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uttar pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. It is the most populous state in India and fourth largest by area.  Lucknow is the capital city of the Uttar Pradesh. The state is also referred to as UP. Being the state where once Lord Ram and Gautam Buddha have walked as human beings and home to one of the seven wonders of the world, Uttar Pradesh has a lot offer to all kinds of visitors and foodies alike.

History

Uttar Pradesh is known to be the oldest formed states in India. Though it was officially formed on 1 April 1937, with the North-Western Provinces of Agra and Awadh (a  region in today’s Uttar Pradesh, which was before independence known as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh), proofs for its existence over 70,000 years ago were found.

The land was ruled by Mughal empire, Delhi Sultanate, Maratha empire, and eventually by the British until 1947. In 1950, the United Provinces were renamed as Uttar Pradesh. In the year 2000, the northern part of this sate was separated to form the state that is Uttarakhand  today, and the remaining portions after this separation has been the state of Uttar Pradesh since then.

People

There are 23.15 crore (231.5 million) people in UP, out of which 79.73 % are Hindus, 19.26% are Muslims, and less than 1% are Christians, Sikhs, or Jains.

Cities

Uttar Pradesh has a total of 64 cities. It has more metropolitan cities than any other state in India. Lucknow, the capital city, is the largest city in the state.

Other prominent cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh include: Prayagraj (previously (Allahabad)Varanasi, Agra, KanpurMeerutBareillyGhaziabadGorakhpurAligarh.

Culture

Uttar Pradesh’s culture is a blend of Hindi and Urdu literature, music, fine arts, drama, and cinema.

Kathak – an important classical dance form in India, originated in Uttar Pradesh and many performances based on Kathak are showcased regularly across the state and country and in films.

Glass and wood art and pottery are prominent forms of art practiced here – and many artefacts made from these can be found across the state to shop for – such as glass bangles, wooden footwear, terracotta and black clay pots and artefacts, and so on.

Prominent festivals in the state include Ram Navami, Chhath Puja, Krishna-Janmashtami and Mahashivratri.

PLACES TO VISIT

Uttar Pradesh is a treasure trove of beautiful monuments, architectural marvels, pilgrim centres, spiritual experiences, and wildlife, that must be experienced and admired whenever you are in the state. Here are the best places to visit in Uttar Pradesh –

  • Varanasi -The spiritual and ancient city One of the ancient cities of the world and is also considered as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi, formerly Banaras, and is also called as Kashi, is Hinduism’s seven holy cities. With temples in every turn of the street, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas is a must-visit temple here. Nestled on the banks of the holy river Ganga, the evening Ganga Arti (prayers) is something that will touch your heart and soul immensely and can be experienced only when you visit the city.
  • Agra – The land of one of the Seven Wonders The historical city of Agra is endowed with a collection of architectural gems and one of the prominent one of the those is the Taj Mahal. Get a sneak peek into the architectural history and the heritage of the Mughal Empire and explore the city admiring the various forts, temples, mosques, and the delectable Mughlai cuisine.
  • Fatehpur Sikri – A fort city Once a capital of the Mughal Empire during Akbar’s rule, Fatehpur Sikri is a place built of red sandstone entirely. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a bland of Indo-Islamic architecture and has palaces for the king, separate palaces for his three favorite wives, a Jama Masjid, Buland Darwaja, a tomb of Salim Chisti, and many others.
  • Mathura –Krishna’s birthplace One of the seven sacred cities of India owing to the land of the Lord Krishna’s birthplace, Mathura attracts an influx of tourists from all over the world who are the devotees of Lord Krishna. The Yamuna Aarti is one of the highlights of Mathura and the city is flocked by tourists during Janmashtami and Holi which is a sight to behold and an experience to relish. Another place of interest is the prison where Krishna was supposed to have been born is now shown to visitors.
  • Vrindavan – The holy city of Lord Krishna Vrindavan is often termed as the twin city of Mathura because of the association of Lord Krishna with it. It is nestled on the banks of river Yamuna and is an important pilgrimage for Krishna devotees because of the stories associated with his childhood. Scattered with temples such as Banke Bihari temple, ISKCON temple, and numerous others, Vrindavan is a soulful place to visit once in your lifetime.
  • Lucknow – The capital city Known for its ‘’Pehle Aap’’ (You first) culture and the hospitality, Lucknow was the city of the erstwhile nawabs who have left behind them a rich heritage consisting of architectural excellence, delicious cuisine such as the kebabs and biryani, and the chikankari threadwork cloth material. The bustling streets of Lucknow are filled with modern architecture which is one of he most planned cities in Asia, and the aroma of the kebabs cooking in every corner makes the visit even more delightful.
  • Ayodhya – One of the holy places Ayodhya is another holy pilgrimage city in Uttar Pradesh as being the birthplace of Lord Ram and 4 of Jainism’s 24 Tirthankaras. Nestled alongside Sarayu River, the city is marked by several ghats which offer serenity and the many Hindu and Jain temples here attract devotees from across the nation.
  • Dudhwa National Park – A wildlife lover’s delight Located on the Lakhimpur-Kheri district on the Indo-Nepal border, Dudhwa National Park is home to several rare and endangered species including the Hispid Hare, Swamp Deer, Bengal Florican, Leopard, Barasingha, and numerous migratory birds that offer an exquisite experience for both wildlife lovers and leisure travelers.

