Uttar Pradesh is normally associated with Agra as it is home to Taj Mahal - one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But not many tourists know that this land houses many more surprises. There are many places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. This land is a perfect example of the conflux of many religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. Experience the spiritual calm of the Ganga Ghats in Prayag Raj and Varanasi, explore the heritage of Uttar Pradesh in Agra, Lucknow, Sarnath, and Fatehpur Sikri. You can get the majestic feel of the festive vibes in Mathura and Vrindavan. This is the land where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon and also the land where he breathed his last breath. The land of Bravery where Rani Laxmibai fought valiantly against the British army. Welcome to Uttar Pradesh, a land where culture has evolved and religion have emerged.
The most famous city in Uttar Pradesh welcomes you with a view that you will not forget for the rest of your life, the Taj Mahal. Feel the intensity of the emperor’s love as he built this magnificent structure from pure white marble to make sure that his love with his most beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal will be immortalized.
Feel the freshness of love, the majesty of Mughal architecture, the calmness of the place and just let the feelings swoosh over yourself as you enjoy the view hand-in-hand with your beloved.
Another UNESCO world heritage site that adorns the landscape of Agra is the famous Agra fort. The Agra fort was built by Akbar in the 16th century as a way to protect the city from intruders. The fort is a shining example of the Mughal architecture with secret doorways, huge walls covering 2.5 kilometers, the dogleg design of the Amar Singh Gate, which was meant to confuse the attackers. The fort contains many buildings like the Moti Masjid, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and also the infamous Musamman Burj where Shah Jahan died in captivity. The other places to see in the fort are Jahangir's palace, Sheesh Mahal and the Khas Mahal.
Fatehpur Sikri has situated nearby the Agra. It is among the many historical places in Uttar Pradesh. Once the Capital of Akbar’s empire, which he built in the memory of Sufi saint Khawaja Salim Chisti. This city still holds architectural wonders like the Buland Darwaza, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Jama mosque, Jodha Bai’s palace, and Birbal’s palace. The most brilliant piece of architecture in the city is the Buland Darwaza. It was built by Akbar to commemorate the victory over Gujarat. The Buland Darwaza is a perfect blend of Indian and Islamic styles of Architecture. The gateway has a height of 176 feet and has beautifully carved inscriptions with white marble ornamentation done on the victory arch. The beautiful Chhatris will leave spellbound. This is the highest gateway in the world. The most important thing about this arch is that Akbar who was known for his religious tolerance. He inscribed a beautiful inscription on the Darwaza which read Jesus the son of Mary says,” The world is a bridge, pass over it but build no houses on it”. Fatehpur Sikri is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Agra.
Varanasi, Benares or Kashi whatever name may you choose to call this city by but the city never fails to mesmerize you. One of the most important cities in Hinduism. The city also happens to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. Built on the banks of the Holy Ganges, the air of the city is filled with scents of incense sticks that burn ceaselessly in the city. The most important and famous temple in the city is that of Lord Vishwanath. This gorgeous temple is one of the Jyotirlingas.
Do not miss the evening aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi. During the aarti the people gather there and dance with the fiery puja aarti, lighting up the diyas with the mighty Ganges in the background.
Visit the Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi. It is one of the holiest among the sacred riverfronts of River Ganges. In Hindu mythology, death is the gateway to another life. The dead bodies are carried on bamboo sticks and are cremated on huge piles of wood. It is believed that those who are cremated there achieve salvation.
The city of Lord Krishna. Vrindavan is also home to the Krishna Balarama temple complex of the ISKCON foundation, its devotees are known as the Hare Krishna’s. The temple was built by Swami Prabhudas who was also the founder of ISKCON. There is a constant buzz of several activities in the temple complex. You can see devotees either meditating or dancing with fervor or consulting the saints for worldly problems.
Another attraction worth visiting here in Vrindavan is the Ranga ji Temple. The temple is an excellent example of south Indian architecture, a scene rarely found in North India. The temple is devoted to the Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, it is one of the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan with the beautiful sculptures carved out of the pure white marble. You will find a 50 feet tall pole which is gold plated.
This is the place, where according to Hindu mythology Lord Brahma-the creator of the universe landed. This city hosts the largest gathering of humans on earth. The Kumbh Mela is organized here as the Hindus consider this place as auspicious being at the confluence of three holy rivers: the Ganga, Yamuna, and the Saraswati.
