A little information about the country that one intends to visit or that one has visited often allows us to put into context the past or future emotions specific to each trip. A little history or anecdotes are often welcome ... This is what you can find on this page dedicated to India. But nothing like (short) videos to get a more precise idea of the places visited or to visit. Beside is a list of the videos edited from the photographic material I brought back from the trips
You just have to click on the image to access the page giving more information on the place treated in the video and of course, to see this video ...
If India is currently a huge confederation covering an entire subcontinent and has 28 states with 6 more "territories", the country has behind it a very long history that it is not useless to have in mind when we visit this wonderful country.
Spiritual life is very important in India and each community has built temples, each more spectacular than the next, to the delight of photographers ...
India is the cradle of several religions.
Among the religions born in India, there are:
The origin of Hinduism goes back to the dawn of time. The majority religion in India, Hinduism recognizes neither founder nor dogma. It does not have stable institutions and the texts are not the same for everyone. An institution that is difficult for a Westerner to understand. What unites the Hindu devotees is the deep belief in two fundamental principles: the universe is based on truth and man is composed of a perishable body and an eternal soul reincarnating itself indefinitely.
Hinduism recognizes 7 sacred cities in India. These 7 cities are: Varanasi (Benares), Ayodhya and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Dwarka in Gujarat, Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
Jainism originated around the 6th century BC. This religion, reaction to certain excesses of the Brahmans, is a doctrine which advocates rigorous austerity and where humans must find for themselves the way to salvation. If the gods exist, they are not there to help humans. For the Jains, plants, animals, humans and rocks are all endowed with a soul. A Jain cannot in any case attempt a life, whatever it is. This is why the jains always wear a mask in front of the mouth in order to avoid swallowing an insect. And they walk around with a small broom to keep insects out of their way and thus avoid crushing them.
Buddhism originated around the 5th century in northern India. It was in Bodhgaya (in the state of Bihar) that Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha. The idea of Buddhism is that human suffering is generated by desire and that its suppression allows one to escape the eternal cycle of reincarnations. Buddhism also has some holy places in India. Among these, Bodhgaya where Buddha attained enlightenment and Sarnath where he delivered his first speech.
If India saw the birth of this religion, it has practically disappeared from the country and remains in the majority only in the Himalayan states such as Sikkim and Ladakh or even the north of West Bengal.
Much more recent than the first three, Sikhism originated in the 15th century as a reaction to the caste system. The initiator of this new religion is Guru Nanak, the first guru of Sikhism. He was followed by 9 others, the last being Guru Gobind Singh. Believing that all was said, all the precepts of the Sikh religion were recorded in a book. This book, guru Granth Sahib, is considered a human being in its own right. As such, he sleeps in a bed, can die and be reborn. Sikhs recognize a single god and their basic tenets are honesty, equality of all beings and service to society.
Faithful Sikhs are recognizable by their beard and uncut hair and the colored turban they wear at all times.
Other "imported" religions are also present on Indian soil: Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
But the gods are not the only ones to have shaped India and the temples are not the only remarkable monuments to visit in this immense country. The history of men is also very rich.
It seems that the first humans settled in India over 60 to 70,000 years ago.
The first traces of true civilization in India date back to the second millennium BC when the people of the Indus Valley developed an urban culture based on agriculture and trade with Mesopotamia.
So little concrete things are known about this northern Indian civilization, it can be safely said that it was around this time that the founding texts of Hinduism came into being.
Before the 3rd century BC, 16 kingdoms shared the subcontinent and during this 3rd century the Magadha kingdom became the main entity by annexing other states. But it was the Maurya Empire that managed to unite the entire subcontinent, with the exception of the extreme south, under a single crown. One of the kings of this dynasty, Ashoka, embraced Buddhism and enabled the rise of Bodhgaya among others. On Ashoka's death, the territory was again fragmented, allowing the Greek Alexander the Great to cross the Indus and occupy large territories corresponding to Punjab and Gujarat. The Greek presence in India favored trade with the peoples living around the Mediterranean.
India knew many invaders and among these a dynasty created the Kushan Empire which stretched from Tajikistan to the Caspian Sea and from Afghanistan to the north and the Ganges valley to the south. It was at this time that the first Silk Road between China and the Roman Mediterranean was created.
As was the case in Europe, medieval India was made up of a mosaic of small kingdoms with borders fluctuating with incessant wars. In the 4th and 5th centuries AD, northern India was unified under the Gupta dynasty and it was at this time that the golden age of Hinduism began. The Gupta dynasty ended up disappearing, either because of incessant internal wars, or because of the Huns. History has not decided between these two hypotheses.
the muslim conquest
The first Muslim conquests date back to 712 with the capture of Sindh (in present-day Pakistan). However, the advance of the Muslims towards the north was stopped for 3 centuries in the face of resistance from the Hindu troops. The central plateau (the Dekkan) remains safe from Muslim incursions and a great empire, that of Chalukya covers a large part of West and Central India.
Turks and Afghans invaded India in the 10th and 11th centuries establishing sultanates in the north of the territory. During this time, in the South of the Hindu dynasties remain in power. The Cholas and the Vijayanagar rule over southern India and maintain more or less peaceful relations with the Muslim north.
the Mughal empire
The defeat of the last Sultan of Delhi by Babur, descendant of Tamerlane marks the foundation of the Mughal Empire in 1526. The Mughal Empire marks the height of Muslim expansion in India and its boom will last until the end of the reign of Aurangzeb in 1707. Then the empire will experience a slow decline. It was at this time that Europeans arrived in India with colonialist intentions.
European history in India begins with the installation of British, Dutch, French and Portuguese trading posts. But very quickly the British, through the English East India Company, carve out the lion's share. Behaving like a triumphant invader, the British take control and plunder the wealth of a growing part of the subcontinent.
The British occupation will last until independence from India in 1947.