient stories suggests that Goddess Parvati and her husband Lord Shiva had played dice on this day, and she decreed good luck and prosperity for whole year to people who gambled on Diwali night.

    GovardhanPuja – The fourth day of Diwali is dedicated to Lord Govardhan. This day devotees worship of Lord GovardhanParvat. It is also believed that on Amavasya Lord Vishnu, in his dwarf incarnation defeated Bali, a tormenter, and exiled him to hell. Bali was only allowed one day in a year on earth to oust darkness by spreading the light of love and affection. On this day, Bali steps comes back to rule the earth as per the blessing he received from Lord Vishnu.

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    BhaiDooj – BhaiDooj or Yama Dvitiya is a festival of brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters invite their brothers to come to their homes for feast.

    Diwali is a festival of lights, sweets, fun and fireworks, and it celebrates the victory of truth and justice over evil. Diwali is about giving and forgiving, unity, prosperity, self-realization, and getting rid of all evils.

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  • Famous Ancient Indian Traditional Art and Paintings

    India is a land of cultural diversity but we can always witness that all these differences only makes it more interesting. Ancient Indian folk art is a tradition in India and it has been practiced through various generations in many parts of the country. With time, art forms tend to adapted modern resources but there are still few unpretentious forms who have survived the test of time. Most of the Indian folk art forms illustrate religious stories about God and Goddesses, and yet they are different from each other. Traditionally natural colours, earth, charcoal and natural resources were used by artists to maintain the natural integrity of the art. Ancient antique paintings are portrayed on the cloth or canvas.  Below is the list of ancient Indian art forms appreciating their uniqueness and magnificence –

    Madhubani Art

    Madhubani art originated in Mithila region of Bihar in India, hence this art is also known as Mithila art. Madhubani art is found in the mural and geometric patterns describing religious folk stories, God, Goddesses, Indian flora, and fauna. In ancient times, this art was used by women to decorate their home walls. Madhubani can be painted using fingers, sticks, brushes, pointed pens and natural colors and dyes. This art is mostly used as a part of the ritual during Indian festivals and happy occasions like birth or marriage, Holi, Kali Puja, Durga Puja.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Gond

    The Gond art form is said to evolve from Madhya Pradesh region in India. It is called Gond based on the name of ‘The Gondi tribe’ who is known as the inventor of Gond art. This type of art also focuses on the mysteries of nature, plants, animals. This is a very lively art form characterized by its upbeat colour schemes and vibrant looks. Natural colours are prepared from soil, charcoal and cow dung and are used to create this art form.

    Miniature Paintings

    Indian Miniatures paintings date back to 17th century and evolved in Western Himalayas. The art items are painted in small size with elaborate expressions and are inspired by Persian art style during Mughal era. The artists used to describe history and war. The main characteristics of a miniature painting are the enlarged eyes, sharp nose, and thin waist with men in turbans.

    Image Credit - wikipedia Image Credit - wikipedia

    Phat Art

    Phat art is a traditional art of Rajasthan with paintings of folk deities of Pabujai and Devnarayan. The painting describes the incidents related to lives of these deities. It is painted on canvas and the paintings are generally large in size. Painters use natural colours and dye to create this magnificent art form.

    Kalamkari

    Kalamkari art is a Hindi translation for ‘creating art with pen’. A kalamkari is an ancient form of hand painting painted on cotton or silk cloth using natural colours and a special type of tamarind pen. This art is popular in Andhra Pradesh in machilipatnam and Srikalahasti. Machilipatnam artists create block paintings and Srikalahasti artists create designs on fabrics using pens. Natural resources are used for preparing colours such as fruits, vegetables, leaves and so on. Most common objects of Kalamkari art are flowers, birds, peacocks and Hindu mythological stories. In this day and age, this art has excelled as a popular art to create Kalamkari sarees.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Tanjore Painting

    Tanjore paintings are a famous art form of South Indian culture and are native to Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu.  These paintings depict the stories related to God, Goddesses and holy saints of Hindu religion. Vibrant colours, precious stones, and ornaments are used to create these paintings. This art form is the blend of Maratha, Deccan and European panache and it originated in India somewhere in the 16th century.

