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Friday, 12 July 2013

Culture - Uttar Pradesh | Culture of Uttar Pradesh India

Culture Of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is a state in India, located in the northern part of the country. UP has a population of around 200 million residents and is the most populated state in the country. UP stands as the fifth most populated state in the world. Uttar Pradesh covers an area of 243,290 km2. It contributes 8.34% of India’s total GDP. Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. 
Uttar Pradesh has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored. Important cities in Uttar Pradesh are Allahabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Agra, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Meerut, and Lucknow. 
Uttar Pradesh is the birthplace of Hinduism and has various impressions within the state related to Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Vedic beliefs. The state has important sites related to Buddhism. Uttar Pradesh was divided into smaller territories throughout history and has been shelter to many empires such as the Nanda, Sunga, Gupta, Magadha, Mauryan, Gurjara, Pala, Mughal and Kushan empires. Uttar Pradesh in one of the most ancient cradles of Indian culture. While it is true that no Harappa and Mohan-Jodaro have been discovered in the State, the antiquities found in Banda (Bundelkhand), Mirzapur and Meerut link its History to early Stone Age and Harappan era. Chalk drawings or dark red drawings by primitive men are extensively found in the Vindhyan ranges of Mirzapur districts. Utensils of that age have also been discovered in Atranji-Khera, Kaushambi, Rajghat and Sonkh. Copper articles have been found in Kanpur, Unnao, Mirzapur, Mathura and advent of the Aryans in this State. It is most probable that snapped links between the Indus Valley and Vedic civilizations lie buried under the ruins of ancient sites found in this State.

Culture from cities

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.


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.


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.

Architecture, Art and Craft 

Several styles of architecture can be seen in Uttar Pradesh. There are buildings built in the Hindu Buddhist styles and Royal memorials and monuments of Indo-Islamic architectuBuildings constructed in Avadh and Sharqi styles of architecture are also remarkable.In the Jatakas and other ancient works, we find description of several such cities, palaces and forts, which were at sometime situated within the confines of Uttar Pradesh and of which there is not trace now. Almost the similar fate met the Stupas, etc., which were built by Shakya, Malla and other rulers in this State in 6th century B.C. The famous Jain stupa whose ruins have been found in Kankali Tila in Mathura was also built during this period. 

The Art of Mathura 

The Mathura Schools of Art reached its pinnacle during the Kushan Period. The Most important work of this period is the anthromorphic image of the Buddha who was hitherto represented by certain symbols. The artists of Mathura and Gandha were pioneers who carved out images of the Buddha. Images of Jain Tirthankars and Hindu deities were also made in Mathura. Generally, all these intial images were huge in size. Their excellent specimens are still preserved in the museums at Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad and Mathura. Colossal images, in seated or standing postures, of Kushan emperors Vim Kadphises and Kanishk and Saka ruler Chashtan have also been found at Math in Mathura district. 

They are stated to have been installed in dev-kul (probably a place for worship of ancestors).There is not doubt that Mathura was the center of manufacturing of stone images (sculpture) during the Kushan Period. These images had a great demand in other parts of the country. Scenes depicted on Stone pillars found in Bhuteshwar and other places in Mathura district present glimpses of contemporary life including dresses, ornaments, means of entertainment, arms, household furniture, etc. Stone carvings of intoxicated groups of people that have been found, speak about foreign (Hellenistic) influence on this school of art. Considerable construction activities have come to notice in Sarnath also in Kushan Period, ruins of several monasteries, temples and Stupas of that period lie catered there even today. 

The state is home to a very ancient 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. The ragas sung by Tansen were believed to be so powerful that they could bring rain, or light a fire, when recited.
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.
In modern times, Uttar Pradesh has given to the world music legends like Naushad Ali, Talat Mehmood, Anup Jalota, Baba Sehgal, Shubha Mudgal, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Kishan Maharaj, Pandit Vikash Maharaj, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Gopal Shankar Misra, Siddheshwari Devi, Girija Devi etc. The legendary Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar belonged to Uttar Pradesh; she took this aspect of music to amazing heights. "Ae Mohabbat Tere anjaam pe rona aaya" is one of her best musical renditions of all times. It is also, incidentally, the birthplace of British pop legend Sir Cliff Richard.
The region's folk heritage includes songs called rasiya (known and especially popular in Braj), which celebrate the divine love of Radha and Shri 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:
Ramlila, which includes enacting the entire Ramayana
Naqal - (mimicry)
The Bhatkhande Music Institute is situated in Lucknow.


