Uttar Pradesh Tourism
Uttar Pradesh is one of the most fascinating States of India. It has something to offer; hill stations to enjoy the holidays - jungles for hunting - rivers for angling and pilgrim places echoing the glories from the past.
Uttar Pradesh is recognized in the later Vedic age as Brahmanrshi Desa or Mashya Desa. Many great sages of the Vedic times like Bharadwaja, Gautam Yagyavalka, Vasista, Vishwamitra and Valmiki had lived in this area. Several sacred books of the Aryans were also composed here. Two great epics of India the Ramayana and Mahabharata based on the happing in this area.
In the 6th century BC Uttar Pradesh was associated with two new religions - Jainism and Buddhism. It was at Sarnath that Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon and laid the foundation of his order and it was in Kushinagar in U.P. where he had breathed his last. In the post Buddhist period, several centers in U. P. ( Uttar Pradesh) like Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi and Mathura became reputed centers of learning.
Sri Sankaracharya the great Hindu reformer established one of his ashrams at Badrinath in U.P. ( Uttar Pradesh). In the medieval period, U. P. ( Uttar Pradesh) passed under the Muslim rule and led the way to a new synthesis of Hindu and Islamic cultures. Ramananda and his Muslim disciple Kabir, Tulsidas, Soordas and many other intellectuals contributed to the growth of Hindi and other languages.
Uttar Pradesh preserved its intellectual leadership even under the British administration. The British combined Agra and Oudh into one province and called it United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The name was shortened to the United Provinces in 1935.After Independence. In January 1950, United Provinces was renamed as Uttar Pradesh.
At a Glance
Area: 2,38,566 Sq.km; Capital: Licknow; Language: Hindi; Airports: Allahabad, Agra, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Kanpur, Varanasi, Bareilly, Hindon (Ghaziabad), Sarsawa, (Saharanpur) Pantnagar (Nainital), Jolly Grant (Dehradun), and Fursatganj (Rae-Bareli); Museums: Agra (Taj Mahal), Allahabad (Allahabad Museum, Kausambi); Mathura (Government Museum); Sarnath (Archaeological Site Museum); Varanasi (Bharat Kala Bhavan; Pilgrim Centres: Allahabad, Ayodhya, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Kushinagar, Mathura, Sankasia,Sarnath,Sravasti and Varanasi.
Popular Places: Lucknow, Agra (Taj Mahal), Allahabad, Bundelkhand, Jhansi, Deogarh, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, Kalpi, Kalinjar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Ayodhya and Mathura.
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, extends along the banks of the Gomati River. The creator of Lucknow as it is today was Nawab Asafud- Daulah. The city became center of Urdu poetry and reached its acme during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah who was a connoisseur of music and poetry. Today the city is dotted with remnants of its historic past. Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and "CHIKANKAARI" on fine cloth.
Places of Interest
(1) Hussainabad Imambara (2) Shah Najaf Imambara (3) Residency (4) Asafi Imambara (5) Rumi Darwaza (6) Kaiserbagh Palace Complex (7) National Botanical Research Institute.
Excursions: (1) Kukrail Reserve Forest (2) Nawanganj Bird Sanctuary (3) Neemsar (4) Ayohdhya (5) Hanumangarh.
How to Reach
Lucknow is connected by air with Kolkata, New Delhi, Patna and Mumbai.Lucknow is a major railway junction and connected directly with main cities of India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Taj Residency, Hotel Clarks Avadh, Carlton Hotel, Hotel Charan International, Deep Hotel, Hotel Deep Avadh, Kohinoor Hotel, Capoor’s Hotel, Hotel Gomti, Arif Castle.
Agra (Taj Mahal)
Agra was the capital of the Mughal empire in the 16 th and 17 th century and its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 AD by Shah Jahan.But its architectural wealth ‘TAJ MAHAL’ has secured its place on the International Map. Agra is also known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone.
Places of Interest
(1) Taj Mahal – The inimitable poem in white marble, one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the finest expression of love of Emperor Shah Jahan for his queen Mumtaz is located on the banks of the Yamuna river here. The construction of the Taj Mahal had commenced in 1631 AD and had ended in 1653 AD.Taj Mahal will remain a symbol of eternal love. (2) Agra Fort (3) Itmad – Ud – Daulah’s Tomb.
Excursions: (1) Ram Bagh (2) Sikandra (3) Chini – Ka - Roza (4) Radhaswamy Samadhi (5) Jama Masjid (6) Mariyam’s Tomb (7) Sur Surovar (Keetham Lake) (8) Fatehpur Sikri (37 km) (9) Bharatpur Bird Sanctury (10) Aligarh (11) Mathura and Vrindavan.