    Thanjavur Painting Shop For this Thanjavur Painting Lady with Fruit Plate - Click Here

    Cheriyal Scrolls

    Cheriyal Scrolls painting is an ancient art form similar to Nakashi art. In current times, this art is only created in Telangana and Hyderabad states in India. These cheriyal scrolls paintings use local motifs and stories from Indian mythology. These scrolls are more than fifty feet long and painted in panels to narrate the stories from Puranas and Indian epics. Primary colours are used to create the scrolls.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Bhil

    Bhil is a folk art created by one of the main tribes in India known as ‘Bhils’. They live in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra region in India. Bhils are known as successors of Eklavya, the great archer from Mahabharata. Bhil paintings are mostly about nature and tribal lifestyle and are painted using bright natural colours.

    Kalighat Paintings

    Kalighat paintings are used by artists to raise their voice against social conditions and cause awareness. The art form is known to exist since the 19th century and was originated at Kalighat in West Bengal state in India. Initially, this art was focused to tell religious stories but in modern times it is used for social reforms.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Warli

    Warli is another tribal art form from the Gujarat and Maharashtra regions. The Warli tribe used to paint the walls to decorate their homes. This painting uses geometric patterns to describe life in a modest way. The art is created on gerue (red soil) base with bamboo sticks. Rice paste is used to paint the various life events like festivals, dancing, etc.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Saura

    Saura is a traditional tribal painting used by Saura tribe living in Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. These paintings describe the never-ending connection between nature and mankind. Saura paintings use natural colours made from neem leaves, herbs, and flowers. Saura art also uses geometric patterns like Warli however it is much bigger and extended form of painting.

  • 21 Age old wisdoms of ancient India

    Our country “BHARAT” is very different and unique in all respects in whole world. Be it the tradition,culture,history,climate,language,region or religion, India has always set an example of exemplary wisdom and peace since beginning. A lot of changes though has taken place from following rituals to spending life,but there are still people who strictly follow the ancient lifestyle practices that our rishis and ancient Indian scholars used to do. You all might be aware of the things that Iam going to write down below but hardly find time to inculcate these habits in our day to day life.

    Image Credit - wikipedia Image Credit - wikipedia

    Have a look over some wisdom points from ancient Hinduism custom that might be helpful to many of you living in today’s modern world:

    • People are advised to worship Neem and Banyan tree in the morning. Inhaling the air near these trees, is good for health.

     

    • If you are trying to look for ways for stress management, there can’t be anything other than practicing Hindu Yoga asanas and Pranayamam(inhaling and exhaling air slowly using one of the nostrils).

     

    • Hindu temples are built scientifically. The place where an idol is placed in the temple is called ‘Moolasthanam’. This ‘Moolasthanam’ is the place where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum, thus benefitting the worshipper.

     

    • Every Hindu household has a Tulasi Tulasi leaves when consumed, keeps our immune system strong to help prevent the dangerous H1N1 disease.

     

    • The rhythm of Vedic mantram, (an ancient Hindu practice), when pronounced and heard cures so many disorders of the body like blood pressure, heart disorders and insomnia.

     

    • Hindus apply the holy ash on their forehead after taking bath to removes sweat and excess water from head.

     

    • Women keep Kumkumabottu on their forehead that protects them from being hypnotised.

     

    • Eating with hands might be looked down upon in the west but it connects the body, mind and soul.

     

    • Hindu custom requires one to eat on either banana or palash leaves. This is the most eco-friendly way as it does not require any chemical soap to cleanse it and it can be discarded without harming the environment.

