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Hindu Clothes

Indian clothing is famous because it is colorful and also graceful. Outfits for women are designed to be graceful. While men's clothes are for the warm climate and comfort. Certain trends in clothing prevail even to date throughout the country.

Women's clothing:

The traditional Indian clothing for women is the Sari, which can be worn in many different ways. A choli is worn over a sari, which is a blouse that ends just below the bust. The Salwar Kameej is one of the most popular costumes. The Salwar Kameez too has had many designs. One of the other traditional dresses is the Lehangas.

The sari:

The Sari is still so popular even after centuries because it has a sense of luxury and sexuality to it. Even though it is a single length of material, the sari is a very versatile garment. It is a rectangular piece of cloth, which is sometimes five and usually six yards in length. The style, color and texture of this cloth vary. But the most traditional ones are the handloom or hand woven saris. Now a -days it is made from cotton, silk or one of the several man-made materials.

The choli:

It is a tightly fitted blouse that ends just below the bust and is worn under a sari. It can be long sleeved or even short sleeved. The choli came developed as a form of clothing in 10th century AD. The cholis first used were only front covering; the back was usually bare. Blouses of this kind are still common. Today, there are a number of styles of cholis which are inspired by other cultures as well.

The salwar kameej:

Another commonly used attire of women in India is the salwar-kameez. This dress was used in the northern part of India as a comfortable and especially in Kashmir and Punjab. Now it is very popular in all regions of India. Salwars are loose trousers like pants drawn tightly to the waist and the ankles. Over the salwar, they wear long and loose clothing known as a kameez. Occasionally women wear churidar instead of a salwar. A churidar is like the salwar but is tight fitting at the hips, thighs and ankles.

The lehanga:

Apart from the sari's, women in some regions wear a kind of pleated skirt known as the ghagra or lehanga. This skirt is tied around the waist and thus leaves the back and midriff bare. This dress also has a choli. The choli is covered by a length of cloth known as "odhni" or "dupatta".

Men's traditional clothing:

The traditional attire of men includes: Sherwani, Lungi, Dhoti and Kurta Pajama.

The sherwani:

It is a coat like garment, worn by men, which is tight and close to the body. It is usually knee-length or longer and opens in front with the help of buttons. Below this men wear a garment, which is baggy and wide at the top but tight around the legs and ankles. It is considered as a very elegant dress for men and mostly worn only during ceremonies.

The lungi:

The lungi had originated in the south and is still common there. Today men and women wear it in the same fashion. It is simply a long length of material worn around the thighs like a sarong.

The dhoti:

A dhoti is a longer version of a lungi. It has an additional length of material to be pulled up between the legs.

The kurta-pyjama:

The Kurta is a knee length shirt, which is worn, mostly in white or pastel colors. Elderly people usually wore it, because they looked decent in it. Today you find Kurtas made out of the most varied colors and fabrics. Pyjama-are nothing but loose trousers which you tie around the waist with a string. It is traditionally white in color.

Hindu Foods

In Hinduism food is considered as God (Brahman) and said to be a part of Brahman as it nourishes the entire physical, mental and emotional aspects of a human being. It is considered as a gift from God and should be treated respectfully. Here is a brief description about the nuances of Hindu Food.

In Vedas food is acknowledged with the rudiments of the earth. The Prasna Upanishad identifies food with the Lord of Creation. According to Manu, “Food that is always worshipped gives strength and manly vigor but eaten irreverently, it destroys them both.”

Food should be eaten in religious attitude for the purpose survival and giving strength to the body to practice self control and austerities, but not for the sake of pleasure. This is the concept behind Hindu Food.

Hindu Food and Vegetarianism

According to Hinduism “You are what you eat” is a concept behind a man and his food habits as it decides our mental growth as well as physical growth and well being. Eating food by killing animals is said to block mental and spiritual growth. This is the reason why Hinduism emphasizes on vegetarianism. Another reason it believes that killing innocent and helpless animals for the purpose of food is a bad karma that brings harmful consequences not only to the man who is eating but to the entire planet.

Restriction and Hindu Foods

  • Beef is strictly forbidden as a food in Hinduism. Cow is considered as mother in Hinduism. But dairy products like milk, butter and yogurt are said to increase spiritual purity.

  • Pork is strictly forbidden food in Hinduism.

  • Food obtained from any animal is restricted.

  • Certain foods are prohibited according to the geographical location.

  • Some pious Hindus even avoid over stimulating foods such as onions, garlic, and red coloured (blood-coloured) foods such as red lentils and tomatoes.

  • To avoid violence or pain, vegetarianism is advocated.

  • Meat is not always prohibited in the Laws of Manu but they declare that ‘no sin is attached to eating flesh… but abstinence… bears greater fruits’.

Fasting and Hindu Food:

Hindus fast on special occasions (festivals or holy days) as a mark of respect to their god or as a part of their penance. At certain times in a year like the Dusshera they do not eat food for days together. There is a special ceremony to mark a baby’s eating solid food, which in south is called as annaprasanna.

