Uttar Pradesh also known as U.P, is the most populous and area wise fifth largest state in India. The state spreads over an area of 2,94,411 sq.kms and has a population of 166,052,859. Situated in the northern part of the country, the state shares international border with Nepal and is surrounded by the states of Uttaranchal, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Lucknow is the administrative and legislative capital of Uttar Pradesh while its high court is located at Allahabad. Apart from Lucknow and Allahabad, other important cities are Varanasi, Kanpur, Noida, Agra and Mathura.
Uttar Pradesh is a wonderful paradise for the tourists and pilgrims. The majestic Himalayas to the north, the Shivalik mountain range in the south and the architectural wonder, the Taj Mahal have attracted people in large number since last few centuries. Besides, the beautiful temples, imposing fort and monuments, rich art and culture, delicious cuisine, varied wildlife, charming fair and festivals equally attract the touring multitude from India as well as abroad. Geographically and socially Uttar Pradesh also has great variations, which has helped the state to stand unique among her sister states. Most, of its area consists of the Great Gangetic plain, which is highly fertile and densely populated. The people of Gangetic plain region are mainly backward farming peasants who scratch a bare existence from the overcrowded land. Moreover, Uttar Pradesh is a land of strong contrasts and diversified attractions, better you explore this picturesque state on your own.
Uttar Pradesh – History
Historically, Uttar Pradesh has been a centre stage for several great events. The history of the state goes back to 4000 years ago, when the Aryans made it their home in 2000 B.C. The Aryans first made their base in the Doab region and the Ghagra plains and named it as the Madhya Desha or Aryavarta. Ayodhya, the town known as the birth place of Lord Rama was the base of ancient Hindu Kingdom of Kosala. In the town of Mathura, Lord Krishna was born as the eighth Avatara of Vishnu.
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The Chaukhandi Stupa in Uttar Pradesh commemorates the spot where Lord Buddha met his first disciples and the Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath is the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. Uttar Pradesh has also connection with great Mahabhrata war, which was fought in the area between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Over two thousand years ago, Uttar Pradesh was a part of Ashoka’s Buddhist Empire. Later the Guptas and Kushan Empires ruled over the region. The popular Kannauj Empire was originated from Uttar Pradesh and it was at its zenith during the reign of Harshavardhana. After the fall of the Rajputs, the Muslim invaders occupied the region, and much of the state formed part of the various Muslim Sultanates of Delhi. Later in the 15th century, Uttar Pradesh became a part of the Mughal Empire and during the rule of Emperor Akbar Agra became capital city. Apart from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was another important town of the Mughal dynasty.
In the 18th century, the city of Lucknow was established by the Muslim Nawabs of Avadh. In the latter half of the 18th century, a series of battles broke out that caused the British accession to the last Mughal territory, Doab and also to the Bundelkhand, Kumaon and Banaras divisions.
During the British regime Delhi, Jaipur, Avadh and Ajmer were included in a single territory named as the North-western provinces of Agra and Avadh, which was renamed as the United Provinces of Agra and Avadh in 1902, with the capital in Allahabad. In the year 1920, the capital of the United Province was shifted from Allahabad to Lucknow.
After India’s independence, in 1950 the state was renamed as Uttar Pradesh. Recently, in the year 2000, the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayan divisions of the state were formed into a new state called Uttaranchal.
Uttar Pradesh – Tourist Destinations
Uttar Pradesh, a land of cultural and geographical diversity, offers various attractions to the tourists. With its dramatic landscape comprising the soaring peaks, fascinating rivers and enchanting valleys, the flat featureless Indo-Gangetic Plains and confireous forests, Uttar Pradesh offers a visual feast for the visiting tourists. Besides, its magnificent forts and monuments and imposing ancient temples, never fail to draw the attention of visitors. Visit any of the tourist destinations of the state to get a close look of the architectural jewels as well as historic and wonderful attractions. Popular destinations of the state are Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra and Varanasi.
Uttar Pradesh – Temples
Uttar Pradesh is home to some of the ancient and sacred temples of the country. Since their origin the temples in Uttar Pradesh offered a healing touch to the devotees and kept their faith alive. A large number of devotees throng the Uttar Pradesh temples to get the blessings of deities. In addition to regular devotees, every year thousands of tourists visit the temples of state. Some of the important temples of the state are Vishwanath Temple, Krishna Balrama Mandir, Madan Mohan Temple and Vindhyachal Temple.
Uttar Pradesh – Forts & Monuments
From time immemorial, Uttar Pradesh was ruled by several dynasties who built several forts, palaces and other monuments all over the state. While you visit the state you can see a number of forts and monuments which still manages to retain their old charm. Renowned for their architectural beauty or other interesting features, the forts and monuments of Uttar Pradesh will certainly fascinate you. Taj Mahal, Agra, a white-marble monument is known all over the world for its picturesque beauty. Apart from Taj Mahal other must visit forts & monuments are Fateh Pur Sikri, Agra Fort, Sikandra, Hussainabad Imambara, Bada Imambara, Jehangir Palace, The Residency, Ramnagar Fort etc.
