Uttar Pradesh in North India and has the highest population in the whole of India. It covers almost a quarter of a million square kilometres in area, much of which is made up of fertile plains. It is bordered by Nepal, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. It has an administrative and legislative capital, Lucknow, and a financial and industrial capital, Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh is particularly significant for its being the believed birthplace of Hinduism. It is brimming with ancient Hindu sites and a deep religious significance. Today, approximately 80% of the population are still Hindu.

Archaeologists and researchers have found many remnants of the lives of ancient human beings in the area of Uttar Pradesh. These were hunter-gatherers that lived off the produce of the land some 4000 years ago. The Aryans dominated the area, followed by several other kingdoms. It was in what is now known as Uttar Pradesh that the Gangetic plains exist. These were vital resources, fought over by the major empires, such as the Mauryan power (which ruled between 320 and 200 Before our Common Era, or BCE) and the Gupta dynasty (in power from 350 to 600 CE, or Common Era). Various other kingdoms reigned during the next few centuries, including the Mughals and the Marathas, until the 1700’s, when the British Crown decided to annex India region by region. It became a British province. During English rule, many disputes
Image of tomb of mughal emperor Akbar
Imposing entrance to the tomb of Mughal
emperor Akbar at Sikandra on the outskirts
of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
arose. India finally became independent of British rule in 1947 and this area was given the name Uttar Pradesh by its first Chief Minister, GB Pant.

There are basically two main geographical areas making up the greater state. The first area is the Gangetic Plains, which are fairly flat, have many bodies of water and boasting very rich soil, ideal for dense and prolific vegetation. The second is the Vindhya Hills and Plateau, in which valleys, hills and plains make up the topography. There is far less water available in this area, so some portions of it are susceptible to aridity. In general, the climate is hot and humid (subtropical). Peaks can get cold and snowy.

These different regions are each ideally suited to certain plants and animals. Visitors to the wildlife reserves and parks of Uttar Pradesh will no doubt spot wolves, jackals, foxes, porcupines, the Indian Elephant, tigers, bears, wild pigs and Langours, as well as a variety of birds, fish, insects, snakes and crocodiles. Trees, flowers and shrubs are abundant. Uttar Pradesh is also home to a number of medicinal plants, which are used to treat minor ailments as well as more serious diseases.

Uttar Pradesh makes use of its fertile soil and moist climate by farming extensively. In fact, this is the area’s major economic pillar. In addition, other successful industries include shoe production, Information Technology, sports goods manufacturing, the production and export of stainless steel utensils and the manufacture of padlocks.

Tourism is another important industry as Uttar Pradesh is supported by many local and international tourists alike. The following attractions receive large numbers of international visitors every year, and are part of ensuring that this region in one of India’s top tourist destinations:

• The Taj Mahal
• The Agra Fort
• Fatehpur Sikri
• Dayal Bagh
• Varanasi (the world’s oldest city)
• Mathura (where Lord Krishna was born)
• The Ganges River (a sacred river that is key to the worship rituals of the faithful Hindus)
• The monument of Chhota Imambara
• Dudhwa National Park
• The Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary

For more information, please view: http://www.up-tourism.com/

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