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11 Historic Cities in Uttar Pradesh

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11 Historic Cities in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, the land of diverse cultures, is also home to varied historical places that are influenced by various rulers, dynasties and religions. Many of them are home to various monuments and architectural delights that are of great value to the country and the historians as well. They attract tourists from all across the country and also from different parts of the world.

Lucknow

Lucknow- the capital of Uttar Pradesh

The capital of Uttar Pradesh and one of the major metropolitan cities in India, Lucknow is a multicultural city. Poetry, music, courtly manners, beautiful parks and gardens, historical monuments and the fine cuisine influenced by the Nawabs of Lucknow are well known to the Indians as well as the people from the foreign lands. It has rightfully earned the sobriquet “City of Nawabs”, “Shiraz-i-Hind”, “Golden City of the East”, etc. If you are on a visit to Lucknow and wish to explore the places of historical importance in the city, then include the following in your tour.

Bara Imambara
Bara Imambara or the famous Bhul Bhulaiya - Built by the 4th Nawab of Awadh in 1784, this building took almost 14 years to get completed. Visiting the Imambara is a unique experience. The main hall is quite big and measures 163 feetX53feetX50 feet and the astonishing feature is that there are no pillars to support this hall which measures 50 feet in height. Also, not even a single piece of girder or beam has been used in its construction. This world’s largest unsupported structure was designed by architect Hafiz Kifayat Ullah. The labyrinth is located on the first floor, above the Imambara and has a network of almost 489 doorways that are identical and 1000 passages. No doubt, it is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Lucknow.

Rumi Darwaza
The Turkish Gate or the Signature Building of Lucknow as it is commonly known as, was built by the Roman workers and hence, its name. It is a 3-storeyed building that stands sixty feet tall and is beyond compare in its beauty. Resplendent of the Awadhi architecture, this building was designed by the famous architect, Hafiz Kifayat Ullah.

Hussainabad Picture Gallery
Hussianabad Picture Gallery was built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh in 1838 to be used as the Royal Summer House. It exhibits some large sized unique pictures of the Nawabs that have been made on the elephant skin and diamonds were grounded to make colors. At times, you will experience that some part of the paintings move along with you, thus, these paintings are simply superb. The Gallery is located near Chhota Imambara.

Jama Masjid
King Muhammad Ali Shah started the construction work of Jama Masjid in Lucknow in 1839 and his main intention was to surpass the one at Delhi. Due to the unexpected death of the king, the Masjid was completed by his wife, Malika Jahan Begum. People say that she spent almost all her treasure to complete the construction of this excellent piece of art in Lucknow.

Agra

It may sound a little weird to all that Agra is one place that overtakes the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow. But this is possible only due to the fact that it houses one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. Serving as the capital to the Mughals for many years, this city has many historical monuments lined up to delight one and all. The city is a center of Art, Culture and Religious philosophies enriching the entire humanity.

Taj Mahal
Completed in around 14 years in 1648, the Taj Mahal, a white marble tomb was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It has a wonderful blend of the Hindu and Islamic architecture with an assortment of motifs from the Turkish and Persian sources. It is one of the Seven Wonders in the World and thus, visited by thousands of people from all corners of the world.

Agra Fort
Mughal emperor Akbar started the construction work of the mighty Agra Fort that is built using the red sandstone. Although primarily a military structure during the time of Akbar, several additions were made by his grandson, Shah Jahan to partially convert it into a palace. Eclectic results were found when Akbar utilized both Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. This fort was completed by three generations of the Mughal dynasty.

Moti Masjid
Popularly known as the Pearl Mosque, Moti Masjid was built by Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor. It earned the sobriquet of Pearl Mosque as it shined like a white pearl both during day and night. It was made for the members of the royal court by the emperor. It took almost 4 years to get completed and an amount of 1 lakh sixty thousand rupees was spent to construct it.

Tomb of Salim Chishti
Tomb of Salim Chishti is one of the finest examples of the Mughal architecture in the country. It is the burial place of Salim Chishti, the Sufi saint. It was constructed by the Mughal emperor Akbar as a respect for the saint. Salim Chishti foretold his son’s birth who succeeded Akbar as Jahangir. The main chamber’s door has the inscriptions from the Quran and is carved intricately with arabesque patterns.

