Culture of Uttar Pradesh

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Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum, the most important cultural figure of Uttar Pradesh.

The Culture of Uttar Pradesh is an Indian Culture which has its roots in the Hindi and Urdu literature, music, fine arts, drama and cinema. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored.

Uttar Pradesh attracts large number of visitors, both national and international; with more than 71 million domestic tourists (in 2003) and almost 25% of the All-India foreign tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh, it is one of the top tourist destinations in India. There are two regions in the state where a majority of the tourists go, viz. the Agra circuit and the Hindu pilgrimage circuit.

The city of Agra, gives access to three World Heritage Sites: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri.[1] Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". Agra Fort is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. Fatehpur Sikri was the world famous 16th century capital city near Agra, built by the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great, whose mausoleum in Agra is also worth a visit. Dayal Bagh in Agra is a modern day temple and popular tourist sight. Its lifelike sculptures in marble are unique in India. Agra's dubious modern attractions include Asia's largest Spa as well as Asia's second 6D theatre.

The pilgrimage circuit includes the holiest of the Hindu holy cities on the banks of sacred rivers Ganges and the Yamuna: Varanasi (also considered world's oldest city), Ayodhya (birthplace of Lord Rama), Mathura (birthplace of Lord Krishna), Vrindavan (the village where Lord Krishna spent his childhood), and Allahabad (the confluence or 'holy-sangam' of the sacred Ganges-Yamuna rivers).

Culture from cities[edit]

Varanasi is widely considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. It is famous for its ghats (bathing steps along the river), full of pilgrims year round who come to bathe in the sacred Ganges River. Mathura is world-famous for its colourful celebrations of the Holi festival, which attracts many tourists also – thanks partly to the hype, which the Indian film industry has given to this highly entertaining socio-religious festival.

Thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the Magh Mela festival, which is held on the banks of the Ganges. This festival is organised on a larger scale every 12th year and is called the Kumbha Mela, where over 10 million Hindu pilgrims congregate – proclaimed as one of the largest gathering of human beings in the world. Budaun is also a city which attracts thousands of tourists annually. Its religious city with many historical monuments and tombs of many famous people.

The historically important towns of Sarnath and Kushinagar are located not far from Varanasi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath after his enlightenment and died at Kushinagar; both are important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Also at Sarnath are the Pillars of Ashoka and the Lion Capital of Ashoka, both important archaeological artefacts with national significance. At a distance of 80 km from Varanasi, Ghazipur is famous not only for its Ganges Ghats but also for the Tomb of British potentate Lord Cornwallis, maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Dance and music[edit]

Kathak is a famous dance form, the most important cultural figure and indigenous to Uttar Pradesh.

The state is home to a very old tradition in dance and music. During the eras of Guptas and Harsh Vardhan, Uttar Pradesh was a major centre for musical innovation. Swami Haridas was a great saint-musician who championed Hindustani Classical Music. Tansen, the great musician in Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, was a disciple of Swami Haridas.

Kathak, a classical dance form, involving gracefully coordinated movements of feet along with entire body, grew and flourished in Uttar Pradesh. Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, was a great patron and a passionate champion of Kathak. Today, the state is home to two prominent schools of this dance form, namely, Lucknow Gharana and Banaras Gharana.

Well-known music personalities such as Naushad Ali, Talat Mehmood, Begum Akhtar, Anup Jalota, Baba Sehgal, Shubha Mudgal, Bismillah Khan, Ravi Shankar, Kishan Maharaj, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Gopal Shankar Misra, Siddheshwari Devi, Girija Devi and Sir Cliff Richard were originally from Uttar Pradesh.

The region's folk heritage includes songs called rasiya (known and especially popular in Braj), which celebrate the divine love of Radha and Krishna. These songs are accompanied by large drums known as bumb and are performed at many festivals. Other folk dances or folk theater forms include Raslila, Swang, Ramlila (a dramatic enactment of the entire Ramayana), Nautanki, Naqal (mimicry) and Qawwali.

The Bhatkhande Music Institute is situated in Lucknow.

Languages[edit]

The two common state-languages of Uttar Pradesh are standard Hindi and Urdu. While standard Hindi (Khari boli) is the official language, several important regional Hindi 'dialects' are spoken in the state and among these are: Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj, Bagheli and Bundeli, besides several local dialects that do not have a formal name. Urdu is prominent in Uttar Pradesh as Lucknow was once the centre of Indo-Persianate culture in north India. The language of Lucknow ("Lakhnavi Urdu") is a form of high literary Urdu.

Dr. Parichay Das is path-breaker poet, essayist , creative critic and singer-actor in Bhojpuri-Hindi-Maithili. He was born in Mau nath Bhanjan district 's Rampur Devlaas village . He was Secretary, Hindi Academy, Delhi and Secretary, Maithili-Bhojpuri Academy , Delhi Govt.He has written and edited more than 30 books.

Tourism[edit]

Uttar Pradesh attracts large number of visitors, both national and international; with more than 71 million domestic tourists (in 2003) and almost 25% of the All-India foreign tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh, it is one of the top tourist destinations in India.[2] There are two regions in the state where a majority of the tourists go, viz. the Agra circuit and the Hindu pilgrimage circuit.

The city of Agra, gives access to three World Heritage Sites: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri.[1] Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". Agra Fort is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. Fatehpur Sikri was the world famous 16th century capital city near Agra, built by the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great, whose mausoleum in Agra is also worth a visit. Dayal Bagh in Agra is a modern day temple and popular tourist sight. Its lifelike sculptures in marble are unique in India. Agra's dubious modern attractions include Asia's largest Spa as well as Asia's second 6D theatre.

