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Gwalior is at the heart of Madhya Pradesh culture and there are several district cultural practices that are synonymous to Gwalior. The city has seen many cultural events being created in the past which continue to be practiced till date. Traditional ways love living, music, culture, dressing and every other aspect of life in Gwalior is unique to the city.The historical city has witnessed different stages of Indian history. The culture and heritage brought by the successive ruling dynasties have contributed a lot in making Gwalior a melting pot of several culture and tradition. Today Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh stands proudly with its distinctive art and culture. From folk songs to folk dances and cultural events Gwalior has all to prove its point.
Folk Dances of Gwalior
Ahiri Folk Dance
The Ahiri Dances are practiced by the Ahir, Gwal, Baredi, Raut, Rawat, Gwala castes who are traditionally associated to the practice of cattle husbandry. The tribe’s claim to be direct descendants of Lord Krishna and practice the folk dance to come closer to Lord Krishna. The dances are performed on any religious or auspicious occasion and serves as a great medium of entertainment to the masses. Further it helps to make young generation aware of their traditional culture.
The Baredi dance occurs during the Diwali night when Hindus worship Goddess Laxmi but continues to the next day when the dance is held for cattle which are decorated with color an garlands before being released in to the pastures to feed. The traditional practice runs back thousands of years to the times when wealth was measures in food and livestock. The practice continues to data with many continuing the tradition.
Livestock was a measure of a family or individuals wealth thus played an important role during Diwali where they had to decorated and offers high quality food thus to show the farmers gratitude towards his livestock and bring good fortune so that they could multiply. The dancers were turban and decorated Dottie’s during the dance which main instrument being drums. Instrument players and dancers also decorate the turbans and body parts like the upper arms with peacock feathers.
The Sahari dance fall under several different categories which include the Lanhgi Dance, Raya Dance, Ada-Khada Dance, Dul-Dul Ghodi Dance, Lur Dance . The dance is traditionally linked to the forest dwelling tribes for Gwalior but with many now settled in the city they continue to follower their traditional culture. The dance is performed by both men women with drums being used as the main instrument to make music during the dance.
Gwalior’s Poetic Culture and History
Gwalior is popular for its traditional poetry with several dozen famous poets coming from Gwalior city. The city still harbors many poets even to days. Below are some famous poets from Gwalior who helps cement poetry in the city culture.
Jagnik was a famous Gwalior poet between 11th and 12 century and who is still revered to this day. His poetry is still practiced and by many Gwalior poets today. His poems where main developer around warriors and war which was rampant in the region during the time, the poet made poems which described the warriors experienced out on the field and sacrifices that made to secure Gwalior. Today many of the poems continue to remind Gwalior residents how their ancestors fought for the city resulting in many older families still remaining in the city till date.
Ghag was a famous poet who compared poetry during the Mughal rule period. The poet is considered to be the best every from Gwalior and many of poems are recognized across India today. The most famous of his poems describes the three fools of the world as being one the ones who fail to use their resources. Two as those who continue doing wrong despite knowing the deed is wrong and the third being those who continue to pay dowry to some in laws thus promoting laziness and the inability for some in laws to work and earn. The poems are commonly reiterated by many poets even today but this poem was originally created by Ghag.
The 4 day musical extravaganza of Tansen festival begin in the month of December and witnesses musicians and instrumentalist from across Madhya Pradesh and India gathering at Gwalior to celebrate the festival. The events is organized near Tansen Tomb. Unlike many other musical festivals held across the nation, the Tansen festival is dedicated towards promoting traditional music styles. This allows India to continue practicing its tradition which is quickly being forgotten as modern ways of life and foreign cultures are being adopted. Music is one of the sectors which have been seriously hit by the foreign cultural influence thus making the festival very important towards promoting traditional styles of music. It also encourages the younger generations towards taking up traditional music styles thus ensuring traditional Indian music styles remains in existence well in to the future.
Festivals Celebrated in Gwalior
The majority of national festivals remain the same across the nation and this includes Gwalior. The festivals celebrated include Makara Sankranti, Holi, Ganesh Utsav, Garba (Navratri Utsav), Dussehara, Durga Puja, Diwali, Eid-ul-Fitr, Rakhi and other local ones like Nag-Panchmi, Ahilya Utsav and more. Gwalior has a long history of cultural traditions that have contributed in making the city more colorful.
Painting and Handicrafts in Gwalior
Gwalior is famous for hand made paintings by the resident painters who make unique paintings which are distributed across the country for resale. The paintings are unique from Gwalior and handful of families carry on the traditions and skill on producing the painting. Many of the painters today decent from Moghul emperor painters and have passed down their skills which are still practiced using the same techniques as before.
Gwalior has remains very close the traditions and culture with many local residents choosing even to marry among families only from the regions and district. This closes bond and aggressive protections of the culture has kept the city intact and district as a whole. With many traditions followed in the same manner as centuries in the past the city has much to offer to people who love traditional folk and culture.