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List of State in Central India

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Uttar Pradesh at a glance

Uttar Pradesh or UP literally means the northern province. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India and fourth largest state in India. It forms more than one eight part of India and constitutes its heartland. It comprises an area of 294,413 square km. The region of Uttar Pradesh has been the heart of much of India’s contemporary religious and cultural life. It contains the source of the sacred river Ganga which is regarded by most of the Hindus as the physical and spiritual life source of the country. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated along the banks of the Gomti river in the heart of the eastern UP. There are some of the most well known tourist centres in UP like Agra, the city of the Taj; Varanasi, one of the most ancient cities of the world on the banks of the Ganges; Haridwar, the religious city; Allahabad, the place where the great Kumbh mela is held and Mathura, situated on the banks of the Yamuna river and regarded as thebirthplace of Lord Krishna. Hindi, Urdu and English are the main languages which are spoken in Uttar Pradesh. The best season to visit Uttar Pradesh is from October to March.

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  • Area 243,286 km2
    Capital Lucknow
    Population 199,581,477 ( As on 2011 )
    Official Languages Hindi, Urdu
    Boundary October to March.
  • Ayodhya Puja

    Ayodhya_Puja.jpeg

    Ayudha Puja is a regional festival in Uttar Pradesh. People makes offering in the temple of Ram and Sita during this occasion. According to mythology Ayudha is the birthplace of Lord Rama. Mythology states that Ram was exiled by his father in the jungle and in the process he lost his birthright to be the King. The significance of the Puja lies in the triumph of good over evil which also has a vast social bearing on the people of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Ayurved Jhansi Mahotsava

    Ayurved Jhansi Mahotsava is celebrated to highlight the different Ayurvedic products that are made in Jhansi. The healing use of Ayurveda and its many usage in everyday life are showcased in the fair. The main theme of this fair is return to nature rather than using the chemical products that are available in the market in every nook and corner of India.

  • Barsana Holi

    On this particular day, the men of Nandgaon come to Barsana. Their intention is to take over the temple of Shri Radhikaji. But the women of Barsana are reluctant to allow them to do so. They resist them with bamboo sticks. This is why here Holi is also popularly known as Latthmaar Holi. The men are unable to strike back. All they can do is to splash colors on the women. The men who are caught are rather unfortunate. The men are forced to clad themselves in women’s clothes, apply cosmetics and dance like ladies in front of everyday. This is embarrassing to them but others have their fair share of laughter. However everything is done in the right spirit. It is a mock battle and both the victors and the vanquished enjoy everything thoroughly. According to legend, Lord Krishna met with similar kind of treatment from the gopis. Just the reverse happens on the next day. The men of Barsana drench the women of Nandgaon. The air reverberates with holy songs on the occasion of Holi. These songs known as Hori are based on the conservations between Krishna and Radha. It is indeed a delight to watch all the people participate in this unrestrained merry making. It is pleasantly entertaining and provides everyone with a lot of joy.

  • Bateshwar Fair

    Bateshwar derives its name from the presiding deity of the place Bateshwar Mahadeo. There are 108 temples dedicated to various gods in Bateshwar. A particular period in the months of Kartik and Agrahayana according to the Hindu calendar is considered to be very auspicious. At this time of the year, a large number of people assemble at Bateshwar to take a dip in the sacred Yamuna River and offer their prayers to Lord Shiva. Then they visit the fair which is held with a lot of fanfare. The most important feature of the Bateshwar fair is the live stock fair that is organized. Many people either sell or purchase animals. In addition to this there are a large number of other activities that are carried on as well. There is a festive merry feeling in the atmosphere. The ambience is very amiable and all are in a very cheerful mood.

  • Dadjee Ka Huranga in Baldeo

    The most striking characteristic of Dadjee ka Huranga is that here Lord Balaram or Baldeo replaces Lord Krishna as the presiding deity of the festival. There is a temple dedicated to him in the heart of the town and that is the prime spot of the celebrations. A wild craze marks the festivities. Men and women assemble within the premises of the temple by afternoon. Sangeet Samaj, a kind of devotional music fills the atmosphere. Then they drench each other with hues of myriad color. The ambience is very colorful and joyous. From the roofs of the temple women pour buckets of colored water on the men. The men tear off their clothes. Whips are made of these clothes and are used to beat the men up. It is all done in the right spirit. However the men are not permitted to touch the women or remove the veil from their faces. You have no respite even if you are an on looker. You will be dragged into the merrymaking and soaked in colors. But there is no doubt that it is thoroughly enjoyable. Fun, frolic and loads of delight mark the Dadjee ka Huranga.

