How Did Ancient India Influence Our Culture Today?

Language, cuisine and religious practices, including yoga, are the three most significant ways the culture of ancient India has influenced modern Western culture. Elements of ancient Indian architecture, art, dance and music are also present in Western culture.

Ancient Indian culture typically refers to elements of several different cultures based in the Indian subcontinent. One of the most recognizable elements of Indian culture outside of India is the practice of yoga. Traditionally, yoga is a mixture of meditation and martial arts that people practiced as part of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jainist religions of India in an effort to enjoy inner peace and harmony. In the Western world, yoga's spiritual significance has receded into the background, and people practice it almost exclusively as a form of exercise and to alleviate health problems.

Cuisine is another element of ancient Indian culture that has had a significant influence on Western culture. The Indian cookbook "The Delight of Mind," written in the 12th century, is one of the earliest written texts that discusses varying meals throughout the year and making use of seasonal ingredients. Indian spices are also some of the most popular around the world. Curry, chili, pepper, mustard seed saffron and cinnamon are all spices native to India.