Discover the Best of Indian Culture Right Here in the UK
You don’t have to go all the way to India to experience its rich and fascinating culture – you can enjoy it without even leaving the UK.
The UK and India have strong ties going back centuries. In fact, 2017 was celebrated as the UK India Year of Culture, and throughout the year many events were held across the UK, from exhibitions to shows, all exploring India’s heritage. Even Kate and Wills got involved at Buckingham Palace!
If that got you keen to experience more of the vibrant Indian culture in the UK, you have lots of options.
India is known for its exciting and colourful festivals, and some of the biggest Indian festivals are celebrated in cities across the UK.
For example, you might want to take part in Holi, known both as the ‘Festival of Colours’ and the ‘Festival of Love’. This festival celebrates spring’s arrival, and it is famous for the throwing of colourful powders.
In 2018, took place on Thursday 1st March, lasting until the evening of the following day. You can also find small events all over the country, such as the Magic of India Holi Festival, for example.
Perhaps the best way to experience the excitement of Holi, however, is at the Holi Festival of Colours. This will take place in London on Saturday 28th July, and you will need to book tickets ahead. It is an event that travels around Europe to bring the fun of Holi to the European continent, and this will be the sixth time the event is held in London.
Diwali, also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, is another one of the big Indian festivals. It takes place in October or November depending on the year, and it is celebrated in various cities across the UK.
Try Authentic Indian Cuisine
Of course, you can always explore the Indian culture in other ways – and one of the best is to try some Indian food. Indian cuisine has long been popular in the UK – chicken tikka masala was even considered our most popular dish at one point!
Of course, the British variation of many Indian dishes is not always representative of real Indian cuisine. For example, korma has been adapted to suit the British palate over the years, and madras curry was actually invented in British restaurants.
So what are the most authentic dishes you can try in the UK? Chicken tikka (not masala) is one of the most popular, and you might also want to try khichdi, which the the more authentic version of kedgeree. Tandoori chicken is another favourite that is popular in India, and rogan josh comes from the Kashmir Valley.
Where you buy your Indian food will have an impact on how authentic it is. Look around your local area because most towns and cities across the UK have at least one Indian restaurant. You could also attend a cultural event. For example, if you go along to any of the festivals mentioned above, you’re sure to find some tasty Indian food to try.
You could even check your local takeaway. To make it easier, you can find a great selection of Indian takeaways at Deliveroo wherever you live in the UK, so take a look at the extensive list of curries and try something new.
Enjoy the Best of Indian Art
Another way to discover more about Indian culture in the UK is to visit an art exhibition or gallery. There are lots to choose from, but most of the best are in London.
For example, you could visit:
- The Noble Sage in Hampstead, North London, which specialises in Indian contemporary art along with Pakistani and Sri Lankan art.
- Saffron Art, an international auction house in London, which specialises in Indian art and collectables.
- Aabru Art, a London gallery specialising in Indian and African art that offers private viewings.
These are just a few of the ways to explore Indian art, and there are many more galleries that you could visit. Also, keep an eye out for temporary exhibitions in your area.
Experience India in the UK
If you are fascinated by the Indian culture and you want to discover more about it without necessarily travelling all the way to India, remember that you probably don’t have to go far at all.
Whether you try some authentic Indian cuisine, visit an Indian art gallery or get involved in one of the exciting festivals held in the UK, there is plenty you can see and do without venturing far from your home.