Charity and Hindu Food:

Serving food to the poor and the needy, or a beggar according to Hindus is good karma. Food is associated with religious activity. Food is still offered to God during some of the religious ceremonies. On specific days in a year food is offered to departed souls. Food is also distributed to people at the end of many religious ceremonies. Many Hindu temples distribute food freely every day to the visiting devotees.

Hindu Music

Hindu music is also called as sangeet. Music is believed to have mythological roots and is associated with the heavenly singers, called the Gandharvas. The first person to practice this art form was Narada. The oldest texts associated with music are the Sama Veda, which consists of melodies, which are recited, in the form of hymns during ritual sacrifice. Music is considered as a means of moral or spiritual connection rather than mere entertainment. There are three key elements in the music discipline

  • The guru - coming in parampara where the disciple becomes the successor

  • Vinaya - humility, this is one of the key ingredients expected from a disciple

  • Sadhana -practice of what is being taught regularly

Hindu music is based on two main things called

  • Raga, the melodic scale

  • Tala, the rhythm

Both Raga and Tala chosen carefully invokes the right mood (rasa). In discussing the aesthetics of dance and music, Bharata Muni coined the concept of nava-rasa, (nine principle "moods" or "tastes.)" During the Bhakhi movement, emphasis was on spiritual emotion, so worship was integrated into music. It was considered not only adoration but a means towards a higher consciousness. Tansen is also another important person remembered because he was believed to perform miracles through his singing.

Common instruments used for Hindu music includes drums, such as the tables mridangas, the manjira and the harmonium. Classical instruments include, tabla, include the flute, vina, sitar, sarangi, santoor, and shenai

The music of India is considered monodic. Its tone is divided into 22 segments called srutis. The basic scales in Hindu music are sa-grama. Other scales are derived from the basic srutis by the sharping or flatting of some of the tones. Melody is based on the system of ragas, and is used as the basis for improvisation.There are many ragas, and there are sets of rules for improvisation in that raga.

Each raga is attributed with certain ethical and emotional properties, and is also associated with a certain season and a certain time of day. Ragas are also associated with magical powers. For example if a raga associated with darkness is sung in the middle of the day then it can even bring darkness upon the earth. In the performance of the ragas, lots of importance is attached to the gamakas, (ornaments) of music. Music is based on very complex rhythmic patterns, called talas, which are combined in the most innovative ways.

The oldest instrument is the Drum and there are several types in it. The most important instrument is the Veena. A similar instrument is the sitar, the most commonly used instrument in India. In addition, various types of bagpipe, lute, fiddle, oboe, trumpet, flute, cymbal, and gong have been known in India. Many of the instruments are of Islamic origin.

Hindu Art

Hinduism is a conglomeration of a wide variety of beliefs and Infact, it is unique in its tolerance of diversity. Roots of this religion have been since 4000 years in India, and as it developed it absorbed many beliefs and practices of various kinds of people. Assimilation happened differently for different parts of India.

The Hindu religion is a great repository of heterogeneity of beliefs. Worship of different kinds of deities is a very personal choice, and that aspect of Hindu practice is reflected in the number of different Hindu temples and their sculptural beliefs.

A man who has no knowledge of music, literature, or art is believed to be no better than a beast. Hindu's always believed art to be a key to salvation or ultimate release that is sought by all good Hindus. There is a kind of a holistic feel about Indian art; it is a unity of many forms and artistic experiences.

Different forms of hindu art:

Art rules every part of Indian life, and is found in every reference of ancient Indian Civilization. Indian art is considered a disciplined style of worship and self-restraint. Hindu art can also be thought of as India's oldest indigenous science.

Sometimes lord Shiva, is visually represented as "King of Dance" or Nataraja. This form of Shiva is considered as the most remarkable symbol of divine powers, which was ever created by Indian artistic genius.

Indian artists have frozen the beauty of human bodies in various shapes with the help of stone and bronze for around 5,000 years. It is difficult to name only a single person or persons among the geniuses who brought gods to life in places like the Ellora, Ajanta, Elephanta and Karli caves.

The transition from cave excavation and carvings on the Hindu temples are depicted dramatically and powerfully at Ellora. Ellora is an entire mountain which has been literally shaped out over many centuries by devoted artists. These artists created and "extracted" Lord Shiva's Mount Kailas temple within that enormous rock dome.

Ellora's Kailas cave temple is still one of the few beautiful monuments of art and Hindu devotion. The carvings on some of the walls and pillars is magnificent. No other work on stone or in any other material are as fine. But still what remains a mystery is what tools have been used to make the very hard and tough stone as it is to be seen on the present day.

Indian art is related to Hindu religion and philosophy. It is hard to appreciate the Indian art unless one has insight into the ideals that govern the Indian minds. In the Indian art there is mostly a religious element, a looking beyond.

The beautiful carvings of the Hindu temples, the beautiful wall paintings of Ajanta, or the intriguing art of cave sites and the sophisticated temple building tradition, the Indian Hindu culture offers a good visual feast.