(Last Updated on : 08/12/2008)
The culture of Uttar Pradesh
is a cradle of Indian traditional customs and practises . It has had not only a plethora of lushly landscapes, rivers but the rich heritage of cultural elements were also nurtured. Rig Veda
s had its origin in this soil of Uttar Pradesh. To the whole nation Indian epics Mahabharata
too are the most exquisite gifts conferred by the state. Conquests of Islamic rulers, Greek dynasties on the one hand and also the influence of Buddha
have enabled the state to develop an orientation towards religion, spiritualism and philosophy. The culture of Uttar pradesh , thus , has rightly imbibed this trend and manifested it in its various features. In Uttar Pradesh festivals have been celebrated in high spirits. Music, festivals, suave cuisine and classy lifestyle epitomize the culture of Uttar Pradesh as customary, yet, debonair.
To discuss the culture of Uttar Pradesh , a due mentioning of the glorious festivals and fairs of the region becomes imperative. Not only the popular Indian festivals like Holi
, Makar Sankranti are feted, the localites observe some special festivals and fairs in great fervor. The 'Taj Mahaotsav' celebrated in February at Agra and has drawn admirers from various places. This festival recalls the bequest of the Meena Bazaar of Mughal era by exhibiting the fine marble replica toys of the Taj, Mughal jewelry, 'zari' clothing and lots of other more things that create awe and splendor amongst the spectators.
The people of Uttar Pradesh are oriented towards religious practices and customs.
The gala celebration of 'Kumbh Mela' is another proof of it. From all over the world the visitors participate in enthusiasm. At Varanas, Ganga festival is celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga
to worship the river. Festival held in the month of October- November. The Lucknow festival is observed for ten days in the month of November or December. Bateshwar fair is observed in the month of October and November at Bateshwar area of Uttar Pradesh. Thousands of devotees rever Lord Shiva
and also take dip into the holy river Yamuna
for the purification of their body and soul. Sale of animals, too increase the frenzied mood of the fair. The sporty events like kite flying, chariot race, and pigeon flying reminisces the sagas of the Hindustan Nawabs and is an integral part of the festival.
Music and dance
The culture of Uttar Pradesh is highly enriched by the music and dance forms. Music is opulent and belongs to Hindusthani gharana. The gestation of melodious musical numbers of folks too is possibly largely due to the contribution of creative population of tribal communities. Utter Pradesh is the bastion of 'Purbaiya Ang' of the genre of Hindustani classical music. Ghazal is the most cherished one to all the music lovers. It is basically a system of combining various poetries in a dictated formatting of beat and weight unit. Thumari is another musical genre, highly famous among the localites. In the beginning the royal kings patronized this musical form and was only confied within the premises of regal courts. Then a time came when the masses too could get entralled by the melancholic rhythm of Thumari songs. Qauwwali, or the poems of Sufis, mostly peached on the graves of Sufi saints. Marsiya is also far-famed among the Shia Muslim communities of Uttar Pradesh .The subject and recital is sad and tragic, depicting in poetic form, the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad
, and his companions.
Folk music too proliferated and largely appreciated by the people both in the country and worldwide. Rasiya is famous in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, sung generally during the Holi Festival. It is based on the theme of love of Lord Krishna
for his assort Radha and other dairymaids. Another renowned music is Birha , which creates a mood of lament. A newly- married bride is getting separated from her husband as he is traveling to distant places to earn their livelihood and the woman expresses her feelings through this musical medium. Chaiti is in contrast is chiefly hummed in the month of 'Chaiti' according to the Hindu calendar. The romantic combat of a darling with his lover is the essential subject of these songs. Kajari is songs of Shravana, the month of rainy seasons. Its theme too is that of melancholy and sadness, elegy of insulation but it is less sensual than Birha.
The classical dance styles too are prominent in the culture of Uttar Pradesh. Kathak, the classical dance of India, sprang up from the region. It had its origin in Nawabi courts and today it is one of the popular Indian dances of classical dance genre. The folk dances namely Ras-lila and Charkula centred around Lord Krishna and Radha. While the former is an amorous dance form that depicts their love, the Charkula represents the birth of Radha. Charkula is executed at the time of societal and spiritual functions.
Devotional dance form Karma is prevalent among the tribes of Uttar Pradesh. The people also got fascinated by the exquisite dance style of Dadra . It is a traditional dance juxtaposing the amorous themes like marital love, intimate pleasure. This dance has a unparalleled style where the singers playback for the artists performing on the stage.
No discussion on the culture of Uttar Pradesh is incomplete without due reference of its cuisine. The U.P people pamper their taste buds with spicy and rich dishes. Spicy meals like Biriyani, kababs, Nihari are the delicacies dominant in their kitchens. Due to Muslim dominance most of the items are meat based. The meal preference varies accordingly in different areas of Uttar Pradesh. Although the people prefer to savor the non- vegetarian food items, veggies too can too quench their hunger with some famous vegetarian dishes like Tahri and Nargishi kofta. Tahri is prepared with rice and lentils and Nargishi Kofta is dosed with loads of cheese, Khoya and saffron. Fish is quite famous especially In the western Uttar Pradesh or Rampur region. Rampuri Rohu and Zamindoz are the delicacies prepared from fish. Murg Musallam is another favorite dish of this region. Sweets are also a part and parcel of cuisine of Uttar Pradesh. The Khurchan , Peda, Petha are widely famous among the food lovers through out the nation. all over India. The Shahi Tukda of Oudh region is very popular too. The popular drinks namely Lassi and Ruh-afza too are grounded in Uttar Pradesh region.
The people and their lifestyle enlighten us to the cultural exuberance of any region. The culture of Uttar Pradesh, too, is not an exception. The imperial rulers had beutified the soils of Uttar Pradesh with their unique construction of artistic monuments, thus making it an ideal destination for tourists. The most exquisite being The Taj Mahal, is situated, on the banks of river Yamuna. The Fatehpur Sikri and the Red Fort bore the copious legacy of the Mughals. The holy River Ganga flows through the heart of the region .The oldest city of the world, the Varanasi
, and also Mathura
Vrindawan are abundant in temples. The pilgrims from all over the world visit there for worship. There are both cost-effective and decent accommodation options in Uttar Pradesh. Also first -class, expensive hotels grew up providing luxuries and comforts to their lodgers.
The people are prone towards leading a simple, hassle free and happy life. The state language is standard Hindi
. Several regional Hindi 'dialects' are spoken throughout the state.
The traditional artifacts Chikankari of Lucknow and Varanasi Brocade had occupied the world market. There is no parallel to the exotic Persian and Arabian carpets that are prepared in cities like Shahjahanpur and Mirzapur. The craftsmen articulate their prowess in producing Banarasi sarees, potteries, glass and metal wares.
Incorporating the royal tradition of its kinship lineage, Uttar Pradesh is marked by exquisite cultural traits as inherited in the music and dance styles, festival fiestas and lifestyles. What is even more remarkable is that the 'desi' styles too are perfectly mingled with the classics of the culture of Uttar Pradesh.