India, About India, Information about India
Information About India
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31 Days Rajasthan

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Social Behaviors in India

Use your right hand for giving, taking, eating or shaking hands as the left is considered to be unclean. Women do not shake hands with men, as this form of contact is not traditionally acceptable between acquaintances. Do not photograph women without permission.

The greeting when meeting or parting used universally among the Hindus across India is the palms joined together as in prayer, sometimes accompanied with the word Namaste (N and W) Namoshkar (E) and Vanakkam (S), translated as' l salute all divine qualities in you.' " Thank you" is often expressed by a smile and occasionally with somewhat formal Dhannyabad or Shukriya in the N and W and Dhonnyobad in the E and Nandri in the S.

 

Festivals, Festivals of India

Languages in India

In India you find one of the biggest variety of languages on earth. The number of spoken languages in India is said to be around 1650. There is also a huge number of different dialects some of them only spoken by a single tribe.
Even among Indians communication is not always easy while travelling in different states due to differences of the languages. Communication difficulties are managed by using English by a large number of people to manage day-to-day life while travelling.
Proficiency in English in India is considered to be an extra qualification for the jobs as well as in business.
By knowing English as a foreign guest you will definitely find your way without having complications while travelling through India !
About 72% of Indians speak Indo-Aryan languages, mainly Hindi (38 %), Bengali, Bihari, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Gujarati, Assami, Kaschmiri, Nepali and Urdu. About 25%, mainly South-Indian people, speak Drawida languages like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. The remaining 3% speak languages of Mongolian origin.
Official languages are Hindi (Devanagari type) and English. Additionally there are 14 regional languages (printed on every currency note) which are officially recognized. Sanskrit, which roots date more than 4000 years back, is the origin of most of today's spoken languages in India. Its prevalence as the language of the ruling and educated elite took influence on the development of other languages all over India. Sanskrit itself is no more spoken today although it is still recognized as one of the official languages in India.
For all those of you who would like to learn few words in Hindi we have compiled the following list of vocabulary.

English Terms Hindi Terms English Numbers Hindi Numbers
Greeting Namaste 1 ek
Yes Ha 2 do
No Nahi 3 tin
Water Pani 4 tschaar
Food Khana 5 pantsch
Rice chawal 6 tsche
Potato Alu 7 saat
Vegetable Sabschi 8 aath
Fish Machali 9 no
Spinach Palak 10 das
Cauliflower Gobi 11 gjaara
Bread Roti 12 baara
Butter Makkhan 13 tera
Salt Namak 14 tschoda
Coffee Coffee 15 pandra
Tea Tschai 16 sola
Milk Dudh 17 satra
Sugar Tschini 18 ataara
Cheap Sasta 19 unis
Expensive Mehanga 20 bis
Big Bada 30 tis
Small Chotha 40 tschaalis
Tired Thakan 50 patschas
Thirsty Pyasa 60 saath
Beautiful Sundar 70 satar
Today Aatsch 80 assih
Tomorrow Kal 90 nabbhe
Yesterday Parso 100 so
Day Din 200 do so
Hour Ghanta 1000 hassar
Medicine Dawai 10000 das hazar
Room Kamra 100000 ek lakh
Tidy Saaf    
Dirty Gandha    
Okay! Acha!    
Now Ab    
When? Kab?    
Do you understand? Samjhe Aap?    
I don't speak Hindi Mujhe Hindi bolni nahi aati hai.    
What is your name? Aapka kya naam hai?     
 

Religions in India :

