Uttar Pradesh spreads out from the north Indian plains to the Himalayan ranges of Nepal as well as to the eastern state of Bihar and parts of central India. Being a vast state area-wise there is great diversity in its local crafts. Uttar Pradesh also has some of India's major industries alongside cottage industry producing handicraft items.
For the tourists, Uttar Pradesh has a kaleidoscope of attractions to offer. Magnificent monuments, health resorts, misty mountain peaks, ancient temples and viharas, rich flora and fauna, fascinating rivers and lush valleys are all there to captivate visitors' hearts. Agra, Ayodhya, Sarnath, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mathura and Prayag combine religious and architectural marvels. Uttar Pradesh also has a long list of wildlife reserves and sanctuaries including the famous Dudhwa National Park. All in all a fascinating state that has something for everyone.
Uttar Pradesh has the distinction of having some of the major centers for learning such as the Benares Hindu University at Varanasi and the Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh, both world renowned. Parts of eastern U.P. are included in the Buddhist trail as well, as Gautam Buddha traveled extensively in this region.
The city of the inimitable "TAJ MAHAL".
The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire. While its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. A pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals.
Allahabad is one of the sacred cities of Hinduism and also on of the oldest in India. Formerly called Prayag, in commemoration of a sacrifice by lord Brahma, Allahabad stands at the confluence of two of India's holiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna. The Sangam, as the confluence is called, is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals, and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. This number swells to millions during the Kumbh Mela. A third mythical Saraswati river, believed to flow underground towards the Sangam, gives the confluence its other name, Triveni. Akbar visited Prayag in 1575 and founded a new city by the name of Illahabas, which has now become modern Allahabad. The city was an important cantonment during the British Raj and has some beautiful remnants of Colonial architecture. In the early 20th century, Allahabad University was the foremost center of learning in the country.
This holy city and the popular pilgrim centre are situated on the right bank of the Saryu river. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Manu, the lawgiver of the Hindus, founded the ancient city of Ayodhya according to Ramayana. For centuries it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated King. The story of the epic Ramayana has been immortalized by Valmiki and immensely popularized by the great masses through centuries. Ramkot is the chief sacred place of worship. On 'Ramnavami, this place attracts devotess from India and abroad.
Jhansi, the gateway to Bundelkhand, was a stronghold of the Chandela kings but lost its importance after the eclipse of the dynasty in the 11th century. It rose to prominence again in the 17th century under Raja Bir Singh Deo who was a close associate of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. However its greatest claim to fame is its fiery queen Rani Laxmibai who led forces against the British in 1857 AD sacrificing her life to the cause of Indian independence. Jhansi is ideal base to reach Orcha, Shivpuri, Deogarh and Khajuraho.
Kanpur, situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga, is the largest industrial city in Uttar Pradesh and is known for its historic and is known for its historic and religious past. During the war of 1857, it was the headquarters of a large Indian garrison and was called 'Cawnpore'. It still bears landmarks of the British Raj. Today, is is essentially a commercial and industrial centre. Besides its leather industry a large number of textile, plastic and other factories are located here. For this reason, Kanpur is also known as, 'the Manchester of the East'.
Kapilvastu, modern Piprahwa lies at a distance of 20km from Siddarthnagar. Kapilvastu was the ancient capital of the Sakya clan whose ruler was the father of the Buddha. Prince Gautam, as the Buddha was then known, left his palace in Kapilvastu at the age of 29, and revisited it 12 years later after he had attained enlightenment.
A large stupa stands at the ancient site, which is said to have housed the bone relics of the Buddha. An ancient Brahmi inscription discovered at Piprahwa testifies the presence of these relics. The ruins of the palace are spread over a large area.
Kushinagar, one of the principal centres of Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place of Mahaparinirvana. The monuments of Kushinagar are situated in three distinct comprising the main site of the Nirvana Temple, the central stupa and surrounding monasteries. Nirvana Temple houses over 6 meter long statue of the reclining Buddha The image were unearthed during the excavations in 1876. An inscription below dates the statue to the 5th century BC Mathakuar shrine is a black stone image of Lord Buddha in the Bhumi Sparsha Mudra (a posture showing him touching earth) was recovered here. It is believed that the last sermon by Buddha was given here. Ramabhar Stupa rises to a height of 49 ft and marks the site where the Lord Buddha was cremated. In ancient Buddhist texts, this stupa has been referred to as Mukut Bandhar Vihar. Kushinagar Museum houses finds from excavations at the site.
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, extends along the banks of the River Gomti. The creator of Lucknow as it is today was Nawab Asaf ud Daula. The city became known as a center for Urdu poetry and courtly diction, and reached its acme during the reign of Walid Ali Shah who was connoisseur of music and poetry. It was during his reign that the British appropriated Awadh. Today, the city is dotted with remnants of its historic past. Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and 'Chikankaari' are exquisite shadow-work embroidery on fine muslin cloth.
Mathura the birthplace of Lord Krishna is an imporMathura the birthplace of Lord Krishna is an important place of pilgrimage and thousands of devotees throng the city throughout the year. It lies at the heart of the Brajbhoomi, a land that is imbued with sanctity, for it was here that the young Krishna was nurtured. The little towns and hamlets in this area are still alive with the tales of his mischievous pranks; his extraordinary exploits still seem to echo with the sound of his flute.
The place where Buddha delivered his first sermon set in a motion of Wheel of Law. On the day before his death Lord Buddha included Amaranth along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. Emperor Ashoka visited Sarnath around 234 BC and erected a stupa. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst the places containing Buddhist relics. The ruins, the museum and the temple are all within walking distance.
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the ultimate pilgrimage for Hindus, who believe that to die in the city, is to attain instant salvation. Varanasi is the tract of holy land lying between the Ganga and the Assi rivers. The Assi River also flows into Ganga. Varanasi is also known as Kashi, the city of light since one of the twelve 'Jyortinglinga's is installed here. Varanasi has been a great cultural centre, especially in the fields of music, learning and the craft of silk weaving.