During these days media are full of news about the Mumbai terror tragedy. Photos of the fire at Taj Mahal Palace (photo) and the bloodshed in the city previously called Bombay, is all over the world. In Newspapers, TV-channels and Internet a very, very small part of this huge country, city and culture is presented.
Bhārat Gaṇarājya (India) is a country, but I would rather think of her as a continent of 28 states. All very different. There are living about 1,15 billion people in India, and about a third can be classified as upper middle class, or very rich citizens. The first known permanent settlements in the continent appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, dating back to 3300 BCE in western India. (May be the Nordic civilisation originated from this part of the world.)
Mumbai has an estimated population of 20 million. I have only been to Mumbai once and stayed at the old (left) part of the great hotel.I believe Kama Sutra is well known by my visitors, and this miniature (painting on ivory) which I got while staying there, is a masterpiece.
If you want to learn more about Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies I can recommend a book by Abbe J A. Dubois, or Sage Vatsyayana´s Kama Sutra, but a more easy introduction to Hinduism can be found in this book:The author Shakunthala Jagannathan, has written a simple but comprehensive book about the oldest living religion in the world. The book can help you to understand the root of the civilisation and be a guide through visits to Hindu temples and monuments around in India. Copiously illustrated the book covers the various aspects of Hinduism, its mail scriptures, tenets and beliefs and its social and cultural ethos.
(Just in case you plan for a visit, after the present turmoils are over.)