India essay

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India, rich of culture and traditions

English 6, cultural studies

When thinking of countries that are interesting because of how different they are and how they are rich of culture and traditions, India is definitely one of the first countries that comes to mind. People from all around the world has shown interest for this country with special holidays that you would not want to miss if you travel there, the world’s biggest film industry that makes around 900 films each year, the spot Bindi that is symbol for them and of course the unique architecture with mean- ing. India is a very big country a lot of different details that makes the country so striking in peo- ple’s eyes that they travel all the way there to feel the great atmosphere.

To begin with, like every other country India celebrates holidays. One of the big celebrations in In- dia that I found most interesting is called Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. This holiday is known as the International Kite Festival and is celebrated in many cities of Gujarat(state in western India).

Over 2000 festivals are celebrated in Gujarat, but the Kite festival is considered the biggest and most noticed one. Every year people from international destinations gather in the city Ahmedabad, Gujarat which is where the excitement is the highest. Some people fill the sky with their huge or small multicoloured kites all over the state from morning to night. Towards the night the youths take lighten paper lanterns and tie them to their kite strings to compete against each other by trying to cut the strings of each other’s kites. A lot of competitions are held for all different ages to be a part of. Other than all of the attention being on the kites during the festival Indian food is served to the crowds and enjoyed by all. According to the Indian calendar the International Kite Festival marks the ending of winter and the return of summer and lands on 14th of January.
Uttarayan is today one of the biggest celebrations ever in India, and is noticed by people from all around the world.

What is more, The International Kite Festival is also celebrated in other countries such as The Netherlands and quite many Asian countries. Here in Sweden there are a few kite festivals in for instance Stockholm, Västerås and Gothenburg. One of the oldest festivals is the Kite Party held at Gärdet in Stockholm and has been organised every year since 1965 by the Art School of Stockholm. There is also something called “Kinesiska Drakfesten” that the Chinese association of Sweden have arranged every year since about eight years back. This one is held in Gärdet or Årstaparken and sometimes on both places on different dates. The festivals in Sweden are not half as big as Uttarayan in Gujarat, mostly because there are not many who fly kites as a hobby here and also that the information is not spread very well. That also makes the event more like a big picnic and gathering for the Swedish people. At least there are events on this particular subject for the Swedish people who share this interest. This big International Kite Festival is such a beautiful and exciting tradition that those who visit India try to time their visit to attend the festival.

Secondly, something that is very big in India; Bollywood of course. The city Mumbai, formerly Bombay, was the start of Bollywood, the worlds biggest film industry. It is not surprising since they produce 900 films each year, 68,000 movies and has an annual audience of nearly 4 billion people. That makes Bollywood by far the largest film market.
The films are described as a mix of comedy, romance and drama, but what actually makes Bolly- wood film stand out is the numerous song and dance numbers. Each film is like a musical due to that. The dances are influenced by national traditions, broadway musicals and contemporary pop. They played out often in colourful, imaginative and magnificent environments. A regular Bolly- wood film is about 2.5-4 hours long and are usually in India's official language, Hindi, but are today also made in regional languages like Tamil and Telugu. It is increasingly common that the movies are written comprehensive in English because of two factors. English is growing all the time as a languages in India and Bollywood's export market is increasing and has grown even outside the In- dian border. It has become an international world culture and a famous brand.

The movie stars in India are the major idols, they cover the front page of magazines and even become depicted as gods. An example is when the film star Amitabh Bachchan was hospitalised after
shooting a fight scene in the film Coolie where he sadly got seriously injured. This incident gathered 100,000 people outside the hospital in Mumbai. The scene where he was injured was retained
and the film became a huge hit. Bachchan even has a temple dedicated after him in Calcutta.

Bollywood films have become popular worldwide, but mainly in Pakistan, Bangladesh and
Afghanistan. They are also popular in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and other Western countries
with large Indian and Pakistani population. Even Sweden has, since 2008, a Bollywood Cinema,
witch is located in Malmö. Here in Sweden we play movies from Hollywood mostly.
However, Sweden also has its own film industry named Trollywood, that is located in Trollhättan.
Although Trollywood is nothing in comparison to Bollywood, they have actually produced some
popular Swedish movies such as "Fucking Åmål” and “I taket lyser stjärnorna”.