     

    • Piercing of baby’s ear is actually a part of acupuncture treatment. The point where the ear is pierced helps in curing asthma.

     

    • The old practice of pasting cow dung on walls and outside the house prevents various diseases as it is considered natural anti-biotic and rich in minerals.

     

    • Hindus consider drinking cow urine to cure various illnesses. Apparently, it does balance bile, mucous and air and cures heart diseases and also acts like an antidote.

     

    • The age old punishment of doing situps while holding the ears actually makes the mind sharper and is helpful for those with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.

     

    • Lighting ‘deepam’ or oil or ghee lamp in temples and houses fill the surrounding with positivity and recharge your senses.

     

    • Janjam, or the string on a Brahmin’s body, is also a part of acupressure and keeps the wearer safe from several diseases.

     

    • Decorating the main door with ‘Toranamu'- a string of mango leaves; neem leaves and ashoka leaves actually purifies the atmosphere.

     

    • Touching the elder’s feet keeps your backbone in good shape.

     

    • Cremation or burning the dead is one of the cleanest form of disposing off the dead body.

     

    • Chanting the mantram ‘Om’ leads to significant reduction in heart rate and leads to a deeper form of relaxation with increased alertness.

     

    • Hanuman Chalisa, according to NASA, has the exact calculation of the distance between Sun and the Earth.

     

    • The ‘ShankhaDhwani’ creates the sound waves by which many harmful germs and insects are destroyed. The mosquito breeding is also affected by Shankha blowing and reduces the spread of malaria.
  • Cave temples in India: Divinity expressed through arts

    India has incredible cave temples that reflect determination, faith of early humans and present wonderful arenas of ancient Indian rock cut architecture. These rock-cut cave temples aren’t just rich in history, they also boast of remarkable architectural and artistic qualities that existed in ancient civilization of India. Here’s a list of few strikingly beautiful cave temples of India.

    Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

    Ajanta and Ellora caves are undoubtedly the pride of India and include stunning paintings and commendable rock cut sculptures. They are believed to have been formed by accumulation of limestone. One needs to explore the caves to understand its history and magnificence. There are 34 caves at the Ellora that date back to 6th and 11th century AD and 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves at the Ajanta are Buddhist caves while Ellora caves are a mix of Buddhism, Hinduism as well as Jainism. They exhibit finest surviving example of ancient Indian art today.

    Image Credit - wikipedia Image Credit - wikipedia

    Badami Caves, Karnataka

    The manmade Badami caves are the finest example of Badami Chalukya rock cut architecture. The temple is located at the bank of an artificial lake in Badami town of Karnataka and dates back to 6th and 7th century AD. It has total four caves out of which three have Brahamanical temples and one has Jain temple. Each cave has artistically carved sculptures of Hindu Gods and reflects Chalukayas immense love for sandstone architecture .These magnificent caves are also amongst the top tourist attractions of Karnataka.

    Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org

    Elephanta Island Caves, Maharashtra

    The enigmatic Elephanta caves date back to 5thand 8th centuries AD and are believed to have been hand carved out of a single rock. Located on the densely covered Elephanta Island, it consists of a large group of five Hindu caves and a smaller group of two Buddhist caves that feature spectacular sculptures of Hindu mythological figures. The main cave or the Great Cave has a 6 m high Trimurthi sculpture of the three faces of Lord Shiva and is a sacred Hindu place of worship. Despite the mindless destruction during colonial past, Elephanta cave still attracts numerous tourists from around the country every year.

    Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org

    Varaha Caves, Tamil Nadu

    Built in the late 7th century AD, Varaha Cave Temple at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) is an outstanding example of Indian rock cut architecture. This temple has intricately moulded lion pillars with elaborate sculptures of Lakshmi, Durga and Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu and reflects natural art and culture of Pallava dynasty.