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It is an almost impossible task to write down all there is to tell about "Religions in India". No other country on earth can prove as many religions and beliefs as this is the case in India. However, we from Indo Vacations try to give you as much information as possible on religions about all these, when you are on a visit to India with us. You will get to know as much as possible about Hindu deities and the caste system. We will also talk on Karma, Dharma and the wheel of reincarnation, cremation,    Mahabharata and Bhagavat Gita, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism and Islam, which are all a part of everyday life in India. We invite you to join Indo Vacations on a journey to know India, its people and religions.
In today's India we have 82 % Hindus, 11 % Muslims, 2.5 % Christians, 2 % Sikhs, 1 % Buddhists, O.5 % Others (Jains, Parses and Jews). Colourful, manifold Hinduism is one of the oldest religions of the world. Some aspects of modern Hinduism can be traced back more than 3000 years BC. There is no Hindu organisation, like a church, with the authority to define belief or establish official practice. In Hinduism no founder exists, no missionary work is done.
In Hinduism there is an enormous range of literature that is treated as sacred guide by the believers. Richly symbolic stories that are ranking around the great number of Hindu Gods are written down in Mahabharata, Bhagavat Gita, Ramayana etc.
Although it is impossible to tie down Hindu belief to a universally accepted creed, a number of ideas do run like a thread through intellectual and popular Hinduism.
The idea of Dharma represents the order inherent in human life. Dharma comprises social, ethical and spiritual customs, standing for the rights and duties according to the person's caste. Five patterns of behavior are generally essential: non-violence, attitude of equality, peace and tranquility, lack of aggression and cruelty, absence of envy.
Officially the caste system was officially abolished in 1947, when India was given independence. However, its presence is still felt today. The caste system is one of the most persistent features of Indian religious and social life. There are four castes:
  • Brahman (sacerdotal caste)
  • Kshatriya (military caste)
  • Vaishya (agricultural, commercial caste)
  • Shudra (menial caste)

Below all these we find the Pariahs - the outcasts, occupied with keeping toilets and streets clean, cremation of the dead etc.
To name all Hindu Gods is a rather difficult task. There are said to be more than three millions of Gods in Hindu belief, all representatives of different aspects of divinity.
Every Hindu God is unique and can be distinguished from the others either by its animal used for riding or by its symbols carried in hands.
Three Gods are widely seen as all-powerful, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Brahma is regarded as the ultimate source of creation. He possesses four heads, symbolizing his overall view of life. He rides on Hans, a wild goose. His companion is Sarasvati, Goddess of art and wisdom.
Vishnu, the preserver or protector of the universe, rests on a bed of snakes. In his hands he is holding a lotus, a disc, a club and a conch shell. He rides on Garuda, a creature part man and part eagle. His companion, Lakshmi, is Goddess of wealth and beauty.

 

Cuisine in India

 
Thanks to hundreds of Indian restaurants, which have mushroomed in the capitals of the world, Indian cuisine is no longer a mystery. The myth that surrounded Indian that it was all curry and nothing else is gradually vanishing.
So great is the variety of food in India that a visitor who has grown on the notion that it is the land of curry and rice is in for a surprise. Curry, to the Indian, is not the name of a dish. It encompasses a whole class of dishes. There are any numbers of curries, made with meat, fish, chicken, and vegetables and on occasions, fruits.

The only common factor is that they all contain freshly ground spices, including turmeric, and have 'gravy'. The combination of spices, often passed from mother to daughter or from one chef to his son, makes one curry totally different from other curries. There is no standard curry powder mixture. Every housewife has with her special mixture of spices. And the proportions vary from recipe to recipe.
It may be interesting to note that most of these spices have a medicinal value, which westerners, often with their antibiotic obsessions, tend to disregard. But an Indian cook knows which spice will have what effect on the digestive system and uses it accordingly.

The most commonly used spices and herbs in Indian cooking are asafetida, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric and aniseed. Let us examine their uses. Turmeric is used almost in every dish. It helps to preserve food and gives the dish a pleasant yellow natural colour. It has also digestive properties. Ginger is considered good for digestion and many people like it not only in their food but also eat it as a salad. Coriander seeds or beans are used in most Indian dishes. They are supposed to have a cooling effect on the body of a person who eats the food. Cardamoms are strong and sweet. They have a nice flavour. They are used in all dishes and in some curries too. They help in digestion. Saffron, the most expensive spice, can create a lot of effect and fragrance with a little quantity. To produce one pound of saffron, several thousand flowers are needed. It is grown in the valley of Kashmir and is used for its flavour. Mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, poppy and caraway seeds are also used in Indian dishes.

