India consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. Each of these states and territories has its own charm and allure. Rich in history and diverse in culture, these states have a lot to offer to every tourist who visits them. No matter where you are from, India can stun you with its majestic aura. One state which gives you the perfect sneak peek into India’s intriguing culture, age-old traditions, marvelous natural beauty and magnificent architectural splendor is Uttar Pradesh. (ALSO SEE Breathtakingly beautiful photographs of Uttar Pradesh! Been there yet?) Located in the northern part of India, Uttar Pradesh bears the mark of various eras in Indian history that are worth taking a trip to. It is where you can experience a fine blend of the preserved past and the changing present. Here are the best places to visit in Uttar Pradesh, the window to Indian history and culture.

Varanasi

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh

One of the most serene mornings in the country can be witnessed in Varanasi, a popular Hindu pilgrim destination in Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is often referred to as the religious capital of India. It is visited by a number of Hindu devotees all year round and is the best place to experience Hindu customs and traditions. Located on the banks of the river Ganges, it also makes for a very scenic backdrop.

Agra

Agra

What can be said about Agra that hasn’t been said already? Home to the magnificent Taj Mahal which is India’s most popular tourist attraction, Agra is a fine epitome of Indian history. There is a lot more to the city than the Taj Mahal, though. Its food is as wonderful as its people. The Agra Fort is a fine piece of architecture in itself and the Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah is worth a visit too.

Mathura

The Kusum Sarovar Lake is one of the most visited places in Mathura. It is surrounded by numerous temples and ashrams.

The Kusum Sarovar Lake is one of the most visited places in Mathura. It is surrounded by numerous temples and ashrams.

Mathura is a place of high significance for Hindus all over the world. This is because it is considered to be the birthplace of the famous Hindu deity Shri Krishna. The Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Mandir now stands at Krishna’s birthplace. Several other temples located here are always full of devotees. The Kusum Sarovar lake is one of the most serene tourist spots and is surrounded by temples and ashrams.

Allahabad

Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh

Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh

Known for the huge Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious gathering that takes place every 12 years, Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh is a prime Hindu pilgrim center. The Triveni Sangam here, which is the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati, is a major attraction. The Khusro Baug and Allahabad Fort are other popular places to visit in Allahabad.

Sarnath

Sarnath

One of the most popular Buddhist pilgrim centers in the world, Sarnath is where Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon and taught the dharma, which is now followed by millions around the world. The popular Dhamek stupa is visited by a number of tourists on account of its religious significance as well as its impressive architecture.

Lucknow

Lucknow

Lucknow

Lucknow is one of the best food cities of India. Visit this amazing city in Uttar Pradesh for its lip-smacking cuisine including kebabs, biryanis and kulfis. Not to forget, Lucknow is also a major hub of art. culture, and poetry having produced some of the finest artists in the country. Located on the banks of the Gomti river, Lucknow is as beautiful as it is historic.

Ayodhya

Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya is a popular Hindu pilgrim destination on account of its association with Lord Rama, a revered Hindu deity. The ancient city is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama and is therefore home to many Rama temples. It also holds significance for followers of Islam as it was home to the 16th century Babri mosque. Surrounded by history and controversy, Ayodhya continues to maintain its charm and ethnicity and is one of the best places to visit in Uttar Pradesh. CHECK OUT 8 things we learnt about Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri

Ethnic ruins of Fatehpur Sikri

Ethnic ruins of Fatehpur Sikri

And then there is the historic Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, a delight for those who dig the Mughal era. A World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of Akbar’s kingdom from 1571 to 1585. Today, the historic ruins and red Sikri sandstone buildings that stand here take you back in time to the royal Mughal era. The marvelous architecture of Buland Darwaza and Panch Mahal here are not to be missed.

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