How to Reach
Agra is connected by air with New Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi.Agra is connected by rail with all major cities of India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Welcomegroup Mughal Shereton, Hotel Taj View, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, Hotel Mansingh Palace, Hotel Agra Ashok, Hotel Howard Park Plaza, The Trident, Hotel Amar, Hotel Atithi, Hotel Grand, Mayur Tourist Complex, Agra Deluxe, Hotel Taj Khema, Hotel Ganga Ratan, Hotel Amar.
Allahabad, sacred city of Hinduism was formerly called 'PRAYAG' in commemoration of a sacrifice done by Lord Brahma. According to Hindu mythology for the 'Prakrishta Yagna' Lord Brahma chose a piece of land on the earth on the confluence of the three rivers - the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati. This confluence is called SANGAM. The Sangam is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. Akbar had visited Prayag in 1575 AD and founded a new city by the name Illahabad which has now become Allahabad. The city was an important cantonment during the British Raj and has some beautiful remnants of colonial architecture. In the early 20th century, Allahabad was the foremost center of learning in the country.
Places of Interest
(1) Sangam (2) Fort (3) Hanuman Temple (4) Anand Bhawan (5) Allahabad University (6) Allahabad Museum (7) Patthar Girja or All Saint’s Cathedral.
How to Reach
Allahabad is connected by air with Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi.Allahabad is the major rail junction and connected by rail with all major cities of India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Hotel Kanha Shyam, Hotel Allahabad Regency, Presidency, Hotel Samrat, Hotel Yatrik, Hotel Tepso and Hotel Prayag.
Bundelkhand, which emerged from the mists of history during the rule of the mighty Chandelas in the 9th century AD, governed the destiny of central India for nearly 300 years. The Bundelas who came to power six centuries later were also to command influence in this region. Bir Singh Ju Deo (1605-1627 AD) a favorite of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir was a powerful ruler. Centuries later during the 1857 Mutiny against the British Raj, Bundelkhand produced charismatic leader in the Valiant Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi who led her troops into war against the might of the British.
Bundelkhand today is identified with districts of Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalam, Hamirpur, Banda and Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh and Sagar, Chattarpur, Tikamgarh, Panna and Damoh and parts of Gwalior, Datia, Shivpuri and Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh.
Main cities of Bundelkhand are Jhansi (U.P.), Orcha (M.P.), Shivpuri (M.P), Datia (M.P.), Sonagiri (M.P.), Deogarh (U.P.), Mahoba (U.P.), Chitrakoot (U.P.), Kalpi (U.P.), Kalinjar (U.P.) and Khajuraho (M.P.).
To visit Bundelkhand the convenient itinerary begins in New Delhi, from where one can travel for Gwalior proceeding to Jhansi-Orcha-Khajuraho-Mahoba-Kalinjar-Chitrakoot-Allahabad- and back to New Delhi.
Jhansi, the gateway to Bundelkhand, was a stronghold of the Chandela kings but lost its importance after the eclipse of the dynasty in the 11 th century. It rose to prominence again in the 17th century under Raja Bir Singh Deo who was a close associate of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. However its greatest claim to fame is its fiery queen Rani Laxmibai who led forces against the British in 1857 AD sacrificing her life to the cause of Indian independence. Jhansi is ideal base to reach Orcha, Shivpuri, Deogarh and Khajuraho.
Places of Interest
(1) Jhansi Fort (2) Government Museum (3) Rani Mahal.
Excursions: (1) Barua Sagar (24 km) (2) Parichha (25 km) (3) Todi – Fatehpur (4) Samthar (66 km) (5) Orcha (18 km) (6) Shivpuri (101 km) (7) Datia (34 km) (8) Sonagiri (45 km).
How to Reach
Nearest airport is Gwalior 98 km; Khajuraho 175 km. Jhansi is the major rail junction and connected by rail with all major cities of India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Hotel Sita, Hotel Chanda, Jhansi Hotel, Prakash Guest House, Raj Palace Hotel.
Deogarh is situated on the right bank of the Betwa River at the end of the Lalitpur range of hills. The cliffs, immediately overhanging the bank rise to a height of 300 feet and form a long steep ridge of red sandstone. Deogarh is of great antiquarian, epigraphical and archaeological importance and has figured in the history of the Guptas, the Gujaras - the Pratiharas, the Gondas, the Muslim rulers of Delhi, and Kalpi, the Marathas and the British. The thickly forested hills around Deogarh harbors a variety of wildlife.
