Summary : Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus.
Embedded in the heart of India is Uttar Pradesh, a land where cultures have evolved and religions emerge. The greatness of Uttar Pradesh lies not only in this confluence, but also in the emergence of cultural and religious traditions along some of the greatest rivers in the Indian sub-continent – the Ganga and the Yamuna. Throughout history, great cities have emerged and established along great rivers. Within India, the Ganga and the Yamuna have nurtured a culture because of which religious faith, rituals, culture and intellectual enlightenment have evolved in places along the two rivers.
Exploring Uttar Pradesh along the mighty rivers takes the visitors on a magical trip. The Heritage Arc in Uttar Pradesh provides an opportunity to explore the state in all its glory. The Heritage Arc signifies heritage in terms of cultural, historical and natural aspects. Moving on this arc from one end of the state to the other, takes travellers through Agra region, Lucknow region and Varanasi region, with several exciting destinations along the way.
These regions define the quintessential Uttar Pradesh. The Arc takes travellers through a kaleidoscopic journey of monuments, architectural wonders, pilgrimage centres, spiritual experiences and wildlife. The Heritage Arc is a veritable treasure trove of sights to see and experiences and provides a close look at the celebration of life in this vast state.
Agra has been immortalized as the city of the Taj. Yet, it doesn’t take much for the roving eye to discover that there’s more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. The city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery….. a freeze-frame from a resplendent era that’s long since gone by.
Much of the city’s impressive past lives is a witness of the majesty of the buildings, the exquisite arts and crafts and not to forget, the lure of an exceptional cuisine. All, cherished as priceless legacies of a nostalgic past.
The Yamuna river flows by Agra and this ancient city sets the right mood to embark on a journey on the Heritage Arc. The Taj Mahal is a shining monument in marble, a tribute to the imagination of a great emperor who gave a symbol of eternal love to the world.
Just an hour’s drive from Agra, on the banks of the river Yamuna, is situated the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The entire land is dotted with magnificent temples, dedicated to various aspects of his life. The twin cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, where he was born and where he grew up, still resound to the sound of his laughter, antics and his magical flute.
Some of the famous temples are : Govind Dev Temple, Rangaji Temple, Dwarikadhish Temple, Bankey Bihari Temple and the ISKCON Temple.
The historical treasures at the Mathura Museum are a window to a glorious past that will keep you asking for more.
A visit to this legendary city will be among the most moving trips you’ll ever make. Varanasi is believed to be the greatest tirth (pilgrimage) between earth and heaven. For a Hindu, to visit Varanasi and bathe in the water of Ganga, is to be cleansed of the sins of thousands of past rebirths.
The combination of Kashi- the holy city, Ganga the holy river and Lord Shiva- the Supreme God, makes Varanasi an immortal destination. It is a crucible of religious, spiritual and academic thought and beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It has always been a great cultural centre notably in the field of learning, religion, philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda, astrology, music, literature and spirituality.
Sarnath, 10km from Varanasi, is one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage centers. It is believed that after attaining the enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, it was here that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, sanctified as Maha Dharm Chakra Parivartan. The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that time.
The area is a treasure trove of archaeological findings such as Dharmrajika Stupa and Mulgandhkuti Vihar. The smooth glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C., marks the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha, and the Lion Capital atop this pillar is now India’s National Emblem.
Situated on the bank of the Ganga near Mirzapur amid the Vindhya hills as a sacred pilgrimage site. The Shaktipeeth of goddess Vindhyavasini is supposed to be the abode of divine power and blessings. There are several highly revered temples in the vicinity such as Ashtabhuja Maa Temple and Goddess Kalikhoh Temple, that attract a stream of visitors throughout the year.
This is the ancient land where icons of Mahabharat era are found besides the famous Shiv Dwar and Renukeshwar temple. The Vijaygarh fort is a symbol of the might of the ancient rulers of this region. It has several places of archaeological, religious and natural interest, and the cave paintings in the region
- Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is one of the finest few remaining examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Tarai eco-system. The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border and the southern boundary is marked by the river Suheli.
It is well known sanctuary of the swamp deer and is home to tigers, leopards, varieties of deer, antelopes, elephants, jackal, hyena etc, amid thick green forest and grassland. It is also a bird watchers’ heaven. A large number of rhinos are also found here. This National Park is home to tigers, leopards, varieties of deer and antelopes, elephants and birds
A quiet, tranquil and green nest in the Tarai foothills are about 230 km from Lucknow