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The quiet and beautiful township of Bithoor is situated on the Kannauj Road, 27 km from Kanpur. Situated on the banks of the Ganga, this tranquil spot is of considerable historical and religious importance. According to Hindu scriptures Lord Brahma came to Utpalaranya, as it was known then, for the creation of mankind. The placewhich first witnessed the creation of mankind came to be known as Brahmavarta or the seat of Brahma. Later Brahma installed a Shivalinga which is still workshipped as Brahmeshwar Mahadeva at the principal ghat of Bithoor, the Brahmavarta Ghat. A nail of the horse shoe embedded in the steps of the ghat is an object of special reverence for devotees, considered to be of Brahma’s horse, while going for Ashwamedha Yajna. On the completion of the yajna, the forests of Utpalaranya became known as Brahmavarta, from which the popular name, Bithoor is derived.

In later centuries Brahmavarta flourished as a capital of the kingdom of Utpalaranya, over which ruled the emperor Uttanpad. His son Dhruva penanced here in order to please Brahma. The place is pointed out to be Dhruva Teela.

There is a small pool inside Valmiki Ashram, famous as Sita-Kund. Sita ‘Rasoi’ is still preserved, near which stands `Swarga Naseinee’ or Deep Malika Stambha, studded with niches all around for illumination. The tower has about 48 steps leading to its top which is surmounted by a cupola, from where one can heave a panoraic viewof the entire area. The existing Valmiki temple is said to have been rebuilt by Baji roa Peshwa in the 19th century.

Later Brahmavarta fell into obscurity, only to regain prominence in the 18th century. During 1753-75 under the rule of Nawab Shuja-ud-daula, the administration of Bithoor was entrusted to Almas Ali Kha, who erected a mosque near Lakshman Ghat on the right bank of Ganga.

Bithoor was the capital of the Pargana from 1811 to 819. After the departure of the courts, the place was assigned as a residence to Baji Rao, the deposed Peshwa. The Palace of Nana Sahib was reduced to rubble by the British in 1857 and the only traces remaining of it are some large well heads and broken palace walls.

The historic town of Bithoor, once famous by the name of `Bavan Ghaton ki Nagri’, [city of 52 Ghat (river banks)] today left with only 29 ghats. The chief among them being-the Tuta Ghat, Patkapur Ghat, Khanderao Gaht, Rishikul Ghat, Kalvari Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, Chhappar Ghat, Dhruv Ghat, Bhairav Ghat, Sita-Kaushalya Ghat, Bramhavarta Ghat, Ganesh Ghat, Lakshman Ghat, Rambhushan Ghat, Pandav Ghat, Jhansi Rani Ghat, Mahapatra Ghat, Chhatta Ghat, Shuklan Ghat, Mahila Ghat, Baradari Ghat, Patthar Ghat, Bhajju Ghat, Gudara Ghat, Atmanand Saraswati Ghat, Maharaja Peshwa Ghat, Gulariya Ghat, Haridham Ghat, Shivdham Ghat and Kapileshwar Ghat. Of these 29 Ghats the most beautiful is the Patthar Ghat, built by Raja Tikaitrai. The other important Ghat of Bhthoor is the Kalvari Ghat, where a large Gaesh temple built by the Peshwas exists. Other notable sites at Bithoor are the Tripura Sundri Temple, Shivananda Ashram, Gyaneshwar Mahadev Temple, Janki Temple, Pantha Devi Temple, and Sri Gayatri Dham. Bithoor has no hotels at present, one can either choose to stay at Ashrams or return to Kanpur for nightstay. UP Government Tourist accommodation is available at tourist motel, Tatyaganj, 12 km. before Bithoor, on route to Farrukhabad.

59 km. Situated in Ghatampur tehsil, Bhitargaon houses a unique architectural specimen – a brick temple belonging to the Gupta era. The very first shrine with a Shikara, it dates back to 600 AD.

