Nagpur Knowledge Guide
Nagpur is named after the river Nag which flows through the city. The old Nagpur (today called 'Mahal') is situated on north banks of the river Nag. The suffix pur means "city" in many Indian languages.One of the earlier names of Nagpur was "Fanindrapura". It derives its origin from the Sanskrit word fana (फणा; meaning hood of a cobra). Nagpur's first newspaper was named Fanindramani, which means a jewel that is believed to be suspended over a cobra's hood. It is this jewel that lights up the darkness, hence the name of the newspaper. B. R. Ambedkar claimed that both the city and the river are named after "Nag people". During British rule, the name of the city was spelt and pronounced as "Nagpore".
Early and medieval history
In the 18th century, the city was created by the leader of Gond Dynasty named Bakht Buland Shah in the first half of the century. Human existence around present-day Nagpur can be traced back 3000 years to the 8th century BCE. Mehir burial sites at the Drugdhamna (near the Mhada colony) indicate that the megalithic culture existed around Nagpur and is still followed. The first reference to the name "Nagpur" is found in a 10th-century copper-plate inscription discovered at Devali in the neighbouring Wardha district. The inscription is a record of grant of a village situated in the Visaya (district) of Nagpura-Nandivardhana during the time of the Rastrakuta king Krsna III in the Saka year 862 (940 CE). Towards the end of the 3rd century, King Vindhyasakti is known to have ruled the Nagpur region. In the 4th century, the Vakataka Dynasty ruled over the Nagpur region and surrounding areas and had good relations with the Gupta Empire. The Vakataka king Prithvisena I moved his capital to Nagardhan (ancient name Nandivardhana), 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Nagpur. After the Vakatakas, the region came under the rule of the Hindu kingdoms of the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas. The Paramaras of Malwa appear to have controlled the Nagpur region in the 11th century. A prashasti inscription of the Paramara king Lakshmadeva (r. c. 1086–1094) has been found at Nagpur. Subsequently, the region came under the Yadavas of Devagiri. In 1296, Allauddin Khilji invaded the Yadava Kingdom after capturing Deogiri, after which the Tughlaq Dynasty came to power in 1317. In the 17th century, the Mughal Empire conquered the region, however during Mughal era, regional administration was carried out by the Gond kingdom of Deogarh-Nagpur in the Chhindwara district of the modern-day state of Madhya Pradesh. In the 18th, century Bhonsles of the Maratha Empire established the Nagpur Kingdom based in the city.
After Bhakt Buland Shah, the next Raja (king) of Deogarh was Chand Sultan, who resided principally in the country below the hills, fixing his capital at Nagpur, which he turned into a walled town. On Chand Sultan's death in 1739, Wali Shah, an illegitimate son of Bakht Buland, usurped the throne and Chand Sultan's widow invoked the aid of the Maratha leader Raghoji Bhosale of Berar in the interest of her sons Akbar Shah and Burhan Shah. The usurper was put to death and the rightful heirs placed on the throne. After 1743, a series of Maratha rulers came to power, starting with Raghoji Bhosale, who conquered the territories of Deogarh, Chanda and Chhattisgarh by 1751.Nagpur was burnt substantially in 1765 and again partially in 1811 by marauding Pindaris. However, the development of the city of Nagpur continued. In 1803 Raghoji II Bhosale joined the Peshwa against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, but the British prevailed. After Raghoji II's death in 1816, his son Parsaji was deposed and murdered by Mudhoji II Bhosale. Despite the fact that he had entered into a treaty with the British in the same year, Mudhoji joined the Peshwa in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1817 against the British but suffered a defeat at Sitabuldi in present-day Nagpur. The fierce battle was a turning point as it laid the foundations of the downfall of the Bhosales and paved the way for the British acquisition of Nagpur city. Mudhoji was deposed after a temporary restoration to the throne, after which the British placed Raghoji III Bhosale, the grandchild of Raghoji II, on the throne. During the rule of Raghoji III(which lasted till 1840), the region was administered by a British resident. In 1853, the British took control of Nagpur after Raghoji III died without leaving an heir. From 1853 to 1861, the Nagpur Province (which consisted of the present Nagpur region, Chhindwara, and Chhattisgarh) became part of the Central Provinces and Berar and came under the administration of a commissioner under the British central government, with Nagpur as its capital. Berar was added in 1903. The advent of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIP) in 1867 spurred its development as a trade centre. Tata group started its first textile mill at Nagpur, formally known as Central India Spinning and Weaving Company Ltd. The company was popularly known as "Empress Mills" as it was inaugurated on 1 January 1877, the day queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.The non-co-operation movement was launched in the Nagpur session of 1920. The city witnessed a Hindu–Muslim riot in 1923 which had profound impact on K. B. Hedgewar, who in 1925 founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organisation in Mohitewada Mahal, Nagpur with an idea of creating a Hindu nation. After the 1927 Nagpur riots RSS gained further popularity in Nagpur and the organisation grew nationwide.
