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Places of Interest in Uttar Pradesh

Agra

Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal.
The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid
remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in
the 16th and early 17th centuries.

» Allahabad

128 kms.from Varanasi and located at the confluence (Sangam) of the rivers Ganga,
Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, Allahabad - one of the oldest cities of India and a
pilgrimage centre of utmost importance is also famous for the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh
Melas held every twelve and six years respectively.

» Ayodhya
The ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana, was founded by Manu, the
law-giver of the Hindus. For centuries it was the capital of the decendants of the Surya
Vansh of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king.
»

Jhansi
The gateway to Bundelkhand, Jhansi is a city that is linked still with the legend of its
fiery queen, Rani Laxmibai.

» Kanpur
Nestled on the banks of the eternal Ganga, Kanpur stands as one of North India's major
industrial centers with its own historical, religious and commercial importance. Believed
to be founded by king Hindu Singh of the erstwhile state of Sachendi, Kanpur was
originally known as 'Kanhpur'.

» Mathura
Mathura widely known as birth place of lord Krishna is located on the western bank of
river Yamuna at latitude 27degree 41 Minute N and 77Degree and 41 Minuet E. It is 145
Km south-east of Delhi and 58 Km north west of Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh. For
about 3000 Year it was the hub of culture and civilization.

» Varanasi
Varanasi, or Benaras, is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi's
prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled. Mark Twain, the English author
and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Banaras, once wrote:
"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks
twice as old as all of them put together".

» Vrindavan
Vrindavan 15 Km. north of Mathura on the same bank of Yamuna, lies the celebrated
town of Vrindavan, almost as closely associated with Krishna as Mathura itself. Indeed
one hardly speak of Vrindavan alone to; the devout Hindu.

STATES OF UTTAR PRADESH

Agra

Allahabad

Jhansi

Kapilavastu

Kushinagar

Lucknow

Mathura

Sravasti

Varanasi
LOCATION

Area: 238,566 sq. km


Population: 132 million
Capital: Lucknow
Main Language: Hindi & Urdu
Best time to visit: October to March

Literally meaning the northern province, Uttar Pradesh is the third largest state in the country. It is
surrounded by Tibet and Nepal in the North, Madhya Pradesh in the South, Haryana, Delhi and
Rajasthan in the West and Bihar in the East. Most of Uttar Pradesh consists of the vast Ganges
plain, an area of awesome flatness, which often floods dramatically during the monsoon. Often
referred to as the 'Hindi Belt' or the 'Cow Belt', the State has been most dominant state in Indian
politics and culture since Independence, producing over half of India's prime ministers. This is
partly because it is also the most populace state of the country and partly because the region
plays a central role in the religious landscape of the Hindus. The Ganges River, which forms the
backbone of the State, is the sacred river of Hinduism and two of Hinduism's most holy towns are
in the state, namely Varanasi and Allahabad (Prayag), which is also one of the venues of the
Kumbha Mela that is held once every 12 years.

Over 2000 years ago the state was part of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka's great empire. More
recently it was a part of the Mughal Empire and for some years Agra was its Capital. After the
British took over the state was known as United Province when Agra was merged with Avadh but
was renamed Uttar Pradesh after Independence. Uttar Pradesh is also a place of major
importance to Buddhists, for it was at Sarnath, just outside Varanasi, that the Buddha first
preached his message of the middle way.
AGRA
The City of the Taj is an educational and business centre known for its craftsmen and handicrafts.
In the great epic Mahabharata the region of Agra is described as 'Agraban' and it was an integral
part of 'Braj Bhoomi' or the land of Lord Krishna. Concrete history outlines the origins of Agra to
1475 AD when it was under the reign of Raja Badal Singh. However, Agra came into limelight
during the rule of the Afghan King Sikandar Lodhi, who had made it the capital of his empire.
Later in 1526 AD the Mughal Emperor Babar took upon himself the task for rendering Agra, a
unique character and beauty of its own. The visionary that he was and a great patron of the arts,
he brought in a change in the culture and lifestyle among the people of Agra, which then brought
forth some of the finest craftsmen, artists, statesmen, warriors and nobility, this part of India had
ever witnessed. The golden age of Agra's history
thus began to set in. The next few hundred years
witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of
three great Mughal monarchs, Akbar, Jahangir
and Shahjahan, all of whom lavished on this city,
their love and riches to transform the land into
one of the great centers of art, culture, learning
and commerce. Marble and soft-stone inlay work,
carpet and leather goods are some important
traditional crafts of the city.

Places to See -

Taj Mahal - situated on the banks of the Yamuna


River, this masterpiece in marble built on a sandstone base is a monument to love and beauty.
Shahjahan built it in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Begum. There are tombs of Mumtaz
and Shahjahan within the mausoleum. The construction started in 1631 a year after Mumtaz's
death, it took 22 years in the making and an estimated 20,000 people worked to complete this
enchanting mausoleum.

Agra Fort - is situated by the side of Yamuna River. The great Mughal Emperor Akbar
commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 AD although additions were made till the
time of his grandson Shahjahan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise. There
are a number of exquisite buildings like the Moti Masjid, a white marble mosque akin to a perfect
pearl, Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Musamman
Burj, where Shahjahan died in 1666 AD, and Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). Jahangir's
Palace within the fort complex contains evidence of Bengali and Gujarati architecture.

Tomb of Itmad-ud-daullah - was built by Empress Noor Jahan, the wife of Shahjahan in memory
of her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg during 1622-28 AD. It is a small tomb but made of splendid marble
construction that is considered to be the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. The craftsmanship
foreshadows that of the Taj Mahal. It was here that 'pietra dura' the inlay work on marble, so
characteristic of the Taj was first used.

Chini Ka Rauza - was constructed by Afzal Khan, a high official in the court of Shahjahan.
Decorated by glazed tiles on the façade, the structure clearly depicts the Persian influence in
architecture.

Dayal Bagh - is the headquarters of the Radhaswami sect of Hinduism that founded in 1861. On
the sprawling lawns here, is a beautiful marble temple under construction for almost 100 years
now. It is also known as Swami Bagh.
Ram Bagh - is believed to be India's first Mughal Garden designed by the founder of the Mughal
dynasty Emperor Babar in 1526, It is said that Babar was temporarily buried here before being
permanently interred at Kabul in Afghanistan.

Mariyam's Tomb - is a unique tomb in red sandstone built in 1611 AD in the memory of Emperor
Akbar's Christian wife, Mariyam. The tomb has some exceptional carvings.

Jama Masjid - was constructed in 1648 AD by Shahjahan's daughter, Jahanara Begum in


memory of the famous saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. This building, with a rectangular open forecourt
is a wonderful assimilation of Iranian architecture.

Around Agra -

Sikandra - located 10km from Agra on the Agra-Delhi road, is the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor
Akbar. Construction started by Akbar and was completed by his son Jahangir in 1613 AD. The
tomb is a splendid example of the combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture and represents
Akbar's philosophy and secular outlook.

