Imagine going back in time, standing on the banks of river Yamuna, watching the newly built Taj staring at you from across the river, in all its splendor and glory. Picture yourself being in the hustle and bustle of the by-lanes radiating from the Taj, watching artisans and shop keepers keep themselves busy with their daily chores. Let your senses envision the sights, sounds and smells of these markets…what wouldn’t you give to go back.
Well, here’s your chance to visit Agra and be a part of the 22nd edition of Taj Mahotsav – the only festival in India that celebrates this timeless classic. The event is an initiative by the UP Tourism Department aimed to celebrate India’s rich culture, arts and crafts, against the backdrop of the magnificent Taj Mahal.
What is it about?
The Taj Mahal was designed to represent the two forms of existence - the living world and the afterlife. The inner courtyard and the mausoleum represent Eden, the afterlife, and the outer area represents the material world with all its trappings. Historically, the area outside the Taj Mahal was once a bustling market that did roaring business in arts and handicrafts; this very spirit is captured in its essence at the Taj Mahotsav festival. Be here between February 18 and 27 and you will find nearly 400 craftsmen, artisans and performers bedazzling the audience with their offerings.
Why should you go?
At the Taj Mahotsav, you will get to see (and buy at discounted rates) the enchanting blue ceramic pottery of Khurja, hand-woven carpets with complex designs from Bhadoi, exquisite papier-mâché objects d’art from Kashmir and silk and zari work from Benaras. You can also expect to see the regular expo favourites - wood and stone carvings from Tamil Nadu and brass ware from Moradabad.
The venue for the festival, Shilpagram or ‘artisans’ village’ near Taj Mahal, is all set to don the look of a carnival with elegant Kalbelia dancers from Rajasthan , Nautanki – folk theatre and drama – shows by artists from Braj and Bundelkhand and energetic Lavani dancers from Maharashtra. No carnival is complete without a Ferris wheel. The Fun Fair offers plenty of rides and other attractions for kids and the young at heart.
And finally, here’s one more reason to visit the Taj Mahotsav–food. Tons of it! Besides showcasing India’s rich culture, arts and crafts, Taj Mahotsav is also a celebration of India’s diverse cuisines. For a food lover, this is reason enough to go.