Uttar Pradesh, fourth largest state of India in area, 1st in population with about 200 million, with highest number of Districts and 1st in many fields is also a largest tourist attraction in India.
It has diverse culture, rich traditions and varied heritage. In 1956 Tourism Department and in 1972 Directorate of Tourism has been established in UP. But separation of Uttarakhand in2000 gave a blow to the tourism industry of UP as major forest reserves and natural Himalayan resources went to Uttarakhand. In 1998 UP gave status of Industry to tourism. In 2000-01 UP announced a new Tourism Policy to attract tourist and develop its tourism industry. In new policy a new system of Tourist Police has envisaged to aid tourist. In 2016 it has also signed major Tourism Projects to make Film Industry and attract investment in Tourism. It has promoted many new initiatives like Discover Your Roots Project, Home Stay and Paying Guest Project. For employment of youth in Tourism Industry it has also established a Kansiram Tourism Management Institute. It has also collaborated with policies and programme initiated by Central Government, Incredible India Bed and Breakfast is one such initiative.
For inclusive development and better collaboration UP Government has outlined 7 Tourist Circuits;
Culture of Uttar Pradesh :
Since UP is large in area it has assimilated diversity of cultural identities throughout years. UP has mainly 5 Cultural Regions
All its cultural diversity and tourist attraction is mainly because of development of different religious, literary, architectural and artistic innovations with time.
Art in Uttar Pradesh :
Many places in Mirzapur have stood testimony to the development of Painting in Stone Age. In medieval times Mughal Reign has contributed a lot to the development of Painting as well as Sculpture. Sharky, Mughal and Lucknow Styles are a few examples of development of cultural integrity.
Uttar Pradesh has produced some of most prominent literary figures of India. From ancient times Banbhatta, the Court Poet of Harshavardhana to Zia-ud- Din Barni, the Mughal Chronicler, Amir Khusro, Hindi Poet Kabir Das, Surdas, Tulsidas and many modern Hindi poets like Harivansh Rai Bachhan, Mahadevi Verma, Bahrtendu Harishchandra, Pt. Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, Jaishankar Prasad, Maithilisharan Gupta, Hajari Prasad Dwivedi, Rahul Sankrityayan, Dharmvir Bharti have immense contribution to Indian Literature and many Literary forms of Hindi Language.
Uttar Pradesh has established its own Gharanas in Music and dance besides folk dances and songs. Some of these are; Classical Dance Kathak and Classical Thumri Songs, popular folk dances are Ras-Nritya, Jogini Nritya, Devi Nritya etc. Folk drama forms are; Nagarsbha, Puppetry or puppet dance (Gulabo- Sitabo), Khayal, Nautanki, Ramlila, Raslila etc.
Fairs and Festivals of Uttar Pradesh :
Fairs and Festivals in Uttar Pradesh are also as varied as it forms of dance, drama and music. Some important fairs are; Kumbha Mela or Mahakumbha, Magh Mela in Allahabad, Garhmuktashwar Mela in Hapur, Deva- Sharif Mela in Barabanki, Ramnavami Mela in Ayodhya, Vindhyachal Devi Mela, Jhoola Mela besides 2250 fairs organized by state per year. Important festivals are Lucknow Mahotsav, Sulh-i-Kul Mahotsav, Bauddh Mahotsav, Taj Mahotsav, Ganga Mahotsav, Yamuna-Janmotsav and Triveni Mahotsav.
Dialects and Languages of Uttar Pradesh :
Some well-spoken sub-languages of Hindi are spoken in the state. Though most spoken language is Khari boli it has many dialects. Marwari, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Bundeli, Awadhi, Braj, and Kannauji are most spoken dialects. Bhojpuri is the most spoken dialect out of 6 dialects of Khari Boli.
Cultural and Natural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh :
Uttar Pradesh has many archeological sites from Dhamekh Stupa, Stone Pillar of Samudragupta, Vishavanath temple, Ram, Krishna Temple and many mausoleums, buildings of Mughal period like Taj Mahal and Buland Darwaza to several natural resources. Uttar Pradesh is endowed with rich rivers. Some of most important rivers are Ganges, Yamuna, Gandak, Kosi, Kali, Saryu, Ramganga, Gomti and Ghaghra which originate from Himalayan Ranges and are perennial in nature. It has rich forest resources and houses famous Dudhwa Park and many Wildlife Sanctuaries. State has preserved its cultural heritage in 14 Government owned Museums.
Besides state has a well-developed railway network, remotely connected road transport and airways. Presently State has 14 Domestic Airports, 8762 kms Metaled Roads, 45 National Highways, and well developed Railway network. State has also brought transparency in administrative system though it has to go miles to bring efficiency. State is running several institutions to promote travel, transport and tourism for better convenience of foreign tourist as well as to establish its credibility at national and international levels.