Tourism in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh attracts a large number of visitors, both national and international; with more than 71 million domestic tourists (in 2003) and almost 25% of the All-India foreign tourists visiting Uttar Pradesh, it is one of the top tourist destinations in India. There are two regions in the state where a majority of the tourists go, viz. the Agra circuit and the Hindu pilgrimage circuit.
The city of Agra, gives access to three World Heritage Sites: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The pilgrimage circuit includes the holiest of the Hindu holy cities on the banks of sacred rivers Ganges and the Yamuna: Varanasi (also considered world’s oldest city), Ayodhya (birth place of Lord Rama), Mathura (birth place of Lord Krishna), Vrindavan (the village where Lord Krishna spent his childhood), and Allahabad (the confluence or ‘holy-sangam’ of the sacred Ganges-Yamuna rivers).
Place of Interest:
Taj Mahal: is located in Agra. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love.
Varanasi: is widely considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. It is famous for its ghats (bathing steps along the river), full of pilgrims year round who come to bathe in the sacred Ganges River.
Mathura: is world-famous for its colourful celebrations of the Holi festival.
Lucknow: the capital of Uttar Pradesh, has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident’s quarters, which are being restored.
Agra Fort: It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city. It is the most important fort in India. The great Mugals, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint. It was visited by foreign ambassadors, travelers and dignitaries.
Fathehpur Sikri: is the complex of buildings, including the extant royal palaces, courts and the Jama Masjid is a popular tourist attraction.
Allahabad: It is one of four sites of the mass Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela, the others being Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. It has a position of importance in Hindu scriptures for it is situated at Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and the ancient Sarasvati River.
Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary: the most concentrated sanctuary in India with a large population of tigers as well as leopards – situated in Bahraich and bordering Nepal is also worth a visit.