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Uttar Pradesh, abbreviated as UP, is the most populous state in the Republic of India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Raebareli, Moradabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Sonbhadra, and Varanasi are known for their industrial importance in the state. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarakhand, was carved out from the Himalayan hill region of Uttar Pradesh. The state in the northern region of the Indian subcontinent has over 200 million inhabitants.

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The epics of Hinduism, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were written in Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh also had the glory of being home to Lord Buddha. It has now been established that Gautama Buddha spent most of his life in eastern Uttar Pradesh, wandering from place to place preaching his sermons. The empire of Chandra Gupta Maurya extended nearly over the whole of Uttar Pradesh. Edicts of this period have been found at Allahabad and Varanasi. After the fall of the Mauryas, the present state of Uttar Pradesh was divided into four parts: Surseva, North Panchal, Kosal, and Kaushambi.The western part of Uttar Pradesh saw the advent of the Shaks in the second century BC. Not much is known of the history of the state during the times of Kanishka and his successors. The Gupta Empire ruled over nearly the whole of Uttar Pradesh, and it was during this time that culture and architecture reached its peak. The decline of the Guptas coincided with the attacks of Huns from Central Asia who succeeded establishing their influence right up to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.The seventh century witnessed the taking over of Kannauj by Harshavardhana. In 1526, Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal dynasty. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the battle of Panipat. Babar carried out extensive campaign in various parts of Uttar Pradesh. He defeated the Rajputs near Fatehpur Sikri while his son Humayun conquered Jaunpur and Ghazipur, after having brought the whole of Awadh under his control. After Babur’s death (1530), his son Humayun forfeited the empire after being defeated at the hands of Sher Shah Suri at Kannauj.After the death of Sher Shah Suri in 1545, Humayun once again regained his empire but died soon after. His son Akbar proved to be the greatest of Mughals. His established a unified empire over nearly the whole of the India. During his period, Agra became the capital of India and became heartland of culture and arts. Akbar constructed huge forts in Agra and Allahabad. The period of Jahangir (after 1605) saw arts and culture reach a new high. In 1627, after the death of Jahangir, his son Shahjahan ascended the throne. The period of Shahjahan is known as the golden period of India in art, culture, and architecture. It was during his reign that the classical wonder Taj Mahal was built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The régime of Aurangzeb saw the peak of Mughal Empire in terms of geographic expansion.Modern-day Uttar Pradesh saw the rise of important freedom fighters on the national scenario. Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jawaharlal Nehru, Smt. Indira Gandhi, and Charan Singh were only a few of the important names who played a significant role in India’s freedom movement and also rose to become the prime ministers of this great nation.

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Barasingha

The barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii syn. Cervus duvaucelii), also called swamp deer, is a deer species distributed in the Indian subcontinent. Populations in northern and central India are fragmented, and two isolated populations occur in southwestern Nepal. It is extinct in Pakistan and in Bangladesh.The specific name commemorates the French naturalist Alfred Duvaucel.The swamp deer differs from all the Indian deer species in that the antlers carry more than three tines. Because of this distinctive character it is designated barasingha, meaning “twelve-tined.” Mature stags have 10 to 14 tines, and some have been known to have up to 20.

Sarus crane

The sarus crane (Grus antigone) is a large non-migratory crane found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. The tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), they are conspicuous and iconic species of open wetlands. The sarus crane is easily distinguished from other cranes in the region by the overall grey colour and the contrasting red head and upper neck. They forage on marshes and shallow wetlands for roots, tubers, insects, crustaceans and small vertebrate prey. Like other cranes, they form long-lasting pair-bonds and maintain territories within which they perform territorial and courtship displays that include loud trumpeting, leaps and dance-like movements.

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Saraca asoca

Saraca asoca (the ashoka tree; lit., “sorrow-less”) is a plant belonging to the Caesalpinioideae subfamily of the legume family. It is an important tree in the cultural traditions of the Indian subcontinent and adjacent areas. It is sometimes incorrectly known as Saraca indica.The ashoka is a rain-forest tree. Its original distribution was in the central areas of the Deccan plateau, as well as the middle section of the Western Ghats in the western coastal zone of the Indian subcontinent.

Saussurea obvallata

Saussurea obvallata is a species of flowering plant in the Asteraceae. It is native to the Himalayas and Uttarakhand, India, northern Burma and southwest China. In the Himalayas, it is found at an altitude of around 4500 mIt is the state flower of Uttarakhand.Saussurea obvallata is a perennial growing to 0.3 m (1 ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Flowers bloom in mid-monsoon (July–August) amongst the rocks and grasses of the hillside at an altitudinal range of 3000–4800 m. Flower heads are purple,hidden from view in layers of yellowish-green papery bracts, which provide protection from the cold mountain environment. The flowers can be seen till mid-October, after which the plant perishes, becoming visible again in April.Local names of this flower are Brahma Kamal, Kon and Kapfu.