The important Hindu festivals of Uttar Pradesh are Navaratri, Diwali, Shivaratri, Raksha Bandhan and Janmashtami.

Karva Chauth: This festival of fasting and feasting falls on nine days after Dussehra, on the fourth day of the Karva Chauthdark fortnight of Kartika. Karva Chauth is held by married Hindu woman for the safety and prosperity of their husbands. 
Annakoot is celebrated which is devoted to feasting and Govardhan Puja in the evening and rounded up next day by Bhaiya Dooj when sisters apply vermilion tika (auspicious mark) on the forehead of their brothers who reward them with money.
Shitla Ashtami, which falls on eighth day after Holi, is devoted to the goddess of small-pox, followed by Ram Navami on Chaitra Sudi Navami, commemorating the birth of Lord Rama; Baisakhi Purnima, a big bathing day; Bargadee Amavasya in Jaistha Dussehra, another great bathing day; Guru Purnima in Asadh when Vyas Puja is held and Nag Panchami dedicated to the worship of the Snake God, Shesha.
Janmashtami is the most important Hindu festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna. This festival is followed by Hartalika Teej, Ganesh Chaturthi, Anant Chaturdashi, and Pitra Visarjan Amavasya devoted to making of oblations to the Pitras (dead ancestors) and is called Pitra Paksha. Bharat Milap which is celebrated during the month of October or November is performed at Nati Imli on the day following Vijayadashmi (Dusshera). It pertains to the episode of the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, and his reunion with his brother Bharat.

Muslim Festivals

The most solemn and colourful Muslim function held in the state is Muharram, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holi Prophet. In all cities and towns Muslims take out impressive processions of colourfully decorated tazias, replicas of the martyr's tomb at Karbala. The most solemn and impressive Muharram is observed in Lucknow, where gold and silver replicas of old Nawabi times are brought out and men beat their breasts in mourning constantly until blood oozes out. The two Imambaras and Shah Najaf are beautifully illuminated for two days. An impressive event is a fire-walking feat held in one of the Imambaras. After the burial of the tazias on the tenth day, a gathering of mourners in utter darkness is held, known as Majlis Sham-i-Ghariban, one of the most soul-stirring events among Muharram observances. The other occasions of religious importance for Muslims are Id-Ul-Fitr, Ramzan (a month devoted to fasting), Chehlum, Bara Wafat, Shah-i-Barat and Id-Uz-Zuha.

Why Visit Uttar Pradesh? 

Uttar Pradesh attracts nearly 71 million tourists and is considered to be one of the top tourist destinations in India. Agra, a city in Uttar Pradesh is adorned by the famous Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra fort which are World Heritage sites. Taj Mahal is an exquisite masterpiece in the World Heritage. Dayal Bagh is a modern day temple in Agra and is very popular. 

Varanasi is one of the oldest Indian city and in the world too. The Ghats and a bath in the sacred Ganges River are considered to be holy. Other pilgrimage places in Uttar Pradesh include Ayodhya, which is the birthplace of Lord Rama, Mathura, which is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Vrindavan and Allahabad. 
Uttar Pradesh has a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. A basic meal consists of puris, chapattis, daal, rice, vegetable curries, papad and sweets like jalebi, rasmalai, rabri, ladoos, kheer, pethas and many more. Non-vegetarian meals comprise of delicacies like korma, pulao, parathas, biriyani, kebabs and more. 

Facts for Tourists

Uttar Pradesh, being the heart of India, is well connected to rest of the country. The climate is generally hot and cotton clothes are preferable. Women are informed not to wear revealing clothes while visiting temples and other religious places. The use of drugs is a punishable offence.

Rivers of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh has more than 31 large and small rivers; of them, the Ganga, Yamuna, Alaknanda, Ramganga, Bhagirathi, Sarayu and Ghaghara are larger and of religious importance in Hinduism. 


  1. Lansdowne is a beautiful spot, just 100 km. from Bijnor. Lansdowne is a place where you can wake up to birds' chirping in the morning, have long walks, quite evenings in the vicinity of unspoiled nature. En route to Lansdowne, I have fond memories of Bijnor as beautiful place where we stopped for refreshments. Kudos to you for portraying Bijnor amazingly.

  2. Uttar Pradesh is amazing state in india. there is lots of beautiful places to visit. please come at uttar pradesh with your camera and you can capture different cultture in photos.
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