Knock Knock (Kanpur)

The hub of the industrial revolution in India, a budding, fast developing, ever expanding city now, Kanpur is probably the last city you think of when you think 'culture' or 'heritage'.

Often times, in a city that has had such a monumental past, the history and the essence can get lost amidst all the hectic activities of life. Today, we take a look at some of the places that still manage to captivate us in their old world charm and inform us about Kanpur from the bygone era.

British Era

During the British era, Kanpur was the city that flourished the most- as much as a city can under the rule of another country. The industrial hub in India began here and even today, Kanpur's industries and tanneries are high in demand and are alive and kicking at full swing.

In fact, a major chunk of the city is built along the site of the 1857 massacre, a milestone step towards India's independence. Perhaps this is a reminder as to where we have risen from. From penury and being ruled by British overlords to now- a city that's fit to compete with some of the fast developing cities around the world.

Nana Rao Park is one place that serves as a monumental testament to the lives that the freedom fighters laid down for their country. If you're in the city, do pay your respects here.

The Industrial Revolution

Set along the banks of the Holy ganges, it only made sense that this poignant city becomes the soul, heart and mind of industrialization in the country. As history dictates, settlements around rivers tend to be the strongest and yield the greatest results over time.

The case was no different for Kanpur and the city literally spearheaded a new era into the lives of the Indian man. Think, for a moment, where we would have been if not for the industrial revolution? Sure, there were other hubs of the same around India, but none thrived like 'Cawnpore' did.

A Pilgrimage Site

A city along the Ganges is something that's rather spiritual in itself. Since Kanpur is right next to it, people often make pilgrimage visits here and all of that is complemented by the many temples that have stood the test of time.

With five shrines for different deities and purposes, people flock to visit the city and receive blessings from the almighty. The temples themselves are major tourist spots as they are architectural marvels that are a sight for sore eyes.

Knock Knock

Well, most of the die hard Kanpurites would probably already know most of this, but for the uninitiated, looking to visit Kanpur, this should give you some insight into what the city is all about.

Raksha Bandhan is just around the corner. The day dedicated to the love-hate relationship we have with our brothers comes for a day and is filled with laughter, merriment, gifts and warmth. We wait for the festival all year long and when it finally comes, we need rakhis that can fit into our expectations. Even though the stalls in the markets are full of beautiful, colourful rakhis, they do not entirely have the kind of products and the minamilistic rakhis, millennials look for.

So what does our millennial heart want? A rakhi that is as cute or as quirky as our brother, something that captures the essence of our relationship without giving away too much. Thankfully, these Instagram accounts are delivering the best rakhi designs we’ve come across and if you’re looking to gift your brother something that matches his spirit, check these accounts now!

ShopMangoPeople

This gram is all about cute and quirk! If you’re the kind who is looking for a rakhi which will stand out from the crowd and speak directly to your brother without you saying much, well this is the account you need to check. From “You’re my ATM” to “Bhukkhad Bro” they have it all.

Check out their handle here.

Kaagazi

This wonderful account creates some of the most simple yet wearable rakhis you’ll find out there. If you have a brother who likes to wear his rakhis for as long as he possibly can, these will do you good. Made from natural fibres and simple in design, these rakhis can be worn for as long as your stubborn brother wants.

Check out their handle here.

Tipsyfly

Looking to send a message across with your rakhi? Tipsyfly does personalised rakhis as well as ones with quirky messages written on them. The “second favourite child”, “you’re adopted” and “you were an accident” are our favourite ones!

Checkout their handle here.

Brio Art House

Another great IG account. Brio Art House is an environment-friendly company which does amazing handcrafted eco-friendly products. If you have a brother who is environment conscious or if you want a rakhi which is made with natural substances this the place to look. Handcrafted by women artisans these rakhi are about as natural as can be.

Checkout their handle here.

PropShop24

Another gem of an IG handle that does cutesy personalised rakhis, at PropShop24 you can find great rakhi options. These people will not only help you with the rakhis but you will also find great gift ideas here. PropShop24 has some of the most simple yet cute rakhis, so if you are looking for those, checkout this handle.

Checkout their handle here.

Go check out these handles and find your partner in crime the rakhi which suits him best. Get any one of these amazing handles and give your brother something more than just a thread!

In the present times, we’re all becoming increasingly aware about our dietary needs- what is good for us and why, yet somehow there is a lingering disconnect between the origins of our food and us!

Of course our food comes from the super markets and local shops yet the main source is always agriculture. Given the need to produce in abundance, many farmers have resorted to chemical farming which includes the heavy usage of pesticides and fertilizers which deteriorates our health further.

