You cannot find anything distinctive as the ‘culture of Delhi’. This is because, it is a city where people all over India came and settled, incorporating their cultures and traditions. This makes Delhi a perfect microcosm of the entire India; to put simply, it reflects India. The culture of Delhi stands for the culture of all the Indian states. This can be exemplified by its vibrant mood where festivals, paintings, art, jewellery, cuisine, handicrafts, sports and religion form the heart and soul. Its rich diversity and strong religious tolerance celebrates each and every festival with the same fervour and enthusiasm, irrespective of the religion. As it is the capital city, it is the epicentre of politics where decisions are taken and policies are implemented. The city has two sides – with one still living in the memory of those golden days, the other side is more charming and modernised, draws more and more youngsters towards it. Its enchanting charm continues to mesmerise those who have explored it and those who have not.
Arts and Crafts
As the hotbed of empires and dynasties which reined India, Delhi is a cultural centre. As many believe, it is not simply a hodgepodge for traditions, but has its own catalogue of crafts and arts. Delhi is the centre of bamboo products where you get window screens made of bamboo slats and it is coloured with plain or coloured strings. Delhi is also famous for carpets which were made prominent by Mughals. You can also find Kundan jewellery, which were encouraged and patronised by Mughals and meenakari jewellery which was brought to Delhi from Lahore. You can also check out for Navratna (nine precious stones), a setting where these stones are assorted in gold. This skill is practised by Muslim crafts men called saadegars. The city is also famous for ivory carving, leather ware, miniature painting, musical instruments, pottery, shellac bangles, Zari, Gota, Kinari and Zardozi.
Dance and Music
Regarded as the melting pot of culture, Delhi boasts of a great centre for performing arts. The city even claims to have its own Gharana of music. For an ardent follower of dance, he can choose from the varied forms of dance forms, which the Delhi imbibed into its culture.
The people of Delhi are known to be the most hospitable sets of people in India. Belonging to varied communities and different parts of the country, they are multi—lingual and multi-cultural. As Delhi shares border with Haryana and Uttarpradesh, the influence of these states are deeply found in the language and lifestyle of Delhi. Once ruled by many dynasties, Delhi also have the descendents of people who have survived the Turkic, Afghans, Mamluks, Khilji, Tughlaq, Sayyid, Lodi, Mughals, Marathas and the British. Delhi also shoulders the burden of additional population from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttaranchal. In short, Delhi is dominated by Jats, Rajasthanis and Punjabis despite having a strong population of Pakistanis and Immigrants post partition.
A pot-pourii of culture and cuisines, Delhi adapted everything which came into it. Famous for their spice and variety, the cuisine of Delhi is dominated mainly by the Punjabi population and included dishes like chhole bhature. Delhi is also famous for dishes like Makke di roti with sarson ka saag which is another culinary delight. The city also gave all its heart for Mughal dishes like Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, biryani, and sheek and shami kababs. The ‘Kormas’, ‘Kababs’, ‘Biriyanis and ‘Paranthas also form Delhi’s hot favourites. As the city does not a cuisine of its own, it has dedicated its own streets to all the delicacies in India, whether it is south Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, and continental, Italian or Mexican.
Delhi is home to many religions though the predominant ones are Hindus. The city also witnesses a strong Muslim and Sikh population despite having communities of Christians, Jains, Parsis, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. No wonder you find not only temples, mosques and churches but also synagogues. The various linguistic people from India are quite well represented in the city, of which Punjabi, Urdu, Bihari, Bengali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Garhwali, Kannada, North-East, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya and Gujarati are in the same order.
Fairs & Festivals
One of the largest metropolitan cities in India along with a multi-cultural population, Delhi witnesses plenty of festivals including Lohri, Deepavali, Holi, Durga Puja, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Garba, Id-ul-fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Christmas and so on. Kite-flying festival, Basant Panchami, Baisakhi, Maha shivratri, Garden Tourism Festival, Qutub Festival, Rakhi are some of the religious and socially relevant events which Delhi celebrates with the same enthusiasm and fervour.
Delhi is like a salty snack where you get to taste something of everything. With the perfect blending of people from Indian sub continent, it is regarded as a mini-India.