- The tradition of painting in Uttar Pradesh has been going on since pre-historic times where the cave paintings of Sonbhadra and Chitrakoot depict scenes of hunting, war, festivals, dances, romantic life and animals.
- 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.
- 30000 year old cave paintings
- Pictures depicting hunting scenes
- The most distinctive attraction in Sonbhadra are its several cave painting sites tucked in the Vindhya and Kaimur region.
- The Lakhania Caves, located in the Kaimur Range are known for their beautiful pre- historic rock paintings. These historic paintings are about 4,000 years old and bring to life the culture of an era gone by.
- Khodwa Pahar or Ghoramangar is another well-known ancient cave painting site. Other noteworthy paintings sites are located in the cave shelters of Panchmukhi, Kauva Khoh and Lakhma. These paintings throw light on the periods ranging from Mesolithic to Heliolithic Age.
- Bara Imambara, Lucknow was built by more than 22,000 people.
- During the day, the Imambara was built, and at night, the workers destroyed parts of what had been built to ensure that no one remained unemployed.
- This is indeed a monumental feat as it was once the largest vaulted hall in the world, with a 50 feet high roof, spanning an area of 162 feet.
- The galleries and corridors within the great Imambara form a complicated and intricate labyrinth (bhoolbhuliaya) through which at times it is difficult to find one’s way.
- Towards the west of the Imambara is the Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gate.
- The 60-feet high gateway stands as an equally grand entrance to the great Wajid Ali Shah’s single contribution to Lucknow was the Qaiser Bagh Palace.
- In the centre was a Baradari flanked by two mermaid gates.
- On the right end was Chandiwali Baradari, and the Khas Muqam and Badshah Manzil.
- Residency was built by the Britishers.
- The ruins of the Residency stand desolate as a mute witness to the Mutiny of 1857 when it was almost destroyed.
- The 1857 Memorial Museum at the Residency has been established and designed to present a visual account of the freedom struggle of 1857.
- Chhota Imambara, as it had been called later, has a golden dome, exquisite chandeliers, huge mirrors, silver minar, colourful interiors and delicate calligraphy on its arched entrance.
STATE MUSEUM OF LUCKNOW
- The State Museum of Lucknow is the oldest and largest multi-purpose museum of Uttar Pradesh, established in 1863
- It is situated in the four-story building in Lucknow Zoo (Banarasi Baug). It has a rich collection of sculpture, bronzes, paintings, natural history, manuscripts, numismatics, anthropology, , of Awadh region.
- It contains a Egyptian mummy (c. 1000 BC) and a wooden sarcophagus as well.
- Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna was known as Brij Bhoomi.
- Mathura is surrounded by numerous sites which have been associated with Lord Krishna.
- This region has hundreds of small and big temples which attract pilgrims throughout the year.
- Some of the significant temples are Dwarikadeesh temple, the temple at Krishna Janmbhoomi, Shri Radha Raman temple, Shri Govind Dev temple, etc. Mathura Museum has a huge collection of Mathura school of sculptures known for the Mathura style that flourished during the Kushan period around 100 BCE and reached its peak during the Gupta period (325 to 600 CE).
- The sculptures made in red sandstone were marked by sharp and beautiful features, graceful and slim body, with many folds of transparent drapery and a new style of coiffure.
- The collection of Mathura sculptures and terracottas are displayed in the Government Museum at Mathura, which was established in 1874.
- Perhaps the most impressive work of art displayed here is the headless life-size statue of Kanishka.
- The Mathura school of art adopted the traditions of the early Indian art of Bharhut and Sanchi.
- Starting with the earliest terracotta figures of the mother goddess, the free use of elaborate motifs in hairstyles and drapes, and the fusion of the old Indian-cults as the worship of yakshas are all important features of this school of art
- Agra, the city of architectural wonders, is one of the richest heritage sites in India with numerous Mughal monuments including the magnificent Taj Mahal, tombs like Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra, impressive Agra Fort, formal Mughal gardens and the fabulous city of Fatehpur Sikri.
- The Jahangir Mahal was built by Akbar and is one of the few structures that survives from his reign.