Sikandra

A town that stands tall for its architecture is Sikandra in Uttar Pradesh. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, it became quite famous. It is believed to have received its name from the Lodhi dynasty. It was chosen as the final resting place by Akbar himself and thus, it received much fame.

Mausoleum of Emperor Akbar
The mausoleum has elements of different religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam that were practiced during that period of time. It was constructed due to Akbar’s foresight to suit the needs and sentiments of his family members and subjects. The various tombs of Akbar and his daughters are situated at different levels in the Mausoleum. It is well known as Sikandra Fort and has a very aesthetic layout.

Mahakal and Mahakali Temple
At a distance of around 1.2 KM from the mausoleum is the Mahakal and Mahakali Temple which is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and His consort in their destroyer of the world incarnation.

Kanch Mahal
A perfect example of the Persian and Mughal architecture and motifs, the Kanch Mahal stands tall next to the Tomb of Akbar. Lotus motif is used liberally which is an Indian motif mixed with the art forms of the Mughal.

Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
This bird sanctuary houses almost a hundred different varieties of birds. Few of them are Indian natives while others are migratory birds that visit India only during the cold winter season in their respective countries. It is also home to eighteen species of reptiles and twelve species of mammals.

Vrindavan

Vrindavan- Where Lord Krishna spent His childhood

The city, known as the place where Lord Krishna spent his entire childhood. This place is 10 kms from the main town of Mathura. There is a divine and sacred feeling about this place. Surrounded by temples which are mostly dedicated to Krishna and Radha, this place is considered amongst the holiest places in Hinduism.

Madan Mohan Temple
Closely associated with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, this temple stands to be the oldest temple amongst all the temples in Vrindavan. This temple is located near the Kali Ghat and was built by Multan’s Kapur Ram Das.

Banke Bihari Temple
Lord Krishna got the name of Banke or bent due to his tribhanga posture in which he used to stand and enjoy the flute and music. Originally, this statue was worshipped at Nidhivan and was discovered by Swami Haridas who enshrined the statue at the place where it is situated now.

Radha Vallabh Temple
This temple devoted again to Radha and Krishna was originally set up by the Radhavallabh community or Sampradaya. A blend of Persian architecture and Hindu religion is evident here. Sri Hith Harivansh Mahaprabhu and his disciples who written the hymns and scripture can still be seen here till date.

Jaipur Temple
Built by Sawai Madhosingh II of Jaipur, this temple took 30 years to finish. The opulence of this temple is never to be seen before and the craftsmanship and the workmanship on the sand stones are beyond any compare.

Seva Kunj
This forest which is situated adjacent to the Radha Rani Temple is a sacred place where it is believed that Sri Krishna and Radha did there Raas Lila here. Every tree bows down towards the earth as if they are bowing for the divine couples Raas. Place with abundance of monkeys get totally deserted by night.

ISKCON temple
Internationally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON originally formed from USA and in the late 15th century found its followers in UK also in from 1930. ISCKON’s main objective was to spread the use of “Bhakti Yoga” involved in praising Lord Krishna.

Varanasi

Placed on the banks of Sacred River Ganges, this place is amongst the oldest living places of the world. Also known as Kashi, this place is amongst the holiest places in Hinduism and pilgrimages described in it. Famous for its ghats, silk sarees and the place of worship Varanasi or Benaras is considered to be as old as humanity prevails.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Enshrined with one of the Jyotirlingas of Shiva, the temple is considered as holiest temples of Shiva and calls for millions of Shiva devotees to pay a visit here. It is situated on the western ghat on river Ganges. It is paid homage by millions of devotees coming from India as well as abroad.

Ghats of Ganga
The ghats are considered to liberate oneself from the sins that one has done in this world by taking one dip here. People pay visit to the ghats to pay homage to their ancestors and it is considered in Hinduism that before dying a hindu must pay visit to these ghats as a pilgrimage. The ghats are famous for the Ganga Aarti done during evenings here.

Banarasi Silk Sarees
Famous for the hand weaved silk and brocade sarees, Banarasi sarees have been immensely popular from centuries. It is believed that hand weaving in Varanasi is done from the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Jantar Mantar
This observatory is situated at the ghats of the Ganges placed near the palace of Jaipur’s Raja Raisingh. Although not equally equipped like the observatories of Jaipur and Delhi, this too shows measurements and has an equatorial sundial which is monitored by a person.

