neoncarrot India travelog home
site last updated
neoncarrot India travelog home neoncarrot India travelog about india neoncarrot India travelog travel map of India neoncarrot India travelog articles and essays index neoncarrot India travelog photo gallery index neoncarrot India travelog hints and tips index neoncarrot india journal and weblog index neoncarrot India travelog contact
orange line
neoncarrot graphic
 
 
 Home
 Site map
 Recently added
 About neoncarrot site
 Copyright
 Contact us
 
 About India index...
 India in brief
 India news picks
 Festival dates 2008
 Glossary
 
 India travel map
 Indian states map
 Himachal Pradesh map
 Kullu Valley map
 
 Recommended index...
 States: Goa
 States: Karnataka
 States: Kerala
 Places to go: Benaulim
 Places to go: Manali
 
 India statistics, facts ...
 Telecom & IT stats
 Indian economy stats
 India tourism statistics
 
 Hints and tips index...
 Internet in India
 Things to buy in India
 
 Gallery index...
 Manali Winter Carnival
 Goa photos
 South West Coast
 Backpacking trip
 
 Books fiction
 Books non-fiction
 Indian film reviews
 Film review: Gandhi
 
 Article index...
 The Ramayana
 Delhi Metro
 Dussehra festival
 
 Journal index...
 India blog
 Photo diary
 India diary: weddings
 
 Links / resources
 India travelog links
 Suggest a link
 
 About us
 Where we are
 Contact us
 
 Desktop wallpaper
 Site use conventions
 Site feedback
 Report broken links
 Copyright
 Disclaimer
 
 
 
home  > about india index > glossary

Glossary of Indian terms and expressions

Definitions of some useful words, phrases, abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in India.

Click on a letter to jump to the relevant section
 a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k   l   m 
 n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z 

a

accha:
"good", "all right", "okay", or frequently "I get it"
Agni:
Vedic God of fire
AIIMS:
All India Institute of Medical Sciences. India's elite medical college, based in New Delhi.
amrit:
nectar of immortality
Ananda:
joy, bliss
Anjaneya:
another name for the monkey god Hanuman.
anna:
coin, a sixteenth part of a rupee; no longer in circulation
Arjuna:
hero of the Mahabharata, recipient of Krishna's teachings of the Bhagavad Gita
Artha:
wealth; pursuit of material gains by lawful means; one of the four goals of a Hindu's life
arti:
worship, prayer, puja
Aryan:
(lit. Sanskrit: "noble"), people who immigrated to the North of India three to four thousand years ago
asana:
seated position (religious connotations, i.e. in Yoga)
ashram:
(lit.: "hermitage") spiritual retreat; home of a religious community
asura / assura:
demon (origin: probably from "Assyrian"); enemies of the Vedic gods
Atharvaveda:
the fourth of the four Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures)
auto-rickshaw:
noisy, usually fume spitting three wheeled "taxi"
avataar:
incarnation of a deity, such as "Buddha was the 9th incarnation of Vishnu"
Ayodhya:
town in Uttar Pradesh, supposed birth place of God Ram; site of torn down Babri Masjid; see Ayodhya dispute page
ayurveda:
Indian herbal medicine

b

baba:
Indian wandering holy man, also called a sadhu
babu:
suffix which used to be added to the (usually first) name of a person when addressing somebody formally
baiji, bai:
professional singer or dancer, a courtesan
baksheesh:
can be a tip, a bribe or a donation to a beggar.
bandh:
general strike
banyan:
Indian fig tree
Baramaha:
name of composition in Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book), composed by different Sikh Gurus
Bhagavad Gita:
Hindu "Song of the Divine One"; Krishna's teachings to Arjuna written as a long poem; part of the Mahabharata; important religious text in Hinduism
bhakt:
lit. devotee, devoted; see also Ram bhakt
bhakti:
mystic devotion
bhang:
narcotic made from cannabis leaves, particularly popular when mixed with lassi
Bharat:
Hindi name for India
bhatta:
wok shaped metal pans, carried on the head in the Punjab
bidi:
a tiny amount of cheap tobacco wrapped in a leaf, tied with some string; contains hardly any nicotine but hideous amounts of tar
bindi:
forehead mark worn by Hindus
bodhi tree:
the fig tree beneath which the Buddha gained enlightenment
Bodhisattva:
"Essence of enlightenment"; compassionate beings on the threshold of enlightenment
Brahma:
Hindu God, creator, source of all existence
Brahman:
absolute truth and universal soul in Hinduism; spiritual essence underlying all reality. All gods and the world are aspects of Brahman; (not to be confused with Brahma, who is one aspect of Brahman); sometimes spelt as Brahm- or Brahma
Brahmana:
one of the four sections of each of the four Vedas, dealing with the significance of the hymns within the Vedas
Brahmin:
highest of the Hindu caste, caste of priests
Brahmo Samaj:
"Society of God", movement for religious and social reform founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1832, which rejects external rituals but believes in inner spirituality
Buddha:
"Awakened One", originator of Buddhism (app. 600 BC); by Hindus considered as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu
bukari:
wood and coal burning stove/oven

