ART AND CULTURE OF INDIA

ART AND CULTURE OF INDIA

RELIGION

Religion is a collection of belief systems,

cultural systems and world views that relate

humanity to spirituality and sometimes to

moral values. Religion is different from private

belief in its social character.

Hinduism

● It consists of a collection of intellectual and

philosophical points of views, rather than a

rigid system of beliefs.

● There is no specific founder of the religion.

● Its roots can be traced to the historical Vedic

religion of the Iron age India.

● Hinduism is the third largest religion in the

world after Christianity and Islam.

● Prominent texts are Vedas, the Ramayana

and Mahabharata.

Christianity

● This religion was founded by Jesus Christ.

He was born to Mother Mary and Joseph in

Bethlehem near Jerusalem. His birth day

(25th December) is celebrated as the holy

festival, Christmas.

● His first two disciple, Andrews and Peter,

were hanged in AD 33 by the Roman

Governor Portius.

● Bible is the holy book of Christians and the

sign of ‘Cross’ is their holy symbol.

Islam

● Hazrat Muhammad Saheb founded the

Islamic religion. He was born to Amina

(mother) and Abdullah (father) at Mecca in

AD 570.

● He was married to Khajida (a widow) at the

age of 25 yrs. His daugher, Fatima, was

married to Ali Hussain.

● Hazrat Muhammad attained supreme

knowledge or enlightment in AD 610 in the

Hira Cave near Mecca. His teachings are

compiled in the Holy Kuran.

● 24th September (AD 622), the day Hazrat

Muhammad started his journey from Mecca

to Medina marks the beginning of the Hijri

Era.

● He died on 8th June, AD 623 and was

buried at Medina.

● After his death, Islam divided into the

Shia and the Sunni cults. His

successors were known as Khalifa.

● The Turkish ruler, Mushtafa Kamal

Pasha, ended the designation of

Khalifa.

● The birthday of Muhammad Saheb is

celebrated as Eid-mild-un-Nabi.

Zoroastrianism (Parsi)

Parsi religion was founded by Prophet

Zoroaster (Zarathustra).

His teachings are compiled in the

holybook-Zend Avesta. His followers

believed in one God-Ahur.

Sikhism

● Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism.

● Guru Granth Sahib is the Holy book

of Sikhism. Sikhism is the third

largest religion of India.

● Sikhism developed in India during

16th and 17th centuries.

Buddhism

● Mahatma Buddha is the founder of

Buddhism.Buddhism is the

indigenous religion of India.

● Holy book of Buddhism are the

Tripitakas.

● The three Jewels of Buddhism are

Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

● Buddhists generally classify

themselves as either Theravada or

Mahayana.

Jainism

● Mahavira Swami is the founder of

Jainism.

● Jainism is a religion indigenous to the

Indian subcontinent.

● Holy book of Jainism is the Kalpa

Sutras.

● The main doctrines of Jainism are

Anekantavada, Syadvada and

Nayavada. The two sects of Jainism

are Svetambara and Digambara.

Jaina holy texts consist of Purvas,

Agamas, Angas and Upangas.

LANGUAGES

Sanskrit

● Sanskrit is the mother of many Indian

languages.

● The Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and

Dharmasutras are all written in Sanskrit.

● It is one of the twenty-two languages listed

in the Indian Constitution.

● The Dharmasutras, the Manusmriti,

Arthashastra and Gita Govinda are the

famous books in Sanskrit.

● Panini, Kautilya, Kalhana and Jayadeva

are the famous writers of Sanskrit.

Pali

Pali is an Indo-Aryan language, which was

used for the earliest Buddhist scriptures.

Pali literature is mainly concerned with

Theravada Buddhism.

Telugu

● The Vijyanagara period was the golden age

of Telugu literature.

● Eight Telugu literary luminaries are

popularly known as Ashtadiggajas.

● Ramakrishna was the author

of Panduranga Mahatmayam, which was

considered as one of the greatest poetical

works of Telugu literature.

Kannada

● Kannada language developed fully after

the AD 10th century. The earliest known

literary work in Kannada is Kavirajamarg,

written by the Rashtrakuta King

Nripatunga Amoghavargha I.

● Pampa, known as the father of Kannada,

wrote his great poetic works Adi Purana and

Vikramarjiva Vijaya in the AD 10th century.

Malayalam

● The language of Malayalam emerged

around the AD 11th century. By 15th

century, Malayalam was recognised as an

independent language.

● Bhasa Kautilya, a commentary on

Arthashastra and Kokashndisam are two

great works.

● Rama Panikkar and Ramanujan

Ezhuthachan are well known authors of

Malayalam literature.

