The culture of India refers collectively to the thousands of distinct and unique cultures of all religions and communities present in India. India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food,
and customs differ from place to place within the country. Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and has been influenced by Many elements of India's diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, philosophy, cuisine, languages, arts, dance and music. Indian-origin religions Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, all of which are based on the concept of dharma and karma. Ahimsa, a philosophy of nonviolence, is an important aspect of native Indian faiths. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and other religions. They are collectively known as Indian religions. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world's third and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 2 billion followers altogether, According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practice Hinduism. Islam (14.2%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%) and Jainism (0.4%). Indian philosophy comprises six schools of orthodox they are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta—and four heterodox schools—Jain, Buddhist, ajivika and Carvaka last two are also schools of Hinduism. India has a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. where all family member live together. Usually, the oldest male member is the head in the joint family system. He mostly makes all important decisions. Arranged marriages norm in Indian society. Even today, the most of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members. Weddings are festive occasions in India with extensive decorations, colors, music, dance, costumes and rituals that depend on the religion of the bride and the groom, there are a few key rituals common in Hindu weddings – Kanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi; these are respectively, gifting away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and taking seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows. After the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi, the couple is legally husband and wife. Sikhs get married through a ceremony called Anand Karaj. The couple walk around the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib four times. Indian Muslims wedding rituals include Nikah, payment of financial dower called Mahr by the groom to the bride, signing of marriage contract, and a reception. Indian Christian weddings follow customs similar to those practiced in the Christian countries. India, being a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. The three main national holidays in India is the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti, which are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India. In addition, many Indian states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular hindu religious festivals are Navratri, Janmashtami, Diwali, Maha Shivratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Holi, Rath Yatra, Ugadi, Onam, Vasant Panchami, Rakshabandhan, and Dussehra. Several harvest festivals such as Makar Sankranti, Sohrai, Pusna, Hornbill, Chapchar Kut, Pongal and Raja sankaranti swinging festival are also fairly popular. Indian New Year festival are celebrated in different part of India with unique style in different times. Ugadi, Bihu, Gudhi Padwa, Puthandu, Vaisakhi, Pohela Boishakh, Vishu and Vishuva Sankranti are the New Year festival of different part of India. Sikh festivals, such as Guru Nanak Jayanti, Baisakhi are celebrated with full fanfare by Sikhs and Hindus of Punjab and Delhi. Islam in India is the second largest religion with over 172 million Muslims, according to India's 2011 census. The Islamic festivals declared public holiday in India are; Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha (Bakri Eid), Milad-un-Nabi, Muharram and Shab-e-Barat. Some of the Indian states have declared regional holidays for the particular regional popular festivals; such as Arba'een, Jumu'ah-tul-Wida and Shab-e-Qadar. Christianity is India's third largest religion. With over 23 million Christians, The country celebrates Christmas and Good Friday as public holidays. Regional and community fairs are also common festival in India. Pushkar fair of Rajasthan is one of the world's largest markets of cattle and livestock. Greetings include Namaste (Hindi and Sanskrit), Namaskar (Hindi), Juhar/Namaskar in Odia, Namaskar (Marathi), Namaskara (Kannada), Namaskaram (Telugu, Malayalam), Vanakkam (Tamil), Nomoshkaar (Bengali), Nomoskar (Assamese), Aadab (Urdu), and Sat Shri Akal (Punjabi). All these are common spoken greetings or salutations when people meet, and are forms of farewell when they depart. Other greetings include Jai Jagannath (used in Odia) Ami Aschi (used in Bengali), Jai Shri Krishna (in Gujarati and the Braj Bhasha and Rajasthani dialects of Hindi), Ram Ram/(Jai) Sita Ram ji (Awadhi and Bhojpuri dialects of Hindi and other Bihari dialects), and Sat Sri Akal (Punjabi; used by followers of Sikhism), As-salamu alaykum (Urdu; used by follower of Islam), Jai Jinendra (a common greeting used by followers of Jainism), Jai Bhim (used by followers of Ambedkarism), Namo Buddha (used by followers of Buddhism), Allah Abho (used by followers of Bahá'í), Shalom aleichem (used by followers of Judaism), Hamazor Hama Ashobed (used by followers of Zoroastrianism), Sahebji (Persian and Gujarati; used by the Parsi people), Dorood (Persian and Guarati; used by the Irani people), Om Namah Shivaya/Jai Bholenath (used in Dogri and Kashmiri, also used in the city of Varanasi), Jai Ambe Maa/Jai Mata di (used in Eastern India), Jai Ganapati Bapa (used in Marathi and Konkani). These traditional forms of greeting may be absent in the world of business and in India's urban environment, where a handshake is a common form of greeting.