Ramnagar Fort
On the eastern banks of the Ganges one can observe the presence of Ramnagar Fort. Raja Balwant Singh, Kashi Naresh had built it having a similar architectural presence like Mughals. Built with sandstone, the fort has balconies, verandahs and lot of pavilions which give a lot of scenic beauty to this fort.

Banaras Hindu University
Also commonly called BHU is the central university situated in Varanasi. Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya has established it in 1916. More than 20000 students reside here which makes this university as the largest and biggest in Asia.

Mathura

City also known as the birth place of Sri Krishna is located close to 50 kms from Agra and 145 kms from the capital, New Delhi. Also called Sri Krishna Janma Bhoomi this place is the centre of Brij Bhoomi. The city is also considered amongst the seven holiest cities in Hinduism.

Sri Krishna Janma Bhoomi
Sri Krishna Janma Bhoomi or the Keshav Dev temple is considered as the most sacred in Hinduism as this is the birth place of Lord Krishna. Built over a prison where Lord Krishna took his birth, the temple was built by Bajranabh, the great grandson of Sri Krishna 5000 years ago.

Vishram Ghat
Lord Krishna when killed Kansa, had come to this ghat to rest, hence known as Vishram Ghat. It is the central ghat of all the other 25 ghats in Mathura and therefore has a significant role. This ghat is also used for worshipping and for bathing.

Government Museum
Established in 1874 this museum houses old coins, artifacts, sculptures, paintings found in the area surrounding Mathura. Famous for sculptures placed here dating from 3rd century BC till 12th century AD.

Kans Qila
One of the historical places and has a lot of relevance and significance in historic India. Placed on the northern banks of Yamuna River, the fort once built by Akbar and Raja Man Singh is now in ruins due to improper maintenance.

Nandgaon

Lord Krishna who had spent his childhood days in Vrindavan also had spent some time here. There are signs and traces found in various granthas which say that Lord Krishna spent his time here.

Barsana

Barsana- Birthplace of Radha Rani

This place has historical significance because it indicates that Lord Krishna’s eternal consort Radha spent her childhood days here. Worshippers of Vaishnavism who follow Radha as their goddess consider this place to be a holy place. This town is famous for its Lathi Mar holi in March.

Govardhan

It is famous for the presence of Govardhan hill which has its significance of 21 km long parikrama of this hill. The parikrama has its own religious importance. It is believed that Lord Krishna saved the people of Vrindavan by lifting this hill in his small finger.

Gokul

The place again sees importance as one of the childhood play areas of Lord Krishna. It is here where Lord Krishna had killed the Kaliya Nag in river Yamuna and had saved the people of Vrindavan from its wrath.

Allahabad

The city famous for Sangam or the union of two important rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati can be seen here. This place is also known as Prayag or the place of offerings. In ancient times this place was also called as Kaushambi. The place has its religious and ancient importance from the ages of Rama and has its mentioning in Ved also. The Mughals too saw the importance of this place and Akbar had declared this city as the provincial capital. The city is famous to give five prime ministers to India. Till now 7 prime ministers have been nominated from this place.

Sangam
The union of two physical and one mythical river gives the name Sangam. Ganges and Yamuna are the two physical rivers having extreme importance in Indian history become one here. This place sees a historic site every year with hosting of Kumbh Mela held here.

Alfred Park
Some know and call it as Chandrashekhar Park as the famous freedom fighter for Independence had sacrificed his life here fighting with the British. The park is spread across 133 acres of land and is a major tourist destination.

Allahabad Fort
Built by Emperor Ashoka and rebuilt and maintained by Emperor Akbar. The fort can be seen on the river banks of Yamuna near the sangam. The fort is un paralleled of the design, workmanship and the craftsmanship. It stands unrivaled for its construction and was amongst the largest forts built by Akbar.

Anand Bhavan
The large bunglow now turned to a museum was constructed by Late Motilal Nehru and was residence to the Nehru Family for a long time. Built is 1930 this place has a historic relevance in Indian history for its role in Indian freedom fights.