After Indian independence
After India gained independence in 1947, Central Provinces and Berar became a province of India. In 1950, the Central Provinces and Berar was reorganised as the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh with Nagpur as its capital. When the Indian states were reorganised along the linguistic lines in 1956, Nagpur and Berar regions were transferred to the state of Bombay, which was split into the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in 1960. At a formal public ceremony held on 14 October 1956 in Nagpur, B. R. Ambedkar and his supporters converted to Buddhism, which started the Dalit Buddhist movement that is still active. In 1994, the city of Nagpur witnessed its most violent day in modern times in the form of Gowari stampede.Nagpur completed 300 years of establishment in the year 2002. A big celebration was organised to mark the event.
Cultural events and literature
The city contains people from other Indian states as well as people belonging to the world's major faiths, and yet is known for staying calm during communal conflicts in India. Nagpur plays host to cultural events throughout the year. Cultural and literary societies in Nagpur include Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh (for development of Marathi), Vidarbha Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti (promotion and spreading Hindi) and Vidarbha Hindi Sahitya Sammelan (for promoting Hindi). Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the conference on Marathi Literature were held twice in Nagpur city. Nagpur is the head office of Aadim Samvidhan Sanrakshan Samiti(working for the rights of scheduled tribes)The South Central Cultural Centre also sponsors cultural events in Nagpur city, such as the Orange City Craft Mela and Folk Dance Festival, Vidarbha which is noted for its numerous folk-dances. Newspapers are published from Nagpur in Marathi, English and Hindi. In addition, the Government of Maharashtra organises a week-long Kalidas Festival, a series of music and dance performances, by national level artists. Nagpur Municipal Corporation in partnership with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation organises Nagpur Mohotsav at Yeshwant Stadium, in which many distinguish artists participate.The Nagpur Central Museum (est. 1863) maintains collections are mainly for Vidarbha region. Three brothers Ghulam Ali (Kotwal), Mohammad Saaduddin (Subedar) and Mohammad Saladuddin (Minister and Kotwal) from Jhajjar are remembered as great scholars of Urdu and Persian during the reign of Maharaja Senasaheb Subha Chhatrapati Raghuji Bapusaheb Bhonsle III. They founded 'Jhajjar Bagh' at Hansapuri (Now Mominpura). In this location, they built their residence 'Aina-e Mahal', a well and a Masjid (now Masjid Ahle Hadith). 'Jhajjar Bagh' also known as 'Subedar ka Bada' was located where nowadays Mohammad Ali Road at Mominpura, Jamia Masjid, Mohammad Ali Sarai and Furqania Madrasa are located.The state government has approved a new safari park of international standards besides Gorewada Lake. In 2013 NMC erected the gigantic Namantar Shahid Smarak in memory of Namantar Andolan martyrs.The Orange City LGBTQ Pride March is also held annually in Nagpur, along with the Nagpur LGBT Queer Carnival during the pride month
Religious places and festivals
