Fairs and Festivals: The Vibrant Facets of Uttar Pradesh
From the gorgeously illuminated ancient ghats of Varanasi to the colour-filled skies of Mathura-Vrindavan, festivals of Uttar Pradesh reflect its diversity. The Buddhist spirit of body unity can be experienced in different festivals, enveloped with their own tradition, rituals and essence.
With a90, 000 years old history, Uttar Pradesh has gradually embraced numerous revelries in its culture. Today Uttar Pradesh celebrates 40 festivals and nearly 2,250 fairs in a year. Colourful shops, thrilling joy rides, and flavoursome dishes are the quintessence of Uttar Pradesh Festivals.
Along with joy and festive mood, these festivals are also a great opportunity for the artists to showcase their talent. A fine example of such a festival is the 23-year-old famous Taj Mahotsav. The festival sees participation of nearly 400 artists who come from different parts of the country.?? Some of the popular Uttar Pradesh fairs and festivals are Taj Mahotsav, Holi, Kailash Fair and Janmashtami.
Opt for Uttar Pradesh Tourism to witness people dancing and singing on local folk tunes. Do not miss tasting the mouth-watering sweets called gujiyas prepared especially during Holi festival.
Following are the main fairs and festivals of Uttar Pradesh
This is a much-awaited festival held in Shilpgram, nearly four hours away from the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra. It is a 10-day-long fiesta is organised by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Ministry to encourage the growth of art and craft of India. The festival commences from 18th February and goes on till 27th February.
Similar to the Konark Festival of Odisha, eminent classical artists from all across the country gather during the festival to deliver memorable performances. Lavani dance of Maharashtra, Snake dance of Rajasthan and various other folk dances can be seen in this Mahotsav.
The festival started long back in the year 1992. Today the festival endows a platform to over 400 artists to exhibit their art. Tamil Nadu’s wooden work, Lucknow’s chikankari, Kolkata’s kantha stitch and similar more items are put also put on display.
Splash of colours and lip-smacking desserts welcomes you to the festival of Holi in Uttar Pradesh. Though it is celebrated throughout the state but the one played in Braj area is a must-witness sight. Braj is basically the area around Mathura-Vrindavan. It is said to be the home-town of Lord Krishna who used to play Holi along with his beloved Radha and other girls of the town.
Holi in India marks the beginning of spring. The festival goes on for a week during March in Vrindavan. Folks are seen applying colours to each other, enjoying rich delicacies and dancing on the popular folk tunes. Thandai, a drink prepared from milk and bhang is also enjoyed during the festival.
Another part of this revelry is experienced in Phalen region of Mathura. A huge bonfire is set afire to mark the victory of good over evil. However the intriguing moment comes when the local priests pass through this fire and come out absolutely safe!
Kailash Fair is celebrated in Kailash town, 12 km away from Agra during August- September. The festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to legends, Lord Shiva had visited this region once. He resided back in the form of a stone lingam.
It is a strong belief that Lord Shiva lives in this stone and is always listening to the prayers of the pilgrims. Thousands of devotees gather around this lingam to seek blessings and fulfilment of their wishes. The entire ambiance is filled with chanting of mantras and prayers.
Thrilling joyrides, food stalls, shops selling decorative items and other knick-knacks are also installed for the visitors. Women are seen bedecked in gorgeous saris and laden with gold jewelleries.??
The state has a close association with Lord Krishna. Janmashtami is observed as the day when Lord Krishna took birth. People of Mathura and Vrindavan start the preparation a month ahead of the festival. It is held during August- September. Every Lord Krishna devoted temples in the state are beautifully adorned during the festival.?
Almost every temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is seen jam-packed with devotees during the festival. The occasion begins with rituals and offerings made to the God at midnight. Idol of baby Lord Krishna is bathed with milk, honey and curd. Like an infant it is carefully placed in a cradle and rocked by the priests.
The festival is celebrated on a grand scale in the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura. Presumably, this temple stands at the exact spot where Lord Krishna took birth. The Jhanki procession is the most striking part of this festival. Dolls are arranged, depicting scenes of Lord Krishna's childhood.
River Ganges is an integral part of Hindu culture and tradition. It is considered very pious and highly revered by Hindu pilgrims. Ganga Mahotsav is a 5-day-long festival held during October- November. It is organised on the exotic Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi. As the name suggests the festival is dedicated to River Ganges personified as the Goddess Ganga.
People take an early morning dip in the holy river and offer their prayers to Goddess Ganga. The entire ghat, along the river, is seen illuminated with oil-lit lamps. Ganga Aarti, a flamboyant and well-synchronised devotional ceremony is performed by the priests. This Aarti is dedicated to Lord Agni, Lord Shiva and Goddess Ganga.
Mythologically, it is believed that deities from heaven come to earth during this festival to bath in River Ganges. It is the biggest festival of Varanasi. Cultural programs showcasing dance and musical performances are showcased in the event. Mini-fair is also organised where you can enjoy the ethnic Varanasi food.
So, why wait? Book for Uttar Pradesh Fair and Festival Tour to delve into a vacation filled with fun, food and fiesta!
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