Fatehpur Sikri - perched atop a rocky ridge 37 km west of Agra, lies this abandoned capital of the
Mughals. It was built by Akbar during 1564 AD and was the first planned city in Indo-Islamic style.
A sonless Akbar visited the village of Sikri to seek the blessings of the Muslim saint Sheikh Salim
Chishti. The saint prophesied the birth of three sons to him and soon thereafter was born Prince
Salim, later to become Emperor Jahangir. In gratitude for the blessing Akbar decided to create
imperial residences in Sikri, which would function as a joint capital with Agra. As a mark of his
faith and his recent victories, he named his new city Fatehpur Sikri. However, the capital was
abandoned after 14 years due to shortage of water.

Akbar was a keen builder and the plan of Fatehpur Sikri reveals an architectural mastermind at
work. The city is built in red sandstone and is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural
elements. Each important edifice here represents a type by itself. Notable among them are the
Buland Darwaza (Great Gateway), Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Panch Mahal (5-
storeyed Palace) and Birbal's Bhawan (the home of one of Akbar's ministers). The homes of
Akbar's wives, the Hindu Jodha Bai's palace, the Christian Mariyam's mansion and the Turkish
Sultana's Mahal Ankh Micholi (Hide and Seek) are some of the other fascinating buildings to be
seen. The beautiful marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti attracts thousands of devotees. Today
it's a perfectly preserved Mughal city built at the height of the empire's splendor.
ALLAHABAD
Allahabad is among the largest and holiest cities in Uttar Pradesh. It stands at the confluence of
two of India's holiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna. Sangam, as the confluence is called, is
the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.
This number swells to millions during the world-famous Kumbha Mela. A third mythical river, the
Saraswati, believed to flow underground towards the Sangam, gives the confluence its other
name 'Triveni'.

Hindu mythology relates that Lord Brahma, the Creator, chose a land on earth on which three
rivers would flow in to a quiet confluence. Brahma also referred to it as Tirath Raj or the 'King of
all pilgrimage centres'. Recorded evidence also exists in the revered scriptures, the Vedas and
Puranas and the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, of this holy place formerly called Prayag.
The earliest Aryan settlements were established here and it was also the capital of Guptas and a
favourite with Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar founded the present city in 1575 AD and named it
'Illahabas', which has now become modern Allahabad. The monarch realized its strategic
importance as a waterway landmark in North India and also built a magnificent fort on the banks
of the holy Sangam. Later it became the provincial capital and an important cantonment during
the British days. It was also on the forefront during the days of India's independence struggle. The
chequered history of Allahabad with its religious, cultural and historical ethos also gave rise to
several renowned scholars, poets, writers, thinkers, statesmen and leaders. Today it is important
religious, historical and cultural centre.

Places to See -

Allahabad Fort -built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1583 AD stands on the banks of the Yamuna
near the confluence site. In its prime, this massive fort was unrivalled for its design, construction
and craftsmanship. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high
towers. There is an 11m high Ashokan Pillar of polished sandstone in the premises dating back to
232 BC. The pillar has several edicts and a Persian inscription of Emperor Jahangir inscribed on
it, commemorating his accession to the throne. Other attractions are the Saraswati Kup, a well,
said to be the source of the legendary Saraswati River and Akbar's Hindu wife Jodha Bai's
Palace. At present the fort is used by the army and only a limited area is open to visitors.

For pilgrims, the most important place inside the fort is the Patalpuri temple, an underground
temple famous for the Akshaya Vat or the immortal Banyan tree. The immortal tree has found
mention in the description of several ancient scriptures, the epic Ramayana, writers and
historians like the famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang. The tree stands in a deep niche above
an underground shaft, which is said to lead to the Triveni.

Sangam - The Triveni Sangam is the meeting point of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the
legendary Saraswati. A colorful Magh Mela is held every year in January/February, which
continues for a month. The area around Sangam is a medley of tents and temporary shelters.
Emperor Harsha is credited with having made it such a colourful affair. Once every twelve years,
the Magh Mela is celebrated as the famous Kumbha Mela, a festival held once every 12 years.
During these festivals millions of pilgrims assemble here to bathe and earn merit. Boats to the
Sangam can be hired at the ghat immediately east of the fort.

Khusro Bagh - is an extensive Mughal garden with the mausoleum of Prince Khusro, Emperor
Jahangir's son. On either side of his mausoleum are the smaller tombs of his mother and sister.
The sad story of Prince Khusro whose tomb stands in the centre is intriguing. He was killed by
Jahangir, his own father as Khusro was too clever and popular and hence, too much of threat to
Jahangir`s throne.

Bhardwaj Ashram - is said to be the hermitage of Sage and teacher Bhardwaj of the epic
Ramayana. This seat of religion and learning continues its notable tradition as Allahabad
University, which is situated on the Ashram site.

Anand Bhawan - formerly the home of the Nehru Family, it is now preserved as a Museum. This
two-storied mansion with a beautiful garden houses memorabilia and personal belongings of
three national leaders Pandit Moti Lal Nehru, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

Museum - Some valuable archaeological specimens are stored. The presents, which were
received on different occasion by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, are
preserved here carefully.

Allahabad Museum - has a good collection of sculptures, especially of the Gupta era.

Muir College - built in 1874, this is an excellent mix of Gothic and Indian architectural elements. It
has an arcade quadrangle, which is dominated, by a 200 feet minaret tower in cream coloured
sandstone from Mirzapur with marble and mosaic floors. The domes of the Indo-Saracenic
structure are clad in Multan glazed tiles.

All Saints Cathedral - also called the Patthar Girjaghar (Stone Church), is a magnificent cathedral,
designed by Sir William Emerson in 1870 and consecrated in 1887. It is one of the finest Anglican
Cathedrals in Asia. The marble altar here is decorated with intricate inlay and mosaic work.

Hanuman Mandir - located near the Sangam, this temple is unique in North India, for its supine
image of Hanuman, the monkey god. Here the idol of Hanuman is seen in a reclining posture.
When the Ganga is in spate, this temple gets submerged.

Mankameshwar Temple - situated near the Saraswati Ghat, on the banks of Yamuna, this is one
of the famous Shiva Temples of Allahabad.
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JHANSI
Although Jhansi has played a colourful role in Indian history, most visitors to the town today, go
there simply because it is a convenient transit point for Khajuraho. It is the gateway to the
Bundelkhand region that was once a stronghold of the Chandela kings but lost its importance
after the eclipse of the dynasty in the 11th century. It rose to prominence again in the 17th
century under Raja Bir Singh Deo, the Maharaja of Orchha who was a close associate of the
Mughal Emperor Jahangir. However, its greatest claim to fame is its fiery queen Rani Laxmi Bai,
who led forces against the British in 1857, sacrificing her life to the cause of Indian independence.
A new dimension has been added to this historic city with the introduction of the Jhansi Festival,
held every year in February/March. It offers a fine opportunity to enjoy the arts, crafts and culture
of the region.

