Uttar Pradesh is not the most conventional choice for most when it comes to travel planning. But, considering it has many hidden gems which few know about, we aren’t quite surprised. So, here’s putting UP back on the map with these places to visit that will make you reconsider your next travel destination. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Sonbhadra:

Sonbhadra is a place of historic as well as religious importance where the remnants of Mahabharata era are found. This is also where the Shiv Dwar and Renukeshwar temple stand with poise. But, if that’s not your thing, you can visit the Fossil Park, Lakhaniya Dari, and Mukka falls. In fact, we’re surprised how this one small place has a range of things to see, including cave paintings! And, if you make it to Sonbhadra, don’t forget to visit the Vijaygarh Fort. 

2. Kalinjar:

Kalinjar is a small fort town which was regarded with importance in the medieval times. The Kalinjar fort offers the panoramic vista of the imposing Vindhyas. Just in case you’re a Shaivite or are just amused by historical spots of religious significance, we suggest you visit the Neelkanth Temple. The temple is apparently built at the spot where Lord Shiva rested for a while after consuming poison from the churning of the ocean. It is located at a distance of 280-km from Jhansi.  

3. Mahoba:

Perfect for both nature as well as history-lovers, Mahoba is known for its temples built on hills as valleys as well as its myriad lakes. The Chandela kings were the masterminds behind the man-made forts as well as a hilltop fort, reminding us of the engineering prowess of these guys even back in the days. The Sun Temple at Rahila, which was built at around the 9th century, is an impressive granite structure. 

4. Barua Sagar:

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Want to witness the historic fort where the Marathas fought the Bundelas back in 1744? Well, Barua Sagar shelters the hilltop fort on the banks of the Betwa. The place gets its name from the man-made lake Barua Sagar Tal made by Raja Udai Singh of Orchha. 

5. Hastinapur:

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The most uniquely shaped and extravagant temple you will ever see! According to a popular belief, Ashtapad exists in the high mountain range of Himalayas, some 160 miles ahead of Badrinath. It is believed that it was here that the first Tirthankara, Bhagwan Rishabhdev attained his salvation, Maharaja Bharat Chakravarti built a palace on the spot in the Ashtapad mountains and decorated it with diamonds. It is believed that who visits Ashtapad attains salvation, in conformity with this belief, the Jains made a copy of Ashtapad in Hastinapur. Ashtapad means eight steps, it is 151ft tall with a diameter as huge as 108m. The height of every step is equal to the diameter. Do visit this beautiful temple in Hastinapur. It has a huge dome inside it which is supported by a massive single pillar inside which has beautiful carvings on it. Around this temple there are pathways which lead you to the top where another temple structure has been erected. Its amazing. 🏰🙏🔔 Search google maps "Astapad Swyatamber Jain Temple" for exact location of this temple. . . #hastinapur #ashtapadjaintirth🙏 #vsco #indiatourism #indiatravel #indiatravelgram #indiatraveldiaries #incredibleindia #delhitravelblogger #delhitravel #instapic #instatravel #instagram #travelphotography #uttarpradeshtourism #jaintemple #jambudweep #astpadjaintemple #locals #localtravel #jaintemples #temple #colorsofindia #natgeoindia #natgeotravelindia #tbt #photooftheday #fun #travelgram #travelholic

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How could we forget Hastinapur, the pilgrimage of Jains? It is believed that three Jain Tirthankaras were born here. Situated in the district of Meerut, this historically-significant place also houses temples dedicated to Pandavas and Draupadi and has witnessed some major Mahabharata conflicts. 

Related: 5 Uncommon Weekend Getaway Spots From Delhi To Uttar Pradesh