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Uttar Pradesh ( , , pronounced , "Northern Province"), [often referred to as U.P.] is a state located in the northern part of Indiamarker. With a population of over 190 million people,it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity.

With an area of , Uttar Pradesh covers a large part of the highly fertile and densely populated upper Gangetic plain. It shares an international border with Nepalmarker to the north along with the Indian state of Uttarakhandmarker, Himachal Pradeshmarker to the north-west, Haryanamarker, Delhimarker and Rajasthanmarker on the west, Madhya Pradeshmarker on the south, Chhattisgarhmarker and Jharkhandmarker on the south east and Biharmarker on the east. The administrative and legislative capital of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknowmarker and the financial and industrial capital is Kanpurmarker. The state's high court is based at Allahabadmarker. It is home to many historical cities like Varanasimarker and Agramarker. Kanpur is its largest city; other big cities are Meerutmarker, Agramarker, Aligarhmarker, Bareillymarker, Allahabadmarker, Ghaziabadmarker and Noidamarker.

Uttar Pradesh has an important place in the culture of India; it is considered to be the birthplace of Hinduism, has been the ancient seat of Hindu religion, learning and culture, and has many important sites of Hindu pilgrimage. The State is also important to Buddhism since its early days. The Chaukhandi Stupa marks the spot where Buddha met his first disciples. The Dhamek Stupamarker in Sarnathmarker commemorates Buddha's first sermon. Also the town of Kushinagarmarker is where Gautama Buddha died.

Throughout its history, the region of Uttar Pradesh was sometimes divided between petty kingdoms and at other times formed an important part of larger empires that arose on its east or west, including the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta, Pala and Mughal empires.

The Indo-Gangetic plain, that spans most of the state, is also the birth place of the Indo-Islamic syncretic culture of the medieval period. It holds much of the heritage of the Mughal Empire, including the world famous mausoleum Taj Mahalmarker built by Shah Jehan, the magnificent tomb of Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great in Agra and Akbar's capital-palace in Fatehpur Sikrimarker. It was a centre of nationalism during the British colonial period and has continued to play a prominent role in Indian political and cultural movements. The state has a rich heritage of traditional crafts and cottage industries of various types that employ highly skilled craftsmen and artisans.

Hindus and Muslims together constitute above 98% of the State's population. The remaining nearly 2% include Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians, and also the tribal population.

History

Evolution of the State

The area has undergone several different definitions, nomenclatures and territorial demarcations since the early 19th century, i.e. after the British East India Company had established its supremacy in the Gangetic plains. In 1833 the then Bengal Presidency of the Company was divided into two parts, one of which became Presidency of Agra; in 1836 the Agra area was named North-Western Provinces and placed under a Lieutenant Governor by the Company. In 1877, the two provinces of Agra and Oudh (Oudh was occupied by the Company, in 1858), were placed under one Colonial administrator of the British Crown; he was called Lieutenant Governor of the North-Western Provinces and Chief Commissioner of Oudh. In 1902 the name was changed to United Provinces of Agra and Oudh with Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh as administrator; in 1921 Lieutenant Governorship was elevated to Governorship and the name of the province was changed to United Provinces of British India. In 1935, the name was shortened to United Provinces. On independence from the British colonial rule in 1947, the princely states of Rampurmarker, Banares and Tehri-Garwal were merged into the United Provinces. In 1950, the name of United Provinces was changed to Uttar Pradesh. In 1999 a separate Himalayanmarker state, Uttaranchalmarker, (now named Uttarakhandmarker), was carved out of Uttar Pradesh.

Prehistory, legends and ancient period

Archeological finds in Uttar Pradesh confirm presence of Stone Age Homo Sapien hunter-gatherers in Chhatarpalia, Mahugarh, Parisdhia, Lalitpur, Nihi and Gopipur, between 85±11 and 72±8 kyr (thosand years ago) before present (BP); Middle Paleolithic and later the Upper Paleolithic artifacts dated at 21–31 kyr BP; Mesolithic/Microlithic hunter-gatherer's settlement, near Pratapgarh, around 10,550–9550 B.C.; villages, domesticated cattle, sheep or goats and evidence of plants and agriculture as early as 6000 B.C. - although, most dates range between c. 4000 and 1500 B.C. - thus initiating a sequence which extends into the Iron Age and the beginning of Vedic period.

"Map of ancient kingdoms during the ‘Epic periods"
The known history of Uttar Pradesh goes back 4000 years, when the Aryans first made it their home in 2000 BC; this heralded the Vedic age of the Indian civilization. The Aryans, infiltrating from their home-base in the present day Punjab region, had settled in the Doab region and the Ghagra plains, and called it with various names: Madhya Desha (Midland), Aryavarta (the Aryan land) and Bharatvarsha (the kingdom of Bharat, an important Aryan king). In the ages to come, Aryans spread to other parts of the Indian subcontinent, reaching as far south as Keralamarker and Sri Lankamarker and, in due course, ancient kingdoms (Mahajanapadas) arose at several large population centres.

