India has influenced and intrigued the world for centuries. The people of this vast subcontinent share a culture that is unique yet diverse in terms of traditions. Over one billion people dwell on this land of ancient gods and goddesses and of numerous religions.
India is the union of 29 states and 7 centrally administered territories. Every state has a distinct culture, having its own language, arts, crafts and cuisine. These cultures are inextricably intertwined with one another by common threads of history, of customs and of social, economic, political, religious and philosophical values and conditions.
India is a vast country and its culture spans millennia; therefore, it is a formidable task to present it within the constraints of space and time we all have here. This exhibit gives you a glimpse into the four broad regions of the country, and we sincerely hope you will find them educational and entertaining. As you view the artifacts from region to region, you will notice how some concepts and symbols repeat themselves, albeit with subtle stylistic variations. The variety and richness of the intricate craft work and of the costumes are indeed tantalizing.
Is called Vivaha and the ceremony itself is called Vivaah Sanskar which has roots some 5000 years in the past. The ceremonies are very colorful, and celebrations may extend for several days.
The rituals and process in a Hindu wedding vary widely across the regions of India. Nevertheless, there are a few key rituals common in Hindu weddings - Kanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi, which are respectively, giving away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify union, and taking seven steps with each step includes a vow/promise to each other before fire. The Hindu wedding ceremony at its core is essentially a Vedic ritual. The primary witness of a Hindu marriage is the fire-deity (or the Sacred Fire) Agni, in the presence of family and friends. The ceremony is traditionally conducted entirely, or at least partially in Sanskrit, considered by Hindus as the language of holy ceremonies. The local language of the bride and groom is also blended in.
Mehndi is the application of Henna as a temporary form of body art sometimes called Henna Tattoos. Come have your hands adorned with intricate traditional patters, at minimal cost.
Visit the exhibit on the 2nd floor of Belk Theater to browse through works of Indian literature and non-fiction books on food, travel, culture and history. Books are available for purchase at discounted rates.
A very sensuous garment worn by women, the Sari consisting of a length of lightweight fabric with one end wrapped about the waist to form a skirt and the other draped over the shoulder or covering the head. Come to this exhibit and learn how to put on this native attire that flatters any shape!