Uttar Pradesh

Utttar Pradesh (UP) is the most populated state in India. It is situated on the northern side of the country and is a house for several important pilgrimage destinations. It is located in a very strategic area and was an important administrative center for several kingdoms of the past. You may find a variety of tourist spots in the region ranging from temples to forts and wildlife sanctuaries. The territory is fast progressing with regards to tourism industry and infrastructure development. It is also the second- biggest economy in the country.

Basic important facts

The state was previously a part of United Provinces. The region was demarcated and officially recognized by its current name in 1950. Lucknow is the capital city. Uttarakhand, another Indian state, was carved from UP in 2000. UP ranks first in terms of population and population-growth rate and fifth with regards to geographical area. The region is divided into 75 districts. The state is the second largest economy in the nation.

Demography

UP has a fairly high population density of about 820 people per sq km and the literacy rate here is around 70%. The official language used for communication is Hindi. It is primarily a Hindu territory with more than 80% of the people belonging to this religion. Muslims constitute about 20% while Sikhs, Christians, Jains, and Buddhists constitute another 2% of the population.

Geographical factors and climate

Uttar Pradesh shares one of its boundaries with Nepal. The prime rivers here are Ganges, Saraswati, Betwa, Sarayu, Yamuna, and Ghaghara. Climatic conditions are quite unstable throughout. The temperature fluctuations are considerable and the mercury level can be as low as zero degree Celsius or as high as 50 degree Celsius. Winters occur during January and February while the summer season falls in March, April, and May. Monsoon is generally experienced in June, July, August, and September. Due to non-uniform pattern of monsoons, droughts and floods are a common phenomenon here.

Flora and Fauna

The state flower of UP is Palash while the state tree is Saal. Swamp deer is an important animal while Sarus Crane is a significant bird in the state. Some other notable species of animals found here are lion and rhinoceros. There are several bird sanctuaries in the state and the significant species found in the area are peacock, bulbul, kingfisher, parrots, black patridge, woodpecker, doves, song birds, snipes, blue jays, junglefowl, and parakeets.

Sites worth visiting

The city of Varanasi is an important place of worship for Hindus. It is also called as Benares or Kashi. It is considered as the second oldest city in the world and is popular for the ghats around Ganges River. Millions of pilgrims visit the site every year to experience the splendid beauty of the river and take the holy dip. Other main center in the area is Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is an important Jyotirlinga for the Hindu community. Jantar Mantar and Ramnagar Fort are a must-watch.

Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama and also called as Ram Janmabhoomi, is a major location for people belonging to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religion. It is said that the famous poet Tulsidas started with Ramcharitramanas from this location. Mathura- Vrindavan has a beautiful collection of historic temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. The city has a special mention in India's mythology as the birth place of Lord Krishna. The festival of Holi and Janmaashtami is celebrated with great enthusiasm here. A few places worth visiting in Mathura are Vishram Ghat, Keshav Dev Mandir, and Birla Temple. Vrindavan is a sacred city with more than 15 major temples.

Allahabad is famous for Kumbh Mela. It is also known as Prayag and is the meeting point of the three major Indian rivers; Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. It is the administrative capital of the state and is also known for the historic Akbar forts. Agra is a world-renowned tourist spot known for Taj Mahal; the world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world. Some other places appreciated by tourists are Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar's Tomb, Agra Fort, Itimad Ud Daulah, Guru Ka Tal, Mankameshwar Temple, and Jama Masjid.

Mirzapur division will amaze you with some of the world's finest carpets. It is a big hub for world-class carpet industry. Ghaziabad, the fastest developing industrial city in the country, has a good collection of several big and small historical sites. Noida and Greater Noida have become the hot-spots for industrial development and the area is well-planned and equipped with world-class infrastructure.

The prime Buddhist sites in the state include Sarnath, Kaushambi, Sravasti, Kushinagar, and Sankassa. Sarnath Pillar or the Ashoka Pillar, the national insignia of India, is located at Sarnath.

There are more than 25 wildlife sanctuaries and zoos in UP. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is the most noted site and constitutes three major parks as Dudhwa National Park, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary. A few other significant sites are Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, National Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary, Bakhira Sanctuary, the bird sanctuaries at Nawabganj and Patna, Okhla Sanctuary, Hastinapur Sanctuary, Ranipoor Sanctuary, and Kaimoor Sanctuary.

Uttar Pradesh is aptly known as the land of temples. The state also gives ample options for wild-life lovers. The tourist spots are spread throughout the territory and you should plan your trip well in advance to cover all the significant locations during the tour. This avoids any loss of time in the transit and makes your journey comfortable.