The ancient Mahajanapada era kingdom of Kosala in Ayodhyamarker - where, according to Hindu legend, the divine king Rama of the Ramayana epic reigned - was located here. Krishna - another divine king of Hindu legend, who plays a key role in the Mahabharata epic and is revered as the eighth reincarnation (Avatara) of Hindu god Vishnu - was born in the city of Mathuramarker. The aftermath of Mahabharata war is believed to have taken place in the area between the Doab region of Western Uttar Pradesh and Delhimarker, (in what was Kuru Mahajanapada), during the reign of the Pandava king Yudhishtira. The revered Swaminarayan - mentioned in the Brahma Purana and Vishwaksena Samhita as the manifestation of God - was born in the village of Chhapaiyamarker.

Most of the empire building invasions of North India, from the east as well as the west, passed through the vast swathe of Gangetic plains of what today is Uttar Pradesh. Control over this region was of vital importance to the power and stability of all of India's major empires, including the Mauryan (320-200 BC), Kushan (100-250 AD) and Gupta (350-600 AD) empires.
After the Guptas, the Ganga-Yamuna Doab saw the rise of Kannaujmarker. During the reign of Harshavardhana, the Kannauj empire was at its zenith; it covered an area extending from Afghanistan and Kashmir in the west to Bengal in the east and up to the Vindhyasmarker in the south, with its capital at Kannauj. Even today, many communities in various parts of India - from Kashmirmarker, Rajasthanmarker, Uttarakhandmarker, Biharmarker to Bengalmarker - boast of being descendants of migrants from Kannauj, reflecting its glory in the past. Soon after Harshavardhana's death, his empire disintegrated into many kingdoms, ruled mostly by Rajputs.

Medieval



Causing the fall of post-Harshavardhana Rajput kings of north India came the Turko-Afghan Muslim rulers and what we call Uttar Pradesh today once again became the catalyst for things to come; much of the state formed part of the various Indo-Islamic empires (Sultanates) after 1000 AD and was ruled from their capital, Delhi.

Later, in Mughal times, U.P. became the heartland of their vast empire; they called the place 'Hindustan', which is used to this day as the name for India in several languages. Agramarker and Fatehpur Sikrimarker were the capital cities of Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor of India. At their zenith, during the rule of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire covered almost the entire Indian subcontinent (including present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh), which was ruled at different times from Delhi, Agra and Allahabad.

When the Mughal Empire disintegrated, their last territory remained confined to the Doab region of Hindustan and Delhi. Other areas of Hindustan (U.P.) were now ruled by different rulers: Oudh was ruled by the Nawabs of Oudh, Rohilkhand by Afghans, Bundelkhand by the Marathas and Benarasmarker by its own king, while Nepal controlled Kumaon-Garhwal as a part of Greater Nepal. The state's capital city of Lucknow was established by the Muslim Nawabs of Oudh in the 18th century.

Modern-colonial

Starting from Bengalmarker in the later half of the 18th century, a series of battles for North Indian lands finally gave the British East India Company accession over this state's territories - including the territories of Bundelkhand, Kumaon and Benaras rulers - and the last Mughal territories of Doab and Delhi. When the Company included Ajmermarker and Jaipurmarker kingdoms in this northern territory, they named it the North-Western Provinces (of Agra). Today, the area may seem big compared to several of the Republic of Indiamarker's present 'mini-states' - no more than the size of earlier 'divisions' of the British era - but at the time it was one of the smallest British provinces. Its capital shifted twice between Agra and Allahabad.


Due to dissatisfaction over the policies of the foreign Company's rule, a serious rebellion erupted in various parts of North India; Meerutmarker cantonment's sepoy, Mangal Pandey, is widely credited as its starting point. It came to be known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After its failure, when the turmoil settled, in desperation to dismember the most rebellious regions, the British made a major revamp: they truncated the Delhi region from ‘NWFP of Agra’ and merged it with Punjab, while the Ajmermarker- Marwar region was merged with Rajputana; at the same time, they 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 important administrative base of today's Uttar Pradesh and has several administrative headquarters.

Uttar Pradesh continued to be central to Indian politics and was especially important in modern Indian history as a hotbed of both the Indian Independence Movement and the Pakistan Movement. National stature stalwarts like the Nehrus were among the leaders of the movement in UP. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was formed at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress on April 11, 1936 with the legendary nationalist Swami Sahajanand Saraswati elected as its first President, in order to adderess the long standing grievances of the peasantry and mobilise them against the zamindari landlords' attacks on their occupancy rights, thus sparking the Farmers' movement in India.

Post Independence

After independence, the state was renamed Uttar Pradesh ("northern province") by its first chief minister, Govind Ballabh Pant. Pant was well acquainted with and close to Jawaharlal Nehru (the first Prime Minister of free India) and was also popular in the Congress Party; he established such a good reputation in Lucknowmarker that Nehru called him to Delhimarker, the capital and seat of Central Government of the country, to make him Home Minister of India in December 27, 1954. He was succeeded by Dr. Sampoornanand, a university professor and classicist Sanskrit scholar, who was chief minister till 1957, before becoming governor of Rajasthanmarker.

Sucheta Kripalani served as India's first woman chief minister from October 1963 until March 1967, when a two-month long strike by state employees caused her to step down. After her, Chandra Bhanu Gupta assumed the office of Chief Minister with Laxmi Raman Acharya as Finance Minister, but the government lasted for only two years due to the confusion and chaos which ended only with the defection of Charan Singh from the Congress with a small set of legislators; he set up a party called the Jana Congress, which formed the first non-Congress government in U.P. and ruled for over a year.

Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna was chief minister for Congress Party government for part of the 1970s. He was dismissed by the Central Government headed by Indira Gandhi, along with several other non-Congress chief ministers, shortly after the imposition of the widely unpopular Emergency, when Narain Dutt Tewari - later chief minister of Uttarakhand - became chief minister. The Congress Party lost heavily in 1977 elections, following the lifting of the Emergency, but romped back to power in 1980, when Mrs. Gandhi handpicked the man who would later become her son's principal opposition, V.P. Singh, to become Chief Minister.On November 9, 2000, the Himalyan portion of the state, comprising the Garhwalmarker and Kumaon divisions and Haridwar districtmarker, was formed into a new state, now called Uttarakhandmarker, meaning the 'Northern Segment' state.

Geography

Uttar Pradesh shares an international border with Nepalmarker and is bounded by the Indian states of Uttarakhandmarker, Himachal Pradeshmarker, Haryanamarker, Delhimarker, Rajasthanmarker, Madhya Pradeshmarker, Chhattisgarhmarker, Jharkhandmarker and Biharmarker. The state can be divided into two distinct hypsographical regions: -

The larger Gangetic Plain region is in the north: it includes the Ganga-Yamuna Doab, the Ghaghra plains, the Ganga plains and the Terai. It has highly fertile alluvial soils and flat topography - (slope 2 m/km) - broken by numerous ponds, lakes and rivers.

The smaller Vindhya Hillsmarker and Plateau region is in the south: it is characterised by hard rock strata and varied topography of hills, plains, valleys and plateau; limited availability of water makes the region relatively arid.

Flora and Fauna

Uttar Pradesh has 12.8% land under forest cover now. In spite of alarming deforestation and poaching of wild life, a diverse flora and fauna exists. Several species of trees, large and small mammals, reptiles and insects are found in the belt of temperate upper mountainous forests; medicinal plants are also found wild here, or are now grown on plantations. Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands support cattle. Moist deciduous trees grow in the upper Gangetic plain, including its riverbanks. In fact, this vast plain is so fertile and life supporting that any thing, which can live or grow anywhere, will do so here. Ganges and its tributaries are the habitat of a variety of large and small reptiles, amphibians, fresh-water fish and crabs. Mostly scrubs, trees like babool and animals like chinkara are found in the arid Vindhyas. The state’s important plants and animals include the following: -

Trees: pine, rhododendrons, silver fir, deodar, saal, oak, teak, sheesham, mango, neem, banyan, peepal, imli, jamun, mahua, semal, gular and dhak.

Medicinal plants: hingan, Dhak, rauwolfia, sepentina, hexandrum, viala serpens, podophyllum, aephecra gerardiana.

Large vertebrates: elephant, tiger, bear, neelgai, wild pig, deer, wolf, jackal, fox, languor.

Birds: peacock, porcupine, gray quail, pigeon, swallow, maina, indian parakeet, crow and duck.

Reptiles: crocodile, gharial, goh, snakes, chameleon and other lizards.

Fish: Rohu, catla, khusa, parhan,patra, moi, korouch and singhimarker.

According to Hindu legend, Lord Rama’s warrior devotee Hanuman had brought life saving Sanjivani herbs from a mountain of this, or possibly the breakaway Uttarakhandmarker, region.

Climate

The climate of Uttar Pradesh is predominantly subtropical, but weather conditions change significantly with location and seasons: -

Temperature: Depending on the elevation, the average temperatures vary from in January to in May and June. The highest temperature recorded in the State was at Gondamarker on May 8, 1958.

Rainfall: Rainfall in the State ranges from in the east to in the west. About 90 percent of the rainfall occurs during the southwest Monsoon, lasting from about June to September. With most of the rainfall concentrated during this four-month period, floods are a recurring problem and cause heavy damage to crops, life, and property, particularly in the eastern part of the state, where the Himalayan-origin rivers flow with a very low north-south gradient.

Snowfall: In the Himalayan region of the State, annual snowfall averaging 3 to 5 metres (10 to15 feet) is common between December and March.

Droughts: Periodic failure of Monsoons results in drought conditions and crop failure.




Constituent regions

Regions of Uttar Pradesh
The state comprises several distinct regions: -
  • The Doab region which runs along UP’s western border from north to south; this region is further divided into three zones:
  • The Rohilkhand region in the north;
  • The Awadh(or Oudh), the historic country of Kosalas in the centre;
  • The northern parts of Bundelkhand in the south;
  • The northern parts of Baghelkhand in the south-east; and
  • The southwestern part of the Bhojpur country in the east, commonly called Purvanchal ("Eastern Province").


Administrative divisions and districts (as in 2007)

The state of Uttar Pradesh consists of seventy districts, which are grouped into eighteen divisions: -

Agra Division, Aligarh Division, Allahabad Division, Azamgarh Division, Bareilly Division, Basti Division, Chitrakoot Division, Devipatan Division, Faizabad Division, Gorakhpur Division, Jhansi Division, Kanpur Division, Lucknow Division, Meerut Division, Mirzapur Division, Moradabad Division, Saharanpur Division and Varanasi Division.

The largest district in terms of area is Lakhimpur Kherimarker.The largest district in terms of population is Allahabad, followed by Kanpur Nagar (Census 2001).

