Introduction to Uttar Pradesh
Dubbed as the United Provinces by the British, and called by the same name until India gained Independence in 1947, Uttar Pradesh was once the largest state in India. Since the administrative division of the state, which happened in 2000, Uttar Pradesh has now slid down to the fourth spot when it comes to net territory, with Rajasthan emerging as the new leader. The state holds immense significance for the country, and wields considerable political as well as economical sway over the nation. The state has several tourist destinations, holy shrines, and has a number of natural resources. Primarily an agricultural state, Uttar Pradesh, the state gets its name from the fact that it was one of the most prominent states in the north, and the Hindi word for the north is Uttar (also called Uttara in Sanskrit).
Uttar Pradesh is deeply influenced by the Mughal rule, and was home to the Nawabs of Avadh for centuries. It finds mention not just in Ramayana, where the city of Mathura is the birthplace to the epic's hero Lord Rama, but in Mahabharata as well, with the city of Hastinapur located very close to the city of Meerut in the state. The state sees a lot of visitors, both national and international, for popular tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal
, as well as for spiritual destination like Varanasi.
History of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh finds mention in many of the Hindu Vedas, and was known as Madhya Desh when the Aryans were slowly expanding over the north and north east India. The name stems from the fact that the state lied in between Delhi and Patna, two major cities even back then. While the earliest Vedas make little to mention of the state, this changed in the later Vedas. With Rig Veda, Uttar Pradesh finds regular mention in the ancient texts, often referred by the various prominent cities and provinces of the states.
Kuru, Panchal, Kosal and Kashi are often described as the seat of learning and great cultures in these later vedas and correspond to the modern day areas of Meerut, Bareily, Lucknow
and Varanasi. The excavated remains of lost civilisations found in the cities of Bundelkhand, Mirzapur and Meerut suggest the life was thriving in this region even during the stone age. As the Aryan kings expanded their reign, the former Sapt Sindhu area which is now the modern-day Punjab, slowly lost its importance, and several provinces in Uttar Pradesh became the new seat of power instead. Uttar Pradesh also transformed into an important religious place with cities like Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya and Mathura finding multiple mentions in the Vedas as well as the Hindu epics.
With the arrival of the British Raj in the country, Uttar Pradesh was renamed to the United Provinces, a name which the region kept for the duration of the British rule, before finally discarding it post-Independence and becoming the modern day Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow serves as the capital of the state, and the city has held a lot of prominence in North India since a long time. However, the city became the capital of Uttar Pradesh only in 1920, before which time the role of the capital city of Uttar Pradesh was served by Allahabad.
Even before the British rule, many empires have risen and fallen in Uttar Pradesh, the state absorbing the best that each had to offer and prospering every time. Some notable empires that have thrived in Uttar Pradesh include Magadha, Nanda, Gupta, and Mughal.
Geography of Uttar Pradesh
- Head of State: Governer – Mr Ram Naik
- Head of Government - Chief Minister: Shri Aditya Nath Yogi
- Ruling Party: Bharatiya Janata Party
- Number of districts – 75
- Languages spoken: Hindi and Urdu
- Area: 243,2990 square km
- Population: 20 crores
- Website: http://up.gov.in/
- Main Rivers: Ganga, Yamuna, Gomati and Saraswati.
- Crops: Paddy, Wheat, Barley, Jwar, Bajra, Maize, Urad, Moong, Arhar, Gram.
- Fruits: Mango, Guava, Apple.
- Main Minerals: Limestone, Dolomite, Magnesite, Soapstone, Gypsum, Glasss and, Marble, Granite, Phosphorite, Bauxite, Non-plastic, Fireclay, etc.
- Main Industries: Cement, Vegetable oils, Textiles, Cotton yarn, Sugar, Jute, Glassware and Bangles.
- Main Handicrafts: Chikan work, Zari work, Wooden toys and fruniture, Terracotta toysand Brass work.
- Main Tourist Places: Lucknow, Agra, Allahabad, Varanasi, etc.
- Main Religious Places: Kashi, Prayag, Ayodhya, Mathura, Vindhyavasini Devi Temple, Deva Sharif, etc.