- It is a Stately building with rows of ornate pillars with elaborate hanging brackets set around an open courtyard.
- Tansen’s Baradari has 12 doorways, this rectangular single-storey building is made of red sandstone with three doorways on each side.
- The arched doorways grace its northern and southern sides while the eastern and western sides have flatroofed doorways.
- In Fatehpur Sikri, Birbal’s house stands near the north-west corner of Jodha Bai’s palace.
- An extension of northern suite of Jodha Bai’s palace, Hawa Mahal is composed of beautiful jali screens.
- This kind of arrangement of screens keeps the interior cool and at the same time ensured purdah for ladies.
- It was originally closed with beautiful stone screens and extended upto Hathi Pol and Sangin Burj, but now only a part of it is survived.
- Jodha Bai’s palace is the largest and most important part of Imperial Harem, having all facilities, provisions and safeguards.
- Several Hindu motifs like hans (swan), parrot, elephants, lotus, srivatsa mark, ghantmala, , are decorated in the interior.
- The colonnaded dalan contains curvilinear square pillars with beautiful moldings and extremely graceful brackets.
- The western suite, which serves the purpose of temple, contains beautiful curvilinear pillars with brackets.
- This suite contains vedikas and the super structure of the building comprises chhatris, semi- circular domes and triangular tiled roofs which bear traces of arabesque designs in glazed tiles.
- Panch Mahal, a fivefloored pillared pavilion is an extraordinary building.
- It was called badgir or wind tower, which was constructed to alleviate the heat and is a very popular architectural mechanism of Persian architecture.
- The first floor has 84 pillars with each row of eight pillars arranged in north to south direction and six pillars arranged in east to west direction.
- The second floor has 56 pillars beautiful carved with unique designs with row of six pillars in north to south direction and row of four pillars in east to west direction.
- Capitals of these pillars contain beautiful carved designs like floral vase, arch or rosette pattern.
- With more than 100 ghats along the Ganga, some of the prominent ghats are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Kabir Ghat and Assi Ghat.
- Manikarnika Ghat, one of the oldest and most sacred ghats, is the main cremation ghat of Varanasi.
- Bharat Kala Bhawan, located in the Banaras Hindu University has an outstanding collection of sculptures, paintings and textiles which began with the private collection of the eminent art historian Rai Krishnadasa.
- The sculpture collection includes terracotta and clay objects, stone and bronze and cast metal objects.
- Ancient terracotta varying from ritual icons to toys to utilitarian objects date to the Indus Valley civilisation, Mauryan, Sunga and Gupta.
- Among the stone sculptures are red sandstone reliefs from the 2nd century BC Buddhist stupa at Bharhut and rare images and statues from well-known schools like Gandhara, which saw the synthesis of Greek and Indian styles and Mathura, a powerful art centre during the Kushana period.
- The large and impressive collection of textiles contains precious examples of Banaras silks and brocades, embroidered shawls from Kashmir and the rare Chamba rumal, once used to wrap ceremonial gifts and offerings.
- They consist of rich embroidered pieces with designs and stories from the life of
- There are several collections of Mughal, Rajasthani and Pahari miniature paintings from almost all the schools housed here
- Sarnath is about 10 km from Varanasi, where Buddha delivered his first sermon after gaining enlightenment.
- On the day before his death, Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers.
- It makes Sarnath one of the most venerated Buddhist places.
- Besides Buddhism, Sarnath is also connected with Jainism.
- Some of the important Buddhist monuments at Sarnath are the Dhamekha stupa, the Chaukhandi (was built to mark the place where Lord Buddha met his first disciples as he travelled from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath) and monasteries and temples of different schools of Buddhism from Japan, China, Thailand, Burma, etc. The Indian Buddhist society called Mahabodhi Society maintains a deer park around the Buddha temple.
- The Mahabodhi Temple within the park has a tooth relic of the Buddha.
- Sarnath has yielded a rich collection of artifacts including sculptures and edifices comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images and other ancient remains.