Demographics

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India with a population of over 190 million people as of July 1, 2008. If it were a separate country, Uttar Pradesh would be the world's fifth most populous nation, next only to China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia.As of the 2001 census of India, slightly over 80% of Uttar Pradesh population is Hindu, while Muslims make up 18% of the population. The remaining population consists of Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Jains.

Social structure

The Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, the three Hindu upper castes people of the state, who have dominated the political and economic scene over the centuries, are in a majority. Besides the upper castes, there are other Hindu communities, among whom a major group comprises the backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes live in rural areas and are mostly dependent on agriculture, forming the landless labour class. Muslims, although educationally and economically weak as compared to the upper castes, are nevertheless interspersed in all strata of the population. There is also tribal population, the weakest of all, which is largely concentrated in the hilly terai-bhabhar and Vindhyamarker regions. The Government of India has recognised five of the tribal communities as the disadvantaged scheduled tribes, viz. Tharus, Bhoksas, Bhotias, Jaunswaris and Rajis.

Politics

The results of the UP assembly elections since 1989


The State Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) has 403 electoral constituencies. In the Uttar Pradesh Elections, 2007, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party achieved unexpected majority status, leading to her emergence as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. This is the first time, since 1991 victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party with a majority, that a single party has gained absolute majority; the last two decades having been mostly dominated by various coalitions among the Samajwadi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Bahujan Samaj Party. One characteristic of the BSP win in 2007 was the amalgamation of Brahmin votes into this Dalit dominated party, as opposed to the decades-old trend of deep-rooted electoral divisions in the state between Dalits, Upper Castes, Muslims and different OBC groups, which tend to vote in blocks.Mayawati, having won 206 seats, took the oath of secrecy for the post of UP's next CM on 13 May 2007. She became Chief Minister for the fourth time. Along with her 19 cabinet rank ministers, 21 Ministers of State holding Independent Charge were also sworn in by the Governor T. V. Rajeswar. Some of the prominent names of her cabinet colleagues are: Awadhpal Singh, Babu Singh Kushwaha, Badshah Singh, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Rakesh Dhar Tripathi, Ratanlal Ahirwar and Sudhir Goyal. Former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party stood second in State with 97 seats.

Issues

The image of politics in Uttar Pradesh has been tarnished in recent times by the extensive infiltration of people who are alleged to carry a questionable reputation or are prone to incite violence. But, in the last election, the Election Commission of India was perceived as having effectively managed fair elections - through deployment of extremely strict security - by preventing ‘booth-capturing’, bogus voting and other abuses. However, the number of criminal-politicians participating in the elections have been growing, particularly because they have been successful in the past. In the U.P. Assembly elections of 2002, candidates with criminal records won 206 out of 403 seats in the assembly, i.e. more criminals were elected than clean record politicians. In 2007 elections, the participation by criminals increased significantly.

Political leadership

The state has a record of providing national leadership; eight of India's fourteen Prime Minister's were from Uttar Pradesh. They are: Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Choudhary Charan Singh, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekhar and Atal Behari Vajpayee, who represented a UP constituency, though he was born in Gwaliormarker.

The contemporary political scene is also interesting in the national context. Heirs-apparent to the Nehru-Gandhi family have adopted U.P. as their home state. Congress President Sonia Gandhi represents Rae Barelimarker and her son Rahul Gandhi Amethimarker, Sultanpurmarker. Indira Gandhi's estranged daughter-in-law Maneka Gandhi is a BJP Parliamentarian, while her son Varun Gandhi has also made his debut as a BJP politician and is a member of Loksabha. Other prominent politicians include BJP leader and past Human Resources Development minister Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, SP leader and ex-Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP leader and now fourth time Chief Minister Mayawati, BJP President and ex-Chief Minister Rajnath Singh, former BJP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh , Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and ex-Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and later of Uttarakhand, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Ex Information & Broadcasting Minister, Govt. of India, Zafar Ali Naqvi Minister of Education, UP Govt. etc.

At the lowest tier of political pyramid, the state has a large number of village councils, known as Panchayats, just like it is in the other states of India.

Education



The region of Uttar Pradesh had a long tradition of learning, although it had remained mostly confined to the elite class and the religious establishment. Sanskrit-based education comprising the learning of Vedic-to-Gupta periods, coupled with the later Pali corpus of knowledge and a vast store of ancient-to-medieval learning in Persian/Arabic languages, had formed the edifice of Hindu-Buddhist-Muslim education, till the rise of British power. The present schools-to-university system of western education owes its inception and development here, as in the rest of the country, to foreign Christian missionaries and the British colonial administration.

Aligarh Muslim University is a residential academic institution. Modelled on the British University of Cambridgemarker, it was established by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in 1875 – then named as Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College - and in 1920 it was granted the status of a Central University by an Act of Indian Parliament. Located in the city of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, it was among the first institutions of higher learning set up during the British Raj.