- Main Folklores: Birha, Chaiti, Dhola, Kajari.
Holding the status of being the fourth largest state in India post 9 November, 2000, when Uttarakhand was separated from it, Uttar Pradesh spans an area of 243,2990 square kilometres. While the state shares borders with Uttarakhand and Nepal in the North, it also shares land borders with a number of other states. Rajasthan in West, Bihar to the East, Delhi and Haryana in the North West side, Jharkhand towards the South East, Chattisgarh in the South, and finally Madhya Pradesh in the South-West make up the bordering states/nations of Uttar Pradesh. Coordinates wise, the state extends from 23°52'N to 31°28'N latitudes North to South, and 77°3' and 84°39'E East to West.
The two biggest rivers of the state are Ganga and Yamuna, with the river Saraswati no longer active. The two rivers provide water for irrigation across the fertile lands of the state and help agriculture thrive in Uttar Pradesh.
When the seeking division of the state based on primary hypsographical areas, Uttar Pradesh can be categorised into three main regions which are
- The Shivalik foothills and the Terai region
- The vast Gangetic plains, and
- The Vindhya Hills
Read More about Geography of Uttar Pradesh
Administration in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is a state in the Union of India, and as such follows the same political framework as the rest of the country. The Governor is the titular head of the state, while the Chief Minister represents the elected officials of the state. The former position is currently occupied by Mr. Ram Naik, while the elected head of the state is Shri Aditya Nath Yogi of Bharatiya Janata Party.
Uttar Pradesh has two High Courts, one in its capital city Lucknow, and one in Allahabad. This is due to the fact that Lucknow was made capital only in 1920. Before which Allahabad served as the capital. As such, the various administrative authorities and organisations of the state are located in these two cities.
Economy of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is not only one of the largest states in India, it is also one of the most important regions in India from an economic point of view. It has the fourth largest economy in India, and claims a GDP of nearly Rupees 7080 billion. Since ancient times, agriculture has been one of the biggest sources of revenue for the residents of Uttar Pradesh and this holds true even today. The second most vital sector of the economy in Uttar Pradesh today is the service industry. With a number of Special Economic Zones being set up in the state with the combined efforts of the Uttar Pradesh governments as well as the Central government, the economy of Uttar Pradesh shows indications of getting even stronger in the coming years.
Culture of Uttar Pradesh
Hindi is the primary mode of communication for Uttar Pradesh, although Urdu is recognised as one of the official languages for the state as well. The 75 districts into which Uttar Pradesh has been divided have majority of residents who speak or understand Hindi. The fertile plains in the region have ensured that millions of farmers live and thrive in the region. The importance of farming in the region was also one of the factors that led to the famous Farmer's Movement in the Pre-Independence era which started in the city of Lucknow as one of the session of the Indian National Congress.
The culture of Uttar Pradesh is a virtual melting pot, with the various cities of this state having their distinct local flavours. The former princely states that make up the modern day Uttar Pradesh have left a lasting impact on the people, with the many idiosyncrasies from the era surviving even today.
The state is not only the most populous one in India, but also holds the distinction of being the most populous primary sub-division of a country anywhere in the world. With such a large population, and close interaction with the neighbouring states, Uttar Pradesh has managed to peacefully coexist with them all. From a religious point of view, Hindus form the majority in the state, accounting for 80.6% of the total population of Uttar Pradesh. The minority religions in the state include Muslims, with 18.4%, and the rest being comprised of Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists.
Even though Hindi is the primary language spoken here, a number of dialects exist, the chief among them being Braj bhasha, Khari boli, Bundelkhandi, Awadhi, and Bhojpuri. Read More about Culture of Uttar Pradesh
Did You Know?
~ Uttar Pradesh got its present name only in 1950, and was established as the United Provinces on April 1, 1937.
~ Uttar Pradesh played a vital role in the Independence Movement of India, with key fights happening in Lucknow and Ballia.
~ Uttar Pradesh is famous for its mangoes and sugarcane produce, as well as the Chikan embroidery work which only happens in Lucknow.
~ Urdu is widely understood in Uttar Pradesh, and is part of the local language, forming a unique mix of Hindi and Urdu, especially in the Avadh.
