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Geography of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is a state situated in the northern part of India. It shares an international border with Nepal to its east and the state shares its boundaries with the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi to the northwest and west, Madhya Pradesh to the south and Bihar to the southeast. It is the fifth largest state in the country and the most populous. Being in the fertile Gangetic plains, it is an agricultural haven of sorts and the largest food producer of India.

The geography of Uttar Pradesh is spread across a land area of 2,38,566 square kilometres and supports about one thirty-sixth of the world's population, the distribution being that one-sixth of the world's population lives in India, and one-sixth of Indians are in Uttar Pradesh. The population density of the state is 783 persons per square kilometre. Uttar Pradesh is demarcated into three distinct hypsographical regions: the Himalayan region in the north, the Gangetic plains in the centre and the Vindhya hills and plateau to the south.

The Himalayan regions include the prominent peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi, Badrinath and Kedarnath. These hilly areas are sparsely populated. The hilly regions with perpetual snow give rise to the perennial rivers of Ganga and Yamuna, which form large river systems, thereby watering the entire Gangetic plains and forming a very fertile area. Very few trees grow in the hilly regions, thus giving rise to heavy soil erosion. Irrigation in this area is also quite sparse.

The Gangetic plain is in the centre of the state, stretching from the east to the west of the state. It is characterised by highly fertile alluvial soils, having a flat topology broken by numerous lakes, rivers and ponds, the most notable river of which is the river Ganges (Ganga). This region is highly populated. Crops cultivated here are rice, wheat, barley, and sugarcane.

The Vindhya hills and the plateau in the south comprise of hard rock strata with a varied topography of hills, valleys, plateaus and plains. Water is very limited in these areas and the areas experience scanty rainfall.

A wide variety of flora and fauna is seen in the geography of Uttar Pradesh because of its varying climatic conditions. Forests comprise 12.8 percent of the area of the state. The general climatic conditions of Uttar Pradesh are tropical monsoon. However, variations exist in places due to the difference in altitudes. Temperatures in the state may vary from as high as 47 degree centigrade in the high summers to as low as -1 degree centigrade in the winters. There are three basic seasons in the state. The winter season lasts from October to February, the duration of summer is from March to mid June and the rainy season lasts from June to September. Flood is a common recurring problem in the state.

Notable cities in Uttar Pradesh are Lucknow, its administrative and legislative capital, Kanpur, the financial and industrial capital, Allahabad with its High Court bench, Agra with its famous Taj Mahal, and Meerut, famous for its army cantonment rebellion in 1857.

The folk arts of Uttar Pradesh which involve dances are the Braj Raslila, associated with the life of Lord Krishna; an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu, and the Ramlila. Ramlila entails narrating the story of Lord Rama, another incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. It is very popular in the entire north India. Then there is Charkula, the traditional folk dance of Braj region, which involves a female dancer dancing, while balancing lighted lamps known as deepikas on her head.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/16

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