Places to See -

Jhansi Fort - was built in the 17th century by Raja Bir Singh on top of a hill as an army stronghold.
Within the fort are the Karak Bijli tank and also a museum, which has a collection of sculpture and
provides an insight into the history of Bundelkhand.

Rani Mahal - located near the fort, this was the Palace of Rani Laxmi Bai. It has now been
converted into a museum and houses a collection of archaeological remains of the period
between 9th and 12th centuries AD.

Government Museum - has a collection of weapons, statues, dresses and photographs that
represent the Chandela dynasty and a picture gallery of the Gupta period. There are also terra
cottas, bronzes, manuscripts, paintings and coins.

Around Jhansi -

Barua Sagar - located about 24km away on the road to Khajuraho, this is the site where the
Marathas fought the Bundelas in 1744. There is a large lake created about 260 years ago when
Raja Udit Singh of Orchha built the embankment. The fort here is picturesquely located on a
hilltop and commands an excellent view of the lake and surrounding landscape.

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KAPILAVASTU (PIPRAHWA)

Identified today with ancient Kapilavastu, modern Piprahwa was the ancient capital of the Sakya
clan whose ruler was the father of Lord Buddha. Buddha is also referred to as the Sakyamuni.
The Sakya domain was one of the sixteen independent principalities of the 6th century BC. Prince
Gautam, as Lord Buddha was then known, left his palace in Kapilavastu at the age of 29 and
revisited it 12 years later, long after he had attained enlightenment.

Today, Kapilavastu comprises of several villages, chief among them being Piprahwa and
Ganvaria. A large stupa stands at the ancient site, which is said to have housed the relics of Lord
Buddha. The presence of these relics is testified by an ancient Brahmi inscription discovered at
Piprahwa.

Places to See -

Stupa Complex - is the main archaeological site, which was discovered during the excavations in
1973-74. The seals and inscriptions over the lid of the pot discovered refer to Kanishka, a great
patron of Buddhism who built the biggest Vihara at Kapilavastu and renovated the main stupa
here.

Palace Site - excavations carried out here indicated the ruins of the palace of King Shuddhodhan,
the father of Lord Buddha. It is said to be the place where Lord Buddha spent the first 29 years of
his life.

Around Kapilavastu -

Lumbini - located 86km away and situated across the border in Nepal, Lumbini is the birthplace of
Lord Buddha. Buses ply till the border from where the remaining 26km has to be covered by
private vehicle.

KUSHINAGAR

Kushinagar, one of the principal centres of Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place where Lord Buddha
breathed his last and attained Mahaparinirvana. The credit for bringing this ancient site to light
goes to General A. Cunningham and A.C.I. Carlyle, who, after excavating the site in 1861,
established its antiquity for the first time. Later, between 1904-12, several excavations conducted
by the Archaeological Survey of India at Kushinagar confirmed its identity.

The monuments of Kushinagar are situated in three distinct groups comprising the main site of
the Nirvana Temple, the central stupa and surrounding monasteries, the Mathakuar shrine to the
southwest, and the Ramabhar Stupa a kilometer to the east.

Places to See -

Nirvana Stupa - is a huge brickwork stupa, exposed by Carlyle in 1876. It stands at a height of 3
m. A copper vessel was unearthed at this site. It bore an inscription in ancient Brahmi, which
stated that Lord Buddha's remains had been deposited here.

Nirvana Temple - houses the over 6 m long statue of reclining Buddha. The image was unearthed
during the excavations of 1876. Carved from Chunar sandstone, the statue represents the dying
Buddha reclining on his right side. An inscription below dates the statue to 5th century AD.

Mathakuar Shrine - situated near the Nirvana stupa, it contains a black stone image of Buddha in
the bhumi sparsha mudra that was recovered here. It is said that the last sermon by Lord Buddha
was given here.

Ramabhar Stupa -rising to a height of 49ft, marks the site where Lord Buddha was cremated. In
ancient Buddhist texts this stupa has been referred to as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar.
LUCKNOW
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, extends along the
banks of River Gomti. As per legend this territory was
presented by Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana to his
brother Lakshman after they returned from their exile. It was
then named Lakshmanvati and over the centuries became
Lucknow. The Nawabs of Avadh gave the city its present
shape and the creator of present Lucknow was Nawab Asaf-
ud-daula. Under them the city became known as a centre for
Urdu poetry and courtly diction and reached its acme during
the reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah who was a connoisseur of
music and poetry. It was during his reign that the British
appropriated Avadh.

For all its modernity, Lucknow remains true to its cultural past, impeccable manners, a courtly
diction, and a love for the arts and all beautiful things. It has a considerable involvement with
Urdu poetry and Hindustani Music, which is to be found every where. The city is dotted with
remnants of its rich historic past in the form of mosques, palaces, mansions and mausoleums.
Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and 'Chikankaari', the exquisite shadow-work
embroidery on fine muslin cloth. Though the city is no longer gay and lavish as it was in the past
but it is still a serene city of gardens, great beauty and Old World courtliness.

Places to See -

Bara Imambara - also known as Asafi Imambara was built in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula, the
founder of present Lucknow and is one of the architectural highlights of the era. The central hall,
55 m high is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world with no pillars of support. Except
for the galleries in the interior, there is no woodwork used in the structure. A staircase from
outside leads to a series of labyrinths which visitors are advised to visit only with authorized
guides. Within the compound of the Imambara is a grand Asafi mosque. The tombs of Asaf-ud-
daula and his wife are in the vast prayer hall where the festival of Muharram is observed every
year.

Rumi Darwaza - is a colossal, ornate gateway said to be a facsimile of one of the gates of
Constantinople. It was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula to create employment during the terrible
famine of 1784.

Chota Imambara - or Hussainabad was built by Mohammed Ali Shah between 1837 and 1842 as
a burial place for himself. It is approached through a fine garden. The Imambara has a white
dome and numerous turrets and minarets. The walls of the mausoleum are decorated with verses
in Arabic. Chandeliers, gilded mirrors, colourful stucco, the King's throne and ornate tazia or
replicas of the tombs at Karbala adorn the interior.

Shah Najaf Imambara - this white-domed structure derives its name from the town of Najaf, about
200 km south of Baghdad where the saint Hazrat Ali is buried. It is situated on the Right Bank of
Gomti River. In this mausoleum are buried Nawab Ghazi-ud-din Haider and his wives, including
Mubarak Mahal, his European wife. The entrance leads to a beautiful garden. The silver tomb of
Ghazi-ud-din Haider lies in the centre of the building and is flanked by the more imposing silver
and gold tomb of Mubarak Mahal on one side, and another tomb on the other.

Residency - built for the British Ambassadors to the court of Avadh in 1780-1800, it was originally
a very extensive and beautiful building. The main house overlooks the river and is surrounded by
terraced lawns and gardens. It was a scene of dramatic events during the Mutiny of 1857. The
scarred ruins tell the story of the British community besieged by the rebels. Beautiful gardens
have grown around its walls that soften the wounds of war.

