State (pop., 2008 est.: 190,891,000), north-central India. It is bordered by Nepal; the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttarakhand; and Delhi national capital territory. Uttar Pradesh covers an area of 93,933 sq mi (243,286 sq km). Its capital is Lucknow. The state is the most populous in the country. It lies largely in the plains formed by the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. The region was the setting of two great Sanskrit epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and was the scene of the rise of Buddhism after the 6th century BCE. It was ruled by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the mid-3rd century BCE, the Gupta dynasty in the 4th–6th centuries CE, and King Harsha in 606–647. The Mughals gained control in the 16th century, at which time the city of Agra became a chief centre. The British arrived in the late 18th century; by the 1830s they held sway and organized the region as the North-Western Provinces (later renamed the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh; eventually shortened to the United Provinces). The area was the main scene of the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58. Following Indian independence in 1947, the United Provinces became the state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2000 the state's northern portion was made into the new state of Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand). Agriculture is the most important economic sector. Noted tourist meccas are Agra and Varanasi.