Kanpur is the most important industrial centre in Uttar Pradesh. It lies on the banks of Ganga. It is famous for leather and textile goods of fine quality. It is now one of the major industrial cities with aviation, wool and leather industries, cotton, flour and vegetable oil mills, sugar refineries and chemical works. Formerly known as Manchester of the country, it is now also called the commercial capital of the state.

Geography of Kanpur

Kanpur is situated on the the banks of river Ganga and also on most important national highways no. 2 & 25 and state highway. It is also situated on the main Delhi-Howrah railway trunk line. It has an area of over 1000 km² and it is about 126 meters above the sea level.  Kanpur has benefited from its fertile agricultural hinterland of the Upper Ganga Valley and Bundelkhand plateau, the available developed links of transportation and the stimulant of World War-2 with its industrial demand. In this city, in spite of a low percentage of irrigated area, the density is high and that is obviously due to great industrial concentration. 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.

History of Kanpur 

Believed to be founded by king Hindu Singh of the erstwhile state of Sachendi, Kanpur was originally known as 'Kanhpur'. Upto the 1st half of the 18th century Kanpur continued to survive as an insignificant village. In May 1765, Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab Wazir of Awadh, was defeated by the British near Jajmau. It was probably at this 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. Kanpur came under the British Rule by the treaty of 1801 with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Awadh. This forms a turning point in 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.

Later, Kanpur became the epicentre of the outbreak of 1857, as some of the leading luminaries of the War of Independence hailed from this place, namely – Nana Sahib, Tatiya Tope, Azimoolah Khan and 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. But when on the morning of 27th June, the soldiers along with the women and 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 and children were rescued and imprisoned in Savada Kothi and later shifted to Bibighar in the `cantonment magistrates’ compound.

But when it became clear that the relieving forces under General Havelock were nearing the city and the defeat was inevitable, the captives-all women and children were massacred and their dismembered bodies were buried in the well of the compound on 15th July 1857. The Bibighar was dismantled by the British and reoccupation of Kanpur and a `memorial railing and a cross’ raised at the site of the well. Only the remains of a circular ridge survive, which can be still seen at the Nana Rao Park. The Kanpur Memorial Church – `The all soul cathedral’ was raised in honor of the fallen at the north-east corner of Wheeler’s entrenchment in 1862 by the British. The marble gothic 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 as Nana Rao Park.

After 1857, the development of Kanpur was even more phenomenal. Government Harness and Saddler Factory was started for supplying leather material for army in 1860, followed by Cooper Allen & Co. in 1880. The first cotton textile mill, the Elgin Mills were started in 1862 and Moiré Mills in 1882.

The propagation and popularization of Hindi also owes much to this city, with great Hindu literatures like Acharya Mahavir Parasad Dwivedi, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Pratap Narain Mishra, Acharya Gaya Prasad Shukla `Sanehi’ and Balkrishna Sharma `Navin’ having hailed from here.

Tourist Attractions of Kanpur

The Kanpur Memorial Church (All Soul’s Cathedral)

The Kanpur Memorial Church built in 1875, was designed by Walter Granville. This Gothic style building has fine stained glass windows and interesting memorials. There is a Memorial Garden on the eastern side. There is a carved gothic screen, designed by Henry Yule and in the center there is a beautifully carved figure of an angel by Baron Carlo Marochetti, representing the 'symbol of peace'. The Cemetery has a number of graves from the late 19th century.

Jain Glass Temple

It is situated in Maheshwari Mohal behind the Kamla Tower. It is a beautiful temple highly decorated with glass and enamel works. 


Jajmau, known as Siddhapuri in ancient times, is supposed to have been the kingdom of Yayati, the Pauranic king and the high mound overhanging the Ganga is known as the site of his fort.  Excavations of the Jajmau mound during 1957-58  unearthed antiquities ranging from 600 BC to 1600 AD. Now, Jajmau houses the Siddhnath and Siddha Devi temples and the mausoleum of Makhdum Shah Ala-ul-Haq, the famous Sufi saint, built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1358. A mosque built by Kulich Khan in 1679 is also here.  

Shri Radhakrishna Temple 

This beautifully constructed temple is a unique blend of ancient and modern architecture. The even-level roofs of the mandaps have been provided with adequate ventilation for sufficient light and air. Among the five shrines in the temple, the central one is dedicated to Shri Radhakrishna and the others have idols of Shri Laxminarayan, Shri Ardhanarishwar, Shri Narmadeshwar and Shri Hanuman. 

Phool Bagh (Ganesh Udyan)

It is a beautiful park in the heart of the city on the Mall Road. In the centre of the park there is a Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Memorial generally used for public meetings. The annual flower shows are held here. It has a Summer House and a large Public library.

Kamla Retreat

Situated on Kamala Nehru road, Kamla Retreat houses a museum which has a good collection of historical and archaeological artifacts. Besides parks and a canal with facilities for boating, a zoo is also here.

Nana Rao Park

Formerly known as Memorial Well Garden, it is the biggest park in Kanpur and is situated in the heart of the city on the Mall Road. After Independence, it has been renamed after Nana Rao Peshwa, the hero of the first War of independence in 1857. It is very beautifully laid out and has a plant nursery.

Brijendra Swarup Park 

Situated in Aryanagar area of Kanpur, this park has spacious lawns and play grounds. 

Moti Jheel 

This has the drinking water reservoir of Kanpur Waterworks and is situated Benajhabar area of the city. The area around the Jheel or lake has lately been developed into a beautiful recreation grounds and children's park.

Green Park

This is the best and most famous playground of Kanpur. International Cricket matches are held here and it has one of the best pitches in the world.

Allen Forest Zoo

The Kanpur Zoo was opened in 1971 and ranks among one of the best zoos in the country. It is an ideal place for picnics in picturesque surroundings.



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