Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion. Fodor's may use your e-mail address to send you relevant information on site updates, account changes, and offers. Sign up to receive free e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel and get information on must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion. You are now signed up to receive the latest and greatest travel guidance and information from Fodor's Travel. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions.
India+ is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Atheism+ and agnosticism+ have a long history in India and flourished within Srama?a movement+. The main schools of Indian philosophy were formalised chiefly between 1000 BCE to the early centuries of the Common Era+. In a 1966 study, Orenstein and Micklin analysed India's population data and family structure. Sinha, in his book, after summarising the numerous sociological studies done on Indian family, notes that over the last 60 years, the cultural trend in most parts of India has been an accelerated change from joint family to nuclear families, much like population trends in other parts of the world.
Youth in lower socio-economic classes are more inclined to spend time with their families than their peers due to differing ideologies in rural and urban parenting. Recent studies suggest that Indian culture is trending away from traditional arranged marriages.
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, as well as their preferences., Amy Yee, The Financial Times, May 17, 2008 The nation celebrates about 10 million weddings per year, of which over 80% are Hindu wedding+s. Indian Muslims celebrate a traditional Islamic wedding+ following customs similar to those practiced in the Middle East. Other greetings include ''"Jai Jagannath"'' in Odia+ Language, ''"Ami Aschi"'' (in Bengali+),''"Jai Shri Krishna"'' (in Gujarati+), ''"Ram Ram"'', and ''Sat Sri Akal+'' (Punjabi+, used by followers of Sikhism+), ''Jai Jinendra+'', a common greeting used across the Jain community+, "Jai Bhim" used by Buddhist Converts in Maharashtra+ after B. These traditional forms of greeting may be absent in the world of business and in India's urban environment, where the handshake is a common form of greeting. India, being a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. Indian New year festival are celebrated in different part of India with unique style in different times.
Islam in India+ is the second largest religion with over 172 million Muslims, according to India's 2011 census. The varied and rich wildlife of India+ has had a profound impact on the region's popular culture. In Hinduism, the cow is regarded as a symbol of ''ahimsa+'' (non-violence), mother goddess+ and bringer of good fortune and wealth. Indian cuisine+ is diverse, ranging from very spicy to very mild, varying with seasons in each region.
According to Sanjeev Kapoor+, a member of Singapore Airlines' International Culinary Panel, Indian food has long been an expression of world cuisine. In public and religious places, Indian dress etiquette discourages exposure of skin and wearing transparent or tight clothes.
India's clothing styles have continuously evolved over the course of the country's history.
During the British Raj+, India's large clothing and handicrafts industry was left paralysed so as to make place for British industrial cloth. The Rigvedic+ Sanskrit+ is one of the oldest attestations of any Indo-Aryan language+, and one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family+. The evolution of language within India may be distinguished over three periods: old, middle and modern Indo-Aryan. Hindi+ is mutually intelligible with Urdu+, both languages being standardised registers of Hindustani+. Tamil+, one of India's major classical language, descends from Proto-Dravidian+ languages spoken around the third millennium BCE in peninsular India. Telugu+, one of India's major classical language, descends from South-Central Dravidian language spoken around the third millennium BCE in all over south India.
Another major Classical Dravidian language, Kannada+ is attested epigraphically from the mid-1st millennium AD, and literary Old Kannada+ flourished in the 9th- to 10th-century Rashtrakuta Dynasty+.
Odia+ is India's 6th classical language in addition to Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. In addition to Indo-European and Dravidian languages, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman languages are in use in India. According to the 2001 and 2011 India census, Hindi is the most spoken language in India, followed by Bengali+, Telugu, Marathi+, Tamil and Urdu+. The Indian art of dance as taught in these ancient books, according to Ragini Devi, is the expression of inner beauty and the divine in man. Indian dance+ includes eight classical dance forms, many in narrative forms with mythological+ elements.
Whether you are a music fan and want to volunteer at a concert or festival or a food lover who wants to table at a local farmers' market, Oxfam makes it easy for you to take meaningful action to change the world. With the power of many voices speaking together, we can call on companies and legislators to change the laws and practices that keep people in poverty. First Person blog9 inspiring quotes that will make you want to get out there and volunteerJanuary 16, 2015We asked Oxfam volunteers what motivates them. Host an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet in your community or on your campus and change the way people think about poverty and hunger. Make sure your gift to Oxfam America goes directly to where it's most needed, without delay, with a secure online donation.
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice.
