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India and Beyond-1: Uttar Pradesh

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Its that time of the year when the summer vacations are about to begin. Many of you must be planning of your favorite trip to your dream destinations. Places like London,Paris,Swiz..etc etc always top the list of the vacation goers.But if at all you are planning of some trip in our own country, believe me the list is endless.

Yes, abroad is always an attractive destination for desi people, but having traveled almost the whole of the country, I hold a different opinion. India’s rich heritage and culture remains unparalleled, and the country’s unity in diversity is still being looked at with awe by the entire world. We really have a great-great history. Believe me our country has got something very beautiful to be seen before you pack your bags for abroad.

So, I am going to be your guide for your vacation plans. No, I’m not going to help us with the routes and nearest hotels, instead I’m going to help you understand what it actually feels to be at that place. Here is a brief description of the many places that I have personally visited and are a must visit.

Starting with my very favorite Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh: I share a very emotional bond with this place. This state has got many beautiful places and monuments that are worth mentioning. The monuments includes one of the seven wonders, the Taj Mahal. But my favorite is always the holy city of Varanasi.Best known as “The City of Gods”.benaras

Varanasi, is one of the ancient cities of India. It has got something really spiritual in its environment and I could feel it from the moment I visited it for the first time. I have been there for not less than 8 times, but I still look forward to visiting it again. That’s the beauty of the city(Its divine!). It has the might Ganges decorated with numerous Ghats. One dip in the holy Ganges and you will feel something unexplainable. Varanasi has got more than 70 ghats and each Ghat is unique and has its own story to tell. The very famous Manikarnika Ghat will for sure hold your attention. This is the one where the cremations are carried out. Also you dare not give the Temple of KashiVishwanath a miss! It houses one of the famous JyotirLingas. Besides,people who love shopping, please don’t forget the Banarasi sarees. There are a perfect blend of silk, zari and embroidery. If you can  get hold of one, it will be worth it! There are many monuments nearby like the Ramnagar Fort and also some places like Benaras Hindu University which are worth visiting. Varanasi cannot be described, it can only be felt. So,fellow travellers if you want to experience spirituality and divinity? Varanasi is your destination!

Agra: This place needs no introduction. The white marbled Taj Mahal, situated on the banks of the river Yamuna. One look at the Taj and you will not be able to take your eyes off it! Its a mighty building with delicate floral carvings all over it. I was told about some of the verses written on the monument from the holy book of Quran, though I could hardly understand it. Besides Taj Mahal stands best for its architectural beauty. What surprised me the most was when I was informed that it is taller than the Qutub Minar, it was then that I could imagine how beautifully its dimensions have been carved out.agra 25

Inside the Taj is a huge hall where Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan lay at rest. Our guide explained a lot about the history and the architectural specialties of the brand Taj but I was so absorbed in the surrounding that I hardly remember any details. If your eyes have still not witnessed the Taj, make sure they do this time. Also, pay a visit to equally astounding monuments like the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri (After visiting this place I realized that it really took long for people at that time to move from one chamber to the other.The chambers are so huge and located far from each other that it always takes a few minutes from one to the other), Jama Masjid, Jodhabai Palace,Moti Masjid etc.

Allahabad: Best known as the city of “Prime Ministers”(As most of our Prime Ministers have come from this city). It witnesses the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the Saraswati(though it is nowhere to be seen). Mornings at Prayag have always been my favorite.I have visited it during the Kumbh Mela. I could hardly notice the surrounding as it was so crowded with people all around waiting eagerly for there chance of the holy dip.

The city also houses the huge campus of Anand Bhavan, the house which has stood witness to some of the important incidents in the Indian freedom struggle.This patriarchal house belonging to the Nehru-Gandhi family, is where some of the most important political meetings of the Indian National Congress were held. The Swaraj Bhavan located in the same campus is where the first women Prime Minister of India was born.

Heard about Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad? The locality has the Alfred Park were Azad fought valiantly before shooting himself and thus, preventing himself from being caught alive.

Fascinated with bridges? Allahabad has one of the unique cable stayed bridges located across the river Yamuna.

Allahabad has more to offer.Being one of the oldest cities of the world you will find yourself standing at some corner of the street and wondering what all the place must have witnessed!

Allahabad fort

Jhansi: This historic city has stood witness to India’s first freedom struggle. Besides, its the place where the beloved Rani ruled. The Rani Mahal located in the city is the royal palace of Rani Lakshmibai. The palace has beautiful multicoloured, floral intricate designs. Most of the parts of the palace are destroyed. They said it was destroyed due to the bombings carried out by the British, but on seeing the palace turned museum you might feel that the place has been neglected by the authorities. If you must have visited any other royal palace of India you might find it difficult to call  Rani Mahal a royal palace. Many of the people will suggest you not to visit there. But even if these things discourage you to visit that place and hold you back, I’ll still strongly recommend this place as a must visit. Even if the queen’s apartment has nothing significant to offer, still that place is where a woman of just 22 years of age stood up against the might British army, with just a handful of soldiers only to fight for her own rights.

rani mahal

Uttar Pradesh is a big state with numerous tourists attractions. The state boasts of rich variations in almost all fields like architecture, culture, literature, music, arts, history, religion etc. The state is kind of All in one tourist package where you witness almost every facet of life.

The above mentioned places are just a few of them which I have visited. Maybe, when you visit you can explore more places there. Next time I visit UP, I look forward to explore the most talked about places like the famous city of Nawabs(Lucknow), the industrial center Kanpur,the place of my beloved Lord Krishna(Mathura & Vrindavan),the pilgrim center Sarnath and many more.

It will be great to know from you all  about any more place in Uttar Pradesh which are worth visiting and have not been mentioned above.I eagerly look forward to visiting the ‘Heartland of India’ again!

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