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.
How to Reach Kanpur?
By Air : 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.
By Rail : 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, Kanpur and other important cities in Central India.
By Road : State roadways buses connect Kanpur with Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, 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, Kanpur, Haridwar and other western towns.
Best Time to Visit Kanpur
The best time to visit Kanpur is from October to March, when the climate is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and other outdoor activities.
During the summer season, from April to June, it is extremely hot with level of mercury reaching a maximum of 48°C. You can also expect dust storms during this season as well so avoid visiting Kanpur during summer months.
In addition avoid visiting Kanpur during rainy season, although temperature goes down the level of humidity increases.
Things to do in Kanpur
Kanpur list of things to do in not very long as this is primarily an industrial town. Visit the JK Temple and the famous Jain Glass temple and venture forth to Jajmau to see the age old artifacts that were excavated a few decades ago. ZIf the days of the British Raj interest you, you may want to check out the All Souls Church here where the graves of the Bibighar massacres are.
Buy some leather goods before you leave and don’t forget to sample some gujia the sweet meat that Kanpur is famous for.
Places Near Kanpur
There are very many places near Kanpur. You can visit Bithur that is an ancient settlement set amidst serene countryside and farmlands, 27 kms west of Kanpur. On the banks of the Ganga, this small town is associated with Brahma, the creator of the universe as per Hindu belief. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma visited the virgin forests of Utpalaranya and selected this spot to begin his creation of mankind. The site came to be known as Brahmavarta, marked by a shivalingam (the symbol for Shiva) known as Brahmeshwar Mahadeva . Some Hindus believe this is the centre of the universe. Beside this shrine on the Brahmavarta Ghat is the mark of a horseshoe nail that is believed to have been left on the steps by Brahma’s horse. The town also has reference in the epic Ramayana as the site of sage Valmiki’s ashram. Here, Sita the wife of Lord Rama gave birth to her twin sons. Bithur is also the site where Sita gave up her life.
The Sita Kund is a small pool in the Valmiki ashram area, while the Sita rasoi or kitchen is preserved for visiting pilgrims. A tower nearby known as the Deep Malika Stambha has niches for placing lighted lamps. 48 steps lead up to the top, from where you can get a bird’s eye view of the entire area. Peshwa Baji Rao built the Valmiki temple at the site in the 19th century. Some traces of the Peshwa’s palace, which was severely damaged in the battle of 1857, still remain though in a state of disrepair. On Kartik Purnima, the full moon night in October-November, ever year Bithur hosts a colourful village fair.
At Bhitargaon, 59 kms southwest of Kanpur is a Gupta era temple. Built of brick, this late 5th century temple is the only shrine of its kind surviving in the country today. Restored a few years back, the temple exhibits unique terracotta sculptures and figures of makaras (water monsters) and gargoyle-like images.
Musanagar is an ancient site 65 kms from Kanpur. An important archaeological excavation marks the site, with finds linked to the Sunga, Mauryan and Kushana eras. The Muktadevi temple, believed to have been built originally by the ancient king Bali hosts a large fair during Kartik Purnima (October-November).
Kannauj, 80 kms from Kanpur is the historical 7th century capital of King Harshavardhana and is renowned for its ittar (perfume). An important settlement and trade centre, Kannauj once stood on the banks of the Ganga but the river has since changed its path and the town is now several kms to its south. An archaeological museum at Kannauj displays 1st and 2nd century BC sculptures. The shrine of Raja Ajaipal from the 11th century and the Jama Masjid are noteworthy monuments.
The Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary lies 43 kms short of Lucknow on the Kanpur–Lucknow highway. Set in green quiet surroundings, the sanctuary hosts migratory birds in winter, including the pintain, shoveller, pochard, coot, purple moorhen and the common teal. The best season to visit the sanctuary is between December and March, when you can stay at the UP Tourism lodge within the sanctuary.
Hotels in Kanpur – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Kanpur ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.