|*Map of Uttar Pradesh with major roads, railways, rivers, national highways, etc.|
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Uttar Pradesh, literally translated as "Northern Province" in English, is a state situated in Northern India. Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh and Kanpur is its economic and industrial capital.
The state is surrounded by the country of Nepal and Uttarakhand on its north, Delhi and Haryana on its northwest, Rajasthan on its west, Madhya Pradesh on its southwest, Bihar on its east and Jharkhand on its southeast.
The state is spread over an area of 2,40,928 sq km and has 75 districts. The state comprises over 19,98,12,341 inhabitants as of 2011 census, becoming the most populous state in the country. Uttar Pradesh has a number of historical, religious, natural and man-made tourist destinations, such as the Taj Mahal, Kaushambi, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Chitrakoot, Lucknow, Jhansi, Meerut, Allahabad and Mathura.
Uttar Pradesh has a rich historical heritage and plays a significant role in defining the present day Uttar Pradesh. The history of Uttar Pradesh can be traced back to the Aryan period when they arrived and started establishing settlements in the central country, which they called "Madhyadesh". It was ruled by numerous kingdoms in history. It saw the advent of Lord Buddha, around the middle of the 1st millennium BC, who spread the Buddhism religion. Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh. During this time the region was under the Magadha rule. The rule subsequently moved on to the Nanda dynasty and then later to the Mauryas.
The historical background of the state is associated a lot with the beginning of the Muslim rule. This period saw the defeat of the Rajputs. The state's prosperity was at its peak during the Mughal rule, especially during the rule of Emperor Akbar. During the Mughal rule, the region saw the construction of some magnificent monuments whose names have been engraved in the history forever.
As time went by, Uttar Pradesh saw the decline of Mughal rule and the beginning of the British rule. The influence of Mughals was limited to the Doab region. The state of Uttar Pradesh had a significant role in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. A number of kingdoms have reigned over the state of Uttar Pradesh, they include:
Uttar Pradesh has a total area of 2,40,928 sq km and is situated in the Northern part of India, sharing international borders with Nepal. The Himalayas are located in the North part of the state and the plains cover most of the state. UP can be separated into three different hypsographical regions. The first one is the Himalayan region in the north. It has an extremely rugged and varied terrain. The topography varies to elevation ranging from 300m to 5000m. The second is the Gangetic Plain in the centre. It has highly fertile alluvial soils and a flat landscape which is dotted by numerous lakes, rivers, etc. The third are the Vindhya Hills and Plateau in the south. It has a hard rock strata and a diverse topography of plains, hills, valleys and plateau. Water is limited in this region. The state shares its borders with the following states in India:
The major rivers of Uttar Pradesh are the Yamuna, Ganges, Ghaghara and Sarayu. Other than agricultural importance, these rivers bear a lot of spiritual significance. The weather of the state has primarily subtropical features. It experiences four seasons and has a humid temperate climate.
Uttar Pradesh has a tropical monsoon type climate, with variations in altitudes. The Himalayan region is cold, while the weather in the plains varies in different seasons. The state has three distinct seasons. The winter season is from October to February; the summer season is from March to mid-June; the rainy season is from June to September.
Rainfall in the plains is heaviest in the east with floods becoming a recurring problem, causing damage to crops, property and life. Summers are hot and dry, with average temperature of 45°C accompanied by dust laden winds. Monsoons receive around 85 percent of the average annual rainfall of 990 mm. There is slight fall in temperature on rainy days. Winters are cold with temperatures dropping down to 4 °C and fog disrupts conditions in some areas of the state.
Uttar Pradesh is the second largest Indian state by economy. The largest parts of the state's economy are the agriculture and service industries. The service sector includes travel, tourism and hotel industry, real estate, financial and insurance consultancies. The leading occupation in Uttar Pradesh is agriculture, where wheat is the principal food crop and sugarcane the main commercial crop. Approximately 70% of the country's sugar comes from Uttar Pradesh. The state has localized and large industries manufacturing products like steel, textiles, electronics, leather, cables, engineering products, automobiles, railway coaches and wagons, electrical equipment, etc. The state also has many small-scale industrial units. UP is also attracting foreign direct investment in the software and electronics fields, making Noida and Lucknow a major hub for Information Technology industry.
The state of UP is home to more than 199.8 million people which makes it the top-ranking state in the country in terms of population. As laid down by the census 2011, the population of the state is represented by the following communities:
Uttar Pradesh sends the biggest number of legislators to the Parliament. The state contributes 80 seats to Lok Sabha and 31 seats to Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament. The state has provided eight prime ministers to the country.
