Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. Its city of Agra is home to the iconic Taj Mahal monument, a colossal, domed, white-marble mausoleum honouring the wife of 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Nearby are the red-brick walls of Agra Fort, a fortified palace dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. Capital Lucknow has Muslim memorial shrines Bara Imambara and calligraphy-adorned Chota Imambara. Uttra Pradesh is a fertile city with a variety of agricultural resources that are fed to the entire Indian population. Follow the new highway (204 km distance, about 5 hours).
Uttar Pradesh as a state unfolds a fascinating past dating back to 4000 years ago, which still breathes fresh in every corner. This state sits around the three historically significant rivers – Yamuna, Ganga and the mythological Saraswati.The vast and fertile Gangetic Plains that make up the present day Uttar Pradesh have played a key role in the rise and fall of major empires and dynasties going back more than 2500 years ago. Lying to the East of the capital of India, New Delhi, this was a strategic region which invaders and rulers sought to control in order to establish their power in North India.
Best time to visit:
1. March – May (low season)
For worthwhile sightseeing, wildlife enthusiasts will have to brave the heart of summer till mid-June when national parks close. National Parks are closed to the public between June 15 and November 15; March till May are the best animal sightings.
2. June – September (mid season)
For those who love the monsoon, the plains are at their greenest in these months. Early monsoons though muggy are still the best time for enjoying the journey across UP.
3. October – February (high season)
These months make up the best time to visit Uttar Pradesh. Maximum of the fests and festivals in the state fall in this period. Though December and January get extremely cold, it is still a perfect time to wander around the state and explore it.
How to get there:
The state’s cities and towns are connected by a vast network of roads, including a number of national highways, and railways. Major cities in Uttar Pradesh are connected by air to Delhi and other large cities of India. The three inland waterways of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Ghaghara rivers also are an integral part of the state’s transportation system.
Where to go:
1. Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh
2. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
3. Carved lions atop the Ashoka pillar in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh
Architecture, painting, music, and dance all flourished during the Mughal period (16th–18th century). Mughal architecture reached its height under the emperor Shah Jahān, who built the spectacular Taj Mahal at Agra. Paintings of the period were generally portraits or illustrations of religious and historic texts. Much of the musical tradition in Uttar Pradesh also was developed during the period. The type of music performed by Tansen and Baiju Bawra, contemporaries of the Mughal emperor Akbar, is still well known in the state and throughout India. The sitar (a stringed instrument of the lute family) and the tabla (consisting of two small drums) perhaps the two most popular instruments of Indian music were developed in the region during that period. The kathak classical dance style, which originated in the 18th century as a devotional dance in the temples of Vrindavan and Mathura, is the most popular form of classical dance in northern India.
4. Anand Bhawan (formerly the Nehru family home, now a museum), Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
5. Stupa commemorating where the Buddha was said to have first taught his followers, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh
6. Remains of the Buddha’s hut in Jetavana Monastery, Uttar Pradesh
Buddhist and Brahmanic or Hindu culture flourished side by side. Sculptures and architecture replete with Buddhist symbolism reached their zenith during the 3rd-century-BCE reign of Ashoka. Hindu art experienced its greatest development during the period of rule by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th century CE). After the death of Harsha, about 647, there was a gradual downfall of Buddhism accompanied by a revival of Hinduism. The chief architect of that revival, the philosopher Shankara, born in southern India, visited Varanasi, traveled through the plains of Uttar Pradesh, and is thought to have established the famous temple at Badrinath (now in Uttarakhand) in the Himalayas.
7. Buland Darwaza (Victory Gate) of the Jāmiʿ Masjid (Great Mosque) at Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
8. Interior room of the marble Octagonal Tower (Musamman Burj) in Agra Fort (Red Fort), Agra, Uttar Pradesh