If you are one of those who has had enough of getaways in alluring Uttarakhand, picturesque Himachal Pradesh and enchanting Rajasthan, then it’s time to look at the mysticism and uniqueness of Uttar Pradeshbeyond the Taj Mahal. By Rashima Nagpal

1. Lucknow Qaisar Bagh Barbanki:

 

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Dewa Sharif, Barabanki . . . . . . .

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Thanks to both Yamuna Expressway and Agra-Lucknow Expressway, a road trip to Uttar Pradesh is now smoother than ever. And, few cities come close to the melting pot that Lucknow is. Of cultures, traditions, mannerisms, and history, the city is aptly popular as the land of Nawab, aadaab (respect), kebab, and shabab (beauty). While nothing compares with the magnificence of the Rumi Darwaza, the Imambaras, and other historical sites, the pulse of Lucknow must be felt by a walking tour through its buzzing marketplaces. Qiasar Bagh, home to the tombs of Saadat Ali Khan and his wife Mushir Zadi deserves to be explored for its old-world charm. For a real feel of the Lucknawi hospitality, stay at the Kotwara House. Complete your weekend trip with a visit to the unique shrine of Haji Waris Ali Shah in Barbanki, 42-kms from Lucknow; it is a one-of-its-kind Muslim shrine that celebrates Holi every year.

2. Agra Fort Fatehpur Sikri:

 

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Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh, India 🇮🇳 1983 . . . . .

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Travel back in time as you make your way through the grand corridors of the forts in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri (at its picturesque best just before sunset). This two-day break makes  for a nice getaway for history enthusiasts, admirers of ancient aesthetics, and for people who love being behind the camera, as well as in front of it. If you haven’t seen the Taj Mahal yet (like me), put it on your itinerary and make the best of your tryst with Uttar Pradesh’s glorious past. A good way to ditch the mundane and make your getaway more pleasant would be to choose a boutique accommodation like Coral Tree Homestay, in Agra, over a hotel.

3. Kanpur Bithoor:

 

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Morning View of bramhavrat Ghat,Bithur Ganga River

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While Kanpur is familiar, Bithoor, 25-kilometers from Kanpur, is a fabled town. It is known for its apparent connections with the saga of Ramayana. They say Rishi Valmiki, to whom the epic is attributed to, lived a major part of his life in this region, and also that it is the birthplace of Rama and Sita’s sons, Luv and Kush. Situated on the banks of river Ganges, the tourist attractions here include the Brahmavarta Ghat, the temple of Luv-Kush, Dhruv Tila and the Valmiki Ashram. Exploring a mythical little town can never be a bad idea, we think.

4. Kalinjar Fort:

We’ve said this before, and here we say it again – we bet you didn’t know about this hidden gem in Uttar Pradesh. Read our previously featured story about it and you’ll know why this place is worth the 620-kilometre-long drive from Delhi. It is best to reach the Banda district in the Bundelkhand region of the state and further navigate your way with the help of locals.

5. Pilibhit Tiger Reserve Jama Masjid Chuka Beach:

 

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The district of Pilibhit is known to be one of the few forested regions in Uttar Pradesh. Roughly 344-kilometers from Delhi, via Bareilly, it makes for a good trip for those who like to venture into the wild and the unknown. Bordering the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve on one side is a reservoir called the Sharda Sagar. A part of this reservoir is gaining popularity as Chuka Beach. Tagged as an ecotourism spot by the Uttar Pradesh government not long ago, it’s an offbeat place that deserves a visit, at least for you to decide if it qualifies as a ‘beach’ or not.

Related:We Bet You Didn’t Know About This Hidden Gem in Uttar Pradesh!