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Uttar Pradesh

Information about Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh or UP literally means the northern province. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India and fourth largest state in India. It forms more than one eight part of India and constitutes its heartland. It comprises an area of 294,413 square km. The region of Uttar Pradesh has been the heart of much of India’s contemporary religious and cultural life. It contains the source of the sacred river Ganga which is regarded by most of the Hindus as the physical and spiritual life source of the country. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated along the banks of the Gomti river in the heart of the eastern UP. There are some of the most well known tourist centres in UP like Agra, the city of the Taj; Varanasi, one of the most ancient cities

Uttar Pradesh Map
Enlarge View of Uttar Pradesh Tourist Map Enlarge View

of the world on the banks of the Ganges; Haridwar, the religious city; Allahabad, the place where the great Kumbh Mela is held and Mathura, situated on the banks of the Yamuna river and regarded as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Hindi, Urdu and English are the main languages which are spoken in Uttar Pradesh. The best season to visit Uttar Pradesh is from October to March.

History of Uttar Pradesh
The antiquity of the state of Uttar Pradesh can be traced back to stone age. Various archaeologists have discovered stone tools like hand axes and choppers in some parts of Uttar Pradesh. By 600 B.C., Uttar Pradesh had a thriving agricultural economy based on money exchange. There were eight well known republics and kingdoms at that time like Kashi, the modern Varanasi; Kosala, the present day Oudh and Vatsa, today’s Allahabad. Uttar Pradesh is also regarded by many Hindus as the birthplace of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It was the first home of the Vedic religion developed by the earliest lndo-Aryan immigrants from around 1500 BC. In the Vedic period, it formed part of Madhyadesha (Middle Country). It was in Uttar Pradesh that both, the Buddha and Mahavir found their first disciples. Prasenjit, the ruler of Kosala, and Udayan king of Vatsa, were early followers of Lord Buddha. The Buddha preached his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath and attained parinirvana (spiritual release from the body) at Kushinagar. The origin of Varanasi can be traced back at least a century before the Buddha came to it in 500 BC. It became a great centre of culture, education, commerce and craftsmanship, drawing students and pilgrims from all over the country. Its fame also drew the attention of the rich and powerful kings and its temples and mansions were ransacked on many occasions from the 11th to the 18th centuries. Over two million years ago, Uttar Pradesh was part of Ashoka’s great Mauryan empire. Later most of UP was controlled by various Hindu dynasties until the arrival of the Muslims in the 12th century. The Mughals replaced the early Muslim Sultanates in the 16th century. Agra was one of the capitals of the Mughal Empire which stretched from the Bay of Bengal to Kabul in Afghanistan. Akbar had its capital at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra. The Red Fort, Itmad-ud-Daula and Taj Mahal are some of the famous monuments in Agra. Shah Jahan was responsible for encouraging the development of a fully distinct and uniquely beautiful Mughal architecture and the Taj Mahal is the wonderful example. The arrival of the British in India was followed by their gradual advance up the river Ganga. In 1836, the East India Company possessions in UP and Delhi were combined and known as the North- western provinces. The annexation of the independent province of Oudh in 1856 undoubtedly contributed to the outbreak of the 1857 Indian Mutiny. The first revolt occurred in Meerut and quickly spread to Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Allahabad and Jhansi. Some of its most dramatic incidents occurred at Lucknow and Kanpur. After the control of Mutiny by East India Company, the territories were passed to the British. In 1877, the North-western provinces and Oudh were combined to form the united provinces of Agra and Oudh. UP was also in the forefront of the national movement for independence and various incidents associated with the Swaraj (Home Rule) struggle occurred within its boundaries.

Geography of Uttar Pradesh
The Uttar Pradesh shares its borders with Tibet in the north and the north-east, Himachal Pradesh in the north-west, Haryana and Delhi in west, Rajasthan in the south-west, Madhya Pradesh in the south and Bihar in the east. The vast territory of Uttar Pradesh can be divided into three distinct physiographical regions. These regions are the Himalayas and the Siwalik hills in the north, the vast Gangetic plains in the centre and the Vindhya range and plateau on the south. There are many snow capped peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Trisul, Badrinath, Dunagiri and Shivling in the Himalayan region and are associated with the Hindu gods. The source of Ganga is also from here. The Siwaliks form a low range of hills and run parallel with the Himalaya. The Gangetic Plain occupies the largest part of the state. The featureless and flat plain, which are hot, dry and dusty in summer, are drained by the Ganga and its many tributaries. Uttarakhand or Uttaranchal is the new state of the Himalayan region which has been formed out of the Uttar Pradesh. The major river of UP and North India is the Ganga. It is not only sacred to the Hindus but also irrigates large areas. The second most important is the Yamuna which has its source in the Garhwal Himalaya at Yamunotri. The Ghaghra, Gomti, Ramganga and Kosi are other major rivers.

Climate of Uttar Pradesh
Except in the mountainous region, the whole state experiences a tropical monsoon climate. From December to February, the temperature ranges from 7 to 27 degree Celsius and from April to June, the temperature ranges from 22 to 42 degree Celsius. A hot dry wind often blows from the west. The monsoon lasts from mid-June to mid-September, during which the maximum temperature is reduced a few degrees, humidity increases and the state receives 80% of the annual rainfall. The hill region differs from the plains as its highest peaks are permanently under snow, and the daily and seasonal temperatures are lowered according to altitude and aspect. The rainfall generally decreases from east to west across the state, but in the hill stations of Nainital and Mussoorie, the winter precipitation falls as snow.