Clock Tower - is an imposing landmark of Lucknow. It is over 240 m in height on a base of 22 m


square.

Kaiser Bagh Palace - this complex was built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in 1848-50. The yellow
buildings on three sides of the Durbar Hall were the quarters of the ladies of the harem. In the
centre stands the Baradari, a picturesque white stone edifice, which was earlier paved with silver.
The Tombs of Nawab Ali Khan and his wife are nearby.

Jama Masjid - is the royal mosque, crowned by three domes and flanked by two tall minarets. It is
a striking building.

National Botanical Research institute - located at Sikandarbagh, where pitched battles took place
during the Mutiny of 1857, the institute garden is open to the public

State Museum / Zoo - is a favorite spot for recreation. The Museum houses a large collection of
artifacts and memorabilia and is located in the Banarasi Bagh, within the zoo premises.

Picture Gallery - is housed in the Durbar hall built by Muhammad Ali Shah, located near the Bara
Imambara. It has a collection of portraits of the Nawabs. The full-length portrait of the Nawabs
may be seen in the second floor gallery.

Shahid Smarak - is a memorial built in the memory of the martyrs who laid their lives in the Mutiny
of 1857, India's first struggle for independence.

Around Lucknow -

Deva Sharif - located 25km away is the tomb of Syed Haji Waris Ali Shah, known as Deva Sharif,
is revered by both Hindus and Muslims. Devotees throng the shrine in October/November when
the annual Urs of the saint is held.

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MATHURA
Mathura is an important place of pilgrimage. The city
stretches along the Right Bank of the Yamuna and the
continuous line of ghats (riverbanks) along the river
makes a splendid spectacle when viewed from the
opposite bank. These picturesque ghats are of great
architectural, cultural and ritual interest, for devotees from far and wide. With their steps leading
to the water's edge, arched gateways and temple spires they emphasize the sacred character of
the town. It's history dates back to 600 BC and archaeological remains have testified its
significance during the Mauryan era when it received great stimulus under Emperor Ashoka.
Later, under the Kushans it became a centre of trade and learning and was practically their
southern capital during the first two centuries AD. The earliest sculptural art of India, which is
Buddhist in character, emerged in this region. However, the Buddhist culture disappeared
completely by 1017 as many monuments were destroyed by Muslim invaders. Today, Mathura is
a city of temples and shrines bustling with the thousands of devotees who come to visit the city of
Lord Krishna.

Mathura is also the nucleus of Braj Bhoomi, the land where Lord Krishna was born and spent his
childhood and youth before establishing his kingdom at Dwarka in Gujarat. Covering an area of
about 3800 sq. km, the region today has little towns and hamlets that still reverberate with the
enchantment of Lord Krishna and still redolent with the music of his flute. The region can be
divided into two distinct units, the eastern part in the trans-Yamuna tract with places like Gokul,
Mahaban and Baldeo and the western side of the Yamuna covering the Mathura region that
encompasses Brindavan, Goverdhan, Barsana and Nandgaon.

Places to See -

Government Museum - originally founded by F. S. Growse in 1874, is today one of the leading
centres for research, study and the preservation of Mathura's splendid heritage of art. The
museum housed in an octagonal, red sandstone building, has the largest collection of Kushan
sculptures in the country. Other attractions are terra cottas, gold, silver and copper coins, clay
seals, ancient pottery, paintings and bronzes.

Dwarkadeesh Temple - situated in the heart of the city, is the most popular shrine of Mathura. It
was built in 1814 by a staunch and wealthy Krishna devotee Seth Gokul Das, the Treasurer of
Gwalior.

Jama Masjid - this mosque with its four lofty minarets and bright mosaic was built in 1661 by
Nabir Khan, a local Governor during the reign of Mughal Emperor. It stands on the site of the
ancient Kesava Dev temple. The temple was built on the site of the prison where Lord Krishna
was born. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolished the temple in 1669. A modern Kesava Dev
temple has been built at some distance from the mosque.

Kans Qila - lying on the northern bank of the River Yamuna are the ruins of this ancient fort. It
was built by Raja Man Singh, a trusted Rajput General of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It believed that
Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur (1699-1743) had built one of his famous Observatories here but
there no trace of the monument.

Vishram Ghat - is one of the best known ghats in Mathura and true to its name, Vishram mean
rest. It is believed that Lord Krishna had rested on this river after killing his uncle Kansa, the
tyrant king of Mathura. The Ghat is lined with elegant temples and some of Mathura's most
important shrines like the Mukut Temple, Radha-Damodar, Murli Manohar, Neelkantheshwar,
Yamuna-Krishna, Langali Hanuman and Narasimha temples. The Aarti that is held at the Ghat
each evening is a delightful sight as little oil lamps are floated on the river.

Gita Mandir - on the outskirts of Mathura en route to Brindavan, this modern temple is
embellished with fine paintings and carvings. The entire Bhagwad Gita, a section of the epic
Ramayana, is inscribed on a pillar called the Bhagwad or Gita Stambh.
Kunds - no pilgrimage to Mathura is complete without a visit to its kunds (tanks). Tradition has it
that there were 159 ancient kunds in all. Of these only four survive. There is the elegant Shiv Tal,
the more famous Potara Kund associated closely with Lord Krishna besides the Balbhadra and
Saraswati kunds.

Around Mathura -

Mahaban - located about 11km from Mathura is one of the places where Lord Krishna spent his
years of childhood under the care of his foster father Nanda. Lying on the left bank of the River
Yamuna, is the large shrine of Mathuranath, famous for its Chaurasi Khambha (84 pillars). The
palace of Rohini, the mother of Baldeo (Balram) is now the Chhathi Palana Temple. Other
important shrines include, the Shymlalji Temple, the Yogmaya Temple, Tranairatri Temple and
the Mahamall Rai's palace.

Gokul - located 15km southeast of Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna River, this is the
celebrated hideout where Lord Krishna was secretly brought up by his foster mother Yashodha,
away from the eyes of His maternal uncle, Kansa. Gokul attained importance during the time of
Swami Vallabhacharya (1479-1531) when it became a major centre of the Bhakti cult. The three
oldest temples in the place are those dedicated to Gokulnath, Madan Mohan and Vitthalnath, said
to have been built around 1511. The other temples include those of Dwarika Nath and Balkrishna,
built in the honour of Lord Mahadev in 1602 by Raja Vijai Singh of Jodhpur. The celebration of
Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's birthday in August is unparalleled for its gaiety and melas (fairs).

Brindavan - no visit to Mathura is complete without visiting Brindavan, located 10km from
Mathura. It is a village, once noted for its fragrant groves, where Krishna spent an eventful youth.
The name Brindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna as this
was the wood where he frolicked with the gopis (village belles). Brindavan today, is noted for it's
numerous temples and bathing ghats. Some of the notable temples are:

Banke Bihari Temple - built in 1864 is the most popular shrine. The image of Banke Bihari was
discovered in Nidhi Van by Swami Haridas, a great Krishna devotee, belonging to the Nimbarka
sect.