Deekshabhoomi, the largest hollow stupa or the largest dome shaped monument and an important place of the Buddhist movement is, located in Nagpur. Every year on the day of Vijayadashami, i.e. Dussehra, followers of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar visit Deekshabhoomi to mark the conversion ceremony of Ambedkar and his followers in Nagpur into Buddhism that took place on 14 October 1956. It has been given 'A' grade tourist place status by Maharashtra Government in March 2016. 14 April, which is the birthdate of Dr. Ambedkar, is celebrated as Ambedkar Jayanti. Jainism has a good presence in Nagpur. There are nearly 30 Jain temples. The old ones are Sengan Jain temple Ladpura, Parwarpura Jain temple, Kirana oli Jain temple, and Juna oli Jain temple. In west Nagpur Shri 1008 Shantinath Digamber Bhagwan temple is situated. The most famous temple in Nagpur is Tekdi Ganesh Mandir, and is said to be one of the Swayambhu ("self-manifested") temples in the city. Sri Poddareshwar Ram Mandir and Shri Mahalaxmi Devi temple of Koradi are important Hindu temples.Religious events are observed in the city throughout the year. Ram Navami is celebrated in Nagpur with shobha yatra with a procession of floats depicting events from the Ramayana. Processions are also held on important festivals of other religions such as Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din, Vijayadashami, Eid E Milad, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, Durga puja, Ganesh Chaturthi and Moharram. Like the rest of India, Nagpurkars celebrate major Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi and Dussera with enthusiasm. Celebrations lasting for several days are held on Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja festivals in virtually every small locality in the city. The city also contains a sizeable Muslim population, and famous places of worship for Muslims include the Jama Masjid-Mominpura and Bohri Jamatkhana-Itwari. The most famous shrine (dargah) of Tajuddin Muhammad Badruddin is at Tajabad. Annual Urs is celebrated in great enthusiasm and unity on 26th of Muharram. Nagpur Is also called as Tajpur as the holy shirine of Sufi Saint Baba Tajuddin. The St. Francis De Sales Cathedral is located in Sadar as well as the All Saints Cathedral church. There are many south Indian temples in Nagpur like Sarveshwara Devalayam, where all south Indian festivals are celebrated like Sitarama Kalyanam, Radha Kalyanam Dhanurmasa celebration with Andal Kalyanam, Balaji temple in seminary hills where every year Bramhotsavam to Lord Balaji and Lord Kartikeya is celebrated here. There are 2 Ayyapa temples, one at Ayyapa Nagar and the other at Harihara Nagar, Raghvendraswami Mutt, Murugananda Swami Temple at Mohan Nagar, Nimishamba Devi temple Subramanyiam devastanam at Sitabuldi and many more such south Indian temples are here in Nagpur as there is quite a good populations of south Indians in Nagpur. Marbat Festival is a unique festival for Nagpur and is organised every year a day after the bullock festival of 'Pola'. The tradition of taking out the Marbat processions of 'kali' (black) and 'pivli' (yellow) Marbats (idols), started in 1880 in the eastern part of the city. A number of 'badgyas' (mascots), representing contemporary symbols of evil, comprise another feature of the annual processions. This festival dates back to the 19th century when the Bhonsla dynasty ruled.There is a Parsi Zoroastrian Agiary (Dar-e-Meher) in Nagpur, where the Parsi New Year is celebrated by the Parsi community in Nagpur.
Arts and crafts
The tradition of painting in Nagpur was patronised by the royal house of the Bhonsales as well as common people. Illustrated manuscripts, including of the Bhagavat, Jnaaneshwari, Shakuntala, and Geeta, and the folk patachitras related to some festivals are available besides murals. The community of artists was called chitaris (painters), and this community has today turned to sculpt. Textile was once an important industry in Nagpur. Good quality cotton was produced in abundant quantities thanks to a suitable soil and climate. With the introduction of the railways, cotton sales and goods transport flourished. Besides cotton textiles, silk and wool weaving was also practised in the district. Silk sarees and pagota, patka, dhoti, and borders were woven with the silk thread.