Tamil

● Tamil is the mother language of the

Dravidian language family.

● The Sangam literature is a collection of

long and short poems composed by

various poets in praise of numerous

heroes and heroines.

● There are about 30000 lines of poetry,

which are arranged in eight anthologies

called Ettuttokai.

Persian and Urdu

● Urdu emerged as an independent

language towards the end of the AD 4th

century.

● Urdu as a language was born out of the

interaction between Hindi and Persian.

● Urdu became more popular in the early

18th century.

● The earliest Urdu poet is supposed to

be Khusrau.

● Urdu has given us a new form of poem,

that is called a nazm.

Hindi

● Hindi is a direct descendant of the

Sanskrit language, through Prakrit and

Apabhramsha.

● It is spoken largely in North India.

● Evolution of Hindi literature can be

better understood through four stages

of Adi Kal, Bhakti Kal, Riti-kavya Kal

and Adhunik kal.

LITERATURE

Bengali Literature

● Raja Ram Mohan Roy wrote in Bengali

besides English, which gave an impetus

to Bengali literature.

● Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar

(1820-91) and Akshay Kumar Dutta

(1820-86) were the two other writers of

this early period.

● Sharat Chandra Chatterji (1876-1938)

and RC Dutta, a noted historian and a

prose writer, too contributed to the

making of Bengali literature.

● But the most important name that

influenced the whole of India was that

of Rabindra Nath Tagore (1861-1941).

Novels, dramas, short stories, criticism,music and essays, all flowed from his

pen. He won the Nobel Prize for

literature in 1913 for his Geetanjali.

Assamese Literature

● Like Bengali, Assamese also developed in

response to the Bhakti movement.

● Shankaradeva, who introduced

Vaishnavism in Assam helped in the

growth of Assamese poetry. Even the

Puranas were translated in Assamese.

● The earliest Assamese literature

consisted of buranjis (court chronicles).

Shankaradeva has left several devotional

poems, which people sang with

rapturous pleasure, but it was only after

1827 that more interest was shown in

producing Assamese literature.

Oriya Literature

● Oriya language shows the maximum

influence of Sanskrit. It originated in

the AD 9th century and its literary

development took place in the 13th

century.

● Worth mentioning in Oriya literature are

Fakirmohan Senapati and Radha Nath

Ray, whose writings deserve considerable

attention in the history of Oriya

literature.

● The works of Upendra Bhanja

(1670-1720) were important as they

ushered a new period of Oriya literature.

In Odisha, the works of Saraladasa are

regarded as the first works of Oriya

literature.

Punjabi Literature

● Punjabi is a language with several

shades. It is being written in two scripts,

Gurumukhi and Persian.

● Guru Nanak was the first poet in

Punjabi. Some other contemporary

poets, mostly Sufi saints, used to sing in

this language.

● Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru, was

educated in Patna (Bihar), where he

learnt Persian and Sanskrit.

● He has composed two savaiyyas in

Punjabi, but these are not a part of the

Adi Granth. Similar is the popularity of

Bulley Shah, who was a Sufi saint. He

has composed a large number of songs.

Indian Literature in English

Language

● English came into India with the British

and soon became a language of formal

education. Some of the early Indian

works in English were written by Raja

Rammohan Roy, Henry Vivian Derozio

and Madhusudan Dutt. Aurobindo

Ghosh wrote his epic poem ‘Savitri: A

Legend and a Symbol’ in English.

● India’s only Nobel laureate in literature

Rabindranath Tagore wrote some of his

work originally in English and did some

of his own English translation from

Bengali. Sarojini Naidu and Jawaharlal

Nehru also wrote in English. Nehru’s

‘The Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of

World History’ are quite popular.

● Some notable Indian poets, who write in

English are Nissim Ezekiel, Dom

Moraes, Arun Kolakar and Dilip Chitre.

Other notable Indian writers are

Khushwant Singh, Salman Rushdie,

Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Kamala

Markandaya, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa

Lahiri etc.

MUSIC

The music of India is said to be one of the

oldest unbroken musical traditions in the

World.

Many different legends have grown up

concerning the origin and development of

Indian classical music.

Hindustani Music

Classical Music

● Hindustani classical music originated in

North India around the 13th and 14th

centuries. In contrast to Carnatic music,

the Hindustani classical music was not

only influenced by ancient Hindu

musical traditions and Vedic philosophy,

but also by the Persian elements.

● Hindustani music is based on the Raga

system. The Raga is a melodic scale,

comprising of notes from the basic seven

– Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni.