- To house all the excavations in and around Sarnath, a site museum has been established where finest specimens of Buddhist art and other important remains have been kept.
- The single most famous exhibit of this museum is the lion capital.
- Among the exhibits is a beautiful sculpture of the Buddha from the 5th century.
- The Buddha sits crosslegged, with eyes downcast in deep meditation, and a halo around his head.
- The Ashoka Lion capital or the Sarnath lion capital is the national symbol of India.
- The Sarnath pillar bears one of the edicts of Ashoka, an inscription against division within the Buddhist community.
- The Sarnath pillar is a column surmounted by a capital, a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, which consists of a short cylindrical abacus with four 24-spoked dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse and a lion).
- Kapilvastu, where Buddha spent the early years of his life, was the capital of the Shakya clan whose ruler was his father.
- Today, Kapilvastu comprises several villages, where a large stupa stands at the ancient site which houses the bone relics of Buddha.
- Kushinagar, one of the principal centres of the Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place where Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana—freedom from the cycle of births.
- The Chinese travellers Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang have also mentioned Kushinagar in their travelogues.
- The monuments of Kushinagar are clustered in three distinct groups comprising the main site at the Nirvana temple, the central Stupa and surrounding monastery of Mathakuar Kot in the south-west and the Ramabhar Stupa, a kilometer to the east.
- Buddha passed away at this place near the Hiranyavati River and was cremated
- The Mauryan emperor Ashoka added grandeur to this place by getting the magnificent statue of Buddha carved on a single piece of red sandstone.
- The site Museum of Kushinagar contains collection of Buddhist artefacts like sculptures, carved panels, etc., which were discovered from the site excavations at Kushinagar. Sandstone Structure of Bhahrut Stupa
- Sravasti, capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, is sacred to Buddhists because it is here that Buddha performed the greatest of his miracles, including that of the creating His multiple images.
- An active centre of Buddhism even in the Buddha’s lifetime, the Buddha himself spent many summers here, and delivered important sermons.
- Deogarh/Dashavatar temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated on the right bank of the Betwa river, is of great importance.
- Integral to the history of the Guptas, it is a fine example of early temple architecture, showing a high level of craftsmanship of architecture and sculpture.
- The terraced basement above the high plinth is decorated with sculpted panels.
- The figures of Ganga and Yamuna adorn the carved doorway leading to the sanctum.
- Three large carved panels along the side walls—the Gajendramoksha panel, the Nar Narayan Tapasya and the Anantshayi Vishnu—depict scenes from Vaishnava mythology.
- Bhitargaon Temple is a unique architectural specimen with a brick shikara belonging to the Gupta period.
- Inside the temple, only the sanctum or garbhagriha and the porch exist.
- The importance of the Bhitargaon temple lies in the fact that it is the sole surviving record of this early phase of temple architecture in India.
- Established in 1931, Allahabad Museum is known for its rich collection and unique objects of art.
- It has a collection of the famous Bharut stone sculptures depicting the Jataka stories, the Roreich paintings, painting from the Bengal School of Art, terracotta gallery, archaeological gallery and much more.
- The Gupta temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, popularly known as the Dashavatara Temple and dated to the 6th century CE, is the earliest known Panchyatana temple in North India.
- The fort on the hill has a cluster of Jain temples, the oldest of these dating to the 8th or 9th century.
- The wall frescoes of Jain images of “iconographic and the stylistic variety”, are special features of the fort.
- Chitrakoot meaning “the hill of many wonders” falls in the northern Vindhya range of mountains Mahoba is known for its myriad lakes and temples.
- The lakes and hilltop fort which was built by the Chandela Kings are engineering marvels.
- Ballads praise the days of glory and narrate the inspiring saga of Alha and Udal, the two legendary warrior brothers who sacrificed their lives for the honour of their land.
- The ancient fort of Kalinjar was strategically important during the medieval times.
- Located in the stunning Vindhya ranges, this fort has a charm which lingers for long in one’s mind
- There is also the famous Neelkanth temple which according to the legend was built on the spot where Lord Shiva emerged from the churning of the ocean and came to rest for some time.