15 Best Places to Visit in Uttar Pradesh (Updated 2021)
Today we welcome our guest writer Vipin to present to you the best places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. My travel stories in UP is limited to our short stay in Jhansi with our relatives when we were children. We went on a joint-family road trip to Agra and Orchha (Madhya Pradesh). I nowhere an expert about this region, so over to Vipin.
Situated in North India, Uttar Pradesh is the most populated state in the country, and its population factors the most in the political, cultural, and religious significance of the state. There are many reasons and places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. To compel your hearts we’re going to present the best of them in this article.
Let’s start with the capital city of the state – Lucknow. It became a Dominion of the Mughal empire under Humayun’s reign in 1555. Lucknow reached its prominence during the period of nawabs who transformed the city into the cultural capital of north India. Under their reign music, dance literature flourished. So did architecture with the construction of monuments like Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, and Rumi Darwaza. These are great tourist spots in the city.
What makes Bara Imambara interesting is the labyrinth that is present, rather disguised under it. It has 1024 ways to the terrace and only two to return. For historical significance visit the British residency (in picture). It tells the tale of valor of the freedom fighters who laid their lives to make India sovereign. Situated on the banks of river Gomti, is a riverfront which is a great picnic destination and it is mesmerizing during the night time.
The city is also famous for the famous Tunday Kebab which was first cooked during the Nawab’s reign. So the city has a great cultural and historical significance and it is famous for syncretic Hindu Muslim unity or Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb as they say it.
Here’s a list of the top 15 places to visit in Lucknow.
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. Also called the spiritual capital of India, the city is surrounded by Ghats and temples. One of the most famous temples is the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Benaras is also famous as the city of Lord Shiva. Life in Varanasi is a lot enthused around the ghats most of which are on the Riverside of Ganges, although the chaos and noise take a pause during the Ganga aarti before dusk.
Many believe that the city is a preferred place to die as it will liberate a person from the cycle of birth and death that is the attainment of moksha. If you are in the city don’t forget to try the famous Banarasi paan. The city is also important for Buddhists as Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in the city, a part of which is now in Sarnath.
How ironic it can be that a city full of people full of energy can be a spiritual destination for the pilgrims?
Mathura and Vrindavan
Vrindavan and Mathura are twin cities of Uttar Pradesh associated with the childhood of Hindu deity Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna and Vrindavan, the site where He and His consort Radha met. People from all over the world come here for sightseeing as well as spiritual awakening. The International Society of Krishna awareness, popularly known as ISKON, have established Vaishnavite centers here which preach the gospel of Krishna.
Tourists and devotees alike are throng to the temples spread across the city. One such temple is Prem Mandir which showcases the life of Lord Krishna in paintings and in miniature statutes. At the heart of the city you’ll find local markets selling idols and other related materials. Goverdhan hill is one of the sacred sites of the city and encircles it is the road that people travel to pay respects to Krishna and Radha.
Agra – the home to one of the world’s most famous monuments – the Taj Mahal. The universal symbol of love has also become an icon of India.Taj Mahal is a UNESCO certified world heritage site along with two other monuments in the same city, which are Agra Fort and nearby Fatehpur Sikri.
Agra is a great tourist destination spot for visitors and this place also has great historical importance. It was the center of the Mughal empire for a very long period of time. Along with the monuments, the city has great connectivity with all the major cities of India. The city is famous for its sweet dish known as Petha. So don’t forget to relish it.
This city is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists all over the world as they believe that this is where Gautam Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
The famous monumental site is Parinirvana Stupa, inside of which is a 6.1 meters long red sandstone statue of Gautam Budha. Other stupas are Nirvana chaitya, Ramabhar stupa, and Matha Kuar shrine.
Development projects have been carried out in the view of the convenience of tourists, a good state infrastructure might promote state tourism among travelers.
Jhansi is in the southernmost part of the state. It’s associated with Rani Lakshmi Bai, the most famous Indian queen often hailed as ‘Jhansi ki Rani’. She was a warrior queen who fought the British army on the field during the revolt of 1857. She has a palace to her name known as ‘Rani Mahal’.
The palace was brought down to ruins by brits but renovated later. Along with Rani Mahal, Jhansi fort, National Museum there are many good tourist attractions nearby the city, especially for history and heritage lovers. You can even go to Orchha which is around 30 km from Jhansi but lies in Madhya Pradesh.
Here’s a list highlighting the best of Jhansi.
Formerly known as Cawnpore, Kanpur was the main industrial hub of British India. It earned the label of “Manchester of East”. It is still one of the main industrial cities, being most famous for its leather production.
The city’s famous points are Moti Jheel, Radha Krishna temple, Permit temple (a ghat lies along the banks of river Ganga), Ganga barrage which provides a great view to river Ganges preferred points of many locals for the photoshoot.
Kanpur is also famous for its ‘Thaggu Ke Laddu’ and ‘Khasta’. The city is accommodative of all architectural styles, cultures, and traditions.
Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad)
A city situated at the confluence of three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, and invisible Saraswati. Widely famous for Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest gathering of devotees, Prayagraj is the holiest pilgrimage center. This place should be on your bucket list to visit as it is one of the earliest cities in the subcontinent and during the Mughal era it was an important center of administration.