  • Dadri Mela

    The Dadri Mela in Uttar Pradesh is one of the largest cattle fairs in the world. It is held 5 kilometers from the town of Balia. This enormous month-long gathering draws humans and animals from all over the state of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Deva Fair

    Deva is a small place located at a distance of about 10 km from Barabanki. The shrine of famous Sufi saint Haji Waris Ali Shah is located at Deva. He is highly respected and revered by members of the Muslim community. The commemorative ceremony of this honored soul is held annually. It is on this occasion of Urs that a large fair is held at Deva. The most interesting aspect of the Deva fair is that it not only attracts people from different parts of the country but also from Pakistan and other Islamic countries in the Middle East. There is a general feeling of well being and understanding. This fair contributes to strengthening ties with the neighboring countries. The visitors mingle freely with our country men and participate whole heartedly in the merriment and festivities. They visit the Sufi shrine to offer their prayers and then these pilgrims get involved in all the fun and enjoyment.

  • Diwali Festival

    Diwali is celebrated for five days like the rest of the country in Uttar Pradesh. On the first day, it is Dhanteras which is celebrated with ardor and enthusiasm. Rangoli adorns the floors of the cleaned houses. The people of the state make it a point to purchase either gold or silver or some utensil as a token of the good luck that will visit the family. Diyas are lit and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped with great devotion. The second day is Narak Chaturdasi better known as Choti Diwali. On this day, lamps are lit, crackers are burst, Ram and lakshmi are worshipped, devotional songs are sung, aarati is performed but all the celebrations are all mellowed down. This is the most important day when the festivities reach a high level. The homecoming of Lord Rama from exile is celebrated with great merriment. Many people observe fast. Ram Lila performances on this day are very enjoyable. On the fourth day, Govardhan Puja is performed and Annakoot is celebrated. A large number of dishes are prepared and offered to Lord Krishna which is later consumed by the people as Bhog. The fifth day is celebrated as Bhai Dooj. Sisters put tika on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their well being. On the occasion of Diwali, illuminated earthen lamps are floated on the River Ganges in Benaras. If you witness this splendid sight it is sure to remain etched in your minds forever.

  • Ganga Dussehra

    According to the folklore, 'Gangavataran' or the descent of the Ganga (Ganges) happened at this time. Goddess Ganga, the eldest daughter of Himavan and Mena, and sister of Parvathi, had been married to the gods in heaven but afterwards brought down to earth by the great meditation of Bhagiratha, grandson of king Sagara of Ayodhya. Ganga came down to earth quite unwillingly and Lord Shiva took her on his entangled locks, to shun the danger of Ganga's rage. She then came down to earth from the matted locks of Lord Shiva in seven streams. The source of the Ganga is at Gaumukh, which is a 2 day trek from Gangotri in Uttaranchal. Places like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, Garh-Mukteswar, Prayag, etc where River Ganga flows, hold unique implication on this day. Devotees from all over the country flock to these places and Varanasi. Varanasi with its several ghats placed on the western bank of the Ganga, is crowded by pilgrims to touch the river water, bathe in it and take the river clay home to worship. A bath in the river Ganga is considered to cleanse any person of all sins, and to die on its banks is believed to be most fortunate. If this is not possible, then the submersion of the ashes after cremation in the river Ganga is believed to liberate one from the constant cycles of birth and re-birth. In Haridwar, 'aratis' are executed at sundown and a large number of devotees meditate on the river banks. Ganga jal is collected in sealed containers in homes by the devotees and is used on holy days in purifying places. People, who cannot reach the Ganga banks on this day, bathe in some close by pond or river evoking Ganga by chanting her name and offering prayers to the goddess.

