Prakrit and Pali are the languages belonging to the Middle Indo-Aryan period (600 B.C. to 1000 A.D.). The various Prakrit dialects that were in use include ‘Maharastri’, ‘Sauraseni’, ‘Magadhi’ and ‘Paisaci’. Pali and Ardha-Magadhi are also Prakrits, which were used in early Buddhist and Jain literature. Some well-known early works in Pali include ‘Tripitakas’, ‘Petakopadesa’, ‘Visuddhimagga’ and ‘Milindapanha’.
The Gupta Period (4th-7th A.D.) is often described as “the Golden Age of art and architecture in India”. The initial phase of the Gupta architecture was primarily Buddhist but in the later phase Hindu influence became dominant.
In Indian culture, the body is invested with various meanings. This is reflected in its rich sculptural tradition where a language of poses as well as hand and leg positions developed to convey specific messages. In the past one decade the Indian fashion industry has moved from the embryonic stage to a blossoming take-off. Fashion designers have contributed substantially to the spread of fashion as a driving force, both among Indian consumers and select segments of Western markets. Several institutes like National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Indian Institute of Fashion Technology (IIFT) and other fashion academies have been established
All major religions of the world are represented in India, although India is officially a secular state and has no state religion. India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions — namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Three other major religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in India through the Malabar Coast. India has the largest population of people adhering to Zoroastrianism and Bahai Faith in the world,alhough these religions originated in Persia. Likewise, mainly divergent groups of Islam such as Ismaailis (Bohras), Ahmediyas and Aghakhanis are found in India as also over two dozen different dioceses of Christianity.
It is commonly believed that Christianity was introduced in India with the arrival of St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, at the Malabar Coast in Kerala in 52 A.D. Others contend that the first missionary to arrive in the country was Saint Bartholomew. Christians in India number about 30 million and comprise 2.34% of the Indian population. The arrival of Vasco da Gama in Calicut in 1498 is a landmark event in the history of Christianity in India.
Jews have been living in India for over 2,500 years ever since they first landed on the Malabar Coast of India. Indian Jews fall into five categories: ‘Bene Israel’, ‘Cochinis’, ‘Baghdadi Jews’, ‘Bene Menashe’ (“Manipur Jews”) and ‘Bene Ephraim’ (“Telugu Jews”).
India has a wide range of performing arts spread across its geography ranging from colourful dances to martial art forms.
Socio-Cultural Institutions in India – All India Radio, Allahabad Museum, Bharat Bhavan, Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Dairatul-Maarifil-Osmania, Darul Musannifeen, Darul-Uloom, Deoband, Department of Culture, Doordarshan and Directorate of Film Festivals.
Among the renowned architects & sculptors of India mention may be made of Balakrishna Doshi, Charles Correa, Jashu Shilpi and Raj Rewal. Raj Rewell designed the Asian Games Village between 1980-1982.