● On the basis of notes included in it, each

raga attains a different character. The

form of the raga is also determined by the particular pattern of ascent and

descent of the notes, which may not be

strictly linear.

● Hindustani classical music is primarily

vocal-centric. The major vocal forms

associated with Hindustani classical

music are the khayal, ghazal, dhrupad,

Tappa, tarana and thumri.

Khayal

It is a form of vocal music adopted from

medieval Persian music. It is based on

imagination and improvisations of the

performer.

Dhrupad

It is the oldest form of Hindustani music,

traditionally performed by male singers. It is

mostly a poetic form. Tansen Sang in

dhrupad style.

Tappa

It is developed in 18th century from the folk

songs of camel riders of Punjab. They are

essentially folklore of love and passion and

written in Punjabi. Developed as a form of

classical music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori.

Tarana

It is a medium to fast paced song usually

performed towards the end of the concert. It

consists of a few lines of poetry with

rhythmic syllables.

Thumri

It is an informal vocal form of Hindustani

classical music and is said to have begun

with the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the

Nawab of Oudh.

Ghazal

It is a poetic form consisting of rhyming

couplets on love and devotion.

It is an ancient form originating in 6th

century Arabic poetry. It spread into South

Asia in the 12th century, due to the influence

of Sufi mystics.

Gharana

There is a rich tradition of Gharanas in

classical Hindustani music. These schools

or Gharanas have their basis in the

traditional mode of musical training and

education. Every Gharana has its own

distinct features.

Gwalior Gharana

This is the oldest among all the Khayal

Gayaki (vocal) styles. Its distinctive

feature is its lucidity and simplicity. It is

founded by Hassu Khan and Nathu Khan.

Agra Gharana

The Agra Gharana places great

importance on developing forcefulness

and deepness in the voice, so that the

notes are powerful and resonant founded

by Haji Sujan Khan.

Kirana Gharana

It derives its name from the birth-place of

Abdul Kharim Khan of Kirana near

Kurukshetra. In the Kirana style of

singing, the swara is used to create an

emotional mood by means of elongation

and use of Kana-s.

Rampur Sahaswan Gharana

In Rampur Sahaswan Gharana, there is a

stress on the clarity of swara and the

development and elaboration of the raga

is done through a stepwise progression.

Founded by Inayat Khan.

Patiala Gharana

Founded by Inayat Khan. Regarded as an

off-shoot of the Delhi Gharana, the

Patiala Gharana is characterised by the

use of greater rhythm play and by

Layakari with the abundant use of Bols,

particularly Bol tans founded by ustad

Fateh Ali Khan.

Delhi Gharana

The Delhi Gharana was represented by

Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The

highlights of Delhi Gharana are pleasing

vistaar and exquisite compositions.

Founded by Ustad Mamman Khan.

Banaras Gharana

The Banaras Gharana evolved as a result

of great tilting style of khayal singing

known by Thumri singers of Banaras and

Gaya. Founded by Pt. Gopal Mishra.

Mewati Gharana

The Mewati Gharana gives importance to

developing the mood of the raga through

the notes forming it and its style is Bhava

Pradhan. It also gives equal importance

to the meaning of the text.