  • Holi

    Holi is the festival of colors and is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phagun as per the Hindu calendar. It generally corresponds to the month of March in the English Calendar.

  • Janmashtami Festival

    There is a temple on the exact spot where Krishna was born. On the occasion of Janmashtami, a large number of pilgrims from all over the country come to visit this Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple. They listen to the preaching by the priests of the temple. In the main hall of the temple, a ceremony takes place. The idol of Lord Krishna is bathed by the priests and mantras are chanted. After the completion of this ceremony people break their day long fast. At midnight, the hour when Shri Krishna was born, the deity is taken out of the temple and people jostle each other to get a view of the idol. The air reverberates with the sound of conch shells and shouts in praise of the Lord. There is great merriment on this occasion. The ambience in Mathura and Brindavan is very cheerful. Small shops spring up all over the towns selling sweets and snacks and other small items associated with Lord Krishna. They include books, cassettes and pictures.

  • Kailash Fair in Agra

    In this country with a rich spiritual legacy, many religions are followed. Consequently a large number of religious festivals are celebrated. These festivals come with their fairs. Either the premises of the temples or open areas near the temples get converted to fair grounds and bustle with a lot of activity. The Kailash Fair is also celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. According to popular legend, Lord Shiva himself appeared here in the form of a stone lingam in Kailash. The devotees of this god of the Hindu pantheon remember his visit, offer prayers to him and participate in all the fun and mirth of the fair. The ambience is very cheerful. The joyousness of the large crowd which gathers on the occasion of the fair is great. Many shops are set up and it is indeed a visual delight to see the colorful people in this state of great happiness.

  • Kampil Fair

    This fair derives its name from the place Kampil where it is celebrated. Kampil is an ancient historical town that finds mention in our epics. The place was earlier known as Kampilya and was the capital of King Draupad. Brahlan Vimal Nath, the thirteenth tirthankara was born in Kampil. This town in the Farrukabad district was also visited by Lord Mahavira. The Kampil Fair is held to commemorate the visit of this great man of virtue. The Kampil Fair attracts a large number of people each year. The fair is the meeting ground of many Jain devotees. This colorful carnival is thoroughly enjoyed by all of them. They participate in various activities; purchase various products that are there for sale. They experience thoroughly the sheer joy of living. A lot of fun and enjoyment characterizes the Kampil Fair.

  • Lucknow Festival

    The Lucknow Festival is celebrated between 25th November and 5th December in Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. This capital city of Uttar Pradesh comes energetic during this 10 day long event. It captivates the everlasting grace and grandeurs of the ancient city Awadh, now known as Lucknow. This festival celebrates Lucknow's existing culture which provides perceptivity into the old and cultured atmosphere of the city. Colorful processions, traditional dramas, Kathak dances in the style of the famous Lucknow Gharana, Sarangi and sitar recitals along with ghazals, qawalis and thumri produce a cheerful atmosphere. Exciting events like ekka races, kite flying, cock fighting and other customary village games re-establish an ambiance of long-gone Nawabi days. There is a demonstration of crafts and the tourists can also have a taste of the famous Nawabi cuisine.

  • Mahashivratri

    The traditional form of Shiva Shivalinga is worshipped in the temples. Devotees of Lord Shiva flock the temples to offer their prayers. The Shivalinga is worshipped every three hours with milk, curd and honey. Bael leaves and flowers adorn the lingam. All day long they observe fast. They engage themselves in the preparation of various sweet dishes made out of coconut to offer to the lord. They remain awake the whole night through to serve the offerings and implore the lord to shower his blessings upon them. Even at night they abstain from taking any food. They break their fast only next morning. Religious hymns are sung with feelings of great warmth and intensity. The ardor and devotion of the aficionados are great. They repeatedly utter the Panchakshara Mantra – Om Nama Shivay. The belief is that they will be liberated from the cycle of birth and rebirth and attain true salvation if they chant this mantra. There is a special drink which is prepared on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. Popularly known as Thandai, it is a mixture of milk, almonds and cannabis. It is believed that Lord Shiva is particularly fond of Cannabis. The drink is particularly refreshing after the long period of fast.