Jawahar Planetarium
This place is just beside the Anand Bhavan. The planetarium was built in 1979. It is visited by lots of students and college going scholars interested to see the solar system closely. Its head quarter is situated in New Delhi and is operated by JL Nehu Memorial Fund.

Khusro Bagh
The mausoleums of Khusro who was the eldest son of Jehangir lie here. Apart from him Khusro's mother and sisters mausoleums also lie here. This large-walled garden has marvelous architecture of Mughal times.

Kumbh Mela
The largest Hindu pilgrimage of India by any sense. The faith and divine sense of worshipping drive millions of Hindus to come and take a holy dip in the banks of Sangam. The festival is considered as the largest gathering at any place accounting to more than 100 million people coming here.

Sarnath

The city of Sarnath is located very near to the holy city of Varanasi. There is another sangam of rivers which can be seen here between Ganges and Gomati River. This place has its relevance due to Gautam Buddha and his first preaching’s. This is where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence.

Chaukhandi Stupa
This is the place where Buddha first met his 5 companions. This place was built during Gupta period in between 4th to 6th century. An octagonal tower built with bricks was declared as the tallest tower during its time by Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang.

Dhameka Stupa
This place is believed to be the place where Gautam Buddha gave his first Dhamma discourse. It is a cylindrical and solid brick structure. Many modifications has been done to this Stupa with elapse of time.

Ashoka Pillar
It is considered as the most important structure of Sarnath. Built by the great Emperor Ashoka is 12.25 m and 0.71 in diameter at the base and 0.56m at the top. The famous Ashoka chakra tops this structure.

Sarnath Archeological Museum
This museum is house to various artifacts related to Buddhist times. It also has various sculptures which were excavated from the region. A life size image of Bodhisattva stands here with prominence.

Bodhi Tree
This tree is considered as the most sacred tree amongst the Buddhists as it is believed that Lord Buddha attained enlightment under this tree. This tree was planted from a branch taken from the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree situated in Sri Lanka.

Standing Buddha Statue
It is also one of the major tourist attractions of Sarnath which is placed in the Thai Buddha Vihar. It stands tall at 80 ft. The statue was built in joint effort of Indo-Thai.

Fatehpur Sikri

Originally named by Emperor Akbar as Fatehabad, this marvelous mughal architecture is the evidence of Mughal regime. The city was developed by Akbar to honor the Sufi saint Slaim Chisti. It is at Fatehpur Sikri where the Navaratnas of Akbar were born. The courts, harem, private quarters, series of royal palaces are witness to the great Mughal Empire. Fatehpur Sikri is still a very well preserved Mughal Architectural collection in India.

Diwan-I-Aam
This vast courtyard is in the first enclosure of the palace where Emperor Akbar regularly met with his public to resolve their queries and issues. This place was also utilized to dispense judgments on civilian matters to give justice. This place is the second enclosure where all the major functions were held.

Diwan-I-Khaas
It is also considered amongst the finest buildings of Fatehpur Sikri. This courtyard is placed at one end of the Diwan-I-Aam and here the Emperor held meetings with his private audiences. The craftsmanship here is uncomparable as there is a massive pillar placed in between the hall with a capital above and a balcony.

Pachisi Court
This courtyard resembles a board game called pachisi which the Emperor used to play with live pieces just like the pieces which are there in the board game.

Jama Masjid
The large and immense mosque was completed with a blend of Indian and Persian design. At the top of the stone steps one can witness the humongous Buland Darwaja or the Victory Gate to commemorate the victory that Emperor got in Chittor and ranthambore. Once entered from this gate there is a stunning white marble mosque of Sufi Shaikh Salim Chisthi.

Mirzapur

The city of Mirzapur is located 50 km from Varanasi and 90 kms from Allahabad. The city is known for its brassware and carpet industry. The city is also famous for a holy shrine Vindhyachal and is surrounded by many hills which have natural waterfalls and spots. One time it was the largest district of India.

Vindhyachal

It is considered as the most important attraction in Mirzapur. The scenic mountains on one side of the road and the river ganga on the other side make it a perfect destication and spot. Most of the Shaktipeeths are here and that is what makes Vindhyachal very famous. Lots of Waterfalls can be seen during rainy season here in the mountains

Chunar Fort
It is a very historic place and situated 32 kms from Mirzapur. It is believed that King Vikramaditya had built it but it came to importance more after the Mughals came here and finally when the British arrived here.

