Uttar Pradesh has been one of the cultural hubs of India. The state has several religiously significant sites, both to Hinduism and Buddhism. It has served as a melting pot of Indo-Islamic syncretic culture of the medieval period. Varanasi, known as Kashi in ancient times, is one of the holiest places for Hindus. Other important cities are Jhansi, Ayodhya where Lord Ram was born, Mathura where Lord Krishna was born.
Throughout its history, the region of Uttar Pradesh was sometimes divided between smaller kingdoms and at other times formed an important part of larger empires that arose on its east or west, including the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta, Gurjara, Rashtrakuta, Pala and Mughal empires.