ncient Indian Art dates back to almost 4000 years BC, and it is no surprise that because Art has such a long history and tradition , its expressions in everyday life in modern India is literally inescapable. Art in India is typically ornate, colourful and diverse. Ancient art, at least what has survived from centuries ago, is mainly in the form of stone carvings and sculptures. Based on the period in history, Art in India can be briefly classified into:
Ancient Art ~ 3900 BC to 1200 AD
Islamic Period 1192 -1760
British Colonial Period 1760 – 1945
Independence 1947 onwards
Tourists visiting India today can see remnants of historic Indian art even today at places such as Ajanta & Ellora Caves. Some of the ‘Pillars of Ashoka’, a series of columns erected by King Ashoka during his reign around 3 BC have survived the ravages of time and can be seen in different parts of India.
Art in Colonial and early Post Colonial era still exists in everyday life in India, and this could be anything from historic ornate temples to heritage buildings and palaces, not to mention world famous monuments such as the Qutub Minar, India Gate and ofcourse the Taj Mahal, which though a building, is considered art in itself.
The culture of India is often something tourists struggle to fully understand, and this could be partly because different regions of the country have a uniquely localized culture, varying from a typical norm due to religious, historical and social factors. Religion especially has shaped Indian culture more than any other influence , not surprising considering India is actually the birthplace of some of these religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Add to that the fact that Indians by their very nature are highly spiritual , and one can begin to understand that culture in India is closely linked to religion. However, one could now say that modern Indian culture is slowly becoming more homogenous across the country shaped more now by economic and social factors, as the sub continent slowly becomes more a global partner and a major international power. In terms of geography though, you could still very broadly classify modern cultural practices based on Northern and Southern India.
Though modern Indian music is nowadays more likely associated with the film industry in Mumbai ( Bollywood ), music in India is richly varied and complex, having evolved over many different eras, ranging from traditional and highly developed Classical Indian music to current day Hindi pop music. One of the most famous Indian musicials on International acclaim is Ravi Shankar, who made the Indian musical instrument, the Sitar, world famous. It is worth noting that some of the most expressive Indian music is in the form of Ghazals, based on Indian, urdu poetry. Urdu is to poetry what a Rose is to flowers. Truly moving historical poetry dating back to hundreds of years has been sung in the form of Ghazals by legendary singers such as Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali.