But as television and the internet replaces oral tradition, a new generation is using a more global, mobile platform to share their country's stories -- Instagram. The south Asian country ranks fourth as the world's top users of the photo sharing app, behind just the U.S., Russia and Brazil, according to web traffic data
From New Delhi to Pune, meet the Instagrammers bringing India's best stories to life in all its squared, filtered glory.
Based in Pune, the 34-year-old industrial designer's project "Tell Me Your Dream" is revealing the hopes and aspirations of one person every day for a year. Follow his travel blog, Sid The Wanderer.
He says: "Deep down I have always believed that our innermost dreams would be just the same, and the project helped me explore that. It became a tool for me to understand not just my city, but also the world around me. No matter how different we might appear to be, our dreams are often very similar."
2. Chandan Khanna
About: Khanna is an AFP photojournalist based in New Delhi. His Instagram account showcases an incredible talent for social portraiture, all taken with his iPhone.
He says: "Cellphone cameras have revolutionized the way people take and share photos. The portability of a cellphone camera also makes taking a candid shot much more successful, as people don't get camera sensitive as there isn't a heavy professional-looking DSLR in my hands."
3. Ravi Mishra
About: Mishra is a 25-year old fixer, producer and photographer based in New Delhi. His photos tell stories of those in hardship, recently including the Nepal earthquake.
He says: "Instagram allows me to reach my audience directly and show what my country is about. I like to share a mix of touching, personal stories -- as well as the cultural side of India."
4. Everyday Mumbai
In another curated account, photographer Chirag Wakaskar
chooses the best of his city's Instas to "chronicle the social landscape and daily lives of Mumbai".
He says: "Photography is more than just celebrities or even news, it is a great medium for documenting general life and history in the making. Everyone has a voice, be it a professional or an amateur photographer. As I see other photographers' images, if helps me expand my viewpoints."
5. Humans of Bombay
You've seen Humans of New York
, but what about the Indian version? The project has exploded for 23-year-old freelance photographer Karishma Mehta, who will soon be publishing a book.
She says: "I started Humans of Bombay in January 2014 and love what I do. It has taught me so much about experiences and people."
6. India Pictures
Started two years ago by New Delhi-based entrepreneur Amol Goel, India Pictures has become a major curator of amateur Insta photography. It also organises physical Instagram meet ups
, allowing the Instagram community to connect and take snaps together.
He says: "If photographers are good, we spot their work and cover it. We have a team of two to three people dedicated to India Pictures, to make sure no good work goes unnoticed."
7. Sumit Dayal
Sumit Dayal is the 33-year-old New-Delhi based photographer behind @indiaphotoproject
, a curated account that aims to "build visual bridges in India through mobile story telling."
He says: "As the economics of new media solidify, we will see a huge change in existing power structures of visual dissemination. The grounds are levelled and we are at the tip of a gargantuan iceberg. No one knows where this is heading."
8. Anushree Fadnavis
About: Fadnavis is a 27-year-old photojournalist for the news agency Indus Images. Her project "Train Diaries" snaps the passengers of Mumbai's busy commuter trains, often focusing on the ladies' carriage -- exclusively for women.
She says: "The feedback and the response I get from such wonderful strangers is really overwhelming. Sometimes you don't realize that by simply conveying your feelings through a picture there are so many people around us who get inspired."
These are India's best Instagrammers, but what about YOU? We want to see your best shots of India, be it street scenes, skyscrapers or sunsets.
Tag your Instagrams with #MyIndiaCNN by 18 September 2015, for a chance to be featured on CNN.com