Situated in the northern part of India, it has the distinction of being the most populous state of India. In terms of area, it is the fourth largest, among all the states. The wealth of its monuments, mystical call of its mountains and lakes, and the religious fervour that it evokes, have rendered Uttar Pradesh, one of the most fascinating states of the Indian Union. Whether one is on a spiritual quest, or in search of adventure, or just on a curiosity trip, Uttar Pradesh has something to offer to everyone.
Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
128 kms.from Varanasi and located at the confluence (Sangam) of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, Allahabad - one of the oldest cities of India and a pilgrimage centre of utmost importance is also famous for the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh Melas held every twelve and six years respectively.
The ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana, was founded by Manu, the law-giver of the Hindus. For centuries it was the capital of the decendants of the Surya Vansh of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king.
The innumerable Jain Shrines that dot the state of Uttar Pradesh speak of a myriad intimate association with the lives and activities of the Jain Tirthankars (Jain religious preachers), who spread the message of peace, non violence, love and enlightenment.
It is this that has attracted and moulded the sentiments of millions of people across the nation as well as the world. Today, around Jain devotees live in India.
Uttar Pradesh holds immense attraction for all those who desire to see the great Jain architectural splendour, and to know and understand the teachings of the great Tirthankars- the liberated souls who, through hard penance, freed themselves from the cycle of birth and rebirth. And, offered to humanity the recourse to salvation, freedom from the ocean of Phenomenal Existence and liberation from the Cycle of rebirth through Jainism.
The museum in Lucknow, once situated in the historic Choti Chattar Manzil and the Lai Baradari, erstwhile coronation hall of the nawabs ofAvadh, moved in 1963 to its new premises, a modern three storeyed structure situated incongruously in the the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens.
From the Delhi-Agra highway near Mathura, one can see the red temple that marks the place of Krishna’s birth. However, it is only when one ventures a few miles down to Vrindavan that Krishna’s real home is discovered. It is a town that bears the characteristics of a village with its narrow streets and many cows that wander freely around, unmolested and even revered by the Hindus who live here. Although Vrindavan is not actually where Krishna is believed to have been born, it is here that he is said to have spent a great deal of time in play and indulged in the playful act of hiding the clothes of cowherding girls (the gopis) as they bathed in the rive. The river has now meandered away and the woods that once flourished here have long since disappeared although the town maintains some wooded parkland. The details of Krishna’s life have similarly been obscured by the myth that now surrounds him. However, Krishna’s validity as a historical figure is borne out by ancient scriptures like the Mahabharata that records great battles that were once waged in this region
Holi heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over India. According to a legend, Hiranya Kashyap, the demon who ruled over 'Sapta Deep' believed himself to be more powerful than God. He contemplated killing his youngest son Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu after he refused to worship him as God.
Holika, the demon's sister who possessed a divine, garment to protect her from fire, agreed to enter the burning pyre with Prahlad in her lap but got burnt herself.
Holi thus signifies the triumph of good over evil and is marked by grand festivities all over India and particularly in the Braj area where it is celebrated with great gaiety and fervour.
It is believed that Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in human form played holi with the Gopi's (cowherd maids) in the ancient past. Keeping this tradition alive in Braj, Holi celebrations last for more than a week and are marked by people sprinkling colored water & smearing colored powder on each other.
The playful teasing of the Gopis by the Gopas (cowherd boys) is enacted by groups of men and women through special Holi songs and dances, called Rasiya.