Bithoor is a quaint little town nestled away in the Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, acclaimed for being an important hub of pilgrimage for Hindus. Along with its religious significance, Bithoor also has a good share of historical places of interest. Bithoor is immersed in local legends, religious myths, primeval artifacts and ancient ruins. The town was said to be the residence of Lav and Kush, prominent figures in the Hindu mythology of Ramayana. It was also rumoured to be the residing place of Lord Bramha while performing a Yajna, and the name of the town Bithoor was derived from Brahmavarta; the location where Lord Bramha stayed. The town also witnessed one of the biggest uprising movements in India’s freedom struggle. Set along the coast of the majestic Ganges, the old-world town has enough historical paraphernalia and mystique to fuel your inquisitions, and apart from that is also perfect for when you need a breather or just some time away from the chaos of cities.
Places to Visit
1. Brahmavart Ghat
Brahmavart is a sacred ghat along the mighty Ganges, a mere 2.5 kilometres away from Bithoor. The ghat is a vital pilgrimage centre for Hindus, set against the scenic backdrop of the river Ganga with an abundance of history. Brahmavarta Ghat, which was earlier identified as Utpalaranya forest according to religious texts is believed to be the place where Lord Brahma resided while performing the Ashwamedha Yajna, and a nail from the horseshoe rumoured to be of Lord Bramha’s horse.
Ashwamedha’s horseshoe stands testament to the age old legend that is the main driving force that brings tourists and spiritualists to this place. After completion of the Yajna the Utpalaranya forest came to be known as Brahmavarta, the Seat of Bramha. This place is also allegedly where Lord Bramha is said to have created mankind with the first humans; Manu and Shatarupa.
The ghat has a small temple, one of the few shrines in the country devoted to Lord Bramha. The temple houses a Shivaling referred to as the Brahmeshwar Mahadeva, it was established by Lord Bramha after the completion of Yajna. The temple has wooden slippers to commemorate the sacred footsteps of Lord Bramha. There is also a knot in the ground of the temple which is believed to be the centre of the entire earth. The temple plays a major part in adding to the religious significance of this place and sees a fair share of devotees throughout the year.
The ghats are a serene and calm space for you to clear your head away from the monotonous routines of daily life. There are also small boats available for boat rides in Ganga, people also take a dip in the river before visiting the temple because according to Hindu belief, a dip in the Ganges is said to rid one of their worldly sins.
2. Valmiki Ashram
Valmiki Ashram is a complex that stations several small chambers marked for their religious and historic significance on Bithoor road, around a kilometre from Brahmavarta Ghat. The complex is a memorial of sorts established by the Peshwa ruler Nana Rao Peshwa II, it is also the birth place of Lav and Kush; the sons of Lord Ram and Sita from the mythological epic Ramayana. The Lav Kush Janmasthal is allegedly the exact spot where Lav-Kush were born. Sage Valmiki also resided here after turning away from his life as a robber to become the highly revered sage that we know him as today. Sage Valmiki is most well known for writing the epic saga of Ramyana, Valmiki Ashram is also the location where the tale of Ramayana came to fruition at the hands of Sage Valmiki.
Lav Kush also received their education at Valmiki Ashram from Sage Valmiki himself. There is a small chamber within the premises called Sita Rasoi which was the kitchen that Sita used when she settled down there after her separation from Lord Ram. Sita never returned back to Lord Ram and asked mother earth to take her in as whole, this also occurred at the Valmiki Ashram and the demarcated spot is named Sita Patal Pravesh. There is also a chamber where Lord Hanuman was rumoured to stay when he was sent to find out the whereabouts of Sita and Lav-Kush by Lord Ram.
3. Patthar Ghat
Patthar Ghat is set on the banks of the holy Ganges in Bithoor laid out by Tikait Rai. The ghat is made from a striking red sandstone with ancient architecture which is the most prominent feature of the ghat, and where the ghat gets its name from; with Patthar translating to stone in Hindi. The ghat also has a small temple devoted to Lord Shiva with a Shivaling installed in the temple made of Philosopher’s Stone or Kasauti, as it is known locally. Set against the backdrop of the idyllic Ganges, this place has a calming effect on all its visitors. Visitors also take a dip in the Ganges occasionally.
4. Dhruva Teela
Dhruva Teela, 2 kilometres away from Bithoor is the spot where a child named Dhruv meditated on one foot too appease Lord Bramha. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Bramha appeared before him and granted him a boon to be immortalised as a shining star in the wide galaxy. The star was also named after Dhruv and came to be known as Dhruv Taara. The place leaves you feeling intrigued at the magic and mystique of the ancient times.
5. Bithoor Fort
The Bithoor Fort is an import historical place spread over 20 acres and played an integral part in the Revolt of 1857. Nana Saheb was the adopted son of the Peshwa ruler Baji Rao II, Nana Sahib made Bithoor Fort his headquarters during his tenure in Bithoor, which was a part of the Cawnpore district(present day Kanpur). This fort was the place where Nana Saheb along with Rani Laxmi Bai and Tatya Tope conceived plans to attack and lay siege to the British regiment, in response to which the British bombed the Bithoor fort. At present what remains of the fort are only ruins, that have witnessed the crucial freedom struggles by heroic freedom fighters.
6. Nana Saheb Rao Park
The state government has also established a memorial park called Nana Saheb Rao Park within the museum compound to encourage tourism, also known as Company Bagh. Prior to independence the location was called Memorial Well on account of the memorial erected to mourn the lives of the British women and children lost due to the 1857 massacre. After independence the memorial was shifted to another location and statues of freedom fighters like Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope among others were constructed in the Nana Saheb Rao park, named after the key player in the revolt of 1857.
