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With an area of 243,286 kmĀ², Uttar Pradesh covers a large part of the highly fertile and densely populated upper Gangetic plain. It shares an international border with Nepal and is bounded by the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. The administrative and legislative capital of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknow and the financial and industrial capital is Kanpur. The state's high court is based at Allahabad. It is home to many historical cities like Agra and Varanasi.

Throughout its history it was sometimes divided between petty kingdoms and at other times formed an important part of larger empires that arose to its east or west, including the Mauryan, Gupta, Kushan and Mughal empires. Uttar Pradesh has an important place in the culture of India as it is considered to be the birthplace of Hinduism and has many important sites of Hindu pilgrimage. It also holds much of the heritage of the Mughal Empire, including the famous Taj Mahal in Agra.