Kanpur which was also known as Cawnpore is a city located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India and although tourism is not a major industry here, there are numerous places of interest located in the city. This metropolis is one of the most populated one in India and carries significant economical as well as historical importance. Although the history of Kanpur is unclear till the 13th century, there are many myths and stories that are associated with the city. Moreover, the city is located on the banks of the river Ganges which gives it some religious importance as well.
The city was witness to the massacre of numerous Britons and it is unclear whether the massacre was preplanned or happened because of confusion. The rebels besieged many British people and agreed a safe passage for almost 200 women and children under the rebel leader Nana Sahib’s agreement. These women and children were later taken to “Bibighar” or “Ladies room” and were ordered to be killed. However when the rebels refused to carry out such orders, butchers were brought from the town to murder these hostages. The British later hunted down the rebels and many were either killed or fled. This bloody history makes Kanpur a grim reminder of imperialism and epitaphs and museums still stand to honor those who were killed.
Places of interest:
Kanpur Memorial Church: This church was built in 1875 in honor of the British who were killed during the war of 1857. Designed in the Lombardic Gothic style, the church is made of red bright bricks and polychrome dressings. On the eastern side of the church lies a Memorial garden that can be approached by two gateways. These gateways are also adorned with carvings in the Gothic style depicting an angel with crossed arms as a symbol of peace.
Kanpur Museum: The Kanpur museum is located in Phool Bagh (Flower garden) and is the official museum of the city. It gives information about many facts and the milestones in the history of Kanpur. It also has numerous artifacts and relics that remind a visitor of the people and places that molded this thriving metropolis. Established recently in 1999 one of the main attractions of the Kanpur museum is an old artillery gun.
Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary: This sanctuary is situated on the Lucknow-Kanpur road and is a temporary haven for many species of migratory birds. However the numbers of these birds, which arrive usually from Russia, are slowly declining. The birds migrate across Himalayas from China, Tibet, Europe and Siberia for the duration of winters. As many birds have to cross the Himalayas, they have to reach an altitude of almost 9000 meters in order to reach this place. Some of the migratory avian population here consists of Greylag Goose, Pintail, Cotton teal, Red Crested pochard, Gadwall, Shoveller, Coot and Mallard. Some major local migratory and residential birds are Spotwill, Sarus crane, Painted Stork, Peacock, White Ibis, Dabchick, Whisling teal, Open billed stork, White necked stork, Pheasant tailed jacana, Broze winged Jacana, Purple moorhen, Lapwing, Tern vulture, Pigeon, King crow, Indian roller and Bee eater. The park also has many species of deer such as the spotted deer and barking deer along with many species of reptiles.
Moti Jheel: This is a lake and a drinking water reservoir located in the Benajhabar area of Kanpur and was built during the British Raj. There is also a children’s park nearby and the combination of both makes Moti Jheel (Pearl Lake) an important tourist attraction. Originally built in the time of British Raj the lake itself is rectangular and later renovation and landscaping was carried out by the government to make it a recreational place.
Allen Forest Zoo: This zoo is also referred to as the Kanpur Zoo and was originally conceived by Sir Allen who was in the Indian Civil Service during colonial times. However the zoo was not completed till 1971 due to the inevitable red tape that seems ubiquitous in India. The park is located very close to the center of the city and is one of the zoo’s that is carved out of natural forest. Numerous species of reptiles, mammals, and birds can be found in the zoo including a botanical garden which can be called a legacy of Sir Allen who was an excellent Botanist.
J.K Temple: This temple which flaunts an architecture which is modern as well as ancient was completed in 1960 and was built by the J.K Trust. There are five shrines dedicated to various gods and the temple itself is white and well lit during the night.
Bithoor: This is a place located near Kanpur and is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus since it is believed that it was here that Lord Brahma commenced the creation of the world. However, the place was destroyed by the British in 1857 and they razed the palace of Nana Sahib who was the rebel leader. The destruction of temples and palaces was in retaliation in which hundreds of British men, women, and children were massacred by rebels. Today there are numerous Ghats and Ashrams such as the Valmiki Ashram, Bramhavarta Ghat, Patthar Ghat and other places of religious interest. Located almost 12 miles from Kanpur, this place is thronged by tourists as well as pilgrims.