Throughout the country, as leaves change colors and the temperatures drop, farmers prepare for fall harvest and its bounty of apples, pumpkins, grapes corn, pecans, and cranberries. A Taste of Culture is a unique shop located on Mass Avenue and owned by a native Peruvian woman who travels the world in search of distinct treasures to stock her shelves with. Harvard Square restaurants provide hungry clients with savory menus and a flood of dining options. For more information about your privacy and protection, please review our full Privacy Policy.
Across the country, farms are celebrating the season with family-friendly festivals where you'll find all the pumpkins, freshly baked desserts, and hayrides you could ever wish for. India's languages+, religions+, dance+, music+ differs from others as for a different type of dance has its own music, architecture+, food+, and customs differs from place to place within the country. The Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several various cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent+ and has been influenced and shaped by a history that is several thousand years old. There are six schools of orthodox Hindu philosophy+—Nyaya+, Vaisheshika+, Samkhya+, Yoga+, Mima?sa+ and Vedanta+—and four heterodox+ schools—Jain+, Buddhist+, Ajivika+ and Carvaka+ – last two are also schools of Hinduism. According to philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan+, the earliest of these, which date back to the composition of the Upanishads+ in the later Vedic period (1000–500 BCE)+, constitute "the earliest philosophical compositions of the world." Competition and integration between the various schools was intense during their formative years, especially between 800 BCE and 200 CE. It is a system under which extended members of a family – parents, children, the children's spouses and their offspring, etc.
Their studies suggest that Indian household sizes had remained similar over the 1911 to 1951 period. The traditional large joint family in India, in the 1990s, accounted for a small percent of Indian households, and on average had lower per capita household income. Even today, the majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members. Traditionally, the dowry was considered a woman's share of the family wealth, since a daughter had no legal claim on her natal family's real estate. Lochtefeld (2001), ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8, Page 427 Typical Hindu families spend significant effort and financial resources to prepare and celebrate weddings. All these are common spoken greetings or salutations when people meet, and are forms of farewell when they depart. The three national holidays in India+, the Independence Day+, the Republic Day+ and the Gandhi Jayanti+, are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India. Ugadi+, Bihu+, Gudhi Padwa+, Puthandu+, Vishu+ and Vishuva Sankranti+ are the New years festival of different part of India. Notable examples include Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and ''Buddh Purnima+'', celebrated by Buddhists. The Islamic festivals which are observed and are declared public holiday in India are; Eid ul Fitr+, Eid ul Adha+-(Bakr Eid), Milad un Nabi+, Muharram+ and Shab-e-Barat+.
With over 23 million Christians, of which 17 million are Roman Catholics, India is home to many Christian festivals. For example, Pushkar fair is one of the world's largest markets and Sonepur mela is the largest livestock fair in Asia.

Common name for wilderness in India is Jungle+ which was adopted by the British colonialists+ to the English language. For this reason, cows are revered in Hindu culture and feeding a cow is seen as an act of worship. Several states of India have passed laws to protect cows, while many states have no restrictions on the production and consumption of beef. These reflect the local agriculture+, regional climate+, culinary innovations and cultural diversity. Chang notes that the importance of food in understanding human culture lies in its infinite variability - a variability that is not essential for species survival. Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients, deploy a wide range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and culinary presentation. Kapoor claims, "if you looked back in India's history and study the food that our ancestors ate, you will notice how much attention was paid to the planning and cooking of a meal. Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the local produce, cultural diversity, and varied demographics+ of the country. Varied uses of spices are an integral part of certain food preparations, and are used to enhance the flavour of a dish and create unique flavours and aromas. In most Indian restaurants outside India, the menu does not do justice to the enormous variety of Indian cuisine available - the most common cuisine served on the menu would be Punjabi cuisine+ (chicken tikka masala+ is a very popular dish in the United Kingdom). A fusion of East Asian and Western cooking methods with traditional cuisines, along with regional adaptations of fast food are prominent in major Indian cities. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari+ for women and dhoti+ or lungi+ or panche (in Kannada) for men. The 11th-century BCE ''Rig-veda+'' mentions dyed and embroidered garments (known as ''paridhan'' and ''pesas'' respectively) and thus highlights the development of sophisticated garment manufacturing techniques during this period. Consequently, Indian independence movement leader Mahatma Gandhi+ successfully advocated for what he termed as ''khadi+ clothing'' — light coloured hand-woven clothes — so as to decrease the reliance of the Indian people on British industrial goods. The discovery of Sanskrit by early European explorers of India led to the development of comparative Philology. The classical form of old Indo-Aryan was ''sanskrit'' meaning polished, cultivated and correct, in distinction to ''Prakrit'' - the practical language of the migrating masses evolving without concern to proper pronunciation or grammar, the structure of language changing as those masses mingled, settled new lands and adopted words from people of other native languages. Hindi+, India's most spoken language, is a "Sanskritised register" of the Khariboli dialect+. Early inscriptions date from 620 AD and literary texts from the 11th century, written in a Telugu script adapted from the Bhattiprolu script of the early inscriptions.