Madan Mohan Temple - located near the Kali Ghat was built by Kapur Ram Das of Multan. This is
the oldest existent temple in Brindavan today. The temple is closely associated with saint
Chaitanya. The original idol of Lord Madan Gopal was shifted from the shrine to Karauli in
Rajasthan to save it from the destructive wrath of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Today, a replica
of the image is worshipped at this temple.

The Jaipur Temple - was built by Sawai Madhav Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1917. It is a
richly embellished and opulent temple. The fine hand-carved sandstone is of unparalleled
workmanship. The temple is dedicated to Shri Radha Madhav (another name of Krishna).

Shahji Temple - was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller, Shah Kundan Lal of
Lucknow. The deities at the temple are popularly known as the Chhote Radha Raman. Noted for
its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculpture, the temple has twelve spiral columns
each 15ft high. The 'Basanti Kamra', the durbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and
fine paintings

Govind Deo Temple - was once a magnificent seven storeyed structure built in the form of a
Greek cross. It is said that the Emperor Akbar donated some of the red sandstone that had been
brought for the Red Fort at Agra, for the construction of this temple. Built at the astronomical cost
of one Crore rupees in 1590 by his general Man Singh, the temple combines western, Hindu and
Muslim architectural elements in its structure.
Shri Krishna-Balram Temple - built by the International Society for Shri Krishna Consciousness
(ISKCON), is one the most beautiful temples in Brindavan today. Adjoining the temple is the
samadhi of Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON sect.

Baldeo - is 20km southeast of Mathura. It derives its name from the famous temple dedicated to
Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. The temple was built by Shyam Das of Delhi 200 years
ago. The main image in the sanctum is that the Baldeo or Balram and his consort Revati. Near by
is the brick lined tank, the Khir Sagar or Balbhadra Kund, from where the original image housed
in the temple was found.

Goverdhan - situated 26km west of Mathura on the state highway to Deeg is a famous place of
Hindu pilgrimage. It is located on a narrow sandstone hill known as Giriraj, which is about 8km in
length. The young Lord Krishna is said to have raised the mighty mountain Giriraj on His little
finger to shield the people of Braj from the wrath of Indra, the rain god. There is a large masonry
tank known as the Mansi Ganga, which is said to have been brought into existence by the
operation of the divine will. Its enclosures were built by Raja Bhagwan Das of Amer in 1637 and
embellished by Raja Man Singh, who built a long flight of steps leading up, from the end of the
tank. Close by is the famous red sandstone temple of Haridev and the Kusum Sarovar with
exquisitely carved chhatris (cenotaphs) of the members of the royal family of Bharatpur, who
perished whilst fighting against the British in 1825. Noteworthy is the beautiful chhatri of Raja
Surajmal, which has fine frescoes illuminating his life and vividly depicting durbar (court) and
hunting scenes, royal processions and wars.

Radha Kund - located 5km north of Goverdhan is a large lake, where Lord Krishna is said to have
killed Arista, the bull demon. To commemorate this event, every year on the 8th day of the dark
half of the month of Kartik (October/November) a large fair is held here.

Barsana - located about 50km to the northwest of Mathura is a village situated at the foot of a hill
that is named after Brahma. It was the home of Krishna's beloved, Radha Rani. Temples
dedicated to the divine couple ornament the four elevations of the hill. The main among them is
the Radha Rani Temple, more fondly referred to as the Ladliji Temple. It is the most beautiful
temple at Barsana and was built by Raja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha in 1675. Adjoining it is a
modern marble temple. The other three shrines are the Man Mandir, Dargah and Mor Kutir
temples. The area between the hill housing the Radha Rani Temple and the adjoining one is
known as the Sankari Khor and is the venue of an annual fair held in the month of Bhadon
(July/August). Barsana is also famous for its 'Lathmar' Holi celebration of the festival of colour
that is unique to this town.

Nandgaon - lying about 9km north of Barsana on the road to Mathura, this was the home of Lord
Krishna's foster father, Nand. On the top of the hill is the spacious temple of Nand Rai, built by
the Jat ruler Roop Singh. The other temples here are dedicated to various manifestations of
Krishna like Narsingha, Gopinath, Nritya Gopal, Girdhari, Nand Nandan and Yashoda Nandan. A
little beyond is the Pan Sarovar, a large lake with masonry ghats along its sides. Legend has it
that this was the place where Krishna used to take his cows for water.

Top

SRAVASTI
Sravasti is one of the eight most important pilgrimages of Buddhists. While Lord Buddha walked
from Kapilavastu to Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, renounced the world and attained
Mahaparinirvana, he left behind a trail of footsteps which are revered till today. Sravasti is one
such place. According to legend, it is here where Buddha confounded his critics by making them
witness to a miraculous million-fold self-manifestation seated on a thousand-petalled lotus, as fire
and water emanated from his body. The prophet of
peace is also said to have spent 25 rainy seasons
here, teaching people the essence of his gentle
creed.

The religious character of Sravasti derives also from


the fact that Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism,
visited the town frequently. Apart from this, the city
also finds mention in the epics Ramayana and
Mahabharata as a prosperous city of the Kosala
Kingdom. The mythological king Sravasta, is said to
have founded it. Essentially a temple town, Sravasti
will take one back in time, bring somewhat closer to
the soul of a civilization which has been there, for five
thousand years, or more.

Excavations at Sravasti have also revealed two pillars raised here by the Mauryan Emperor
Ashoka, who was largely responsible for spreading the word of Buddhism. The pillars, which lie at
the eastern gate of Jetavana, mark Ashoka's pilgrimage to the city.

Places to See -

Maheth - is an area of about 400 acres and has been identified with the remains of the city
proper. Excavations have exposed the massive gates of the city, ramparts and also the ruins of
other structures, which testify to the prosperity of ancient Sravasti. Pakki Kuti and Kacchi Kuti
were probably Buddhist shrines before they were converted into Brahmanical temples.

Sobhanath Temple - located in Maheth, is believed to be the birthplace of the Jain tirthankar
(apostle) Sambhavnath and is revered by Jain pilgrims.

Saheth - is an area of 32 acres that lies about a quarter of a mile to the southwest of Maheth.
This was the site of the Jetavana monastery. It became an important place of pilgrimage, adorned
with numerous shrines, stupas and monasteries. The stupas belong mostly to the Kushan period,
while the temples are in the Gupta style. The remains date from the Mauryan era (3rd century
BC) to the 12th century AD. One of the earliest stupas probably dating to the 3rd century BC
contained relics of the Buddha. A colossal statue of the Buddha was also found here which is
now preserved in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. The Emperor Ashoka visited Jetavana and the
Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang mentions two Ashokan pillars here.

