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Religious places in Uttar Pradesh

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One of the most popular religious tourism destinations in India, Uttar Pradesh, offers ample servings of history and religion to satisfy the hunger of the traveller. Most famous for being home to the Taj Mahal, this vast expanse of a state, covers most of Northern India. Visit to see the spiritual backbone of the country in places like Varanasi ( the spiritual capital of India), Allahabad (the most auspicious of the four Kumbh Mela sites) and Mathura and Vrindavan (home to Lord Krishna) or visit Sarnath where Buddha preached his first gospel. History is never too far away in Uttar Pradesh and the Taj Mahal is just the beginning. Fatehpur Sikri, Jhansi, Lucknow and Meerut all acquaint you with various phases of Indian history. In this article we bring you the religious places of Uttar Pradesh in pictures.

Varanasi

Varanasi

Popular as the spiritual capital of India it also goes by the names of Banaras and Kashi. A bath in the holy Ganges river is supposed to wash away all your sins. It widely believed that anyone who dies or is cremated in Kashi will attain Moksha (be eternally liberated from the cycle of birth and death). Other than its religious side, Varanasi is also famous for its silk sarees and brassware.

Pic Credit: Wiki Commons

Vrindavan

Vrindavan

According to the epic Mahabharata, this is the place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood and the town is home to hundreds of temples dedicated to Radha and Krishna. Some of the more prominent temples include Banke Bihari Temple, Rangji Temple, Govind Deo temple, and Madan Mohan temple.Apart from the temples, Kesi Ghat is also the focal point of visitor activities.

Pic Credit: Harshanti

Mathura

Mathura

The birthplace of Lord Krishna, this place is called 'Braj Bhumi', 'Land of Eternal Love'. Today it is one of the important religious centres for Hindus and sees a deluge of pilgrims on days like Holi and Janmashtami.

Pic Credit: Wiki Commons

Ayodhya

Ayodhya

The birthplace of Lord Ram and the setting for the epic Ramayana, it used to be the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom. It is located on the banks of the Saryu river. Ayodhya also has remnants of Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. It is believed that five of the Jain Tirthankaras were born in Ayodhya including the first Jain Tirthankar, Rishabhdev. Ayodhya tourism has lots to offer the spiritual minds. Some of the noteworthy temples include Nageshwarnath Temple, said to be built by Ram's son, Kush and Chakra Harji Vishnu Temple. The Tulsi Smarak Bhawan has been built by the Government of India in the memory of Tulsidas who rewrote the Ramayana. Ram Janama Bhoomi is where the Babri Masjid was destroyed in 1992.

Allahabad

Allahabad

The holiest among the four cities where the Kumbh Mela happens, this city had been a historically important city since ages and played an important role in the Indian Independence struggle too.

Pic Credit: Wikipedia

The Holy 'Sangam'

The Holy 'Sangam'

The sangam, or the confluence, is the focus point of several religious ceremonies and festivals including the Maha Kumbh, which is the largest gathering on earth, with people from India and across the globe converging during the auspicious period for a sacred dip in the rivers. Here is more on what to see in Allahabad.

Pic Credit: Wiki Commons

Sarnath

Sarnath

One of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage spots in India, this small village near Varanasi is famous for its deer park where Gautam Buddha first preached the four noble truths and gained enlightenment. It was here in Sarnath that the great Indian Emperor Ashoka also commissioned several stupas and the famous Ashoka Pillar which is one of the few remaining pillars dating to his reign.

Kushinagar

Kushinagar

Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage town in Uttar Pradesh. According to Buddhist scriptures, it is here near the Hiranyavati River that Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death. It was known as Kushavati in the days of yore and also finds mention in the epic Ramayana as Kusha, named after the son of Lord Rama. However, its main claim to fame is its deep Buddhist roots. The town is home to several ancient stupas and viharas, dating to 3rd to 5th centuries. Most of these monuments were commissioned by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. Prior to its rediscovery in the 19th century, Kushinagar remained in a state of ruins mainly due to the violent invasions it endured over the period.

Pic Credit: Wiki Commons

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