The Fascinating Past Of Uttar Pradesh
The Cultural Cradle Of India
Uttar Pradesh, at the heart of India, has always dominated the culture, religion and history of India like no other state. The history of Uttar Pradesh still has a great impact on Indian culture and civilization. The state was known as the 'Madhya Desha' in ancient era dating back to the Vedic and post Vedic period.
The state is privileged to be the home of a number of great sages like Vishwamitra, Vasishta, Bharadwaja, Gautam, Yagyavalkya and Valmiki. Despite being a Hindu state, Uttar Pradesh witnesses a harmonious synthesis of Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and other religions. It also remained the hub of several renowned pilgrimages and centres of learning like Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi and Mathura.
Aryans arrived here from central Asian region around 2000 B.C. With their rural settlement, the state was named 'Madhyadesh', i.e. 'Central Country'. Uttar Pradesh was the renowned seat of the Kosala dynasty that was ruled by King Dasaratha and his son Rama (the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana). Later, it witnessed the reign of Kauravas and Pandavas, and the great war of Mahabharata. The state rose to its peak during the Magadh, Nanda and Mauryan dynasties.
The Medieval period saw the ruin of the Rajputs with the emergence of the Muslim rule. The era observed the development of unique arts, crafts and culture. Mughal emperors like Babur, Humayun, Akbar and Shah Jahan were the most successful emperors. They constructed a number of magnificent monuments in Uttar Pradesh. Fatehpur Sikri was the capital city during that period. Lucknow, the present capital, was established by the Muslim nawabs of Avadh in the 18th century. With the emergence of the East India Company, the whole country was captured by the British. Uttar Pradesh came into limelight with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 when a sepoy named Mangal Pandey initiated a revolt against the British in the Meerut Cantonment.
During the British empire, the state was named United Provinces in 1935, later changed to Uttar Pradesh in 1950, after India became independent. A new state- 'Uttarakhand'- was formed from the northern portion (the Garhwal and Kumaon divisions) of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.