Genomic studies of ethnic groups in India suggests the Austro-Asiatic tribals were likely the earliest settlers in India. In contemporary Indian literature, there are two major literary awards; these are the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship+ and the Jnanpith Award+.
Versions have been adopted as the epics of Southeast Asian countries like Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
It is a deliberate art, nothing is left to chance, each gesture seeks to communicate the ideas, each facial expression the emotions.
We can respond when crises strike, and inspire action on some of the world's most urgent issues. You'll get to meet fellow music fans and team up with Oxfam-supporting artists like Coldplay, Ra Ra Riot, Radiohead, Cat Power, Flogging Molly, and more. Meanwhile, day-trippers pack up their cars make their way to celebratory harvest festivals where the attractions include wandering through corn mazes, participating in baking competitions, and picking pumpkins.
This settlement in Harvard Square history was intended by the Proprietors of Massachusetts Bay Colony to be their capital. After some well spent shopping time, pop into a great restaurant such as Casablanca on Brattle Street. Get ready to layer up, lace up your boots, and make a trip to one of Americas’ best pumpkin festivals. Throughout the history of India, Indian culture has been heavily influenced by Dharmic+ religions.Nikki Stafford , ECW Press, 2006 ISBN 1-55022-743-2 p. Many tribal religions+, such as Sarnaism+, are found in India, though these have been affected by major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. Some schools like Jainism, Buddhism, Saiva and Advaita Vedanta+ survived, but others, like Samkhya+ and Ajivika+, did not; they were either assimilated or went extinct.
Thereafter, with urbanisation and economic development, India has witnessed a break up of traditional joint family into more nuclear-like families. He finds that joint family still persists in some areas and in certain conditions, in part due to cultural traditions and in part due to practical factors.
It also typically included portable valuables such as jewelery and household goods that a bride could control throughout her life.
The rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary depending on region of India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the groom. In addition, many Indian states+ and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Sikh Festivals, such as ''Guru Nanak Jayanti+'', ''Baisakhi'' are celebrated with full fanfare by Sikhs and Hindu. Some of the Indian states have declared regional holiday's for the particular regional popular festivals; such as Arba'een+, Jumu'ah-tul-Wida+ and Shab-e-Qadar+. Some groups oppose the butchering of cows, while other Indian groups are vehement that what kind of meat one eats ought to be a matter of personal choice in a democracy.
Food in India is sometimes served in thali+ - a plate with rice, bread and a selection of sides. From salads to sauces, from vegetarian to meat, from spices to sensuous, from breads to desserts, Indian cuisine is invariably complex. Great thought was given to the texture and taste of each dish." One such historical record is , The Delight of Mind), written in the 12th century. Generally, Indian cuisine can be split into five categories - northern+, southern+, eastern, western, and north-eastern. Cuisine across India has also been influenced by various cultural groups that entered India throughout history, such as the Central Asia+ns, Arabs+, Mughals+, and European colonists+. There do exist some restaurants serving cuisines from other regions of India, although these are few and far between. Stitched clothes are also popular such as churidar+ or ''salwar-kameez'' for women, with ''dupatta'' (long scarf) thrown over shoulder completing the outfit.
On special occasions, such as marriage ceremonies and festivals, women may wear cheerful colours with various ornaments made with gold, silver or other regional stones and gems.
Traditionally, the red bindi was worn only by married Hindu women, and coloured bindi was worn by single women, but now all colours and glitter has become a part of women's fashion. In 5th century BCE, Greek historian Herodotus+ describes the richness of the quality of Indian cotton clothes.
The 1980s were marked by a widespread modification to Indian clothing fashions which was characterised by a large-scale growth of fashion schools in India, increasing involvement of women in the fashion industry and changing Indian attitudes towards multiculturalism.