Uttar Pradesh Tourism
Uttar Pradesh sees millions of visitors each year, with a chunk of international tourists visiting to see the Taj Mahal. Having one of the seven wonders of the world has created a major tourism opportunity for the state, and helps drive its service industry with the hospitality and tourism industry bringing in millions in revenues for the state as well as the country. In fact, the state stands number one in India on the basis of revenues generated from tourism. Having Taj Mahal certainly helps in this regard, but the rich topography of the state invites visitors to explore its many other wonders as well.
The Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
sees millions of gatherers on a single day, and the state is full of multiple culturally important locations where people visit from all across the globe. Buddhism, which is a major religion in many countries also finds its roots in India, and Uttar Pradesh has a number of places which are significant to the religion, inviting religious visits from these countries. The capital city, Lucknow, also has some beautiful monuments and relics from the Nawabs era, which are another major tourist attraction in Uttar Pradesh.
Watch the Documentary of Kumbh Mela 2013
Transport in Uttar Pradesh
The state of Uttar Pradesh has a well functioning public transportation system
as well as superb amenities for private transport mediums. The national railway grid connects the state to every other state in India, and Uttar Pradesh has a number of national highways, state highways and high speed expressways as well. Long distance as well as short distance trains connect its various cities to neighbouring cities and other states. The grid of roads also ensures that visiting any part of the country is an easy endeavour.
With over two dozen airports, Uttar Pradesh is easy to reach via flights as well. International flights are available in just a few of these airports, with the Chowdhary Charan Singh airport
or the Amausi Airport in Lucknow
being one of the most prominent ones, but domestic flights across India operate regularly from all the other airports. With no shore line, and the lack of utilisation of the river grid for transportation purposes, the state has no prominent water based transportation system in place as of yet, the popular metro system for local transportation is under active development in the region. The border cities of Noida and Ghaziabad are already connected through the metro system owing to their inclusion in the central National Capital Region, and the construction plan for the Metro in Lucknow is making firm progress as well.
Uttar Pradesh Interesting Facts
~ Tree, one of its kind in the entire world, having a religious significance, is found in the Kintoor village of Uttar Pradesh. The tree adorns very few flowers which bloom only during th day. It is also said that the Tree could be found only in heaven.
~ Shamli, a block in Muzaffarnagar district, has the highest number of LIC premiums in India.
Sports in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh regularly takes part in the various sporting events held across the country, and players from the state frequently represent the country on an international stage as well. Cricket, Hockey and Football are some of the most popular sports played and followed in Uttar Pradesh but they are far from being the only one. From shooting to sprinting, and traditional sports like Kabaddi and even kushti are well represented by the state. Several renowned sports figures have emerged from Uttar Pradesh, with Major Dhyanchand, the hockey legend, being one of the most prominent among them. Aerobics, athletics, badminton, chess, carom, swimming, volleyball, and tennis are some of the other popular sports in the regions.Click Here for more information on: Sports Stadiums in UP
Healthcare Facilities in Uttar Pradesh
With a population close to 20 crores, Uttar Pradesh has the highest population, as well as the highest population density in the country. Decade to decade, from 2001 this population has grown by 20% from the last census conducted in 2011. With a literacy rate of almost 70%, a huge chunk of the population in Uttar Pradesh is still illiterate.
Illiteracy exposes people to greater health risks, as they are not aware of proper dietary habits, as well as how to safeguard against common and easily preventable diseases. The state government has set up a number of government run hospitals across the state in order to ensure that the poor have cheap access to quality medical facilities. Since a large number of people in Uttar Pradesh still reside in villages, the government also has programs in conjunction with the World Health Organisation to provide remote medical services to these areas. Aanganbadis, and similar health clinics are set up in villages, and all registered government doctors are mandated to contribute towards rural healthcare by allocating a minimum amount of time per professional for which the doctor needs to work from these rural establishments.
Vaccination drives are run at frequent intervals as well, the most popular example being the Pulse Polio movements which has helped India successfully get rid of the polio disease at last. Great care is being paid by the authorities to set up better quality establishments for women in specific, and common diseases which are prevalent among the below poverty line individuals, such as tuberculosis, have special programs dedicated to them.