The pilgrimage circuit includes the holiest of the Hindu holy cities on the banks of sacred rivers Ganges and the Yamuna: Varanasi (also considered world's oldest city), Ayodhya (birthplace of Lord Rama), Mathura (birthplace of Lord Krishna), Vrindavan (the village where Lord Krishna spent his childhood), and Allahabad (the confluence or 'holy-sangam' of the sacred Ganges-Yamuna rivers).

Varanasi is widely considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. It is famous for its ghats (bathing steps along the river), full of pilgrims year round who come to bathe in the sacred Ganges River.

A view of the Ghat of Varanasi from the River Ganges

Mathura is world-famous for its colourful celebrations of the Holi festival, which attracts many tourists also – thanks partly to the hype, which the Indian film industry has given to this highly entertaining socio-religious festival.[citation needed]

Thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the Magh Mela festival, which is held on the banks of the Ganges. This festival is organised on a larger scale every 12th year and is called the Kumbha Mela, where over 10 million Hindu pilgrims congregate – proclaimed as one of the largest gathering of human beings in the world.

Budaun is also a city which attracts thousands of tourists annually. Its religious city with many historical monuments and tombs of many famous people.

The historically important towns of Sarnath and Kushinagar are located not far from Varanasi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath after his enlightenment and died at Kushinagar; both are important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Also at Sarnath are the Pillars of Ashoka and the Lion Capital of Ashoka, both important archaeological artefacts with national significance. At a distance of 80 km from Varanasi, Ghazipur is famous not only for its Ganges Ghats but also for the Tomb of British potentate Lord Cornwallis, maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored.

Protected areas[edit]

Some of the main natural protected areas in Uttar Pradesh are:-

Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit.

Panoramic view of a part of the Fatehpur Sikri Palace

Dress[edit]

The people of Uttar Pradesh wear a variety of native- and Western-style dress. Traditional styles of dress include colourful draped garments – such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men – and tailored clothes such as salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama for men. Men also often sport a head-gear like topi or pagri. Sherwani is a more formal male dress and is frequently worn along with chooridar on festive occasions. European-style trousers and shirts are also common among the men.

Art and craft[edit]

A marble table top in Pietra Dura, Agra

Uttar Pradesh is famous for its rich heritage of art and craft. Most famous centres are the following:

  • Agra since the Mughal era has been home to numerous Mughal crafts, including the Pietra Dura, still practised today.
  • Aligarh is famous for its Lock around the world; Aligarh boasts for its Zari work, (a type of fabric decoration), 'Jhumka' – an intricate ear-rings or ear-pendants, Manja and Surma (Kohl (cosmetics)), despite all these craft work, painter S. A. Jafar represent Aligarh in the field of fine arts across the India and abroad.
  • Firozabad, the city of bangles, is also a hub for crafting many glass accessories. The glass artefacts produced in its factories are of high value and are exported all over the country and around the world.
  • Kannauj is well known for oriental perfumes, scents and rose water and also for traditional tobacco products.
  • Khurja is famous for its ceramics pottery; in fact, the entire state is famous for its pottery not only in India but also around the world.
  • Lucknow, the capital, boasts of its cloth work and embroidery (chikan) work on silk and cotton garments.
  • Allahabad is known for its National Institute of Art & Craft College.
  • Bhadohi is known for its carpets, a craft which dates back to the 16th century, during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Akbar[3] and is believed to have established when centuries ago, some Iranian master weavers stopped at Madhosingh village, near Khamaria, in Bhadohi while travelling in India, and subsequently set up looms here. Bhadohi carpets received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2010,[4] and also known as dollar-city; beside this, it is one of the highest revenue generating districts of UP.
  • Moradabad is well known for its metal-ware, especially brass artefacts.
  • Pilibhit is known for its wooden footwear (locally called Paduka or Khadaon) and also for flutes made of wooden pipes. Flutes are exported to Europe, America and other countries.
  • Saharanpur is known all over India and abroad for its wood-carving items produced there.
  • Varanasi Mubarakpur, Azamgarh is famous for its Banarasi saris and silk. A banarasi sari is an essential part of any marriage in the state.
  • Gorakhpur is famous for its beautiful terracotta statues and handcraft cloths.
  • Nizamabad is famous for black pottery.

Festivals[edit]

Religious practices are as much an integral part of everyday life, and a very public affair, as they are in the rest of India. Therefore, not surprisingly, many festivals are religious in origin, although several of them are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed.

Among the most important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Holi and Dussehra, which are also observed with equal fervour by Jains. Ten days of Ramlila takes place during the period of navratri and on the 10th day, epithet of Raavan is burnt with great fervour. Durga puja is also observed in many parts of the state during navratri. Bārah Wafāṭ, Eid, Bakreed and Birthdate of Imam Ali ibn Abitalib are recognised official Muslim religious festivals. Moharram, though the day of Ashura is official holiday but Shiites consider it as a day of mourning and not a festival as some people believe. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by Jains, Buddha Jayanti by Buddhists, Guru Nanak Jayanti by Sikhs and Christmas by the Christians.[5] Other festivals include Ram navami, Chhath puja, Krishna-janmashtami, Mahashivratri, etc.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "World Heritage List". Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 03/07/1998.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Utta Pradesh, October 2007
  3. ^ "Famous for its handmade carpet industry". Tehelka Magazine. Vol 6, Issue 4, Dated 31 Jan 2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Singh, Binay (9 Sep 2010). "Famed Bhadohi carpet gets GI tag". The Times of India. 
  5. ^ "18 Popular India Festivals". Retrieved 23 December 2007.