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Kanpur ( , ), spelled as Cawnpore before 1948, is the ninth most populous city in Indiamarker and the largest within the state of Uttar Pradeshmarker. It is the second largest city of the entire Hindi speaking belt only after Delhi. It was formerly known as the "Manchestermarker of the East", and the economic capital of Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur is located on the banks of the river Gangamarker and is an important industrial centre. It has an area of over 1300 km² and population of 4,864,674 . Owing to the city's industrial importance, one of few branches of the Reserve Banks of India and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India were established in the city. It is also home to several globally recognized institutions such as IIT Kanpurmarker, HBTI, GSVM Medical College and many more.


Nestled on the banks of the River Ganga, Kanpur stands as one of North India’s major industrial centres with its own historical, religious and commercial importance. Believed to be founded by Hindu King Chandel of the state of Sachendi, Kanpur, it is believed that the city derived its name from Kanhiyapur, the town of Kanhiya (Lord Krishna). In the course of time, Kanhiyapur probably was abbreviated as Kanhapur and subsequently as Kanpur (the Anglicized spelling of which was Cawnpore during the British rule). Others believe that the name is derived from Karnapur and is associated with Karna, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata. Duryodhana made Karna a king, seeing him as a fitting match to Arjuna, and granted him this area; the region was named after its first king. Another belief suggest that perhaps it came from a nearby town of Makanpurmarker, earlier known as Khairabad, where Sufi saint of Madariya Sufi order, Badiuddin Zinda Shah Madar (d. 1434 CE) settled . Historically, Jajmau, on the eastern outskirts of present day Kanpur is regarded as one of the original settlements in the Kanpur district.

View of Cawnpore from the Ganges river.
Painting by Rev.
Henry Martyn.
Kanpur's development is unclear until the 13th century. Although no reference to Kanpur is found in history, the history of two of its suburbs, Jajmau and Bithoor, can be traced back to legendary times. Bithoor is located about 20 km upstream of the river from the city and is approximately 10 km from the IIT Kanpurmarker Campus. Jajmau is about 8 km east of Kanpur city and is nearly 20 km downstream from the IIT Campus. According to Hindu mythology, just after creating the universe, Lord Brahma performed the Ashvamedh Yajna (a horse is released and escorted by armies, which engaged in battle anyone who impeded the horse's progress) at Bithoor (also known as Brahmavart) and established a shivalingam there. Another legendary site at Bithoor is the Valmiki Ashram, where the famous sage Valmiki is supposed to have written the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. According to this epic, queen Seeta, on being exiled by King Ramachandra of Ayodhya, spent her days in seclusion at the ashram bringing up her twin sons Lava and Kush.

At Jajmau there are remains of an ancient fort, now surviving as a huge mound. Recent excavations on this mound indicate the site is very ancient, perhaps dating back to the Vedic age. Popular legends have it that the fort belonged to Yayati, a king of the ancient Chandravanshi race, the eighth in succession to Lord Brahma. The famous Siddhnath temple of Lord Shiva and Siddha Devi temple at Jajmau belong to the Buddhist period. The place for a while was known as Siddhpuri.

Another interesting[[[WP:Avoid Weasel Words|''how?'']]] historical place near Kanpur is Shivrajpur, 20 km from Kanpur Railway Station. At Shivrajpur, there is an ancient temple built by Chandel Raja Sati Prasad in memory of his queen. This temple is believed to be built in a night and is situated on the banks of river Ganga. This temple is famous for its beautiful architectural work and its unique carving designs.

Parihar rulers of Kannauj may have ruled this place for a significant part of history long before the beginning of Mughal era. Some historical accounts suggest Parihar kings, Bhoj and Mihir, have ruled in Kanpur since nearby Kannuaj was the capital of Parihar.

