Rajasthan and Kerala may be the names that most readily trip off
the tongues of visitors to India, but there are plenty of things to
do in Uttar Pradesh. Located in the north of India, the sizeable
state is also the country's most populous; it abuts Nepal and its
snow-covered Himalayas to the north but stretches into the dusty
plains as it moves south.
For visitors there's an incredible range of things to do in
Uttar Pradesh. Comprising diverse and busy cities, historic
temples, verdant nature and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the state
should be on every traveller's list.
Undoubtedly the most sought-after destination within Uttar
Pradesh is the ancient city of Agra. Known for its incredible
Mughal architecture, the city's unquestionable highlight is the
white marble Taj Mahal, a landmark as extraordinary in real life as
it is in the collective imagination. Whether you're planning a
daylight stop or a moonlit tour, the Taj is simply unmissable.
The Taj Mahal attracts millions
of visitors to Agra each year © nilanewsom/iStock/Thinkstock
There's more to Agra than the Taj, though. Two other UNESCO
World Heritage Sites are nearby - including the stunningly
well-preserved Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, a nearby town that's
home to an abandoned royal complex that dates back to the Mughal
Empire. The city's winding streets, historic bazaars, and ancient
sites also attract visitors in search of some local history.
The Agra Fort is another
incredible Uttar Pradesh sight © RudolphT/iStock/Thinkstock
The capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is another important city
in the region. Though less publicised than some of India's other
more popular cities, Lucknow is one of the largest population
centres in north India and has a long, richly cultured history; it
was once an important Mughal seat. Today, history in the form of
majestic temples and colonial landmarks mingles with the
fast-moving, modern pace of life.
Lucknow, the capital of Uttar
Pradesh, is a richly cultured city © aquarajiv/iStock/Thinkstock
Possibly the most beautiful of the things to do in Uttar
Pradesh's, and the final part of the triumvirate of incredible
cities is Varanasi, one of the oldest settlements in the world.
Varanasi is a city of tremendous spiritual importance, and its
legions of temples and holy sites draw Hindu pilgrims from far and
wide. The devout can be seen bathing on the Varanasi ghats, or the
scenic steps leading down to the Ganges. Dynamic, atmospheric, and
colourful, the old city portion of Varanasi offers a fully
The Varanasi ghats are an
unforgettable sight © yuliang11/iStock/Thinkstock
A number of luxurious places to stay are available in all three
cities - from the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra to the Nadesar Palace in Varanasi. And for those
looking to get outside of the cities and explore the heart of Uttar
Pradesh, there are also a number of hotels that combine unspoilt
nature with luxury.
Those seeking remote tranquility will be interested to know that
the Ultimate Travelling Camp - India's first truly
mobile luxury camp - is debuting two new itineraries in Uttar
Pradesh. The Dudhwa Wildlife Park location will be ideal for
those after an immersive nature experience, while the second
outpost, just outside Lucknow, is both easily accessible and
blissfully free from too much chaos.
Assam Bengal Navigation takes
visitors through a languorous journey across India's rivers © Assam
Another incredible stay that merges travel with relaxation is
the Assam Bengal Navigation, which offers
languorous riverboat tours of the subcontinent. Trawl through the
vast network of quiet waterways before ending your trip in
Varanasi: from there, the exploration continues.
Multiple itineraries involving travel around Agra are available
on our website, these include coverage of the rich state of
Rajasthan, family friendly
experiences and a wide ranging tour of
India's finest sights.