Kanpur is many things, but, for sure, it is not a touristy place. It is not one of those cities you map out a vacation itinerary for. That said, Kanpur is a magnificent place, culturally. So, for all you peeps out there who thought our little town was just about food and tanneries, here is a zinger of a post.
If you thought the cultural blood that flows through Kanpur is recent, think again. Back in the 19th Century, when the city was known as Cawnpore, it was a vital garrison town for the East India Company. In the 1857 rebellion against the British Raj, the city played a terrible but powerful role. Since it was based on the banks of Ganges, it was also an important river port and trading hub for grains which gave it the moniker Manchester of India.
It is the people who make the culture of any community. How do the citizens of Kanpur stand on this order? They are simple, humble, and harmonious. It is why the land has been called home by some of the most profound freedom fighters and poets. You may have heard of Shyamlal Gupta and Bal Krishna Sharma? Both were connected to the city with the latter known as Lion of Kanpur.
While people conceive culture, the food of a place is inspired by it. And when it comes to cuisine, Kanpur doesn't disappoint. It is a haven for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. From mouth-watering chat to ever present Pan, from khoya ladoo to biryani, the city does it all and with style!
Did you know that Kanpur has one of the biggest ISKCON temples? The sprawling monument to Lord Krishan includes a Vedic Ashram, Bhaktivedanta Book Library, and Youth Academy, guests house for devotees to stay, and much, much more. Besides the Sri Sri Radha Madhav Mandir, the Kanpur Memorial Church is another cultural icon.
Built by the British to commemorate the lives lost in the Siege of Cawnpore, the architecture of the church is something to behold. Also known as the All Soul Church, the highlight of its Lombardic Gothic style is the carved angel of peace.
The Jain Glass Temple in Maheshwari Mohal is one more jigsaw piece in the cultural puzzle of Kanpur. Adorned with intricate cut-glass murals, both inside and outside, the elaborately designed structure narrates the Jain philosophy of Lord Mahavira and the 23 Tirthankaras.
The Kanpur Film and Theatre Society has kept the cultural heritage alive by reviving a dying art – Nautanki. A theatre form that originated from our very city, in recent years it has been propagated with much pomp and show.
Ram Lila is a perfect example of how culturally prosperous Kanpur is; it is one of the few platforms where budding artists can showcase their talent. Ganga Mela, a festival celebrated here, is another ideal example. The Ganga Fair is held every year for five days. It ends with exuberant play with colours on Holi and a dip in the Ganges.
The Jhoola Mela is one more festival woven in the cultural thread of the town. Held in the month of Savana, devotees gather at DwarkaDhish Temple to take blessings of Lord Krishna.
There was a time when Kanpur was recognized simply as the slumbering village of Kanhiyapur. Today, it is the eighth-most populous metropolitan area in India thanks to the industrial expansion. But through it all, the town has maintained its cultural distinction. Rarely will you find a city that is so steeped in history and religion that it forms an integral part of the society.
As we say adios, we leave you with the last bit of culture from Kanpur (and the one particularly close to our heart). The sportsmen spirit of the city is undying, perpetual and eternal and Green Park stands testament to it!