    Image Credit - wikipedia.org Image Credit - wikipedia.org

    Trichy Rock Fort Temple, Tamil Nadu

    Constructed on a 273 foot high rock, Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort is a 7th century old Hindu temple and is amongst the most incredible cave temples in India. There are two cave temples namely The Uchchi Pillayar Koil and The Siva Temple. The caves are said to have been built during the Pallavas, but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples. The cave’s interiors are spectacularly gripping and its hill top view is simply breathtaking.

    Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org Image Credit - commons.wikimedia.org

    Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar

    Also known as the Mahakala caves, Dungeshwari Caves house the Buddhist temples that are very artistically structured. These are three caves where it is believed the Buddha spent a lot of years meditating, before going to Bodhygaya and attaining enlightenment. This is a worshipping place for Buddhists and is very peaceful and meditative.

    Amarnath Cave, Jammu and Kashmir

    One of the holiest shrines in Hinduism even today, the Amarnath cave temple is located at an altitude of 12,756 ft, within the snow-covered mountains of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a Hindu legend, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to Parvati. Thousands of pilgrims every year pay visit to pray Shiv Linga, the stalagmite that is formed due to freezing of falling waterdrops from the roof and grows up vertically from the floor inside the 40 m tall Amarnath cave.

    Borra Caves, Andhra Pradesh

    More than 150 years old, Borra Caves are situated in the Ananthagiri Hills(about 705 m high) in Araku Valley of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh are one of the largest cave in the country. Formed from limestone, these wonder caves distinctly exhibit many irregularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites that have been associated with various deities according to their shapes. Famous figures of this cave temple include a Shivalingam and the idol of the cow known as Kamadhenu.

  • Unique and Exceptional Facts about Customs and Traditions of India

    India has one of the oldest cultures in the world. Its civilization started about 4,500 years ago. Its culture is described as the first and the best culture in the world.

    Western societies failed to see the culture of India favorably. Early anthropologists considered this culture as a natural and evolutionary process. They said, “In India, everything was done to develop humans in their evolutionary growth.”

    Cultural Advancements

    India has made noteworthy advancements in architecture, mathematics, and medicine. Today, India is a country with more than 1.2 billion population. In India, there are many varieties of geographical topologies with their own unique cultures. India’s cultural tolerance has helped it to include many languages, arts, religions, sects, and a variety of food items.

    Here is an overview of some of the exceptional and unique facts about Indian culture.

    Religions in India

    India is found to be the birthplace for third and fourth largest religions in the world, the Hinduism and the Buddhism respectively. About 84 percent of the Indians are identified as Hindus. There are many variations in Hinduism, and there are four predominant sects in Hinduism such as Shaiva, Shakteya, Vaishnava and Smarta.

    hinduism-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Languages in India

    Many people living in India also write in Devanagari script. It is actually wrong to say that the majority of Indians speak Hindi. Only 41 percent of the populace speak Hindi in India and the remaining 59 percent of Indians speak other languages than Hindi. Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Urdu are the other major languages spoken in India.

    devanagari-script-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Indian Cuisine

    Wheat, rice and various pulses are important staples of the Indian food. Usually, the Indian food is loaded with curries and spices such as coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and peppers among others. Chutneys are very special items in all parts of India. These kinds of thick condiments and various spreads made up of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, tamarind and mint are used liberally in Indian cooking.

    indian_cuisine_spicesArchitecture & Films

    The famous example of the excellence in architecture is the Taj Mahal. This was built by the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan out of his great love on Mumtaz, his third wife. This architectural wonder combines various creative elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.

    taj-mahal-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    India is famous for its film industry. India’s movie history began in 1896 when the Lumiere brothers demonstrated the art of cinema in Mumbai. This film culture might be the extension of Indian theater traditions which span back more than 4,000 years.

