Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Museums of India"

Museums of India

Museums are repositories of great cultural wealth. Our heritage is shared by museums almost as much as by standing monuments. Museums ensure the conservation and preservation of historical, technical and other materials against decay. They reflect a pattern of changing concerns with past, present an future. Museums are a simple route through the complex maze of India, its tradition and culture.

Most of the museums in India have incredibly large collection of objects ranging from painting, sculptures, textiles, metal wear, jewellery etc. They provide a unique glimpse into more beautiful sites of real India. They are a microcosm of India’s rich history and different tradition.

Various Collections-
Different collections on different aspects have been preserved in various museums.

1. Collection from Indus Valley Civilization -:
Many Indian museums have collection from Harappan culture. The best among them being at National Museum (Delhi) which are excellent specimens of painted pottery, jewellery of gold, semi precious stones, tiny animals, figurines in clay which displays a sensitivity to nature and styles which are the hallmark of Harappan culture.

2. Collection of Buddha Figures -:
There are many good collections of Buddha figures in government museum (Mathura) and National Museum (Delhi). In these, the artist had struggled to achieve an expression on the face of Buddha that would convey in a peace and meditation. The seated or standing figures are quite delicate and are compared with giant Buddha figures. Some of the remains of Stupas have been removed from the sites and are preserved in the museums. The sculpture from Amravati Stupa is now at government State Museum (Madras).

3. Collection of Gandharan Art -:
The Greeks and Roman traders have brought some of their craftsman with them to India and had engaged local artist in pretty works. The result was a blend of Indian, Greek and Roman Styles which is known as Gandharan Art. The museums with best collection with Gandharan culture are in National Museum (Delhi).

4. Collection of Chandella Art -:
The Khajuraho Temples will always remain famous for their Sculptures. Good collections of Chandella Sculptures from these temples can be seen at Khajuraho site museum and Indian Museum in Calcutta.

5. Collection of Articles of Mughals Empires -:
Mughals illustrations cover many subjects like hunting scenes, court celebrations, paintings of birds and animals. Artificial belongings to the reign of Akbar, his son Jahangir and Shahjahan have been preserved in the National Museum (Delhi), Salarjung Museum (Hyderabad).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Enchanting India

India is one amongst the few exotic holiday destinations - a vast, seething subcontinent that caters for every taste. Palaces, temples, forts, the spellbinding Taj Mahal, tea plantations, elephant rides – the experience of India can be as heady as the scent of orange blossom and spices. With its beaches, tropical forests, hill stations in the foothills of the Himalayas, India never disappoints.

India’s holiday options are as exciting and varied as the country itself. Kerala’s gorgeous backwaters and beaches, colorful festivals, wildlife sanctuaries and luxuriant rainforests; Goa’s palm-fringed golden sands, magnificent palaces and temples, lush green tea plantations; Cool hill stations with echoes of their colonial past; here you can find nature at its most beautiful and enchanting man-made monuments at their most spectacular. That’s what makes India 1 of the world’s most beautiful and magical holiday experiences.

Some Useful Facts -:

# Language - Hindi; English is widely spoken

# Currency - Rupee= 100 paise

# International Dialing Code - +91

# Time Difference – 5:30 hr ahead of GMT

# Vaccinations – Yellow fever, cholera, typhoid and polio recommended.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

“The People”

Races in India

Indian population is polygenetic and is said to be the ‘melting pot’ of various races. Only few people can claim that they belong to any particular race nevertheless many Indians pride themselves that they belong to the Aryan Dynasty. There is one species known as Ramapithecus which was found in foothills of Shivalik of the North Western Himalayas. It was thought to be the 1st in the line of Homonides, lived some for fourteen million years ago. Many researchers have analyzed that a species which lived in India about 2 million years ago resembled Australopithecus.

