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                                        Culture Tours

 Dance Festivals  History


Dance

Using the body as a medium of communication, the expression of dance is perhaps the most intricate and developed, yet easily understood art form. Dance in India has seeped into several other realms like poetry, sculpture, architecture, literature, music and theatre. The earliest archaeological evidence is a beautiful statuette of a dancing girl, dated around 6000 B.C. Bharata's Natya Shastra (believed to be penned between second century B.C. and second century A.D.) is the earliest available treatise on dramaturgy. All forms of Indian classical dances owe allegiance to Natya Shastra, regarded as the fifth Veda.  

One of the most enduring symbols of India is the figure of Nataraja - Shiva, the King of Dancers . Shiva's cosmic dance is believed to encompass creation, preservation, and destruction and this idea has been embedded in Hindu thought and ritual since the dawn of civilization. He holds a small drum (damaru) in his upper right hand. His lower right hand shows the fear-negating gesture (abhaya), his upper left hand is in half-moon pose (ardhachandramudra) which holds a tongue of flame which is the fireman) that finally destroys the world and is then quenched in cosmic waters. Thus the hand holding the drum and the one holding fire balance the forces of creation and destruction. The second left arm is held gracefully across the chest (gajahastamudra) with the hand pointing to the uplifted foot, denoting favor or grace for the devotee. One foot rests on Pismire or Mauyalka, the embodiment of human cruelty and ignorance. Surrounding Shiva’s figure and emanating from him is an immense aureole of flames (prabhamandala) representing the vital processes of nature, sustained by the tremendous energy of the dancing God within. The flames represent the transcendental power of wisdom and truth, as well as the mantra ‘Om’ which signifies the totality of creation.

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Festivals

The Indian calendar is one long procession of festivals. These are as varied in origin as they are large in number. There are innumerable national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social festivities. This is not surprising considering the fact that India is the land of gods, goddesses, saints, gurus and prophets. 

Festivals here are characterised by colour, gaiety, enthusiasm, feasts and a variety of prayers and rituals. Travellers are struck by the scale and multiplicity of the festivities that populate the cultural scene of this land. 

Hibachi, Deposal, Deep Diwali, Dussehra, Easter, Festivals of Uttar Pradesh, Ganesha Chaturthi 

Holi, Hola Mohalla, Janmashtami, Pongal, Lohri,  Kullu Dussehra, Ladakh Festival, Onam, Raksha- Bandhan, Ram Navami, Rath Yatra, Shivaratri, Gangaur, Festivals&Fairs of Rajasthan, 
Festivals& Fairs of Gujarat,Tyagaraja Festival, Buddha Purina, Christmas, Good Friday, Guru Nanak's Birthday, Id, Mohair Jeanie,  Muharram Parsi Festivals, New Year Days, Festivals in the North-East Makar Sankranti, Ugadi 

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History 

The roots of Indian civilisation stretch back in time to pre-recorded history. The earliest human activity in the Indian sub-continent can be traced back to the Early, Middle and Late Stone Ages (400,000-200,000 BC). Implements from all three periods have been found from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, parts of what is now Pakistan and the southern most tip of the Indian Peninsula. 

These Paleolithic people were semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers for many millennia. Five main races of people were in existence when the move to an agricultural lifestyle took place, in the middle of the 9th millennium BC. These were the Negritude race, the Proto-Australoid; the Mediterranean race, the Mongloids and the Alpine people. 

The first evidence of agricultural settlements on the western plains of the Indus is roughly contemporaneous with similar developments in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia. These settlements gradually grew and the inhabitants started to use copper and bronze, domesticated animals, made pottery and began trade activities. 

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