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Introduction to Indian Culture

Go To: Articles & Table of Contents
Keywords: culture, intro_culture

Ash Covered Face of a Fortune Teller
A Devotee of Lord Shiva
Gold Culture of India
The Jewelry of Mysore Maharaja

A close up of fine jewelry
The jewelry of Mysore Maharaja
Gold Culture of India
Street Arts of India
Girl Practicing Rangoli Art
Steps, courtyards, roads, footpaths are used to draw Rangoli in India

The ribs of coconut leaves are used in manufacturing broomsticks.
Man making brooms from petioles
The Natural Broom
Traditional Indian Woman
"Sumangali" -- Portrait of a Traditional Indian Woman
A vermilion mark on the forehead is considered to bring good luck.

The festivals in India are celebrated in an eco-friendly way.
Strings of mango leaves indicate festive occasion.
Eco-freindly Celebrations

Painted Face of a Devotee
Pictures of the mysterious Yellamma cult

Member of the Mysterious Yellamma Cult
The system of Devadasis is a controversial practice in India
Devotee or Prostitute?
Anatomy of a Upanayanam
Initiation of a Brahmin Boy

Introduction to the Mudras
Proceedings of a Upanayanam ceremony for a boy
Upanayanam Samskara
Street as Playground
Shanty Town Children Playing Hopping Game on the Street
The game of Kuntahalipi can be played on the streets

Roadside Launderer Basavaraju
Man using a charcoal iron to press clothes
Roadside Dhobi
Hindu Rituals
People Gathered for a Religious Ceremony
Group poses at Jambavali, Goa

Man weaves coconut leaves into a carpet
The sheathe thus formed is used for thatched roofing as well
Man Weaving a Palm-leaf
Street Vendor
Peanut Vendor
Mother and daughter selling peanuts in Bangalore

Self Immolation depicted in a Stone Sculpture
Atma Bali (Sacrifice of the Soul) -- Sculpture from Andhra Pradesh
Man Committing Suicide
Street Dog and Pups
A Mother's Love
A stray dog feeds its puppies, Bangalore 2001

A construction worker preparing dinner on the street
Woman baking Bhakkri
Open Air Kitchen!
Roadside Tattoo Artist
Man Gets a Tattoo by Roadside
The Village of Chandanpur, 1976

Coconut Leaves Used for Wall and Roof of a Hut
Living One with Nature
Eco-friendly Living in India
Man Serves Food On Organic Plates
Notice how the leaves are stiched together to form a plate

A Devotee Begging in the Name of God with a Long Horn
Also notice his left hand playing cymbals
Street Entertainer, Bangalore
Streets as Toilets
An Important thing the Nation Builders Forgot...
Lack of public toilets is a common problem in India. Shown above: a woman relieves herself

Tattoos of a Tribal Woman
The Kajuraho Folk Festival, 1977
On the Streets of New Dehli
"Ain't afraid of thieves"
A homeless man sleeping on a street, New Delhi

Stray Kids, Stray Puppies
Urchins playing on the streets with dogs
On the Streets of India
Forest Weed as Fertilizer
Woman Carrying Heap of Leaves from Forest
The leaves are used to cool the roots of the coconut trees on the Konkan coast

Destitute Musicans
Disabled members of a street-side music band
Destiture Musicans
Plant Worship
Temple of Plant
Stone Tulasi in a courtyard of a home

Fashionable Daughter of the Jungle
Notice the tattoos, pierced jewelry, and other decorations of this tribal woman photographed in the forests of Central India, 1977
Eco-Friendly Welcome Sign!
Banana Plants Welcoming Guests
Plantain leaves indicate an auspicious occasion in Hindu culture

Temple Priest Announcing Prayer Time
Priest rings a metal plate
Temple Culture

The Circumambulation
Woman performs a Pradakdhina to the Tulasi plant

The Henna Art of the Feet of a Bride
Weddings in India
The Plant as Goddess
A New Bride Worships the Tulasi Plant

Offerings Made to a Pepal Tree
Plant Worship

Declaring Religious Allegiance
A Shaiva devotee with sacred ash on forehead

A Cock Fight in Progress
Kamat Goes to a Cock Fight

The Painted Hands of a Bride

Horizontal and Vertical Markings
The distinctive head markings (namas) identify the sects of Hinduism. Shaivites paint bands across their foreheads (left). Vaishnavites, adherents of Vishnu, wear three vertical lines (right).
Distinctive Head Markings
India`s Street Culture
Ragpickers on the Streets of Bangalore
A large number of people in urban India take to rag-picking as a means of living.

