Tourism in Uttar Pradesh
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Situated in the northern part of India, bordering with the capital of India New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh is one of the most popular tourist destination in India. The most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh is filled with its wealth of historical monuments and religious fervour. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is very diverse, with Himalayan foothills in the extreme north and the Gangetic Plain in the centre. It is also home of India's most visited site, the Taj Mahal, and Hinduism's holiest city, Varanasi. Kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is at the heart of India, hence it is also known as The Heartland of India. Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh like Awadhi cuisine, Mughlai cuisine, Kumauni cuisine are very famous not only in India but also many places abroad.
Uttar Pradesh is known for ages for its rich culture and tradition. It is home to Ayodhya and Mathura birthplace of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna respectively. Uttar Pradesh attracts a large number of both national and international tourists. Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Agra is also located in Uttar Pradesh.
There are different places one can visit in Uttar Pradesh. Agra, Jhansi, Lucknow and Meerut are historical cities famous for their monuments. Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Varanasi, Ayodhya and Allahabad are holy cities for Hindus and Kushinagar and Sarnath are important Buddhist places among the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Noida is the most developed urban city of Uttar Pradesh.
The 17th century Taj Mahal in Agra is the most popular monument in India, attracting over 2.5 million visitors per year. Agra is home to four World Heritage Sites in Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Sikandra & the Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is also home to many other beautiful Mughal buildings like Akbar's Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah etc. Dayal Bagh is an under-construction temple that many visit. The lifelike carving in marble is not seen anywhere else in India.
Every year thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the festival on the banks of the Ganges, the Magh Mela. The same festival is organised in a larger scale every 12th year and attracts millions of people and is called the Kumbha Mela. Kumbh Mela (especially the Maha Kumbh Mela) is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men and women (monks, saints and sadhus) attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with plenty of ashes and powder dabbed on their skin per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some called nanga sanyasis or 'Dhigambers' may often be seen without any clothes even in severe winter, generally considered to live an extreme lifestyle. This tends to attract a lot of western attention as it is seemingly in contrast to a generally conservative social modesty practised in the country.
Hindu religious sites
Varanasi (also called Kashi and Benares) is widely considered to be the second oldest city in the world after Jerusalem. It is famous for its ghats (steps along the river) which are populated year round with people who want to take a dip in the holy Ganges River.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirling temple, which is one of the most sacred of Hindu Temples.
Birthplace of Lord Krishana. Both Mathura & Vrindavan have beautiful temples devoted to Krishna. The place comes alive at the time of Holi, when a special brand of Holi called the Lath mar Holi is played here.
During Janmaashtami, the birth of Lord Krishna, there are huge festivities in the region.
Ayodhya is also the birthplace of five Tirthankars, including the first Tirthankar of Jainism, Shri Rishabh Dev. He is known as the father of Jain religion. The city is also important in the history and heritage of Buddhism in India, with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning having been established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty. Ayodhya reached its glorious peak as known to history during the reign of the Guptas over India.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan, founder of the Swaminarayan Sect of Hinduism lived here during his childhood years. It was from Ayodhya that Bhagwan Swaminarayan started his seven year journey across India as Neelkanth.
Tulsidas is said to have begun the writing of his famous Ramayana poem Shri Ramacharitamanas in Ayodhya in 1574 CE. Several Tamil Alwar mention the city of Ayodhya. Ayodhya is also said to be the birthplace of Bhahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, King Dasaratha, Acharya Padaliptasurisvarji, King Harishchandra, Shri Rama, Achalbhrata, and the ninth Gandhara of Mahavir Swami.
The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya "a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself".
Buddhist religious sites
Uttar Pradesh has many sites which are connected to Lord Buddha and hence, are sacred to Buddhists.
- Sarnath: a place where he held his first public discourse. Also at Sarnath is the Ashoka Pillar with the Lion Capital, is important archaeological artifact with national significance.
- Kushinagar: Where he attained Mahaparinirvana (Demise).
- Kaushambi: Where Buddha delivered many a sermons.
- Sankassa: Where he descended after addressing his mother in Heaven.
- Sravasti: His favorite monsoon resort.
Places of interest
Places of interest in Uttar Pradesh include:
- Varanasi: The origin of Hinduism and the oldest city of the world, also known as City of temples, holy place for devotees of Lord Shiva, one of the finest Textiles Industry in the world.
- Agra: Taj Mahal and several others historical monuments and gardens.
- Allahabad or Prayag: Well known for its Kumbh Mela. The place where Indian national river Ganges and Yamuna and Saraswati rivers meet. A mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river. Akbar forts, one of the most popular religious center of ancient and modern India for Hinduism. Uttar Pradesh's administrative and education capital.
- Kanpur - Uttar Pradesh's commercial and Industrial hub, several historical places from Mughal, British era.
Kanpur Sangrahalaya, a museum
- Lucknow-The capital of Uttar Pradesh, Several historical places Mughal, British and ancient India.
- Mathura-The birthplace of Lord Krishna of Hinduism and Neminath of Jainism.
- Ayodhya: The birthplace of Lord Vishnu's incarnation prabhu Shri Rama.
- Jhansi: Historical place, Rani Lakshmibai's battlefield against British, Jhansi Fort
- Sarnath-Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit. The birthplace of Shreyansanath, the eleventh Jain Tirthankar of the Jainism.
- Kushinagar- It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained Parinirvana after his death.
- Fatehpur Sikri-Historical place for Mughal Empire's palaces and forts.
- Meerut-The historical place of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence. Indian Historical place from Mahabharata period of ancient India to Modern Uttar Pradesh, India.
- Mirzapur Division-The hub of world's finest carpet Industries, and very popular tourist destination for its natural beauties and one of the fastest growing region of Uttar Pradesh.
- Ghaziabad: Historical places from ancient India to modern India and India's fastest growing Industrial city .
- Noida and Greater Noida:IT, Electronics and education hub of Northern India.India's biggest city with planned and highteck residential area.
- Gorakhpur: The city was home to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Sikh saints. The birthplace of Paramhansa Yogananda, great Hindu emperor Chandragupta Maurya.
- Jaunpur: Historical city founded by the Sultan of Delhi, Feroz Shah Tughlaq and named in memory of his father, Muhammad bin Tughluq as Jaunpur Sultanate. Mughals, Lodis and Islamic forts.
- Dudhwa National Park -Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Birds Sanctuary, the unique Frog Temple at Oyal, Surat Bhawan Palace, Elephant Rides.
- Rehar:Several major tourist attractions can be mentioned in the town’s surroundings, like Jim Corbett National Park (India) about 24 km, Nainital (India) about 69 km
Dudhwa National Park is one of the best Tiger reserves in the country. Lakhimpur Kheri is a must see location, and home to the Tiger reserve., In sept 2008, Uttar Pradesh has got another Tiger Reserve area in Pilibhit named Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit. There are many other beautiful Wild life Sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh.
Wildlife sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh
Victoria Memorial at Alfred Park
Buland Darwaza, the 54 mt. high entrance to Fatehpur Sikri complex
Tomb of Salim Chishti (left) tomb in Jama Masjid courtyard
The central pillar of Diwan-i-Khas
Main gate of Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan
Kusuma Sarovar bathing ghat, in the Govardhan area, Vrindavan.
The Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath
The first five disciples pay respects to the Wheel of the Dharma at the deerpark of Isipatana
- Official Website of Agra maintained by NIC
- Tourism in Uttar Pradesh travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Agra City Guide