In 1207 AD, Raja Kanti Deo of Prayag (connected to the throne of Kannauj), established the village Kohna, which later came to be known as Kanpur. Kanpur continued its association with Kannauj during the reigns of Harsha Vardhan, Bhoj, Mihir, Jai Chand and early Muslim rulers through the Sur Dynasty. The first mention of Kanpur was made in 1579 during Sher Shah's regime. Up to the 1st half of the 18th century, Kanpur continued to survive as an insignificant village. Its fate, however, took a new turn in the second half of the 18th century. In May 1765, Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab Wazir of Awadh, was defeated by the British near Jajmau. From 1773 to 1801, it was part of the Oudh kingdom and then came into the hands of the British. At this time, the British realized the strategic importance of the site of Kanpur. European businessmen had, by this time, started establishing themselves in Kanpur. In order to ensure protection for their lives and property, the European business shifted the `Awadh local forces’ 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 in the history of Kanpur, as it became one of the most important military stations of British India. It was declared a district on 24 March 1803.South of Parmat were the British infantry lines and the parade grounds. Indian infantry occupied the space from the present Chunniganj to the Christ Church College. The Company Bagh was laid in 1847 and the construction of the Ganga canal was commenced in 1854.

Rebellion of 1857

In the 19th century, Kanpur was an important Britishmarker garrison with barracks for 7,000 soldiers. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, 900 British were besieged in the fortifications for 22 days by rebels under Nana Sahib. They surrendered on the agreement that they would get safe passage to the nearby Suttee Chaura Ghat whereupon they would board barges and be allowed to go by river to Allahabadmarker.

Though controversy surrounds what exactly happened at the Satichaura Ghat, and who fired the first shot, it is known that soon afterwards, the departing British were shot at, by the rebel sepoys, and were either killed or captured. Some of the British officers later claimed that the rebels had placed the boats as high in the mud as possible, on purpose to cause delay. They also claimed that Nana Sahib's camp had previously arranged for the rebels to fire upon and kill all the English. Although the East India Company later accused Nana Sahib of betrayal and murder of innocent people, no evidence has ever been found to prove that Nana Sahib had pre-planned or ordered the massacre. Some historians believe that the Satichaura Ghat massacre was the result of confusion, and not of any plan implemented by Nana Sahib and his associates. Lieutenant Mowbray Thomson, one of the four male survivors of the massacre, believed that the rank-and-file sepoys who spoke to him did not know of the killing to come.

Many were killed and the remaining 200 British women and children were brought back to shore and sent to a building called the Bibighar (the ladies' home). After some time, when it was apparent that the British under General Henry Havelock were likely to retake Kanpur, the commanders of the rebels thought to execute their hostages. The rebel soldiers refused to carry out orders, and butchers from the nearby town were brought in to kill the hostages three days before the British entered the city on July 18. The dismembered bodies were thrown into a deep well nearby. The British "Army of Retribution" under General Neill retook the city and committed a series of atrocities against the rebel Sepoys and those unfortunate civilians caught in the area, including women, children and old men. The Kanpur massacre, as well as similar events elsewhere, were seen by the British as an occasion for unrestrained vengeance .

The British dismantled the Bibighar and raised and a memorial railing and a cross at the site of the well. In 1862, they built a church called All Souls' Cathedral in memory of those killed; renamed the Kanpur Memorial Church, it still stands at what was the north-east corner of Wheeler’s entranchment. The marble gothic screen with the famous `mournful seraph’ was transferred to the churchyard after independence in 1947, and in its place a bust of Tantya Tope installed at Nana Rao Park. The well is now bricked over, but the remains of a circular ridge are still there.

