Interesting India Awaits

There is sooooo much more to India than we can learn in our textbook.  For that reason I have created a fun Web Quest to help us discover all the interesting richness of India’s ancient civilizations and culture.  Additionally, I have added some modern links to help enhance our image and understanding of India, its people, its geography, its traditions, and its culture.  All of the links needed for this project will be provided in this Web Quest – Interesting India Awaits.

This Web Quest will help you practice your research and presentation skills, while deepening your knowledge of India and its place among the great ancient civilizations of the world.  You will work in small groups to research a particular topic of “Interesting India Awaits”.    Each person will take his/her own notes on the articles he/she reads.  Pay particular attention to “nuggetizing” the information in the articles - do not rewrite word for word the information.  After you have compiled your individual research notes (these will be collected and graded) you will collaborate with your group and develop a brief oral presentation of your research.  Each group will present their topic to the class. 

Your presentation should include:

·       A summary of the topic you have researched

·       A fact you found particularly interesting and why

·       How the topic you researched relates to other ancient civilizations we have studied (Mesopotamia or Egypt); and/or its relation to other events or occurrences in Indian history; and/or anything we have discussed in class including The Conch Bearer.

The presentation will also be graded based upon these components.  Keep in mind the obstacles and solutions we have discussed about working in groups, but most importantly – HAVE FUN!!!

Here is some general information for everyone to use during their research activities.  Click here for a timeline of India’s history.  This will help you keep all of the events in India’s abundant history in perspective. I’ve also included a brief overview of the culture and food of India.  Lastly, here are some references on the gods and goddesses of India and Hinduism, and a glossary of terms that are included in the readings.

Topics are rated by level of challenge:

*      = Less Challenging

*    = Moderately Challenging

* = Very Challenging!


Topic 1– Symbols of India 

Look here for some basic facts about India.  Do you know the national animal, flower, emblem of India?  Have you ever heard the National Anthem of India?  Click here to discover these answers and more.  What does the Indian flag look like and what does it stand for? 

Topic 2 - The Vedas 

What are the Vedas?  How do they relate to Hinduism? Initially the Vedas consisted of four selections.  Choose one of the sections (Rig, Sama, Yajur, or Athana) from this long article to read, and learn about it and Harappan Civilization.

Topic 3 – Indian Fashion 

What is India fashion?  What are the origins of Indian sarees, makeup and jewelry?  What is Mehndi?  Click here for some detailed pictures and here to learn more.  Do you know what a Bindi is and why women wear it?


Topic 4 – Sports in India 

There were many sports in ancient India.  Many of this sports date back to the Vedic period and are directly related to the ancient Olympics.   Explore here to learn more about sports in India.  Look on the left side of this page and research one of the ‘Traditional Games’ like ‘Kabbadi’ or ‘Kho Kho’ that are unfamiliar to Americans.  Do you know any great Indian Sports figures?  Look here and learn more about one famous Indian sports personality.

Topic 5 – Mahatma Gandhi 

Who is Mahatma Gandhi? Read two accounts of his life and accomplishments and look at some pictures.

Topic 6 – Indian Art 

Start with a timeline of Indian Art so you can see the pictorial evolution of its paintings, architecture and fine art.  Look here to learn about some of the themes in Indian Art and its beginnings in the Harrapan Period.  Indians were also very interested in clay art and painting.

Topic 7 – The Caste System 

What is the caste system and what are its origins in ancient India?  How does the caste system relate to Hinduism and what are some of the myths about the caste system? Lastly, does the caste system have a role in modern India?

Topic 8 – Cities in India – Kolkata 

Where is Kolkata?  What are some interesting facts and statistics about this city?  What is Kolkata’s or Calcutta’s, as it used to be called, history?  Click here to view some pictures of modern Kolkata.

Topic 9 – Cities in India – Mumbai & Bollywood 

Where is Mumbai?  What are some interesting facts or statistics about this city that used to be named Bombay?  Do people from Mumbai and other cities in towns in India like to go to the cinema? Does the modern Indian Film Industry, or Bollywood, as it is commonly called have its roots in ancient customs like the Natya Shastra??

Click here to view some pictures of modern Mumbai.

Topic 10 – Literature  

Learn about early Indian language.  Two of its earliest pieces of literature were the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

Topic 11 – Indian Music 

What is the origin and history of Indian music?  Indian music is influenced by geography.  Learn about instruments and characteristics of the music from the north and south of India.  You can even listen to Indian music while you read if you like.

Topic 12 – Festivals and Holidays of India 

Let’s start off with a 2007 Calendar. Learn about the three major national holidays: Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti.  Indians also enjoy many cultural festivals.  Explore the significance and story behind:  Diwali, Holi – more Holi, Navratri, Dusshera & Durga Puja, and Rathyatra.


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