c

CBI:
Central Bureau of Investigation. India's national investigations agency, reporting to central government and dealing with high profile criminal cases and matters of national security.
chai:
sugary milky tea. The best is usually made all milk with no water.
chakra:
Vishnu's discus; also wheel (i.e. from a chariot or as depicted on the India national flag)
chana chaat:
salad of boiled chickpeas and potatoes with tomato, onion and spices
chandala:
member of the untouchable caste, who often dispose of unclaimed dead bodies
Chandi:
another manifestation of Goddess Kali or the Devi in her war-like aspect
chapati:
flat round unleavened bread
chappals:
sandals
charas:
hash made of the resin of the buds of the female cannabis plant.
chello / chalo:
"Go away!" or "Let's go!"
chillum:
conical upright pipe to smoke charas (and sometimes tobacco)
chorten:
Tibetan term for stupa (Buddhist monument or memorial)
choungri:
duster for god idol (made of yak hair)
chowk :
intersection or sometimes town square.
chowkidar:
caretaker, watchman
crore:
10 million
crorepatti:
millionaire

d

dacoit:
bandit, robber
darshan:
viewing of a deity; audience with someone
Dasshera:
see Dussehra
deodar:
Himalayan cedar
Deva:
God
Devta / Devata:
village god, local deity
Devi:
Goddess; respectful suffix to woman's name
dhaba:
cheap eating place, often on the road side
dharamsala:
pilgrim's rest house
dharhachh:
metal pot with coals of sandalwood as incense, locally often translated as "smoky thing, used during prayer times
dharma:
code of morals or behaviour adhered to by Hindus and Buddhists; righteous living as one of the four goals of a Hindu's life
dhol:
big drum
dhoop:
incense, looks like charas and is sometimes sold as such to unsuspecting tourists
dhoti:
cloth wrapped around the waist and pulled up between the legs, worn by Hindu men in the South/Plains
didi:
elder sister, also used to address elder woman respectfully (only if on familiar terms with her)
Diwali:
Hindu festival of light
dosa:
large crispy lentil flour pancake, served with chutney
dowry:
money and presents given at marriage time by a bride's parent to their son-in-law's family (illegal, but very often practiced)
dravida:
temple style prevalent in South India
dupatta:
scarf for head or shoulders, worn by women
durbar:
court
Durga:
Goddess, "the Inaccessible", another form of Kali, riding a tiger, major goddess of the Sakti cult
Dussehra:
(also Dasshera) Hindu festival in (mostly) October celebrating God Rama's victory of good over evil (see Dussehra 2002 article)

e

eve-teasing:
India’s somewhat polite and fluffy term for sexual assault or harassment

f

FIR:
First Information Report, generally a complaint lodged with the police by a victim of crime, containing details of the offense

g

gaddi:
nomadic tribe of hill shepherds
Gadotkatsh:
also Gatotkatsh or Gadhotkatch, God in form of a tree (in Manali), son of Goddess Hadimba and Bhima (super strong man in the epic Mahabharata); responsible for wind and storm
ganara:
smallish drum
Gandharva:
a supernatural being
Ganesh:
God of wisdom and prosperity; elephant headed son of Shiva and Parvati
ganja:
marijuana
garbagriha:
(also garba-griha) inner sanctum of a Hindu temple
Garuda:
mythical bird; Vishnu's vehicle; also Indonesia's national airline
ghat:
slope or flight of steps down to a river; range of hills
ghatak:
marriage broker, matchmaker
ghii / ghi:
clarified butter
Gitanjali:
"Song of offerings", famous poem by Rabindranath Tagore
gnana:
wisdom, perception
gompa:
Buddhist monastery
gondi:
special bell (and the bell ringer) which is rung to announce the arrival of gods (Himachal Pradesh)
gopis:
milkmaids who adore the flute playing Krishna
Granth Sahib:
The Sikh holy book which is also the last Sikh Guru
Gur:
person, who can communicate with god and who acts as the village god's or goddess's mouthpiece; in Manali always male, the Gur can be female in other villages. When speaking to the god or goddess the Gur enters a trance. Could be roughly translated with medium or shaman.
guru:
teacher (lit. Sanskrit: "goe": darkness, "roe": to dispel)
Guru Granth Sahib:
The Sikh holy book which is also the last Sikh Guru
Gurudwara:
also Gurdwara; Sikh temple
Gurupurabs:
Sikh festivals which mark certain events in the lives of the Sikh Gurus

