August 01, 2017: Experience a fine meld of a preserved past and a changing present at the most culturally rich state of India. Yes, we are talking about “Uttar Pradesh” the most vibrant state of India. The states majestic architectural work on the monuments, the piquant and mouth-watering Awadhi cuisine, the fine chicken work on fabrics and the brass work on utensils is something every traveller or a tourist should not miss upon. Here are the topmost 8 places to visit in Uttar Pradesh to broaden one s horizon on Indian history and culture.
1. Taj Mahal – Agra Present in Agra, and also known as the “Crown of Palaces” in Arabic, this immortal masterpiece is an awe-inspiring structure anyone could ever see in their lifetime. It’s a gem of Islamic art, however it combines Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles which were a part of the Mughal Empire. A visit to this 7th wonder of the world is a must and shouldn’t be missed upon at all!
2. Kusum Sarovar – Mathura
About 25 kms from the town of Vrindavan, this magnificent historical sandstone monument lies on the sacred Govardhan Hill in Mathura. Its Rajasthani architecture and nonchalant surroundings is the most vital part which attracts tourists and travellers to it. The entire vicinity has spiritual energy due to the pastimes of Lord Krishna and his eternal consort, Srimati Radharani . So, head on here to experience this divine beauty !
3. Kumbh Mela – Allahabad Held once in 12 years, Hindu pilgrims from all over the world gather here to bathe in the holy river during the Kumbh as they believe this will help in washing away their sins, make them perpetually blessed by the divine and take them a step closer to salvation. It’s one of the largest gatherings in the world and is known to be over 2000 years old !
4. Dhamek Stupa – SarnathDhamek Stupa a.k.a Dhamekh or Dhamekha is cylindrical in shape and built with red bricks and stone with the lower part being entirely covered with aesthetically appealing carved stones. Located 13 km northeast of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, this unique Stupa depicts great craftsmanship of Buddhist art and sculpture and attract attention of thousands of visitors round the year including national and international pilgrims, tourists, dignitaries, archaeologists and historians. Buddhist pilgrims from around the world including many national and international dignitaries visit the Stupa to offer prayer to Lord Buddha.
5. Bara Imambara – LucknowAmong the grandest buildings of Lucknow, Bara Imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. This monument s roof is made up from rice husk which makes it a unique building. Also this city of Nawabs depicts an amazing blend of ancient, colonial and oriental architecture. So fine is its literature, cuisine, performing arts, chicken embroidery, zardozi and tehzeeb, that it puts it at the zenith and the world knows it. Don’t forget to eat the Kebabs and Biryani, since they are the most delectable and popular amongst the cuisine of Lucknow.
6. AyodhyaFamed as a city of temples, Ayodhya is an important pilgrimage centre situated on the right bank of the river Saryu, about 110 km from Lucknow. Hundreds of devotees come here to take a holy dip in Saryu (a sacred river) throughout the year on various religious occasions. Also, the remnants of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam can still be found in Ayodhya. So, head here for a deeply spiritual experience.
7. Fatehpur Sikri World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Akbar’s kingdom from 1571 to 1585. Today, the historic ruins and red Sikri sandstone buildings that stand here take you back in time to the royal Mughal era. The marvellous architecture of Buland Darwaza and Panch Mahal here are not to be missed.
8. VaranasiVaranasi a.k.a Kashi, Banaras is known to be one of the most vibrant and magical place on earth. It is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest in Hinduism. It is famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, perfumes, and sculpture. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).
India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture
Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones
Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner
Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II
One can spot excited lovebirds everywhere as the week of love starts. Shops like Hallmarks and Archie’s are brooding with love tokens. The essence of ‘love is in the air’ can be felt very easily. The Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones. The day falls each year on 14th February and holds a great significance for the people worldwide. Things like cupid hearts, roses, chocolates, and red heart-shaped balloons can be seen in every florist and gift shop. Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner.