To combat such issues which are threatening mankind at large, Dhaanika has taken up two ventures- Zero Budget Nature Farming which propels organic produce and women empowerment, through this programme!

What is this about?

Dhaanika is a fusion of 3 words- Dhaan, Dhaani, Dhaanika which means Grain, Goodness, and Prosperity because they’re on a pursuit to make agriculture flourish for farmers and their consumers alike.

A Kanpur based start-up, Dhaanika strives to provide its consumers with food items that are not only chemical free but also acquired through the goodness of traditional Indian farming wisdom. Although it takes time to grown these crops since it is all natural and environment friendly, these items come loaded with nutrition and the taste isn’t at all compromised.

They also aspire to promote ‘zero budget nature farming’ among women led ‘farmer-groups' which includes food processing and provisions of a market space in which they can flourish and trade chemical-free grubs!

Under the Dhaanika brand, they market their organic Rices, Oils, Pulses, Flours, Spices and so on and all of their products are certified organic and FSSAI certified. So there should be no second-thoughts about investing in this brand’s items since it’s all safe to consume and of course, a healthier alternative to other available options.

Women Empowerment!

Dhaanika presently is working in Kanpur & 5 other districts of Uttar Pradesh with around 1200 women farmers where they are growing organic food and establishing a footprint in this vast market. With Dhaanika’s support, women farmers of UP are able to empower themselves in the social and economic context too! Each district has women farmers with their own style of organization and they carry out activities in an autonomous fashion with no central control.

This ‘organic brand’ represents the set-up of ecological farming which assists the farmers to grow their economy and helps the consumers to revamp their well-being! Dhaanika’s movement is rapidly reaping vigour through the spirit of volunteerism, ethical engagements and conscious production system. This is a step towards saving the local bio-diversity and conserving our natural resources too and we’re applauding their efforts!

Location: Dhaanika Store, In front of Kanha Galaxy, Cocacola Chauraha, Kanpur

Moving to a new city can be an overwhelming thing. No matter which city you're moving to, a new place will always give you jitters and make you question everything around you. When we talk about moving to a city that has been given a bad-rep from such a long time, things seem especially difficult. So if you are someone who is moving to Kanpur or know someone who's coming out here, here's a list of things you need to know.

1. The Slangs

So before you dare to move out to the city that has been long touted as the industrial hub of North India, it would be prudent to get accustomed to the slangs they use here. The way people of Kanpur have moulded the language for their ease and convenience is commendable. So if you hear someone saying things like 'Bhaukal', 'Kantaap', 'Chaukas' or 'Baklol', don't panic, just read this quora thread to truly understand what you're dealing with.

2. The Food

People in Kanpur are pretty passionate about food and if you come here you're ought to find streets lined with local vendors selling what-not and believe us, these vendors serve better food than any 5-star rated restaurant. You have to appreciate the street food here, it would be a crime not to. We strongly recommend trying dahi jalebi, kachori, and the famous dahi-mattha bread for breakfast. You should also try the dhaniya aloo, golgappe, badnam kulfi (yes it is a thing!) and the Banarasi chai here.

3. Thaggu ke Laddu

Okay so no matter what you do, do not, I repeat do not say that you don't know or don't like 'Thaggu ke Laddu' to a localite. People of Kanpur take Thaggu and his laddoos very seriously and go give them a try we're sure you'll like them as well. The famous laddoos made with cashews, suji, khoya and a special kind of sweet resin (gond) are a sweet delight. People from around the country who visit Kanpur, sought out these laddoos specifically.

4. The chaotic roads & cheap transport

We'll have to warn you, roads in Kanpur are not going to be something you'll be truly fond of. The roads in this city are chaotic, winding and full of potholes. No-one here gives a damn about traffic rules and you can easily spot people getting into a fight on the roads, because "rangbaaj hai na ye". Yet, you will find the public transport to be exceptionally cheap. Traveling around the city isn't expensive at all and it is more than probable that the 'Vikram' auto will drop you from one corner of the city to another in less than 50 bucks.

5. The People

Another thing you need to know about Kanpur, are the people who live in the city. Life is full of hardships for most in the city and you'll find that people here know how to enjoy themselves instead of it all. People here are quite helpful and talkative, so you're likely to be talked to by random strangers. Plus, if you live in the city long enough, people open not just their hearts but their homes to you.

So if you have moved out here or are planning to, just remember to know your slangs and love the food and you'll fit right in. The city is ever-forgiving so whatever your past, wherever you come from, Kanpur embraces everyone with open arms and a wide Ganga shore where you can sit in the evenings and watch the sun go down.