  • Muharram Festival

    Prophet Mohammad himself advocated fasting in the month of Muharram. It is not morally binding, but the belief is that if you observe fast, you will be generously rewarded by Allah. However, it is particularly important to fast on Ashura, the tenth day of the month because it will yield great rewards. The people of Lucknow generally observe a fast on this day. On this day which is generally referred to by all as Muharram, the Muslims of Lucknow are in a very generous mood. Their day begins with a bath. After putting surma in their eyes, they engage themselves in various charitable activities. The Nafl Salat prayers and the Surah Ikhlas are performed religiously. They vow to make friends with enemies and also spend quality time in the company of the Ulemas. In the gatherings on the occasion of Muharram, Islamic leaders narrate the story of martyrdom of Hussein. The most important part of the festival is the processions. The taziyas or the colorful replicas of Hussein’s tomb are decorated and taken out and the followers mourn aloud the death of Hussein. In Lucknow, the rites of mourning are observed with greater passion.

  • Nandgaon Holi

    Nandgaon is part of Braj Bhoomi, the region where Lord Krishna is said to have spent his childhood. On the day of Holi, the men of Nandgaon go to Barsana and dowse the female folk. They try to take over the temple of Radhikaji. However the women of Barsana resist their attempt to do so. On the next day, the men folk from Barsana come to Nandgaon. Nandgaon is at a distance of about 7 km from Barsana. They come in a grand procession carrying the flag of the Larily Lal Temple in Barsana. Their objective is to win over the temple of Shriji in Nandgaon, whereas the men of Nandgaon try to take the flag from them. Now we can witness a mock battle between the men of Barsana and the women of Nandgaon. This is one of those rare battles which you are sure to enjoy thoroughly. The women try to ward off the men using lathis and understandably so because their men were met with similar treatment from the women of Barsana just the previous day. The men in return drench them in colored water. They use kesudo and palash to soak them. This is indeed a very enjoyable sight. The gleefulness of the girls while splashing the multitudinous colors is nice to see. It is a pure expression of joy and the men also thoroughly enjoy playing with them.

  • Nirjala Ekadashi

    Nirjala Ekadashi is a widely celebrated festival in India. The day is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is celebrated on the 11th day of the fortnight according to Hindu calendar. This festival is also known as Pandav Bhim Ekadashi Fast. The Nirjala Ekadashi is different from other types of fasting as during this festival, one is supposed to observe the fast without drinking water as well. This festival is one of the strictest forms of fasting in the Hindu religion. The festival is most devotedly followed by the Vishnu devotees. The fast starts with the sunrise on Ekadashi and ends after the sunrise next day. According to the belief, observing fast on this day also helps in getting benefit of other Ekadashis in a year. It is regarded equivalent to going for a pilgrimage. The belief also says that people observing Nirjala Ekadashi after death are greeted by Vaikunta, an abode of Vishnu.

  • Ram Barat

    Ram Barat is one of the most popular festivals in India. This festival is mainly celebrated in Agra. Agra experiences high tourist footfall through out the year because of the Taj Mahal. Those tourists who time their visit during the time of festival get the bonus of getting a close look of the rich culture, portrayed through the festival. The Ram Barat will be passing through the various thoroughfares of the city. The barat is accompanied by around 30 music bands that play popular melodies. The procession also features horses and elephants giving it a grander look. In the procession, people can also see around 125 mobile floats that portray various mythological stories. Large number of people, dressed in their best attires also take part in the procession. They also wear jewelries of gold and silver. The grandness of the procession is a treat to the eye of the visitors.

  • Ramlila

    Ramlila is celebrated during the Durga Sharad Navratras. It is a folk drama that portrays the legend of Ramayana. Though this festival is celebrated in various corners of India but it is celebrated with most pomp and show Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is very popular in these parts of India and draws huge crowds. The popularity of Ramlila has earned it the status of masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In fact, the popularity of this festival is also felt in other parts of the globe as it is also performed in South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, England and other countries. This is great play for the tourists as they get an insight into the rich tradition and culture of India. Tourists on witnessing Ramlila also get a chance to explore an unknown culture that is rich with tradition and customs.