Banaras Hindu Universitymarker is a Central University located in Varanasimarker, Indiamarker. It evolved out of the Central Hindu College of Varanasi, set up by Annie Besant - a colourful British lady of Irish descent - who joined hands with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in April 1911 for a common Hindu University at Varanasi. Eventually, the Banaras Hindu Universitymarker started functioning from 1 October 1917 with the Central Hindu College as its first constituent college. Most of the money for the university came from Hindu princes and its present campus was built on land donated by the Kashi Naresh. Regarded as the largest residential university in Asia, it has more than 128 independent teaching departments; several of its colleges - including science, linguistics, law, engineering (IIT-BHU) and medicine (IMS-BHUmarker) - are ranked amongst the best in India. The university's total enrollment stands at just over 15000, including the students from abroad. It will be the only university in India that will host one of the IITs in its premises - the IIT-BHU - from academic session 2010.

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpurmarker - set up in 1960 in the industrial city of Kanpurmarker - is one of the famous internationally respected Indian Institutes of Technology; now known as IIT-Kanpur or 'IITK', it is primarily focused on teaching of undergraduates in engineering and related sciences and technologies and research in these fields.

Economy

Uttar Pradesh is the second largest state economy in India after Maharashtramarker, contributing 8.17% to India's total GDP. Between 1999 and 2008, the economy grew only 4.4% per year, one of the lowest rates in India.

The major economic activity in the state is agriculture, in 1991, 73% of the population in the state was engaged in agriculture and 46% of the state income was accounted for by agriculture. UP has retained its preeminent position in the country as a food-surplus state.

Uttar Pradesh is home to largest number of Small Scale industrial units in the country, with 12% of over 2.3 million units. But industrial output has been adversely affected by erratic power supply from the UP State Electricity Board and remains far below its full production capacity. Unavailability of adequate raw materials at competitive prices is another negative factor. Also, like in most parts of India, traders and middlemen make most of the profits while the labour class lives at subsistence level.

In spite of these, labour efficiency is higher in UP at (26) than the National Average of (25). Following are some of the important industrial hubs in the state: -

Kanpurmarker is the largest shoe-manufacturing centre in the country.

NOIDAmarker and Lucknowmarker are among the top IT (Information Technology) destinations of the country.

Meerutmarker, a manufacturing centre of sports goods, sharp tools like scissors and also of gold ornaments, is regularly listed among the top tax-paying cities in the country.

Mirzapurmarker and Bhadohimarker are manufacturing centres and worldwide exporters of carpets and cotton durries.

Moradabadmarker, a famous production centre of traditional 'Moradabadi' metalware, has emerged now as a major producer and exporter of stainless steel utensils also.

Aligarhmarker is a manufacturing hub of brass, zinc, aluminium, iron door fittings and is also famous for its padlocks. These items are supplied all over the world. Aligarh is also a manufacturing hub of plastic toy pistols.

Agramarker was visited by more than 8 million domestic and 825,000 foreign tourists in 2006, followed by Varanasimarker, Lucknowmarker, Allahabadmarker, Vrindabanmarker and Mathuramarker.

A shopping mall situated on the Fatehabad Road in Agra, U.P.
Picture shows the Sector-18 junction, with SabMall in the background, in NOIDA, U.P.


Globalisation as well as Western influence through media are impacting the Uttar Padeshi's life style, and economy is gearing itself to cater to new tastes and consumerism. A visible sign of this is seen in the elegant shopping Malls coming up in up beat localites in big cities.

Economy is also benefiting from the State's thriving tourism industry.

Tourism

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 Agramarker, gives access to three World Heritage Sites: Taj Mahalmarker, Agra Fortmarker and the nearby Fatehpur Sikrimarker:
    • Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
    • Agra Fort is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.
    • Fatehpur Sikri was the world famous 16th century capital city near Agra, built by the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great, whose mausoleummarker in Agra is also worth a visit.
In Agra itself, 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. Its life-like sculptures in marble are unique in India. Agra's dubious modern attractions include Asia's largest Spa as well as Asia's first and only 6D theatre.

  • The pilgrimage circuit includes the holiest of the holy cities of Hindus on the banks of sacred rivers Gangamarker and the Yamunamarker: Varanasimarker (also considered world's oldest city), Ayodhyamarker (birth place of Lord Rama), Mathuramarker (birth place of Lord Krishna) and Allahabadmarker (the confluence or 'holy-sangam' of the sacred Ganga-Yamuna rivers).


Varanasimarker is widely considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. It is famous for its ghats (bathing steps along the river), that remain bustling year round with devotees from all over India and beyond, who want to take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges River.

Mathuramarker is wold-famous for its colourful celebrations of the Holi festival, which attracts many tourists also - thanks partly to the hype, which the Indian film industry has given to this highly entertaining socio-religious festival.

Every year, thousands gather at Allahabad to take part in the Magh Mela festival, which is held on the banks of the Ganges. The same festival is organised on a larger scale every 12th year and is called the Kumbha Mela, where over 10 million Hindu pilgrims congregate — the largest gathering of human beings in the world.

The historically important towns of Sarnathmarker and Kushinagarmarker are located not far from Varanasi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath after his enlightenment and Kushinagar is where Gautama Buddha died; hence both are important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Also at Sarnath are the Pillars of Ashoka and the Lion Capital of Ashoka, both important archaeological artifacts with national significance. At a distance of 80 km from Varanasi, Ghazipurmarker is famous not only for its Ganga Ghats but also for the Tomb of British potentate Lord Cornwallis, the Tomb is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

Lucknowmarker, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, also has several beautiful historical monuments such as Bara Imambaramarker and Chhota Imambaramarker. It has also preserved the damaged complex of the Oudh-period British Resident's quarters, which are being restored now.

