Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal Taj Mahal
Capital : Lucknow
Largest city : Kanpur
District(s) : 71
Population : 186,755,000 (1st)
Density : 783/km² (2,028/sq mi)
Language(s) : Hindi, Urdu
Established : 1835

Uttar Pradesh translation: "Northern Province", is a state located in northern India. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh  in 1950. Lucknow is the capital and Kanpur is the commercial capital and the largest city of Uttar Pradesh. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarkhand, was carved from the mountainous Himalayan region of Uttar Pradesh. With a population exceeding that of France, Germany, and the Netherlands combined, it is the most populous sub-national division in the world. U.P. is also possibly the state with the largest number of million-plus cities (at least eight). The state is bordered by Raasthan to the west, Haryana and Delhi to the northwest, Uttarakhand and the country of Nepal to the north, Bihar to the east, Jharkhand to the southeast, Chhatisgarh to the south and Madhya Pradesh to the southwest. It covers 93,933 square miles (243,290 km2), equal to 6.88% of the total area of India, and is the fourth largest Indian state by area. With over 200 million inhabitants as of 2011, it is the most populous state in the country as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. Hindi is the official and most widely spoken language in its 75 districts. Uttar Pradesh is the fourth largest indian state by economy. Agriculture and service industries are the largest parts of the state's economy. The service sector comprises travel and tourism, real estate, hotel industry, insurance and financial consultancies. Uttar Pradesh was home to powerful empires of ancient and medieval India, including Magadha, Nanda, Sunga, Mauryan, Mughals, Rashtrakuta, Pala, Gupta and Kushan. The two major rivers of the state are the Ganga and Yamuna, they merge at Allahabad and then flow as the Ganga further east. The state has several historical, natural, and religious tourist destinations, such as the Taj Mahal, Varanasi, Mathura, Meerut, Allahabad, Kaushambi, Ballia, Budaun, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Piprahwa, Shravasti and Lucknow. Its also the area of some of the oldest existing cities of Budaun and Varanasi. Uttar Pradesh covers a large part of the highly fertile and densely populated upper Gangetic plain. It shares an international border with Nepal and is bounded by the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. The administrative and legislative capital of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknow, and the financial and industrial capital is Kanpur. The state is also home to the tourism capital of India, Agra. The state's high court is based at Allahabad. Other notable cities in Uttar Pradesh include Bijnor, Jhansi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Varanasi (Banaras), Allahabad, Faizabad, Azamgarh, Bareilly, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Gorakhpur, Saharanpur, Mathura and NOIDA (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority).

Fatehpur Sikri Fatehpur Sikri
Uttar Pradesh (UP) is the most populous state in India, even after losing Uttarkhand, with an estimated population of 186.7 million as of 2007 and a land area of 238,566 km². One-sixth of the world’s population lives in India and one-sixth of India’s population lives in UP. Only five countries of the world, China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil and India itself have populations larger than that of UP, and UP and Uttarkhand have more than Brazil. The population density of the state at 783 persons per km² is the fourth highest among major states in the country. The Indo-Gangetic plain spans most of the state, has been the seat of ancient Hindu culture, religion and learning and has always played a prominent role in Indian political and cultural movements.

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History
Archeological finds have indicated the presence of Stone Age Homo Sapiens hunter-gatherers in Uttar Pradesh between around 85 and 72 thousand years old. Other pre-historical finds have included Middle and Upper Paleolithic artifacts dated to 21–31 thousand years old and Mesolithic settlement, near Pratapgarh, from around 10550–9550 BC. Villages with domesticated cattle, sheep, and goats and evidence of agriculture began as early as 6000 BC, and gradually developed between c. 4000 and 1500 BC  beginning with the Indus Valley Civilization and Harappa Culture to the Vedic period extending into the Iron Age. Control over this region was often vital to the power and stability of all of India's major empires, including the Mauryan (320-200 BC), Kushan (100-250 AD) Gupta (350-600 AD) empires. After the Guptas, the region was the heart of Harshavardhana's empire, from Punjab to Bengal, with its capital at Kannauj. Many modern communities in different parts of India—Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Bengal—often trace their lineage to Kannauj.

Medieval
Beyond 1000 CE, Uttar Pradesh became part of several Muslim Sultanates who ruled from Delhi. In Mughal times, U.P. became the heart land of what was called 'Hindustan' (a name referring to India), even today UP-ites often refer to themselves as 'Hindustani'(Bhartiya/ Indian) rather than Uttar Pradeshi.



Agra and Fatehpur Sikri were important as the capital city of Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor of India. After the decline of the Moghuls, a number of kingdoms arose: the Nawabs of Oudh, Rohilkhand by Afghans, Bundelkhand by the Marathas and Benaras by its own king, while Kumaon-Garhwal were independent kingdoms in their own right (these two regions formed the new state of uttarakhand). The city of Lucknow was established by the Muslim Nawabs of Oudh in the 17th century.

Starting from the latter half of the 18th century, a series of battles finally gave British accession to the last Mughal territory -- the Doab, as also Bundelkhand, Kumaon and Banaras divisions. Delhi, Ajmer and Jaipur were also included in this territory. They called it the North western provinces (of Agra). Its capital shifted twice between Agra and Allahabad. The area may seem big compared to today's mini states the size of earlier divisions, but at the time it was one of the smallest British province.

