Noted for its rich culture, varied heritage and scenic views, Uttar Pradesh is a well-known tourist destination in India. Spread across 294,411 sq. kms, the state lies on the northern region of the country. Popularly referred to as the land of charms and undying legendary evidences, this state deserves a special mention for its natural beauty. The two most popular river of India, i.e. River Yamuna and Ganga flow through this state. The state is also noted for its Buddhist destinations including Kushinagar, Shravasti, Kaushambi, and Piprahwa as well as for the major tourist sites like Jhansi, Allahabad Forts, and Fathehpur Sikri.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
By Air: Uttar Pradesh houses four domestic airports inVaranasi,Lucknow,Kanpur andAgra. However, the state does not have an international airport. The important cities are well connected toDelhi as well as other cities by air. Let us now take a look at the major airports as well as the cities where they are located:
By Rail: Uttar Pradesh is well connected by trains to the important cities ofIndia. Passenger trains, super fast trains and express trains operate on a frequent basis from Mughalsarai,Allahabad,Kanpur andLucknow. Let us now take a look at the major railheads as well as the cities where they are located:
|AgraCantt. Railway Station||Agra|
|City Station, Prayag Station, Daraganj Station and Allahabad Junction||Allahabad|
|Shikohabad Railway Station||Shikohabad|
|Kalyanpur Railway Station||Kalyanpur|
|Karvi Railway Station||Karvi|
|Lalitpur Railway Station||Lalitpur|
|Barabanki Railway Station||Barabanki|
|Atarra Railway Station||Atarra|
|Banda Railway Station||Banda|
|Kanpur -Central Railway Station||Kanpur|
|Naugarh -Central Railway Station||Naugarh|
|Bharwari -Central Railway Station||Bharwari|
|Deoria -Central Railway Station||Deoria|
|Pakhana Railway Station||Pakhana|
|Muzaffarnagar Railway Station||Muzaffarnagar|
|Mughal Sarai Station Railway Station||Varanasi|
|Mirzapur Railway Station||Mirzapur|
By Road: Uttar Pradesh is well connected by road to the major cities ofIndia. Some of the major national highways which connect the state include NH 25, 2, 27, 26, 29, and 45.
With some of the most well-known places to see in Uttar Pradesh, the state lures millions of tourists from the domestic as well as the global front. Amongst the various tourist attractions, Agrahas remained a favorite spot since long. Besides the Taj Mahal, some of the other attractions that are worth visiting include Fatehpur Sikri, Sikandra and Agra Fort. Lucknow is yet another well known tourist spot, which is noted for its Bada Imambara. In addition to these, Uttar Pradesh also houses religious destinations like Mathura, Sarnath, Allahabad, Varanasi and Ayodhya. The colorful ghats and remarkable temples of Varanasi are something that you should not miss on your travel to Uttar Pradesh. Only ten kilometers away fromVaranasi, you will find Saranath; a place known for itsBuddhistTemple and Stupas.Allahabad is a holy place for the Hindus. It is the same place where the Saraswati, Yamuna andGanga rivers confluence to form the Sangam. The well-known Kumbh Mela and Ardh-Kumbh Mela are held in Allahabad.
Built between the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the majestic forts and palaces take you back to the glorious past of the state. Some of the prominent heritage monuments of Uttar Pradesh are as follows:
SuratBhawanPalace: Built in the 1894 AD,SuratBhawanPalaceis located in the Lakhimpur Khiri District, close to theDudhwaNational Park. The palace houses two lounges, ten suites, one pantry and dining hall.
MaheshVilasPalaceShivgarh: Spread across 35 acres, this palace is noted for its lush landscapes, cascading fountains and orchards. The palace houses a durbar hall, elegantly furnished rooms, a wide verandah and a dining hall. The palace makes a good choice if you want to get an authentic taste of Indian hospitality. In short, the palace is a perfect blend of serenity and magnificence.
FortJagmanpur: This four storied fort houses about hundred rooms. The bronze and iron gates at the entrance of this fort add to its appeal. From the terrace you can get a glimpse of the ravines and rivers.
Rampura Fort: Spread across 10 acres, the fort is home to approximately 100 rooms including a separate section for men and women. Besides, the fort area is also inclusive of a temple, stables, courtyards, wells, cattle sheds and servant quarters.
BansiPalace: Located in the Sidharthnagar district and standing on the banks of River Rapti,BansiPalaceis only thirty kilometers away from Piparhwa.
