Culture of North India

Culture can be termed as collective achievements by a group of people. It comprises of customs, values, beliefs, life style, heritage and arts (music, painting, dance and handicrafts etc.). The social attitude and behavior of any social group are determined by its culture.

The diverse culture of North India has paved the way for the invaders like Aryans, Huns, Greeks and Afghans to capture its different parts and rule for years. Therefore the regions representing different culture live in harmony with each other. The cultural diversities of North India are reflected through its distinct Architectural heritage monuments and religious places of worship.

The cultural heritage of the seven states of North India Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh (Union Territory), Delhi, Haryana and Punjab together represents the culture of north India. The other states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar which are considered as North Indian states for their cultural and linguistic similarities are not formally part of North India.

North Indian Culture is mainly associated with Indo-Aryan traditions and customs with impact from prolonged historical culture.

1. Traditional Costume

The women of North India generally wear Salwar-Kameez or Saree, but it is the traditional outfit of the women of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and northern Haryana. In Rajasthan and its adjoining areas like southern Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, women wear Ghagra Choli. In the rural northern region men wear dhoti-kurta or shirt-dhoti, kurta-salwar/payjama. Men also wear headgear such as topi, turban or pagdi which are considered as honor.

2. Cuisine

The staple food of North India is wheat which is consumed in the forms of rotis or chapatis with sabzi or curry. Most of the North Indian people prefer vegetarian diet except the Kashmiri. Non-vegetarian dishes are famous as well which includes Mughlai.

Tasty and Spicy Punjabi food such as Lassi, Sarson da Saag, Dal Makhani, Rajma, Choley, Kadhi Pakora, etc. are widely consumed by the North Indians.

Popular Rajasthani cuisine includes Daal-Baati Churma etc. Besides many relishing desserts are also popular in North India like Halwa, Gujia, Kheer, Imarti, Petha (specially petha from Agra), a very famous dessert called Bal Mithai from Kumaon are a few.

Read more about the signature dishes of India : Click Here

3. Music

The music of Northern India is called Hindustani classical music or Shastriya Sangeet originated from Vedic ritual chants. This Hindustani classical music came to be known as Carnatic Classical Music around 12th century. Indian classical music is comprised of seven notes - Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni and five half-notes mingled with the basic notes, result into 12-note scale.

The rhythmic patterns of Indian Classical Music are called Taal and Ragas are the melodic foundations of classical music.

4. Dance

Many folk dances from different areas of North India represent its cultural diversity. To begin with the folk dances of Punjab, Bhangra for men and Giddha for women are very famous.

The folk dances of Rajasthan include Ghoomar and Kalbeliya dance, Kinnauri Nati from Himachal Pradesh; Karma from Jharkhand, Panthi from Chhattisgarh, Jagars and Pandva Nritya from Uttarakhand, Rouf of Kashmir enriches the culture of North India. Kathak is one of the well-known classical dances originated in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

5. Literature

One of the great scholars from past Kalidasa was born in North India. Classic Sanskrit plays such as Abhijñānaśākuntalam, Mālavikāgnimitram and Vikramōrvaśīyam and poetries like Raghuvaṃśa, Ṛtusaṃhāra, Kumārasambhava and Meghadūta are some of his gifts to Indian Literature. These pieces of literature are considered as masterpieces from such legend.

Tulsidas, Surdas, Amir Khusro and Chand Bardai are the names of other great literary scholars from Medieval North India. Ramcharitmanas, Prithiviraj Raso, Sur Sagar and Khamsa-e-Nizami are some of the great literary contributions of these legends.

During 19th century, the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Munshi Premchand, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Gopala Sharan Sinha and R N Tripathi were much admired. Godaan and Gaban are the famous literary work of Premchand which have been translated into various languages.

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