Indian Culture Description
Capital :- Lucknow (state capital) and Prayagraj ( judicial capital)
Languages :- Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Braj
Dance forms : Kathak
Tourist Places :- Agra, Prayagraj, Ayodhya, Jhansi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Kanpur, Sarnath.
Unique local industries :- Benares Silk, Chikankari embroidery, Bhadohi Carpets, Khurja Pottery, Saharanpur Wood Carvings
Popular food :- Lucknow Biryani, Parathas, Kachoris, Puri, Kabab, Petha, Dalmoth, Sweetmeats, etc
With three UNESCO World Heritage sites and several Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Pilgrimage sites, Uttar Pradesh ranks on the top of the list of India’s top tourist destinations. With the presence of river Ganges (Called as Ganga in India) and its tributary Yamuna, this region has been thriving with villages from almost 6000 BCE. Several well-known empires of ancient India like Maurya, Gupta, Harsha, Pala, Delhi Sultanate, Mughal, etc ruled parts of present Uttar Pradesh. Each of these kingdoms ruled Uttar Pradesh at different periods of time in history and each of them left imprints in the form of historical monuments, scripts, etc. For tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh and seeing these locations, it will feel like a travel on time to the past crossing different eras.
Currently, Lucknow is the official capital of Uttar Pradesh and Prayagraj is the judicial capital. Hindi and Urdu are official languages while Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Braj are few more widely spoken languages in the state. One of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal which is often considered as a symbol of love is in this state. The other two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Uttar Pradesh are Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort. River Ganga which originates in western Himalayas passes through Uttar Pradesh. Ganga is a holy river as per Hindu mythology. Tourists visiting the ancient city of Prayagraj can see the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati merging and this region is called Triveni Sangam. Vanarasi (Kashi or Benares) on the banks of river Ganga is one of the world’s oldest and continuously inhabited cities. Kumbh Mela is a pilgrimage festival which is celebrated once in every 12 years and Prayagraj is one of the four riverbanks where Kumbh Mela is celebrated.
Mathura and Vrindavan which are considered to be the birth places of Hindu deities Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha, are two more popular and ancient places in Uttar Pradesh. ISKCON temples (Hare Krishna Temples) which worship Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha are present in various cities all over the world. Mathura has the most visited ISKCON Vrindavan temple. Iconic personalities like Steve Jobs often mentions about the customs and meals provided in Hare Krishna temples. Another place in Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama. Ayodhya is also the first tirthankara in Jainism and is a holy place for Jains. Sarnath located near Varanasi is acclaimed for Lord Buddha’s sermons. The most famous Ashoka Pillar with Lion Capital is in Sarnath. Lion Capital is the national emblem of India. Capital city of Lucknow is known as the city of Nawabs and Muslims takes the second spot after Hindus with respect to the population of the state. These cities show the religious diversity of Uttar Pradesh. Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bhai’s fort, Dudhwa National Park, Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Tomb of Khusro, All Saints Cathedral, Alopi Devi Mandir are few more prominent places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. Writing about Uttar Pradesh makes one wonder how ancient this region is and the prominence it had during various periods of time.
With such religious diversity, Uttar Pradesh offers tourists a wide variety of food options. Taste of food in ISKCON temples is well known worldwide. Steve Jobs in an interview mentioned that he used to walk few miles every week to get free food from ISKCON and he used to love it. With lot of Hindu pilgrimage sites, Uttar Pradesh offers traditional Vegetarian dishes, some of which are the recipes of the ancient times. Sattvic food of Jainism and Buddhism too can be tasted in this region. Awadhi cuisine brought in by the Mughals with Middle Eastern flavors entertains the tummies of non-Vegetarian food lovers. Lucknow biryani is pretty popular in the entire North India. Parathas, Kachoris, Puri, Kabab, Petha, Dalmoth, Sweetmeats and many more delicacies can be found in Uttar Pradesh. If you are a food lover, this place is your heaven!
South Asia’s most popular Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata which are gaining great attention from the western world takes their origin from regions of Uttar Pradesh. People who have read Ramayana or Mahabharata will feel more thrilled to see the cities like Hastinapur and few other which were mentioned in the epics. Benares Silk from Varanasi is quite famous all over India. Women in India love sarees woven from Benares Silk. Lucknow’s Chikankari embroidery is a unique textile decoration style. Megasthenes, a Greek traveler to India from 3rd century BC mentioned about Chikankari embroidery and the designs in his book Indica. Later on, Chikankari embroidery turned even more colorful with Mughal’s designs. Bhadohi, a city in Uttar Pradesh is the biggest hub for hand knotted carpets in entire South Asia. Around 22 lakh artisans are currently in the Bhadohi carpet industry. Mirzapur is another region which makes carpets and rugs. Indian Government protected Khurja Pottery with Geographical Indication or TRIPS agreement. Khurja Pottery has great demand in India as well as abroad. Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is called as Wooden City and the Wood Craving from this city are famous in various part of the world. The skills of Khurja Pottery and Saharanpur Wood Craving are almost 500 years old. Kathak is the dance form in Uttar Pradesh and most of the times, Kathak dance shows are organized as part of cultural tourism.
With various souvenirs, diversity, cultural – historical sights and mouth watering delicacies, a trip to Uttar Pradesh will be a treat on all levels.
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