For Indians food is a gift of gods and is treated with respect. Based agmatic medical precepts evolved over centuries of experimentation observation, Indian food is aimed at nourishing the body and is pleasing to the mind and eyes. Ingredients of each meals are based on six rasas or flavours-sweet, salty, bitter, astringent, sour and pungent- each ingredient believed to have particular physical benefit on application of the right proportionate use.

Indian Cuisine is considered to be one of the three great distinctive Cuisine's of the world, the other two being the Chinese and the French.

Indian cuisine aims to satisfy needs of the ton gue and body, from sweet to sour bitter or hot, from heating to cooling foods, from food for body to food for the brain. Within these parameters, each region has nurtured its own culinary tastes using different combination of spices. No country in the world has developed such elaborate and tasty range of vegetarian cuisine as India.

Characteristic of all Indian cooking is the inspired use of spices. Immense care is taken to ensure that spices enhance rather than dominate the basic flavour and they do not diminish nutritive value.

Indian curry contains pieces of mutton, chicken or fish in a sauce Based on the famous onions, tomatoes, yogurt or coconut milk enriched By three 12 condiments. Some of the more celebrated culinary traditions of India originated in the royal courts of the Mughals, in Oudh and Hyderabad. All the three cuisines can be sampled at speciality restaurants As well as regional food festivals that deluxe hotels hold periodically.

While mutton, chicken and fish are served throughout the country, the other with which they make their appearances differs. In Kashmir, mutton is the chief attraction in the 24-course banquet, WAZWAN, each dish being cooked in a different way seperate from The other. Of all coastal States in the country Goa, Kerala and Bengal Have culinary traditions with a preponderance of fish with Goa and Kerala making profuse use of coconuts. Goan seafood delights include Crab, lobsters, tiger prawns and shellfish, all accompanied by rice and Washed down with excellent wine and wermouth of local manufacture. Kerala, as all other southern States, is noted for its variety of crisp PANCAKES - DOSA and STAEMED RICE CAKES - II from pounded rice.

DAHI (CURD) is part of almost every Indian menu. Served to mitigate the chilly "hotness" of some dishes, it is often mixed with vegetable or fruit and is lightly spiced to create the 'RAITAS' of the north and the 'PACHADIS' of the south.

In many parts of the country, THALI meals are the norm. these largest platters contain up to a dozen dishes in individual servings consisting of meat chicken, vegetables - with gravy or dry, pulses accompaniments and widely served.

Some of India's best, evened culinary traditions are the TANDOORI cooking best known and loved. TANDOOR is the Indian oven, a homely clay lined cylinder filled with sizzling coals. Restaurants that serve Tandoori food often have a section where cooking is done by the simple expedient of wielding a metal stick. As the heat of the oven reaches 600 c. cooking time is counted in minutes and seconds. Tandoori ;meats use no oil and are normally accompanied by yougart dips.

Some of India's best loved dishes are favourite of every family as for SARSON KA SAAG, prepared from green mustared leaves simmered all night long on a coal fire. It is available only in the winter There are also the interesting dishes of the Parsis. 'DHANSAK' meat cooked with five different dais and an unusual blend of spices and 'PATRANI MACHT lightly spiced fish steamed in banana leaves, are just two examples.

Chutneys and pickles-sweet, sour or hot, or all three,whip the appetite and add relish to a meal. Every conceivable ingredient can be used: mint, coriander, mango, ginger and lime.

'PAPADS', roasted or fried savory crisps, are also popular meat adjuncts. Made of previously rolled and dried lentil or rice dough they provide the crunchiness considered essential to repast.

PAU BHAJI is a passion in Mumbai where roadside stalls have a cauldron of simmering vegetables which are served with a bun.

BHELPURI in Mumbai and CHAAT in Delhi are roadside snaks of crunchy morsels tempered with piquant seasonings.

To describe INDIAN SWEET'S as merely being made of milk, reduced milk or cottage cheese and sugar syrup is an oversimplification of a highly specialised branch of cooking. Sweet traditions in Bengal, Bikaner and Delhi are famed throughout the country. Finally, there is the satisfying ritual of the after-imeal PAN (BETEL), a must for any true connoisseur of Indian food. Lauded for its digestive and medicinal properties, it is a fragrant combination of Betal leaf, aerca nut, catechu, cardamom, clove and a choice of a whole Host of other exotic ingredients of varying flavours, effects and strengths.

Non-alcoholic beverages include the countrywide favourite in NAMBU PAN a squeeze lime over sugar or salt served in water or soda Yougart and water are vigorously churned to make BUTTER MILK, a delicious accompaniment to Indian meals. Bottled fizzy drinks Include various brands of indigenous lime, orange and cola.

Other FRUIT-BASED DRINKS-apple, guava, mango, tomato-are available in tetrapack and tins.

SODA and MINERAL WATER are also widely available. India's alcoholic beverages include gin and rum which are comparable to the finest internationally as well as whisky. India's dozens of brands of BEER encompass very good pilsners and largers available in bottles. Liquor is available at most restaurants especially those in hotels. It is either imported or made in India.

In addition there are local variations like ASHA and KASTOORI, the saffron liquor of Rajasthan and FENI, the strong brew of Goa usuallyavailable in the concerned States.

Although the local food of the region is available at many restaurants, the cuisine of Punjab has become standard Indian fare in most of the middle and high priced restaurants throughout the country. Similarly Udipi restaurants serve vegetarian South Indian cuisine all over India at low prices.

Every major hotel offers, a choice between INDIAN, CONTINENTAL, CHIENESE, ITALAIN and FRENCH delights in the speciality restaurants.

Western style confectionery-chocolates, cakes, cookies and "iarzipan are available in the pastry shop confectioneries in all metro cities,

TEA : The cup that cheers is a must for millions all over the world every rooming and Assam is a leader in production of tea.

Indian Tea! Flavour of Darjeeling and Assam tea has reached across ans in all continentals. A cup of tea that cheers and cares. Tea is an ideal beverage that files into the healthy way of life-tempers the SPtrits calms the mind, prevents drowsing, enlightens and refreshes the body and clears perceptive faculties. Tea is taken in various forms as a health giving drink with and without milk and sugar.

Easily available everywhere in India-on footpaths, from small restaurants to restaurants in five star hotels, bus depots, at taxi stands, railway stations, airports and at the place you name it.