The scholars of the 18th century were struck by the far reaching similarity of Sanskrit, both in grammar and vocabulary, to the classical languages of Europe. In addition, all modern Indo-Aryan languages, Munda languages+ and Dravidian languages+, have borrowed many words either directly from Sanskrit (''tatsama+'' words), or indirectly via middle Indo-Aryan languages (''tadbhava+'' words). The main difference between the two is that Hindi is generally written in the Devanagari+ script, whilst Urdu is written in Nastaliq+, but, when spoken colloquially, both are mutually intelligible. Oriya's importance to Indian culture, from ancient times, is evidenced by its presence in Ashoka's Rock Edict X at Kalsi palitiditu (Dhauli, Jaugada palitiditu), dated to be from 2nd century BC. India's language and cultural fusion is not only because of large migrations of Indo-Aryans from central Asia and west Eurasia through the northwest, the genome studies suggest a major wave of humans possibly entered India, long ago, through the northeast, along with tribal populations of Tibeto-Burman origins. Eight Jnanpith awards have been awarded in Kannada, six in Hindi, five in Bengali+, four in Odia+ and Malayalam+, three each in Marathi, Gujarati+, Urdu+ and Telugu and two each in Assamese+, and Tamil.
The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (''''), and tells the story of Rama (an incarnation or Avatar+ of the Hindu preserver-god Vishnu+), whose wife Sita+ is abducted by the demon+ king of Lanka+, Ravana+.
Some of the best festivals even feature live music, wine and beer tastings, and their very own parades.
In current day Harvard Square still possesses buildings and landscape attributes from almost every course of its ongoing development. The Tannery is a Harvard Square shopping hotspot offering apparel, accessories and fine shoes to shoppers.
The menu features are all carefully made to your liking and the restaurant's walls are adorned with hand painted murals. 174 They have been credited with shaping much of Indian philosophy+, literature+, architecture+, art+ and music+. Jainism, Zoroastrianism+, Judaism+, and the Baha'i Faith+ are also influential but their numbers are smaller. Subsequent centuries produced commentaries and reformulations continuing up to as late as the 20th century.
The average age of marriage for women in India has increased to 21 years, according to 2011 Census of India.

Historically, in most families the inheritance of family estates passed down the male line.
They find that the marriage trends in India are similar to trends observed over last 40 years in China, Japan and other nations. Nevertheless, there are a few key rituals+ common in Hindu wedding+s - ''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. Namaskar is commonly used in India and Nepal+ by Hindus+, Jains and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent+. Popular religious festivals include the Hindu festivals of ''Navratri+'', ''Diwali+'', ''Maha Shivratri+'', ''Ganesh Chaturthi+'', ''Durga Puja+'', ''Holi+'', ''Ratha-Yatra+'', ''Ugadi+'', ''Rakshabandhan+'', and ''Dussehra+''. Adding colours to the culture of India, the Dree Festival+ is one of the tribal festivals of India celebrated by the Apatanis of the Ziro valley of Arunachal Pradesh+, which is the easternmost state of India.
India's wildlife has been the subject of numerous other tales and fables such as the ''Panchatantra+'' and the ''Jataka tales+''. Madhya Pradesh+ enacted a law in January 2012, namely the Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Act, which makes cow slaughter a serious offence. But human cultures, over the ages, experiment, innovate and develop sophisticated cuisines. The book describes the need to change cuisine and food with seasons, various methods of cooking, the best blend of flavours, the feel of various foods, planning and style of dining amongst other things. The diversity of Indian cuisine is characterised by differing use of many spices+ and herbs, a wide assortment of recipes and cooking techniques. Some women wear sindoor+ - a traditional red or orange-red powder (vermilion) in the parting of their hair (locally called ''mang''). By the 2nd century AD, muslin+s manufactured in southern India were imported by the Roman Empire+ and silk cloth was one of the major exports of ancient India along with Indian spices+. These developments played a pivotal role in the fusion of Indian and Western clothing styles. Intensive scientific studies that followed have established that Sanskrit and many Indian derivative languages belong to the family which includes English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Celtic, Greek, Baltic, Armenian, Persian, Tocharian and other Indo-European languages.
It is ''Apabhramsa'', scholars claim, that flowered into Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi and many other languages now in use in India's north, east and west. Words originating in Sanskrit are estimated to constitute roughly fifty percent of the vocabulary of modern Indo-Aryan languages,, and the literary forms of (Dravidian) Telugu+, Malayalam+ and Kannada+.
Mutual intelligibility decreases, however, in specialised contexts where Urdu has borrowed words from Persian and Arabic, whilst Hindi has done so from Sanskrit and English. Genome studies of Fst+ distances suggest the northeastern Himalayas acted as a barrier, in the last 5000 years, to human migration as well as to admixing. This epic played a pivotal role in establishing the role of dharma+ as a principal ideal guiding force for Hindu way of life. Harvard Square exhibits a rich combination of architecture and historical sites in a charismatic community and commercial backdrop. Harvard Square shopping is best done by wandering the square area and popping in to stores that pique your interest.
Upstairs on the Square on Winthrop Street is among the more notable of Harvard Square restaurants and celebrates gratuitous New England ingredients within their fresh and tasty menu.
