Uttar Pradesh has multicultural, multiracial, fabulous wealth of nature-hills, valleys, rivers, forests, and vast plains. Viewed as the largest tourist destination in India, Uttar Pradesh boasts of 35 million domestic tourists. More than half of the foreign tourists, who visit India every year, make it a point to visit this state of Taj and Ganga. Agra itself receives around one million foreign tourists a year coupled with around twenty million domestic tourists. Uttar Pradesh is studded with places of tourist attractions across a wide spectrum of interest to people of diverse interests. The seventh most populated state of the world, Uttar Pradesh can lay claim to be the oldest seat of India’s culture and civilization. It has been characterized as the cradle of Indian civilization and culture because it is around the Ganga that the ancient cities and towns sprang up. Uttar Pradesh played the most important part in India’s freedom struggle and after independence it remained the strongest state politically.
Uttar Pradesh is between latitude 24Â°-31Â°N and longitude 77Â°-84Â°E. Area wise, it is the fourth largest state of India.. The Gangetic Plain occupies three quarters of the state.
The epics of Hinduism, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were written in Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh also had the glory of being home to Lord Buddha. It has now been established that Gautama Buddha spent most of his life in eastern Uttar Pradesh, wandering from place to place preaching his sermons. The empire of Chandra Gupta Maurya extended nearly over the whole of Uttar Pradesh. Edicts of this period have been found at Allahabad and Varanasi. After the fall of the Mauryas, the present state of Uttar Pradesh was divided into four parts: Surseva, North Panchal, Kosal, and Kaushambi.
The western part of Uttar Pradesh saw the advent of the Shaks in the second century BC. Not much is known of the history of the state during the times of Kanishka and his successors. The Gupta Empire ruled over nearly the whole of Uttar Pradesh, and it was during this time that culture and architecture reached its peak. The decline of the Guptas coincided with the attacks of Huns from Central Asia who succeeded establishing their influence right up to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
The seventh century witnessed the taking over of Kannauj by Harshavardhana. In 1526, Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal dynasty. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the battle of Panipat. Babar carried out extensive campaign in various parts of Uttar Pradesh. He defeated the Rajputs near Fatehpur Sikri while his son Humayun conquered Jaunpur and Ghazipur, after having brought the whole of Awadh under his control. After Babur’s death (1530), his son Humayun forfeited the empire after being defeated at the hands of Sher Shah Suri at Kannauj.
After the death of Sher Shah Suri in 1545, Humayun once again regained his empire but died soon after. His son Akbar proved to be the greatest of Mughals. His established a unified empire over nearly the whole of the India. During his period, Agra became the capital of India and became heartland of culture and arts. Akbar constructed huge forts in Agra and Allahabad. The period of Jahangir (after 1605) saw arts and culture reach a new high. In 1627, after the death of Jahangir, his son Shahjahan ascended the throne. The period of Shahjahan is known as the golden period of India in art, culture, and architecture. It was during his reign that the classical wonder Taj Mahal was built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The rÃ©gime of Aurangzeb saw the peak of Mughal Empire in terms of geographic expansion.