Top

VARANASI
Varanasi, the City of Lord Shiva, is situated on the bank of the sacred Ganges River and is one of
the holiest cities of India. Hindu pilgrims come to bathe in the waters of the Ganges, a ritual that
washes away all sins. The city also known as Banares is a magical city where the most intimate
rituals of life and death take place in public on the city's famous ghats (riverbanks). It is this
accessibility to the practices of ancient religious tradition that captivates many visitors. In the past
the city has been known as Kashi and Banares, but its present name is a restoration of an
ancient name meaning the city between two rivers, the Varuna and Assi. It has been a centre of
learning and civilization for over 2000 years and claims to be one of the oldest living cities in the
world. The old city, situated on the western bank of the Ganges in a labyrinth of alleyways, does
have an antique feel but few buildings are more than a couple of hundred years old due to the
marauding Muslim invaders and the destructive tendencies of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Lord Buddha further enhanced its eminence by preaching his first sermon after attaining the
enlightenment at Sarnath located 10km away from Varanasi. The early history of the city as
gleaned from Buddhist literatures speak of a constant struggle between the dynasties of the
Kosalas and Mallas for its possession. In later times it suffered defacement as Muslim invaders
destroyed many of its temples.

The Ganges at Varanasi - The grandeur of the sacred Ganges River here cannot be expressed in
words. It is said that bathing here removes all ills and sins. A boat ride early in the morning on the
holy river is an unforgettable experience. A chance to see the Burning Ghats were cremations are
conducted and the Bathing Ghats were devotees take a dip in the holy water and offer prayers.

Ghats - for a distance of nearly 5km the stone steps of 70 ghats and more lead from a steep bank
down to the holy Ganga river. Thousands of pilgrims flock here daily to take a dip in the sacred
waters and to worship the sun. Near Manikarnika, the chief burning ghat of Varanasi is the
Charanpaduka pedestal where Lord Vishnu's footprints are preserved in marble. The other
important ghats are Asi Ghat, Lala Misi ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Dandi Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, Ahalya Bai
Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Mir Ghat and many more.

Places to See -

Vishwanath Temple - dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is manifested here as Vishveswara (Lord of
the Universe). Rani Ahalya Bai Holkar of Indore erected this temple in 1776. It is located in the
heart of the city and surrounded by shops where business seems to go round the clock. This is
the most sacred of all shrines in Varanasi. It was built next to the site of the old temple that was
destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who built the Gyanvapi Mosque on its ruins. Between
the temple and the mosque is the famous Gyan Kut or the 'Well of Knowledge'. There are many
smaller temples around notable among them are the Ganesh Temple, Annapurna temple and the
Shanischar Temple.

Bharat Mata Temple - is dedicated to Mother India and not any member of the Hindu pantheon. It
was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. It has a splendid relief map of India carved in
marble.

Durga Temple - was built in the Nagara style of North Indian architecture. This temple is unique
for the special construction of its spire. Monkeys abound in and around the temple giving it the
popular name as Monkey Temple.

Tulsi Manas Temple - is dedicated to Lord Rama and is situated at the place where the great
medieval seer, Tulsi Das lived and composed the epic 'Ramcharitmanas' expounding the history
of Lord Rama.

Banares Hindu University - located 11km away, it is one of the largest residential universities in
Asia. The campus is spread in about 2000 acres and departments of Sanskrit, Indian Art, Culture
and Music. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya founded this University for the revival of ancient
Hinduism free from the prejudices of caste, creed and colour. This institution has grown into one
of the great Universities of India. Bharat Kala Bhawan, the Art Gallery has a good collection of
paintings and other objects of art.
Around Varanasi -

Sarnath - located about 10km from Varanasi, it is


one of the important Buddhist centres. It is the site
where Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon or in religious language, set in motion the
Wheel of Law (Maha-Dharmachakra-Pravartan) enshrining the principles of his teaching into
laws. 200 years later, in 3rd century BC, the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who spread the Buddha's
message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, built massive stupas, viharas and
monasteries making it the centre of the Buddhist world. Several Buddhist structures were raised
at Sarnath between 3rd century BC and 11th century AD and today it presents the most
expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.

There are two ancient stupas for ceremonial public worship and their present names are
Dhamekh and Dharmarajika. Dharmarajika was dismantled in 18th century by Jagat Singh of
Varanasi. Ashoka erected several monuments here. Chaukhandi Stupa comes first. Akbar
repaired the same in order to commemorate his father's visit to Sarnath.

Places to See -

Chaukhandi Stupa - is the first monument one encounters as one enters Sarnath. Originally built
by Emperor Ashoka, it is a lofty mound of brickwork whose square edifice is surrounded by an
octagonal tower.

Dhamek Stupa - is the most remarkable structure at Sarnath. It is a cylindrical stupa, 28m in
diameter at the base and 44m in height, built party of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing
the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.

Mulagandha Kuti Vihar - is a modern temple erected by the Mahabodhi Society. It has excellent
frescoes made by Kosetsu Nosu, Japan's foremost painter and is a rich repository of Buddhist
literature. The ancient Mulagandha Kuti temple is among the brick ruins of Sarnath.

Sarnath Museum - has a rich collection of Buddhist sculptures and numerous Buddha and
Bodhisattva images that are considered amongst the finest specimens of Buddhist art. It also has
the magnificent Lion capital, India's National Emblem
ABOUT UTTAR PRADESH

Uttar Pradesh is the fifth largest state of India and has Lucknow as its capital. Uttar
Pradesh is bounded by Nepal on the North, Himachal Pradesh on the northwest,
Madhya Pradesh on the south, Haryana on the west, Rajasthan on the southwest, and
Bihar on the east.

Uttar Pradesh is a land of culture and has many monuments, rich wildlife reserves and
picturesque mountains and lakes. It attracts a large number of tourists from all parts of the
world.

The famous Taj Mahal of Agra is also located in this state. It has many state of the art
hotels to cater to the lodging needs of visitors, both national and international. Other
important cities in this state are Allahabad, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Fatehpur Sikri,
Gangotri, Garhwal, Harsil, Haridwar, Hemkund Sahib, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Kalinjar,
Kanpur, Kapilvastu, Kausani, Kedarnath, Lucknow and Mathura . The state also
hosts the world famous ‘ Kumbh Mela' .

The state has many wild life reserves. Some of these reserves are Chila Wildlife
Sanctuary, Rajaji National Park and Corbett National Park. The fauna species of
Uttar Pradesh include tigers, elephants, spotted deer, stag deer, blue bull, wild boar,
fox, porcupine, jungle fowls and peacocks.

The pilgrim centers of Uttar Pradesh consist of Haridwar, Chandi Devi Temple,
Bharat Mata Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Satya Narayan
Temple, Rishikesh, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Whereas important hill stations of the
state are Nainital, Garhwal and Mussoorie.
Exclusive Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal Maha Kumbh Mela


Taj Mahotsav Holi Festival
Fatehpur Sikri Budhist Circuit
Varanasi Ghats

Places To See

Agra Jhansi
Varanasi Gorakhpur
Lucknow Meerut
Kanpur Gokul
Allahabad Mathura
Chitrakoot Ayodhya
Vrindavan Bithoor
Location of Uttar Pradesh

Location: Northern part of India. It is a border of Nepal and Tibet in China -Northeast,
surrounded by states of Himachal Pradesh -Northwest, Haryana, and Rajasthan and Delhi
(the union territory) -West, the state of Madhya Pradesh -South, and the state of Bihar
-Southeast. Also, Uttar Pradesh can be divided into three regions by different
geographical conditions: Himalayan region - North, the Gangetic plains - Middle, and the
Vindhyan hills and plateau - South.