h

Hadimba:
Goddess, another form of Kali; chief Goddess of the Kulu Valley
haj:
pilgrimage to Mecca
Hanuman:
Hindu monkey god; friend and helper of Rama in the Ramayana.
Harijan:
(lit. "child of God") Gandhi's term for an Untouchable (somebody from the Scheduled Caste), now usually called Dalits
Harmandir:
or Harimandir, another name for the (Sikh) Golden Temple in Amritsar
hartaal:
general strike
haveli:
cluster of houses built around a central courtyard
Hawala:
(also Hundi)traditional system for transfer of money over long distances. Hit the international headlines in the 1990's with the "Hawala scandal" involving payments allegedly made to top Indian politicians by the Jain brothers.
henna:
herbal or chemical, used for dying hair (black or red) and for producing intricate patterns on the palm of the hand and feet of a bride
hijra:
eunuch
Hindutva:
"Hindu-ness"; a term used by Indian political parties (such as the BJP, the current party of Government) and politico - religious groups (such as the RSS, VHP, Sangh Parivar etc) to describe their notion of India as a Hindu State. The concept has been misused by some politicians to provoke communal violence, and is seen by many to violate the spirit of India's firmly secular constitution.
Holi:
Hindu festival of colours, takes place at the beginning of the spring; people cover each other with coloured powder or water - dangerous time to be on the road!
HPTDC:
Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation
hubble-bubble:
hookah, water pipe

i

IAS:
Indian Administrative Service. The vast civil service bureaucracy that provides administrative service to India's Central and State governments.
ICS:
Indian Civil Service
idli:
South Indian steamed rice dumpling
Id-ul-Fitr:
Muslim festival at the end of Ramadan
IIT:
Indian Institutes of Technology. The collective name for India's seven top institutes of higher education in science and engineering, located at Chennai (Madras), Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai (Bombay) and Roorkee.
Indra:
God of rain, thunder, lightning, war; Vedic chief of all gods.
ISD:
International Subscriber Dialling, used for international telephone calls
ISRO:
Indian Space Research Organisation, headquartered in Bangalore

j

Jagannath:
Lord of the Universe, a form of Krishna
jalebi:
deep fried very sticky sweets, made of sugar, flour and syrup
Jamdagni:
a sage or holy man mentioned in the Indian Epics, in Himachal Pradesh often revered as "Jamlu"
Jamlu:
deity in Himachal Pradesh; see also Jamdagni
jamun:
deep purple fruit, similar to a plum
Janaki:
another name for Sita, the heroine of the Ramayana
-ji:
honorific suffix
jyotirlinga:
self-manifested Shivalingam; according to legends lingams self created from pure light; there are 12 of these in India, the most sacred one in Varanasi

