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Unique Sounds of India

One aspect of living in India that is not often talked about is the soundtrack of life here.

India is a dynamic and thoroughly entertaining country.

However, it has been described by visitors as "an assault on the senses."

With such a large population, there is always a lot going on!

And there are A LOT of sounds in India! With 1.4 billion people, it's to be expected.

One thing that sets India apart from other locations I have lived in is the unique sounds of the country.

I am sensitive to noise. As a result, I tune into a range of sounds that are all part of everyday life here in India.

Hailing from a relatively "quiet" city (and living in an even quieter part of town), I am in a whole new aural landscape in India.

Below are some unique sounds of India that you cannot "hear" in the photographs.

Street Vendors

Fresh produce - straight to your door

These sounds are how I know I am in India.

You know when you wake up from sleeping and can't tell where you are?

Well, these sounds bring me right back into reality in India!

For those who do not know about this, street vendors with carts (or trucks, bikes etc.) move past the houses in India daily, offering their wares.

It could be anything from milk, vegetables, knife sharpeners, recyclers, zip repairs, rugs, plants...almost anything!

As they pass by, they yell unique calling sounds or words.

Homes can recognise the vendors' unique call. If a household needs that particular vendor, the occupants go out and meet the vendors on the street.

These days loudspeakers join the human calls.

The vendor sounds start early and go for most of the day.

But the sounds aside, the personal service in India remains a highlight and a 'luxury' of life here.

Whatever you need, brought right to your door!!!


Music runs through the veins of Indian people.

It's everywhere - in films, television contests, private homes, schools, festivals, temples and the occasional rickshaw.

Bollywood is known for its unique musical-style films.

I have seen hundreds of Indian films. And therefore I know hundreds of tunes to songs!

India has many successful Indian musicians and music composers too.

The late Ravi Shankar was a hugely successful, world-renowned classical musician from India.

The music composer A.R. Rahman won an Oscar and countless other accolades for his work.

There are too many more to mention.

And from my anecdotal evidence (22 years visiting India) there are many natural singers here too!

India is a land of music.


Now, these sounds are dependent on the particular festival celebrated.

The festival most synonymous with noise for me is Diwali - the Festival of Lights.

It's a beautiful festival and enjoyed by many across the country.

However, it is a little, teensy, tiny bit loud for my innocent foreign ears!

It's hard to explain to those that have not had exposure to the noises, but I'll try.

Intermittent, extremely loud "bangs" that go for days.

Large "explosions" happen without warning, day and night, surrounding Diwali.

I admit, my nerves are frayed by the end of it.

But the kids are happy - they love the fun of the firecrackers.

There is a historical, agricultural reason for the firecrackers - it was a pest control mechanism.

Each year the crackers are banned in some areas for environmental and air quality reasons.

Birds & Animals

These guys warble all day!

Now to the sweet sounds of India - the birds and animals.

There is an enormous array of wildlife in India.

India is home to the largest population of tigers in the world.

As an animal lover, I am very pleased with the number of animals I encounter daily (not tigers!).

From miniature squirrels to street dogs and cats, cows, monkeys and many local and migrating bird species, they all have unique calling cards.

The animal noises are like a constant soundtrack to my life - birds calling each other, cows mooing, squirrels squeaking.

In the evenings, I go for my walk and watch the birds returning to their nests.

Then the night noises begin...

Let me know your favourite sounds in India. Comment below.

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Thank you!


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