Residents of Kanpur are quite touchy when it comes to their precious home town. For many, home towns are a place that never let you down, a place you know from the inside out. However, there are still many aspects of the town that are easy to miss out, most of them related to the history and the culture of the city. Today, we bring to you 5 of the lesser known facts about Kanpur that will bring the city closer to your heart.

The name has been changed over 20 times

The name ‘Kanpur’ seems to be sticking around but actually, the name has been changed over 21 times. With different spellings, variations, pronunciations and what not, the spelling of the name underwent major changes. When India was ruled by the British, the spelling was changed to better suit their accents and was later changed to what it is now.

It has the second oldest 9 hole golf course in India

There’s no denying that Golf is something of an elitist game. Only the rich and the powerful indulge in it and what does that say about Kanpur? Well, the city is home to India’s second oldest half golf course with 9 holes. Even today, it is well preserved and is an important part of Kanpur’s past.

It is home to one of the oldest natural zoos in India

This is one that brings a smile to the face and uplifts the heart. Allen Forest Zoo is not just one of the oldest zoos in India, but is also one of the few natural zoo in the country. Here, you can witness the nature in all its glory as there are no cages, and the animals live in their natural habitat.

Kanpur was a vital part of the Ramayana

You heard it, folks. Kanpur is not just historically important, but mythologically too. It is believed that the ancient town was heavily spoken of in the Ramayana. To back this, many utensils from the era when those texts were written were found while excavating Jajmau Teela.

Kanpur brought the industrial revolution in India

Often regarded as the leather city of the world, Kanpur also spearheaded India’s foray into the industrial revolution. During the British era, the city was seen as a great place to begin with all these activities and that is why the city is such a fast progressing town even today. This is one fact that we are eternally grateful for.

We know that Kanpur isn’t really a touristy place for which you’ll have to specifically map out an itinerary. Maybe you just ended up with a free day in hand while visiting family or maybe you took a break from the city nearby and travelled here to explore.

But we know that there are iconic hubs in Kanpur, pertaining to every category- be it food, shopping or sightseeing! So to help you get around the city, we have chalked out a 24-hour guide of the city which will help you to know this thriving industrial hub better.

How to begin-

Start your day with a hearty breakfast coupled with a hot cup of jhakkas chai here in Kanpur so head over to Samocha and kick-start your explorations. If you just want to keep it light to beat the heat, you should be visiting this really popular kisok called Pahalwan Ji Ka Special Mattha which sells the best velvety buttermilk in K-town! They also have limited yet light breakfast options and of course, it’s all going to be under ₹50 so if you’re a lil’ hard-pressed on cash, you needn’t worry here.

Now after your pait-pooja sesh, if you’re wondering where to go, you can straight up head over to Phool Bagh. There is an abundance of flora here and there are a number of rare plant species here which makes it an interesting visit. From there, take the route towards Moti Jheel which is also known as Kargil Park. Tere is a man made lake that surrounds a memorial based here so you can walk around feeding your camera and curiosity but of course, don’t choose a sunny day for this plan.

Lunch break already!

If your tummy has started to rumble by now but you’re bored of the mainstream eateries and are looking for something fun, on the lines of being sui generis, definitely visit The Pink Zebra by The Feast India Company! If you’re a movie buff who is into Wes Anderson movies and also an ardent foodie, then you have to experience this culinary episode here. The cuisine here is tagged as ‘progressive Indian’ gastronomy so if you’re wondering what to order, here are a few suggestions. Try out their Baked Chicken Tikka Nachos, Grilled Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce, Keema Takatak Pulao and wash it all down with their zingy Mojito!

After lunch, you have two options- you can either visit the ISKCON temple (Sri Sri Radha Madhav Mandir) or the Kanpur Memorial Church and if you’re not already too tired in a super-human way, visit both!

This sprawling temple is an architectural delight and attracts thousands of devotees and visitors every year. The temple compound also includes a Vedic Ashram, Food For Life center, Bhaktivedanta Youth Academy, Bhaktivedanta Book Library, a guest house for the devotees, a conference room, community hall, a restaurant and a gift shop.

The church was built by the British in memory of the people killed during the Siege of Cawnpore in 1857 and is also called ‘All Soul Church’. The church is an architectural wonder built in the traditional Lombardic Gothic Style. The church houses a beautifully carved figure of an angel with crossed arms which is a symbol of peace.