Dudhwa National Parkmarker is one of the best tiger reserves in the country. Lakhimpur Kherimarker - home to the Tiger Reserve - and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary - the most concentrated sanctuary in India with a large population of tigers as well as leopards - situated in Bahraichmarker and bordering Nepalmarker is also worth a visit.Some areas require a special permit for non-Indians to visit.Image:Taj Mahal in March 2004.jpg|Taj MahalmarkerImage:Taj 12.jpg|The Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza) - gateway to the Taj Mahalmarker.Image:TombSalimChisti.jpg|The Tomb of Salim ChistiImage:Itmad.jpg|Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb at AgramarkerImage:AgraFort.jpg|Amar Singh Gatemarker at Agra FortmarkerImage:Audienzhalle .jpg|Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience at Fatehpur Sikrimarker.Image:CastleAgraFort.jpg|The Khas Mahal at Agra FortmarkerImage:Agra-fort-6-jehangirs-palace.JPG|Jahangiri mahal at Agra Fort.Image:The Panch Mahal in Fatehpur Sikri.jpg|The five-storey Panch Mahal at Fatehpur SikrimarkerImage:NorthIndiaCircuit 100.jpg|Buland DarwazaImage:LDAkbarTombCenter.jpg|Tomb of Akbar the GreatmarkerImage:Harem at Fatehpur Sikri.jpg|Mariam-uz-Zamani palaceImage:Adnanwiki.badaimambada1.JPG|Gateway to Bara ImambaramarkerImage:Chhotaimambara.adnan.JPG|The Chhota ImambaramarkerImage:Sarnath1.jpg|The Dhamekh Stupamarker is located in Sarnathmarker where Gautama Buddha first taught the DharmaImage:Kushinara1.jpg|Kushinagarmarker is a town where Gautama Buddha died

Transportation

Expressway
The 2nd Yamuna Bridge
The state has a large network of multimodal transportation system: -

Airways: The state has four important airports and 23 airstrips. Cities that have nationally well connected domestic airports are Agra, Kanpurmarker, Lucknow and Varanasi. Lucknow is the biggest and most important airport of the state. (An upgradation of Bareilly's Trishul Air-base into a domestic airport is also underway.)

Railways: Almost all the major as well as smaller cities of the state are linked through railways. It has largest railway network in the country; with a total length of 8,546 km (as on 2006) and the sixth largest railway density.

Roadways: The state has largest road network in the country, after Maharashtra. It boasts of 31 National Highways (NH), with a total length of 4,942 km (8.5% of total NH length in India). It has seventh highest road density in India, (1,027 km per 1000 km,2 as on 2002 ) and largest surfaced urban road network in the country (50,721 km, as on 2002). Cities of Kanpurmarker, Lucknow, Bareilly, Allahabad, Varanasi, Jhansimarker, Gorakhpurmarker, Agra and Ghazipurmarker are connected to a number of National Highways. New expressways are coming up between Agra and Noidamarker and between Noida and Balliamarker (near Ghazipur). The State Government’s road transport company UPSRTC-Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation serves nationalized routes in the state for intrastate and interstate transport.

Waterways: A long stretch of the river Gangesmarker - from Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) to Haldiamarker (West Bengal) - has been declared as National Waterway (NW)-I and 600 km of the total NW-I lies in Uttar Pradesh.

Although, the state has a large and diversified transportation network, its condition and functioning need substantial improvement.

Culture

Architecture

Architectural legacies of the past millennia of the region of Uttar Pradesh survive to varying extent. The oldest of them fall within the purview of archeology or mythology; religious places in the State - identifiable in the narratives of Puranas and other sacred literature of Indian religions - have architectural edifices that are very old and have been built over repeatedly in course of time.

Medieval kings and emperors have left imposing monuments: forts, palaces, temples, mosques and mausoleums, whose external and internal grandeur reminds of the opulence of those times. British colonial buildings, built for the administration, judiciary, hospitals, banks, postal services, police, railways etc. are still seen in most of the cities; their architecture in most cases is purely functional.Image:04-01-07 Complexe de Fathehpur Sikri (3).JPG|Building of Fatehpur SikrimarkerImage:TajPaintedGeometry.JPG|Decorative art and embellishmentImage:Bara Imambara Second Hallway 01.JPG|Interior architectureImage:Chotaimambara5.jpg|Interior designImage:Carving at Fatehpur Sikri.jpg|Detail of carvingImage:Fatehpur Sikri general view.jpg|View across Fatehpur SikriImage:Pillar art at Fatehpur Sikri.jpg|Central pillar of Diwan-i-Khas.Image:Jali-inlay.jpg|Detail of Jali

Art and craft

Uttar Pradesh is famous for its rich heritage of art and craft. Most famous centres are the following:

Bareillymarker boasts for its Zari work, (a type of fabric decoration), Surma (Kohl) and Jhumka.Firozabadmarker, the city of bangles, is also a hub for crafting many glass accessories. The glass artifacts produced in its factories are just amazing and are exported the world over.

Kannaujmarker is well known for oriental perfumes, scents and rose water and also for traditional tobacco products.

Kanpurmarker is internationally known for its leather craft; shoes and other leather items are made here for the Indian market and exported to foreign countries as well.