Places of Interest
(1) Dashavatar Temple (2) Jain Shrines (3) Deogarh Archaeological Museum.
Excursions: (1) Chanderi (2) Barua Sagar.
How to Reach
Nearest airport is Gwalior 235 km. Convenient railway station – Lalitpur – 35 km. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Mahoba is the ancient capital of the mighty Chandelas. The Chandelas were great warriors and builders and have left behind an extraordinary legacy. The impregnable hilltop fort and the lakes they created are considered engineering feats and their water management system can still be seen. The lakes include Rahila Sagar built by Rahila (885-905 AD), the Kirat Sagar built by Kirtivarman (1060 - 1100 AD) and the Madan Sagar built by Madan Verma (1128 - 1165 AD). Near Madan Sagar lies the famous granite Shiva temple known as Kakramath, built in the Khaujuraho style of temple architecture. On the island in the lake stands Majhari, the ruins of another Vishnu temple. There is an old Chandela fort known as Quila Mismar, Maniya Devi temple and the Dargah of a Muslim saint from Arabia, who settled in 1252 AD are to be visited in the fort area. Mahoba also has two famous Chandela period tanks Ram Kund and Suraj Kund lined with granite slabs in a reserve pyramid shape. The town is also known for the excellent varieties of paan (beta leaves) that are despatched to all parts of the country.
How to Reach
Nearest airport – Khajuraho 65 km; Mahoba is connected by broad gauge rail line with Mumbai, Allahabad, Gwalior, Varansi etc. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Atithi Hotel, Shivam Hotel, Paras Hotel, Trishul Hotel, and Tourist Bungalow.
Chitrakoot is the hill of Many wonders of the Vindhyas.A city with more than legendary significance, it was the abode of Lord Ram and Sita for eleven year when in exile, the place where Sage Atri and Sati Anusuya meditated, the divine spot saw the incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
Places of interest: (1) Ramghat (2) Kadamgiri (3) Janaki Kund (4) Sati Anusuya (5) Gupta Godavari.
How to Reach
Nearest airport – Khajuraho 185 km; Nearest railway station – Karvi 8 km. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations : Hotel Pramod Van, Tourist Bungalow, and M.P.State Tourist Bungalow.
Kalpi is believed to have been originally founded by Kalib Dev, a ruler of the area in ancient times. One of the eight forts of the Chandelas the earliest authentic mention of Kalpi is found in the annals of its capture by Qutb – Ud – Din Aibak in 1196 AD.
Located in the ancient land of Jejakbhukti, an integral part of Bundelkhand this fort and town were of strategic importance during medieval times. There are several other places of interest within the fort.
Kanpur, situated on the banks of the holy Ganga River, is the largest industrial city and known for its historic and religious past. During the Mutiny of 1857 it was the headquarters of a large Indian garrison and was called “CAWNPORE”. It still bears landmarks of the British Raj.It is also famous for its leather industry.
Excursion: Bithoor (22 km), Bhitargaon (59 km), Kannauj (80 km).
How to Reach
Nearest airport – Kanpur and Lucknow 65 km; Kanpur is a major railway junction and connected directly with main cities of India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations : The Landmark Hotel, Hotel Swagat, Hotel Meghdoot, Meera Inn, Geet Hotel, Hotel Deep Mayur, Hotel Gaurav.
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the ultimate pilgrimage for Hindus, who believe that to die in the city, is to attain instant salvation. Varanasi is the tract of holy land lying between the Ganga and the Assi rivers. The Assi River also flows into Ganga. Varanasi is also known as Kashi, the city of light since one of the twelve 'Jyortinglinga's is installed here. Varanasi has been a great cultural center, especially in the fields of music, learning and the craft of silk weaving.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Kaimoor Wildlife Sanctuary: A peaceful spot about 100 km south of Varanasi.This sanctuary boasts tigers, panthers, sambar and spotted deer. There are also waterfalls and ancient cave painting in the area.
GHATS: At dawn, pilgrims, standing waist-deep in water, pray to the rising sun.
KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE: Also known as the Golden temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Varanasi is said to be the sight of the first Shivlinga. The original temple was destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the present temple was built by Rani Ahalyabai of Indore in the 18111 century. The Temple is open only for Hindus .
GYANVAPI MOSQUE: It was built by Aurangzeb near the present Vishwanath Temple.
