Culture of AgraAgra is a beautiful amalgamation of cultures, the result of Rajput, Muslim and British rule in the region. Indian culture is well-known all over the globe for its diversity and the cultural heritage of Agra is one of the richest in the country due to its fascinating history. The city has been the nourishing ground for art, architecture, music, poetry, literature and crafts having been nourished by its rulers, especially the Mughals, for centuries. We find reminiscence of the Mughal influence in the traditions, customs, food and lifestyle along with the monuments of yesteryear that attract thousands of tourists every year to the city. And it is also due to this influx of tourists every year that Agra today has developed a unique culture.
People of Agra
The city of Agra though has been ruled by the Muslims for centuries, has higher population of Hindus. The second largest population, however, is that of the Muslims, with a spattering of people from other religions such as Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism. However, this diversity in faith has only unified their spirits and helps them lead a harmonious life. The dialect spoken in Agra is Braj Bhasha in addition to the standard Hindi, Urdu and English languages. Tourism is the mainstay of income for the people of Agra along with the industries of marble inlay, handicrafts, carpets and rugs, zardozi work, garments and leather providing ample support to it. Agriculture also involves a major part of the population (about 40%).
Some of the famous people who hail from Agra are former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav, noted film star Raj Babbar, leading actress of yesteryear and wife of Pramathesh Chandra Barua, Jamuna Barua to name a few.
Attires in Agra
The people of Agra are colourful and love to sport colourful clothes. You will find people here sporting both traditional as well as modern clothing. In the past people chose to stick to traditional wear such as sarees, salwar-kameez, dhoti-kurta or kurta-pyajamas. But with modernisation and population in the city becoming more cosmopolitan there is an inclination to sporting more of western wears, though people still wear the traditional Indian wear. For festivals and marriage functions people prefer wearing sherwani, lehenga-choli and ghagra-choli.
Tradition in Agra
The name of Agra is derived from the city’s ancient name Agrevana meaning ‘border of the forest’, found mentioned in the Hindu epic The Mahabharata. It is one of the most important historical places in India and houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the modern times, the Taj Mahal a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Agra is also home two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. The cities of Vrindavan and Mathura situated very near to Agra have left an indelible mark on the culture of the city, which finds expression through the celebration of Braj Raslila, Ram Lila, Charukala and Rasiya.
Agra having inherited a rich culture and traditions from antiquity celebrates a plethora of cultural events and festivals in a grand manner. Dussehra, Diwali, Id and Ram Barat are the major festivals celebrated in the city with great fanfare. Other cultural events and festivals celebrated by the people of Agra are Taj Mahotsav, Kailash Fair, Janmashtami, Ram Lila, Dusshera, Urs Sufi Sahib and Bateshwar Fair to name a few.
Cultural Events in Agra
Kalakriti Cultural and Conventional Centre Agra
As the name suggest, the Kalakriti Cultural and Conventional Centre is an art and cultural centre in the city. The centre is instrumental in promoting and celebrating the charm of the city’s traditions through a cultural play, Mohabbat-the-Taj: The Saga of Love, and various works of art that are on display in the handicrafts showroom in the centre.
This 10-day cultural festival is held at Shilpgram every year in the month of February. The theme of the festival is different every year where it celebrates the rich cultural heritage of India. Each year Taj Mahotsav sees craftsmen from different parts of India coming together to put up their crafts right from those from the North East to the very southern parts of India. The festival is also a platform for artists to showcase India’s cultural diversity through dance and music performances, both classical as well as folk.
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