Uttar Pradesh is the cradle of India’s syncretic civilisation. It is the land which forms the setting of India’s two great epics – the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. If great poets wrote some of their finest works on the banks of the Ganges and the Yamuna, then visionary builders constructed some of the most iconic architectures along the same banks.
This is the same land where Hinduism attained a kind of refinement, the shine of which remains to this day. It is the same land where the great Sultans, Mughals and Nawabs left their indelible mark of creative genius through the excellent buildings that continue to stand as marvels of the world.
A tourism plan called the ‘Heritage Arc’ was therefore envisioned keeping in mind the state’s syncretic culture, tradition and history.
Agra was chosen for the Taj Mahal, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Lucknow was chosen for its Nawabi etiquette. Varanasi was chosen for being the most ancient city of the country and a prime centre of Hinduism.
Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh. AskmeonTravel
The Purple Heron at Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary. Bhatakna
A road near Taj Mahal in Agra. WikimediaCommons
Around 3 sq kms around the Taj Mahal is being developed. Monuments in Lucknow are being lit up and the by-lanes of Varanasi are being restored.
This April 2015 photo shows renovation work being done on the Taj Mahal. IANS
Deals such as an MOU with INTACH for Heritage Conservation Projects and a five-year MOU with FICCI for creation of the Uttar Pradesh Travel Mart (UPTM) to promote the project have been entered into.
Lucknow’s iconic Chhota Imambara. WikimediaCommons
Sufi shrine Dewa Sharif is holy to both Hindus and Muslims. Don’teatthestreetfood
So if you are someone who is interested in tracing India’s history from its ancient age to the modern and feel the warmth of a culture that has the elements of multiple faiths and diverse civilisations, you should take the Heritage Arc.