k

kahi:
long slim copper trumpet like instrument (looks like wood)
Kailash / Kailas:
sacred Himalayan mountain, home of God Shiva
Kali:
Goddess, "the Black", recognisable by her black skin, necklace of skulls and often the snakes which surround her.
Kalki:
tenth incarnation of Vishnu (still to come)
kalpa:
a day for Brahma, corresponds to several thousand years on earth
Kalyug:
(also Kali Yuga) age of speed (according to Indian myth the age we currently live in); the era (Yuga) when righteousness and virtue disappear; fear, distress, anger, hunger prevail and the rulers care only about their power and riches.
Kama:
delight of the senses; love; one of the four goals of a Hindu's life
Kama Sutra:
"Aphorism on love", "love formulae" or "treatise on desire"; ancient Sanskrit text in approximately 1250 verses covering psychological, sociological and physical aspects of love and sex. Standard work on love written sometime between the 1st and 6th century AD by Vatsyayana, 1883 translated into English by Sir Richard Francis Burton, although in heavily edited form due to rigid Victorian morals.
Kanyakumari:
"Virgin Maiden", another name for Durga; town at the south tip of India
karma:
cause and effect principle of totting up good and bad deeds affecting your next incarnation. The Hindu or Buddhist equivalent of Judgement day
karnali:
(also karnaali) big ceremonial trumpet of North India, also called in some areas nirkali
kar sewa:
lit. "to do service", religious service done by volunteers as a religious duty, i.e. "Sikh kar sewa" temple water tank cleaning
[see Sikh kar sewa photo gallery]
Kartikeya:
son of Shiva and Parvati, worshipped as a warrior god; also known as Skanda
Kaur:
Sikh female surname, meaning princess
kilta:
conical basket of the North, carried with shoulder straps on the back, used for transporting cow fodder, apples, grass, fire wood, manure etc
kirtan:
Sikh religious songs
Krishna:
8th incarnation of Vishnu, often blue, Arjuna's teacher in the Bhagavad Gita
Krittivasa:
Bengali medieval poet who translated the epic Ramayana from Sanskrit into Bengali
kshatriya:
warrior class; one of the major four caste divisions
KSTDC:
Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation
kumkum:
South Indian term for sindoor, red vermillion powder applied by married women to their forehead or parting of their hair

l

lakh:
100,000
Lakshmana:
(also Laxman) brother of Rama; human incarnation of the Great Serpent Adisesha, in whose coils the God Vishnu rested
Lakshmi:
(also Laxmi) Goddess of beauty and wealth/fortune, consort of God Vishnu
lama:
senior Buddhist monk
langar:
Sikh communal kitchen, serving free food for all devotees in Gurdwaras
lassi:
yogurt drink
lathi:
stick, used by the police
lingam:
phallic emblem of the God Shiva
Lok Sabha:
lower house of the Indian Parliament
lungi:
loosely wrapped loincloth, worn by men

m

madrasa:
(also madrassa) school for teaching of Islam. Controversial in recent times due to the implied connection between some madrasas and Islamic extremism
Maghnad:
son of Ravana
Mahabharata:
ancient Vedic/Sanskrit poem describing the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas; with about 10,000 verses the world's longest work of literature; composed around the 1st millennium BC
Maharaja:
(lit. "Great ruler"), King or prince
mahatma:
lit.: great soul
Mahavishnu:
Supreme God; divides himself into the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva)
Mahishasura:
demon killed by Durga; half buffalo & half man
mahout:
elephant rider/minder
maidan:
flat piece of ground; grassy area in a town
mala:
necklace made of beads, used for meditation (counting the beads during praying)
mandala:
circle, symbolises the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism
mandir:
Hindu or Jain temple
mangal sutra:
necklace worn by married women, made of black beads
Manmatha:
god of love
mantra:
a sacred formula or verse; sacred chant used in meditation
Manu:
first man on Earth
mark:
(hindi) silver mask of god idol
masala:
mix (usually spices)
masjid:
mosque, lit. "place for prostration"
mata:
mother
Matrika:
Mother Goddess
maya:
illusion
mela:
religious festival, a fair
Meru:
Himalayan mythical mountain
minaret:
tower attached to a mosque; used by muezzin to call faithful Muslims to prayer - or nowadays often attached with a loudspeaker to do the same job
moksha:
salvation
momo:
Tibetan pasta wrapped around vegetable or meat, vaguely similar to big Ravioli without the sauce
monal:
pheasant; protected in HP
monsoon:
rainy season; originates from Arabic for "season"
more:
silver mask of god idol, (Kulvi language lit.: "face")
mormuth:
duster for god idol (made of peacock feathers)
mudras:
hand gestures of Hindu gods and the Buddha, to depict different moods, activities and meanings
muezzin:
somebody who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of the mosque (now very often with loudspeakers and by tape)
mukti:
liberation from the cycle of births and deaths, salvation, same as moksha

