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Knock Knock (Kanpur)

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary is one of the many wetlands in the northern part of India and it is counted amidst the jewels of Uttar Pradesh. Complete with a reclining lake and a picturesque set-up in every nook and corner, this sanctuary also boasts of watchtowers and boats, which add immensely to its beauty! Birds like Spotwill, Woodpecker, Parakeet, Painted Stork, Coot, Common Teal, Shoveller, Pochard are some of the residents here and it is a must-visit if you're an ardent bird watcher.

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Ethnic wear is something one can never have enough of. The grace and elegance of a stunning salwar-kurta, the breezy fall of a dupatta or the haughtiness of a sharara can never be matched by jeans and skirts. The graceful ethnics not only work miracles during summer-time but are a great help when we're looking for something 'extravagant' or occasion specific. When it comes to designer ethnic clothing in Kanpur, there are only a handful of places where we can find something good good enough- Farida Gupta being one of the few.

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Kanpur is known for many things- the culture, the language, the leather industry and finally for once being called the Manchester of East. What people often forget to recall about the city is its extensive contribution to India's freedom struggle.

An old relic of Cawnpore, the Memorial church is as much of an architectural marvel and a reminder of the brave fight the people of Cawnpore put against the British, and the bloodshed that followed it.

All Soul's Cathedral

Standing tall at the centre of the Kanpur Cantonment, The Kanpur Cathedral Church has been an object of much curiosity from tourists and locals alike.

Popularly called the All Soul's Cathedral, this majestic church was constructed in 1875 to commemorate the 'courage and valour' of the British troops who fought in the sepoy mutiny of 1875 in the city. The sepoy mutiny saw the annihilation of thousands of people on either end of the fight. With the Massacre Ghat and Bibighar being places that saw most of the violence.

The lives lost can be accounted to both sides, these killings especially barbaric in nature, were the first spark that lit the widespread fire of revolution and mutiny in the country. Which lead to one of the biggest struggles that the country had ever seen and first ever violent respond to the British exploitation.

The Stellar Architecture

Designed by the famed Walter Granville, a former employee of the East Bengal Railways, the Kanpur Memorial Church showcases the exquisite Lombardy Gothic style of architecture. Made of vibrant red bricks, in different hues, the church houses a beautifully carved figure of an angel with crossed arms and holding batons: a symbol of peace. A memorial garden is also located on the east of the church and is as stunning as the structure it houses.

Though stunning to behold, the church is symbolic of the struggle people of Kanpur did and the memorial of all lives lost.

Knock Knock

The church, though built to commemorate the British lives lost, serves more as a reminder of the blood lost to gain the freedom and the price we had to pay for it. Written in the blood of martyrs and innocents, Kanpur's Memorial Church still serves as a reminder of what we lost to gain the freedom that we take for granted today.

Kanpur known for its industrial connection, is also a place of great reverence and religious significance. With many a shrine and temples in the city itself Kanpur becomes a must visit for pilgrims and tourists wishing to know more about the ghat, its significance or simply behold the holy site.

Known as the place where mankind was birthed, Kanpur's Brahmavart Ghat is a holy site you have to visit when in the city. Revered as the place where it all started, the Brahmavart Ghat is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites for the devotees of Lord Brahma.

The Holy Brahmavart

Kanpur's Bithoor houses some of the most religiously sacred and significant places in the Hindu culture. The town has been the epicentre of several mythological and religious happening, hence making it one of the most visited in Kanpur.

So when in Kanpur and looking for some much needed spiritual healing, the Brahmavart Ghat is a must visit spot. This ghat or river bank is said to hold mystical powers as it is said to be the place where mankind was birthed.

The Hindus believe the ghat to be a place where Lord Brahma lived before man inhabited this world. It is here that Brahma Ji is revered to have installed a Shiva Linga which, to the day is worshipped as the Brahmeshwar Mahadeva. It is here that Lord Brahma is believed to have started mankind making man with clay and all the righteousness in the world.

A horse shoe is also embedded on the banks of the shore here, believed to have fell off from his horse before going on an Ashvamedha Yagna. It is believed that the entire earth rotates on the axis of this horse shoe. Due to its religious significance a small temple dedicated to Lord Brahma has also been constructed on the ghats for the devotees to come and offer their respects.

Knock Knock

Brahmavart Ghat is a place of great religious prominence yet it is also a place where you can see stunning sunsets and mesmerising sun rises. The Brahmavart ghat serves as a great place for spiritual musings and pondering. If you are a pilgrim and believe in the might of Brahma, the ghat is a must visit.