Instruments Instrumentalists

Stringed Instruments

1. Rudra Veena Asad Ali Khan, Zia Moin-ud-din Dagar

2. Santoor Shiv Kumar Sharma,

3. Sarod Buddhadev Dasgupta, Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali khan, Bahadur Khan,

Sharan Rani, Zarin S Sharma

4. Sarangi Ustad Binda Khan

5. Sitar Ravi Shankar, Hara Shankar Bhattacharya, Nikhil, Banerjee, Vilayat Khan,

Mustaq Ali Khan

6. Surb Ahar Sajjad Hussain, Annapurna

7. Veena Doraiswamy Iyengar, Chittibabu, Emani Sankara Shastri, Dhanammal, S

Bala Chandran, KR Kumaraswamy

8. Violin Gajanan Rao Joshi, MS Gopal Krishnan, TN Krishnan, Baluswamy,

Dikshitar, Dwaran Venkataswamy Naidu Lalyuli G Jayaraman, Mysore T

Chowdiah, VG Jog

Wind Instruments

9. Flute TR Mahalingam, N Ramani, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pannalal Ghosh

10. Nadaswaran Sheikh Chinna Moula, Neeruswamy Pillai, Rajaratanam Pillai

11. Shehnai Bismillah Khan

Percussion (Striking Thumping) Instruments

12. Mridangam Palghat Mani Iyer, Karaikudi R Mani, Palghat Raghu 

13. Pakhawag Pt Ayodhya Prasad, Gopal Das, Babu Ram Shanker Pagaldas

14. Tabla Zakir Hussain, Nikhil Ghosh, Kishan Maharaj, Alla Rakha Khan, Pandit

Samta Prasad, Kumar Bose, Latif Khan

15. Kanjira Pudukkotai Dakshinamurthi Pillai

Instruments Vocalists

Carnatic MS Subbulakshmi, Balamuralikrishna, Bombay Jaishree, HK Raghavendra,

Aryakudi Ramanujan Iyenegar Venkataram, Sitarajam, Mani Krishnaswamy,

Akhil Krishnan, ML Vasanthakumari, MD Ramanathan, GN Balasubramaniam

Dhrupad Ustad Rahim Fahim-ud-din Dagar, Zahir-ud-din Dagar, Wasif-ud-din Dagar,

Bundecha Bandhu, Pt Abhay Narayan Mallick, Pt Ritwik Sanyal, Uday Bhawalkar

Hindustani Shubha Mudgal, Madhup Mudgal, Mukul Shivputra, Pandit Jasraj, Parveen Sultana,

Naina Devi, Girija Devi, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Gangubai Hangal, Krishna

Hangal, V Rajput, Kumar Gandharva, Faiyyaz Khan, Mallikariun Mansur.

Thumri Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan, Ustad Zawad Ali Khan,

Poornima Chaudhary, Shanti Heerananda, Naina Devi, Rita Ganguly

Qawwali Ghulam Hasan Niyazi, Sultan Niyazi, Ghulam Farid Nizami, Hussain Khan

Bandanawaji, Aslam Sabaari, Chand Nizami

DANCE

Indian Classical Dances

India has an old tradition of thousands of years in regard to classical and folk music and

dances. Indian classical dances traces their origin from Bharat Muni’s Natyasastra and Nandi Kesvar’s Abhinava Darpan. Classical dance forms that originated and evolved in India are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Sattriya.

Bharatnatyam

● Bharatnatyam is classical dance of

Tamil Nadu.

● The music accompanying this dance

is Carnatic music. It evolved out of

the Devadasi system of South Indian

temples. Two famous styles are

Pandanallur and Tanjore.

● Famous dancers associated with

Bharatnatyam are E Krishna Iyer,

Rukmini Devi Arundale and Anna

Pavlova.

Kathak

● Kathak is said to be derived from the

word katha, meaning the art of

storytelling.

● Famous centres are Lucknow and

Jaipur. Lucknow school depicts

Mughal Court etiquette, while the

Jaipur school depicts stories of

Rajput kings and Gods. Famous

exponents are Sitara Devi, Sambhu

Maharaj, Uma Sharma Shovana

Narayan etc.

Kathakali

● Kathakali is the classical dance form

of Kerala. The word Kathakali

literally means story play.

● Kathakali is considered as one of the

most magnificent theatres of

imagination and creativity.

● Famous exponents of Kathakali are

Vallathol Narayan Menon, Kunju

Kurup, Guru Gopinath etc.

Kuchipudi

● Kuchipudi is the classical dance

forms of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi

exhibits scenes from the Hindu

epics, legends and mythological

tales.

● Famous exponents of Kuchipudi are

Lakshmi Narayan Shastri, Raja and

Radha Reddy, Swapana Sundari and

Yamini Krishnamurti.

Manipuri

● Manipuri is classical dance form of Manipur.

The most striking part of Manipuri dance is

its colourful decoration, lightness of dancing

foot, delicacy of abhinaya (drama), lilting

music and poetic charm. Manipuri dance is

not only a medium of worship and delight

but also essential for all socio-cultural

ceremonies of Manipuri people. Popular

exponents are Javeri sisters, Rita Devi,

Nirmala Mehta, Guru Bipin Singh etc.

Mohiniattam

● Mohiniattam from Kerala is a solo female

dance and is known for its rhythmic and

unbroken flow of the body movements.

Mohiniattam has the grace and elegance of

Bharatanatyam and vigour of Kathakali.

● Famous exponents of this dance form are

Kalyani Amma, Vaijayanthimala, Bharati

Shivaji and Hema Malini.

Odissi

● Odissi is one of the famous classical Indian

dances from Odisha state.

● It is a graceful and sensous dance style and

involves the tribhanga (three bends)

posture.

● The (three bends) symbolise the means to

escape the limitations of the body.

● Famous dancers of Odissi are Indrani

Rehman, Sonal Mansingh, Kiran Sengal,

Rani Karna, Sharon Lowen and Myrta

Barvie.

Sattriya

● Sattriya is the classical dance form from

Assam. It was created by Vaishnav Saint

Sremanta Sankaradeva in 15th century.