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The World’s longest Railway Platform is at Gorakhpur Railway Station (NER) which is about 1.34 km long. The state has the largest railway network in the country and the sixth highest railway density. As 0f 2011, there were 8,546 km (5,310 mi) of rail in the state.Allahabad is the headquarters of the North Central Railway and Gorakhpur is the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway.Other than Zonal Headquarters of Allahabad and Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Moradabad serve as divisional Headquarters of the Northern Railway Division. Lucknow Swarna Shatabdi Express, the second fastest shatabdi train, connects the Indian capital of New Delhi to Lucknow. This was the first train in India to get the new German LHB coaches.The railway stations of Lucknow NR, Kanpur Central, Varanasi Junction, Agra Cantt, Gorakhpur and Mathura Junction were included in the Indian Railways list of 50 world-class railway stations.

The state has a large, multimodal transportation system with the largest road network in the country.The state is well connected to its nine neighboring states and almost all other parts of India through the national highways (NH). It boasts 42 national highways, with a total length of 4,942 km (9.6% of the total NH length in India). The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation was established in 1972 to provide economical, reliable, and comfortable transportation in the state with connecting services to adjoining states and boasts as being the only State Transport Corporation that runs in profit in the entire nation. All cities are connected to state highways, which carry traffic between major centres within the state. Other district roads and village roads provide villages accessibility to meet their social needs as also the means to transport agriculture produce from village to nearby markets. Major district roads provide a secondary function of linking between main roads and rural roads.Uttar Pradesh has the highest road density in India, (1,027 km per 1000 km2) and the largest surfaced urban-road network in the country (50,721 km).The state has excellent civil aviation infrastructure with Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi, providing international service.and four domestic airports located at Agra, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Kanpur. The Lucknow Airport is the second busiest airport in North India after the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. The state has also proposed creating the Taj International Airport at Kurikupa near Hirangaon, Tundla in Firozabad district.An international Airport is also proposed at Kushinagar.

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Cuisine

A typical day-to-day traditional vegetarian meal of Uttar Pradesh, like any other North Indian thali, consists of roti (flatbread), chawal, dal, sabji, raita and papad. Many people still drink the traditional drink chaach (traditional Butter milk) with meals. On festive occasions, usually ‘tava’ (flat pan for roti) is considered inauspicious, and instead fried foods are consumed. A typical festive thali consists of Puri, Kachauri, sabji, pulav, papad, raita, salad and desserts (such as sewai or Kheer).Many communities have their own particular style of cuisines, such as the Jains, Kayasths and Muslims. There are also certain sub-regional delicacies. Awadhi cuisine is world famous for dishes such as kebab, biryani, keema and nihari. Sweets occupy an important place in the Hindu diet and are eaten at social ceremonies.

Language and literature

Several texts and hymns of the Vedic literature were composed in Uttar Pradesh. The festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to Sage Vyasa, and also known as Vyasa Purnima as it is the day which is believed to be his birthday and also the day he divided the Vedas.There is a long literary and folk Hindi language tradition in the state. In the 19th and 20th century, Hindi literature was modernised by authors such as Jaishankar Prasad, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Munshi Premchand, Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Babu Gulabrai, Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan ‘Agyeya’, Rahul Sankrityayan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Dharamvir Bharati, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Dushyant Kumar, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Acharya Kuber Nath Rai, Bharatendu Harishchandra, Kamleshwar Prasad Saxena, Shivmangal Singh Suman, Mahadevi Varma, and Vibhuti Narain Rai.

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Music and dance

Uttar Pradesh has produced musicians, including Anup Jalota, Baba Sehgal, Girija Devi, Gopal Shankar Misra, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Kishan Maharaj, Vikash Maharaj[206] Naushad Ali, Ravi Shankar, Shubha Mudgal, Siddheshwari Devi, Talat Mehmood, and Ustad Bismillah Khan. The Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar was a native of Uttar Pradesh. The region’s folk heritage includes songs called rasiya (especially popular in Braj), which celebrate the divine love of Radha and Krishna. Other forms of music are kajari, sohar, qawwali, rasiya, thumri, birha, chaiti, and sawani. Traditional dance and musical styles are taught at the Bhatkhande Music Institute University in Lucknow, named after the musician Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.

Fairs and festivals

Diwali (celebrated between mid-October and mid-December) and Rama Navami are popular festivals in Uttar Pradesh. Kumbh Mela, organised in the month of Maagha (Feb-March), is a major festival held every twelve years in rotation at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, on the river Ganges and Nasik on the Godavari river.Lath mar Holi is a local celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi. It takes place well before the actual Holi in the town of Barsana near Mathura. Taj Mahotsav, held annually at Agra, is a colorful display of the culture of the Braj area.Buddha Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, is a major Hindu and Buddhist festival, while Christmas is celebrated by the minority Christian population. Other festivals are Vijayadashami, Makar Sankranti, Vasant Panchami, Ayudha Puja, Ganga Mahotsava, Janmashtami, Sardhana Christian Fair, Maha Shivaratri, Mahavir Jayanti, Moharram, Bārah Wafāṭ, Eid, Bakreed, Chhath puja, Lucknow Mahotsav, Kabob and Hanuman Jayanti.

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