If Uttar Pradesh were a country, it would be the seventh most populous in the world. The most populous state in India, Uttar Pradesh is the fourth largest state in terms of area, a little bigger than England. Surrounded by Nepal and Uttaranchal in the north, Madhya Pradesh in the south, Haryana, Delhi & Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh in the west and Bihar in the east, the state is rich in history and culture.
The history of Uttar Pradesh is as old as civilization itself. Known as the Madhya Desha in ancient times, Uttar Pradesh has seen history being made and being repeated. The state is home to Varanasi, one of the living cities in the world. The land is also associated with Buddha, India's greatest gift to the world. Buddha gave his first sermons at Sarnath, near Varanasi. This even is referred to as the Turning of the Wheel of the Law in Buddhism. Buddha breathed his last at Kushinagar, also in Uttrar Pradesh.
Places of Interest in Uttar Pradesh
Agra is known for the beautiful Taj Mahal, but there's a lot more to this historic city. The Mughal dynasty ruled from Agra and endowed it with many fine buildings and monuments such as Agra Fort, which contains grand halls and palaces and the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, a precursor to the Taj Mahal.
The city of temples is situated on the right bank of the mythical river Sarayu. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is known for its many famous temples and is one of the locations for the Kumbha Mela, a Hindu sacred occasion and the largest religious gathering on Earth.
Varanasi, or Benaras, is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi's prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled. Varanasi, is also known as Kashi (Derived from the root 'Kas' - to shine) or the city of spiritual light. Varanasi is also renowned for its heritage of music, arts, crafts education and silk weaving.
Mathura (or Brajbhoomi) is famous as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an important Hindu deity. It is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and one of the seven sacred cities in India. The main pilgrim center in Mathura is the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple. Mathura is also an important craft center. Mathura is located at a distance of around 58km from Agra.
Vrindavan is a sacred destination of the Hindus and is revered for its association with the life of Lord Krishna. There are as many as 4,000 temples in Vrindavan, most of them dedicated to Lord Krishna. Vrindavan is located just 57 km from Agra.
Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Emperor Akbar to symbolize the power of his empire, to represent the meaning of Allah's message to mankind and to display the wonders of the Islamic faith. Completed in 1578, Fatehpur Sikri has a grand palace where Akbar's court was based for a few years, until the shortage of water caused the city to be abandoned.
Located near Agra, Sikandra is the site of the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great. The grand gate at Sikandra is a sight worth seeing.