Travel in Rajasthan, India
A Rajasthani Kid is playing "Ek Tara"
Thar Desert Jaisalmer in Background, Rajasthan, India

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Indian States Information

Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow TravelSituated in the northern part of India, Uttar Pradesh is the most populated state of India. In terms of area, it is the fourth largest among all the states. It is bound by Nepal on the north, and is surrounded by the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Often referred to as the "cow belt" or "Hindi belt", Uttar Pradesh has been the most dominant state in Indian politics and culture since Independence, producing over half of India's prime ministers.

The Ganges River forms the backbone of Uttar Pradesh, and most of the state consists of the vast Ganges plain. The Ganges is the sacred river of Hinduism, and four of the religion's seven holy towns are in the state, including Varanasi, the holiest of them all. Uttar Pradesh is also a place of major importance to Buddhists, for it was at Sarnath, just outside Varanasi, that the Buddha first preached his message of the middle way.

There's more to Uttar Pradesh than just religion, though. The scenic north-western corner has hill stations sprinkled along the foothills of the Himalayas, boasts excellent trekking and rises to form some of the highest mountains in India.

Fast Facts of Uttar Pradesh

Area

294,411 Sq. Km.

Population

166, Million

Capital

Lucknow

Climate in Summer

 [March to June] - Warm

Climate in Monsoon

 [July to September] Warm & Humid

Climate in Winter

 [October to February] Cold

Clothing in Summer

Cottons

Clothing in Winter

Woolens

Languages Spoken

Hindi

Best Time to Visit

October to March

Places to Interest :

Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary

Situated at Bharatpur, 55 kilometres from Agra, is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world. What was once the private hunting ground of the Maharaja of Bharatpur is now a protected breeding ground for hundreds of species of birds. Several species of migratory birds, especially the Siberian Crane, spend their winters here.

Mathura

Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the popular incarnation of Vishnu (the preserver in the Hindu trinity). This area, popularly known as Brij Bhoomi, is a major pilgrimage place of Hindus. Nearby is Brindavan, where Krishna 'sported' with his gopis (milkmaids). The land still echoes with stories and songs that recount the exploits of this charming God.

Dudhwa National Park

This 488.29 sq km national park is inhabited by tiger, panther, sloth bear, sambar, swamp deer, chital, hog deer, barking deer, nilgai, peafowl, jungle fowl, and patridge. The nearest airport is at Lucknow (250 kms) and nearest railhead is at Dudhwa. The best time to visit is from November to May.

Cities :

Lucknow

The state capital was associated with the princely court of Oudh and then with the British. Both cultures linger on in the city, whose finest monument is the Bara Imambara. The Lucknow Residency was site of the Great Revolt of 1857 - you can still see the cannon marks on the walls. The La Martiniere school, founded by Claude Martine, a French soldier, blends Mughal, Hindu and Italian architecture and is a leading educational institution. The Nawabi tradition lives on in the leisurely habits of the people, their style of speaking, the architecture, etiquette, mouth-watering cuisine and elegance.

Agra

Who has not heard of Agra, universally known as the city of the Taj Mahal, the most extravagant tribute to love and one of the seven wonders of the world? However, there is a lot more to Agra than just the Taj. Once the capital of India (under the Mughal emperors), Agra is full of magnificent monuments dating back to the 16th and 17th century. The founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. Akbar, his grandson, raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort, now a World Cultural Heritage site. Jehangir, Akbar's son, and Shah Jahan, his grandson, continued embellishing it, changing it from a principally millitary structure to a more luxurious palace. The Itmad-ud-daulah tomb standing midst a grand Persian garden, is the tomb of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, Emperor Jehangir's wazir (Chief Minister), and also his father-in-law. This splendid garden tomb is believed to be the precursor of the Taj Mahal, and was the first Mughal structure to be built entirely of marble, and to make use of pietra dura, the inlay marble work that came to be typical of the Taj. Near the Agra Fort, is Jami Masjid, built by Shahjahan in 1648. 10 km north of Agra, in Sikandra, is Akbar's tomb, construction of which was started by the emperor in his lifetime. 40 km west of Agra, is the perfectly preserved 'phantom city' of Fatehpur Sikri. Between 1570 and 1586, during Akbar's reign, the city served as the capital of the Mughal empire, before being abruptly abandoned, probably due to lack of water supply. The dargah (tomb) of Sheikh Salim Chisti, the renowned saint, set in the courtyard of the Royal Mosque, still draws hordes of pilgrims.

The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are all listed in UNESCO's list of World Cultural Heritage sites.

Allahabad

This city stands at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, the two most sacred rivers of India. As such, pilgrims have thronged it for centuries.

Varanasi

Varanasi, situated on the banks of the sacred river Ganges, is the oldest city in India, and the holiest for Hindus, who believe that those who die in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of rebirth. Pious Hindus still come to Varanasi to spend their last days, living in spartan communes run by religious trusts.

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