● It is traditionally performed by bhokos (male

monks) in monasteries, but now by female

also. The dance is based on mythological

themes.

● It is performed on Assamese music called

Borgeet and instruments used are Khol

(drum), Talas (cymbals) and Flute.

ARCHITECTURE

Indian architecture, which has evolved

through centuries, is the result of

socio-economic and geographical

conditions of the region. Indian

architecture evolved in various stages in

different parts and regions of the country.

Apart from the natural evolution Indian

architecture was generally affected by

many great and important historic

developments.

Rajput Architecture

● The Rajputs were great patrons of art and

architecture, the finest examples being

their forts and palaces. The Rajput

palaces are complex compositions built

as inner citadels surrounded by the city

and enclosed by a fortified wall as at

Chittorgarh and Jaisalmer. Some forts,

such as those at Bharatpur and Deeg,

were protected by wide moats.

● The palaces of Jaisalmer, Bikaner,

Jodhpur, Udaipur and Kota represent the

maturity of the Rajput style.

Deccan Style

● The architecture of the Deccan is

marked by its distinct originality and

independence of style, unlike the

architectural styles of the other

provinces, which combined both the

temple architecture and the Islamic

building ideals. It derived its elements

from the architectural styles of the

Sultan of Delhi and that of the distant

Persia.

● Some key features of this style are the

presence of bulbous domes with lotus

neck, military style of architecture,

presence of thick walls and combination

of gateway and mosque-like Charminar.

Mughal Style

● The medieval period saw great

developments in the field of architecture.

With the coming of Muslims to India,

many new features came to be

introduced in buildings. The

development of Muslim style of

architecture of this period can be called

the Indo-Islamic architecture or the

Indian architecture influenced by

Islamic Art.

● The Indo-Islamic style was neither

strictly Islamic nor strictly Hindu.

● The earliest building of this period is

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the

Qutub Minar at Delhi.

PUPPETRY

● The early puppet shows in India dealt

mostly with histories of great kings.

Princes and heroes and also political

satire in rural areas.

● There are four types of puppetry in

India—String puppets, Shadow puppets,

Rod puppets and Glove puppets.

PAINTING

The history of Indian paintings is just about

as old as the history of the people of India.

The most primitive instances of paintings

in India can be traced back to cave

paintings of Bhimbetka.

Mughal School

● This school has a specific style of South

Asian painting. Usually, it was confined

to miniatures either as book depictions

or as individual works to be kept in

albums.

● This practice materialised from Persian

miniature painting, with Indian

influences of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain.

● It wonderfully blossomed during the

Mughal Empire. Later, this school of

painting reached other Indian courts of

Muslims and Hindus and afterwards

Sikhs.

● Akbar and Jahangir were exceptionally

great patrons of this painting. Mughal

School of painting revolved around court

scenes, portraits, hunting scenes, lovers,

battle fronts etc.

Rajput School

● This school progressed and thrived

during the 18th century in the majestic

Rajputana courts.

● This school of painting flooded from the

approach of Mughal painting.

● A typical style of painting with particular

common characteristics came up in

every Rajput realm.

● This school illustrated an assortment of themes like landscapes, events from the

Mahabharata, Ramayana, Krishna’s life and about human beings.

Bengal School

● This school was a fashion of art, which progressed during the British Raj of India in

early 20th century.

● Indian Nationalism was greatly linked to this painting. British art administrators also

supported and promoted it.

● Raja Ravi Verma and Abanindranath Tagore were amongst the pioneer artists of this

school. Today’s renowned artists, who belong to this School include Nilima Dutta,

Sudip Roy, Paresh Maiti and Bikash Bhattacharjee.

Cultural Heritage

Site State

Mahabodhi Temple Bihar

Red Fort Delhi

Qutub Minar Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb Delhi

Champaner Achaelogical Park Gujarat

Churches of Old Goa Goa

Jantar Mantar Jaipur

Hampi Karnataka

Pattadakal Karnataka

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves Maharashtra

Ellora Caves Maharashtra

Sanchi Stupa Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Madhya Pradesh

Elephanta Caves Maharashtra

Konark Sun Temple Odisha

Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu

Great Living Chola Temples Tamil Nadu

Agra Fort Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri Uttar Pradesh

Mountain Railway of India Paschim Banga

Nalanda Maha Vihara Bihar

Hill Forts of Rajasthan Rajasthan

Ahmedabad City Gujarat

Jaipur City Rajasthan

Rani ki Vav Gujarat

Capital Complex Chandigarh

Victorial and Art Deco Ensemble of

Mumbai

Maharashtra

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