India cultural diversity in design

By Flora Richardson and Angelique Flores


India is an independent country located in the North-eastern hemisphere in the continent of Asia.


India is divided into 6 separate regions.

  1. North India
  2. West India
  3. South India
  4. East India
  5. Central India
  6. Northeast India

New Delhi

The capital city of India, New Delhi was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, [6] by Viceroy and Governor-General of India Lord Irwin.


According to a census conducted in 2013, India's population is 1.252 billion. Ranking India as the second most populated country in the world, behind China.


"India is home to an extraordinary variety of climatic regions, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The nation's climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert"

Climate of India. (n.d.). Retrieved from


  1. Winter, occurring from December to March.
  2. Summer or pre-monsoon season, lasting from April to June (April to July in northwestern India).
  3. Monsoon or rainy season, lasting from July to September.
  4. Post-monsoon or autumn season, lasting from October to November.


Hindi, English, and 21 other officially


"According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practices Hinduism and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining 6% adheres to other religions (Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths)"


  • Oldest living religion in the world and 3rd largest
  • Traced back 5000-7000 bc
  • originated (INDIA).
  • Hinduism is known as 'a way of life'
  • All living creatures have a soul The soul is believed to be eternal.
  • The goal of life in Hinduism is to attain salvation, or MOKSHA..
  • Hinduism has many gods and goddesses,
  • Hinduism has over 1.1 Billion followers today which is over 15% of the world population.
  • Nepal, India and Mauritius have majority Hindu population.
  • BRAHMA - The creator of all Universe.
  • VISHNU - The Preserver or Protector of the Universe.
  • SHIVA - The Destroyer of the Universe.

ये देवासो दिव्येकादश स्थ पृथिव्यामध्येकादश स्थ ।अप्सुक्षितो महिनैकादश स्थ ते देवासो यज्ञमिमं जुषध्वम् ॥११॥[111]

O ye eleven gods whose home is heaven, O ye eleven who make earth your dwelling, Ye who with might, eleven, live in waters, accept this sacrifice, O gods, with pleasure – Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith[112]

Gods who are eleven in heaven; who are eleven on earth; and who are eleven dwelling with glory in mid-air; may ye be pleased with this our sacrifice. – Translated by HH Wilson[113]

— Rigveda 1.139.11


  • Submission
  • Muslim=one who submits
  • To allah (arabic word for god)
  • Obey the words of the Quran and teachings and examples of Islam's prophet muhammad found in the Hadeeth


Dance and music




Makeup/ body painting

weddings/ partys

As one of the most populated countries in the world and the amalgamation of some of the oldest civilizations known to mankind, Indian culture is extremely diverse and rich in history. India is so ethnically and culturally unique, its lifestyle varies between all walks of life.

Different regions have their own distinct cultures. Language, religion, food and the arts are just some of the various aspects of Indian culture.


  • 1858- The British overthrow the Moguls and take control of India
  • 1947 AD - India became independent from British Rule
  • 1947 AD - Partition of India & Pakistan. (they become two separate countries)

Influential leaders.

October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India

"Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India"

Social and Political Conditions

Politics in India take place within the framework of its constitution, as India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic, in which the President of India is the head of the country and the Prime Minister of India is the head of the government.


Since India is extremely rich in its culture, its architecture is very much reflective by the country’s social climate. Many of the motifs featured on traditional Indian facades include references to religious beliefs and were commissioned by various ruling empires through India’s history. For example, the Taj Mahal was commissioned by “the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife Mumtāz Maḥal” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015).

Ancient Indian structures, such as temples, were also very highly influenced by the dominant religion - Hinduism. Hindu systems of architecture like Vastu Shastra dictated the urban planning and architecture in India. Vastu Shastra outlined architectural theories and spatial relationships; buildings were to be configured like the mandala. (The mandala is a Hindu motif that is representative of the universe.) This system of architecture was not exclusive to India; it was also applied to many other Hindu temples around the world, such as the Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Renowned Architects

  • Charles Correa Associates. (2013) [Untitled Photo of Charles Correa]. [Online image]. Retrieved December 11, 2016 from
  • Well known for his designs that successfully fuse traditional Indian architecture and modernism.
  • He considered India’s climates and city landscape and integrated modernist styles while designing buildings
  • “Correa has played a pivotal role in the creation of an architecture and urbanism for post-war India” (ArchDaily, 2013)

Design Elements and Principles

Goals for this section

Analyze each element and principle in relation to India’s historical and cultural context, while also using visual examples.



Line - (Actual Lines, Implied Lines, Psychic Lines)

Various lines are seamlessly integrated into the Indian architecture and design; traditional and modern.Both orthogonal and curvilinear actual lines are found all throughout Indian structures. Psychic lines divide the space; central courtyards and rooms are divided by orthogonal lines when in plan view.

