5 Festivals and Events to Experience during Your Stay in AgraFestivals are part of every household in India. In particular, festivals like Diwali are celebrated with much fanfare throughout the country. In Agra, there are some events and festivals which are unique to Agra’s culture. Here are 5 festivals and events to experience in Agra.
It is a widely celebrated festival in the northern part of India and one of the best festivals to experience in Agra. There are two places in India that are said to go on a complete festive mode which is Jaipur and Agra. Mathura is 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the city of Agra where it is celebrated with a lot of pomp. The festival has an interesting story attached to the story of Holika, the sister of the evil king, Hiranyakashipu.
Hiranyakashipu planned to kill his son because he worshipped Lord Vishnu even after the repeated warnings given. As Holika had a power withstand fire so she tricked the innocent Prahlad to sit along with her in the pyre but she lost her power and was burnt to ashes and Prahlada escaped unscathed.
The first day of Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan. Before Holi, people start collecting wood for the celebration of Holika Dahan wherein a doll of Holika is burnt on the fire. People then start playing with colors to show their happiness for the victory of good over evil. Drumbeats along with dance is a common sight in Agra, Gujiya is a special type of sweet consisting of dry fruits. Thandai is a drink consumed as a custom during the Holi festival.
Time and Duration: The Indian festival Holi is celebrated in March every year. The dates may vary depending on the Hindu calendar. The day-long festival starts from morning around 4 AM.
2. Taj Mahotsav
This is one of the unique events in Agra consisting of various cultural events encapsulated in it. It is indeed a cultural festival to experience in Agra. It was started in the year 1992. The main objective of this festival is to motivate and encourage local artisans. Arts and crafts are a major part of the festival featuring around 400 artisans from different areas of the country.
Various dance forms like classical, semi-classical are performed to remind our roots. The Raslila is a folk dance performed which can excite you to relive the traditions of the past. The various dishes of Uttar Pradesh are prepared in the event which can be savored by the heart and mouth. It is a mouth-watering experience to eat Agra’s famous food. There is some attraction for kids as well. Roller coaster, Ferris wheel, and merry go round can be enjoyed by both kids and teens alike.
Time and duration: Every year, Taj Mahotsav festival in Agra is celebrated in February. The 10-day festival starts on February 18 every year.
3. Ram Barat
The name itself suggests the meaning of the festival. Ram Barat literally translates to the Hindu god Ram’s marriage procession. Simply put, it is a grand enactment of Sri Ram’s wedding to Sita. Ram Barat was started 125 years back by a wealthy businessman named Lala Kokamal. He started this as a 3-day festival revolving around the marriage ceremony of Lord Ram. Successive generations of Lala Kokamal have carried on with the tradition.
It is said that the festival was used as an indication of unity against the Britishers. A locality in Agra is selected each year and artisans are called upon to decorate the area. The Barat starts from Mankameshwar temple which is also a must-visit place in Agra if you are interested in spirituality. The procession takes around 8 to 10 hours to touch the designated location and the marriage ceremony is conducted there with a lot of celebration. It is a wonderful festival in Agra to know the life and times of Lord Ram, which is indeed an extraordinary experience.
Time and duration: The event takes place before the Indian festival Dussehra which takes place in October every year. However, you should check the dates because the event time and dates are decided based on the Hindu calendar.
4. Kailash Fair and Festival
The Kailash fair is conducted to indicate Lord Shiva as the lingam form. The fair is held at the Kailash temple which is situated at a distance of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Agra. The locals and followers of Hindu religion believe that Lord Shiva has taken the form of a stone lingam and listens to the prayers and worries of devotees who visit the Sacrosanctum of Lord Shiva in Kailash temple. Devotees normally give offerings of milk, sweets, and flowers. The Temple is situated on the banks of the Yamuna River. It is indeed a beautiful fair in Agra to witness and get the chance to make new friends.
Time and Duration: The fair is conducted in August and September every year.
5. Bateshwar Fair
Bateshwar is an ancient temple situated approximately 70 km (43.5 miles) from the city of Agra. It is considered to be an important Hindu pilgrimage place in Agra. There are around 101 shiva temples inside the complex. It is also said to be the birthplace of the Hindu God Krishna's mother.
Bateshwar is considered as ‘son of Dhams’. There are four Dhams (pilgrimage sites in India) across India which are Badrinath in North India, Rameshwaram in the southern part of India, Dwaraka in the western part of India, and Puri in the eastern part of India.
The Shiva temples in Bateshwar are lined along the riverfront and are indeed a sight to witness. Hundreds of horses, camels, and donkeys are brought for trade. The fair runs for three weeks with each week having different animals for trade. The religious fair is conducted after one week of cattle fair’s conclusion. The religious fair runs for around a week having activities such as shops and rides.
Time and duration: The Bateshwar cattle fair takes place a few days before Diwali which is celebrated in October and November every year.
If you’re in Agra and you know that some festival is going on, don’t miss the chance. Attending festivals and events in Agra is the best way to immerse yourself in traditional Indian culture and create memories.