Uttar Pradesh, literally "northern province", one of India's most densely populated states, is popularly styled UP. The states population comprises diverse religious, cultural and ethnic elements and, over its vast
territory, even displace socio cultural differences amongst themselves.
Uttar Pradesh has a very ancient and colorful history. Although the state does not find mention in the Rigaveda, it is recognized in the later vedic age as Brahamrshi Desa or Madhy Desa. Many of the great sages of the vedic times like Bharadwaja, Visihta, Vishwamitra and Vammiki appear to have flourished in UP. Many sacred books of the Aryans were also composed here.
The Himalayan region, with valleys and hills of varying altitudes and colder climate then the plains, is the area where most of the rivers of UP rises. The Himalayan forests with cedars, oaks, pine, rhododendrons and other varieties of trees and flowers, together with charming streams and high mountains make excellent scenic surroundings.
The central part of the state, the Gangetic plains, is alluvial and fertile. Mighty rivers like the Yamuna, Ganga, Goomti, Ram Ganga, Ghagra, Gandak and Chambal, and their tributaries water it. Almost all the important towns and trading centers of central UP are located on these rivers.
Area: 294,000 Sq km
People Per Sq. km: 689689
Best Season: Mountain: March - October
Plains: September - November
Fairs and Festivals
International Yoga Week
Rishikesh is the site of the International Yoga Week, organized by UP Tourism, in February, where one gets to learn yoga from great masters from all over the world, along the banks of the Ganga.
Taj Mahotsav, held in the February, at Agra is an apt introduction to the majesty of the country and the state. A vibrant mosaic that brings together the cream of Indian arts, crafts and cultural nuances.
A land steeped in velour and chivalry, with every nook and corner resounding with poignant memories of the great past, Jhansi, plays host to the festive spirit, in the months of February-March.
Rang Gulal Festival
Holi, a festival of riotous gaiety and color, comes alive in Lord Krishna's mystical homeland, Brajbhoomi, in the month of March. The Rang Gulal Festival at Mathura showcases all that this exuberant festival is all about.
The birthplace of the Buddha, Uttar Pradesh's unique Buddhist festival, the Buddha Mahotsav, held in April-May, takes one on a fascinating journey through the Buddhist world.
This festival is held at the sacred shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath, in the month of June, pays handsome tribute to the cultural richness of India. The festivities, that stretch over eight days, brings together the greatest artistes of the country, at a unique festival destination.
The Vrindavan Sharadotsav held at Brajbhoomi, in the month of October, encapsulates the magical nature of the land of Lord Krishna. The haunting melody of Krishna's flute still echo from every nook and cranny.
The Garhwal Festival, held in October-November, celebrates the spirit of the Garhwal people, living in the lap of the glorious Himalayas.
The city of Varanasi or Banaras, situated along the banks of the Ganga, celebrates the timeless glory of the river, every year in the months of October-November. A rare festive experience that pays a fitting tribute to the mighty Ganga.
The Kumaon Festival, in the month of November, brings to life the magic of the Kumaoni hills and the people who call these home.
Art and Handicraft
Carpet Weaving And Floor Coverings
Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh is a veritable treasure house of traditional designs ranging from the classical butis (dots) to the famous ' Tree of Life ', The butis are restful even though sparkling when tinted in solid colors. Mango, 'paisley' as it is known in the West, is made in a vast variety of shapes, and used in bold, medium and even fine designs.
The chikan work of Lucknow is the delicate and skillful embroidery done with white thread. This craft introduced by Noor Jehan, the beautiful wife of Jehangir, may have been inspired by Turkish embroidery, as the name 'chikan' seems to have been derived from the Persian word, either 'Chikan', 'Chikin' or 'Chikeen'.
It means a kind of cloth wrought with needlework. The designs are said to have been evolved by Noorjehan, herself. Although it originated as a court craft, today it is a practiced tradition and an important commercial activity.
In metal ware, each locale has its own special design. In domestic-ware each of the scores of lotus (small water-pots) is known by the name of its origin, like Etawah, Varanasi, Sitapur, etc. Uttar Pradesh is the largest Brass and Copper making state in India with thousands of establishments. The range too is really wide. The articles, which are largely the specialty of Uttar Pradesh, are largely in copper like tamrapatra (pot for storing water); panchapatra for holding in all the articles needed for worship; simhasan a seat for the deity; kanchanthal, plate for offering flowers and sweets, and a host of such things.
It is an unique and elaborate art of embroidery done in three dimensions. It is the heavy work used in coverings of all sorts like heavy coats, cushions, curtains, animal trappings, canopies, shoes and the kind. The ground material for zardosi is heavy silk, velvet or satin. The artist first makes free hand sketches of this subject. Then he embroiders in cotton threads over and over till he gets the required thickness and movements.
In Ferozabad, the entire community is involved in making glassware. Earlier only bangles were made, but now all sorts of sophisticated glassware, as well as tasteful tableware is produced.
Now with very modern methods and in a much wider range, ever-new ones are produced, many of which are exported. These are worn by women on their forehead as an ornament or for decorating the fabrics, costumes etc.
The Mughals brought miniature painting, like many other great arts, to India with the valuable assistance of the Persians. Of all the art forms in the Mughal period, miniature paintings are painstakingly painted creations that depict the events and life style of the Mughals in their magnificent palaces.