Famous tourist spots in the city are Khusro bagh, Chandra Shekhar Azad Park, Sangam river. The city is connected with Varanasi via the New Yamuna bridge and to other major cities of the world
According to the Hindu epic of Mahabharata, Meerut was the part of the Hastinapur empire in ancient India. The Pandav teela and temples connected to Mahabharata and Jainism are major attractions. Meerut was the starting point of 1857 revolts. Meerut has many monuments in the commemoration of the war heroes.
Gardens in the city are also a major tourist destination, and Meerut is one of the most sophisticated cities in western UP followed by Noida and Ghaziabad. Meerut is just 60 km from Delhi. You can easily reach by 24-hour bus service from Delhi.
Located on the banks of river Sarayu, Ayodhya is considered to be the birthplace of the legendary Rama, the protagonist of Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’. Thus the place is of great religious significance in the state. Recently the city made the front page of every newspaper after a historic verdict given by Supreme Court in favor of temple construction, on the site of what many call ‘Ram-Janam Bhoomi’.
Temple is under construction and it will account for tourists from all over the world in the near future. Like Varanasi, the city is also famous for its ghats. The city’s grandeur comes to life especially during the Hindu festival of Diwali when it illuminates with lighting of lamps all around the Ghats. This is perhaps the best time to visit Ayodhya.
Apart from Janam Bhoomi, there are famous places in the city are Ramkot, Hanuman Garhi, Mani Parvat . This place provides insights into Hindu mythology and history.
The city is a significant learning center and has many institutions to its credit, and prominent among them is Aligarh Muslim University. Aligarh also has a long history, and its monuments and architectural style tell a lot about its history. Tourist attractions such as Aligarh Fort which is accompanied by Dor fortress aren’t worth missing by history and heritage lovers.
There are also historical museums present such as the Sir Syed Academy museum, Chacha Nehru Gyan Pushp, and the Hakim Karma museum. Aligarh is also a place for Muslim dargah and many libraries. The plethora of institutions, universities, libraries, and museums add to the significance of this city.
The place shares its area between two states Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, it is a pilgrimage center for many devotees. Like Ayodhya, this place too has connections with the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to scriptures Lord Rama spent the 14 years of their banishment in these forests, along with his wife and brother. Many renowned sages like Valmiki meditated here, as per the Ramayana.
Like other religious places, this place is also spread across the ghats, one such Ghat is Ramghat, located on the banks of river Mandakini.
The road encircles a mountain known as Kamadgiri where devotees circle a complete round and this road is chained with a series of temples. This part is considered as the original Chitrakoot. There are other places to visit such as Gupt Godavari, Hanuman Dhara, etc.
Located on fertile Gangetic plains the city was one of the sixth-largest cities (area-wise) during Buddha’s period. The city was of great religious significance during the ancient period but due to repeated invasions, the famous monuments are in ruins even at present. However even those monumental ruins can tell a great deal of history. Some such sites are ruins at Saheth and Maheth.
In the ancient Sravasti, the city wall is still upright and within these, the remains of ancient buildings can be visited. Anguilla stupa, Anathapindika stupa, and an ancient Jain temple dedicated to Jain Tirthankara Sambhavnath.
Deogarh Village (Lalitpur)
Deogarh village is located on the right bank of the Betwa river, and to the west of Lalitpur hills. Some of the oldest monuments in this place are from to the Gupta dynasty (3rd to 6th century). There are many Hindu and Jain monuments outside and inside the walls of the fort. Deogarh is home to one of the oldest Hindu temples Dashavtara, dedicated to lord Vishnu.
The city is also known for its fort located on the Lalitpur hills. The “ghats” providing the approach to the Betwa River edge have a great archeological significance. These are Nahar Ghat, the Raj Ghat, and a Ghat with the adjoining cave.
Dudhwa National Park
Stretched over an area of 490.3 km sq it is a part of the Dudhwa Tiger reserve. It is located on the Indo-Nepal border in the Lakhimpur Kheri district. The area of the park lies in the upper Gangetic place. It is a vast alluvial plain ranging in altitude from 150 meters in the farthest southeast to 182 meters in the extreme north.
The flora here comprises Sal, and, Sheesham Jamun, Gular, Sehore, and Behera the grasslands comprise about 19 percent of the park. The fauna here comprises of the tiger, swamp deer (a.ka. “Barasingha”) and Indian rhinoceros.
There are other animals present in the forests such as barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, sloth bear, ratel, jackal, and ravens, etc. The national park is also a stronghold of “Barasingha”. Barasingha are smaller than the sambar deer and they have 12 antlers measuring upto 100 cm. The park is also a place for migratory birds that settle here during winters.
All in all, Uttar Pradesh is definitely worth exploring if you’re into heritage, history, and architecture. From the saints to street artists, every aspect of life is covered. From the confluence of rivers to the confluence of highways, a whole new generation can be seen. It’s amazing how with the change of times, most of the cultural aspect is retained. People from all over the world come here to witness the life some may even embrace.
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About the Author:
Vipin goes by the alias VivaciousVipin all over the Internet. He is a techie, naturalist, and someone who breathes travel. His dream place to travel to is, Paris. He’s a wanderer and loves to know about different cultures, people, art, architecture, and traditions. He shares amazing travel content on his blog Misfit Wanderers.