"The Heartland of Religion", Uttar Pradesh predominantly is a city that is impregnated with spirituality in and out. It is the most charismatic state of India. Where 'Varanasi', the oldest Hindu city of India; 'Lucknow' is the princely stage of Nawabs; 'Agra' holds the 7th wonder of the world, Taj Mahal; Ayodhya and Mathura, where the Gods agreed on taking birth in the human form.
Shrouded in mysticism and soaked in culture, Uttar Pradesh is an olden state in the northern region of India.
With an aura of golden past, rich heritage monuments, vibrantly colorful, vigorous, and modern face of the country, Uttar Pradesh is the indelible mark of excellence on the face of a country as magnificent as India.
Uttar Pradesh is known as the cultural cradle of India. Its historical journey started dates back to 4000 years. Formerly, the state was occupied by the Aryans and Dasans' they laid the foundations of their civilization in the region. During Aryan inhabitation, epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Brahmanas, and Puranas were written.
In the 1st millennium BC, UP saw the advent of Lord Buddha and the expansion of Buddhism. Additionally, Panchalas, Videhas, Vatsas, and Kuru were formed in the early region of the UP. In Ashoka's reign, some public welfare works were taken up. During the rule of the Magadha Empire, Buddhism and Jainism developed.
The power then shifted to the Nanda dynasty and then to the Mauryas. Uttar Pradesh touched its highest glory during the reign of Harshavardhana. The history of Uttar Pradesh is effectively affected by Muslim rule. It reached the peak of prosperity during the Mughal rule, mainly in Akbar's rule.
During the reign of third Nawab of Awadh, The British East India Company came into contact with rulers of Awadh. UP was known as the epicenter of the Sepoy revolt of 1857. Some of the major protagonists of that mutiny like Nana Saheb, Tantya Tope, Rani of Jhansi, Maharaja of Benaras and Begum Hazrat Mahal were the resident of Uttar Pradesh. Mangal Pandey is said to have initiated the first revolt of India from Uttar Pradesh. He had opened fire on a British Sergeant in the Meerut Cantonment.
After Independence, on January 26, 1950, Uttar Pradesh became a state of the Republic of India.
Amazing Places to Explore
From the city of Taj Mahal to the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, here is the list of some amazing places that everyone should visit in Uttar Pradesh.
The capital city, Lucknow is widely known as the 'Land of Nawabs'. This beautiful city holds something for everyone, whether you're a history buff, culture vulture, wildlife explorer or a food connoisseur.
Best Places: Bara Imambara, Chotta Imambara, Rumi Darwaza
Agra has been synonymous with Taj Mahal. And why not? This massive white entity of beauty, elegance, and love is at the centre stage of Indian tourism, especially for foreigners. The markets that are sequestered around the monument also ensure you get a first-hand local shopping experience.
Best Places: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Tomb of Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri
The birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is famous for many places of historic religious importance and temple. It is also among the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. The town is filled with temples dating back centuries.
Best Places: Sri Krishna Janma Bhoomi, Dwarkadhish temple, Gita Mandir
If you are a temple lover, you must visit Vrindavan. It is located in Mathura district is a holy city for Hinduism along with Govardhan and Gokul. The place has most expensively built temples in India and world's tallest temple, Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir.
Best Place: Prem Mandir, Banke Bihari Temple, Sri Krishna Balarama Temple, Radha Raman temple
Allahabad is one of the most important pilgrim centers for Hindus. It is located at the confluence of three rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswathi. The city witnessed one of the largest gatherings of religious nature during Kumbh Mela.
Best Places: Triveni Sangam, Allahabad Fort, Anand Bhavan, Allahabad Museum
Varanasi is famous as Banaras or Kashi around the world; it is considered as the holiest place in India owing to its location and the various temples in it.
Best Places: Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Dashashwamedh Ghat, New Vishwanath Temple, BHU
Sarnath is a city of historical glory having numerous Buddhist stupas, museums, beautiful temples and excavated ancient sites. The city is a popular tourist attraction and is well known for its cultural significance as well as the mystical setting.
Best Places: Ashoka's Pillar, Dharma Stupa, Thai Temple, Tibetan Temple, Sarnath
With temples on almost every corner, Ayodhya is a spiritual seeker's paradise. Being the birthplace of Lord Rama, the city is one of the seven sacred places for Hindus.
Best Places: Ramkot, Nageshwarnath temple, Hanuman Garhi, Treta Ke Thakur, Moti Mahal
Jhansi is famous for bravery and valour of the 18th-century queen, Rani Lakshmibai. It has temples, forts, and churches reminiscent of a bygone era, and a stroll among these is an evocative affair which will leave you enthralled.
Best Places: The Jhansi Fort, Rani Mahal, Government Museum
Known for its unique 'Locks', Aligarh is popular as a historical city of UP. It has everything from rich cultural heritage to ancient temples, to extravagant palaces to monuments.
Best Places: Aligarh Fort, Tombs of Muslim Saints
How to Reach
By Rail: The railway network in Uttar Pradesh is there in all parts including all major cities and villages.
By Air: Varanasi and Lucknow serve as the international airports of Uttar Pradesh. Besides, the state has four domestic airports in Agra, Kanpur, Varanasi, and Lucknow. The regular flights from various parts of the country are received here.
By Road: The roads for local transportation, commuting within Uttar Pradesh and commuting from different parts of India to Uttar Pradesh are very well.
Include these places in your itinerary and enjoy the warm and rich culture of the place. If you visit Uttar Pradesh during Holi you will get to enjoy the scintillating festival of colors which is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. The cuisines of Uttar Pradesh deserve special mention owing to their great taste and colorful texture.
If you want to absorb the cultural potpourri of this Indian state along with its heritage attractions, plan a tour to Uttar Pradesh from October to March. Winter is the best season to explore the state in all its full bloom.
I tried to cover all the important places in UP. Although, I would be glad to hear from about the sites I have not mentioned here.