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Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore, with Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Sagar being the other major cities. Nicknamed the “Heart of India” due to its geographical location, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest Indian state by area and the fifth largest state by population with over 75 million residents. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,252 km. Before 2000, when Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India and the distance between the two furthest points inside the state, Singoli and Konta, was 1500 km. Konta is presently in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh state.
The area covered by the present-day Madhya Pradesh includes the area of the ancient Avanti Mahajanapada, whose capital Ujjain (also known as Avantika) arose as a major city during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE. Subsequently, the region was ruled by the major dynasties of India. By the early 18th century, the region was divided into several small kingdoms which were captured by the British and incorporated into Central Provinces and Berar and the Central India Agency. After India’s independence, Madhya Pradesh state was created with Nagpur as its capital: this state included the southern parts of the present-day Madhya Pradesh and northeastern portion of today’s Maharashtra. In 1956, this state was reorganised and its parts were combined with the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal to form the new Madhya Pradesh state, the Marathi-speaking Vidarbha region was removed and merged with the then Bombay State. This state was the largest in India by area until 2000, when its southeastern Chhattisgarh region was made as a separate state.
The economy of Madhya Pradesh is the tenth-largest state economy in India with ₹8.09 lakh crore (US$120 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹90,000 (US$1,300). Madhya Pradesh ranks twenty-sixth among Indian states in human development index. Rich in mineral resources, MP has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in India. More than 30% of its area is under forest cover. Its tourism industry has seen considerable growth, with the state topping the National Tourism Awards in 2010–11.In recent years, the state’s GDP growth has been above the national average.[
Situated in the northern part of India, bordering with the capital of India New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh is one of the most popular and an established tourist destination for both Indians and non-Indians alike in India. The most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh contains many historical monuments and places of religious significance. Geographically, Uttar Pradesh is very diverse, with Himalayan foothills in the extreme north and the Gangetic Plain in the centre. It is also home of India’s most visited sites, the Taj Mahal, and Hinduism’s holiest city, Varanasi. Kumbh city, Allahabad. Kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is at the heart of India, hence it is also known as The Heartland of India. Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh like Awadhi cuisine, Mughlai cuisine, Kumauni cuisine are very famous not only in India but also many places abroad.
Uttar Pradesh is known for its rich culture and tradition. It is home to Ayodhya and Mathura birthplace of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna respectively. Uttar Pradesh attracts many national and international tourists. Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Agra is also located in Uttar Pradesh.
There are different places one can visit in Uttar Pradesh. Agra, Jhansi, Lucknow and Meerut are historical cities famous for their monuments. Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Varanasi, Ayodhya and Allahabad are holy cities for Hindus and Kushinar and Sarnath are important Buddhist places among the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Noida is the most developed urban city of Uttar Pradesh.
To boost the tourism in the state from within the country and other parts of the world, the Government of Uttar Pradesh established a ‘Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc’ covering the cities of Agra, Allahabad, Lucknow and Varanasi.
Varanasi (also called Kashi and Benares) is widely considered to be the oldest city in the world, before Jerusalem. It is famous for its ghats (steps along the river) which are populated year round with people who want to take a dip in the holy Ganges River.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirling temple, which is one of the most sacred of Hindu Temples.
Birthplace of Lord Krishana. Both Mathura & Vrindavan have temples devoted to Krishna. During Holi, a special form of Holi called the Lath mar Holi is played here.
Janmaashtami, the birth of Lord Krishna, is celebrated in the region.
Hindus believe the birthplace of Lord Rama to be in Ayodhya at the place called Ram Janmabhoomi, the site of the demolished Babri Mosque.
Ayodhya is also the birthplace of five Tirthankars, including the first Tirthankar of Jainism, Shri Rishabh Dev. He is known as the father of Jain religion. The city is also important in the history and heritage of Buddhism in India, with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning having been established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty. Ayodhya reached its glorious peak as known to history during the reign of the Guptas over India.
Swaminarayan led the Swaminarayan Sampraday sect of Hinduism and lived here during his childhood years. It was from Ayodhya that Swaminarayan started his seven-year journey across India as Neelkanth.
Tulsidas is said to have begun the writing of his famous Ramayana poem Shri Ramacharitamanas in Ayodhya in 1574 CE. Several Tamil Alwar mention the city of Ayodhya. Ayodhya is also said to be the birthplace of Bahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, King Dasaratha, Acharya Padaliptasurisvarji, King Harishchandra, Shri Rama, Achalbhrata, and the ninth Gandhara of Mahavir Swami.
The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya “a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself”.
Soron Shukar Kshetra is salvation land of Lord Varah and birthland of Sant Tulsidas.