Tourism in Uttar Pradesh

Situated in the northern part of India, bordering with the capital of India New DelhiUttar Pradesh is one of the most popular and an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike in India. The most populous state of India, Uttar Pradeshcontains a large number of historical monuments and places of religious significance. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is very diverse, with Himalayan foothills in the extreme north and the Gangetic Plain in the centre. It is also home of India’s most visited sites, the Taj Mahal, and Hinduism‘s holiest city, VaranasiKathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is at the heart of India, hence it is also known as The Heartland of IndiaCuisine of Uttar Pradesh like Awadhi cuisineMughlai cuisineKumauni cuisine are very famous not only in India but also many places abroad.

Uttar Pradesh is known for its rich culture and tradition. It is home to Ayodhya and Mathura birthplace of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna respectively. Uttar Pradesh attracts a large number of both national and international tourists. Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Agra is also located in Uttar Pradesh.

There are different places one can visit in Uttar Pradesh. AgraJhansiLucknow and Meerut are historical cities famous for their monuments. MathuraVrindavanGokulVaranasiAyodhya and Allahabad are holy cities for Hindus and Kushinar and Sarnath are important Buddhist places among the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama BuddhaNoida is the most developed urban city of Uttar Pradesh.

To boost the tourism in the state from within the country and other parts of the world, the Government of Uttar Pradeshestablished a ‘Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc‘ covering the cities of AgraLucknow and Varanasi.

Agra

The 17th-century Taj Mahal in Agra is the most popular monument in India, attracting over 7 million visitors per year.[1] Agra is home to four World Heritage Sites in Taj Mahal, Agra FortSikandra & the Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is also home to many other Mughal buildings like Akbar’s TombItmad-Ud-Daulah etc. Dayal Bagh is an under-construction temple that many visit. The lifelike carving in marble is not seen anywhere else in India.

Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal.

Kumbh Mela

A procession of Akharas marching over a makeshift bridge over the Ganges river, Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, 2001

Every year thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the festival on the banks of the Ganges, the Magh Mela. The same festival is organised in a larger scale every 12th year and attracts millions of people and is called the Kumbha Mela. Kumbh Mela (especially the Maha Kumbh Mela) is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men and women (monks, saints and sadhus) attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with plenty of ashes and powder dabbed on their skin per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some called nanga sanyasis or ‘Dhigambers’ may often be seen without any clothes even in severe winter, generally considered to live an extreme lifestyle. This tends to attract a lot of western attention as it is seemingly in contrast to a generally conservative social modesty practised in the country.

Hindu religious sites

Millions of tourists and pilgrims visit the cities of AllahabadVaranasiMathura, Soron, and Ayodhya, as those are considered to be the holiest cities in India.

Varanasi

Varanasi attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year.

Varanasi (also called Kashi and Benares) is widely considered to be the oldest city in the world, before Jerusalem. It is famous for its ghats (steps along the river) which are populated year round with people who want to take a dip in the holy Ganges River.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirling temple, which is one of the most sacred of Hindu Temples.

Mathura-Vrindavan

Birthplace of Lord Krishana. Both Mathura & Vrindavan have temples devoted to Krishna. During Holi, a special form of Holi called the Lath mar Holi is played here.

Janmaashtami, the birth of Lord Krishna, is celebrated in the region.

Ayodhya

Hindus believe the birthplace of Lord Rama to be in Ayodhya at the place called Ram Janmabhoomi, the site of the demolished Babri Mosque.

Ayodhya is also the birthplace of five Tirthankars, including the first Tirthankar of Jainism, Shri Rishabh Dev. He is known as the father of Jain religion. The city is also important in the history and heritage of Buddhism in India, with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning having been established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty. Ayodhya reached its glorious peak as known to history during the reign of the Guptas over India.

Swaminarayan led the Swaminarayan Sampraday sect of Hinduism and lived here during his childhood years. It was from Ayodhya that Swaminarayan started his seven-year journey across India as Neelkanth.

Tulsidas is said to have begun the writing of his famous Ramayana poem Shri Ramacharitamanas in Ayodhya in 1574 CE. Several Tamil Alwar mention the city of Ayodhya. Ayodhya is also said to be the birthplace of Bahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, King Dasaratha, Acharya Padaliptasurisvarji, King Harishchandra, Shri RamaAchalbhrata, and the ninth Gandhara of Mahavir Swami.

The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya “a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself”.

Soron Shukar Kshetra is salvation land of Lord Varah and birthland of Sant Tulsidas.

Buddhist religious sites

Uttar Pradesh has many sites which are connected to Lord Buddha and hence, are sacred to Buddhist.