Built of large bricks of size 0.47m x 0.22m x 0.07m, set in mud mortar, the total height of the temple is 15.41m. inside the temple only the sanctum or garbhagriha and the porch exists. Above the sanctum there was an upper chamber which was damaged when the spire was struck by lightning some time in the 18th century. The most remarked feature of the temple is its recessed plan.

The interior of the temple is plain but on the outside it is decorated with carved brickwork and numerous terracotta panels of skilful workmanship. The importance of the Bhitargaon temple lies in the fact that it is the sole surviving record of this early phase of temple architecture in India.

65 km from Kanpur, the ancientsite of Masanagar with innumerable munds deserved mention on account of the ancient temple of Muktadevi, which is said to have been built in Treta-Yug by Raja Bali. A large fair is held at Muktadevi temple on occasion of Kartik Poornima. Musanagar is also a rich archaeological site and has yielded a large number of artifacts and specimens of the post Harrapan, Shunga, Maurya and Kushana periods. The Muktadevi temple also offers an excellent view of the surrounding landscape. One can climb the roof of the temple dharamshala, from where can be seen the meandering Sengar river meeting the Yamuna down below, in a beautiful natural setting.

80 km. Situated on the banks of the river Ganga, Kannauj was the 7th century capital of Emperor Harshvardhan’s empire, which encompassed the entire region between the rivers Satlej and Narmada and eastern Bengal. While all traces of this past have vanished, Kannauj is famous for its manufacture of essence (itr) used in perfumes.

The capital of Uttar-Pradesh, Lucknow is around 80km from Kanpur, well connected with Trains/Buses/Taxi. Lucknow is a city synonymous with the Nawabi Culture. The imperialistic splendour and magnificence of the Nawabi era has been glorified and eulogized down the ages by writers, poets and historians alike. At the same time its mystical elegance and amorous ethos has caught the fascination of many world famous romantics. Known for its adab and Tehzeeb (cultural refinement), Lucknow is also associated with its legendary hospitality, leisurely moods of life, fabled edifices steeped in history, world renowned cuisine and exquisite Sham-e- Awadh. Tremors of time have not effaced Lucknow of its cultural heritage and traditions, which once contributed in creating the city incomparable in its times.

Angira Ashram
Thousands of years ago, one of the saptarishis, Maharishi Angira, chose for his penance a place near Bithoo, presently situated in Ankui village today is known as the Angira Ashram. The ancient Jagannath temple here houses the original wooden idol of Lord Jagannath, said to be identical with that of the famous Jagannath temple.

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary
43 km from Lucknow, along the Lucknow-Kanpur highway near Unnao, is the Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary attractts rare Siberian migratory birds during winters, the main bird species being Pintain, Pigeon, Common teal, Shoveller, Pochard, Coot, Purple Moorhen and others. The ideal season for bird watching is between December and March. The Priyadarshini Motel of U.P. Tourism provides good boarding and lodging facilities at the sanctuary.

Archaeological Sites around Kanpur
Among other notable archaeological sites around Kanpur are the `Shiv temple at Nimbia Khera’, the `Jagannath temple at Behta Buzurg’ and the `Lala Bhagat Pillar’. Nimbia Khera is 12 km east of Ghatampur, where a 9th-10th Century old Shiva temple at Behta Buzurg is supposed to be 2000 years old. It is said that a week before the beginning of therainy season, drops of water falls from the stone which is embedded in the inner roof of the temple. The village of Behta Buzurg is 15 km from Ghatampur and 40 km from Kanpur, on the road going from Ghatampur to Sarh. Lala Bhagat, 92 km from Kanpur and 58 km from Derapur, houses the famous Kukkutadhwaj, more known as Lala Bhagat Pillar standing in the middle of a modern temple. This red sandstone six and a half feet high octagonal pillar with a small inscription was once surmounted by a cock capital, which broken from the pillar shaft lies nearby. Datable to the 1st century AD, the cock capital is of unique antiquity value.

Other Excursions
Hanuman Temple, Panki, Kalpi, Sankisa, Nawabganj and Kampil.

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