Thirdly, a small thing that characterises India; the little red spot that some Indians have on the mid- dle of their forehead. It is called Bindi that originally comes from the word bindu, which actually
means dot in the Indian language Sanskrit. Bindi has many names: Tilaka , Bottu , Bindiya and
Kumkum. Traditionally, this dot consists Cinnabar Red, which is an association between mercury

and sulfur. Sulfur symbolises the feminine element, while the mercury symbolise the Hindi god
Shiva's seed. It is often a red adhesive cotton dot but also in the form of red color in the hair parted
in the middle. Purely traditionally, this was a sign that someone was a Hindu but also married. This
is a predecessor of Hinduism, in the old Aryan society, a groom namely placing a dot of his blood in
the bride's forehead as a symbol of marriage.

Nowadays it is worn without any religious symbolism, but formerly was a sign for " a third eye"
which would look inwards towards the deity and it would protect against evil spirits.

Bindi is today available in several colours and finishes and is currently used as an embellishment,
especially when women want to look a bit nicer just as we use earrings or other jewellery.


To end with, India may not be in the frontline of countries with beautiful buildings and monuments,
but that does not mean that the country has nothing to convey within that category. In Agra, west of
India, the stunning monument Taj Mahal stands tall and has about 7 to 8 million visitors annually.
To give a better perspective, it would be as if just a little bit less of the entire population of Sweden would visit in a year, with Sweden having a population of about 9,7 million people. The reason why the building is so famous is because it has such a unique and beautiful story behind it.

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Shah Jahan was the mighty ruler of India in 1628. He had a wife named Arjumand Banu Begum and they were deeply in love for many years and after a while Ar-jumand got pregnant. Just a moment after the child was born Arjumand sadly passed away. Right before she took her last breaths, she asked Muhammad for a last gift. She wanted him to build a
monument to represent their eternal love for each other. That is when Muhammad decided to build
Taj Mahal, a pure white marble palace in laid with million of jewels, it was supposed to become ”A
paradise on earth” (05:00, video). It took twenty-two years for the monument to be built and the
results were stunning.

You can visit Taj Mahal at any season of the year, but the best times are between October to March.
During this time of the year the weather of India is cooler which is positive for you as a tourist since
the visit means spending a large amount of time outside, and walking in scorching sunlight is prob-
ably not something you would enjoy.

Not only do the seasons of India contribute to the visit of Taj Mahal but also which time of the day
it is. During sunrise, the monument illuminates the morning suns rays and creates a majestic red
light that reflects upon the viewers eyes. Moments later when the sun has reached further up in the
sky you can see all of Taj Mahal with with the white glow from the walls. After the day has passed
and the sun is starting to reach the horizon, the monument transforms into a soft exotic orange nuance. Finally when the night sky has come, Taj Mahal transforms back into a pearl white nuance again.

Sweden in whole is not what you would describe as a tourist paradise, but it has some buildings and
locations which are quite attractive to visit. One building which is very popular by visitors is the
Royal Palace. Originally the building was built in the middle of the 13th century, but in May 1697 a
big fire destroyed parts of the building, which led it to being rebuilt. So if you visit it today you will
sadly not be able to see the original one. The amount of visitors are not even close to the amount Taj Mahal has. In year 2008, the Royal Palace had 496071 visitors, that is that is what Taj Mahal gets in less than a month!

To conclude, India is a very interesting country with very unique traditions that both the country’s
inhabitants and turists enjoy. There are many different aspects of India that interests people to go
visit this country, and the ones mentioned are only a few of them. The International Kite Festival,
which was mentioned in the beginning of this essay, may be something that is arranged in several
countries, nevertheless people are more drawn to India’s kite festival. It is one of the smaller attrac-
tions turists enjoy, if you compare it to the fantastic architecture of India. The Taj Mahal that has
approximately 7 to 8 million visitors annually is not only a beautiful monument, but it also has a
beautiful story behind it. What is more, Taj Mahal have appeared in many Bollywood movies,
which now is the world’s largest film industry. This characterises India in a very big way, just like
the little red spot, Bindi, that some Indians have on their forehead just between their eyebrows. ?
If there are countries with rich traditions and cultures, India is surely one of the ones at the top of
the list. Visiting this exciting country will sure give memories for life!

http://www.kungahuset.se/besokkungligaslotten/kungligaslottet/slottetsparadvaningar/historik.