The government of Uttar Pradesh is a bicameral legislature in India. It is a democratically elected body which is headed by the Governor of the state. The Governor is appointed by the President of India for a period of five years. He is the ceremonial head of the state who appoints the Chief Minister and the council of ministers. Although the Governor is the head of the state but the day-to-day functioning of the government is managed by the Chief Minister and the council of ministers. The council of ministers comprises ministers of state, cabinet ministers and deputy ministers. The council of ministers is assisted by the Governor's secretary who is the head of the Secretariat.
The culture and the roots of the state's society lie in the roots of the traditions, literature, art and history of the state. Uttar Pradesh has a multi-hued culture which has flourished in the course of time. It has been blessed with much cultural diversity. The state has various holy shrines and pilgrim places which are visited by devotees. The two pious rivers, Ganga and Yamuna which flow through these states are mentioned in the Indian mythology.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the top tourist destinations in India. The city of Agra holds one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal. Varanasi is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. The Kumbh Mela takes place in UP where over ten million Hindu pilgrims gather together to bath in the holy river. It is declared as the largest religious gathering of human beings in the world.
The state has an ancient dance and music tradition. Kathak which is a classical dance form grew and flourished here. The folk heritage includes songs called rasiya, which represents the divine love of Radha and Shri Krishna. Other folk dances or theater forms are Raslila, Ramlila, Nautanki, Khayal, Qawwali, etc.
Religious practices and festivals are an integral part of the society and culture of the state, as they are across India. Many festivals are celebrated here irrespective of caste and creed. The most important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Navratri, Eid, Mahavir Jayanti and Buddha Jayanti amongst others.
A number of texts and hymns of Vedic literature were composed in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The texts comprise the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and also the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The state is sometimes referred as the "Hindi heartland of India". Hindi became the official language in the language Act of 1951. In 1989 an amendment to the act made Urdu as another native language of UP. The major native languages of the state are Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Kannauji and Khariboli.
Deva mela, Barabanki is annually held at Deva, 10 km. from Barabanki at the revered shrine of the Haji Waris Ali Shah. It is held in the months of October and November; Deva mela at Barabanki show-cases the spirit of communal harmony in Uttar Pradesh and India. It features games, music, poetry conferences and great shopping opportunities. But it is fundamentally a religious fair and attracts devotees from all over India, Pakistan and from parts of the Middle East as well. It is primarily a Muslim religious occasion. The Urs or commemoration of the sacred shrine of the Sufi saint Haji Waris Ali Shah is attended by devoted Muslims from every corner of India. Other most famous festivals in Uttar Pradesh are:
|Diwali||Buddha Jayanti||Ram Navami|
|Dashehra||Mahavir Jayanti||Krishna Janmashtami|
|Eid||Guru Nanak Jayanti||Mahashivratri|
Uttar Pradesh is home to some of the most reputed educational institutes in the world. Like most of the other developed states in India, it has also contributed significantly towards the education of the country. The government of the state has made numerous investments at all the different levels of education in the last few years. The government has also appreciated and recognized the role of the private sector in enhancing the educational scenario of the state.
Talking about Uttar Pradesh's tourist destinations, one can talk elaborately on the picturesque sites of the Himalayan foot-hills. The tourist destinations, set amid the beautiful landscape of the Himalayas and are indeed a delight to the tourists. With its affluent and diverse topography, vivacious culture, festivals, monuments and ancient places of worship, Uttar Pradesh is first in the domestic tourist arrivals with more than 71 million each year. Some of the famous places of interest in the state are: Varanasi - the city of temples, Agra - famous for Taj Mahal which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Allahabad - famous for the Kumbh Mela, Kanpur - the commercial and Industrial hub of UP, Lucknow - the capital city of UP, Mathura, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Jhansi, Sarnath - where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, Kushinagar - where Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained Parinirvana after his death, Meerut, Mirzapur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Noida and Greater Noida - IT, Electronics and education hub, etc.
The top tourist attractions in Uttar Pradesh are as follows:
|Taj Mahal||Agra Fort||Ayodhya|
Uttar Pradesh is easily reachable through different modes of transport. There are two international airports in the state - Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi and Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow. Besides these, there are four domestic airports as well in the state. The largest railway network in the country is in Uttar Pradesh. Gorakhpur and Allahabad are headquarters of the North Eastern Railway and North Central Railway respectively. Due to a wide road network, it is connected to nine neighbouring states of the country. The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation operates its services within the state and connects it to other neighbouring states.