Uttar Pradesh – Arts & Culture
Uttar Pradesh, the land where the Hindu civilization and culture reached its height, is bestowed with a rich cultural traditions. Some believe that the Rig Veda was composed in the Gangetic valley of Uttar Pradesh region, while some link it to the great epics, ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata.’ From the epic period, the state of Uttar Pradesh has been influenced by several cultures, the most significant among those are the Buddha and Mahavira. You will find the manifestation of those cultures in a mass of literature and several relics of art and architecture that form important part of the cultural heritage of the state.
Music, Dance and Stage plays are important art forms of the state, which is popular among Hindus as well as Muslims. Besides, Uttar Pradesh is also famous for its exquisite crafts like Zardoji, Chikankari Embroidery, Metalware, Zari Work, Carpets and Floor Coverings, Hand Printing, Shawl-making, Inlay work, Brocade, Muslin, Paper-making etc.
Uttar Pradesh – Cuisine
Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India, is a place where people have developed quite varied eating habits over the years. In the state capital, Lucknow, the people love the Nawabi cuisine, while in Mathura and nearby areas people like milk-based preparations. In addition to Nawabi cuisine, the world famous Awadhi cuisine is very popular in Lucknow. Apart from these, majority of people of the state like simple and sober vegetarian meal which comprises Rice, Dal, Roti, Sabzi, Pooris and Kachoris. Among the several specialties of Uttar Pradesh don’t forget to savour Kundan Kaliya, Shami Kabab, Kakori Kabab,Gulnar Kababs, Nehari Khaas, Nargisi Kofta, Patili Kabab, Murg Mussallam, Lazeez Lauki, Dum Bhindi, Warqui Paratha, Gobhi Mussallam, Sultani Dal, Rizala, Shir Sewain and Chicken Reshmi Kabab.
Uttar Pradesh – Fairs and Festivals
Uttar Pradesh is a land where various religions have flourish since a long time. A land of varied culture and traditions, Uttar Pradesh celebrates a number of religious as well as regional festivals throughout the year. Among the hundreds of fairs and festival, the Kumbh Mela is the prominent one, which is celebrated in Allahabad. Bateshwar Fair is an important event for the Hindus. For Muslims Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha and Moharram are the important festivals. Other important fairs and festivals are Taj Mahotsav, Avadh Festival, Kumbh Mela, Jhansi Festival, Buddha Mahotsav, Ganga Festival, Lucknow Festival, Holi, Barsana Holi, Janmashtami, Vrindavan Sharadotsav, Hariyali Teej, Rath Ka Mela, Guru Purnima, Devi Patan Mela, Kailash Fair, Dadri Mela, Kampil Fair, Mata Murti Mela, Kunjapuri Mela and Rambarat.
Uttar Pradesh – Wildlife
Blessed with a varied landscape Uttar Pradesh is home to a variety of flora and fauna. The state has a number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks which provide shelter to several wild animals and birds species including some endangered and rare species. In the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, you can see Tigers, Swamp Deers, Sambar, Elephants and Leopards moving in their natural habitat. During the winters you can also see migratory birds visiting the wildlife sanctuaries and parks in large number. Some of the major sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh are Dudhwa National Park, Chandra Prabha Sanctuary, Hastinapur Sanctuary, Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary, Nawab Ganj Bird Sanctuary, Mahavir Swami Wildlife Sanctuary and National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary.
Uttar Pradesh – Shopping
Shopping in Uttar Pradesh provides a unique veritable experience. Although you can shop a wide range of items in the markets of Uttar Pradesh, the state has a rich tradition of handicrafts which make most items for shopping. You can go for shopping almost everywhere in the state, as most of the tourist destinations in the state have plenty of private shops and government emporia selling a variety of items. While you shop at colourful bazaars of the state don’t forget check out the popular items like Glassware, Metalware, Jewellry, Stone carved artifacts, Leather Craft, Pottery, Zardozi, , Silk Sarees, Chikankari and Bangles.
Uttar Pradesh has more or less tropical climate, with hot summers and cold winters. In Uttar Pradesh the average temperature varies between 4oC and 24oC in winters and 30oC and 45oC in summers. Summer season reaches the state in the month of the April and ends in June. Rainy season starts from late June and remains till the month of September. From the month of October winter starts and ends by the month of February.
Best Time to Visit
October to March
Uttar Pradesh – Transportation
Airlines: Uttar Pradesh has no international airport, instead there are four domestic airports in Agra, Varanasi, Lucknow and Kanpur. A number of private and public airlines operate flights from these airports to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc.
Railways: An extensive network of rail lines connect the state with rest of the country. Major cities and towns like Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur has their own railway stations. Several express and super-fast trains link these railway stations with other parts of the state and the country.
Roadways: National Highway No – 2, 25, 26, 27, 29 and 45 and State Highways run through the state and connect it to rest of the country. Many private and public transport buses run within the state and also to the neighbouring states.