Marrying into an Indian family, I've taken part in different ways to experience Indian culture. It's beautiful to experience such a colorful, gorgeous and talented culture, right in your own home! It's a wonderful opportunity to enrich yourself as a person when you explore a culture different than your own. Here are 7 amazing and wholesome ways to experience Indian culture.
One of the best ways to experience Indian culture, or any culture for that matter, is to listen to their music! Indian music has some really fun, upbeat dance music as well as incredibly poetic and romantic music. Even if you don't understand the language, there's a deep beauty about their love songs. Here are a few songs that I feel represent Indian culture well: Khuda Jaane, Desi Girl, and Pani Da Rang. Check them out and you'll be blown away!
Movies are in the same category as music because most Indian music actually originates from their movies! Indian films are a great way to experience the culture because you can see the way they dress, the setting (usually in India), the family structure, the religion, hear the language and music! Whether it's a newer, modern movie or an old classic, Bollywood movies are fun and active and a great way to be immersed in the culture right from your living room. With subtitles, it's very easy to get sucked into the movie and not even realize you're watching a foreign film. Some great movies to check out are Salam Namaste, a romantic comedy, Bachchna ae Haseeno, a romantic movie, and Sarkar, which is an action movie similar to The Godfather. Jodhaa Akbar is another one that's an action/romantic - it's probably one of my favorites!
Okay, so I'm probably a little biased since my significant other is Indian, but Indian food is outstanding! Full of flavor and spice, sometimes American food pales in comparison. Indian food can take some time to cook, given the spices need to simmer, but it's well worth it! Try some North Indian dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala, or my two favorites, Palak Paneer (spinach cheese tofu), and Chhole (chickpeas). So delicious! Going out to an Indian restaurant is always a good option too, but make sure the place has high reviews!
4. Clothing and Jewelry
Indian clothing and jewelry are stunning. Indian suits, saris, and even more mainstream clothing, like tunics and leggings, are intricate and gorgeous. If you know your measurements, you can order a suit or sari online! Many regular clothing stores carry items that are either made in India or have the look of being Indian. If you know what you're looking for, it's easy to spot an Indian-inspired garment! For jewelry, whether it's gold, silver or jewel-laden, Indian jewels have a special sparkle and beauty like no other. Always fancy and eye-catching, any piece will surly bring many compliments! Find inspiration online for both Indian clothing and jewels that can be easily replicated in regular department stores. Bangles are literally everywhere and go with anything! Pair them with an Indian-inspired tunic and you're set!
5. Mehndi a.ka. Henna
As a marriage custom, a henna tattoo is drawn on the hands and feet in beautiful designs reaching from finger tips to forearm and toes to ankles. If you ever come across an opportunity to get a henna tattoo, take it! You won't be disappointed. It lasts for weeks and is not only a good way to experience Indian culture, but also a good way to see if you want a real tattoo in the future! I had it done for my wedding and it was stunning.
Leaning the language of another culture is the most exceptional way to be immersed in that culture. It's also the most difficult. Hearing Hindi spoken daily has me only knowing a handful of words and phrases. But just those key phrases makes it easier to watch movies and understand at a very basic level, conversations of those who speak it fluently.
Of course, the best way to experience the whole package of Indian culture, is to visit the country itself! Mumbai, a.k.a. Bollywood, is a great place to visit as it is the hub of India's film and entertainment industry. New Delhi, the capital of India, is another great city to visit that is rapidly expanding economically and in population. Busy, crowded, loud, vibrant and bursting with culture - these cities are definitely on my list of places to travel to!
Learning about another culture is one thing, but to experience even small aspects of it, brings your knowledge full circle. Indian culture is so full of life and energy, which brings a greater perspective on your own life as well as a broader picture of the world around you! What are some other ways to experience Indian culture? Have you been to any parts of the country before or had a friend of Indian origin?