Taj Mahotsava, the 10-day cultural extravaganza, began on Wednesday in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
Deriving its name from the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, the festival gives visitors a chance to enjoy India's rich arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music.
Organised by Uttar Pradesh government's tourism department, the 24th edition of the festival is being celebrated at Shilpgram near the Eastern gate of the historic Taj Mahal.
This year's theme is "Sanskriti ka Satrangi Utsav".
The entry to Taj Mahotsava is free for children below five years and foreign tourists, while all Indians above five years of age have to pay ₹50 as entry fee.
For groups of 50 school children in uniform, the ticket is Rs.300; two two teachers accompanying the students will have free entry, according to Taj Mahotsava official website.
Famous performers this year
Taj Mahotsava will see several cultural programmes by various performers.
This year's major attractions are folk singer Kailash Kher, Ghazal singer Peenaz Masani, comedian Sunil Grover (Gutthi), Rajiv Thakur, Ahsan Qureshi, Warsi Brothers and singer Shaan who will be performing on 27 February.
Apart from songs, the festival also presents India's folk, classical, semi-classical and other cultural dances performed by world renowned artistes from across the nation.
Arts and Crafts on Display
Every year at least 400 artisans get an opportunity to put on display their exquisite works of art at the festival. Some special attractions at the festival are wood/stone carvings from Tamil Nadu, Bamboo/cane work from North East India, paper mash work from South India and Kashmir, marble and zardozi work from Agra, wood carving from Saharanpur, brass wares from Moradabad, hand made carpets from Bhadohi, pottery from Khurja, Chikan work from Lucknow, silk & zari work from Banaras, shawls & carpets from Kashmir/Gujarat and hand printing from Farrukhabad and Kantha stitch from West Bengal.
This year around 350 craftsmen from Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal have displayed their art at the Mahotsava, according to a PTI report.
Taj Mahotsava treats visitors with the best of India's traditional dishes. The oldest masters of the art of cuisine are brought here to prepare scrumptious cuisines.
This carnival is not just for art-lovers or connoisseurs, but has things of amusement for people of all ages. Even children and teenagers get to enjoy merry-go-round, train-rides, roller coaster, ferris wheel and other adventurous rides.