No other state in India has such vibrant culture as that of Uttar Pradesh. Enriched by the culture of various rules and dynasties, mughals and nawabs have contributed significantly in the cultural traditions of UP. This place has a rich heritage of songs, dances, poetry, cuisine and architecture.
The people of Uttar Pradesh include a wide category of religious, racial and tribal groups. The majority of population belongs to the Indo-Aryan origins. A minority of people also belongs to the mongoloid origins and occupy the foothills of the state including the districts bordering Nepal. The ethnicity of the Uttar Pradesh people includes a blend of Indo-Aryan and Indo-Scythian tribes. Noted for their hospitality, the people of Uttar Pradesh stick on to their tradition and cultural roots. Uttar Pradesh is also known for its social and political involvement since ancient period and it has an important contribution to the Indian Politics and leadership.
Uttar Pradesh has a fascinating and captivating culture. The land is bestowed with natural gifts and a rich heritage of cultural elements. It is the land of two great Indian epics namely Mahabharata and Ramayan. The culture of Uttar Pradesh has imbibed and manifested the value depicted in these epics in its various features.
Various fairs and festivals are celebrated here and are an essential feature of the glorious culture of Uttar Pradesh. National festivals including Holi, Diwali are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Many regional festivals and fairs are also celebrated in UP like the Taj Mahaotsav and Kumbhmela with following of religious practices and traditional rituals. The Ganga festival is celebrated during the months of October and November on the banks of the river Ganga. Other major fairs and festivals include the Lucknow festival and Bateshwar fair. The celebration of festivals are accompanied by events like chariot race, kite flying and pigeon flying which are carried on since the times of Nawabs.
Uttar Pradesh also has a distinct song culture that includes various folk and classical genres. Ghazal and Qawwali are among the most famous genres that are based on the moods. Birha, Kajari and Chaiti are the famous folk genres based on seasons. Apart from these other art forms such as Rasia, Khayal, Tappa and Thumri are also very popular among the elites. Uttar Pradesh has produced some of the masters of these music genres.
Kathak is the state dance of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the most admired classical dance forms in India. Kathak was originated from royal courts and travelled long since then. The Kathak dance style flourished in UP and now have made its mark in foreign countries. Raas-Lila is another famous dance form which is very popular among the masses. Raas is associated with Lord Krishna and is chiefly confined to Braj region. The countryside songs and dances are noteworthy traits of local Uttar Pradesh culture. Poetry also forms an integral part of the culture and tradition of Uttar Pradesh. Hindi, Urdu and Awadhi are the primary languages.
Uttar Pradesh is also renowned for its handicrafts. It is home of many skilled and efficient artisans who are famous for making the Chikankari embroidery of Lucknow which is especially famous all over. Uttar Pradesh is also the largest Brass and Copper making state in India with thousands of metal finishing establishments.
The cuisine culture of Uttar Pradesh is highly influenced by the Nawabi cuisines. It includes a remarkable process known as ‘Dum Pukht’ in which food is sealed in large pots and placed on a slow fire and cooked. ‘Dastarkhwan’ is the tradition of serving food on table in a ceremonial way. The people of Uttar Pradesh prefer more of vegetarian food and some of the items which is a part of their daily food are dal, roti, sabzi and rice. Vegetarian dishes include Poori and kachori, Tahri and Kofta. Galawati and Kakori kabobs, Biryani and Nihari are the famous non-veg dishes. Agra’s Petha and Mathura’s Peda are famous sweet dishes of UP.
Famous personalities of Uttar Pradesh include Valmiki, the writer of Ramayan, Paramhansa Yogananda , famous mystic who introduced Yoga in the west, Gorakhpur, Rani Lakshmibai and Bharat Ratna recipient Govind Ballabh Pant.