In Hinduism, the cow is regarded as a symbol of ahimsa (non-violence), mother goddess and bringer of good fortune and wealth. For this reason, cows are revered in Hindu culture and feeding a cow is seen as an act of worship. This is why beef remains a taboo food in mainstream Hindu and Jain society.
Indian food is as diverse as India. Indian cuisine is diverse, ranging from very spicy to very mild, varying with seasons in each region. These reflect the local agriculture, regional climate, culinary innovations and cultural diversity. Food in India is sometimes served in thali – a plate with rice, bread. Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients, deploy a wide range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and culinary presentation. From salads to sauces, from vegetarian to meat, from spices to sensuous, from breads to desserts, Indian cuisine is invariably complex.
Traditional clothing in India greatly varies across different parts of the country and is influenced by local culture, geography, climate and rural-urban settings. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari and mekhela sador for women and dhoti or lungi or panche (in Kannada) for men. Stitched clothes are also popular such as churidar or salwar-kameez for women, with dupatta (long scarf) thrown over shoulder completing the outfit. Salwar is often loose fitting, while churidar is a tighter cut. The dastar, a headgear worn by Sikhs is common in Punjab.
The language with the largest number of speakers in India is Hindi and it's various dialects. Early forms of present-day Hindustani developed from the Middle Indo-Aryan apabhraṃśa vernaculars of present-day North India in the 7th–13th centuries. During the time of Islamic rule in parts of India, it became influenced by Persian. The Persian influence led to the development of Urdu, which is more Persianized and written in the Perso-Arabic script. Modern standard Hindi has a lesser Persian influence and is written in the Devanagari script.
The Indian art of dance is the expression of inner beauty and the divine in man. each gesture seeks to communicate the ideas, each facial expression the emotions. Indian dance includes eight classical dance forms, many in narrative forms with mythological elements. The eight classical forms accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, yakshagana of Karnataka, manipuri of Manipur, odissi (orissi) of the state of Odisha and the sattriya of Assam.
Most early and medieval art in India is Cave paintings from Ajanta and Ellora.medieval India art Pattachitra, Madhubani painting, Mysore painting, Rajput painting, Tanjore painting and Mughal painting are some notable Genres of Indian Art; During the period of the Mauryan and Gupta empires and their successors, several Buddhist architectural complexes, such as the caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the monumental Sanchi Stupa were built. Later on, South India produced several Hindu temples like Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura, Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur built by Raja Raja Chola, the Sun Temple, Konark, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, and the Buddha stupa (Chinna Lanja dibba and Vikramarka kota dibba) at Bhattiprolu. Rajput kingdoms oversaw the construction of Khajuraho Temple Complex, Chittor Fort and Chaturbhuj Temple, etc. during their reign. Angkor Wat, Borobudur and other Buddhist and Hindu temples indicate strong Indian influence on South East Asian architecture, as they are built in styles almost identical to traditional Indian religious buildings. the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The Qutb complex, a group of monuments constructed by successive sultanas of the Delhi Sultanate is one of the earliest examples. Fatehpur Sikri Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbaz, Red Fort of Delhi, and Charminar are creations of this era, and are often used as the stereotypical symbols of India. Contemporary Indian architecture is more cosmopolitan. Cities are extremely compact and densely populated. Mumbai's Nariman Point is famous for its Art Deco buildings. Recent creations such as the Lotus Temple, Golden Pagoda and Akshardham, and the various modern urban developments of India like Bhubaneswar and Chandigarh, are notable.
Field hockey was considered to be the national game of India, Cricket is also considered the most popular sport in India. Football is popular in the Indian state of West Bengal. The city of Kolkata is the home to the largest stadium in India, and the second largest stadium in the world by capacity, Salt Lake Stadium. Chess is commonly believed to have originated in northwestern India during the Gupta empire, where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturanga. Other games which originated in India and continue to remain popular in wide parts of northern India include Kabaddi, Gilli-danda, and Kho kho. Traditional southern Indian games include Snake boat race and Kuttiyum kolum. The modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, India, where the game was known as 'Sagol Kangjei'. The first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam, India, in 1833. In 2011, India inaugurated a privately built Buddh International Circuit, its first motor racing circuit. The 5.14-kilometre circuit is in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, near Delhi. The first Formula One Indian Grand Prix event was hosted here in October 2011.