Kanpur is a tier-two city, a city that is often ignored, called names and looked down upon. Yet, in the past few years we have seen a radical shift in Kanpur's narrative. From being a sad old town in Uttar Pradesh which was once considered the Industrial power house for the country, Kanpur has now become Bollywood's newest location obsession.

The credit for this can easily be doled out to the friendly filmmaking policies of UP government and even the incentive they provide filmmakers. The newest addition to the list of movies shot in the city is 'Pati Patni aur Woh', where Ananya Pandey was seen capturing an SRK-esque train scene for the movie.

So, here's a list of 5 movies where you might see your favourite locale in the city.

1. Bala

Ayushmann Khurrana has become a familiar face in the city of Kanpur, with not one but three movies that have been shot in the city. The most recent of his releases, Bala showed a young man from Kanpur who is battling the loss of his hair. The movie plays a wonderful role in discussing the issue that has been plaguing men of this country.

2. Article 15

Another one of Ayushmann's releases, Article 15 was also shot in the city. The movie which discusses the long drawn issue of casteism in Indian and its deep seated roots in the society was shot in several locales of the city and its outskirts.

3. Tanu weds Manu

We are all familiar with the famous Kangana Ranaut & R Madhavan rom-com, which put Kanpur in the centre of its plot. The Kanpur railway station, the messy colonies and the local streets of the city are a familiar sight in the movie which can put a smile on the face of any Kanpurite.

4. Dabangg 2

Salman Khan starrer Dabangg was also a huge movie for the city. The movie set in Kanpur, showcased much of the Kanpur Kotwali and the fans just could not keep calm about it. To the day Kanpur Kotwali is famous for being a part of "Bhai ki movie".

5. Bunty aur Babli

An oldie but a goodie, Bunty aur Babli showed us much of our beloved city. From the Kanpur central railway station to the famous Thaggu ke laddoo shop, there are many things in the movie that make us nostalgic. Because- "Aisa koi saga nahi jisko thaga nahin".

Knock Knock

Small towns and tier two cities like Kanpur have become an inseparable part of the new Bollywood narrative. We cannot deny how glad this shift makes us and hope that more such movies and shows are shot in the city, giving the residents something to look forward to and the city a shoutout.

Bollywood has been known for its extravagant & outside the country shoot locales. The valleys of Switzerland and European tours though common, seemed lacking a general connection with the audience. Thankfully, that has changed for better. Movies today are more local, based on realistic characters and plots that most can relate to. With this imminent shift in cinema, cities that had been overlooked for many years, are now being showcased in their full glory, Kanpur being one of them.

Though, we cannot hide our excitement on seeing a familiar road, a known locality and our favourite actor on the streets of city, there's a lot that the movies miss. They not only categorise the city and its people in clearly labeled boxes but the stereotypes, are appalling too. Here's a list of 5 stereotypes about Kanpur that we're tired of seeing in Bollywood movies.

1. Gutka before morning tea

Bollywood never gives up on its obsession of gutka and paan, while depicting a character that belongs to UP-Bihar. Yet, not all of us are always chewing on beetle leaves and you can make a character seem authentic without promoting the habit or reinstating people's interest in it.

Bacchhan Bhaiya (Javed Jaffri) in Bala, Bunty (Abhishek Bacchhan) in Bunty aur Babli and even Tanu's dad in Tanu weds Manu are case on point.

2. Always ready to take a fight

Why is it that every time we see a somewhat believable character from the town on-screen, they're portrayed as some sort of a goon who has to have their way. Not all of us are blood thirsty, we have our share of soft spoken, decent, peace loving people. And though we may seem blunt and irksome, most of us do not jump from rooftops with a sword in our hands.

Yes, we're talking about Salman Khan's Dabangg and countless characters in the movie that were ready to kill for no apparent reason at all.

3. Thaggu ke laddoo is all the food Kanpur can offer

Yes, Thaggu Ke Laddoo are a famous thing about the city. Yes, they are delicious and yes we do love the delectable delicacy. However, Kanpur has a lot more to offer in terms of food than what is shown. Kanpur has a lot in terms of street food, plus the local grub here is unparalleled!

Bunty aur Babli's establishment shots were that of the laddoo shop and event their title track has the tagline of the shop "Aisa koi saga nahin jisko thaga nahin".

4. Shopping matlab Lucknow

Yes, Lucknow is a more developed city than Kanpur, it is also the capital of Uttar Pradesh. But let us assure you, Kanpurites do not need to run to the capital every time we need something good and above standard. We have the Z-square for all the fashionable brands we could ask for and the local shops are a go-to for all ethnic needs.