The park has a decades old enormous Banyan tree which is said to be the spot where the British ordered mass hangings of several Indian soldiers. The tree serves a historical purpose and has hence been preserved, it is a gentle reminder of the struggles the country faced to attain an independent status.
The park also houses a museum which has an independent gallery with historical relics from the colonial period like royal orders, coins, stamps and other antiques.
Nana Saheb Rao Park has a well paved walkway and a public pool, it is quite famous within the locals who come here for their morning walks, jogs or to take a swim in the pool.
There is also a small nursery within the park premises, host to a wide array of plant varieties. The park also sees a fair variety of local bird species.
7. Deepa Malika Stambh
This is a high tower near the Sita Rasoi, the tower has 48 stairs in 7 rounds laid out in a spiral fashion that take you to the top of the tower. The tower is decked up in glimmering diyas(earthen oil lamps) during the festival of Diwali and looks nothing short of spectacular or straight out of a postcard.
8. Siddhi Dham Ashram
Siddhi Dham Ashram is 4 kilometres from Bithoor; founded by the spiritual guru Sudhanshuji Maharaj. The Ashram is a hub for meditation and spiritual activities and has a temple with shrines of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Parvati and Goddess Radha. The Ashram has a stunning garden that has statuettes of deities spread across the garden, it also has a fountain in the garden which is right in front of an artificially create cavern. It also houses a miniature aquarium with tiger sharks and catfish, in addition to this there is a small encounter which contains a few varieties of exotic birds like Macaws and Cockatoos. The place is frequented by religious and spiritual seekers alike and has a really serene and calm ambience, perfect for a short pause away from hectic schedules to contemplate over your thoughts.
9. ISKCON Temple
The Kanpur ISKCON Temple is approximately 11 kilometres from Bithoor on the banks of the sacred Ganges, the temple is devoted to Radha and Madhav and has smaller shrines for Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, Lord Laxman and Lord Hanuman. The temple is an important centre of pilgrimage for the locals and festivals like Diwali, Holi and Janmashtami are celebrated with furore in a grand way. The temple stays open from 4:30 AM - 01:00 PM and 04:00 PM - 08:30 PM and conducts Bhagavad Gita classes daily.
The temple also has an in-house restaurant called Govinda within the temple complex, it only serves vegetarian food with an option of Indian, South-Indian and Continental cuisine and small snack titbits to the visitors.
10. Blue World Theme Park
The 25 acre theme park is one of the biggest water parks in the region, just 5 kilometres away from Bithoor. The park has all the latest amenities and has rides and activities for all age groups. The park has land rides as well as water slides and pools in addition to a 7-D theatre and a planetarium. The park also has fun rides for the kids and kiddie pools too along with boating provisions.
The park has been divided several zones that have been made to relay the essence of the theme that it is modelled after.
European Theme: This portion has been constructed to resemble the streets of London, and are great for photo ops. The street truly feels like one straight out of London and are flocked with visitors at all times.
Fairy Land Water World: This area is modelled after a fantasy land with fairies and angels, the kids especially love it. The place looks right out of a fairy tale and also has all the water pools and slides.
Chinese Theme: There is a bridge with a chinese dragon figure installed and a restaurant that serves authentic chinese food.
Jungle Theme: The area is modelled after a forest, with sculptures of animals like giraffes, lions, elephants and orangutans among others. The place looks very similar to the jungle and is very popular with the visitors.
Mayan and Egyptian Theme: This part of the theme park takes after the ancient egyptian and mayan heritage. The area is made to replicate the ancient mayan and egyptian architecture.
Indian Theme: This portion is a confluence of several indian cultures and is a perfect blend of various regional architectural influences from around the country.
The theme park has 3 restaurants, Aquaria is an air conditioned multi cuisine restaurant at the waterfront. The park also has a Ship Restaurant which is an open air restaurant by the pool and serves a variety of cuisines, and the Punjabi Village restaurant; that serves delicious north indian fare.
11. Jungle Water Park
Jungle water park is approximately 6 kilometres from Bithoor and has a myriad of water pools and fun slides. The park has a wave pool and kids play area and has slides for adults as well as kids. It is great for the whole family.
12. Sports Village Park
This recreational park is 8 kilometres from Bithoor and has a sprawling pool on its premises along with a variety of fun slides that lead you head on into the pool. The place is fun and great for day outings.
13. Mogli Water Park
Mogli Water Park is approximately 6 kilometres from Bithoor, the park amasses an area of 11 acres and has a variety of rides and pools. The park also has an artificial lake with boating facilities, you can also take camel rides in the park. There is a small restaurant adjoined to the park for all your hunger needs.
Bithoor is one of those few places that has held on to its eventful and glorious past that makes the cosy town all the more intriguing to its visitors. And if history isn’t what gets your bags packing, go there for the sense of calm and sublime sunsets along the Ganges that are second to none.
The best time to visit is from October to March, the weather is usually pleasant during this time of the year as opposed to the harsher summer climate when the temperatures soar up much higher.
How to Reach Bithoor
The nearest airport is the Kanpur Airport, 35 kilometres away from Bithoor. And the closest railway station Kalyanpur is 13 kilometres away, but only passenger trains function at the station, so this might be a feasible option only for those travelling from within the state or nearby areas. The closest railway junction is the Kanpur Junction which is 25 kilometres from Bithoor and connected to all the major cities, you can take a cab or public bus from Kanpur to reach Bithoor.