    The themes of classical dance traditions such as Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak , Kathakali and Mohiniattam were drawn from mythological epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

    Indian Fashion

    Indian clothing includes colorful saris worn by many of the Indian women. The clothing for men is the dhoti which is an unstitched white cloth that is tied between the waist and legs. Men will also wear a kurta, a loose shirt that is would fall up to the knee.

    dhoti-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Major Celebrations

    The country celebrates Diwali which is the largest celebration spread across India. It is a five-day celebration and is called ‘festival of lights’ as it symbolizes the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. Holi is the another important festival in India; it is a celebration of colors, and is called festival of love.

    diwali-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia
  • How To Decorate Your Pooja Room as per Vaastu

    In India, a pooja room is constructed as a sacred room in every home. It is a special place to worship and offer prayers to Gods and Goddesses.

    how-to-decorate-pooja-roomPraying various Gods and Goddesses is a kind of contemplation of an individual human. It is considered that offering prayers improves our mental and spiritual strength: it is assesses as an essential activity for good mental health and an amazing spiritual contentment.

    All Hindu houses have a pooja room with various idols of Gods and Goddesses.

    How To Decorate A Pooja Room ?

    First, let us discuss how to place deities in the pooja rooms. It is very important to have a pooja room in your home which follows the norms of Vaastu, which is an  important thing to be born in mind while decorating your pooja rooms.

    Decide well about the location of your pooja room in your home.  It is usually built in the north east corner of your house. Also consider this point:  The pooja room should face either east to west or west to east.

    It is better to make your pooja room with wood material. It may be sandalwood or teak wood, with a conical shaped top. Also consider the color of the wood: it should be kept in natural wooden colors.

    Place your religious books in either south or west. Also ensure this: Your pooja room should not lie below, above or next to your bathroom. Usually, bathrooms emit negative energies.

    You should not place your pooja room under the stairs or inside the bedroom, especially inside the master bedroom. Your pooja room will be total only after you place the  idols and deities in the right direction.

    See below some important tips that would help you to place the deities inside your pooja room.

    Rules to Keep Idols in Your Pooja Room

    There are some idols of Gods that need to be placed in the east of the house facing west to increase their positivity in the house.

    Some examples of these gods are : Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Kartikeya, Indra, Surya.

    Where to Place Ganesha Idol at Home?

    The god’s idol that need to face north to south direction are: Ganesh, Durga, Shodas, Matrika, Kuber, Bhairav. It is also important to keep the idol or photo of Lord Hanuman facing South East. This will have a tendency to combine with agni which is located in the South East as it is the Agni’s direction which is not a good sign. Shiva is usually prayed in the form of a linga in Indian houses and it is advised to place the idol in the north direction.

    In general, the best direction to place all your  idols is the North East direction and it is really an auspicious direction to locate all the idols, gods and deities in compliance with various religious standards and procedures.

  • Cultural Treasure Cities of India

    India has thousands of cities, together they form a union, which is treasure of culture, tradition and it's rich and diverse heritage. These cities are more of ingredients which have their own distinctive properties and contributions in making this land – India!

    We look at a few cities, what they are famous for and how they have helped in shaping this great country.

    Delhi:The capital of several dynasties, empires and that of today’s India. The city’s rich and diverse culture and heritage is a witness and a result of those that have called it home and have left an ever- lasting impression. From the large Jama Masjid, which is not only one of the largest mosques in India but also an epitome of Mughal Architecture at its best. The culinary options which are dominated by the recipes handed over by the Mughals is a globally loved. Lutyen’s Delhi or New Delhi as its called, the power center of India, which hosts the symbol of Indian democracy – The Parliament and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, too is worth mentioning.

    Jama Masjid in Delhi Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Varanasi: One of the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi is a decadent tableau of multiple temples, riverside ghats, colorful markets and saffron-clad sadhus. The meandering Ganga river adds to its holiness and its tiny alleys in the old town along with its rich local delicacies makes this city special in several ways. The Ganga aarti, which is truly an uplifting experience – with pealing bells, chants, fire and incense is an experience for which words may fall short.

