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Day 23: History - History (Day 13 to 23)

Art, Culture, and scientific Development in Uttar Pradesh

Art and Culture in Uttar Pradesh


  • The architectural wonders in Uttar Pradesh include Buddhist Stupas and Viharas, Ancient Monasteries, Townships, Forts, Gates, Palaces, Temples, Mosques, Mausoleums, Memorials and other community structures. Besides other places these magnificent structures have been built in and around the seats of learning, pilgrimage and major cities like Agra, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Jhansi, Mathura, Kanpur, Meerut and Mirzapur.
  • Mughal architecture is a seamless fusion of Hindu, Islamic, and Central Asian culture. The splendour of UP’s Islamic buildings has received world acclaim. Three of its monuments are UNESCO-acclaimed World Heritage sites. This includes the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Emperor Akbar’s dream capital Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Some of the outstanding architectures are as follows:


Rumi Gate

  • The 60 feet high Rumi Gate in Lucknow was constructed during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784.
  • It was built by Nawab Asaf-us-Daula to generate employment during the famine of 1784.
  • It is said to be identical in design to an ancient portal at Constantinople in Turkey and is also referred to as Turkish Gate.


  • In Lucknow, two famous structures of the Nawabi era are: Bara Imambara and ChhotaImambara.

AsafiImambara (Bara Imambara)

  • This large structure was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and is one of the architectural wonders of that era.
  • It is now used by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari.

Chhota Imambara

  • The Chhota Imambara also known as Hussainabad Imambara, was built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah between (1837-1842).
  • It houses the tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah, its builders and his mother.

Raj Bhavan

  • Used to be Kothi Hayat Baksh which was designed by Major General Claude Martin as his residence. Before India's independence, Kothi Hayat Baksh was declared as a Government House, the official residence of the Governor of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.


All Saints Cathedral

  • A fine specimen of 13th century Gothic architectural moorings.
  • It was designed by Sir William Emerson.

Mayo Memorial Hall

  • Built in 1879 by R. Roskell Bayne.
  • Built in the memory of assassinated viceroy Mayo, the hall used to hold public meetings, receptions and balls.

Khusro Bagh

  • Tombs of Prince Khusro, the eldest son of Emperor Jahangir and Sultan Begum are located.
  • Khusro was first imprisoned within the garden after he rebelled against his father Jahangir.
  • He was killed in an attempt to escape on the orders of Khusro's brother and Jahangir's third son Khurram, who later became the Emperor Shah Jahan.


Begum Samru Church

  • Located in Sardhana, Meerut.
  • It is the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces.
  • It is a Roman Catholic Church and a fine example of European architectural style.


  • City of the Taj
  • Capital of the erstwhile Mughal Empire
  • Gateway to the Braj region
  • The land of Lord Krishna
  • In the great epic ‘Mahabharat’ the region is described as ‘Agraban’.
  • The latter part of Indian history outlines the origin of Agra to 1475 A.D., the reign of Raja Badal Singh.
  • Agra came into limelight during the rule of Sikandar Lodhi who had made it the capital of his empire.
  • Later in 1526 A.D., the Mughal Emperor Babar took upon himself the task for rendering Agra, a unique character and beauty of its own.

Agra Fort

  • Built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D.
  • Moti Masjid, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Musamman Burj, Jahangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal are the important monuments here.

Fatehpur Sikri

  • An epic in red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar during 1572-1585 A.D.
  • A sonless Akbar had gone to Sikri to seek blessings of Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti and he was blessed with a son.
  • In gratitude, he constructed his capital city and named it Fatehpur Sikri.
  • Later, due to shortage of water and unrest in north-west, Akbar had to abandon this city.
  • Diwan-I-Aam, Diwan-I-Khas, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai’s Palace, Pachisi and Birbal Bhavan are here
  • The Buland Darwaza was erected in the year 1602, to commemorate Akbar’s conquest over Deccan.
  • The Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti, built of pure white marble, was completed in 1581.



  • Ancient name of Garhmukteshwar was Shivvallabhpur.
  • It is said that Gan (followers/slaves) of Lord Shiva get there emancipation here, that’s why it come to be known as Garhmukteshwar.
  • NakkaKuan, Jama Masjid, Meerabaiki Reti and Ganga Temple are here.

Brij Ghat

  • Brijghat is situated about 5 km. from Garhmukteshwar on right bank of Ganga.
  • It is also known as Haridwar of U.P. Here at the Ghat Aarti (religious ceremony) is being performed in worship of God.


