INDIA

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INDIAN FESTIVALS

Deepawali

India is a land of festivals. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with fervor and gaiety. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, throughout the country to dispel darkness and light up their lives. The festival symbolizes unity in diversity as every state celebrates it in its own special way.


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Holi

The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi.


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Eid-ul-Fitr

Eid ul-Fitr often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.


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Baisakhi

Baisakhi or Vasakhi is an ancient harvest festival in the Punjab region, which also marks beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season. Baisakhi is a religious festival for Sikhs. It falls on the first day of the Baisakh month in the solar Nanakshahi calendar, which corresponds to April 14 in the Gregorian calendar.


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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi is the hindu festival celebrated on the birthday of Lord ganesha .It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.

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Durga Puja

Durga Puja is widely celebrated in West Bengal, Assam , Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura where it is a five-day annual holiday. Not only it is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society. Apart from Eastern part of India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala.


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Christmas

Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday celebrated on december 25 that commemorates the birth of jesus. The date of commemoration is not known to be Jesus' actual birthday, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either a histrocal roman festival or the winter solstice. Christmas is central to the christmas and holiday , season and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of christmastid, which lasts twelve days.



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INDIAN MUSIC

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music or Carnatic sangeet is the south Indian classical music. Carnatic music has a rich history and tradition and is one of the gems of world music. Carnatic Sangeet has developed in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These states are known for their strong presentation of Dravidian culture. Purandardas (1480-1564) is considered to be the father of Carnatic music. To him goes the credit of codification of the method of Carnatic music. He is also credited with creation of several thousand songs. Another great name associated with Carnatic music is that of Venkat Mukhi Swami. He is regarded as the grand theorist of Carnatic music. He also developed "Melankara", the system for classifying south Indian ragas.


Indian Film Music

One of the most popular Indian music forms is the Filmi music. Hindi film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, along with Indian regional film industries, produces thousands of films a year, most of which are musicals and feature elaborate song and dance numbers. It is interesting to note that some of the movies become successful because of their music only. Movie soundtracks are released as tapes and CDs much before the movie is released. Earlier, radio was the main media of Film music but with the coming of satellite TV and FM radio the scenario has completely changed.


Ghazals

Ghazal is a common and popular form of music in Indian and Pakistan. Strictly speaking, it is not a musical form at all but a poetic recitation. However, today it is commonly conceived of as an Urdu song whose prime importance is given to the lyrics. Ghazal traces its roots in classical Arabic poetry. Ghazal grew from the Persian qasida (a verse form that had come to Iran from Arabia around the 10th century A.D).The qasida was usually a eulogy composed in praise of the emperors or their noblemen. Many a times the Qasida often had 100 couplets or more. With the coming of the Muslims, Ghazal got introduced in the 12th century. Thus Ghazal was imported into India from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Slowly and gradually Ghazal acquired local color and form. The most notable contributor to Ghazal music in India was the famous poet Amir Khusro. Soon Ghazal came to enjoy widespread popularity among Indian Muslims and rulers for many centuries.


Indian Music Instruments

Sitar

Sitar is of the most popular music instruments of North India. The Sitar has a long neck with twenty metal frets and six to seven main cords. Below the frets of Sitar are thirteen sympathetic strings which are tuned to the notes of the Raga. A gourd, which acts as a resonator for the strings is at the lower end of the neck of the Sitar. The frets are moved up and down to adjust the notes. Some famous Sitar players are Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pt. Ravishankar, Ustad Imrat Khan, Ustad Abdul Halim Zaffar Khan, Ustad Rais Khan and Pt Debu Chowdhury.


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Sarod

Sarod has a small wooden body covered with skin and a fingerboard that is covered with steel. Sarod does not have a fret and has twenty-five strings of which fifteen are sympathetic strings. A metal gourd acts as a resonator. The strings are plucked with a triangular plectrum. Some notable exponents of Sarod are Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta, Zarin Daruwalla and Brij Narayan.


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Sarangi

Sarangi is one of the most popular and oldest bowed instruments in India. The body of Sarangi is hollow and made of teak wood adorned with ivory inlays. Sarangi has forty strings of which thirty seven are sympathetic. The Sarangi is held in a vertical position and played with a bow. To play the Sarangi one has to press the fingernails of the left hand against the strings. Famous Sarangi maestros are Rehman Bakhs, Pt Ram Narayan, Ghulam Sabir and Ustad Sultan Khan.


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Flute

Flute is a simple cylindrical tube of uniform bore and associated with Indian music since time immemorial. Flutes vary in size. Flute is held horizontally and is inclined downwards when it is played. To produce sound or melody one has to cover the finger holes with the fingers of the left and right hand. Variations in pitch are produced by altering the effective length of the air column. Notable flute exponents are Pt Pannalal Ghosh and Pt Hari Prashad Chaurasia.


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Shehnai

Shehnai is a traditional musical instrument, associated with auspicious occasions like marriages and temple processions. Shehnai is a double reed instrument with a tapering bore which progressively increases towards the lower side. The Shehnai has finger-holes to produce semi, quarter and micro-tones. Ustad Bismillah Khan is the unrivalled maestro of the Shehnai.