Development of industries

A view of Lal Imli factory
After 1857 it became an important center of the leather and textile industries. The Government Harness and Saddler Factory was started in 1860 to supply the army with leather products, followed by Cooper Allen & Co. in 1880. The first cotton textile mill, the Elgin Mills, was started in 1862 and Muir Mills in 1882, and many others that followed in the next 40 years, such as Victoria Mills and Atherton West & Co. (Atherton Mills), made Cawnpore a major textile producer. The British India Corporation (BIC) was headquartered here and led the development of many industries. [citations required]

The first Indian business house of Cawnpore was the firm NihalChand KishoriLal, which set up a trading facility in 1857. This firm was a leader in oil milling and had many oil mills spread across North India. The Juggilal Kamlapat Singhania family launched many factories between 1930 and 1970. The Jaipuria family contributed to the patriotic cause, by building the Swadeshi Cotton Mills in response to charges that the foreign rulers were raiding India of its cotton only to sell back textiles to the residents. Kanpur was known as the "Manchester of India" during the 20th century. The NihalChand KishoriLal group (also known as Kejriwal Group) over time diversified into flour milling, tea plantations and steel. They bought the Cawnpore Flour Mills in 1942, which had been established in 1886 by Edward Foy, a Scotsman. New Cawnpore Flour Mills is at present one of the larger flour mills of North India and still managed by the same family. [citations required]

The steel industry was first brought to Kanpur by Singh Engineering. The Kejriwals set up a ministeel mill on the outskirts of Kanpur, which is now a leading long products manufacturer. Kanpur is also an important center for India's leather industry. It is also one of the largest sugar producing areas in northern India. As of now, the city also owns many leather tanneries, and over a dozen Defence Ordnance Factories. [citations required]

Recent years has brought a change to the area industry, with LML Plant slowing down production drastically. There has been some growth in the plastics and the 3-wheeler automotive industries. Kanpur has been neglected by the local state government despite its huge contribution to the economy, and requires an influx of funding and support if it is to return to its former glory. [citations required]

The British contributed to charitable causes in the city by building the Ursula Horsman Hospital, the "Hallet" Hospital, Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, by protecting the Allen Forest (now a zoo) and many other efforts. Most of these are now renamed, though a lot of residents still call them by their old names. The distortion of names is most visible at the railway crossing bridge next to the Railway Station, where the now-closed Murray Company is conveniently called Mari (Dead) Company. [citations required]

Due to the onset of leather industries, the pollution levels have risen dangerously high. Due to lack of proper planning, the city is equalling Delhi as a victim of congestion and overcrowding. Urban planning has yet to evolve. Agencies responsible for this have still a long way to go from selling plots of land to planning wholesome development. A recent article in the Time Asia magazine says it all regarding the pollution in the city.

New industries such as detergent, saddlery, food processing, pan masala, tea packaging, plastics and packaging, jewellery manufacturing and exports, leather processing and goods, have developed in the city. Among them the Pan Masala industry is the largest employer in the region as well as the largest source of tax for the government. The world famous brands -"Pan Bahaar" & "Pan Parag" among many originated in the city.

Kanpur, now a 'Town of Export Excellence'
The centre has announced Kanpur as 'Town of Export Excellence'

The announcement would now facilitate the city exporters with various extra facilities and concessions. Leather and other exporters have welcomed the news.

Cultural history

Nestled on the banks of the eternal Ganga, Kanpur stands as one of North India’s major industrial centres 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. Up to the first 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 this time that strategic importance of the site of Kanpur was realised by the British. European businessmen had by this time gradually started establishing themselves in Kanpur. In order to ensure protection to their lives and 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 in the history of Kanpur. Soon Kanpur became one of the most important military station of British India. It was declared a district on 24 March 1803.
Kanpur Sangrahalaya
Kanpur was a hotbed of change in the independence and literary movements during the 1900–1950 period. The largest shopping centre is named Navin Market, after the poet Bal Krishna Sharma aka "Navin". Later poets included Gopal Das "Niraj" who wrote songs for Bollywood movies. Kanpur is also the birth place of Shyamlal Gupta `Parshad’, composer of the famous ditty Vijayee Vishwa Tiranga Pyara. The propagation and popularization of Hindi also owes much to this city, with great Hindu literatteurs such as Acharya Mahavir Parasad Dwivedi, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Pratap Narain Mishra and Acharya Gaya Prasad Shukla `Sanehi’. The Agricultural University is named after the revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad and the Medical College after Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi; both men spent much time in Kanpur. While Chandrashekhar 'Azad' shot himself when surrounded by a huge posse of British soldiers at Alfred Park, Allahabad, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi was killed during the Hindu-Muslim riots of 1931 at Machli Bazar in Kanpur.

