Fairs and Festivals of Uttar Pradesh
With its 40 grand festivals and about 2,250 fairs, Uttar Pradesh is considered among the most colourful state of the country. All the occasions are celebrated with enthusiasm and excitement. These are the occasions when artists exhibit their talent in the most professional manner. Gymnasts, snake charmers, jugglers and the magicians are? common sight of the fairs in Uttar Pradesh.
Festivals like Raksha Bandhan, Vaishakhi Purnima, Dussehra, Krishna Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Deepawali, Shivaratri, Holi, Eid, Shab-e-Barat, New Year?s Day, Christmas, Buddha Purnima, Guru Nanak's Birthday etc. are celebrated in Uttar Pradesh with warm communal harmony like other parts of India. Apart from these major festivals (national festivals), Uttar Pradesh is visited for several unique fairs and celebrations.
The Kumbh and the Ardh Kumbh
These fairs are organised every twelve and six years in Haridwar. In India, the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh are also celebrated in Prayag, Nasik and Ujjain. Lakhs of pilgrims, sages and saints flock to these Tirathas (pilgrimages) to celebrate this divine event. They take dips in the holy rivers considering the water as Amrit (nectar). These much awaited fairs are perfect blends of religious and social features of the Hindu culture.
Ramlila is famous for the enactment of the story of Lord Rama, on the basis of the holy epic Ramcharitmanas (written by the great saint Tulsidas). In several places, it is linked with Vijayadashmi celebrations on the occasion of Dussehra in late September or early October and also with Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama.
Ram Navmi Mela
Ayodhya hosts this grand festival on the occasion of Lord Rama's birthday. The festival is celebrated in the month of April. Numerous devotees gather to venerate the Lord at Kanak Bhawan.
Shravan Jhula Mela
As the name suggests, the fair is organised in the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calender. The images or idols of Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lakshman are taken to Mani Parvat, where these are made to swing from the branches of the trees. The fair lasts till the end of the month of Shravan.
This fair is organised at Dehradun as a tribute to Guru Ram Rai, the Sikh Guru. He once visited Dehradun in the year 1699 when he built a gurudwara (Guru Ram Rai Darbar) and hoisted his flag (Jhanda). This fair marks this event. A huge fair is held every year in the month of March (on the sixth day after Holi) and a flag is unfurled at Jhanda Chowk.
Tapkeshwar Shiv Temple is located at 6 km from Dehradun. A fair, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is held here on Shivratri every year.
Barsana or 'Latthmar' Holi is celebrated at Barsasa (48 km from Mathura). As the legend goes, Lord Krishna used to visit Barsana with his friends (Gopas) to play Holi with his beloved Radha and her friends (Gopis). While playing, the gopas were chased by the gopis with 'Lathis' (bamboo) in their hands, thus giving rise to the 'Latthmar Holi' of Barsana. The festival is celebrated with coloured powder and coloured water at the Ladliji temple, dedicated to Sri Radha Rani.
After Barsana, Holi is also celebrated at Baldeo (the town named after Balram; 20 km from Mathura) and Nandgaon (7 km from Barsana).
Kampil Fair, Kampil
A Jain fair is organised at Kampil or Kampilya village in tehsil Kasganj of Etah district. The city was once the capital of King Drupad (father of Queen Draupadi of the epic Mahabharata). The renowned town is known as the birth place of the 13th tirthankar Brahlan Vimal Nath and was once visited by Lord Mahavir. A five day fair is organised here on the banks of River Ganga in the month of March.
This is a grand festival organised in Agra (along the river Yamuna) by UP Tourism to pay a tribute to the legendary craftsmen of Uttar Pradesh. The festival exhibits the arts, crafts, culture and cuisine of the Braj area.
Yoga Festival at Varanasi & Allahabad
This is a recent addition to the state culture. It is organised to promote the unparalleled art of meditation and Yoga that has heavily influenced the India and world. Great sages and Yogis teach the perfect way to find peace of mind and solace without corrupting the soul.
Several other fairs and celebrations that contribute to the unique identity of the state are:
-Bateshwar Fair, Agra
-Deva Mela, Barabanki
-Kailash Fair, Agra
-Ganga Mahotsava, Varanasi
-Janmashtmi Fair, Mathura
-Sardhana Christian Fair, Meerut
-Braj Parikrama, Braj