Since the advent of industrialisation in Kanpur, this city has received coverage for its iconic tanneries and mills. But for a city that is claimed to trace its history to the time of Ramayan, historical spots that pay homage to its thriving culture- before the arrival of the Britishers, must surely exist! With this aim in our mind, we bring to you a list of 9 such spots that will help you chart a course in the annals of history and know more about Kanpur.
The G.T. Road built by Sher Shah Suri, which connects today's Pakistan to the frontiers of Bangladesh, had milestones dotting its length. These milestones, known as Kos Minar, were placed at a distance of 1 kos (3.2 km) from one another. Found in Kanpur's rural extensions is one such minar which is 3 feet tall and made of lime plastered old bricks.
The eastern end of Kanpur city is marked by the mound of Jajmau, popularly known as Jajmau Teela. In ancient times, it was called Siddhapuri and was the kingdom of the Puranic king, Yayati. When Firoz Shah Tughlaq ruled the Delhi Sultanate, he built a famous Sufi saint's mausoleum here in 1358. Further, during the late 1950s, artefacts as old as 600 B.C. were discovered in excavations carried out here.
Nimbia Khera Brick Temple
An ancient brick temple, which is believed to be constructed around the 11th or 12th-century, this is a historical destination situated in the rural parts of Kanpur. It is also called Panchayatan Shelly because the main hall entrance has a sub-temple situated at each of its corners. While this Shiva Temple is constructed out of brick and lime, the main door leading to its central area is made of Balua stone.
General Sir Hugh Wheeler's Entrenchment
When the fire of India's First War of Independence travelled from Meerut to Kanpur, the army stationed at this city started preparing to combat the upcoming surge of attacks. In March 1858, General Sir Hugh Wheeler built a fortified position that was based around two barracks in the outskirts of Kanpur as a possible refuge for the European community. Today, this spot is referred to as General Sir Hugh Wheeler's Entrenchment.
Located in Kanpur's Bithoor area is the Valmiki Ashram, which stands as a testimony to the claim that this city traces its origin to the era of Ramayan. It is believed that Sage Valmiki penned down the epic here and preserved within its premises is Sita ki Rasoi, Sita Kund and Deep Malika Stambha. Further, it is also believed by many to be the place where Luv and Kush, sons of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, were born.
Tracing its existence to 1765, when European troops negotiated a treaty with the then Nawab of Awadh, this cemetery was originally known as the Officers' Burial Ground. Post the Revolt of 1857, the Flagstaff Barracks were replaced by the Kacheri Law Courts and this place came to be known as Kacheri Cemetery. The earliest stone here belongs to Lt. Col. John Stainforth and its installation is dated to the year 1781.
Situated some 50 km from Kanpur is Musanagar, a region that is considered to be a unique archaeological site. Several ancient artefacts and specimens that belong to the post-Harappan era, Shunga era, Mauryan era and Kushana period, have been excavated from here. Further, this place is also famous for the fair held at the ancient Muktadevi Temple, said to be built during Treta Yuga by Raja Bali, on every Kartik Poornima.
Dating back to approximately the 1st-century is the unique antiquity shaped like a male hen, which is deified as Lala Bhagat. As per local folklore, this statue has been blessed by the Goddess Kalika and holds equal importance to that of any other god. Further, a six and a half feet tall Lala Bhagat Pillar- also known as Kukkutadwaj, stands in the middle of the modern temple. This pillar is octagonally carved out of a red sandstone pillar and bears a small inscription.
Kanpur Memorial Church
Built in honour of British soldiers who died during the War of 1857, Kanpur Memorial Church was designed by the architect of the East Bengal Railway- Walter Granville. Officially known as the All Soul's Cathedral Church, this has e constructed in the Lombardic Gothic style and has been given attractive shapes in bright red bricks. Towards the east of this church is its Memorial Garden, whose centre is occupied by an angel statue carved by Baron Carlo Marochetti.
During ancient times, today's Kanpur Nagar and Kanpur Dehat belonged to the same city and registered remarkable progress on all fronts. However, with shifts in settlements that coincided with shifts in rulers of India, Kanpur's place in history went down the tunnel of oblivion. We hope that a virtual walk through these 9 places will help revive this city's lost glory!