Uttar Pradesh Travel Guide

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krishnendu Chatterjee / krish_rantim@rediffmail.com

Often reffered to as the cow belt or Hindi belt, Uttar Pradesh has been the most dominant state in Indian politics and culture since Independence, producing nine of India's 13 prime ministers. This is partly because it's the nation's most populous state - it has as many inhabitants as Brazil -and partly because of the central role the region plays in the religious landscape of Hindus.

The Ganges River, which forms the backbone of Uttar Pradesh, is the sacred river of Hinduism, and four of the religion's seven holy towns are in the state, including Varanasi , the holiest of them all. Uttar Pradesh is also a place of major importance to Buddhists, for it was at Sarnath, just outside Varanasi, that the Buddha first preached his message of the middle way. The general , what India is probably known for with a lot of people, is located in Agra . From Agra, most people set off for a visit to the ghost town Fatehpur Sikri .

Most of Uttar Pradesh consists of the vast Ganges plain, an area of awesome flatness which often floods dramatically during the monsoon. The people of this area are predominantly poorly educated farmers, whose unequal share in the wealth and resources enjoyed by the state's urbanites is a matter of social concern. In stark contrast to the plains, the scenic northwestern corner has hill stations sprinkled along the foothills of the Himalaya, boasts excellent trekking and rises to form some of the highest mountains in India.

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