Pura Mahadev Temple or Parshurameshwara Temple

  • Situated on a hillock on the banks of the Hindon River

Valmiki Ashram and Luv Kush Birth Place

  • Near the Hindon River in the village Baleni
  • Luv-Kush's Birthday is celebrated every year on the occasion of Akhateej i.e. Akshaya Tritiya

Deogarh, Lalitpur

Dashavatar Temple

  • Earliest known Panchayatan Temple in north India, dedicated to Lord Vishnu
  • In the 5th-6th century the Shikhar architecture was introduced for the first time here.

Jain Temple Complex

  • 31 Jain temples are situated inside the Fort of Karnali on the hills overlooking the Betwa.
  • The site was a Jain centre from the 8th to the 17th century.
  • The temples abound in panels depicting scenes from Jain mythology, Tirthankara images, pillars, tablets, Jain images visible from all sides and pillars carved with thousand Jain figures.
  • It houses about 2000 sculptures which are the largest such collection in the world.

Varah Temple

  • Dedicated to the Varah avatar of Lord Vishnu
  • Situated in the forest on the bank of the Betwa river


  • Located along the Ramganga in the region of Rohilkhand.
  • The city is also known as Nathnagari (Land of Lord Shiva), Zarinagari and historically as Sanjashya (where the Buddha descended from Tushita to earth).
  • The city was founded in 1537 by Basdeo, a Katehriya Rajput and the foundation of the modern city was laid by Mukrand Rai in 1657.
  • In 1658, Bareilly became the headquarters of the province of Budaun.


  • Situated on the banks of the Gomtiriver.
  • Named after Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, whose real name was Jauna Khan, the city became the capital of the Sharqi dynasty.
  • As per the legends, Rishi Jamadagni lived in the forests of this region and made it his Tapasthali.
  • The dynasty was founded by Malik Sarwar, an African slave-eunuch, which was gifted to Prince Muhammad, the son of Feroz Shah Tughlaq.
  • Malik Sarwar was made governor of the eastern provinces, which had their seat in Jaunpur.
  • In 1394, Malik Sarwar declared his independence from the Delhi Sultanate and took the title of Khwaja-e-Jahaan Malik-us-Sharqi.
  • That same year, together with his adopted sons, Mubarak Shah and Ibrahim Shah, he founded the empire of the Sharqi Dynasty.
  • Under the Sharqi monarchs, it became an important centre of Islamic art, architecture and learning, a university town known as 'Shiraz-i-Hind' after the city of Shiraz in Iran.
  • Main Architecture: Atala Masjid, Khalis Mukhlis Masjid, Jhangiri Masjid, Lal Darwaza Masjid, Jami Masjid

Atala Masjid

  • Built by Shams-ud-Din Ibrahim in A.D. 1408 on the foundation built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq 30 years before.
  • Built on the site of the Atala Devi temple whose materials along with those of other temples were used in its construction
  • Provided the model on which all future mosques of the style would be based

Uttar Pradesh Pottery

  • Pottery is the art of handling clay and moulding it to create vessels and containers of myriad shapes. The arts of Uttar Pradesh are already famous and Uttar Pradesh pottery is yet another impressive manifestation of skill of the artisans and craftsmen of the state.
  • Pottery is one of the earliest skills to be acquired by the Indians and Uttar Pradesh can boast of retaining this skill even to the present day and implementing a number of experimentations.


  • Khurja in Uttar Pradesh is renowned for the ceramic pottery. The pottery work is interestingly done with relief work and the colors that are predominantly used are not loud or dark. Orange, light red and brown are the oft used colors that work wonders against the plain, white background.
  • The floral designs in sky blue are a visual delight. The decorative articles and table wares made of ceramic are popular not in Uttar Pradesh but in entire India. Khurja is famous for a pitcher-shaped vessel that is graced with relief by a thick slip.


  • Any discourse on the Uttar Pradesh pottery remains incomplete without the mention of Nizamabad known for its black clay pottery.
  • Black Pottery is made in Nizamabad area of Azamgarh district from a special type of soil which is used for this craft. Around 200 artisans are engaged in making black pottery here. A variety of products, including vases, utensils etc. are made by them. There is a high demand for this craft for decorative as well as utility items.
  • The distinctive color can be credited to the process in which the articles are fired in enclosed kiln with rice husks. The smoke that is generated in the process imparts the black color. The designs are then etched on the dry surface which is then filled with silver paint that is made from zinc and mercury. To lend a glossy look to the products, some vessels are coated with lacquer when they are still hot.
  • It was registered for Geographical Indication tag in December 2015.