n

Naag Devta:
(also Nag devta) snake god
naan:
Indian flat bread cooked in a Tandoor
nadi:
river
nagara:
northern style of temple
nallah:
stream or river valley, gorge (North India)
namaste:
greeting
namaskar:
greeting
namaz:
Muslim prayer
Nanakshahi:
Sikh calendar, introduced 14/03/1999. Era starts with date of birth of first Guru Nanak (Sikh's first Guru) in 1469.
Nandi:
figure of a sacred bull, God Shiva's vehicle, symbol of fertility
Narasimha:
fourth incarnation of Vishnu, a man-lion
Narayan:
(also Narayana) another name for the God Vishnu
Narshinga:
curvy trumpet like instrument
nasha:
intoxication, drunk, stoned; a state given ultimate physical expression by Raj, the owner of Café Manalsu in Old Manali; as in "I am very Nasha"
Nataraj:
(also Nataraja) "Lord of the Dance"; Shiva as the Cosmic Dancer (worshipped especially in South India)
natti:
also nati, traditional dance in the Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh
NCB:
(The) Narcotics Control Bureau. The principal administrators of India's policy on illegal drugs
NDPS:
Abbreviation for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Indian Government policy on illicit drugs, based on Section 47 of the Indian constitution and expressed in the form of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985) and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, (1988). See also NCB
nirkali:
long horns/ trumpets used for religious ceremonies in Himachal Pradesh; also called karnali
nirvana:
state that is the final aim of Buddhists, release from the cycle of existence
Nishan Sahib:
Sikh flag

o

Om:
sacred symbol and syllable in Hinduism and Buddhism

p

paan:
folded leaf, stuffed with betel nut, lime and spices; chewed and red juice spit out, responsible for red wall corners, red pavement stains, red or black or no teeth
Padma:
lotus, another name for Hindu Goddess Lakshmi
pagal:
crazy, fool
paisa:
word for money in general, also a 100th of a rupee
pakora:
savoury snack, potatoes and vegetable in batter deep fried
palki:
palanquin used for carrying god idols in the Kulu Valley
panchayat:
village council
Pandavas:
five brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata
Pandit:
Brahmin priest; respectful title for a Brahmin
paneer:
Indian cheese, a bit like tasteless Feta cheese
parikrama:
walkway (often with colonnades) around a temple compound or temple water tank
Parvati:
Goddess, wife of Shiva, another form of Kali
pattu:
colourful woven blanket (North India, particularly the Kulu Valley), worn by women as a dress
PCO:
Public Call Office
peepul:
Indian fig tree
peshwaz:
costume worn by dancing girl or courtesan
pradesh:
state
pradhan:
head of the village council
prakriti:
nature
Prayag:
ancient name for the city of Allahabad (UP); confluence of the two real rivers Ganga and Yamuna and a third invisible river Saraswati; venue of the Kumbh Mela
PSLV:
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. India's indigenous satellite launch system, utilising both solid and liquid propellant in 4 stages
puja:
worship, Hindu prayers
pukka:
proper, ripe; very popular in the UK as in "fucking pukka innit"
punkah:
ceiling fan; before electricity this was a flat board of cloth oscillated back and forth by a "punkah wallah", basically a guy pulling a cord all day
Puranas:
religious literature, collection of myths and rituals forming the basis of contemporary Hinduism
pushpak vimana:
a vehicle described in the Indian epics which takes passengers through the air, driven by thought; some compare it to the modern airliner
purdah:
(lit.: curtain) women in seclusion

r

Radha:
Krishna's favourite gopi (milkmaid) and lover (her marital status doesn't seem to bother any devout or moral Hindus)
raga:
one of the major elements in Indian classical music; melody
Ragunath:
chief God of the Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, another form of Ram
raj:
rule
Raja:
King
Rajput:
Hindu warrior caste
Rajya Sabha:
upper house of the Indian Parliament
Rama / Ram:
hero of the "Ramayana"; 7th incarnation of Vishnu
Ramadan:
month of fasting for Muslims
Ramayana:
(lit.: "Rama's way"), big Indian epic, attributed to the poet Valmiki (around the 3rd or 2nd century BC); about Rama, his wife Sita and the battle against the evil Ravana of Lanka; see Ramayana in brief .
Ram bhakt:
Hindus devoted to God Ram; often "Ram bhakts" are referred to in Indian newspapers as the Hindus who go to Ayodhya for protests and marches and who want a Ram temple built on the disputed Ayodhya "mosque/temple" site
Rani:
princess
rath:
(Sanskrit lit. chariot) used to carry a god or goddess; either with wheels, also called a "car" or in hilly area (as in Himachal Pradesh) a kind of palanquin, carried by people by poles on their shoulders
Ravana:
demon king of Lanka, defeated by Rama as told in the epic Ramayana
RBI:
Reserve Bank of India; India's Central Bank
Rigveda:
the oldest of the four Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures)
rishi:
a sage
rita:
cosmic order of the world
roti:
flat round unleavened bread
Rudra:
an ancient often angry Vedic deity; probably predecessor of God Shiva

