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UP: The Heartland of India

The heartland of India , UP (short for Uttar Pradesh or “northern state”) boasts of great monuments, traditional fairs and festivals, the most ancient city in the world, the legendary etiquette of the nawabs and of course, the greatest monument of love – the Taj Mahal. In reality, UP is more than just the Taj Mahal.

The history of UP pretty much dates back to the history of India – about 4000 years – starting even before the spread of Buddhism around the 1st millenium BC. Half the size of France, seven times the size of Switzerland and a little bigger than England , UP is home to two of the most venerated rivers of India – Ganga and Jamuna. A place that has witnessed it all – from the splendour of the Mughal rule to the rise of the British to the sepoy mutinee of 1857; while its renowned cuisine is as diverse as its geography.

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The state finds a mention in the Rig Veda as Madhya Desa and features prominently in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. After passing into the hands of Muslim rulers in the medieval period, a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim cultures emerged. In the 6th century BC, the region became a centre for two new religions, Jainism and Buddhism.  Among other things, it also offers a glimpse of the famed Triveni (confluence of the three rivers, Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati); and the path to nirvana at Sarnath.

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UP is also known, among other things, for its rich, elaborate banquets, stemming from its great gourmets, the Nawabs of Awadh and their famous ‘Dum Pukht’ style of cooking over a slow fire in its own juices. Traces of the cultured, genteel lifestyle of the Nawabs and their dance, literature, poetry, arts and crafts that flourished under royal patronage are found to exist even today. Besides the traditional chikankari craft of delicate hand embroidery, the state is well known for its zardozi embroidery, metalware, pottery, carpet weaving, terracotta, jewellery, perfumes, paintings and music. Major cities include Lucknow , Kanpur , Varanasi , Allahabad , Agra , Mathura , Jhansi , Ghaziabad.

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State capital: Lucknow

Places of interest: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Sarnath  (Varanasi), Sangam at Prayag ( Allahabad ), Allahabad / Jhansi/ Bithoor forts; Buddhist circuit (Piprahwa, Kaushambi, Shravasti, Kushinagar), Akbar’s tomb. Prem Mandir, Chhota Imambara, Tomb of Mariam-Uz-Zamani, Katarniaghat Sanctuary, Nawabgunj Bird Sanctuary, Khushro Bagh, Kashi Vishwanath temple, Chaukhandi stupa, Moti Masjid, Dilkusha Kothi, Allahabad Museum, Phool Bagh, Mehtab Bagh.

GETTING THERE:

Airport: well connected

Railhead: well connected

Road: well connected

Official website: uptourism.gov.in

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