  • Taj Festival

    The Taj Festival in Agra begins from 18th - 27th Feb with a grand procession that makes one reminiscent of the magnificence of the Mughal era. Elephants and Camels are brilliantly decorated, drum beaters are adorned with finery, folk artistes blessed with immense talents and master craftsmen possessing remarkable dexterity in their respective fields are all gorgeously attired when they participate in this lavish procession. The Taj Festival in Agra is indeed celebrated with a lot of gusto. You can enjoy memorable performances by some of the best classical artistes in the country. They put up wonderful song and dance programmes that leaves you spell bound. Folk artistes are an integral part of the Taj Festival in Agra. You can see the Sapera dance of Rajasthan, Lavani of Maharashtra and Nautanki. These performances are powerful and succeed in making a long lasting impression in your minds. Even before you realize, you hum the same tunes and tap your foots. The Taj Festival in Agra gives the Indian craftsmen a unique platform to showcase their talents. They can exhibit their works of art. Visitors get the chance to purchase a few of these marvelous pieces and add to their collection. They can purchase wood carvings of Saharanpur, brass and other metal ware of Moradabad, handmade carpets of Badohi, the pottery of Khurja, chickan-work of Lucknow, the silk of Banaras and much more. Surely nothing can be more thrilling than an elephant or a camel ride. The Taj Festival in Agra gives you the golden opportunity to ride on the back of these animals. A Food festival is also organized at the time of the celebrations of the Taj Festival in Agra. This is the place to be for all you gourmets. You can taste some of the most exotic cuisines from different parts of the country. The aroma is itself very appetizing.

  • Heritage & Culture

    Uttar Pradesh is a large state not only in terms of population but in area too. The maximum areas of Uttar Pradesh were being directly ruled by many historical monarchs. The royal patronage on several crafts help Uttar Pradesh evolve in to an important centre of handicrafts.

  • Zardozi

    The craft of zardozi or silver and gold embroidery was brought into India by Delhi's Turko-Afghan sultans in the 12th century. Down the ages, the craft became equally popular with the wealthy Hindu, Muslim, and European classes. Today several families in Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow, Rampur, Bareilly, and Farrukhabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, have revived this old craft to supply exquisite zari embroidered bridal outfits and salwar kameezes to boutiques round the country. But prices are considerably lower in Uttar Pradesh. Innovative designers have added functional bags, belts, caps, cushions, and wall hangings to their stock of ready to wear and custom made zardozi garments. A lighter and flashier offshoot of traditional Indian zardozi finds its way to top fashion houses around the world.

  • Chikankari

    Uttar Pradesh's capital, Lucknow, is closely associated with another fine embroidery, chikankari. These cool summery shadow-work saris, kurtas, and veils have been in vogue in this city for hundreds of years. Prices vary according to the quality of material used, and the work done on it. Table and household linen in white or pale pastel muslin, organdy and voile are also popular buys.

  • Jewelry

    The jewelers of this region specialize in making lightweight, hollow gold and silver ornaments, with emphasis on filigree and open work. So the huge jhumka earrings won't hurt your ears, and the impressive gold bangles don't cost a fortune! Semi- precious stones, artificial pearls, glazed quartz, and glass are used to recreate elegant old designs, which can pass off as family heirlooms. Of course, for those with a penchant for the best that money can buy, there are centuries old jewelry shops selling the real stuff like the Basra pearls, emeralds, rubies and diamonds. Then there are hair ornaments fit for nawabi weddings, riyasati signet rings, status conferring gold toe rings, and key rings to tuck into smartly draped saris.

  • Cuisine

    The cuisine of Uttar Pradesh is just as diverse as its geography. Ranging from simple every day fare to rich, elaborate banquets, the cuisine of Uttar Pradesh has absorbed and adapted a variety of cuisines to create an entire smorgasbord of wonderful dishes. The people of Uttar Pradesh love to cook, to eat and to feed! Difference in communities notwithstanding, as a people, they are very warm and hospitable. For most of them, the ultimate in hospitality means you feed your guests till they beg for mercy.

