Hinduism basics for those travelling to India on a spiritual mission

Hinduism Facts

India is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations not just for Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs but people of all religions. People from all over the world of all faiths come to experience spirituality. You will find that all of your senses are fulfilled by spiritualism in India. If you are considering visiting India for spiritual purposes then here are some facts about the Hindu religion you might find useful on your spiritual journey.

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Men holding hands is not gay in India

Men holding hands in India

Don’t be surprised to see two men holding hands in India. In most European nations and in the USA, this public display of affection can be mistaken for being gay or lesbian but not in India. Here we don’t see it that way. Just because two men (or women) are holding hands or they have hands on other’s shoulders does not mean anything. They just happen to be friends and there is nothing sexual about the whole thing.

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Babies tossed from the roof in this bizarre Indian tradition

This is a ritual that would terrify most mothers. The worshippers at the shrine of Baba Sheikh Umar Saheb Dargah at the “Musti village” in the district of Solapur, in the state of Maharashtra, Western India have been carrying out this tradition to bring good luck and health to the child. If you want to see this ritual, you must visit Solapur, in the state of Maharashtra on the first of May. The tradition is also carried out in other parts of the state where the babies are tossed off the roof of temple roofs. The people of this village have been practising this for about 500 years. In Bijapur, 550 km  west of Bangalore, similar practice is carried out where children between 8 months to 5 year olds are thrown from temple tops.

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Culture of India

Culture of India is a complex phenomenon. In its broadest sense, it includes everything a society does. It can also be limited to a particular social class (working class culture) or genre (literature, music). Still it’s always near to impossible to define what exactly a popular culture constitutes. Contrary to what may appear from outside; to Indians, there is no such thing as Indian culture in sense of a uniform manner of doing something. There is little common between the Punjabi culture with its emphasis on having fun and the Bengali culture with its emphasis on intellectualism. In the south, a person from Kerala finds the food from Andhra too spicy for their tongue. The seven states in the northeast are home to thousands of tribes and regions, each boasting of a rich history and unique culture. So the term ‘culture of India‘ has little meaning, unless it’s used an amalgamation of a score of different cultures within the country. Nonetheless, it is thought that the culture of India stems from its ancient history from the amalgamation of the Aryan nomads that migrated from the Central Asia through Afghanistan and settled in India with the natives of the valley of the Indus River of Dravidian descent.

Naga Sadhu Culture of India
Naga Sadhu: India's holy men

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Rajputs of Rajasthan

The word “Rajputs” translates literally as “sons of kings”.

Among the warrior castes of north western India, Rajputs are famous for their chivalry, gallantry, their zest for life and the pride they take in being associated with their culture, their values and traditions.

Rajputs were once the pride of this vast, limitless desert in the heart of India which stretched as far as the eye could see. There are some elaborate customs associated with Rajputs.

Rituals and customs for every occasion right from the womb to the tomb.

While the birth of a son in the family was celebrated with fanfare and rejoicing, the birth of a girl was frowned upon. So deep ran the bias against the girl child that it was customary among many Rajput plans to kill the newborn girl to death by strangling her, burying her alive or by choking her by stuffing wet mud down her throat.

A Rajput of Rajgarh
A Rajput of Rajgarh

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