Being the capital city of Mughal Empire once, Agra has many stories to tell and numerous events to keep you excited throughout your journey in this magnificent city. Apart from housing the world-famous Taj Mahal, that stands tall on the banks of river Yamuna, this city is also home to fairs and festivals that draw a lot of attention from different parts of the country and the world.
The culture and architecture of Agra are rich enough to attract tourists. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, Agra is an amalgam of history and culture that provides top-class hospitality along with savoury dishes and cuisines. Chikkis and chaat are few of them which will surely leave you finger-licking.
There are fairs and festivals organized during specific periods of the year all over India and is a common practice from time since immemorial. Yet, it is different in this city, and one shall not miss the celebrations if Agra is one of the destinations in the list of your vivid and complete trips. Read through the below page completely to know in detail about these important festivals and fairs so that you won't miss the chance to witness wonderful events that are worthy of great memories and you can cherish upon these moments for the rest of your life.
1. Taj Mahotsav
Enlisted on the events calendar of the Tourism Department of India, this festival finds its origin in the year 1992. The festival has since then, reached a peak level as tourists both from outside and with in India, make all their way to reach Agra to attend this fest in the month of February between 18th and 27th every year.
About Taj Mahotsav - Culture, Arts & Tradition
This festival was started as an encouragement and to provide a platform to the Artisans who have been fading out with the advent of industries. The items sold here are reasonably low priced yet magnificent in appeal despite the stall maintenance costs that creep in.
There are legendary artisans who gather from different parts of the country in this fest and showcase their artworks. Silk works from Banaras, marble work from Agra, Chikan from Lucknow, cane related artworks from Northeast India, carpets and shawls from Kashmir, brass wares from Moradabad and stone carvings from Tamil Nadu are few among many that come to display at one single point on this occasion.
Tourist Attractions in Taj Mahotsav
Counting on these displays in the festival, one can get a complete glimpse of cultures that are followed in India. Adding to this, there is a good aura built upon during this fest with the presence of live dance and music such as Ghazal and Mushaira shows that resemble a mocktail of folk and classic. There is absolutely none to stop you from joining these dances as it is hard to refrain from being part of the enticing performances portrayed skillfully by the artistes who come from different backgrounds and tastes of life.
You are in the right place and time if you would like to have the taste and fun of life! Apart from a great or deal of these extravagant performances and exquisite art pieces, cuisines that are worked out by the top-notch cooks are waiting to entertain you. The taste buds would rejoice as you start to experience these delicious foods. The festival is also a major attraction for children as there is Funfair. There are roller coasters and similar other rides that keep the families amused and entertained throughout! Merry-go-round and Ferris wheel are most popular among them. Camel rides and elephant rides are other notable attractions for the children especially.
Where it is celebrated in Agra
The main venue for this festival is the place Shilpgram or most often called by the name Crafts Village. This is very near to the Taj Mahal. It is an important spot for tourists as they get the opportunity to buy the traditional and exotic artworks that are sold in huts and stalls. These kinds of settings give you a pleasant experience of rural life. So, the Mahotsav festival on an overall account stands by its name and don't miss the celebrations.
2. Bateshwar Mela
Bateshwar is a temple town that is located at roughly 70km from Agra. It can be a one-stop spiritual town for many as it shelters 108 Hindu temples dedicated to numerous gods and goddesses. However the main deity here is Bateshwar Mahadev after whom, the town was named. Every year, roughly between October and November, a fair is held. This is strictly in accordance with the lunar calendar that is predominantly followed by the Hindus. Thus, there is no exact date for this event.
This is indeed a cattle fair, where animals such as cows, oxen, bulls, elephants, horses, camels and goats along with their sellers and buyers are present. Thus, in other words, this fair is meant to be a trading venue. The fair is a perfect place to resemble the life of rural India that is vibrant, charming and peaceful. This event coincides with the time that is considered to be auspicious for praying to the main deity and thereby there is a large footfall of people with different mindsets such as saints, tradesmen, and other villagers. This fair starts about two days ahead of Deepawali, the festival of lights and is held about three weeks or nearly a month long. Devotees take a dip in the sacred river waters of Yamuna during this period and perform puja to the main deity.
The fair starts with cattle in the first week. In the second week, camels and horses are put up on trade and on the final or the third week, donkeys and goats. The last week is also the time for various shops to throng open and there are elephant and camel rides at the same time to entertain the children. Apart from these, there are other rituals that are performed by the Bateshwar Mahadev temple. The magnitude of the crowd and the level of celebrations in this fair are comparable to that of the Pushkar fair in Rajasthan.
3. Ram Barat
It is one of the most important festivals of Agra which earmarks the Lord Rama's marriage procession. The actual event is the celebrations of the marriage of Lord Rama with Sita Devi. The procession is quite typical and different in style. Every year, a new place within the city is designated as the bride's place which is known as Janakpuri locally. The newly designated place is therefore decorated with a large number of flowers and ornaments to welcome the procession.
The festival is celebrated before Dusshera and the procession starts from Lala Channomalji Ki Baradari to the Janakpuri place which proceeds through the lanes of the city. During this event, the local people as Jhankis are dressed up to portray as Lord Rama and Laxman along with the other brothers of the diety on elephants that are decorated very well. The atmosphere during this festival is totally electric and one can easily become ecstatic with the way it is celebrated. This mega event is carried out amidst lakhs of people which includes both locals and others in large numbers.
Rambarat is celebrated every year and can expect it to happen either in the month of September or October as part of Ramleela celebrations. As a tourist, you shall consider visiting Agra during this festive season!
4. Kailash Fair
Fairs and festivals in India are celebrated with great fervour and delight. Kailash Fair is one such good example with its astonishingly colorful presence at the village of Kailash that is just 12km away from Agra. The fair is a kind of offering to Lord Shiva as the tale goes down that the lord has himself appeared as lingam in Kailash which is the sacred stone.
People come in large numbers and perform prayers to Lord Shiva and the ambiance is so good that one can easily experience the divine wisdom and joy that has no bounds. Many shops are also opened up as part of this occasion and the atmosphere is vividly fascinating and cheerful as there is a large crowd. This fair is organized between August and September months and is a great treat to watch and participate. If you are an outsider to Agra, then plan your trip to Agra to explore and enjoy the beautiful procession along with Ramlila celebrations.
5. Lathmar Holi
Holi, the festival of colors, is commonly celebrated nationwide in Indiayet Lathmar Goli stands unique and occurs about a week before Holi. The festival Holi is celebrated indeed to welcome the onset of spring and to say adieu to the winter. The tradition is akin to the usual splashing of colors. What makes this festival more peculiar in Agra is that the women of the Barsana village, near to Agra chase away the men from the village of Nandgaon with wooden sticks. There is nothing to worry in this as everything here is playful and is similar to the tales heard in Hindu Mythologies where Lord Krishna was driven by Radha and Gopis.
Keeping in the account of above-described festivals and fairs celebrated and organized in Agra, there are many solid reasons to explain why this city can be the best tourist spot apart from the iconic and monumental Taj Mahal. There is a mix of tradition, culture, food, and hospitality which gives Agra a unique identity instead of simply being a place that is home to one of the seven wonders in the world.