History: The history of Uttar Pradesh is very old and fascinating and it had a great impact
on Indian culture and civilization. Uttar Pradesh was known as Brahma Fishi Deshi
(meaning the land of sages and saints) in the later Vedic Age because of the identity as a
dwelling of spirituality. Great epics Rama and Krishna (Ramayana and the Mahavharata)
have been inspired by UP. Buddhism and Jainism appeared during sixth century B.C. in
UP. Great Buddha gave his first sermon at Saranath, and he set foundations of his order
in UP. It is said that Mahavira, who founded Jainism, died at Doora in UP. In third
century B.C., the entire area of UP was in the empires of the Great Mauryan Monarchs.
The rich culture of UP brought new proportions to the Middle Age Indian history.

During Mughal Period, there were peaks of perfection and honor that effective
administration, brotherhood, art, architecture, music, and culture reached. UP was under
Muslim rule and directed to the way to a new integration of Hindu and Islamic cultures in
the medieval period. After Great Mughal Period, UP remained its intellectual leadership
under the British administration. The British united Agra and Oudh into a province
named the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. In 1935, the name was shortened to
United Provinces. After India became independent in 1950 January, the United Province
changed its name to Uttar Pradesh. In 1996 August 15, Prime Minister Deve Gowda
named the Garwal region Uttarkhand as a new state although it is yet to be formed.

Language: Hindi and Urdu

Religion: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Islam


Best known features: Majestic Taj Mahal, monument of eternal love built by Shahjahan
in Agra (the capital of Mughal), is the most well-known landmark in UP. There are two
ethnographic groups who live there (Mongoloid peoples in the far north near the Tibet
boundary and Aryan-Dravidian in the plains and the hill and plateau region of the central
and southern region). Hindus consist of more than 80 percent of the entire population and
Muslims, more than 15 percent.

Uttar Pradesh has a biggest population of nearly 167 million. The western plain is the
most urban region. Agriculture is the most important section of the UP’s economy,
employing about three-fourths of the work force. UP has the largest production of food
grain and oil seeds in India. In addition, UP ranks the first in the production of wheat,
maize, barley, gram, sugar cane, and potatoes. The three most important industries of UP
are sugar, cotton fabrics and diversified food preparations. Goods carrier equipment,
photostat machines, chemicals, polyester fiber and steel tube galvanized sheets are the
other big industries of UP.

The Kathak dance style, the most popular classical dance form in India, nourished in UP.
Today, foreign countries have also learned this elegant dance form to perfection: the
beautiful Veronique Azan as an example. The countryside songs and dances are
significant traits of local culture. Uttar Pradesh famous for handicrafts such as, carpet
weaving, hand printing, chikan (a type of embroidery), metal enameling, brocade and
brass, and ebony work. Also, UP has the biggest Brass and Copperware manufacture area
in India.
HISTORY
Uttar Pradesh is one of the ancient cradles of Indian culture. It is the rainbow
land where the multi-hued Indian culture has blossomed from times immemorial.
Blessed with a variety of geographical and cultural diversities, Uttar Pradesh has been
the area of activity for historical and modern heroes alike.

Blessed by Ganges and Yamuna, the two revered rivers of Indian


mythology, Uttar Pradesh is bound by Bihar in the east, Madhya
Pradesh in the south, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and
Haryana in the west and Nepal together with Uttaranchal,
bifurcated from UP in 2000, in the north. It is the fourth largest
State in India.

Map of Uttar Pradesh

Area 236,286 sq.km

Population 166,052,859 (2001 census)

Languages Hindi, Urdu, English

Tropical
Summer - March to June (Max. Temp. 45oC +)
Climate
Winter - Nov. to Feb (Min. Temp. 5oC)
Monsoon - June to Oct

Best Time to Visit October - March

Capital City Lucknow

Airport Agra, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi

Agra, Allahabad, Aligarh, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow,


Major Towns
Moradabad, Meerut, Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh has a very ancient and colourful history. Being part of the rich fertile
plain between Delhi and Patna, its history is closely linked to the history of North
India.

It is only from the Rig Vedic age that some clear historical account is found. The
Aryan colonization from Punjab gradually extended to the east. Expansion of territory
saw the creation of new States (Janpadas) and emergence of new people and the
centre of culture was shifted to the plains between Saraswati and Ganga ruled by the
kingdoms of Kuru, Panchal, Kashi and Kosal. The entire region extending up to
Prayag in the east that bore the name of Madhya Desh is the Modern Uttar Pradesh.

Subsequent history got mingled with the Puranas and Hindu scriptures, without
much historical records until sixth century BC. In the 6th Century BC, 16
Mahajanpadas engaged in serious skirmishes for supremacy. Out of the above 16
States, eight were in present Uttar Pradesh. Magadha annexed all these
Mahajanpadas one by one and became powerful in the entire region. Haryank,
Shishunag and Nand dynasties ruled Magadha in succession. The Nandas ruled from
343 BC to 321 BC The Nand Empire extended almost to the whole of India.

In 326 B.C Alexander invaded India. The dissatisfaction against foreign rulers started
appearing in 320 BC. The early uprisings were crushed by the successors of
Alexander. After raising an army and persuading Indians to support his sovereignty,
Chandragupta founded Maurya Empire. As a result the Nand rulers had to give reins
of power to Chandragupta. The whole of North India enjoyed peace and prosperity
during the reigns of Chandragupta, his son Bindusara and grandson Ashoka. The
Mauryan Empire started to break up after the death of Ashoka in 232 BC.
In 182 BC the invading Greeks occupied Kathiwad, Sagal, Mathura and lay a siege on
Saket (Ayodhya) but were defeated by Pushyamitra and his grandson Vasumitra.
Mathura remained a prominent city in Meander's empire that reigned until 145 BC.

During this period Magadha had seen a number of dynasties like Shung dynasty,
Kanva dynasty and Satavahanas rise and fall. It was at this time invaders like Sakas,
Parthians and Kushanas were drawn towards India. By 60 BC they had set up their
Kashatraps in Mathura. The Kushanas mounted an attack on north India around 40
AD. and gradually occupied the whole of north India.

Kanishk was the greatest Kushan ruler of Kushan dynasty that


was established by Kujul Kadphises I. His capital was
Purushpur of Peshawar and other capital was in Mathura.
Uttar Pradesh was part of the Kushan Empire. By third
century AD, the Kushan rule in Madhya Desh had collapsed
and a number of smaller states emerged, the most powerful being the Nagas.

During the reign of Guptas from 4th century AD, political unity was restored in India
and for two centuries Madhya Desh shared general peace and prosperity with other
regions. After the decline of the Gupta Empire in 6th century AD, the power was once
again decentralised and north India was once again thrown into turmoil. From the
first quarter of 8th century till beginning of the 13th century, the history is a bit
unclear that has seen anarchy, turmoil and skirmishes.