Greater India+ was the historical extent of Indian culture beyond the Indian subcontinent+. Atheism+ and agnostics+ also have visible influence in India, along with a self-ascribed tolerance to other faiths. Authors who gave contemporary meaning to traditional philosophies include Swami Vivekananda+, Ram Mohan Roy+, and Swami Dayananda Saraswati+.
He mostly makes all important decisions and rules, and other family members are likely abide by them.
Since 1956, Indian laws treat males and females as equal in matters of inheritance without a legal will. The study found that fewer marriages are purely arranged without consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with consent. In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication. Several harvest festival+s such as ''Sankranthi+'', ''Pongal+'' and ''Raja sankaranti swinging festival+'' "Nuakhai+" are also fairly popular.
Gujarat, a western state of India, has the Animal Preservation Act, enacted in October 2011, that prohibits killing of cows along with buying, selling and transport of beef. Cuisines become more than a source of nutrients, they reflect human knowledge, culture, art and expression of love. Though a significant portion of Indian food is vegetarian+, many traditional Indian dishes also include chicken, goat, beef, buffalo, lamb, fish, and other meats. The spice trade+ between India and Europe led to the rise and dominance of Arab traders to such an extent that European explorers, such as Vasco da Gama+ and Christopher Columbus+, set out to find new trade routes with India leading to the ''Age of Discovery+''.
For men, stitched versions include kurta+-pyjama+ and European-style trousers and shirts for men.
Stitched clothing in India was developed before the 10th century CE and was further popularised in the 15th century by Muslim empires in India.
All of these Indian languages have roots and structure similar to Sanskrit, to each other and to other Indo-European languages. Tamil+, although to a slightly smaller extent, has also been significantly influenced by Sanskrit. There are a combination modern and stylish shops as well as more classic stores for shopping. Om restaurant, also on Winthrop Street, has acclaimed classic and unique dishes ranging from Steak Tartar and Pan Roasted Halibut to Soft Shell Crab and Lamb Sirloin. Indians are increasingly using a legal will for inheritance and property succession, with about 20 percent using a legal will by 2004. The percentage of self-arranged marriages (called love marriages in India) were also increasing, particularly in the urban parts of India. Prabhu (2011), ''Hindu Social Organization'', ISBN 978-81-7154-206-2, see pages 164–165 Sikhs get married through a ceremony called Anand Karaj. However, the same hands folded gesture may be made wordlessly, or said without the folded hand gesture. In contrast, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh allow butchering of cattle with a fit-for-slaughter certificate. The popularity of ''curry+'', which originated in India, across Asia has often led to the dish being labeled as the "pan-Asian" dish.
In urban centres, people can often be seen in jeans, trousers, shirts, suits, kurtas and variety of other fashions. Draped clothing styles remained popular with India's Hindu population while the Muslims increasingly adopted tailored garments. Thus we have in India three thousand years of continuous linguistic history recorded and preserved in literary documents.
Part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages+, the Bengali language+ arose from the eastern Middle Indic languages+ and its roots are traced to the 5th-century BCE Ardhamagadhi+ language. Whichever of the Harvard Square restaurants you choose to dine at ensure that you make a reservation to avoid the disappointment of missing out on a restaurant you really want to try. This enables scholars to follow language evolution and observe how, by changes hardly noticeable from generation to generation, an original language alters into descendant languages that are now barely recognisable as the same.
Contrary to stereotypes, a sizeable number of Hindus eat beef, and many argue that their scriptures, such as vedic texts, do not prohibit its consumption.
Pre-Modern literature – AD 1800 to 1900" and the earliest epigraphic+ records found date from around the 3rd century BCE. Other regional variations of these, as well as unrelated epics include the Tamil Ramavataram+, Kannada ''Pampa Bharata'', Hindi ''Ramacharitamanasa+'', and Malayalam ''Adhyathmaramayanam+''.
In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in you." In most Indian families, younger men and women are taught to seek the blessing of their elders by reverentially bowing to their elders.
In southern Indian state Kerala, for instance, beef accounts for nearly half of all meat consumed by all communities, including Hindus.
In addition to these two great Indian epics, there are five major epics in the classical Tamil language+ — ''Silappatikaram+'', ''Manimekalai+'', ''Civaka-cintamani+'' and Valayapathi-kundalakesi. Sociologists theorise that the widespread consumption of cow meat in India is because it is a far cheaper source of animal protein for the poor than lamb or chicken, which retail at double the price. For these reasons, India's beef consumption post-independence in 1947 has witnessed a much faster growth than any other kind of meat; currently, India is one of the five largest producer and consumer of cattle livestock meat in the world.

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