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Tabla

The most popular musical instrument used in North India is the Tabla. The Tabla consists of a pair of drums- the Tabla and the Bayan. The Tabla is made of wood and whereas its head is made of stretched animal skin. Finer tuning of Tabla is done by striking the rim of the Tabla with a small hammer. The Bayan is the bass drum and is usually made of metal with a stretched skin head. Both drums have a black spot in the center made of manganese or iron dust.


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Pakhawaj

It is believed that the Tabla was derived from Pakhawaj. Pakhawaj usually accompanies Dhrupad style of singing. Pakhawaj is a barrel-shaped drum with two heads which are made of layers of skin. The heads of Pakhawaj are expanded by leather straps which run along the sides of the body over small cylindrical wooden blocks that are used for tuning.


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Harmonium

The harmonium is a traditional and popular musical instrument of India. The harmonium has a keyboard of over two and one-half octaves and works on a system of bellows. The keyboard is played with the right hand while the left hand is used to operate the bellows. Harmonium is more popular in North India than in the South.


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Jaltarangam

Jaltarangam consists of a set of eighteen porcelain cups of varying sizes. The cups are arranged in a semi-circle before the performer, in decreasing order of size. The largest cup is to the left of the performer whereas the smallest to his right. Water is poured into the cups and the pitch is changed by adjusting the amount of water in the cup. The cups are struck with two thin bamboo sticks.


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Mridangam

The mridangam is one of the most popular classical instruments of South India. Mridangam accompanies vocal, instrumental and dance performances. The present day mridangam is made of a single block of wood. It is a barrel-shaped double-headed drum, the right head being smaller than the left. The two heads are made of layers of skin. The mridangam is played with hands, palms and fingers.


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Ghatam

The Ghatam is one oldest percussion instruments of South India. The Ghatam is a mud pan with a narrow mouth. From its mouth, it slopes outwards to form a ridge. Ghatam is made mainly of clay baked with brass or copper filings with a small amount of iron filings. The Ghatam produces fast rhythmic patterns. Ghatam is generally a secondary percussion instrument accompanying mridangam.


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Bharatnatyam Dance

Native to Tamil Nadu (a state in Southern India), Bharatanatyam is one of the popular Indian classical dance forms. Previously referred to as Sadir, Dasiattam and Thanjavur Natyam, it demands unconditional and complete dedication from the performer. The dynamic and earthy style of this dance makes it one of the most chosen forms of Indian classical art forms.


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Kathak Dance

Kathak, which originated in northern India, represents one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances. The name Kathak has been derived from the Sanskrit word 'katha', meaning story. Thus, 'katthaka' means the one who tells a story. Kathak focuses more on the footwork of the dancer. The movements are skillfully controlled and performed straight-legged, by dancers wearing the ankle bells (ghunghroo). The costumes and themes of Kathak are often similar to those in Mughal miniature paintings.


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Nataraja Dance

Nataraja, the dancing Lord Shiva, is the supreme manifestation of Indian dance. The moon which he adorns in his head is the symbol complete control of senses. The serpents wound around his body is the proof of his complete control over vital life forces. His foot raised high over the wicked demon, a symbol of triumph over the ego.


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Kuchipudi Dance

Kuchipudi is one of the classical dance forms of the South India. Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. In the seventeenth century the Kuchipudi village was presented to the Brahmins, who were experts in staging dance and drama. Kuchipudi exhibits scenes from the Hindu Epics, legends and mythological tales through a combination of music, dance and acting. Like other classical dances, Kuchipudi also comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics but it is the use of speech that distinguishes Kuchipudi's presentation as dance drama.


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Kathakali Dance

Kathakali is the classical dance form of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". Kathakali is known for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. In fact, the colorful and fascinating costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognized icon of Kerala. Kathakali is considered as one of the most magnificent theatres of imagination and creativity. Kathakali dance presents themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends. The dance aspect of Kathakali consists of pure dance as well as mime.


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INDIAN FOODS

Hyderabadi Biryani

Biryani is a popular dish and relished all across India. Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most sought after variants of the popular biryani.Hyderabadi Biryani has its origins from Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabadi Biryani is a non-vegetarian dish and its main ingredients are meat, rice and spices. Hyderabad is the best destination to enjoy the Hyderabadi Biryani.


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Punjabi Sarson Ka Saag

Sarson ka Saag, is originally a Punjabi dish but now its gaining popularity all over North India. It is prepared with mustard leaves and often accompanied with makki de Roti.


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Delhi's Paranthe

Chandni Chowks Paranthewali Gali is a bylane in the market devoted to only parantha sellers. Paranthas are a type of unleavened bread that are stuffed and then shallow fried in clarified butter.


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Delhi's Chaat

Delhi's Chaat is also an ideal exemplar of “Unity in diversity”. Chaat is a plate of savoury snacks that have a fine blend of sweet and tangy taste.


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South Indian Foods

Cuisine from southern part of India offers a variety of popular dishes. South Indian cuisine is known to display a wide range of options to the vegetarian and non-vegetarian food lovers across India.


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INDO CHINESE Foods

In India, chinese food like chowmein, chilli chicken, fried rice are liked by one and all. But over a period of time actual chinese cooking has indianised and taken up the form of indo- chinese.


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done by:


PremSankar.s.p

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