The Vidharbha region has its own distinctive cuisine known as the Varhadi cuisine or Saoji cuisine. Saoji or Savji cuisine was the main cuisine of the Savji community. This traditional food is famous for its spicy taste. The special spices used in the gravy include black pepper, dry coriander, bay leaves, grey cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ample use of poppy seeds. Non-vegetarian food especially chicken and mutton are commonly eaten in Saoji establishments in Nagpur. There are numerous Savji bhojanalays in Nagpur which are so popular in Maharashtra that the renowned Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor once featured Savji mutton on one of his TV shows and the recipe is listed on his website. Nagpur is also famous for its oranges, which have some typical qualities have recently begun to attract international attention. Numerous beverages are made out of the oranges. Santra Barfi is also a famous dish, arising from orange which is produced locally in Nagpur. Mominpura is a majority Muslim area of the city and it is famous for its Mughal dishes and Biryani. The city is also famous for rare black chickens called Kadaknath Chicken which are cooked in varhadi style.Nagpur is also famous for tarri poha, a variety of flattened rice, and has many food joints; each having their own way of preparing and serving it. Samosas are also famous in Nagpur and is available at many restaurants and food spots. Another famous food is Patodi and Kadhi.
Nagpur is surrounded by many tiger reserves and acts as a gateway, hence called Tiger capital of India. Tiger reserves such as Pench Tiger Reserve is situated around 100 km from the city and can be reached through NH44 in Nagpur Jabalpur road. Tadoba National Park is situated south of the city and is around 141 km from the city. Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park, Melghat Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve are the other tiger reserves which are located at a radius of 200 km from the city. The city has its own reserved forest area at Seminary Hills and Gorewada.
Zoos, Gardens and Lakes
Maharajbagh zoo is an existing zoo which is located in the heart of the city near Sitabuldi and consists of a variety of animals. The zoo is going through fund crunches and does not have a proper plan for which the Central Zoo Authority had derecognised the zoo on November 2018. Its recognition has since been extended under the directions from MoEFCC. Gorewada Zoo is an upcoming international zoo project which is being setup beside Gorewada Lake It is being jointly developed by Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra and Essel Group.The city consist of various natural and man made lakes. Khindsi Lake, Ambazari Lake and Gorewada Lake are the natural lakes of the city while Futala Lake, Shukrawari Lake, Sakkardara Lake, Zilpi Lake and Sonegaon lake are the man made lakes. The city also has various gardens which consist of Ambazari Garden, Telankhedi Garden, Satpuda Botanical Garden, Japanese Garden and Children's Traffic Park.
Nagpur boosts for many religious structures which are important for respective religious beliefs. Deekshabhoomi and Dragon Palace are important religious places for Buddhists across India and the world. Deekshabhoomi is the place where Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar with millions of his followers embraced Buddhism in the year 1956. Dragon Palace Temple is situated at Kamptee which is around 15 km from the city. It also has a state of the art Vipassana centre which was inaugurated by President of India Ram Nath Kovind on 22 September 2017. Other prominent religious structures include Ramtek Fort Temple at Ramtek which is a temple built inside a fort and is 55 km away from Nagpur, Adasa Ganpati Temple located near Savner is one of the eight Ashta Vinayaks in Vidarbha, Baba Tajjuddin Dargah, Shri Shantinath Digambar Jain Mandir at Ramtek, Shree Ganesh Mandir Tekdi, located near Nagpur Railway Station and one of the Swayambhu temple of Lord Ganesha, Sai Baba Mandir at Wardha road, Telankhedi Hanuman Temple, Swaminarayan Temple, Koradi Temple, located at Koradi, Shri Poddareshwar Ram Temple, Balaji Temple, All Saints Cathedral and Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar.
The city also has some museums which are Nagpur Central Museum and Narrow Gauge Rail Museum. Raman Science Centre is a premium Science Centre of Central India, that has of late become a must see feature on the city's tourist landscape with many scientific experimental edutainment installations which also has a planetarium and a unique facility called the Science on a Sphere inside. Amusement parks such as Fun N Food Village, High Land Park, Fun Planet and Dwarka River Farms and Amusement Park are located in the city.