Genral Information - Kanpur
Kanpur in central Uttar Pradesh is the largest city in the region and its most important industrial centre. Situated on the southwestern bank of the river Ganga, it is also one of the most polluted cities in the world. The erstwhile British garrison town of ‘Cawnpore’, it later transformed into an industrial hub with the setting up cotton mills and leather factories. Unlike other settlements along the sacred river, the ghats (river landings used for bathing and washing) of Kanpur are in a state of disrepair and of little significance to visitors. Most visitors come to this busy crowded city for business.
Believed to have been settled by an ancient Hindu king and referred to as Kanhpur, the area was of little significance till 1765, when Shuja-ud-daulah, the Nawab of Avadh was defeated in battle by the British at Jajmau. Kanpur was officially transferred to the British under a treaty signed in 1801 with the ruling Nawab of Avadh and was declared a district in 1803. Appreciating the strategic location of Kanpur on the banks of the Ganga, colonial traders started setting up business in the sleepy hamlet, converting it into a thriving garrison town. The history of Kanpur saw its most significant and probably most horrific period during the Mutiny of 1857. Nana Sahib, one of the key players in the events of India’s first uprising against colonial rule, declared independence on 7th June 1857 in Kanpur. Habitat :
The garrison commander Brigadier General Hugh Wheeler retreated into trenches dug along a canal in the cantonment area with about one thousand British residents. They were laid siege to by the Mutineers and many died of gunfire, disease and starvation. Towards the end of June, the garrison surrendered on condition of safe passage to Allahabad. As they were boarding boats at the Satichaura Ghat, a group of mutineers attacked with swords and guns. Most of the men were killed. The women and children who survived were taken prisoner and kept at the Bibighar.
On July 15th relief came in the form of fresh British forces under the command of Brigadier General Havelock. Panicking at the possibility of defeat, the Indian soldiers butchered the couple of hundred women and children who had survived the Satichaura massacre. Their dismembered bodies were then thrown into a nearby well. The British, on their part wreaked dreadful revenge, executing several innocent locals and shooting prisoners from the mouth of cannons. As the Mutiny was subverted, Nana Sahib escaped and is believed to have died in 1859. After the British took possession of Kanpur once again, the well was bricked over and a memorial with a cross raised at the site of the horrific massacre.
Kanpur regained its pre-eminence as an important industrial town with the establishment of leather factories and cotton mills. The Harness and Saddler Factory was started in 1860 to supply leather products to the army while the first cotton mill was begun in 1862. From then on Kanpur has been in the forefront of the leather and cotton industry of north India.
Kanpur has the dubious reputation of being one of the most polluted cities in the world. The major source of pollution is its industrial units, which spew untreated waste into the environment. The wastewater of the tanneries along Jajmau flew directly into the Ganga till recently. Under the massive cleaning operation of the Ganga Action Plan several treatment plants were installed to stall this pollution. To what extent these measures have helped still remains to be judged.
Place To See :
To the east of Kanpur are the ancient ruins of
Jajmau. Excavated in 1957-58,
the mound revealed artefacts from 600 BC upto
1600 BC. Believed to have been the ancient
settlement of Siddhapuri, the kingdom of the
ancient king Yayati, the Jajmau area is now
marked by the temples of Siddhnath and Siddha
Devi. Along side is the tomb of Makhdum Shah
Ala-ul-Haq, a Sufi saint who was immortalised in
the mausoleum built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq. The
other Islamic building in Jajmau is the 17th
century mosque built by Kulich Khan. How Get There :
the old Civil Lines area of the city
stands the All Soul’s Memorial
Church, built in 1875 in memory
of the British residents who died in
1857. This red brick Gothic building was
designed by Walter Granville. A
beautiful stained glass window and
memorial plaques to the dead are the
important sights in the church. Outside
are the graves of those who were killed
in the Bibighar massacre.
enclosure to the east of the church marks the
Memorial Garden with its Gothic screen designed
by Henry Yule. A beautifully crafted angel with
crossed arms was made by Baron Carlo Marochetti.
The screen and the memorial figure were
originally located at the Bibighar and were
shifted to their present site after independence
A kilometre northeast of the church is the
Satichaura Ghat, now only
marked by a small Shiva temple. In the centre of
the city are the King Edward VII Memorial Hall
and the Christ Church, built in 1848. On the
Mall Road that runs across the city from east to
west is the Phool Bagh or flower garden. To the
west of the Phool Bagh is the Nana Rao Park,
built at the site of the Bibighar and dedicated
to the memory of Nana Sahib. The 15-cm. high
trench walls and the well are still visible
within the complex.
modern Shri Radhakrishna Temple
popularly known as the JK temple was
built by a prominent industrial house. A
white marble structure, the temple is an
amalgamation of diverse styles,
borrowing from northern and southern
temple architecture. There are five main
shrines dedicated to Radha and Krishna,
Lakshmi and Narayan (another name for
Vishnu), Ardhanarishwar, Narmadeshwar
and the monkey god Hanuman.
religious landmark in Kanpur is the Jain glass
temple, which acquired its name from the
elaborate glasswork inside.
West of the Agricultural College is the
Kamla Retreat, a privately owned park.
It has a swimming pool, extensive gardens,
boating facilities and even a mini-zoo. The
retreat also houses a museum with some
interesting historical and archaeological
exhibits. To visit the museum you will need to
get prior permission from the administrators of
the complex: Deputy General Manager
(Administration), Kamla Tower, Kamlanagar, Ph:
0512 - 311478, 311479.
By Air Accomodation :
The Chakeri airport, 12 kms out of town, has been serviced since 1996 by some domestic airlines. The better-connected Amausi Airport of Lucknow is 65 kms away. To get to the city, take a taxi.
Most trains between the north and the east of India stop at Kanpur Central railway station. There is a Shatabdi service between Delhi and Kanpur, which gets you here in super quick time. There also are train connections with Lucknow, Agra and other important cities in Central India.
State roadways buses connect Kanpur with Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra, Kannauj and Jhansi. The main bus stand or Collectorganj Bus Stand in Sadar Bazaar gets buses mainly from Lucknow, while the Chunniganj bus stand services buses from Delhi, Agra, Haridwar and other western towns.
Kanpur has a host of good hotels. Budget options can be found around the Kanpur Central Station, but you may want to check the accommodation for facilities and hygiene before checking in. Most of the expensive hotels are along the Mall. The station itself has retiring rooms, which are adequate for overnight halts.
The main shopping areas are The Mall, Birhana Road, Naveen Market, Meston Road and PPN Market. Shoppers can get a good bargain on the extensive range of leather products and cottons for which Kanpur is renowned. Besides private shops, state government emporia in the Mall sell handicraft products.
Holi is one of the important festivals celebrated during the spring season (February-March) and is one of the most colorful festival celebrated with great gaiety and fervor. Many fairs are conducted in Kanpur during the Holi period.