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Kanpur

pronunciation (help·info) (spelled as Cawnpore before 1948) is the ninth most populous city in India and the most populous within the state of Uttar Pradesh. , and in terms of area, Kanpur is the fifth largest city in India .It is also known as the Manchester of Asia. Kanpur is located on the banks of the river Ganga and is an important industrial centre. It has an area of over 1600 km² and had a population of 2.5 million in the 2001 census. Owing to the city's industrial importance, one of branches of the Reserve Banks of India was established in the city.It is also referred as the economic capital of Uttar Pradesh.

History

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. 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 thirteenth 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 Kanpur 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 anyone who impeded the horse's progress in battle) 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 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 British 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 Allahabad. 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 thos 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 NanaRao Park. The well is now bricked over, but the remains of a circular ridge are still there.
(Source: Wikipedia)