One of the most astonishing historic cities in India, Agra is a city known for its rich history, heritage, art, craft, and most importantly for its admiring culture. The history and mentions of the city date back to the time of Mahabharata, the holy epic. The city was under the control of several dynasties for decades and the Mughal dynasty is believed to have contributed the most towards the heritage of the city.
The city experiences a beautiful amalgamation of cultures- the result of Muslim, British, and Rajput rule over it. Agra has been the nourishing ground for architecture, poetry, music, literature, art, and crafts. On your holiday in Agra, you are surely going to find the reminiscence of the Mughal influence in the customs, traditions, food, and lifestyle along with the monuments of that era.
The city sees a huge influx of travelers every year and this has also developed a unique culture in Agra.
Agra Culture – People, Traditional Food & Handicrafts
People of Agra
The natives of Agra are known for their calm, warm, and very cooperative nature. However, the city was under the control of Muslim rulers for a long time but has a higher population of Hindus. Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity also reside there. Although this diversity in faith is not only helping them in living a harmonious life but also unify their spirits. People in Agra communicate with each other in Hindi, English, Urdu, and Braj languages.
The natives of this city of love earn their livelihood with the industries of carpets, Rugs, Handicrafts, Marble Inlay, Garments, Zardozi Work, and leather but the mainstay of income for the people of Agra is through the tourism sector. Agriculture also plays a great role in increasing the economy of the city and a major part of the Population.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Raj Babbar, a noted film star, Jamuna Barua, wife of Pramathesh Chandra Barua, and the leading actress of yesteryear are a few of the famous personalities who hail from Agra.
Attires in Agra
Agra being a colorful city happens to be a perfect place for those who are fond of colorful attires. You will find people buying both traditional as well as modern clothing but a few years back, women chose to stick to the traditional wear like Saree, Salwar Kameez, and men used to wear Kurta Pyjamas and Kurta Dhoti. On special occasions like marriage functions and festivals, people love wearing Ghagra-Choli, Lehenga-Choli, and Sherwani.
Tradition in Agra
One of the most important historical places, Agra is home to one of the seven magnificent wonders of the world. The city attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to witness the architectural grandeur of the Taj Mahal and the two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located closer to the city, Mathura and Vrindavan leave an incredible mark on Agra culture. Braj Raslila, Charukala, Rasiya, and Ram Lila are a few of the occasions that you should be a part of for at least once in your lifetime.
The city with rich culture and traditions from antiquity organizes plenty of festivals and cultural events in a grand manner. Ram Barat, Diwali, Eid, and Dussehra are some of the major festivals celebrated in the city with great pomp and enthusiasm. Kailash Fair, Taj Mahotsav, Urs Sufi Sahib, Bateshwar Fair, Janmashtami, and Ram Leela are some exciting festivals and cultural events.
The culture of Agra is hugely influenced by the Mughals, the city is widely popular for the Mughal cuisines like curries, Kebabs, and Kormas that involve cream, nuts, curd, almond, and selected spices. Apart from the popular Mughlai dishes, the city serves you with Pethas made from glucose and pumpkin and is very popular all over the country. Dal Moth happens to be a kind of snack and also one of the most bought specialties of the city.
- Agra Fort
- Taj Mahal
- Bateshwar Temple
- Chini Ka Rauza
- Keetham Lake
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Dayalbagh Temple
Shows and Events
Agra Fort Light and Sound Show- this show showcases the rich history of the city and the monuments established here. This open-air program is delivered in both Hindi and English language and narrates the stories of the poets and rulers and people of the region.
Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Center Dance and Light Show
The musical extravaganza Mohabbat the Taj is a nightly dance and drama show that tells you the love story of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. This concludes with a buffet dinner at one of the local restaurants in the city. Round trip transport from your hotel to Taj is inclusive of this wonderful show.
Taj Mahotsav – An annual handicrafts and cultural festival that is organized every year in the month of February in Shilpgram in Agra. This grand festival promotes the skills of local artisans and domestic as well as foreign travelers visit here to see arts and crafts from all around the country. It happens to be one of the great ways to witness elephant parades, cultural festivities, local food, and street musicians.
Agra Balloon Festival – organized every year in February, The Taj Balloon Festival is a 3-day long event that allows travelers to float high in the sky and enjoy aerial view of Taj Mahal and other monuments. The festival itinerary is inclusive of balloon rides and tours that focus on excursions to monuments, Mughal history, and night balloon rides accompanied with music.
The evening ends with beautiful performances from nationally as well as globally renowned music and dance performers.
Agra monuments, bazaars, and streets can be experienced at closer quarters through walking tours and multiple companies provide private walking tours of the city. Walking tours allow visitors to experience the city at an intimate level and go beyond the main monuments to understand its traditions and stories, economy, history, and meet the locals.
Gateway to Braj Holi
The Spring festival of Holi is popular in Vrindavan and Mathura with many celebrations and events held in varied villages, localities, and temples. The festivities commence in mid-January from the time of Makar Sankranti that continues till Holi.
Some of the special events organized during the Holi celebrations include playing with flowers, special processions from temples to river banks, and special events where widows can play with the colors.
The city is reckoned for miniature paintings from the court of Agra and this tradition is continued by artisans till today. These beautiful paintings feature the images from the imperial court, domestic scenes, and battles fought there. These two-dimensional paintings narrated stories in an interplay of energy, color, and linear rhythm.
The destination is quite popular for divine paintings depicting the life evidences of the baby, the Raasleela, and adolescent Krishna. Braj, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, and the stories of his life are established in different locations in the region. The place is a living culture with time-held traditions including flower bungalows for deities in temples, Saanjhi Paintings, Charkula Dance, and many more. All these are depicted in the paintings.
Lifestyle, Values Beliefs
India is a land of diversity, a fact that is evidently prominent in its people, climate, and culture. From the mesmerizing views of snow covering the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the humid deltas of the East to the deserts of the West, from the dry heat and cold of the Central Plateau to the cool forest foothills, the lifestyle of the people clearly glorifies the geography.
The food, habits, and clothing of an Indian differ in accordance with the place of origin.
What brings diversity in the culture of Agra?
Agra, a beautiful city in the state of Uttar Pradesh has a unique culture of its own. The presence of several monuments and the centuries of Mughal rule and subsequent tourist influence have a direct bearing on the culture of this ancient city. The city is home to one of the seven wonders of the world that gives tourists a solid reason to feel proud. Due to the huge influx of the locals as well as the travelers has developed a city of its own.