In India, along with all these romantic accessories and lovebirds, an uproar by political parties is also created every year. The party people go to different restaurants and places where the day is supposed to celebrate to wipe out Valentine’s Day decorations. These political parties also demand that this day this day not be celebrated, as it is not a part of Indian culture. Like every year, this time also the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Hindu Mahasabha with the plan to ruin all that the lovebirds might have planned ahead. The couples which are been held on by such ‘social moral-police’ forcibly marrying them by accusing of expressing love in public or even on social networking sites. To counter the aggression of such groups, Chhattisgarh made it official that 14th February will now be celebrated as ‘parents worship day.’ Such is the plight of democracy in our country.
Majority of people in India do not even know about Valentine’s Day origin and what exactly does it stand for. If we see historically then Valentine’s Day has really got nothing to do with individual love. It is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Therefore, 14th February is also known as the St. Valentine’s Day. There are many other stories associated with it but in the end, the day is associated with the tradition of courtly love which was an act of chivalry of Knights for their ladies.
Valentine’s Day Meaning
The Valentine day is well accompanied by Chocolate day, Hug day, Rose day, Slap day, Kick day, Breakup day etc. etc. So, now the lovers celebrate a Valentine week. If we see in the Indian context then it holds no sense of celebrating a day that too when its history has nothing to do with our society. It is understood if Indians who are Christians are celebrating it as it can be considered their festival.
The question arises, what is so wrong with celebrating Valentine’s day or expressing love in public?
If we look at the general celebration of any festival in India then, almost all the Indian festivals are celebrated in a very traditional manner and none is complete if done without worshipping God. Such festivals involve family but not just couples. Like Diwali is celebrated in a very convenient way in India. We pay obeisance to God, greet our friends and families, light diyas and burst cracker. But some people on the other hand drink and gamble on this auspicious day. Is it allowed by Indian culture?
India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture. Such practices make people think it is trendy to celebrate them. One has to celebrate Valentine Day because the event has been marketed in such a way that it looks special and cool for the young generation.
Basically, what matter’s is the way in which festivals are celebrated rather than their name and origin? The day in India is more likely driven by fashion and less by emotions.
Like many other cultures and festivals, Indian culture might absorb Valentine’s Day. Fundamentally, celebrating love is not harmful in itself but forgetting what love stands for and trampling the local culture and traditions as it does not resonate with the definition of globalization is certainly harmful.
The Valentine day is marked in such a way that youngsters are made to believe that they have to shower their partner with expensive gifts to keep the relationship going even when they are just students and the gift would come from their pocket money savings.
Moreover, why should there be just one special day to express your love for your loved one? This should be expressed on daily basis for relationships to go with bliss. Exchanging gifts on Valentine’s day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Some people have started expecting benefits from this extraordinary show of love on a single day. It is extremely absurd when people start comparing how their previous date was so much better with the gifts they have received. The very idea of judging the love and affection on a materialistic platform has become a menace to the society.
The problem in India is that the society is undergoing a transformation and there are many bad elements in the society that take full advantage of such days. For some, love means only physical pleasure and nothing more than this. If this notion holds true then it is true that not only Valentine but any such festival is against Indian culture. Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones.
On the other hand, Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world which has been a part and parcel of India for generations.
If someone celebrates Valentine day to realize that they are a global citizen then the aura of subconsciousness is really gone wrong. In some cases, the conversion to other religion is also seen at the behest of such festivals.
Emotions like love have a very deep meaning in India and most Indians try for a lasting relation who will lead to marriage and a stable life. Thus celebrating a day where you express your love for your better half is never a big deal. There are the different set of arguments for either liking or disliking this day but that doesn’t mean it gives the right to extremists to forcibly marry off couples seen expressing love in public or social networking sites. However, we should be wary of unwanted practices just for the sake of attention and let things that ruin our culture happen. But at the same time, we should also not start moral policing at everything around.
There are many other foreign festivals that are now celebrated in India such as New year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s day, Mother’s days, Father’s day and so on though with less vigour. It is a common conception that foreign festivals attract more people as the way of celebrating these is just like a party and it is very attractive.
Valentine Day has become an occasion of global celebrations due to various reasons. Even the cultures and communities like India that have otherwise no links to Valentine Day have also adopted it. India has a glorious tradition, a leader in spirituality and diverse culture. Now a day, celebrating Valentine Day is considered a marker of modernity. It’s up to an individual how he/she takes the spirit of love and adhere to the very idea of compassion.