Uttar Pradesh (ŏˈtär präˈdĭsh) [key], state (2001 provisional pop. 166,052,859), 92,804 sq mi (240,363 sq km), N central India. The capital is Lucknow. Other important cities are Allahabad, Bareilly, Kanpur, and Varanasi. The most populous state of India, it was formed in 1950 by merging the United Provinces and the small former princely states of Benares, Rampur, and Tehri. It was somewhat decreased in 2000 when the state of Uttarakhand was carved from its northwestern section. Hindi is the main language. There is a hilly region along the southern border, but most of the state is a low-lying alluvial plain formed by the Yamuna, Ganges, and Ghaghara rivers.
The mild climate generally permits two harvests a year; wheat, rice, millet, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, and jute are grown. The moderate rainfall is supplemented by an extensive system of barrage and canal irrigation and by wells and pumps that draw on groundwater. The economy is predominantly agricultural, and industry is centered on processing sugar and cotton; the once-important manufacture of brooches and artwares, such as ornamental brasses, has declined. Building stone and high-grade sand for the glass industry are abundant. Adequate railroads and roads ensure efficient distribution. Numerous universities are supported by this prosperous state. The state is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to a bicameral legislature with one elected house and by a governor appointed by the president of India.