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SMU Libraries

Understanding India: Culture, Sports and Cuisines

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on India.

At A Glance



The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.


These videos show the distinct cultures, belief, values, and norms of India.

Local Culture

Popular Sports

Cricket, Field Hockey, Football (Soccer), Badminton, Tennis, Kabaddi, Track and Field (Athletics), Chess

Traditional Sports

Kho-Kho — the team that takes lesser time to tag all the opponent players wins the game.

Ball Badminton — a racket game native to India, played with a yellow ball made of wool, similar to Badminton.

Mallakhamba — a traditional Indian sport, where athletes perform various types of gymnastics moves and hold various poses on a vertical wooden pole or a rope.

Mallakhamba — a traditional Indian sport, where athletes perform various types of gymnastics moves and hold various poses on a vertical wooden pole or a rope.

Kalaripayattu — an ancient martial art from Kerala, India.

The video explores how the Indian government is trying to change people's toilet habits. 

Learn more about some interesting facts about India in this video. 



Dosa is the South Indian version of a crepe. It is made using a batter made of fermented rice and lentils and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Chennai cuisine is incomplete without dosas. Some amazing varieties of the dish include ragi dosa, cholam dosa and dry fruits dosa.

Fish Curry

The distinct flavours of coconut and coconum lend a delicious taste to this special Thiruvananthapuram delicacy. The Kerala meen (fish) curry generally calls for kodampuli, a kind of Malabar tamarind, which is soaked in water and added in a sort of runny broth to the dish.

Malabar Parotta

Malabar parotta is usually eaten with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, and is a variant of the North Indian “lachha paratha”, or the Malaysian “roti cannai”. This unleavened flatbread is usually drenched in yummy curries like chicken Chettinad, and other meaty stews to cut the spice of the dish, while adding an element of crispiness to it.


A popular breakfast item that is sometimes served with coconut chutney as well. Combination of flour, water and salt, it is usually served with hot egg curry. Rice flour is pressed into noodles and steamed to create soft, mildly flavoured strings that are best paired with spicy curries and stews. It is known as “putu mayam” in Malaysia and “putu mayang” in Indonesia.

Puttu With Kadala Curry

One of the most popular recipes in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the dish is made of steamed rice and decorated with coconut shavings and served with black chickpeas, cooked in a spicy coconut gravy and a general helping of red chillies and mustard seeds.

Arroz Doce

Arroz doce is sweetened rice pudding that’s served on auspicious occasions like Christmas Eve. It is sometimes spiced with cinnamon and is a delicious treat for every lover of sweet treats.


Bedai is a deep fried puffy bread, which is accompanied by a spicy potato gravy and a helping of yoghurt. It is of two types—sweet and spicy - and is often eaten with jalebi (syrupy sweet). In areas around Delhi, it is known as bedmi and makes for a sumptuous breakfast meal.


Check out the myriad of Indian Street Food in Mumbai.

The Caste System in India is a three-thousand-year-old Hindu system that is still affecting Indians to this day. Let's find out more from this video.

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