Uttar Pradesh is a fascinating state with a rich history and an exciting milieu that makes it among the must-visit places in India. ‘The largest state of India’ has a curious mixture of great tradition and thriving modernity. It was a dwelling of spirituality, and mythological epics like the Ramayana revolved around UP even while it remains tuned to the contemporary times.

Lord Buddha gave his first sermon at Saranath. The city became known as a prominent centre for Urdu poetry and courtly diction. As the official tourism website mentions: “The city reached its acme during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah, a connoisseur of music and poetry. It was during his reign that the British appropriated Awadh.

Today, the city is dotted with remnants of its rich historic past.” UP retained its intellectual leadership even under the British administration that united Agra and Oudh into a province. The United Province became Uttar Pradesh post-independence. With such a rich history and tradition, it is no surprise that UP has a great choice in terms of exquisite cultural souvenirs as well as art and craft varieties.

The first thing, which comes to mind when mention is made of Lucknow, is the famous Chikan work of the city. Chikan is a famous delicate threadwork done by the skilled craftsmen. It is combined with Zardosi (embroidery with silver and gold threads) and crystal work on clothes. They are great gifts. The city is renowned for its elaborate, mouth-watering cuisine and ‘Chikankaari’ (exquisite shadow-work embroidery done on fine muslin cloth).  The city is a tourists’ attraction for its historical monuments and its jewelry. The pieces with unique work of metal ornamentation look splendid. The city is famous for its big danglers and Jhumkas. Some of the major shopping places here are Kapoorthala, Hazratganj and Aminabad. For exquisite jewelry, visit Gadbadjhala.

Varanasi is also an ideal place to shop for. Known  for its Zardozi works done on clothes, mirrors, woods etc, the city is also a favorite place for women for its wonderful saris. The beautiful Banarsi Saris are among the must buy things in every Indian weddings. Meerut is among the largest producers of musical instruments in India. Then there are the glassware of Firozabad and leatherwork in Kanpur to buy for your colleagues and friends as mementos.

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