    Munshi Ghat in Varanasi Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Udaipur: Ranked as by many travel journos and researchers as one of the most culturally rich cities of the world, Udaipur is no less that a city from a fairy-tale. The City Palace Complex with the Jag Mandir in the centre of the lake adds to the beauty of this experience.

    Udaipur jag mandir india

    Madurai: Also known as the Athens of the East, this city is a cultural jewel. With imprints of civilizations that can be traced back to several centuries, this city is a must visit, if you are a cultural treasure seeker. The towering gopuram of the Meenakshi Temple, decorated with detailed carving leaves a humbling effect on its visitors.

    madurai meenakshi amman temple india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Kanchipuram: One of the most famous cities of Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram was known in early Tamil literature as Kachi or Kachipedu but was later Sanskritized to Kanchi or Kanchipuram. According to legend, the name Kanchi is derived from Ka referring to the Hindu god Brahma and anchi, referring to his worship of Hindu god Vishnu at this place. Famous for its silk sarees, Kanchipuram saris woven with heavy silk and gold cloth are considered to be special and are worn on occasions and festivities.

  • Tamil Nadu: The state with the highest number of GI products

    India has a total of 236 GI products and Tamil Nadu comes first for the number of GI tags on its products, while Uttar Pradesh comes second. Darjeeling Tea was the first Indian product to get a Geographic Indication in the early 2000’s. Geographical Indications (GI) have become a matter of pride for the state, as well as the country. So what it is a Geographical Indication and how do these numbers add up?5

    As a member of the World Trade Organisation, India brought into effect the Geographical Indication of Goods Act in 1999. This was essentially defined as “A sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess certain qualities due to that origin”. The GI sign protects these products from being duplicated, thus assuring customers the quality that the product brings. Geographical Indications for products also enables the world to recognise these unique products, boost the tourism and trade for the country and the state, thus becoming a cultural and economic pride.

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    Tamil Nadu tops the list of local products that have been earmarked for GI. The state has submitted 50 products of which 24 have been approved by the registry. The most famous among these would be the Kanchipuram silk. The town of Kanchipuram believes its weavers are descendents of Sage Markands, the master weaver of Gods, and true to the tale, the saris stand out in their resplendence. Other textiles from Tamil Nadu to get the GI sign include Salem Silk, Kovai Cora Cotton and Arani silk. The hand-woven Madurai Sungudi is famed for its natural dyes and dotted patterns. It is the first product from the town of Madurai to get the GI tag, but it is closely followed by the Madurai Malli. The malli or jasmine from Madurai is in demand across the world for its seductive fragrance, from which branded perfumes are formulated.

    Shop for this Thanjavur Dancing Doll - Click Here Shop for this Thanjavur Dancing Doll - Click Here

    A very unique product that is probably the only one of its type to get the GI tag is the Coimbatore wet grinder. An indigenous product of the city, this grinder’s matchless design helps millions across the country grind batter for their favourite idli and dosa. Moving away from food to culture, Indian dancers often get envious looks at their stone studded jewellery. The men behind the glitter are the artisans of Vadasery in Nagercoil district, who have for centuries made dazzling jewellery of a unique kind for temple Gods across South India. Nagercoil temple jewellery as it is called has earned itself the well deserved GI tag. Talking of dancers, the Tanjavur Dancing Doll is a study in not just arts, but science as well. This GI doll is made of terracotta, in such proportions that when shaken, the doll dances and comes back to its original state always, thanks to centre of gravity.

    Be it a brilliant weaving technique, a sumptuous traditional dish, or nature’s own flora, India has a rich tradition to preserve. In a world driven by patents and copyrights, Geographical Indications are a boon to protect India’s rich cultural and natural resources.

  • Heritage-rich cities and towns

    TamilNadu has a rich heritage of majestic forts and intricately carved temples. Let us walk you through the origin of these heritage-rich cities and towns.

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