It’s illegal in India for kids to leave their parents in the lurch after they retire, and this law is just one example of the value of family and culture in Indian society. India’s Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act ensures that children care for their parents in their old age.
Parents can take legal action against their kids should they feel neglected or mistreated. Food for serious thought, particularly when we keep hearing cases of elder abuse in many countries. Although the family is everything, and it’s heartening to see India’s laws reflect it, things aren’t all rosy since the implementation is never easy.
Open Air Crematoriums
Hinduism says the soul must be released from the body for reincarnation, which is why traditional open-air cremations are still prevalent, despite the rise of eco-friendly electric crematoriums. Many Indians prefer open-air cremations to honor loved ones who have passed, as the ceremony is steeped in centuries of spiritual tradition.
Only close family and friends observe the cremation, after which a person’s ashes are ceremonially scattered in a river. In the holy city of Varanasi, funeral pyres have burned for thousands of years – a powerful and humbling sight. The rising flames and smoke are a somber reminder of fleeting human existence.
The Largest Community Kitchen in the World
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, is famous for its beauty and chequered history, but for people in Punjab, the site is a symbol of communal harmony and unity. Among the most fascinating aspects of the Golden Temple is the “Langar” - a free vegetarian meal served to everyone who visits the temple, regardless of religion, caste, or social status.
The Langar is a concept unique to Sikhism, and it is the largest community kitchen in the world. Every day, the Golden Temple serves over 50,000 people; during special occasions, the number can go up to 100,000. The Langar is an embodiment of the Sikh principle of “seva,” which means selfless service, and what’s more, the Langar is entirely volunteer-driven.
Home to Tigers and Lions in the Wild
India is the only country in the world where tigers and lions live in the wild. The Royal Bengal tigers have distinctive orange coats with black stripes, and they blend beautifully into their surroundings. Spotting a tiger in the wild is difficult for the untrained eye, but with some luck, you might catch a glimpse while on a safari.
Asiatic lions inhabit Gujarat's Gir Forest National Park, where they roam freely and hunt for prey. Asiatic lions may be smaller than their African counterparts but are just as majestic and fierce. Like the tigers, Asiatic lions are also endangered, with only a few hundred left in the wild.
India’s Experimental Township
In the heart of Tamil Nadu lies a unique township called Auroville. Founded in 1968, Auroville is unlike any other in the world, a town that defies the norms of society as we know it. Religion as a concept does not exist here. Everyone contributes to the collective welfare of the town through work, kindness, and sometimes money – although money never changes hands inside Auroville.
The experimental community has people from all walks of life and cultures exchanging ideas and building meaningful, harmonious lives together. It is home to people from over 50 different countries. The ultimate goal is sustainability, eco-friendly living, and a world free from barriers.