  • The Rampur surahis or water pots capture attention due to the way in which its plain surface is glazed with the greenish-blue tinge. The red clay forms the base.
  • In Chunar, the potters glaze the wares with a brown slip that is interlarded with a myriad other hues.
  • Meerut and Hapur are renowned for excellent water containers. These vessels are adorned with striking designs and floral patterns. One distinctive feature of these containers is its weirdly shaped spouts.
  • Chinhat in Uttar Pradesh is again reputed for its glazed pottery. Shades of blue and brown are the colors that are primarily used by the artisans. The designs look more attractive on white or cream surfaces. As far as the shape of the products is concerned, they generally adhere to the geometric designs. The products comprise of saucers, cups, vases and bowls.


  • Gorakhpur has villages where clay figures of animals are created and is famous for its ornately decorated terracotta horse too.
  • The potter creates the basic form by placing separate pieces of mud on the wheel and then carving them.


  • Lucknow is well known for its jewellery and enamel work. Exquisite silverware with patterns of hunting scenes, snakes and roses are very popular.
  • The Bidri and Zarbuland silver works of Lucknow have fine embroidery on excellent pieces of huqqafarshi, jewel boxes, trays, bowls, cufflinks, cigarette holders, etc.
  • Renowned ivory and bone carvings with motifs of flowers, leaves, creepers, trees, birds and animals are widely produced in Lucknow.
  • The master craftsmen create intricate items like knives, lampshades, shirt pins and small toys.

Metal Ware

  • In domestic-ware each of the 'lotas' (small water-pots) is known by the name of its origin, like Etawah, Banaras, Sitapur, etc. The ritual articles are largely in copper.
  • Moradabad in U P is famous for its art metalwork and known for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings.


  • One of the important crafts of Uttar Pradesh is Chikankari, which entails delicate and traditional hand embroidery. This form of handicrafts is mainly practiced in Lucknow. It is done on fabrics like chiffon, muslin, organza, organdie and silk. Chikan saris and Kurtas which are the perfect summer wear.
  • Zardozi embroidery is another unique art where the embroidery is done in three dimensions. Zari works of Varanasi are famous around the world.
  • Pottery and exquisite metal ware products are also created on a large scale in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Carpet weaving is also an important cultural expression of Uttar Pradesh. The state caters to 90 percent of the country's carpets. The carpet weaving centers primarily located in the state are around Mirzapur, Khamaria and Bhadohi.

Painting & Rock Painting

  • The tradition of painting in Uttar Pradesh has been going on since pre-historic times. The cave paintings of Sonbhadra and Chitrakoot depict scenes of hunting, war, festivals, dances, romantic life and animals.
  • The golden period of painting in UP was the Mughal Era.
  • The art of painting attained its peak during the reign of Jahangir.
  • The Mughal style of painting remains one of the greatest achievements of Asian culture and is unique in its concept, presentation and style.
  • The art of painting reached the epitome of perfection in the area of Bundelkh and when the King of Orchha reconstructed the temple of Keshav Dev in Mathura. The paintings of Mathura, Gokul, Vrindavan and Govardhan depict the scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.
  • Another major pre-modern painting tradition of UP is known as the Garhwal School which was patronized by the Kings of Garhwal.


