Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. It is the most populous state in India and fourth largest by area. Lucknow is the capital city of the Uttar Pradesh. The state is also referred to as UP.
Uttar Pradesh is known to be the oldest formed states in India. Though it was officially formed on 1 April 1937, with the North-Western Provinces of Agra and Awadh (a region in today’s Uttar Pradesh, which was before independence known as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh), proofs for its existence over 70,000 years ago were found.
The land was ruled by Mughal empire, Delhi Sultanate, Maratha empire, and eventually by the British until 1947. In 1950, the United Provinces were renamed as Uttar Pradesh. In the year 2000, the northern part of this sate was separated to form the state that is Uttarakhand today, and the remaining portions after this separation has been the state of Uttar Pradesh since then.
There are 23.15 crore (231.5 million) people in UP, out of which 79.73 % are Hindus, 19.26% are Muslims, and less than 1% are Christians, Sikhs or Jains.
Uttar Pradesh has a total of 64 cities. It has more metropolitan cities than any other state in India. Lucknow, the capital city, is the largest city in the state.
Other prominent cities and towns of Uttar Pradesh include: Prayagraj (previously Allahabad), Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur, Meerut, Bareilly, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Aligarh.
Uttar Pradesh’s culture is a blend of Hindi and Urdu literature, music, fine arts, drama and cinema.
Kathak – an important classical dance form in India, originated in Uttar Pradesh and many performances based on Kathak are showcased regularly across the state and country and also in films.
Glass and wood art and pottery are prominent forms of art practised here – and many artefacts made out of these can be found across the state to shop for – such as glass bangles, wooden footwear, terracotta and black clay pots and artefacts, and so on.
Prominent festivals in the state include: Ram Navami, Chhath Puja, Krishna-Janmashtami and Mahashivratri.
Hindi is the official language of Uttar Pradesh and is spoken across the state, though in slightly differing dialects based on regions. Urdu is the second largely spoken language.
Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines are two famous sub-cuisines of Uttar Pradesh – and these are influenced by the Mughal and Awadh empires that ruled the land centuries ago. These include vegetables or meats cooked with rich spices, cream and thick gravies; like – Biryanis, Haleem, Kebabs, Palak Paneer, Shahi Paneer, Fried fish curry, Tikkas and Korma.
Wheat is the staple food of the state, and unleavened wheat (refined or whole) flatbreads of different types are largely consumed here, with a side of different curries and other aforementioned dishes. Popular breads include - Tandoori Naan (flatbread baked in a tandoor – a special clay or metal oven that bakes breads and other food at high temperatures), Tandoori Roti, Kulcha, Rumali Roti, and Paratha.
UP also shares many dishes with the neighbouring states Delhi and Uttarakhand. Some dishes like Chaat and Parathas (stuffed unleavened whole wheat flatbreads).
Trains and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Uttar Pradesh. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars.
Airports – Uttar Pradesh has 2 International airports (connecting to various cities across India as well as other parts of the world), and 6 domestic airports (connecting to other cities within India only).
Railway Stations – Uttar Pradesh has 1134 train terminals/railway stations throughout its area, that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:
Bus Terminals – Uttar Pradesh has its own line of state-run buses (by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation - UPSRTC) which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. All UPSRTC buses can be boarded at major stops/terminals that are available in every district and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.
Agra in Uttar Pradesh is home to the Taj Mahal - one of India’s best and most popular historic monuments from the Mughal Era, which is also counted among the seven wonders of the world.
Varanasi - also known as Kashi (City of Life), which is known for being the world's oldest living city, is located in Uttar Pradesh, and is also the spiritual capital of India. This is a city that people often visit for its spiritual offerings, and to attend the famous religious rituals that happen on the banks of the holy river Ganges (Ganga) which flows by it.
Allahabad (Prayagraj) – This is the city where India’s largest fair – the Kumbh Mela is held every year, attracting millions of people. It is held near the confluence of three prominent Indian river – Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, which happens to be in Uttar Pradesh.
Fatehpur Sikri – This is a small historical in northern India, situated on the west of Agra. It was founded by a 16th-century Mughal emperor. The city is home to some important historical buildings such as: Buland Darwaza (translates to “the door of victory”) made with red sandstone by Mughal emperor Akbar, to commemorate his victory over Gujarat in 1602 AD; and Jama Masjid (Jama Mosque) - India’s most popular mosque.
Uttar Pradesh has many interesting places that people can travel to or explore; and which are perfect for a short vacation or a weekend getaway, such as –
Some thrilling activities and things to do in Uttar Pradesh for adventure lovers are:
Uttar Pradesh also has many historical gems to see. Some popular sites of historical significance in the state are -