s

Sadhu:
Hindu ascetic, wandering holy man who denounces worldly goods, travels around India (mostly on foot) and lives by "donations"
salwar kameez:
loose, baggy trousers worn under a long shirt worn by women mainly of the North, by young girls of the South or as an alternative to the sari
Samaveda:
the second of the four Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures)
samosa:
triangular fried pastry
samsara:
principle of endless cycle of birth and death (Hinduism and Buddhism)
sanyasi:
an ascetic
Saraswati:
Goddess of speech and learning, wife of Brahma
sari:
Hindu women's dress, single piece cloth, 5m to 9m long and 1m wide wrapped around the body. Impossible to wear gracefully unless you have Indian blood
sarovar:
holy water tank (or pool) around a temple
Sati:
wife of Shiva; self immolation of a woman on her dead husband's funeral pyre (illegal)
satsang:
lecture or discourse by a swami or guru (lit.: sat: "truth", sang: "company")
sevak:
lit. servant, often with religious connotations; i.e."Ram sevak" or the sevak who takes care of the Raja's special horse during the Kullu Dussehra celebrations in Himachal Pradesh
shabad:
Sikh religious hymn
Shaiva:
worshipper of Shiva
shakti:
creative energies perceived as female deities
shahnai:
flute, often used by a temple band at festivals in Himachal Pradesh;
[see image in photo gallery]
shanti:
peace, favourite word by certain tourists to describe peaceful places (when it's not anymore because of them)
shastra:
ancient scriptures, treatise on correct practice
shikara:
a type of all purpose flat bottomed rowing boat used on Kashmiri lakes. Used to ship people to and from house boats, provide pleasure cruises of the lakes, or as floating shops by Kashmiri vendors of tourist trinkets or produce. Shikaras are often elaborately decorated and painted.
shikhara:
spire of Hindu temple
shilpa:
art (Sanskrit)
siddhu:
Himachali local food; pattie shaped steamed dumpling with a filling of nuts, poppy seeds and spices, eaten with ghi (clarified butter)
sindoor:
red vermillion powder applied by married women to their forehead or parting of their hair. Known as "kumkum" in south India
Sita:
heroine of the Indian epic "Ramayana"; an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi
Siva/Shiva:
God of destruction and recreation, one of the "Trimurti" (three main gods)
Singh:
Sikh male surname (lit.: "lion")
sitar:
Indian string instrument
Skanda:
son of Shiva and Parvati; also known as Kartikeya
soma:
divine drink of immortality; the booze of the gods
STD:
Subscriber Trunk, Dialling, used for long distance national calls
stupa:
Buddhist religious monument, normally containing relics of Buddha or his disciples
Sudra:
the lowest of the four main Hindu castes
Sufi:
Follower of Sufism, a mystical branch or sect of Islam which originated in Iran
Surya:
sun god; one of the major Vedic gods
swami:
learned person, Hindu religious teacher; also formerly used as respectful title for husband, (lit.: "Lord of the self", swa: one's true self)

t

tabla:
type of drums
talaq:
A principally Sunni muslim practice of islamic divorce. If you want to get rid of your wife just repeat it three times. The first divorce by SMS was by a Dubai man divorcing hs 26 year old wife
tandoor:
clay oven used for cooking; wood burning oven for heating (and cooking) and occasionally burning the chopped up bodies of victims of dowry killing
tantric / tantra:
esoteric and magic form of occult or religion; nowadays often with sexual connotations
tapas:
(religious) penance
tempo:
noisy three wheeler public transport, similar to an auto-rickshaw but bigger
Thakur:
one of the higher Hindu castes
thali:
tray, steel plate; a plate of simple different dishes (i.e. daal, veg, rice, chapati)
thiik/thiik hai:
"good"/ "is good", okay
Tihar:
Now officially renamed as "Tihar Ashram", Tihar jail is located in the Ashok Nagar area on the outskirts of Delhi. It is India's largest prison complex.
tika:
Hindu mark on the forehead
tikki:
fried potato cakes, served with a spicy chickpea sauce
tirtha:
Hindu pilgrimage, a fort
tirthankar:
great teacher / preserver / revivalist of Jainism; Mahavir is (so far) the last of the 24 Jain tirthankars
tola:
measurement of weight, 11.6 gram
TRAI:
Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India
Trimurti:
Hindu trinity of God: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu
tulsi:
basil, sacred plant, usually to be found in Hindu courtyards

