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Kanpur Travel Guide

KanpurNestled on the banks of the eternal Ganga, Kanpur stands as one of North India's major industrial centers with its own historical, religious and commercial importance. Believed to be founded by king Hindu Singh of the erstwhile state of Sachendi, Kanpur was originally known as 'Kanhpur'.


Historically, Jajmau on the eastern outskirts of present day Kanpur is regarded as one of the most archaic townships of Kanpur district. Upto the 1st half of the 18th century Kanpur continued to survive as an insignificant village. Its fate, however, took a new turn soon after. In May, 1765, Shuja-ud-daula the Nawab Wazir of Awadh, was defeated by the British near Jajmau. It was probably at his time that strategic importance of the site of Kanpur was realized by the British.

European businessmen had by this time gradually started establishing themselves in Kanpur. In order to ensure protection to their lives & property the 'Awadh local forces' were shifted here in 1778. Kanpur passed into British hands under the treaty of 1801 with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Awadh. This forms a turning point of the history of Kanpur. Soon Kanpur became one of the most important military stations of British India. It was declared a district on 24th March, 1803. Kanpur was soon to become the epicentre of the outbreak of 1857, as some of the leading luminaries of the War of Independence hailed from here, namely - Nana Sahib, Tantiya Tope, Azimoolah Khan & Brigadier Jwala Prasad. The three strategic events of the 1857 war at Kanpur were the fight at 'wheeler's entrenchment', the 'massacre at Sati Chaura Ghat' and the 'Bibighar massacre'. Nana Sahib had declared independence on the 7th of June, 1857 at Kanpur. The British under Commander Hugh Wheeler retreated into a shallow earth entrenchment in the cantonment area, later known in history as 'wheeler's entrenchment'. The English garrison surrendered in the last week of June 1857 on terms of safe passage to Allahabad.

KanpurBut when on the morning of 27th June, the soldiers along with the women & children were about to embark into the boats at Sati Chaura Ghat, fighting broke out and most of the men were killed. The survivors, women & children were rescued who were imprisoned into the Savada Kotihi & later shifted to Bibighar in the cantonment magistrates' compound. But when it became clear that relieving force under General Havelock were nearing the city and defeat was inevitable, the captives-all women & children, were massacred and their dismembered bodies buried in the well of the compound on 15th July, 1857. The Bibighar was dismantled by the British on reoccupation of Kanpur and a 'memorial railing and a cross' raised at the site of the well. The well is now bricked over. Only remains of a circular ridge survive, which can be still seen at the Nana Tao park.

The Kanpur Memorial Church
'The all souls cathedral' was raised in honour of the fallen at the northeast corner of wheeler's entrenchment in 1862 by the British. The marble Gathic screen with famous 'mournful seraph' was transferred to the churchyard of All Souls Church after independence in 1947, and in its place a bust of Tantiya Tope installed and the Garden renamed as Nana Rao Park'. After 1857, the development of Kanpur was even more phenomenal. Government Harness and Saddlery Factory was started for supplying leather material for the army in 1860, followed by Cooper Allen & Co.in 1880. The first cotton textile mill, the Elgin Mills were started in 1862 and Muir Mills in 1882.

Today besides being the most industrialist region of the state, Kanpur is also an important educational centre, with institutions like Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Agricultural College, National Sugar Institute & Govt. Textile Institute being located here.

Apart from playing a stellar role in the development of the country as a whole, Kanpur has also been instrumental in making an unforgettable contribution to the Indian freedom struggle. A favorite centre of activities of stalwarts like Nanarao Peshwa, Tantiya Tope, Sardar Bhagat Signh and Chandrashekhar Azad among others, Kanpur is also the birth place of Shyamlal Gupta 'Parshad', composer of the famous patriotic ditty 'Vijayee Great Hindi leterateurs like Acharya Mahavir Parasad Dwivedi, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Pratap Narain Mishra, Acharya Gaya Prasad Shukla 'Sanehi' and Balkrishna Sharma 'Navin' having hailed from here.

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