About 25 km from Kanpur is Bithoor. Legend has it that Sita, the wife of Lord Rama came to live at the ashram of sage Valmiki, after Rama expelled her from Ayodhyamarker. It was here that she gave birth to the twins Lava and Kusha , and disappeared back into the earth (from where she was born) when confronted by a repentant Rama. Bithoor is also the site of the fort to which Nana Sahib escaped following the British retaking of Kanpur. Today, Bithoor is a tourist spot on the banks of the Ganges and Kanpur is expanding very fast with new residential complexes sprouting up everywhere. Among festivals Ganga Mela is a unique festival that is played only in kanpur, 7 days after the festival Holi. The festival is celebrated in the memories of revolutionaries who were released by British government who were held prisoners during 1857 revolution.


The city's coordinates are 26.4670° North and 80.3500° East, placing it 83 km from Lucknowmarker . Kanpur, along with Allahabad and Fatehpur, are part of the Lower Doab, which in antiquity was known as the Vatsa country. It is surrounded by two main rivers of India, the Gangesmarker in the north-east and the Pandu river (Yamunamarker) in the south. The districts surrounding Kanpur are Hamirpur in the south and Unnao in the north-east,

Flora and Fauna

Kanpur is home to many residential and migratory birds. Most of them can be spotted at Bithoor, IIT Kanpurmarker campus and areas alongside the Ganga Canal. The city has Asia's biggest (area wise) zoological garden. Exotic species of flora are present at the CSA campus.The Kanpur Zoo is famous for its cages designed to provide a natural habitat for the animals, and has a vast variety of animals. The water supply system of the zoo is a work of art, by an artist and engineer in the Sinchai Department of that time, Murari Sharan Saxena. The Zoo is a part of a lush green area - The Allen Forest, Nawabganj. The entry fee is minimal, making it the major picnic spot of the Kanpur region. Indira Nagar is the greenest and most pollution free residential area of the city.


Kanpur is situated on the banks of the river Ganga; the population was 2,551,337 as per the 2001 census. In the last decade the population rose rapidly. One of the factors for this kind of growth can be a higher number of in-migration to Kanpur City from other areas. It ranked third after Lucknow and Varanasi in 1901, but by 1961 it assumed a position on top of the list. It has registered an increase of over five times from 197,170 in 1901 to 883,815 in 1961 in the course of six decades. Kanpur has an area of about 1640 km² and is 126 meters above sea level. Languages spoken in and around Kanpur include Hindi, English and Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi. Hinduism is the most prominent religion in the city. There is a considerable number of Muslims mostly residing near Kanpur Centralmarker station and areas namely Parade, Bekanganj and Idgah colony. The Sikh community consists of immigrants who were displaced due to the Partition of India in 1947. They have since well stablished business in the city and reside in areas such as Govind Nagar, Gumti no.5, Ashok Nagar and 80 ft road. There are a small number of Christians also in Kanpur. Christchurch and Methodist church reflect British architecture.


Kanpur is one of the biggest producer of Textile and Leather products and they are exported in bulk. Apart from leather and textile industry, the fertilizer, chemicals, two wheelers, soaps, Pan Masala, hosiery and engineering industries are also operating in the city. Private sector also set up large units such as many factories of JK Industries group, Lohia machines,Duncans, etc.

The only unit of Indian Institute of Pulse Research (an institute of ICAR) & one of the three units of National Sugar Institute is situated in Kanpur and that reflects strong agrarian nature of industries here.