Economy of Uttar Pradesh
Agriculture is the main occupation of three quarters of the working population. About one sixth of the state is under forests and much of the area has been removed. Wheat, rice, maize and pulses are the major crops grown in Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is one of the country’s major producers of sugarcane. Oilseeds, potatoes, cotton, tobacco and jute are also grown here. UP does not have lucrative mineral resources. Limestone and silica are extracted on a large scale and magnesite and phosphatic shale are important source of electricity. Cotton mills were first established in Kanpur in 1869 making it one of the older industrial cities of India. It is now one of the greatest manufacturing cities with woollen and leather industries, cotton, flour and vegetable oil mills, sugar refineries and chemical works. Cottage and village-based industries like weaving, leather, woodwork, ceramics, silk weaving and perfumery are the important industries.

People of Uttar Pradesh
The majority of the people in Uttar Pradesh are Hindus, and about 15% people are Muslims and form a significant minority. The Muslim belt lies across the middle of the state from Aligarh to Faizabad. Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Sikhism constitute less than 3% of the state’s population.

Languages of Uttar Pradesh
The main language which is spoken in the Uttar Pradesh is Hindi, but Urdu with its strong vocabulary of Persian words, modified Arabic script and Hindu grammatical structure is still quite widely spoken among Muslims. Urdu was developed in Uttar Pradesh and is now a popular language of the entire Indian subcontinent. Various numerous local dialects are also spoken in the state and a broad division can be made between those on the plains and the Pahari (hill) dialects.

Culture of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is a living testimony of classic literature, art, music and dance forms. UP is the home to the Kathak dance from and to artists of the caliber of Birju Maharaj. It is also home to innumerable folk dances including the famous raslila of Mathura, the Nautanki of Kanpur and the rustic Dhobi, a dance of central UP. The state offers the best of mushairas, ghazal soirees, mehfils, darbars along with the spirit of tehzeeb and hospitality.

Art & Crafts of Uttar Pradesh
Kurtas, salwar suits, duppatas and sarees made from the finest chikankari and zardozi work of Lucknow and the famous Banarasi silk saris of Varanasi are known all over the world. The carpets of Bhadohi, the splendid brassware of Moradabad, the blue pottery of Khurja, the fine inlay work of Agra and the glassware of Firozabad are also the famous craft items. These pieces of art and craft are mementos for the valued visitors of Uttar Pradesh.

Festivals of Uttar Pradesh
Fairs and festivals are a part of the culture of Uttar Pradesh and acknowledged as a means of enriching life.The city of Uttar Pradesh celebrates a number of fairs and festivals like Kumbh Mela, Holi, Diwali, Id, Muharram and various other Hindu and Muslim festivals. The Kumbh Mela is one of the major festival which is held in Allahabad after every twelve years. During this festival, the pilgrims and tourists from all over the country gather here and take bath in the holy waters of Sangam where the waters of sacred river Ganga meets Yamuna and Saraswati. Mathura and Barsana, near Mathura are known for the colourful 'Lathmaar" Holi. Dussehra and Ganga Mahotsav are the various other festivals which are celebrated here.

Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh
The diverse aromas ranges from the princely cuisine of the Nawab of Awadh to the delectable mithais and namkeens of other regions. Biryani-e-Dum Pukhat, shami, seeks and galauti kababs, Korma, and kulcha – Niharis are the famous dishes of Uttar Pradesh. Hot breads like sheer-maals, mughlai parathas and rumali rotis can be served here. The desserts ranges from shahi tukra, pheerni gulathi to kulfi-faluda, seasoned with saffron or malai gilauris, hot jablebis and imarits or pedas of Mathura. A glass of chilled thandai from Lucknow can be had in the end.

Cities in Uttar Pradesh
There are various cities to visit in Uttar Pradesh. Agra, the city of the Taj; Varanasi, one of the most ancient cities of the world, situated on the banks of the Ganges; Haridwar, the religious city; Allahabad, the place where the great Kumbh mela is held; Mathura, situated on the banks of the Yamuna river and regarded as the birthplace of Lord Krishna; Rishikesh, the place of sages; Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh and the famous administrative centre and market city and Kanpur, the most important industrial centre are the famous cities in Uttar Pradesh. The state has three of Hinduism’s seven holy cities like Haridwar, Mathura and Varanasi and each year vast numbers of pilgrims travel through the state.

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh
The geographical terrains are a veritable treasure house of animals and birds. The luxuriant forests of Dudhwa National park offers the finest quality of Sal trees, vast stretches of grasslands. The Barasingha, one horned Rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, elephant, sloth bear and jackals are the various wild animals which can be seen in this sanctuary. The Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, the Chandra Prabha sanctuary and the Samaspur bird sanctuary are the famous bird sanctuaries to view a rich variety of birds.

How to reach Uttar Pradesh
There is an extensive road and rail network over the state. The main railway junction are Agra, Allahabad, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Mathura, Moradabad and Varanasi. The railheads are Kathgodam, Ramnagar, Kotdwara, Haridwar and Dehra Dun. There is a surprisingly good road network which has been extended to the border with Tibet to facilitate troop movements.


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