Khurjamarker is famous for its ceramics pottery; in fact, the entire state is famous for its pottery not only in India but also around the world.

Lucknowmarker, the capital, boasts of its cloth work and embroidery (chikan) work on silk and cotton garments.

Mirzapurmarker and Bhadohimarker are known for carpets.

Moradabadmarker is well known for its metal ware, especially brass artifacts.

Pilibhitmarker is known for its wood-flutes and wooden footwear (Khadaon). Flutes are exported to Europe, America and other countries.

Saharanpurmarker is known all over India and abroad for wood carving items produced here.

Varanasimarker is famous for its Banarasi saris and silk. A ‘banarasi sari’ is an essential part of any marriage in the state.

Language and literature

Uttar Pradesh is often referred to as the 'Hindi heartland of India'. While the languages of state administration are Hindi, established by the Uttar Pradesh Official Language Act, 1951, and Urdu, established by the Amendment to the same in 1989, the native languages of the state are considered as dialects of Hindi, both by the common populace as well as the State and Central Governmental authorities. Linguistically, the state spreads across the Central, East-Central and Eastern zones of the Indo-Aryan languages, the major native languages of the state being Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Bundeli, Braj Bhasha, Kannauji and the vernacular form of Khari boli, which also forms the basis for the standardised Hindi and Urdu registers. Bagheli is spoken on the southwestern fringes of the state. The state government promotes the native dialects in cultural festivals - education in the dialects, however, is negligible. Moreover, the literature of the two main literary dialects of the medieval era, Braj Bhasha and Awadhi, is considered to be subsumed under Hindi literature. While once these two dialects were the main literary vehicles in the region, any progress in literature in them or any of the other native languages is negligible.

The number of speakers of the native languages is difficult to estimate, because most educated people in the urban areas return Hindi as their mother tongue - as it is the language of administration and education - while people in the rural areas return "Hindi" as the generic name for their language, primarily because of a lack of a linguistic awareness. Recently, however, Bhojpuri has seen a linguistic assertion of sorts, while there has been weak activism with respect to Bundeli.

Media

Uttar Pradesh is well integrated into the National media-network:

Radio-Broadcasts: Broadcasting was started in India in 1936 by All India Radio (abbreviated as AIR), now officially known as Akashvani. Today, it is the sister service of Doordarshan, the national television broadcaster; both are a division of Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India), an autonomous corporation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Broadcasts in several languages are being aired in the State from a number of transmission stations by Akashwani.

Television: Telecasting had begun in India in 1959, with test educational telecasting in New Delhimarker. Doordarshan started black-and-white small-screen programming in the mid 1970s and 1982 saw colour version of TV. Several private TV Channels, functioning now at national level, have become a vibrant and very effective part of the media. Satellite-telecasting has revolutionized their reach. Telecasts of important cricket matches draw enormous viewers; even street-side TV-sets attract crowds of cricket fans.

Newspapers and Magazines etc. A number of periodicals is published in Hindi, English and Urdu. Growth of journalism had its roots as much in the initiative of resident Britons as in the Indian freedom movement and the need for dissemination of other news and messages of socio-religious reforms. The Pioneer was founded in Allahabadmarker in 1865 by George Allen, an Englishman. It was brought out three times a week from 1865 to 1869 and daily thereafter. In 1866, a supplement, the Pioneer Mail, consisting mostly of advertisements, was added to the publication. Also from Allahabadmarker, a nationalist newspaper The National Herald had started publication, under the patronage of the Nehrus and M.C. Rau as its editor, during the British period. Sidque, a famous Urdu weekly, was started in that period by the highly respected intellectual Moulana Abdul Maajid Daryabadi for reforming the Indo-Islamic society. Presently, all major national level dailies are publishing their ‘City Editions’ from several major cities of the state. The State’s own ‘native’ publications - dailies/ weeklies/ monthlies - are numerous, and mostly in Hindi and Urdu languages. Some Hindi language dailies, e.g. Amar Ujala and politically right wingDainik Jagran, have a wide circulation, with their local editions being published from several important cities. National Herald now publishes an Urdu version also. At still lower level, locally published newspapers and literary weeklies and monthlies are extremely large in number.

Audio-visuals production: In spite of its large size, Bollywood level Production of films for the silver screen, or of informative short documentary films of high standard, has not grown in Uttar Pradesh. However, artists and writers from the state have continued to contribute in centres of the Indian film industry, as song- and story-writers, composers and musicians, lyricists, actors, directors and producers.

Dance and music

The state is home to a very ancient tradition in dance and music. During the eras of Guptas and Harsh Vardhan, Uttar Pradesh was a major centre for musical innovation. Swami Haridas was a great saint-musician who championed Hindustani classical music. Tansen, the great musician in Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, was a disciple of Swami Haridas. The ragas sung by Tansen were believed to be so powerful that they could bring rain, or light a fire, when recited.

Kathak, a classical dance form, involving gracefully coordinated movements of feet and arms along with the entire body, grew and flourished in Uttar Pradesh. Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, was a great patron and a passionate champion of Kathak. Today, the state is home to two prominent schools of this dance form, namely, Lucknow Gharana and Banaras Gharana.