The tombs of prince Khusrau and Shah Begum, his mother are the most attractive ones. Prince Khusrau infamously tried to overthrow his father the king of the Mughal Empire, King Jehangir. The beautiful paintings of nature and marble carved lattices will definitely make you think about the splendor of the Mughal Empire.
Another famous place to visit would be the Allahabad museum. It was inaugurated by the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1947. This museum is one of the finest museums in India with a wonderful collection of terracotta objects. The various galleries of the museum hold artifacts from the Indus valley era, to the medieval Buddhist era with textiles, paintings, sculptures and weapons donning the museum.
One of the most important sites in Buddhism, Kushinagar is the place where Buddha gave his last sermon. Mahaparinirvan temple was rebuilt in 1927 and contains a 6-meter long reclining Buddha statue which signifies the Parinirvana position of Buddha. When the monks cover the statue with a saffron-colored silk sheet at night you will find yourself awe-inspired.
The Ramabhar stupa is another must-see place in Kushinagar. The site is said to be the place where Buddha was cremated. There is a 15-meter high half-ruined stupa which is revered by the pilgrims and more often than not monks can be seen meditating here in this stupa.
Dhamek Stupa & Monastery Ruins is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Some geometric carvings date back to 5th century B.C while some brickwork is found to be as old as 200 B.C. Here you will find a monument known as the Chaukhandi Stupa, this is the very place where Buddha started spreading the message of love. You can visit the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara in Sarnath and listen to the first sermon given by Buddha between 6-7 pm every day. Sarnath has other attractions as well, like the Sarnath museum, the Thai Temple (which has a huge Buddha statue), a Tibetan temple, and an Ashoka pillar.
Feel the valor of a queen who fought till death and never gave up her Jhansi to the British Empire. Such was her bravery that her opponents counted her as ‘here lay the woman who was the only man among the rebels’. The Jhansi fort is the place where all the action took place. This fort states the glorious tales of bravery. The Rani Laxmibai Park in Jhansi houses a magnificent and iconic statue of Rani Laxmi Bai on horseback with her child. Jhansi has many other attractions like the Jhansi museum, the cenotaph of Raja Gangadhar Rao and the Rani Mahal.
The capital city of Uttar Pradesh won’t disappoint you if you include it in your list of tourist places in Uttar Pradesh. The most visited place in Lucknow is the Bada Imambara, a place of religious importance for Muslims. The Imambara was constructed by the Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daulah. You are bound to awe at the architectural prowess of the Mughals, as the Bada Imambara is one of the largest structures in the world which is not supported on beams. The upper floor of the structure is a pretty intelligent maze, there are 1024 ways to get in, but only 2 ways to get out from this maze. The interesting fact about Bada Imambara is that no wood or metal has been used in the construction of this structure. Hazrat Ganj market is the prime shopping locality of Lucknow.
Chota Imambara, the most beautiful structure in Lucknow was built by Muhammad Ali Shah. Such is the beauty of the building that during Moharram this place is known as the palace of lights. Calligraphically written Quran verses adorn the exterior of the place while intricate carvings welcome you inside. The Chota Imambara is a perfect example of the amalgamation of Persian and Indo-Islamic styles of architecture.
Welcome to the land where Lord Krishna (an important Hindu deity) was born. The most important place to visit in Mathura is the Krishna Janmasthan temple, which is built around the prison cell where Lord Krishna was born. Experience the mental calm that comes with this place as you ponder over the difficulties that the lord’s parents must have been through.
Another significant temple to visit is the Dwarkadhish temple. It is a temple which is constructed by the followers of the Vaishnava sect. The temple has a beautifully carved sculpture adorning the exterior of the temple. A black idol of Lord Krishna graces the temple providing serenity and calm to the temple complex.
The Govardhana Parvat is a must-see place in Mathura. According to Hindu belief, Lord Krishna uplifted the mountain on his little finger when Indra, the Lord of Rain tried to drown the town of Mathura. Lord Krishna saved the people from certain death by lifting the Govardhana Parvat and giving them shelter under this huge mountain. The place is worshiped by the people of Mathura till date.
Ayodhya is revered by Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Rama. One of the most imperative temples of Lord Hanuman in North India, the Hanuman Garhi Temple is located in Ayodhya. The Hanuman Garhi Temple is located atop a hill and a 76 step staircase leads you to the temple entrance.
The Gulab Bara is another worth visiting place as the garden surrounds the tomb of Shuja-ud-Daulah has beautiful roses which fill the air with wonderful rose scent.