Unlike Tanu from Tanu weds Manu, we do not run to Lucknow for our 'shaadi ki shopping', we do it right here in the city.

5. Dirty streets and messy colonies

Another common stereotype about Kanpur are the narrow, messy colonies that are often shown in the movies. The un-plastered houses and the peeling paint might do good for the movies but it is not what Kanpur is all about. The wide roads of Civil Lines, Cantt, Tilak Nagar and Swaroop Nagar are never called to the rescue and only the worst of the city is put on a display.

From Baala to Tanu weds Manu, we've seen several examples of this happening in the movies and the one sided portrayal isn't something we are a fan of.

Knock Knock

Kanpur is so much more than the gutka you might see people chewing, the potholed roads, the Bhojpuri speaking uncles and the nosy aunties. We have a culture of revolution and struggle, we've been the industrial hub for North India and there is so much to see here than what the movies depict.

Winters are here and finally, we can look forward to a string of holidays waiting for us amidst the daily schedules.

If you’re a resident of Kanpur, you're hands-down lucky AF because the city is adjacent to too many touristy spots that are perfect for a much-needed break. So keeping the oncoming vacations in mind, we’ve listed down 5-weekend getaways from Kanpur.

Mahoba

The word Mahoba is derived from ‘Mahotsav Nagar’ or the city of great festivals. Mahoba shares its cultural roots with Khajuraho because it too, is known for its erotic caves and sculptures carved during the Chandela rule. This town is home to several monuments and religious sites which serve as a bridge to the rich history it descends from.

The famous Shiv Temple here, dominates the landscape around the Gukhar Mountains and the Kakramath temple, located on an island in the Madan Sagar Lake, also attracts a fair share of devotees. If you’re a history buff, you cannot afford to miss out on the Rahila Sagar Sun Temple, which is a 9th-century shrine and is located in the western side of Rahila Sagar. It oozes with history and serves as a muse to artists as well.

You should also check out the Chandika Devi temple and Gokhar Parvat, which houses shrines dedicated to Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions.

Khajuraho

Situated in the Chattarpur district, Khajuraho is an old heritage city which was christened with such a name, due to the abundance of khajur trees (Date Palm) found in the area! Counted amidst UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Khajuraho is a hotspot for Hinduism and Jainism.

You can cycle to various stunning temples and monuments while enjoying the easy-going traveller vibes here and of course, this town suits even student-budgets. When around, do visit the Western Group of temples, Chaturbhuj Temple and the Parshvanatha Temple for sure.

Orchha

Orchha is known for medieval architecture and this historic town, is seated along the banks of Betwa river. A favourite spot of innumerable photographers from around the country and beyond, Orchha is a beauty which should be on everyone’s to-see list.

Popular for temples, palaces, havelis and forts, Orchha serves those who have a passion for history, archaic architecture and of course, a zeal to explore the unknown. Every spot has a different story and all of it, makes your travel even more insightful.

Make sure to visit the Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal, Phool Bagh, Ram Raja temple and to amp up your retreat, opt for boating or rafting on the laps of the Betwa river.

Bharatpur

Reputed for being a host to the Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur will usher an experience upon you, which will be a mix of adventure, history and warm hospitality!

A welcome change from other crowded getaways, Bharatpur is the place for you, if you have been wanting to recline amidst tranquility and when here, local cuisine is a must-try. You can even spend a few hours at the Bharatpur National Museum or the Deeg Palace and if you’re an eager bird-watcher, this spot is a treat for you.

Chitrakoot

Flaunting a surreal heritage that not many areas in India can match up to, Chitrakoot is of extensive religious and mythological eminence. This spot situated in the Satna region of Madhya Pradesh, is a home to hills and temples, which have risen as a touristy destination.

Kamadgiri Hill is one of the celebrated tourist destinations in Chitrakoot; another being Hanuman Dhara, followed by Gupt Godavari, which is a cavern temple and an acclaimed locale here.

When in Chitrakoot, you’ll also hear about the Sati Anasuya Ashram, which holds an extraordinary prominence. This area is a verdant stretch with the river Mandakini, keeping the scenery company and it is truly, the perfect getaway for anyone looking for serenity.

Knock Knock

So now that you have these sites in your list of options, make the optimum usage of your chhutiyan! Assemble your WhatsApp groups, fix a budget, look up the dates and just head over to give yourself a much-needed break before the new year starts.