Kanpur was also infamous to a certain extent for being home to largest tanneries in India and the subsequent pollution they caused thereof. These tanneries were the initial source of industrial base in Kanpur during the colonial period. However owing to poor pollution record , lack of technologies and emergence of other avenues of employment has lead to a slow and gradual death to these units.

Kanpur has also begin to find favour among the outsourcing sector as a favoured location with, several new startups setting up shop here owing to cheaper costs and a readily available talent pool.

Kanpur has several locational advantages i.e. location at a vantage point on two national highways i.e. NH2 and NH25; raw material availability for many industries viz. leather, food processing, plastics etc., proximity to large markets, availability of skilled manpower due to various institutes located within Kanpur (viz. Institute of Technology, Chander Shekhar Azad Agricultural University, Central Pulse Research Institute, Leather Institute etc.) and existing traditional industrial base attracting skilled workers to the city.

In Kanpur (MC),the banking services were availed by only 61 percent of the households(Census 2001). About 8 percent of the households did not possess basic assets such as vehicles (bicycles, scooter, moped, car, jeep, etc.), televisions and radios.

In a recent report on city development plan for JNNURMit was mentioned that Kanpur City is surviving because of the following:

- Defence Establishments like OEF, SAF and Ordinance Factory etc.

- Tanneries, which have swelled from 170 nos in 1995 to 300 in 2006

- Coaching industry for I.I.T, JEE, IAS/IPS etc.

- Trading Activities


Kanpur features a typical version of a humid subtropical climate that resembles the climate of Delhimarker to some degree. Kanpur lies in northern plains of India which witness extremes of temperature. It can drop to a minimum of 0.0°C in the winters while it goes up to 47°C in summers. Kanpur experiences severe fog in December and January, resulting in massive traffic and travel delays. In summer excessive dry heat is accompanied by dust storms, a trait more commonly seen in desert climates. Rains appear between July and September almost at the end of regular monsoon season. Some rainfall is recorded during the harvest season of March-April. These extremes however, give the region an advantage of having three crops of versatile range of products. Best time to visit Kanpur is either October-November or February-March.


Kanpur is home to several educational institutions which have made it a popular educational center. A category-wise list of few top colleges from the city is as follows :-

Technological Institutes :

Medical and allied Colleges :

Universities :

Auditorium of Kanpur University

Others :

Kanpur is very famous for engineering and medical entrance preparation coaching centers in North India.Literacy rate of Kanpur is 77.63% which is well above the national average.


Cricket is most popular sport in Kanpur. Green Park Stadium is a 45,000 capacity floodlit multi-purpose stadium located in Kanpur, India, and the home of the Uttar Pradesh cricket team. However, of late due to political and financial reasons, the ground has been rarely utilized. Other sports in the city that may be commonly visible, albeit at schools/colleges level are Hockey & Football.

After the successful two years of IPL, it has been reported that two new franchises will join the IPL in 2010-11, increasing the total number of teams to 10. The new confirmed franchises will be based in Ahmedabad and Kanpur, with Sahara Group is touted as the possible suitors to buy the Kanpur franchise and Anil Ambani's name associated with the ownership of the Ahmedabad franchise.

Notable locations

  • Green Park Stadium and its Modi Stadium, a cricket stadium
  • Radha-Krishna Mandir, or J K Temple, a temple constructed of white marble
  • Kherepati Temple, a well known temple of Lord Vishnu and Sheshnag.
  • Anandeshwar Temple, situated on the banks of Ganga at Parmat
  • Bithoor, a center of Hindu pilgrimage
  • Allen Forest Zoo, one of the largest nature preserves in Northern India
  • Moti Jheel, a lake near the GSVM Medical College
  • Lav Kush Barrage, a barrage on the river Ganga, also known as Ganga Barrage.
  • Kanpur Memorial Church
  • Gandhi Hall
  • Kanpur Sangrahlaya, a museum
  • Boodha Bargad (Banyan) tree, a tree on which 144 Indian freedom fighters were hanged in the later part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857

Eminent people associated with Kanpur



A ring road has been proposed for construction by the state government for easing traffic woes within the city. It has been decided that the arterial road would connect Panki Bhau Singh via Sarsiya Ghat to Sarai Bhauti. Kanpur Metropolitan Bus Service is also one of the cheapest mean of transportation for commuting within the city. However, it is not planned to service most parts of the city and only a few selected routes are facilitated.