    Many of the Hindu communities are staunch vegetarians and they have created a vast variety of vegetarian dishes ranging from the all time favourite ‘puri-aloo’ or potatoes and fried wheat bread to savouries and divine desserts and sweetmeats. The Muslims, Kashmiris, Kayasthas and Christian communities cook up a storm of non-vegetarian dishes including a delectable selection of breads, kababs, curries and biryanis. The Muslim cuisine, of northern Uttar Pradesh is very different from the Mughlai food of Delhi.

    The Nawabs of Oudh were great gourmets and encouraged their master chefs to create new styles of cooking like the famous ‘Dum Pukht’ of Lucknow where the food is sealed in large pots called ‘handis’, placed over a slow fire and left to cook in its own juices. When opened, these dishes release the most fragrant and delicious aromas. Lucknow and its neighbouring towns were put on the culinary map of India thanks to these rich curries, melt in the mouth kababs, fragrant rice biryanis and pulaos and an eclectic variety of leavened and unleavened breads.

  • Painting & Rock Painting

    The tradition of painting in Uttar Pradesh has been going on since pre-historic times. The cave paintings of Sonbhadra and Chitrakoot depict scenes of hunting, war, festivals, dances, romantic life and animals. The golden period of painting in UP was the Mughal Era. The art of painting attained its peak during the reign of Jahangir. The Mughal style of painting remains one of the greatest achievements of Asian culture and is unique in its concept, presentation and style.

    The art of painting reached the epitome of perfection in the area of Bundelkhand when the King of Orchha reconstructed the temple of Keshav Dev in Mathura. The paintings of Mathura, Gokul, Vrindavan and Govardhan depict the scenes from the life of Lord Krishna. Another major pre-modern painting tradition of UP is known as the Garhwal School which was patronized by the Kings of Garhwal.

  • Crafts

    One of the important crafts of Uttar Pradesh is Chikankari, which entails delicate and traditional hand embroidery. This form of handicrafts is mainly practiced in Lucknow. It is done on fabrics like chiffon, muslin, organza, organdie and silk. Chikan saris and Kurtas which are the perfect summer wear.

    Zardozi embroidery is another unique art where the embroidery is done in three dimensions. Zari works of Varanasi are famous around the world.

    Pottery and exquisite metal ware products are also created on a large scale in Uttar Pradesh.

    Carpet weaving is also an important cultural expression of Uttar Pradesh. The state caters to 90 percent of the country's carpets. The carpet weaving centers primarily located in the state are around Mirzapur, Khamaria and Bhadohi.

  • Metal Ware

    Uttar Pradesh is the largest Brass and Copper producing state in India. In domestic-ware each of the 'lotas' (small water-pots) is known by the name of its origin, like Etawah, Banaras, Sitapur, etc. The ritual articles are largely in copper. Moradabad in U P is famous for its art metalwork and known for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings.

  • Pottery

    Glazed pottery with white background and blue and green patterns is developed in Khurja, Chunar and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. UP produces some of the finest Chunar black clay pottery. This is inlaid with silver paint in intricate designs. The art that is practiced in Nizamabad, has high gloss and lustre derived from a powder called kabiz made from the mud of rice fields. Khurja is also well known for its cheap and tough tableware.

  • Terracotta

    Gorakhpur has villages where clay figures of animals are created and is famous for its ornately decorated terracotta horse too. The potter creates the basic form by placing separate pieces of mud on the wheel and then carving them

  • Jewellery

    Lucknow is well known for its jewellery and enamel work. Exquisite silverware with patterns of hunting scenes, snakes and roses are very popular. The Bidri and Zarbuland silver works of Lucknow have fine embroidery on excellent pieces of huqqa farshi, jewel boxes, trays, bowls, cufflinks, cigarette holders, etc. Renowned ivory and bone carvings with motifs of flowers, leaves, creepers, trees, birds and animals are widely produced in Lucknow. The master craftsmen create intricate items like knives, lampshades, shirt pins and small toys.

  • Perfume

    'Attars' or perfumes are also produced in Lucknow since 19th century. The Lucknow perfumers experimented and succeeded in making attar with delicate and lasting fragrances those are made from various aromatic herbs, spices, sandal oil, musk, essence of flowers, and leaves. The famous Lucknow fragrances used in perfumes are khus, keora, chameli, zafran and agar.

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