Here comes the festival of light, so let the celebrations begin! Perhaps the most widely celebrated and grandest of festivals in India, Diwali is finally here and its sparkles will soon alight our skies. As we gear up to rejoice in the spirit of Diwali, we thought of some things that could be taken care of this season. Though most of you would probably not need a reminder, we thought of making a kind of checklist lest you miss out on something.

1. Apne to Apne Hote Hain...

Any fun is incomplete without the people you want to share it with. In the current urbanized scenario, folks living away from families and their homes know what we are talking about. So take a break for your family this Diwali and enjoy the warmth of home sweet home amidst all the merrymaking.

2. Light ‘em Up!

The first thing that comes to mind when you say ‘Diwali’ is a sky lit by floating lanterns, bursting crackers, rockets and other light shows that emanate from numerous homes. It may be noisy but people deserve to break free for a few hours at least. So get the group together and let the works light up the horizon. Do take care of the little ones though; they can be a handful when it comes to both luminous and flammable objects, so make sure they are restricted or monitored accordingly.

3. Be A Millionaire Spender

Now that you’re gearing up for a grand occasion, make others feel the spirit too. Buying crackers is an integral part of this festival and we hope you get the best ones to your liking.

Do keep in mind though that the stall or new vendor you buy from gets just this one time a year to earn properly as this market caters mainly one product - crackers. So keeping his limitation in mind, feel free to let him make his profit this once at least. Let the bigger shops be at your mercy but with the smaller one, let him win the bargain-battle this time. In fact, it may be better to maximize his sales for he probably needs it more.

4. Let The Light Spread

Diwali is indeed the festival of light. We need everybody to realise the same, yet there are those who do not have even the basic light-bulbs to illuminate their homes, let alone festive and decor lighting. Be a kind soul and look out for such people. A fan, a bulb, a stove - these are basic amenities and you could be the one to help someone avail such a necessity.

It is a festival for us, it is a festival for all. The less fortunate cannot fulfil their fundamental needs, so a celebration for their kids is a far-fetched idea. We should look to endow some material, a few crackers or diyas, that make it a joyous time for them too.

5. Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye

Food is as much a necessity as a luxury in our celebration. The sweet market goes berserk with activity, family, friends and relatives exchange sweets of many varieties and we aren’t complaining. Do grab your favorite barfi or peda or gulab jamun....we could list a lot more but space ain’t enough for all that there is. You get the drift - remember your favorite sweet and have lots of it; no one’s looking, everybody is busy with something or the other.

While at it, do share these with the ones who cannot have a stomach-full meal and can’t afford sweet delicacies. They will be grateful and you will enjoy the warmth it gives your heart.

Knock Knock...

Have fun, enjoy the long weekend and the festival but remember to also include all sections of society. For it is rightly said,”The more, the merrier”.

Happy Diwali folks!

This story has been written by our guest contributor

We all know Kanpur as the hub of leather manufacturing in the country. The city has thousands of tanneries and factories that churn out amazing leather goods. So when in Kanpur, people tend to fall in the tourist traps and shell out a ton of money for fakes and low quality products that you could easily find anywhere in the country.

If you've been wondering as to where you can find great leather products that don't burn a hole in your pocket, Jajmau in Kanpur is where you need to be.

Biggest leather market in Kanpur

Jajmau is the biggest leather market in Kanpur, where you can find all sorts of things you've been looking for. From wallets and belts to jackets and shoes, there's nothing you cannot find at this market.

Just make sure to beware of the cons who are looking to take advantage of anyone who knows a little less about true leather. Don't shy away from bargaining and always quote a significantly lower price than what the shopkeeper has quoted.

Branded fakes and cheap deals

Since a lot of brands have their goods manufactured in Kanpur, you will find boxes of famous brand names such as Woodland, Wrangler and Levis in these markets.

Though it would be easy to find a copy of any product, most of these are low quality belts and wallets just put in the brand’s packaging. Do make sure to check the quality of product before you buy it or put a price on it.

Also, you can find amazing genuine leather jackets in the market at dirt-cheap prices; so do a little investigation, visit a few shops, haggle with a few people before you decide on any particular thing to buy. Spot the shop with the most locals and you can be sure that you're getting a good deal!

Knock Knock

Jajmau is the market where you can find everything you've been looking for. From copies of "branded" items to basic apparels that are much better than those branded ones, to unique finds and steals, you can find it all here.

Just make sure to not fall in the tourist traps and beware of cons. Other than that, everything here is pretty cool and you're sure to find great stuff.