ArcheologicalMuseum,Varanasi:Varanasi's ArchaeologicalMuseumfocuses on exhumed discoveries such as old coins, paintings, architectural fragments and sculpture.
Bharat Kala Bhavan,Varanasi: Located within the premises ofBanarasHinduUniversity, this museum houses exquisite collections of textiles, paintings and sculptures.
MaharajaBanarasVidyaMandirMuseum,Varanasi: On the banks of theGangesyou will find the Ramnagar Fort. This fort is the ancestral house of the rajas ofBanaras. The fort houses a museum which is noted for its decorative arts, palanquins, manuscripts and weapons.
AllahabadMuseum,Allahabad: Inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1947, this museum is known for its exquisite collections of stone sculpture,IndusValleyand prehistoric antiquities, bronzes, terracotta, beads, seals, inscriptions, coins, Buddhist thankas, and miniature paintings textiles.
GovernmentMuseum,Mathura: Founded by FS Growse in the year 1874, it is believed that Lord Buddha's first image was found here. The museum was formerly known by the name of the Curzon Museum of Archaeology.
ArcheologicalMuseum, Haridwar : Founded in the year 1945, this museum showcases prehistoric relics as well as archaeological discoveries including terracotta, paintings, manuscripts, sculpture, and coins.
GovernmentEducationalMuseum, Muzaffarnagar: This museum houses rare antiquities including coins, terracotta, metal images, and terracotta. Besides, you will also find collections of stamps, cannons as well as dolls with traditional costumes.
In addition to the tourist destinations, Uttar Pradesh is also home to several wildlife and bird sanctuaries including Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary, Kishanpur Sanctuary, Katarniaghat Sanctuary, Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Hastinapur Sanctuary, Lakh Bahosi Sanctuary and National Chambal Sanctuary.
The Uttar Pradesh Travel Guide also houses some of the popular fairs and festivals of the state. These colorful fairs and festivals add to the dynamism of the locals. Starting from the small towns to the villages, you will find all of them steeped in rich tradition. The natives celebrate the fairs and festivals with immense pleasure and fervor. Some of the popular fair and festivals celebrated in Uttar Pradesh include:
Ramlila: Ramlila, or more popularly the enactment of Lord Rama's story was possibly initiated by Saint Tulsidas. In certain places, this festival is celebrated in the later half of September or early half of October.
Janmashtami: Janmashtami is celebrated in the month of August or September on the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.
Holi: This festival of colors marks the start of spring. According to legendary evidences, Hiranya Kashyap (an evil spirit), believed that he was more powerful when compared to God. In fact, he even made up his mind to kill Prahlad his own son just because he was a worshipper of God. Holika, Hiranya's sister decided to sit on the pyre with Prahlad, but to her dismay she got burnt in the fire instead of Prahald. Holi thus implies the victory of good over evil.
Ramnavmi Mela, Ayodhya : The holy city ofAyodhyais noted for its Ramnavmi Festival celebrations. Celebrated in the month of April, the festival lures thousands of devotee's at the Kanak Bhawan.
Kumbh Mela: One of the biggest fairs ofAllahabad, Kumbh Mela is attended by thousands of pilgrims across the domestic and global front. Maha Kumbh is arranged after an interval of 12 years while Ardha Kumbh is celebrated at an interval of 6 years after the Maha Kumbh mela.
Deva Mela: A popular attraction amongst Middle East countries andPakistan, this fair is celebrated in the month of October every year.
Kailash Fair,Agra : Located at a distance of 12 kilometers fromAgra, Kailash Fair is held every year during the months of August or September. This is a prominent fair of Uttar Pradesh celebrated in order to show respect to Lord Shiva.
Magh Mela,Allahabad: Excluding the years of Ardh Kumbh Mela and Kumbh Mela, Magh Mela is celebrated during the months of January or February every year. The fair lures as many as three million pilgrims from across the nation and world.
Uttar Pradesh's history dates back to almost 4000 years when the region was occupied by the Dasas or Aryans. The primary occupation at this point of time was agriculture. The Aryans had also occupied the adjoining areas and laid their foundations on the same. During the first millennium Uttar Pradesh saw the rise of Buddhism. In fact this was the same time when Lord Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath. At this point of time, the state was under the influence of Magadh rule. With time, the power shifted its base to Nanda dynasty and reached the zenith of glory under the power of Harshavardhana. Similarly, the state reached the pinnacle of prosperity during the Mughal rule, particularly under the power of King Akbar. After the downfall of the Mughal Rule, the British took over the state.