Masala is the name for a blend of many spices. It may be dry or in liquid paste. The chef decides what will go in the spice blend. Garam Masala is a blend of fragrant spices only. It can be prepared in advance and stored. Now, various blends of packed Garam Masala are available in stores. The packet tells you for what kind of dish it could be used. The Garam masalas are generally cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds, mace, coriander seeds, nutmeg, and black pepper.Here is a whole range of curry dishes from different parts of India, each having its own distinct flavour. For the purpose of convenience, we can broadly divide Indian food into four different regions-corresponding to Delhi for the North, Bombay for the West, and Madras for the South and Calcutta for the East. As will be seen, food habits have been formed over the years depending on the type of raw materials available in a region. In North India, there is abundance of meat, vegetables, almonds, dairy products, chillies and wheat. 

 

Therefore, we find people have a preference for wheat bread in the shape of Nan, Roti, Puri or Parathas. Contrary to the belief that North Indians are meat-eaters, a meat dish is only an additional dish while a vegetable curry and dal (lentil curry) are generally a must in a total meal served in an Indian home.Cooking media in the north is pure ghee (clarified butter) though it is now used sparingly due to its high price and its fattening potentiality. Other vegetable fats are now more commonly used as cooking media.

In the west and east rice is the staple diet. Fish is plentiful. So most dishes revolve round these raw materials. The south is predominantly has been developed over the centuries. There is so much of variety that a visitor is dazzled by the choice offered to him.
If the preparation of food is important to Indians, its presentation is no less significant. Traditionally, Indian food is served either on a well-washed large banana leaf or in a thali (a large plate made of brass, steel or silver). On it several katoris (small bowls) are placed to hold small helpings of each dish. A typical meal may consist of a meat or fish dish, two vegetable dishes, Dal, yoghurt and a sweet dish of Kheer or Halwa. Other accompaniments would be Pickles, Chutneys, Papads, etc. a small piece of lime may be placed in the thali to be used by the guest, if he so wishes.

Alcoholic Drinks in India

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Although many Indians shun alcohol, specially the women, the upper crust of society do enjoy alcoholic drink, which are a luxury for most Indians. Imported liquors like Scotch whisky are very much prized. But Indian-made whiskies, rums, and brandy are not far behind their western counterparts. These are also popular with foreign residents.
There are some 30 varieties of Indian beer available. Popular brands are Kingfisher, Hayward and rosy pelican. Indian beer is good. Alcoholic drinks and better must be bought from licensed shops. India does not produce high quality wines. Try them for their taste. Who knows you may like them?
Drinking in public is prohibited and is not desirable. You are welcome to drink in your hotel room or in the hotel bar if you want company. Some Indian states enforce prohibition-especially Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. But foreigners in hotels can get permit for drinking.

Electricity in India

India has the 220v, 50-cycle system of electricity. Most hotels can provide step-down transformers to enable you use your electrical appliances.

Telecommunication in India

Besides hotels, international telephone facilities exist in major post officers and markets. There are telephone booths for local and international calls in busy market areas all over the country. Telephoning from these places works out much cheaper that from your hotel room.
India has a direct dialing system linking over 190 countries of the world, including china. Within India, subscribers trunk dialing (std) is available for 1000 cities!
During your travel you will see big signs ISD/STD. You can call anywhere in the world from these booths.

Women Travel in India

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Foreign women tourists in their traditional and graceful attire are not an object of curiosity in India. They mix well with Indian women, especially the educated ones. But foreign women wearing revealing clothes may attract attention and perhaps cat call too from Indian Romeos! Just walk past, ignoring them. Any little indication of friendliness on the part of women can be misunderstood. Women traveling alone in Indian cities during the day and early evening are perfectly safe. But it can be risky for women traveling alone in late at nights, as in any other metropolitan city of the world. Crime against foreign women is virtually unknown in India.

Few golden rules for women traveling alone:
(a) Avoid men too eager to help.
(b) Avoid accepting lifts, which you have not asked for.
(c) Avoid asking a man for a lift. No harm when a female accompanies him.
(d) Avoid free and frank talk with strangers, especially on sex related matters.

 
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