Things however are set to change with the Central Government providing the Kanpur city administration with 300 buses under JNNURM. Central Government will bear 50% cost while State Government and Nagar Nigam will bear 20% and 30% cost respectively.

Another very popular mode of transportation are the three wheeler Tempos, like in any other city. As a measure to curb pollution CNG tempos have been recently introduced. The government is also considering a proposal to introduce metro railway system in Kanpur as a part of its agenda to introduce metro rails in million plus populated cities.


Served by Indian Railways, Kanpur is well connected by trains with all major cities, namely Delhimarker, Mumbaimarker, Kolkatamarker, Chennaimarker, Hyderabadmarker, Bangaloremarker, Lucknowmarker, Patnamarker, Jaipurmarker, Bhopalmarker, Punemarker, Suratmarker, Indoremarker, Jhansimarker etc.

Kanpur has eleven railway stations with in its city limits namely Kanpur Centralmarker, Kanpur Anwarganj, Govindpuri(Kanpur South), Panki, Chakeri, Chandari, Rawatpur, Kalianpur (Kalyanpur), Mandhana Jn., Kanpur Bridge Left Bank (Shuklaganj) and Kanpur SMU CBSA.

Kanpur Centralmarker is the main station of Kanpur and is the largest station of North Central Railways. Kanpur Centralmarker lies as one of the most important railway stations on Delhimarker-Howrahmarker Trunk Line of Indian Railways. The first Rajdhani Express of India ran via this station.


The city lies very strategically with several important National Highways criss-crossing through it.

NH No Route Total Length
2 Delhimarker » Mathuramarker » Agramarker » Kanpur » Allahabadmarker » Varanasimarker » Mohaniamarker » Barhimarker » Palsitmarker » Dankunimarker (near Kolkatamarker) 2542
25 Lucknowmarker » Kanpur » Jhansimarker » Shivpurimarker 352
86 Kanpur » Hamirpur » Chhatarpurmarker » Sagar » Bhopalmarker » Dewasmarker 674
91 Ghaziabad » Aligarhmarker » Etahmarker » Kannaujmarker » Kanpur 405


Kanpur Airportmarker is the only airport in the city of Kanpur and for this region of Uttar Pradesh. Air India (formerly Indian Airlines) is running a regular daily flight using a 48-seater ATR 42 Turboprop between Kanpurmarker and Delhimarker domestic terminal every Monday to Saturday. Air traffic to other places in India is also yet to pick up pace from Kanpur.

Trams in Kanpur

Trams in Kanpur

Trams were introduced in Kanpur in Jun 1907. Aishwarya ji was the princess of kanpur. The introductory stocks were single coach in Kanpur like other Indian cities (Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai), because the new mode of transport was introduced experimentally. They were electric Traction Type.

The anti-tram craze started around 1955, and quickly spread up around the world. Many countries of both developed and developing countries started closing tram systems. India was not the exception. Tram service gradually closed at Kanpur in 16 May 1933.

There were 4 miles of track and 20 single-deck open trams. The single line connected the railway station with Sirsaya Ghat on the banks of the Ganges.

See also


  2. Dalrymple, W. 2007. The Last Mughal. The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857, Alfred Knopf, New York
  3. Running Out of Breath. Time Asia, October 2, 2006
  4. 3
  5. Trams In Kanpur.

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