Shape and Form

Shape and Form - (Geometric, Natural, Abstract, and Nonrepresentational)

Indian design and architecture features a blend of geometric and natural shapes. Geometric shapes are often obvious in the building’s facade. Many Indian structures have a very symmetrical balance - therefore geometric shapes (such as squares, rectangles, pointed arches) are easily distinguishable. Natural shapes are found on the wall details and in the images of Hindu motifs.



  • India has always been known profoundly for their persistent utilization of colour. From clothing and traditional makeup to art and architecture. These beautiful and eye catching colours that give India it’s memorable reputation are all symbolic and relate to every aspect of life in India, from religion, to politics, festivals, and celebration. Despite India’s difference among regions, religions, ethnic background and diversity of life, they all share one thing in common and that is there consistent use and appreciation for colour.
  • From exploring the history and culture of India, I learnt a great deal about the symbolic meaning behind each colour.


  • Throughout various Indian structures, both visual and tactile texture is incorporated.
  • Traditional Indian architecture tends to include highly detailed tapestries, textiles, wall carvings, and sculptures in their design.
  • When viewed from a distance, the building’s facades tend to look rough and rugged. Upon close inspection, the structures use raw materials such as stone, which are gritty to the touch.



Symmetrical balance is a key, distinguishable feature in Indian architecture. Iconic pointed arches are arranging in a symmetrical manner, and the many Indian structures are almost perfectly mirrored.



  • The buildings are generally emphasized as a whole. As their balance is proportionate and often symmetrical there would draw ones eye to the building as a whole. Each part was created with such detail.
  • There is no centralized focal point, however, the building itself has an intense amount of visual interest that it becomes the focal point itself in comparison to its surrounding landscape.


Rhythm - (Alternation, Gradation, Repetition)

Repetition - Indian architecture often includes pointed arches arranged in an arcade. Rhythm is created through the repeated pattern of arches aligned in succession. Gradation - Gradation is evident through the corbelled tops of Indo-Hindu temples.

Scale and Proportion

Traditional buildings have a certain ‘larger than life’ aspect. In terms of scale, these architectural feature columns, arches, and ceiling heights. Despite this, many buildings are extremely proportionate and symmetrical

India Meets Canada

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto, Canada

Date 29 July 2007, 21:00:00,_Toronto.jpg





Created with images by Arian Zwegers - "Amritsar, Golden Temple" • sara marlowe - "Goa Textiles" • pradippal - "indian flag flag india" • Hari Singh - "IMG_7204" • mckaysavage - "India - Chennai - busy T. Nagar market 2" • VinothChandar - "Against the wind | Chennai Marina Beach" • suffering_socrates - "Along Mullayanagiri ..." • jmhullot - "Tangbe, Upper Mustang" • Biswajit Das Kunst - "Holi khele nand-lala" • nevil zaveri (thank you for 10 million+ views :) - "calligraphy, agra" • sambeet - "hinduism ganesh worship" • Trocaire - "India 3 Gender 3" • Arian Zwegers - "Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple, Bharatanatyam dancers" • tnitingopal - "Swasthik" • Christoph Rooms - "Angkor Wat - Siem Reap" • H.anadi - "Quran" • Peggy_Marco - "cow beach goa" • dhilung - "Yosemite Valley" • Boston Public Library - "The Whitehall pump" • Manitoba Historical Maps - "Map of the Province of Manitoba and Part of the District of Kewatin and North West Territory (1876)" • Lord Jim - "June2011 1169" • MonicaVolpin - "indian hindu culture" • Norm_Bosworth - "indian art petroglyph native american" • Jorge Lascar - "Jaipur, the Pink City" • Photocurry - "colors floor festival" • dalbera - "Le palais Hindola Mahal (Mandu, Inde)" • Arian Zwegers - "Borobudur" • dalbera - "Le fort Ahilya de Maheshwar sur le fleuve Narmada (Inde)" • dalbera - "Les ghats de Maheshwar sur le fleuve Narmada (Inde)" • VinothChandar - "Camouflaged!" • Carrie Kellenberger I globetrotterI - "The Colorful Streets of Little India, Singapore" • dalbera - "Le temple de Vitthala (Hampi, Inde)" • VinothChandar - "Holy Week @ Santhome Basilica, Chennai (HDR)" • dalbera - "Pavillon du Jahaz Mahal (Mandu, Inde)" • VinothChandar - "The Chennakesava Temple of Somnathpura" • vikamartins - "travel india desert" • Cuyahoga - "india amritsar golden temple" • BANITAtour - "india shree swaminarayan temple white temple" • psaudio - "india temple city" • DEZALB - "india rajastan jaipur" • Unsplash - "taj mahal india monument" • DEZALB - "india delhi mosque" • BPPrice - "ancient shadows" • cascayoyo - "monastery ladakh india" • isowan990 - "india jaipur strength"

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