Main Races in India:

As per the study done by Dr. B.S.Guha, the Indian population is derived from 6 main ethical groups-

  1. Negrito / Brachycephalic
  2. Prote Austroloids / Austrics
  3. Mongoloids
  4. Mediterranean/ Dravidians
  5. Western Brachycephals
  6. Nordic Aryans

1. Negrito (broad headed) -:

The African Negritos were the oldest people who came to India. These people are now found in small patches among the hill tribes of south India. Irulas, Daniyans, Kadars are the subgroups of Negrito people. They survive in Andaman Islands and have retained their language.

2. Proto Austroloids -:

These were the race of humans with the wavy hair, long heads with prominent eyes and low foreheads, noses having low, broad roots and brown bodies,. The Austrics of India represent a race of medium height, dark complexion with long heads and rather flat noses but otherwise of regular features. Mixing of both the races with Negritos may be the reason for the dark and black pigmentation of the skin. Austrics tribe can be found in the whole of India particularly when one passes on to Burma, Malaya. These people laid the foundation of Indian civilization.

3. Mangoloids (Nepali and Tibetan) -:

Mongoloids confined to the north eastern fringes of India i.e. in Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Jayanti hills. These people have oblique eyes, high cheek bones and yellow complexion, medium height and sparse hairs

4. Dravidians -:

It comprises of 3 sub types- Paleo Mediterranean, True Mediterranean and Oriental Mediterranean. The city civilization of the Indus valley was built by them, whose remains have been found in Mohenjodaro and Harappa. These people must have spread to all over India.

5. Western Brachycephals -:

These are broad headed people living mainly on the western side of the country such as part of the western side of the country such as part of Kashmir, Kathiawar, Gujarat and some parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. These people are also known as Alpinoids and Dinarics. There representation is found among the parses.

6. Nordic Aryans -:

These were the people who migrated to India and left there homes in Central Asia. They were also known as Indo-Iranians. They settled in Mesopotamia for many centuries. These people have visited India in-between 2000-1500 B.C and got settled in Punjab. The Aryans coming to India encountered the highly civilized Indus valley people who had big towns and brick structures.

The major tribes who inhabited India are:

  • Andors – Arunachal Pradesh
  • Bhilis – Himachal Pradesh
  • Bhutas – Sikkim
  • Jagmitras – Meghalaya
  • Great Andamanies – Andaman Island
  • Khonds – Orissa
  • Kuki – Manipur
  • Mundas – Bihar
  • Todas – Tamil Nadu
  • Santhals – West Bengal

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Colors of Tradition

Interwoven with modernization, the country’s rich culture and heritage survives through its buildings and architecture, music, exotic and mouth watering delicacies, pastime activities, social mix and customs. Indian hospitality has drawn tourists from the world over to the country.

Foreign influences of the western countries have interwoven with the local ways to weave the rich heritage we see in the country today. It brings a colorful spectrum to the Indian culture, cuisine, crafts and world’s major religions which are being represented here.

Life is celebrated in India in a multi-racial and multi-religious atmosphere. More than just rituals and traditions, Indians have a way of life mutually respected by all. Apart from religions and cultures, the festivals of India are also influenced by social diversity. Among the festivities are the Deepavali, Eid Festival, Christmas, Baisakhi, Holi, Lohri and many others. During these times, relatives and friends of different races are invited to join for the celebrations.

Food is indeed an important part of the culture India is proud to offer to the world. It includes the tastes of all the communities of the world. It has a vast diversity which includes the hot, spice paranthas of north to the soft idli-dosa of south. India also offers a platform to the tastes of different countries.

The array of India’s traditional costumes and clothing is stunningly diverse and colorful, from the magnificent tribal clothes and traditional dhotis and Cholas to the multicolored suites and saris. Many of their origins are millennium-old. Today, the traditional clothing is still in vogue, as portrayed in the many fashion events in the country, blending local fashions and global trends.

Home to a rich tapestry of culture and a tradition, India is indeed a glorious and unique experience to be treasured. And it is worth mentioning that we, the Indians have not forgotten our traditions, heritage and culture.