HISTORICAL PLACES

Uttar Pradesh also has many historical gems to see. Some popular sites of historical significance in the state are -

  • Taj Mahal, Agra - one of India’s best and most popular historic monuments from the Mughal Era, which is also counted among the seven wonders of the world.
  • Varanasi - also known as Kashi (City of Life), which is known for being the world's oldest living city, is in Uttar Pradesh, and is also the spiritual capital of India. This is a city that people often visit for its spiritual offerings, and to attend the famous religious rituals that happen on the banks of the holy river Ganges (Ganga) which flows by it.
  • Allahabad (Prayagraj) – This is the city where India’s largest fair – the Kumbh Mela is held every year, attracting millions of people. It is held near the confluence of three prominent Indian river – Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati, which happens to be in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Fatehpur Sikri – This is a small historical in northern India, situated on the west of Agra. It was founded by a 16th-century Mughal emperor. The city is home to some important historical buildings such as: BulandDarwaza (translates to “the door of victory”) made with red sandstone by Mughal emperor Akbar, to commemorate his victory over Gujarat in 1602 AD; and Jama Masjid (Jama Mosque) - India’s most popular mosque.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Uttar Pradesh has many interesting places that people can travel to or explore; and which are perfect for a short vacation or a weekend
getaway, such as –

  • Agra
  • Naimisharanya
  • NawabgunjBirc Sanctuary ( Lucknow)
  • Ayodhya (historical as well as religious destination)
  • Pithoragarh (for natural beauty and a peaceful vacation)
  • Chitrakoot
  • Vindhyachal

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

Some thrilling activities and things to do in Uttar Pradesh for adventure lovers are:

  • Trekking and Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Paragliding
  • Water sports (like boating, speed boating, parasailing, etc.)

Language

Hindi is the official language of Uttar Pradesh and is spoken across the state, though in slightly differing dialects based on regions. Urdu is the second largely spoken language.

Food

Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines are two famous sub-cuisines of Uttar Pradesh – and these are influenced by the Mughal and Awadh empires that ruled the land centuries ago. These include vegetables or meats cooked with rich spices, cream and thick gravies; like – Biryanis, Haleem, Kebabs, Palak Paneer, Shahi Paneer, Fried fish curry, Tikkas and Korma.

Wheat is the staple food of the state, and unleavened wheat (refined or whole) flatbreads of different types are largely consumed here, with a side of different curries and other dishes. Popular breads include - Tandoori Naan (flatbread baked in a tandoor – a special clay or metal oven that bakes breads and other food at high temperatures), Tandoori Roti, Kulcha, Rumali Roti, and Paratha.

UP also shares many dishes with the neighboring states Delhi and Uttarakhand. Some dishes like Chaat and Parathas (stuffed unleavened whole wheat flatbreads).

Travel/Transportation

Trains and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Uttar Pradesh. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars.

Airports – Uttar Pradesh has 2 International airports (connecting to various cities across India as well as other parts of the world), and 6 domestic airports (connecting to other cities within India only).

Railway Stations – Uttar Pradesh has 1134 train terminals/railway stations throughout its area, that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:

Bus Terminals – Uttar Pradesh has its own line of state-run buses (by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation - UPSRTC) which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. All UPSRTC buses can be boarded at major stops/terminals that are available in every district and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.

Uttar Pradesh

The land of diverse culture, heritage, food, and tradition, and the place of several historical and mythological figures, Uttar Pradesh is home to sone of the ancient cities of the world and architectural brilliance that awes the visitors with its spiritual and modern aura all at once.

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