Culture of AmravatiAmravati is a prosperous and historically rich district of east Maharashtra. Following the treaty of 1853 executed by the Nizams of the place, the region went under the British rule along with the rest of Berar area. Historically, the region has seen rulers from the Hindu and Muslim background, thus making it a present day multi cultural district of Maharashtra, where people of various faiths are residing in harmony.
Religions in AmravatiA majority of people follow Hinduism and worship goddess Ambadevi as their main deity. The western hilly track of Amravati district is still populated by different tribal communities like the Kolams and the Madia Gonds. All these tribes nowadays enjoy good standard of living, along with all the basic amenities and education under Integrated Tribal Development Projects of the Government of India.
Languages Spoken in AmravatiThe district has as many as 89 different languages and dialects spoken, Marathi being the principle and dominant mother tongue. Locally, the Varhadi or Berar dialect of Marathi is predominantly visible, which is very similar to the dialect spoken in the Deccan parts of Maharashtra. Other than this, Hindi and Urdu are the other majorly spoken languages.
Traditional Attire of AmravatiThe dressing style of people is not unique and is akin to the same style dominant in the rest of Maharashtra. However, there is a little influence of the variations as per the style of the Berar region. This style includes the men folks wearing uparne, barabandi, kudta, sadara, pairan, kabji, and dagala angarkha.
The men would also sport head gears like cakri pagote, pagadi, mundase, rumal, or patka. Traditionally, the men would keep whiskers and moustaches, while having clean shaven heads with a bunch of hair tied at the top in a knot. However, with the advent of modern styles, these traditional dressing is becoming a rare sight, as people have migrated to more contemporary and westernized dressing.
The dhotar, shirts and pyjamas are still preferred apparel to suit the weather of the place.
The dresses worn by the women folk are mostly influenced by their Hindu background. The Maratha nine yards saree (also known as lugade) is the dominating dress style. This is worn with choli, that supports the torso and is tied or buttoned in the front. While the traditional saree and choli are more conservative in styling, the modern ladies are experimenting with contemporary designs which are less conservative.
The dresses worn by children of both gender are similar comprising of jhabale, angade, langot and topare. Young and toddlers girls wear frocks called angi, while similar aged boys wear shirts and shorts called chaddi. Other dresses worn by children are pairan and tuman or colna.
While most of the dresses mentioned above are worn by the majority of the populace, certain dresses reflect the prevalence of other cultural and religious faiths of the region. Orthodox Muslim women dress up traditionally in Churidaars, Salwars, Kurtas and Odhni. People from the Muslim community wear traditonal clothes; the women use Burqua and Hijab to observe the purdah system. Muslim men are seen wearing Kameez, Pyjama, Shervani, lungi and Pairans. They sometime also wear head gears and caps of Turki and Jinna type, while turbans are also common. Other communities like that of the Meman, Bohra and Khoja use pre-formed turbans. Their dresses consist of shirts, long coats and loose fitting trousers.
The ornaments used in Amravati exude the long history of the place. In the rural areas, the folks still invest in precious ornaments for their material value only. They are not interested in intricate designs and thus are reluctant to invest in expensive labour involved in the designing. Hence, their ornaments are very basic on the fashion quotient and often very clumsy looking also. Meanwhile the women of the aristocratic families traditionally wore jewellery like the Chandrahaar, Caplahaar, Bakulihaar, Pushpahaar, etc. as neckwear and various head adornments like Mud, Agraphul, Rakhdi, Ketki-kevda, Guhibace-phul, Bindi-bijora, Candra-surya, Gonde-phul,etc. The men do not wear much jewellery, other than finger rings and occasional bracelets.
Music, Dance and Art Forms in AmravatiThe Amravati region is also rich in the culture of music, dance and other performed arts. There are various societies, institutes and schools that help to promote the cultural events in the area. Music Circle, Amravati is an organization that is renowned to arrange concerts by renowned artists during the auspicious time of Gokul Ashtami. The Naval Natya Vihar, Ram Ganesh Kala Mandir and Kala Sahakar are popular centres that host various dramas and related activities. Among these, the Naval Natya Vihar has unique distinction of winning the award for staging “Vairi”, adjust the best performance during Maharashtra Rajya Natya Mahotsava, held in 1958. It also won awards in 1960 for Ghat Vajate Tethe Pah ate.
There are good institutions that provide trainings in music and fine arts. Vidarbha Sangeet Vidyalaya is a private aided institute conducting five year duration courses in singing. People can get qualified as Sangeet Visharad on successful completion of the course. On further completion of additional two years, they can be awarded the Sangeet Alankar certification. This institute is directly controlled by the Social Welfare Department of the Amravati Zilla Parishad. Durga Sangeet Vidyalaya is another similar and popular institution imparting long term music courses, leading to the Sangeet Visharad and Sangeet Alankar certifications.
The traditional music and dance form of Lavani is historically important and is enjoyed as a major part of the culture of the Maharashtrian family. This art form consisting of music and dance, is taught and handed down the generations, both formally and informally. While most people learn the basics as a family tradition at home, advanced courses are also imparted by the expert teachers and institutions. The Lavani is derived from the word laavanya, which means beauty. The song includes powerful rhythm and a very quick tempo. Traditionally, the Lavani is performed by female artists, who perform the same wearing the nine yard long saree.
Literary Works in AmravatiFor the local folks interested in good reading, the district library is available, which was established in 1956. The library has more than 24 thousand members who can benefit the facility through 467 sub-centres. There are a 14 other private libraries as well, other than the district library. The old Achalpur library (established in 1866) and the City Library, Amravati (established in 1867) are the other prominent libraries available to the public.
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