In modern times, Uttar Pradesh has given to the world music legends like Anup Jalota, Baba Sehgal, Girija Devi, Gopal Shankar Misra, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Kishan Maharaj, Naushad Ali, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Shubha Mudgal, Siddheshwari Devi, Talat Mehmood, Ustad Bismillah Khan etc. The legendary Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar belonged to Uttar Pradesh; she took this aspect of music to amazing heights. "Ae Mohabbat Tere anjaam pe rona aaya" is one of her best musical renditions of all times. It is also, incidentally, the birthplace of British pop legend Sir Cliff Richard. The Bhatkande Music University at Lucknow is named after the great musician Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.

The region's folk heritage includes songs called rasiya (known and especially popular in Braj), which celebrate the divine love of Radha and Shri Krishna. These songs are accompanied by large drums known as bumb and are performed at many festivals. Other folk dances or folk theater forms include:



Cuisine

Uttar Pradesh has a rich tradition of sumptuous vegetarian and non-vegetarian food preparations, and of sweetmeats, that are best seen on formal occasions.

A formal vegetarian meal of Uttar Pradesh consists of Chapattis, Rotis (Flatbread) and/or puri (deep fried puffed flatbreads), daal (thick lentil soup), rice (boiled white rice), vegetable curries (one or more of dry/fried and semi-liquid curries each), curd, pickles, papad (thin spicy crackers) and a variety of sweets. It is normally served in metal dishes and traditionally eaten without the use of cutlery, sitting on the bare floor. When a large gathering is to be feasted in a traditional manner, food may also be served on disposable, flat platters (called 'pattal'), which are made by intertwining broad leaves of certain trees.

A non-vegetarian meal consists of many varieties of meat or rice preparations that have evolved in the region and are now nationally and internationally known as the Moghlai cuisine; some of these are: kebab, kufta, korma, keema, pulao, biryani, prothas (plain or stuffed), halwa, firni etc. In addition, a selection from the above vegetarian dishes may be present among the food spread. Traditionally, food is served in metal-ware or ceramic crockery, eaten directly with bare hands or (sometimes) with spoons, sitting on the ground covered with a flooring material like cloth-sheet or carpet.

In most of the modern homes, use of Western tableware and dining table and chairs have become the norm and Western dishes are also included at times.Image:Vegetarian Curry.jpeg|Uttar Pradeshi thali with naan, sultani dal, raita, and shahi paneerImage:Kebab.jpg|Kebabs are an important part of Uttar Pradesh's cuisineImage:Koofteh tabrizi.jpg|The koftah is a popular main dish of Uttar Pradesh

Dress

A variety of dresses is worn by the people of Uttar Pradesh and hence, the public scene is always a show of many types of dresses and many colours. Traditional styles of dress include draped garments, such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men, and stitched clothes, such as salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama for men. European-style trousers and shirts are also common among the educated men.

Dress material is chosen as per the need of the weather; hence, fabrics made of cotton and cotton-synthetic blends are common in summer and warm clothing, made of wool or synthetic-wool, is needed in winter, when a sweater, jacket and/or a coat may be worn, specially during peak winter.

Festivals

Religious practices are as much an integral part of everyday life, and a very public affair, as they are in the rest of India. Therefore, not surprisingly, many festivals are religious in origin, although several of them are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed.

Among the most important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Holi and Dashehra, which are also observed with equal fervour by Jains and Sikhs. Bāra Wafāṭ, Eid, Bakreed and Moharram are Muslim religious festivals. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by Jains, Buddha Jayanti by Buddhists, Guru Nanak Jayanti by Sikhs and Christmas by the Christians.

As part of nation-wide celeberations, the two secular National festivals of Independence Day and Republic Day are celebrated with great patriotic fervour in offices and main public places, on August 15 and January 26 respectively, by all Government offices, many socio-cultural organizations and other groups of persons.

Sports

Presently, common sports of Uttar Pradesh are of two distinct genre: the traditional sports and the modern sports of mainly European origin.

Traditional sports, now played mostly as a past time, include wrestling, swimming, kabaddi and track- or water-sports played according to local traditional rules and without use of modern gears; some times, display of martial skills using a sword or ‘Pata’ (stick) etc. form the basis of sports. But, due to lack of organized patronage and requisite facilities, these sports are surviving mostly as individuals' hobbies or local competitive events, e.g. in interested schools.

Modern sports - the indoor, field and track games - are popular, especially among the educated class, but the State has yet to attain all-round national standing in most of them. There was a time when field hockey was immensely popular and Uttar Pradesh produced some of the finest hockey players of India, who brought glory to the nation.Dhyan Chand, the legendary field hockey player of India and a hero of many Olympic Games of yester years, was born on 29 August 1905, in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany, was so impressed by Dhyan Chand's performance in the Berlinmarker Olympic hockey-finals that he offered to elevate 'Lance Naik' Dhyan Chand to the rank of a Colonel if he migrated to Germany; Chand had declined the offer.

Hockey's popularity is now taken over by cricket. Though not renowned for it cricket team, U.P. won its first Ranji Trophy tournament in February 2006, beating Bengalmarker in the final. It can also boast of its 3 or 4 players normally finding a place in the national side. Green Park Stadium in Kanpurmarker is one of the oldest cricket venues in India and has witnessed some of India's most famous victories.

Regions of Uttar Pradesh



References

External links




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