u

Upanishads:
ancient texts, part of the Vedas, Hindu philosophy dealing with the nature of the universe and soul; metaphysical dialogues

v

Vaikuntha:
heaven of Vishnu (made of gold and 80,000 miles in circumference)
Vaishnava:
worshipper of Vishnu or his incarnations, recognisable by horizontal stripes on forehead
Valmiki:
poet around the 3rd - 2nd century BC, author of the Ramayana
Varuna:
Vedic god of the heavens
Vayu:
god of wind
Vedanta:
Hindu philosophy based on the Upanishads
Vedas:
Hindu sacred books originating in the 2nd millennium BC. Four Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva) consisting each of 4 sections (Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyakas, Vedanta); lit. "knowledge"
veena:
Indian string instrument
VHP:
Vishva Hindu Parishad - World Hindu Council
Vishnu:
God of the Trimurti (three main gods), "the preserver or sustainer"
Vyasa:
Hindu sage, who possibly wrote the Mahabharata

w

wallah:
suffix for a person of a certain trade, or from a certain place etc; i.e. rickshaw-wallah (rickshaw driver), chai-wallah (tea seller), Delhi-wallah (a person from Delhi)

y

yagya:
sacrifice
Yajurveda:
the third of the four Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures)
yaksha:
demi god
Yama:
god of death
yatra:
pilgrimage
yoga:
while commonly perceived as a form of combined physical exercise and meditation, more serious minded practitioners might suggest it's a means of "joining the individual soul to the universal soul" or perhaps the "cessation of the fluctuations in consciousness".
Yoni:
Vagina symbol, worshipped in conjunction with the lingam to symbolise the male and female creative power of the God Shiva.
yuga:
divine or celestial measurement of time; 1 yuga = 3000 celestial years; 1 celestial year = 3600 human years; therefore 1 yuga = 10,800 human years. See also Kalyug / Kali Yuga.

z

Zamindar:
landlord
zenana:
section in upper-class houses of Muslims or Rajputs reserved for women (seclusion)
 
 Weblog updates
 India blog 29 Sep 04
 Photo diary 24 Jan 09
 
 
 
 India Stats
 national country name: Bharat (Hindi)
 capital: New Delhi
 population: 1.06 billion
 area: 3,166,414 sq km (appr. equiv to Western Europe)
 population density: 310 persons per sq km
 urban: 26.8%
 rural: 73.2%
 GNI (GNP): USD 470 per capita per year
 highest point: 8598m (Kanchenjunga)
 languages: 22 official + 1600 minor languages and dialects (dec2003)
 national language: Hindi
 major languages: 40.2% Hindi; 8.3% Bengali; 7.9% Telugu (1991)
 number of states: 28 + 7 union territories
 money: Indian rupee
 time: GMT + 5,5 hours
 electricity: 240V, 50Hz
 government form: constitutional democracy
 government: Congress party led UPA coalition
 Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh
 President: Pratibha Patil
 religion: 80.5% Hindu, 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.9% Sikh, 0.8% Buddhist, 0.4% Jain, 0.01% Zoroastrian, 1.3% other (2001)
 literacy rate: 64.8% (male 75.3; fem 53.7%) (2001)
 gender ratio: 933 fem to 1000 male (2001)
 child (0-6 yrs) gender ratio: 927 fem to 1000 male (2001)
 life expectancy: 61.5yr male; 62.7yr fem
 daily calories intake: 2,388 per capita
 see full stats page
 
 
 
  [ home | about india | map | articles | photos | hints | journal | contact ]  
Do not follow this link.
neoncarrot is an online personal travelogue of our travel experiences, life in India, backpacking life and chai drinking in the Kulu Valley (also known as the Valley of the Gods) in the Indian Himalaya. The site contains travelling tips and hints, articles and essays, photo galleries, an online journal / weblog and some vital Indian statistics.
 
     
  Neoncarrot's search facility is powered by the Fluid Dynamics Search Engine © 2003