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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.

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