Taj Mahal is the first thing several non-Indians will think of as soon as they hear the word India, and so is Agra. Agra and Taj Mahal don’t need any introduction.
However something else is there, which is not so popular, but damn interesting, and that’s Taj Mahotsav, an annual festival which takes place in a premises named as Shilpgram (Agra), less than a kilometer away from Taj Mahal.
The word Shilpgram is formed from two hindi words Shilp and Gram, Shilp means Art and Craft whereas Gram is the Hindi word for Village. Shilpgram is probably the best name to define what it actually looks like and the feelings you get after entering Shilpgram.
I have attended Taj Mahotsav for 4 consecutive years, and the way I would like to define Taj Mahotsav is, ‘It’s a festival to celebrate the diverse culture and multiple arts and crafts (along with the modern decedents) India possesses.’
Agra has a long history of Mughal Rulers, and so, this festival also has a deep impact of Mughal culture, Taj Mahostsav starts with well decorated Elephants and Camels on the road, which can give a feeling of walking on the roads of some ancient Mughal Empire.
Later, when you enter the Shilpgram, you will come across stalls from different parts of India, showcasing their traditional Arts and Crafts, which consists of Sculpture, Jewels, Carpets, Clay pots, Puppets, Hand printings, wood carvings, brass wares etc. You can also find stalls serving some delicious Indian dishes.
Cultural performances, like dances, gazals, etc are also a very important part of this cultural extravaganza.
Wherever you live and wherever you are from, do make it a point to visit this festival once in your life time, moreover if you haven’t visited the Taj Mahal, try scheduling it between 18th to 27th February, because this is the duration of Taj Mahotsav as well, so you can catch all the fun, another important factor, during these days winters are almost at the verge of leaving, so the weather too is pretty suitable during this span.
Here are some links, which can be visited to know more about Taj Mahal.
Official Taj Mahotsav Website
Taj Mahotsav @ Wikipedia
Image via Official Taj Mahotsav Website
If you are a craftsman, and looking for showcasing your talent in Taj Mahotsav, visit the official Taj Mahotsav Website.