The founding of the slave dynasty in 1206 AD and the sultanates those succeeded
gradually extended their frontiers and the present Uttar Pradesh was part of their
empires. When Mohammed Tughlaq died in 1412, the Sayeds and Lodies followed.
Sikander Lodi made Agra his second capital.

Defeating Ebrahim Lodi, Babur founded the Mughal Empire. Akbar ascended the
throne in 1556 AD ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity with liberalism and
integration of Hindu and Muslim cultures that continued during the periods of
Jahangir and Shahjahan. Agra continued to be the capital of the Mughal Empire till
Shahjahan shifted the capital to Delhi. Within a few decades of Aurangaseb's death,
Mughal Empire started to disintegrate.
In Avadh the local governor, Saadat Ali Khan decalred independence in 1732 AD and
his successors continued to rule up to 1850 AD. Almost simultaneously the Rohillas
also established an independent State in Rohilkhand and continued to rule up to
1774 AD, when the then Nawab of Avadh defeated them with the help of East India
Company. The Marathas tried for sometime to establish themselves in the Ganga-
Yamuna region, but their defeat at Panipat in 1761 AD put an end to their
expansionist ambitions.

The third Nawab of Avadh, Shuja-ud-daula (1754-1775 AD) had entered into an
alliance with Mir Qasim, the fugitive Nawab of Bengal, against the Company, In
1784. Mir Qasim was defeated. The British pursued a policy to usurp large territories
by coercing and cajoling the Indian rulers and were named as Conquered and Ceded
Provinces.

In 1816 AD, the districts of present Kumaon, Garhwal and Dehra Dun were taken
from the Gurkha invaders under the Treaty of Sanguli and annexed to British
territories forming the North-Western Provinces in 1836 AD. Pursuing a policy of
annexing States, Lord Dalhousie ultimately annexed Avadh in 1856 AD. At the same
time Jhansi was also annexed.

In 1877 AD, this large territory was called North Western Provinces of Agra and
Avadh. The name was again changed in 1902 AD to United Provinces of Agra and
Avadh. In 1937 AD it was renamed as United Provinces. After independence, in
January 12, 1950, it got its present name of Uttar Pradesh. When India became a
republic on January 26, 1950, Uttar Pradesh became a state of the Republic of India.
The borders of Uttar Pradesh was modified in 2000 AD after bifurcating Uttarkhand
from UP to form Uttaranchal, a new state in the Republic of India.
Festivals in Uttar Pradesh

Holi

Holi heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over
India. According to a legend, Hiranya Kashyap, the demon who ruled over 'Sapta Deep'
believed himself to be more powerful than God. He contemplated killing his youngest
son Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu after he refused to worship him as God.

Holika, the demon's sister who possessed a divine, garment to protect her from fire,
agreed to enter the burning pyre with Prahlad in her lap but got burnt herself.

Holi thus signifies the triumph of good over evil and is marked by grand festivities all
over India and particularly in the Braj area where it is celebrated with great gaiety and
fervour.

It is believed that Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in human form played
holi with the Gopi's (cowherd maids) in the ancient past. Keeping this tradition alive in
Braj, Holi celebrations last for more than a week and are marked by people sprinkling
colored water & smearing colored powder on each other.

The playful teasing of the Gopis by the Gopas (cowherd boys) is enacted by groups of
men and women through special Holi songs and dances, called Rasiya.

Barsana Holi

48 km. from Mathura at Barsana, is celebrated the famous "Latthmaar Holi" of Braj.
Tradition has it that Krishna from Nandgaon use to come to Barsana to play Holi with
Radha alongwith his Gopi friends. The Gopis after merriment chased away the Gopas of
Nandgaon by beating them with "lathis". So it came to be known as the 'Latthmar Holi' of
Barsana.

To this day, the village women have the freedom to literally take up cudgels against their
menfolk, a right they exercise with all enthusiasm and shower colored water as an
expression of joy.

The main celebrations at Barsana, take place at the Ladliji temple, dedicated to Sri Radha
Rani, (the beloved of Sri Krishna).

Nandgaon

The day after Barsana Holi, it's the turn of Nandgaon to get soaked with the myriad hues
of holi. The men and women of Barsana go to Nandgaon (7 km.) to play Latthmar Holi
with each other.

Dadjee Ka Huranga (Baldeo)

20 km. from Mathura, the town is named after Balram the elder brother of Sri Krishna. A
temple dedicated to Baldeo stands in the centre of the town.

The Holi festival celebrated here is famous as Daujee Ka Huranga. Men & women collect
here in large numbers to play holi.

Falen

Falen, a village 15 km. from Kosi, celebrates Holi in a very special way and has great
significance. A "Panda" (Holyman) walks bare feet over holy pyres without getting burnt,
symbolising Prahlad's emergence from the burning pyre unharmed.

Kampil Fair, Kampil


Kampilya called Kampil today, is a village in tehsil Kasganj of Etah district, situated on
the banks of the Ganga. During the epic period it was the capital of King Drupad, the
father of the Queen Draupadi, wife of the five Pandava's of Mahabharat. It was the birth
place of the 13th tirthaiikar Brahlan Vimal Nath and was graced by the visit of Lord
Mahavir. The neighboring ruins and mounds contain the relics and sculptures of Jain
period. Every year a Jain Mela is held for five days in the month of March thronged by
Jain devouts.

Bateshwar Fair, Agra

Situated at a distance of 70 km. from Agra on the banks of river Yamuna, Bateshwar is
an important spiritual and cultural centre.

The place is named after the presiding deity of the region, Bateshwar Mahadeo and has
108 temples dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. During the
months of Oct. & Nov. a large fair is organized from Shashthi of Kartik month to
Panchami of Agrahayan month. Devotees congregate here in large numbers to worship
Lord Shiva and take holy dips in river Yamuna. A livestock fair is also organized and
owners and buyers conduct serious business combined with the gaiety of a market place.

Deva Mela, Barabanki

The annual urs of Haji Waris Ali Shah is celebrated during Oct.-Nov. months at Deva 10
km. from Barabanki. This fair attracts pilgrims from as far as Pakistan and the middle
east countries. The shrine of the Sufi Saint is much revered by Muslim pilgrims all over
the world.

Kailash Fair, Agra

Held at Kailash. 12 km. from Agra during the months of Aug.-Sept. It is a major fair
celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva who is believed to have appeared here in the form of a
stone lingam.

Rambarat, Agra

The marriage procession of Sri Ram, is held every year during Ramlila celebrations at
Agra.

Every year a new locale of the town is chosen as Janakpuri, which is elaborately
decorated to perform the royal wedding. The Rambarat (marriage procession) starts from
Lala Channomaiji Id Baradari for Janakpuri passing through different parts of the town.
The barat is a large procession of Jhankis followed by the swaroops of Ram-Lakshman
mounted on elephants.