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Taj Mahotsav - 18th to 27th February

Taj Mahotsav, Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation
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Web Admin

Web Admin

5 Dariya News

Agra , 01 Mar 2024

The lovely city of Agra, adorned and enchanted by the evergreen grandeur of the Taj Mahal, comes alive with the magnetic hues of India’s cultural diversity as Taj Mahotsav unfolds its all-round celebration from 18th February and continues with the vibrant shows for ten days. 

It is not merely a festival but a symphony of heritage and modernity. It is a celebration that transcends time, a temptation for visitors to merge themselves in India’s cultural spectacle. The ten-day spectacular show echoes the spirit of unity which was kick started in 1992 under the vision of the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. 

The festival has blossomed into one of India’s most eagerly anticipated events which pays a tribute to Taj Mahal’s architectural grandeur and grace, serenity and sublimity. The 2024 Taj Mahotsav has the theme: “Sanskriti: Ek Virasat” (Culture: A Heritage) which emphasises a deep and diverse essence of Indian culture. 

Within this grand theme, “Sanskriti and Samridhi” is added to create an integral link between culture and prosperity. Starting in 1992, the Taj Mahotsav has become a global mesmerizing attraction that welcomes visitors to deep delve into the aesthetic beauty of Indian art.

Taj Mahotsav is organized at Shilpgram, a craft village near the Taj Mahal. It accelerates tourism and honours the country’s artisans from 18th February to 27th February. This ten-day festival focuses on varied hues and forms of art, music and cuisine from different parts of the country and abroad. 

These ten days are not merely the days of celebration but also present a spectacular panorama to bring the world together. Artisans set up stalls, exhibit their talents and present a diverse pattern of artistic creations, local cuisines and handmade articles. Agra, a city on the bank of River Yamuna, finds its mention in the epic ‘Mahabharta’ as ‘Agravan’. 

The famous second century geographer, Ptolemy, marked it Agra on the world map. It is normally considered that Sultan Sikandar Lodhi, the ruler of Delhi Sultanate founded it in 1504 A.D. but the progressive period of the city blossomed with Mughals after 1526 A.D. 

It was called Akbarabad, the capital of the Mughal Empire during the reign of Emperor Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Its architectural significance continuous even today. Taj Mahotsav manages the best Indian Crafts demonstration like pottery, weaving, jewellery making, cultural performances like traditional Indian dances, music, theater, food stalls with a variety of Indian cuisines from all over the country. 

Fashion shows, camel rides and elephant rides, fireworks etc are also arranged. This year, the visitors may experience hot air balloon rides, the Taj Agra bike rally, ghazal evenings, bollywood music, Agra heritage walk, flower presentation, cultural evenings, art and craft fair, mushaira and ‘Kavi sammelan’ etc. 

Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the world which is famous across the globe as a marvelous and unique symbol of love. It is the jewel of Muslim art in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal with construction starting in 1632 A.D. and completed in 1648 A.D. with the mosque, the guest house and the main gateway on the South. 

There have been historical and Quran inscriptions in Arabic Script. Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the Chief Architect of this magnificent monument. It has a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and conex which enhance its aesthetic value. 

The monument in marble and inlay with precious stones which shine par-excellence in the moonlight. Additionally, the horticulture planner and architect have created remarkable innovation like the raised tomb at one end of the quadripartite garden rather than in the exact centre. 

The unique octagonal marble lettice screen encircling both cenotaphs is a piece of unsurpassed craftsmanship.The cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal is in perfect centre of the tomb chamber. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is greater than Mumtaz Mahal and installed more than thirty years later by the side of Mumtaz on its west. 

The mosque and the guest house in the Taj Mahal complex are made of red sandstone in contrast to the marble stone. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 for being “The Jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world heritage”. The Taj Mahal attracts about one lakh visitors every year. It is said that 200,00 stone carvers, masons and artists from India and as far as Turkey and Iraq were employed to complete this epic task. 

According to legend, Shah Jahan’s favourite wife Mumtaz bound him with a death-bed promise to build in her memory the most beautiful mausoleum ever known. The celebrated Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore composed two poems to Shah Jahan and the Taj Mahal. A few verses from the poem are:

“Though emeralds, rubies, pearls are all

But as the glitter of a rainbow tricking out empty air

And must pass away, yet still one solitary tear

Would hang on the cheek of time in the form

Of this white and gleaming Taj Mahal”.

Authors have written books on Taj Mahal like Ebba Koch, Giles Tillotson, “Romance of the Taj Mahal’ by Pratapaditya Pal, ‘The Moonlight Garden’ by Elizabeth B. Moynihan, ‘Taj Mahal’ by W.E. Beglay (editor) and Z.A. Desai (Translator), and so on. 

Even movies by Indian producers were created on Taj Mahal. The most famous being ‘Taj Mahal’ with cast of Pradeep Kumar, Bina Rai, Rehman, Jeevan, Veena and Helen. It was produced by A.K. Nadiadwala and directed by M. Sadiq. 

It was a commercial hit and its songs still reverberate by virtue of its lyrics and melodious music by Roshan. It won various awards as the best lyricist (Sahir Ludhianvi), Filmfare award for best music (Roshan), Filmfare award for the best female playback singer (Lata Mangeshkar) for ‘Jo Wada Kiya Wo Nibhana Parega’.

The Taj Mahotsav is a poplar event that attracts visitors from all over India and abroad. It is a unique way to experience the rich culture and heritage of Agra in varied hues. Taj Mahotsav 2024 is bringing nights filled with mesmerizing music. 

Popular bollywood singers are to present their musical performances. This colourful festival has been working in the growth of tourist arrivals. The festival echoes the pristine memories of the old Mughal Era and its royal empires. 

Myself has also written a book ‘Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire’ which bears a Foreword by Preneet Kaur who was a Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs. Captain Amrinder Singh, her husband at that time was the Chief Minister of Punjab. The book was also presented to Nobel Laureate His Holiness Dalai Lama of Tibet.

The annual festival commences with road procession of splendidly decorated camels and elephants. It is a cultural extravaganza that is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. This festival also figures in the calendar of events of the Department of Tourism, Government of India. The show presents a kaleidoscope of events.

Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.). She was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice-Chancellor Dr. S.S. Johal who was awarded with prestigious award Padma Bhushan in 2004.

Alka Puri was the devoted wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and truly affectionate mother of Journalist Dr. Jaswant Singh Puri. Smt. Alka Puri was an earnest social worker. She worked selflessly with Bibi Amtus Salam, the adopted daughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

Author

Dr. Jaswant Singh Puri 

Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) 

Social Activist 

Punjab Rattan, Member, Dewan Family, 

Erstwhile Princely State of Patiala, Punjabi University Medalist 

(Author of the world acclaimed book ‘Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire’ 

A Copy of the Book was presented to His Holiness & Nobel Laureate, Dalai Lama of Tibet)

 

Tags: Taj Mahotsav , Taj Mahal , Agra , Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation

 

 

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