DURGA TEMPLE: Commonly called the 'Monkey temple' it was built in the 18th century.
TULSI MANAS TEMPLE: Dedicated to Lord Rama it is situated at the place where Tulsidas lived and wrote his Ramacharitmanas.
BANARAS IDNDU UNIVERSITY: Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya as a centre for the study of Indian art, culture, music and also Sanskrit it is developed into a modern academic centre of various disciplines. It is believed to be the largest residential university in Asia.
RAM NAGAR FORT AND MUSEUM: A 17th century fort Ram Nagar is the home of the Maharaja of Banaras, who is revered as the representative of Lord Shiva in the city. The Museum has unique collection of furniture, palanquins, costumes, coins and weapons.
River Trips: A boat ride on the Ganges has become one of the must –dos of a visit to Varanasi, but be prepared to see the odd corpse floating down the river. It’scustomary to do the trip early in the morning when the light is particularly inspiring.
HOW TO REACH
AIR: Varanasi is connected by air with Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar and Kathamandu.
RAIL: Varanasi is an important railway junction having train connections with all major cities of India
ROAD: Varanasi is well connected by road to rest of the India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations : Hotel Taj Ganges, Hotel Clarks, Hotel Hindustan International, Hotel Ashok, Hotel De Paris, Hotel Ideal Tops, Diamond Hotel, and Hotel India.
Kushinagar is a peaceful, green town and makes a great respite from the chaotic larger towns in north-east Uttar Pradesh.Kushinagar, one of the principal centers of Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place of Mahaparinirvana.The monuments of Kushinagar are situated in three distinct comprising the main site of the Nirvana Temple, the central sputa and surrounding monasteries. Kushinagar Museum houses finds from exactions at the site.
How to Reach
Nearest airport – Gorakhpur 44 km; Nearest railway station Gorakhpur 51 km; Kushinagar is well connected by road to rest of the India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Hotel Nekko, Pathik Niwas, International Guest house.
Sravasti, capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom is sacred to Buddhists because it is here that Lord Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles to confound the TIrthika heretics. These miracles include that of the Lord Buddha creating multiple images of himself and have been among the favorite themes of Buddhist art. Buddha himself spent many summers here to deliver important sermons. Here Anathapindaka was built in the garden of Prince Jeta for the reception of the Buddha. Today, the remains unearthed testify to the flourishing condition of this sacred spot in the Gupta period.
Place of Interest
(1) Maheth (2) Sobhnath temple (3) Saheth.
How to reach
Nearest airport – Lucknow 176 km; Nearest railhead – Balrampur 17 km; Sravasti is well connected by road to rest of the India. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Hotel Accommodations: Inspection Bungalow, Burmese Temple Rest House, and Chienese Temple Rest House.
Kapilvastu, modem Piprahwa lies at a distance of 20 km from Siddarthnagar. Kapilvastu was the ancient capital of the Sakya clan whose ruler was the father of the Buddha. Prince Gautam, as the Buddha was then known, left his palace in Kapilvastu at the age of 29, and revisited it 12 years later after he had attained enlightenment. A large stupa stands at the ancient site, which is said to have housed the bone relics of the Buddha. The presence of these relics is testified by an ancient Brahmi inscription discovered at Piprahwa. The ruins of the palace are spread over a large area.
Lumbini, 95 km from Kapilvastu, is situated across the border in Nepal, which is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Buses ply upto the border from where the remaining 8 km has to be covered by private vehicles or cycle rickshaws.
How to reach
Nearest airport – Gorakhpur 104 km, Khajuraho 130km;Nearest railway station – Siddharth Nagar 20 km; Kapilvastu is approachable by road from Gorakhpur 97 km, Kushinagar 148 km, Varanasi 312 km, Lucknow 308 km. Tourist can travel by road to other main cities of Uttar Pradesh and India.
Ayodhya (134 km from Lucknow), the holy city and the popular pilgrim centre is situated on the right bank of the Saryu river. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The ancient city of Ayodhya according to Ramayana was founded by Manu, the lawgiver of the Hindus. For centuries it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated King. The story of the epic Ramayana has been immortalized by Valmiki and immensely popularized by the great masses through centuries. Ramkot is the chief sacred place of worship. On 'Ramnavami, this place attracts devotees from India and abroad.
Mathura (62 km from Agra)
Mathura is traditionally recognized as the capital of the Braj Boomi, the land which gave birth to Lord Krishna.Mathura Ghats are of great ritual interest.