  • Sarnath: a place where he held his first public discourse. Also at Sarnath is the Ashoka Pillar with the Lion Capital, is important archaeological artifact with national significance.
  • Kushinagar: Where he attained Mahaparinirvana (Demise).
  • Kaushambi: Where Buddha delivered many sermons.
  • Sankassa: Where he descended after addressing his mother in Heaven.
  • Sravasti: His favorite monsoon resort.

Jain religious sites

Shantinath Temple at Deogarh

Sarnath Jain temple, the birthplace of Shreyanasanatha.

Parshvanatha, the twenty-third tirthankara, was born in Benaras (now Varanasi)[2] in 872 BCE.[3] According to Jain tradition, Kashi (now Varanasi) is the birthplace of three more tithankaras, namely SuparshvanathaChandraprabha and Shreyansanatha.[4]

According to Jain tradition, five tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Rishabhanatha,[5] Ajitanatha,[6] Abhinandananatha,[7]Sumatinatha[8] and Anantanatha.[9] Uttar Pradesh has many sites which are connected to Jainism and hence, are sacred to Jains.

The 18 feet tall statue of Jambuswami (the last Kevali) at Mathura Chaurasi.

The main entrance gate of the Digamber Jain Mandir Hastinapur

Images of tirthankaras in Deogarh fort temple

Bundelkhand, in the heart of India, has been an ancient centre of Jainism. It is mostly in modern Madhya Pradesh, but part of it is in Uttar Pradesh.

Places of interest

Places of interest in Uttar Pradesh include:

  • Varanasi – The origin of Hinduism and the oldest city of the world, also known as City of temples, holy place for devotees of Lord Shiva, one of the finest Textiles Industry in the world.

A view of the Ghat of Varanasi from the River Ganges

The tomb of Khusrau Mirza in Khusro Bagh, Allahabad

A panoramic view of the Fatehpur Sikri Palace, Uttar Pradesh

  • Meerut – The historical place of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence. Indian Historical place from Mahabharata period of ancient India to Modern Uttar PradeshIndia.
  • Mirzapur Division – A hub of carpet Industries, and popular tourist destination for its natural environment and one of the fastest growing region of Uttar Pradesh.[citation needed]
  • Ghaziabad – Historical places from ancient India to modern India and India’s fastest growing Industrial city .
  • Noida and Greater Noida – ITElectronics and education hub of Northern India.India‘s biggest city with planned and iconic skyscrapers.
  • Gorakhpur – The city was home to BuddhistHinduMuslimJain and Sikh saints. The birthplace of Paramhansa Yogananda, great Hindu emperor Chandragupta Maurya Gorakhpur is also famous for Gorakshanath Temple (Gorakhnath Math), Chauri Chaura, Gita press, Gita Vatika, Ramgarh Tal Lake
  • Jaunpur – Historical city founded by the Sultan of DelhiFeroz Shah Tughlaq and named in memory of his father, Muhammad bin Tughluq as Jaunpur SultanateMughalsLodis and Islamic forts.
  • Dudhwa National Park – Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Birds Sanctuary, the unique Frog Temple at Oyal, Surat Bhawan Palace, Elephant Rides.
  • Rehar – Several major tourist attractions can be mentioned in the town’s surroundings, like Jim Corbett National Park(India) about 24 km, Nainital (India) about 69 km
  • Gonda – Mulagandhakuti. The remains of Buddha’s hut in Jetavana Monastery, Sravasti in Gonda Division and Swaminarayan Chhapaiyā: The village of Chhapaiya is situated at a distance of 50 km from the district headquarters. The chief interest of the place is Swaminarayan temple which marks the birthplace of Swaminarayan, or Sahajanand Swami, who was born here on 2 April 1781 as Ghanshyam Pande. Ghanshyam left Chhapaiya at the age of 11 to travel to the pilgrimage sites around India. He completed his pilgrimage in Western Gujarat, where he assumed the leadership of Swaminarayan Sampradaya. The Akshardham temples in New Delhi and in Gandhinagar, Gujarat built by his spiritual successor, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, are both dedicated to him. His followers consider him to be a manifestation of the Supreme Godhead.[10] There have been many movies about the Swaminarayan filmed in this temple in Chhapaiya and in nearby places in the district.

Wildlife

Dudhwa National Park and Dudhwa Tiger Reserve are protected areas, the tiger reserve is located at Lakhimpur Kheri. In September 2008, Uttar Pradesh has got another tiger reserve in Pilibhit named Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit. Uttar Pradesh also contains several other wildlife sanctuaries for various species.

Galleries

Agra

Allahabad

Dudhwa

Fatehpur Sikri

Lucknow

Mathura-Vrindavan

Sarnath

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