The Fruit that Yields Oil!
For a long time, ball-fruit oil was the primary source of fuel for lighting in some parts of India.
The Round Ball Fruit

The Pinda Offerings

Gifting of the Brahmins (brahmana puja)
Hindu Last Rites
Feeding of the River
As part of the Hindu last rites, a man feeds a river.

Tonsuring of the Head
A son shaves off his hair in mourning the death of his father.
 Hindu Final Rites
The Feeding of the River

Mourners reading Kamat's old letters
Kamat was a prolific letter writer. Most people who received his letters felt that they were worthy of preservation.
Kamat the Letter Writer

Symbolic Re-burning of the Dead

Funeral Rituals at a Waterfall
The death rites are usually conducted outside the home, usually at the cremation ground or near a waterfall.
Hindu Final Rites

The Pinda (Rice Ball) Offerings

Man Weaving a Platform from Bamboo Strips
Preparation of chatta -- a structure to carry the dead
Hindu Death Rituals
The Karnavedha  Sacrament
The Ear Piercing Ceremony for a Newborn
Ancient Hindus regarded a pierced ear as a sign of how cultured a family was, and all the babies were pierced in a religious ceremony.

Tree Worship
Detail from a North-Indian miniature painting
Tree Worship
Vessels Made of Gold
Golden Vessels
Artifcat from Mysore Palace, Karnataka

Golden Footewear of a Pontiff
Golden Footwear
The Sacrament of Marriage
Wedding of Shiva and Parvati
Painting by Rudrakumar Jha

The Naming Ceremony for a Child
The Namakarana Sacrament
Gold in India
Door-to-Door Jeweler Weighing Gold

Tulasi Plant Worship
Offerings to Tulasi
Death in Indian Culture
Journey of the Dead to Heaven
Illustration based on art of pre-historic Indians

Antyeshti Proceedings
Body being readied for funeral pyre, Bombay Burning Ghat
19th Century India
Sprouts as Symbols of Fertility
Plant Worship
Women worshipping sprouting plants

The Ashoka Tree
Sacred Trees of India
Vehicle Worship in India
Hindus Worship Everything!
The signboard says "Place to Worship Cars"

Hindu Death Anniversary Rites
Hindu Death Rites
The Shraddha Ritual
Rituals of "Shraddha"

Waving of Sacred Fire
The Aarati Ritual
The Samskara Sacrament
Hindu Death Rites
Sacred place of Gokarn, 2006

Yama with a Noose
Yama, the God of Death
Indian Culture
Divine Assistance in Decision Making
A devotee attaches petals to a sacred pillar. Depending on which petals fall first in interpreted as a devine signal.

Ancient Gold Coins of India
Gold as India`s Currency
Temple of Tulasi
Tulasi Platform
Tulasi Farms, Village of Manikkara, 2006

Man Slicing his Throat with a Dagger
Detail from a hero-stone, Gujarat
Suicide in India
India`s Streets
Relaxing by Roadside
Bangalore, Year 2000

Leader of Streetside Acrobat Play
Bangalore, year 2001
Dombarata Street Play
The Ashwatha Tree
Worshipping of Ashwatha Tree
Detail from an Indian painting

Pooja Vessels
Gopalakrishna Temple, Honavar
Tools of Worship
Eco-friendly Living
Organic Farmers
The natural farming philosophy in India takes the approach that the insects have a right to life as well

The Singar Flower of Betel Tree
Flowers of the Supari used for accent
Eco-friendly Living


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