After the failed freedom war of 1857, when things settled, the British made a major revamp and truncated the Delhi region and gave it to Punjab, and the Ajmer-Merwar region to Rajputana

Modern
Agra Fort Agra Fort
At the same time it included Oudh into the state. The new state was called the North Western Provinces of Agra and Oudh, which in 1902 was renamed as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. It was commonly referred to as the United Provinces or its acronym UP. In 1920, the capital of the province was shifted from Allahabad to Lucknow.

The high court continued to be at Allahabad, but a bench was established at Lucknow. Allahabad continues to be an administrative base of today's Uttar Pradesh and has several administrative headquarters.

Uttar Pradesh continued to be central to Indian culture and politics and was especially important in modern Indian history as a hotbed of both the Indian Independence Movement and the Pakistan Movement. The First Freedom fighter Mangal Pandey was from Uttar Pradesh. The sense of 'Bhartiyata' came from every people.

The city of Allahabad was home to prominent nationalists such as Motilal Nehru, Purushottam Das Tandon, Madan Mohan Malaviya. Allahabad was also home to a record four Prime Ministers of India: Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Rajiv Gandhi.

The city of Varanasi (Benaras) has been epi-centre of ancient scholaristic traditions. It is revered as one of the most sacred cities of the world by Hindus, Buddhist and Sufis. Varanasi particularly its Banaras Hindu University and Ghats symbolises the "Rebirth of Hindu Social and Scholaristic Traditions" (80% of Indians are Hindus).

After independence, the state was renamed Uttar Pradesh ("northern province") by its first chief minister, Govind Ballabh Pant. Pant, who was well known to Jawaharlal Nehru, was popular in the local party and left his mark in Lucknow before December 27, 1954, when Nehru called him to Delhi to make him Home Minister. He was succeeded by Dr. Sampoornanand, a university professor and classicist. A Sanskrit scholar, he was in office till 1957 before becoming governor of Rajasthan.

In 2000 the Himalyan portion of the state — the Garhwal and Kumaon divisions — were formed into a new state called Uttarakhand (meaning the northern part of the state).

Major cities
Agra • Allahabad • Ghaziabad • Gorakhpur • Jhansi •Kanpur • Lucknow • Mathura • Meerut • Noida • Varanasi • Saharanpur•

Other towns
Aligarh • Bahraich • Ballia • Banda • Barabanki • Bareilly • Bijnor • Bulandshahr • Etawah • Faizabad • Firozabad • Ghazipur • Gonda • Kannauj • Mathura • Mainpuri • Mirzapur • Moradabad • Noida • Raebareli • Rampur • Azamgarh• Sultanpur • Greater Noida • Muzaffarnagar• Khurja •

Languages
The state languages of Uttar Pradesh are standard Hindi and Urdu. While standard Hindi (Khari boli) is the official language, several regional Hindi 'dialects' are spoken throughout the state. Among these are Bagheli, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj, Bundeli. Bhojpuri is the second most-spoken language in the state, according to the language data in the 1991 Census of India. Urdu is prominent in Uttar Pradesh as Lucknow was once the center of Persianate culture in north India. The language of Lucknow ("Lakhnavi Urdu") is a form of high literary Urdu.

Tourism
Varanasi Ghat Varanasi Ghat
Uttar Pradesh attracts a large number of both national and international visitors. There are two regions in the state where a majority of the tourists go. These are the city of Agra which houses three world heritage sites Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri and the holy cities: the cities of Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, and Allahabad, by the sacred rivers — the Ganga and the Yamuna are all located in the state. The state hosts a Kumbha Mela every 12 years, where over 10 million Hindus congregate — the largest gathering of human beings in the world.

A vast number of tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. Another important tourist attraction in Agra is the Agra Fort. Also famous is a 16th century capital city built by the Mughal emperor Akbar known as Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Dayal Bagh is a temple built in modern times that many visit. It is still under construction, and would take an estimated one century for completion. The life-like carving in marble is not seen anywhere else in India.

Dudhwa National Park is one of the best Tiger reserves in the country. Lakhimpur Kheri is a must see location, and home to the Tiger reserve.

Millions of tourists and pilgrims visit the cities of Allahabad, Varanasi and Ayodhya, as those are considered to be the holiest cities in India. Every year thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the festival on the banks of the Ganges, the Magh Mela. The same festival is organised in a larger scale every 12th year and attracts millions of people and is called the Kumbha Mela.

Varanasi is widely considered to be the second oldest city in the world after Jerusalem. It is famous for its ghats (steps along the river) which are populated year round with people who want to take a dip in the holy Ganges River.

Arts and crafts
Uttar Pradesh is famous for its arts and crafts. Specific regions such as Varanasi for its saris and silk, Mirzapur and Bhadohi for its carpets, Agra and Kanpur for their leather craft, Moradabad for its metal ware, Lucknow for its cloth work and embroidery 'chicken work on silk, and the entire state for its pottery are not only famous in India but around the world.