Bilateral brief Bilateral brief

Bilateral brief

Embassy of India


Culture Brief

India-China cultural exchanges date back to many centuries and there is some evidence of conceptual and linguistic exchanges existing in 1500-1000 B.C. between the Shang-Zhou and the ancient Vedic civilizations. During first, second and third centuries A.D. several Buddhist pilgrims and scholars traveled to China. Kashyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna made the White Horse monastery at Luoyang their abode. Ancient Indian monk-scholars such as Kumarajiva, Bodhidharma and Dharmakshema contributed to the spread of Buddhism in China. Similarly, Chinese pilgrims also undertook journeys to India, the most famous among them being Fa Xian and Xuan Zang.

As a mark of the historical civilizational contact between India and China, India constructed a Buddhist temple in Luoyang, Henan Province, inside the White Horse Temple complex which was said to have been built in honour of the Indian monks Kashyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna. The temple was inaugurated in May 2010 by President Pratibha Patil during her visit to China. Besides this, in February 2007, the Xuanzang memorial was inaugurated at Nalanda. In June 2008, joint stamps were released, one stamp depicting the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya and the other depicting the White Horse temple at Luoyang. In order to further academic exchanges, a Centre for Indian studies was set up in Peking University in 2003. Chairs of Indian Studies/Hindi have also been established in Shenzhen University, Jinan University, Fudan University, Guangdong University and in Shanghai International Studies University.

Indian Bollywood movies were popular in China in the 1960s and 1970s and the popularity has been revived in the recent times again. India and China have entered into an agreement on co-production of movies, the first of which based on the life of the monk Xuan Zang hit the theaters in 2016. Recently many Bollywood movies like Dangal, Secret Superstar, Bajrangi Bhaijan, Hindi Medium, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha have been received well.

Yoga is increasingly popular in China. The response to the events organized by Embassy during the International Day of Yoga Celebrations is a testament to the reception for Yoga in China. The latest IDY event was held on 17 June 2023 at Beijing. The event which had a turnout of around 600 participants was also combined with promoting the use of Ayurveda and Millets.

Embassy has also been promoting the use of Millets since 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets. Culture Wing organized various competitions among diaspora, a millet food festival and also a “Millet Round Table” with participation of experts from international organizations and health sector.

Activities of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Beijing

To promote Indian art and culture, the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre was established in 2018 in the Embassy of India, Beijing. It runs various courses throughout the year including Yoga, Indian classical dance and music.

The classes are held at the Cultural Centre five days a week. Experienced teachers appointed by ICCR conduct these classes. More streams of classes are being introduced tapping local resource persons and ICCR scholars. Many students who had learnt music or dance at the Cultural Centre participate in cultural events organised by the Centre regularly.

Cultural Centre takes the lead role in promoting Yoga. Over the years, a large number of Chinese Yoga lovers have participated in our Yoga events to mark the International Day of Yoga. Apart from the teacher of Indian Culture, many Indian Yoga teachers based out of China work with the Mission as local resource persons to spread message of Yoga through-out China.

During the visit of External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj to China in April 2018, a major Hindi Conference was organized in Beijing. The Conference was well attended by teachers and students from different Universities of China where Hindi language is taught. Cultural Centre also organizes Hindi Pakhwada event every year to promote study of Hindi language. Various activities like essay writing, poetry recitation, speech competition are held to engage the Chinese youth in knowing the Hindi language.

Even during the Covid-19 Pandemic, SVCC was active in organizing online concerts and classes. In the later half of 2020, SVCC restarted in-person Yoga and Hindi classes.

From December 2020, every month one Indian movie dubbed in Russian is being screened at SVCC under the banner of Cinema SCOpe for members of SCO family. This has been a successful and long continuing program.

As part of India@75, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav many events are being planned and organized since March 2021 in collaboration with Indian diaspora. In October 2021, a day-long flaghship event was held at India House with bazar, Indian food, Lok Mei Ram exhibition, cultural programs etc celebrating festivities of Dussehra and Diwali with a participation of around 1000 people . A musical ‘Shakti- the power’ based on stories from Ramayana was staged by talents from diaspora, SVCC students and teachers. It was hugely appreciated by the public.

In March 2023, Embassy in collaboration with Indian community in Beijing and Indian enterprises in China organized a day long “Vasant Mela-a celebration of colors” which had a footfall of more than 3000 people from across nationalities. The festivities of the day were heightened by more than thirty stalls which offered Indian handicrafts, cuisines, activities for adults and children while a non-stop 6 hour long cultural program which included everything from Indian classical music & dance, old Bollywood music to modern day hits, theater performances, yoga demonstrations was organized to a great enthusiastic participation and response from the audience.

Apart from this Embassy has been organizing various activities under AKAM, including cultural programs on national days. The Embassy has also staged quite a few theatrical productions recently involving Mission officials and diaspora called “We the People” for Republic Day 2022, “Being Mahatma” for Gandhi Jayanti 2022 and “Ganarajya” for Republic Day 2023, “Unsung” for Independence Day 2023, “ When we saw him- Stories from Mahatma’s life” for Gandhi Jayanti 2023 and “Nation in the making” for Republic Day 2024. The Gandhi Jayanti event was organized at Jintai Museum where a bust of Mahatama Gandhi has been installed.

Embassy has also participated regularly in SCO events such as Nowruz every April showcasing Indian cultural artifacts and performing in the common cultural programmes along with members of SCO family.

Updated on: June 2024