Culture in India

India is a melting pot of different cultures. Here, the old and the new live in peaceful co-existence. So don’t be surprised if you see a 21st-century highrise standing side by side with a slim (these sights are common in the bigger Indian cities). The lingua franca of the country are Hindi and English yet there are 1652 languages and dialects in India.

India is actually several countries rolled into one. The country is divided into 29 states, most of them on the basis of language or culture. Even then India is a ‘union’ and not a ‘federation’. Therefore, Jawaharlal Nehru described the Indian condition as ‘unity in diversity’.

Indians subscribe to the credo, ‘atithi Devo bhava’, which means ‘the guest is no different from God.’ So where ever you go, you will always be greeted with a smile. Greeting people with a namaste (or namaskara, in the South) with folded hands is considered auspicious (namaste means, ‘I bow to the divine in you.’), so if you can, try to adopt it when you are in India.

Here is another tip exclusively for women. If you want to blend in, buy some salwar kameez (a two piece dress with a dupatta).