India's cultural heritage dates back to 5000 years. Very few countries in the world has a social and religious structure which withstood invasions and persecution and yet kept its identity by being resilient enough to absorb, ignore or reject all attempts to radically change or destroy them. Indian culture is unique because of its diversity and variety in physical, religious, racial, linguistic and artistic fields.
In India religion is a way of life being an integral part of Indian tradition. Many dances, theatrics and folklore are religious and based on Indian mythology and folk legends. One has to have background knowledge of Indian mythology to enjoy and appreciate the Indian Arts
Painting flourished as an art form, from the pre-historic age. The Neolithic man's drawings on the walls of his cave dwellings represent the oldest examples of Indian painting. Paintings on pots discovered from the Harappan Civilization (3000 BC), the cave paintings of Ajantha and Ellora using earth and vegetable dyes (I-V Century AD), wall paintings in the temple of Tanjavoor(I Century AD) and the Kalankari art forms in the Vidharba temple present the refinement in techniques and process.
Indian art is an art of social, political and religious influences which changed with evolving civilizations in all areas of artistic expressions. It is one of the oldest and resilient cultures on earth. It had integrated indigenous and outside influences but kept a unique identity of its own. Like any other art form, painting is also revolving around gods, legends, folklore and nature.
Indian tradition of theatre is rich and evolved with the ancient rituals and seasons of the country. It is believed that Lord Brahma created Natyaveda, the fifth Veda on Natya (action) as a mode of recreation for all class of the society by incorporating words from Rig Veda, music from Sama Veda, action from Yajur Veda and emotion from Adharva Veda. Sage Bharata who perfected the dramatic art and wrote Natya Shastra, a great comprehensive work on the science and technique of Indian drama, dance and music enacted the first drama to the audience of 'Devas'. Through the medium of drama, common man was presented with the Ithihasas, Puranas, and Mythology.
Dance has played an important role in the birth of theatre. According to Natya Shastra, dancing and dramatic representation has an intimate relationship. Drama gradually moved from deficting mythological themes to social issues of today. Cinema and serials on the mini screen are nothing but offshoots of this age old culture.