On your way to end the day, you can take the route towards the chaotic lanes of Bada Chauraha and pick up a dabba from Thaggu for your family and friends! This joint sells pure khoya and suji ladoos which have been appealing the masses for more than 70 years now and

Kanpur evenings can be beautiful

if you know the right places to be at! After a satisfying lunch and a stroll through the lanes of history, head over to the 24 year-old Ganga Barrage which is also known as the Luv-Kush Barrage. You can actually witness the sun dip its toes in a peach-pink sky and cushy clouds here while you relish the panoramic view of the city. For snacks there are kisoks and ice-cream vendors so if you’re craving to binge on junk or the popular street food here, your foodie character won’t be disappointed.

After cherishing the sunset, for your evening strolls and shopping you can head directly to Naveen Market where you can bring out the desi haggler in you while stocking up on goodies. It is a hub of street shopping here in Kanpur but if you want wider options under branded products, Z Square Mall won’t be too far from here.

After an extensive retail therapy, by the time you wrap up your evening, it’ll sure be time for dinner!

If you’re at the Z Square mall, their food court has options for all kinds of cravings, from Italian to Mughlai, they have it all.

So we hope this itinerary would come handy for you on a random weekend or on a day to yourself so don’t forget to thank us later!

*Friendly reminder: Bookmark this article right now for your upcoming plans.*

Heavy pockets of Muslim-dominated areas like Chamanganj, Nai Sadak, Talaq Mahal, Beconganj, Colonelganj and Patkapur in Kanpur are presently brimming with festive vibes! People from other communities also throng these places frequently every year to savour the Ramzan delicacies, particularly nihari-kulcha and biryani of course!

But what’s Nihari? Why particularly Nihari-Kulcha?

Nihari is not just a dish. It is an emotion which has our childhood memories and nostalgia of the bygone winters puckered up and served on a plate. It is a slow-cooked gravy dish which has fatty chunks of marinated mutton or beef, served with crispy fried onions, julienned ginger and nimbu, topped with freshly chopped coriander!

This steaming hot plate of meaty delicacy is then complemented with girda roti or kulcha and is a popular wintry meal. Nihari-kulcha was initially just meant to be eaten on an empty stomach during early hours of winter dawn or for sehri but people started consuming it rapidly during iftaar too!

Historians claim that Nihari dates back to 17th century and was moulded in puraani Dilli while some claim that it a product of the finest Awadhi khansamas after which it was brought to Delhi! It is said that the original recipe of nihari used to be so heavily laden with spices that in the Mughal era, the army would gorge on the stew for its energy-boosting properties and wade through the wintry mornings of Delhi. This dish was also devoured as a cure for cold and fever because of the heat of the spices used in it.

Unlike Lucknow or other cities, nihari-kulcha is available in Kanpur ONLY during Ramzan- crazy right? I mean, without our often weekend morning binge on nihari and parathas, we would’ve lost a reason to live here!

Another available option which is a hot favourite amidst masses is bread kaleji which has a crispy fried layer on top yet the meat under the brown film is oh-so tender. 'Kadhai salan' is also a kind of mutton preparation which is relished by the locals here, by dipping warm sheermal parathas in its gravy and then biting into a slice of pickled onion.
*We’re experiencing intense bouts of foodgasms as we are writing this piece*

According to NDTV Food, in Delhi it is a practice to add a few kilos from each day's leftover Nihari to the next day's pot. This re-used portion of nihari is called taar and is known to add refined flavour to the freshly cooked pot. There are still some outlets in old Delhi that still boast of an unbroken 'taar', which can be traced back over a century!

Kanpur, formerly known as Cawnpore was an important garrison town for the East India Company forces. Kanpur on the Ganges, was an important river-port and grain trading centre in the 19th century, which achieved notoriety in the history of the British empire as 'Cawnpore'. By June 1857, the Indian rebellion had spread to several areas namely Meerut, Agra, Mathura and Lucknow and Kanpur had become a witness to one of the goriest incidents in history!

Kanpur is a thriving industrial area today but it also has stories of freedom struggles which have pushed it towards an important place in our history pages!

About the Massacre Ghat!

Also known as the Satti Chaura Ghat, around 300 British men, women and children were slaughtered here and later this place gained a name as the Massacre Ghat.

Kanpur had been under siege by the forces of Nana Sahib after which a truce had been negotiated. The surviving Britishers had boarded boats at the ghats of Kanpur which would lead them to safety at Allahabad but as luck would have it, those who escaped the brutal fate that day were later killed at the ‘Bibighar Massacre’. The rebellion was led by Nana Sahib of Peshwa after which the ghat was renamed as the Nana Rao Ghat.

This place now stands as a dumb witness of the massacres but the tranquility of the ghats, marked by a small white temple is what makes this ironical now.

These incidents actually accumulated and contributed towards mass freedom movement and that’s how Kanpur has been etched in the annals of history.