The earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. Sanskrit literature begins with the Rig Veda a collection of sacred hymns dating to the period 1500–1200 BCE. The Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata appeared towards the end of the first millennium BCE. Classical Sanskrit literature flourished in the first few centuries of the first millennium CE, as did the Tamil Sangam literature.

In the medieval period, literature in Kannada and Telugu appears in the 9th and 11th centuries respectively, followed by the first Malayalam works in the 12th century. During this time, literature in the Bengali, Marati, and various dialects of Hindi, Persian and Urdu began to appear as well.

Some of the most important authors from India are Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Subramania Barathi, Kuvempu, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Munshi Premchand, Muhammad Iqbal, Devaki Nandan Khati became well known. In contemporary Indian literature, there are two major literary awards; these are the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship and the Jnanpith Award. Seven Jnanpith awards each have been awarded in Kannada, six in Hindi, five in Bengali, four in Malayalam, three each in and Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu and Oriya.
The Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest preserved and still well-known epics of India; some of their versions have been adopted as the epics of Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In addition, there are five epics in the classical Tamil language -they being Silappadhikaram, Manimegalai, Seevaga-chintamani, Valayaapathi, Kundalakesi. Other regional variations of them as well as unrelated epics include the Tamil Kamba Ramayanam, in Kannada, the Pampa Bharata by Adikavi Pampa, Torave Ramayana by Kumara Valmiki and Karnata Bharata KathaManjari by Kumaravyasa, Hindi Ramacharitamanasa, Malayalam Adhyathmaramayanam.
The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of pre-historic times, the petroglyphs as found in places like Bhimbetka, some of which go back to the Stone Age. Ancient texts outline theories of darragh and anecdotal accounts suggesting that it was common for households to paint their doorways or indoor rooms where guests resided.

Cave paintings from Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora and Sittanavasal and temple paintings testify to a love of naturalism. Most early and medieval art in India is Hindu, Buddhist or Jain. A freshly made coloured flour design (Rangoli) is still a common sight outside the doorstep of many (mostly South Indian) Indian homes. Madhubani painting, Mysore painting, Rajput painting, Tanjore painting, Mughal painting are some notable Genres of Indian Art; while Raja Ravi Varma, Nandalal Bose, Geeta Vadhera,Jamini Roy and B.Venkatappa are some modern painters. Among the present day artists, Atul Dodiya, Bose Krishnamacnahri, Devajyoti Ray and Shibu Natesan represent a new era of Indian art where global art shows direct amalgamation with Indian classical styles.

These recent artists have acquired international recognition. Devajyoti Ray's paintings have been acquired by the National Fine Arts Museum in Cuba and so have been the works of some of the new generation artists. Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, Mysore Palace has on display several good Indian paintings.
The first sculptures in India date back to the Indus Valley civilization, where stone and bronze figures have been discovered. Later, as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism developed further, India produced some extremely intricate bronzes as well as temple carvings. Some huge shrines, such as the one at Ellora were not constructed by using blocks but carved out of solid rock.

Sculptures produced in the northwest, in stucco, schist, or clay, display a very strong blend of Indian and Classical Hellenisti or possibly even Greco-Roma influence. The pink sandstone sculptures of Mathura evolved almost simultaneously. During the Gupta period (4th to 6th century) sculpture reached a very high standard in execution and delicacy in modeling. These styles and others elsewhere in India evolved leading to classical Indian art that contributed to Buddhist and Hindu sculpture throughout Southeast Central and East Asia.
Indian architecture encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time, constantly absorbing new ideas. The result is an evolving range of architectural production that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history. Some of its earliest production are found in the Indus Valley Civilization (2600-1900 BCE) which is characterised by well planned cities and houses. Religion and kingship do not seem to have played an important role in the planning and layout of these towns.

During the period of the Maurya and Gupta empires and their successors, several Buddhist architectural complexes, such as the caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the monumental Sanchi Stupa were built. Later on, South India produced several Hindu temples like Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura, Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur, the Sun Temple, Konark, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, and the Buddha stupa (Chinna Lanja dibba and Vikramarka kota dibba) at Bhattiprolu. Angkor Wat, Borobudur and other Buddhist and Hindu temples indicate strong Indian influence on South East Asian architecture, as they are built in styles almost identical to traditional Indian religious buildings.

With the advent of Islamic influence from the west, Indian architecture was adapted to allow the traditions of the new religion. Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbaz, Qutub Minar, Red Fort of Delhi are creations of this era, and are often used as the stereotypical symbols of India.
The colonial rule of the British Empire saw the development of Indo-Saracenic style, and mixing of several other styles, such as European Gothic. The Victoria Memorial or the Victoria Terminus are notable examples. Recent creations such as the Lotus Temple, and the various modern urban developments of India, are notable.

The traditional system of Vaastu Shastra serves as India's version of Feng Shui, influencing town planning, architecture, and ergonomics. It is unclear which system is older, but they contain certain similarities. Feng Shui is more commonly used throughout the world. Though Vastu is conceptually similar to Feng Shui in that it also tries to harmonize the flow of energy, (also called life-force or Prana in Sanskrit and Chi/Ki in Chinese/Japanese), through the house, it differs in the details, such as the exact directions in which various objects, rooms, materials, etc. are to be placed.