4.187e1841020141a4c88000631.html 5/2-15
http://www.stockholmgamlastan.se/lang_sv/info/slottet_fakta.php 5/2-15


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Source criticism

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International Kite Festival?

http://www.gujaratindia.com/about-gujarat/kite-festival.htm


This website is owned and edited by the Government of Gujarat, they obviously have an office in
Gujarat thus the writers have enough amount of knowledge to be running this site. That can mean
that they write from what they already know, that is reliable since they live in India themselves.
Maybe they have a section each and are experts in that particular part.
The purpose of the information on this website is to share the positive spirit of Gujarat to the rest of
the world, “we aim to positively influence Gujarat and its rich Culture and traditions which have
marked its footprints internationally.”
The date of publication or last update is not that relevant since this is information that does not need
to get updated that often. The writers on this site are the ministers that work with this portal, Offi-
cial Gujarat State Portal and an important functionary is the governor Shri O. P. Kohli. The owners
share contact information and their own information, which creates trust of the readers.

http://www.tangokites.org/tangokites/html/ncb_interview.html ?
This is a simple HTML website owned by the Kite & Tango Party which is a group in Sweden who
share the interest of playing with kites and dancing tango. The website is on kites and Rioplatentian
tango, thus it is mostly made for kiters and tango dancers in Sweden. On this site they share their
knowledge around kites and the journeys they have had together in this group. Other than the page
being very inflexible it is not hard to rely on its information, mostly since the owners write from
own experiences, knowledge and such.
This interview is from the Belgian Nation Kite Club Magazine "Le Noveau Cervoliste Belge” from
the March/April issue in 1997, where Raoul Fosset interviewed the Swedish kite flyer Andreas
Ågren from the Sala Kite & Tango Party. Even though the article is from many years ago it is con-
sidered fairly reliable. What is more, the Belgian Magazine’s website seems to have been very inac-
tive since 2009. That does not have to mean that the magazine itself is not active anymore, and if it
is so then at least they continued until 2009.





Bollywood and Bindi

http://www.vagabond.se/artiklar/resmal/20141128/tio-vanliga-fragor-om-indien
Is written by Per J Andersson, for the Swedish website Vagabond. He has over 30 years if experi-
ence of traveling in India, has written hundreds of traveling reports and five books, all about india.
This part of Vagabond obviously fits our purpose and also the whole magazine itself that is about
travelling.
It got published 2014/11/28 so it is up to date. I believe it is trustworthy since Vagabond is Sweden's
biggest traveling magazine and nobody can go in to their website and change things without author-
ity.

http://illvet.se/manniskan/varfor-har-en-del-indiska-kvinnor-en-rod-prick-i-pannan
Illustrerad Vetenskap is a magazine that found their articles on sciences research, and nobody can
change the information on the website, and that is why i think that the source is reliable.
Illustrerad Vetenskap has been a big magazine since 1984 with their facts and researches that
they’ve done themselves specifically for this magazine.
This particular research is from 2002, but that is not really relevant since it is not really a subject
that you will find new facts about with time.

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi
Wikipedia is known for having information about most things, but to know that the information you
read is accurate I always try to confirm with other websites like the one above, since anyone can go
in and change the information.
This is also one of the most visited websites in the world, that must mean something at least. A lot
of people put their trust in the information that Wikipedia shares.
Wikipedia is good to use as the first source just to learn the basics of a certain thing and then move
on to other sources. However it is not the most reliable source just as the rumour says. ?

http://www.varldskulturmuseerna.se/varldskulturmuseet/utstallningar/utstallningsarkiv/bollywood/
Is a website for the museum about worlds culture, which of course includes India also. This source
seems reliable since the information they post are facts from the museum, where the information
most likely is correct since it is a public place to visit.?

This source fits our purpose perfectly since what we search for is the culture of a country which is
exactly what this site is specially made for.?

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bollywood-100th-anniversary-100-fascinating-1825562
3/04/13, by Katie Imms for the british online edition of The Daily Mirror, a British newspaper. The
Daily Mirror is published by MGN Ltd, part of Trinity Mirror plc, which is UK's largest newspaper
publisher. This makes me trust the website more, and the article is up to date so the information is
not old.?
The facts in this article is very short and just bullet points which makes you wonder if the writer
really knows what it is about. Although, when compared to some other sites it does not seem to in-
clude anything weird or irrelevant.?


Taj Mahal?

http://www.tajmahal.gov.in 21/1-15
This website wast lastly updated 13th mars 2014 and has no specific person who writes everything,
at least not from what you can find out. Everything is written by the department of tourism, gov-
ernment of Uttar Pradesh. Since it is a government all the information on the website should be ful-
ly correct. There can absolutely be flaws in th...

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