Kanpur is the industrial hub of Uttar Pradesh and for long the city has been known for that alone. Yet, the beautiful city of Kanpur has a rich and varied past and is a city we need to hear more about. When we talk about Kanpur we often just discuss the Blue World theme park and the Z Square Mall, forgetting all about the history and the architecture of the city. So let's have a look at the rich culture and past of Kanpur through its architecture and historical places.
The Massacre Ghat or often called the Sati Chauraha is a place of great significance in Kanpur’s history. The Ghat- river bank was revered as an auspicious location in the pre-colonial times. It is said that some women had gathered here to commit Sati here and in their commemoration a temple was created.
But what the ghat is most known for is its role in the 1857 ‘Siege of Cawnpore’. It is believed to be the place where, on June 27, 300 British men, women and children were killed during the Sepoy Mutiny.
Kanpur Memorial Church
Another important “relic” in the history of Kanpur is the Kanpur Memorial Church. Built in 1857 the church was called ‘All Soul Church’ and was built by the British in memorial of the people killed during the Siege of Cawnpore. The church is an architectural masterpiece built in the traditional Lombardic Gothic Style. The church houses a beautifully carved figure of an angel with crossed arms and holding patons: a symbol of peace.
The church is symbolic of the struggle people of Kanpur did and the memorial of all lives lost.
Nana Rao Park
The Nana Rao Park in Kanpur is another visit worthy place. The Park which was earlier called Company Bagh, housed a memorial well built in the memory of the women and children who were ‘allegedly’ killed in “Bibighar Massacre” in 1857. It is said that people who escaped from the Massacre Ghat were tracked down to the ‘Bibighar’ and killed 200 British women and children. It was followed by punitive actions against the inhabitants of Kanpur by the British government which included paying £30,000 for the construction of this memorial.
After india’s independence the memorial was demolished and a lush park was created in its stead. the park today houses statues of eminent people who played a part in the Indian independence struggle. The statues include inspirational figures like Rani Lakshmi Bai, Lala Lajpat Rai, Ajizan Bai and Tatya Tope.
The Juggilal Kamlapat temple was built by and is still maintained by the JK Trust, established by Singhania family. The temple is an architectural marvel, it is made out of white marble in a unique mix of modern and traditional. The temple complex is visually stunning and houses five shrines- one dedicated to Lord Radha Krishna, one dedicated to Lord Lakhshmi Narayana, one to Lord Ardhanarishwar, one to Lord Narmadeshwar and one to Lord Hanuman.
The temple is usually crowded but at evenings after the aarti you’ll find it to be extremely calm and serene.
Dharmnath Shwetamber Jain Glass Temple
Another architectural masterpiece, this temple is significant for the followers of Jainism, as it houses the statues of Lord Mahavira and the 24 Tirthankars. The temple, as is evident from its name is covered in tiny pieces of glass and mirror. The elaborate ceiling and wall murals of the temple are decorated in tiny pieces of stained glass which makes the entire temple, from the inside out, seem to be bejewelled with glass and enamel.
The temple complex is stunning, the magnificently carved out arches of the temple provide an added depth and dimension to the already stunning complex.
So the next time you visit Kanpur make sure to visit these places and bask in all the culture that this so-called ‘industrial-hub’ has to provide.