Tarkeshwar Mahadev
This is a famous temple which is based at the eastern part of the Mirzapur city. Even in purans we can find reference of this temple. It is believed that Lord Vishnu had built the temple for Lord Shiva and a pond which is situated in it. It is also believed that Goddess Laxmi sacrificed herself here and still continues to live in another form of Goddess Vaishnavi

Shivpur
This place has its importance as it is believed that Lord Sri Ram did his Shraddh of his father here and built a temple for Lord Shiva which became as Shivpur later. Since then the place is famous for doing shraddh for the ancestors and lot of people come here every year.

Jhansi

This is a very important and historic city of Uttar Pradesh and India. Located within the region of Bundelkhand, the main or the original city was inside the walled city earlier. Anciently this city was also known as Balwantnagar. Marathas reigned here in 18th century and later the city became a part of the British India. The fort is famously located on an elevated rock which surrounds the city as well as neighboring areas. The city became more famous after one of the erstwhile queens of the city named Rani Laxmi Bai contributed in fight against the British.

Fort of Jhansi
The fort is located and constructed over a rocky hill mountain. It was built by Raja Bir Singh. The city was developed around the fort of Jhansi. During ancient times the city was surrounded by the fort wall with ten gates.

Rani Mahal
This palace is located very near to the Jhansi Fort and id situated in the middle of the city. There one can see various multi coloured paintings and various other arts and their forms. Presently this place is a museum housing various artifacts.

Orchha
This place is around 14 kms distance from Jhansi and is situated on the banks of river Betwa. There is Jehangir Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and other architectural structures situated here. It also consists of a small market and a village.

Government Museum
It is located in the middle of the Jhansi city and is a very picturesque location in itself. There are parks situated nearby making it a unique visiting place. City Auditorium, Vrindavan Lal Verma Park, Rani Laxmi bai Park and the Fort view makes it even more unique.The museum has very large and vast collection of documents, paintings, sculptures all from the different eras.

St Jude's Shrine
Among catholic Christians this shrine has a great value of importance. It is believed that St Jude's bone has been buried in the foundation of the cathedral here. On October 28 there is a feast which is marked every year and visitors comes from very far off place to visit this place.

Ayodhya

The city which is considered as the holiest amongst all cities in Hinduism as it is believed that it is the birthplace of Lord Rama and it was this town which has given the epic called Ramayana to Hindu Mythology. Based on the banks of river Saryu, Ayodhya is considered as one of the seven most sacred cities in India. It was the capital of Surya Dynasties for several centuries of which King or Lord Ram was the most celebrated King. As per the Atharveda this city was built by God and is a living paradise in itself.

Ramkot
This ancient citadel of Ramkot is the place is the most worshipped in Ayodhya. It is situated on an elevated ground and is on the western part of the town. Millions of pilgrims pay their pilgrimage here every year who throng from India as well as abroad.

The Hanuman Garhi
It is situated above the ground and one can reach there by climbing 76 steps. It is believed that Lord Hanuman lived in a cave here guarding Ramkot or the Janmabhoomi of Ram. This is holy place to all the devotees coming to the town.

Nageshwarnath Temple
This temple is believed to be built by the son of Ram, Kush. Kush made this temple for the Nag Kanya who had fell in love with her. The Shivratri festival is celebrated here very largely.

Treta-ke-Thakur
It is a temple where it was believed that Ram had performed his Ashwamedha Yagya. The idols are made of black sandstone and are placed in the temple. The temple is also known as the kaleram ka Mandir.

Maniparvat
Many consider this hill to be from Buddhist origin, but it is also believed that when Hanuman was carrying the hill consisting Sanjeevani Booti to Lanka, a portion fell off from the hill here which became Maniparvat

Tulsi Smarak Bhawan
This monument is built in the name of Goswami Tulsidas. It is used to recite various prayers, religious meetings, discussions and sermons. Bhajans written by Tulsidas are recited here. This place is also a large collection of various antiques belonging to the era of Ram.
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