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India's culture is fascinating, with nine religions, ancient temples, rural India, the sacred Ganges and of course, the wonderful cuisine.
A visit to India is an explosion on the senses. The sights, such as cows ambling freely on the streets and beaches, the rituals of worshippers praying to their particular god and the hustle and bustle of daily live in the cities reveal a unique and fascinating culture. The welcome you receive throughout India is one of friendship and politeness and beyond the big cities is rural India, towns and villages that have changed little for centuries.
About 80% of Indians are Hindu, believing the in the uncreated and infinite Brahman who has main representatives (or gods) Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These gods are worshipped throughout the country, at temples such as the Laxminarayan Temple in Delhi or the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple in Gujarat. The number 7 has special significance in Hinduism; there are 7 sacred cities and 7 sacred rivers, the most famous being the Ganges. At Varanasi, pilgrims come in their thousands to pay homage to Shiva. They bath in the sacred waters to wash away their sins. Islam is worshipped by about 14% of Indians, the next most popular religion; there are many wonderful temples such as Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. There is also the christian legacy from the colonial era, with European churches, such as St Francis Church in Kochi.
Indian culture is of course changing, with modern cities such as Bangalore and Hyderabad centres of IT industries. But you will still see cricket, a national passion, played by boys on the streets, tuk tuk buzz everywhere and the streets a full of stalls offering every spice you can think of. During your stay, a visit to rural India is very rewarding. Sleepy villages await, with many different peoples and tribes. In Rajasthan, you can meet villagers at the Dera Dune Resort or the Dera Village Resort. Or take a slow boat on the Ganges, with excursions to off the beaten track villages.
Mumbai is the centre of the Bollywood film industry, full of glitz and glamour. More traditional dance can be observed in Kerala with the Kathakali dancers and in rural India dance is a part of the evening entertainment.
India - a cultural delight.
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