Uttar Pradesh is a state in the Plains region of India. In 6 BC, Uttar Pradesh was associated with two new religions: Jainism and Buddhism. It was at Sarnath that Buddha preached his first sermon and laid the foundations of his order, and it was in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, where Buddha breathed his last. Several places in Uttar Pradesh like Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi and Mathura became reputed centers of learning. In the medieval period, Uttar Pradesh passed under Muslim rule and led the way to new synthesis of Hindu and Islamic cultures. Ramananda and his disciple Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas and many other intellectuals contributed to the growth of Hindi and other languages in the area. The State is bounded by Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the north, Haryana in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the south, and Bihar in the east. Uttar Pradesh can be divided into two distinct regions, the Southern hills and the Gangetic plain.