  • Uttar Pradesh has had a long history of language and literature. The sheer variety and richness of the astonishing contribution of literary figures from Uttar Pradesh dates back to the ancient days. It rewarded the state with Hinduism’s twin Sanskrit epics, Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
  • This is the land of Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas and Keshavdas. There were other luminaries who were fabled for their rich endeavours—scholars such as Ashwaghosh, Ban, Mayur, Diwakar, Vakpati, Bhavbhuti, Rajshekhar, Laxmidhar, Sri Harsh and Krishna Misra, who were prominent at the courts of the kings of the time. Major centres of literature have been Varanasi (Banaras or Kashi of old times), Braj region, Awadh, Bundelkhand and in later years, it was Prayagraj.
  • A prominent hub of the ancient world for the gathering of luminaries from the fields of education and religious thought, Varanasi has always, in successive centuries, drawn thinkers to participate in debates on a range of subjects and promote philosophical dialectics. Its propensity for such rich learning has placed it in high regard in the ancient texts of the Hindu epics in Sanskrit (which were written in the state) and the Puranas (some of which were also written in the region), along with many venerable texts of Hindu and Buddhist literature.
  • Uttar Pradesh is rich in linguistic traditions as many languages are spoken here, such as Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Hindustani, BrajBhasha, English, Awadhi, Bagheli, Bhojpuri, Bundeli and Kannauji.NagriPrachariniSabha and the Hindi SahityaSammelan have played vital role in encouraging literary traditions in state.
  • Uttar Pradesh has been the cradle of Hindi and Urdu. Writers like Bhartendu Harishchandra, Munshi Premchand, Mahadevi Verma, SrikantVerma and poets like SuryakantTripathi ‘Nirala’, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi and Upendranath ‘Ashk’ gave a new rise to literature in state.
  • The leading luminaries in the field of Urdu poetry list of Uttar Pradesh’s cultural heritage are— Firaq Gorakhpuri, Josh Malihabadi, Akbar Prayagraji, Mazaz Lakhnavi, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafri, Shaqeel Badayuni and Nida Fazili.


  • Uttar Pradesh had been the land of the great sages and hermits and the singing of ancient hymns and mantras laid the basic tradition of music, which has blossomed into a musical tradition. The medieval age saw the emergence of two distinct strands of music. One was the court music that found patronage in the Courts like Agra, Fatehpur-Sikri, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Banda and Datiya. The second was the religious tradition emerging from the Bhakti Cult rooted and flowered in centres like Mathura, Vrindavan and Ayodhya. Rulers and musicians from Uttar Pradesh contributed to the prosperity of Hindustani music.
  • Artistes of the stature of the shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan, Kathak wizard BirjuMaharaj, tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj, the legendary Baba Allaudin Khan and his disciples Pt. Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan; ghazal singers Begum Akhtar, Rasoolan Bai, Girija Devi and many more have lived and practised their art here.


  • Uttar Pradesh is the place where Kathak, one of the six foremost classical dances of India, flourished. The word Katha, from which the name is derived, means story. It originated in northern India, during the 7th century A.D. Kathak has very intricate and complex movements of hands and feet along with facial expressions.
  • The footwork is accompanied by the music of various percussion instruments such as tabla and pakhwaj, which are native to north India.
  • Other dance forms of Uttar Pradesh are largely folk traditions expressed in theatrical forms, such as:-
  • Ramlila is one such art form dealing with the life of Lord Rama and includes dance and theatre performance.
  • BrajRaslila is associated with the life of the lover-God, Lord Krishna.
  • Charkula is another folk dance of the state. The dance of Charkula involves a female dancer balancing a column of lighted deepaks over her head while dancing.
  • Rasiya describes the love of Radha and Shri Krishna. Charkula and Rasiya are native arts of the Braj region of the state.

The Art of Mathura

  • The Mathura Schools of Art reached its pinnacle during the Kushan Period.
  • The Most important work of this period is the anthromorphic image of the Buddha who was hitherto represented by certain symbols. The artists of Mathura and Gandha were pioneers who carved out images of the Buddha.
  • Images of Jain Tirthankars and Hindu deities were also made in Mathura. Generally, all these intial images were huge in size. Their excellent specimens are still preserved in the museums at Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad and Mathura.
  • Colossal images, in seated or standing postures, of Kushan emperors Vim Kadphises and Kanishk and Saka ruler Chashtan have also been found at Math in Mathura district. They are stated to have been installed in dev-kul (probably a place for worship of ancestors).
  • There is no doubt that Mathura was the center of manufacturing of stone images (sculpture) during the Kushan Period. These images had a great demand in other parts of the country. Scenes depicted on Stone pillars found in Bhuteshwar and other places in Mathura district present glimpses of contemporary life including dresses, ornaments, means of entertainment, arms, household furniture, etc.
  • Stone carvings of intoxicated groups of people that have been found, speak about foreign (Hellenistic) influence on this school of art.
  • Considerable construction activities have come to notice in Sarnath also in Kushan Period, ruins of several monasteries, temples and Stupas of that period lie catered there even today.

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Bundelkhand tourism circuit of Utter Pradesh

Bundelkhand tourism circuit of Utter Pradesh


90 Days Planner (Day 23 History- Art & Culture)

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