The charming hustle bustle of Kanpur

Once an architect, always….

For the first time since I have been associated with the city, I had the chance to get out and roam the streets of Kanpur and I was charmed by it. Living in the heart of the city meant that in any direction I went, I saw glimpses of its history. Monuments of Islamic, colonial and industrial architecture are strewn across this area, lending it a unique character and the crowds add to its bustling yet relaxed feel. Most of these pictures are taken from cars and cycle rikshas as we were in transit running various errands as part of the wedding mood.

The highlight of the visit was the trip to the famous Shivala that I had heard of from various family members over the years but never actually experienced. The site of an ancient Shiv temple. the area is better known for being a paradise for buying items of shringaar like bangles, costume jewelry, bindis, make up, slippers and jootis, etc. I could think of many many friends and cousins who would have lost their mind shopping here!

The trip had piqued my interest in this less known and even less appreciated city, once the Manchester of North India and major industrial hub, where some of the most prosperous families in Uttar Pradesh still reside. How little we value this sort of heritage, I kept thinking through the trip and grand visions of adaptive re-use of some of these absolutely stunning pieces of architecture kept swimming through my head!

Jewels of colonial architecture dot Kanpur city

Jewels of colonial architecture dot Kanpur city

The sprawling compound of the lal imli textile mills, now defunct...

The sprawling compound of the Lal Imli textile mills, once a hub of industry, now defunct…

Getting close to Shivalay

Getting close to Shivalay

An old well and ruins in the middle of a crazy market

An old well and ruins in the middle of a crazy market

IMG_4427

Reading the morning papers as the customers begin to pour into the market

Reading the morning papers as the customers begin to pour into the market!

The pro bangle seller, a master of his craft! Only my lighter purse is testimony to his skill!

The pro bangle seller, a master of his craft! Only my lighter purse is testimony to his skill!

IMG_4440

Snapshots on the riksha ride back home...wonderful streets, still retain their old flavor

Snapshots on the riksha ride back home…wonderful streets, still retain their old flavor

A typical Kanpuria scene, haggling with the riskhawalla!

A typical Kanpuria scene, haggling with the riskhawalla!

Love the relaxed hustle bustle of small town India. Of course, that is a misnomer considering Kanpur has over 3 million people!

Love the relaxed hustle bustle of small town India. Of course, that is a misnomer considering Kanpur has over 3 million people!

IMG_4447

Old institutions, towering structures

And suddenly this...the contrasts are fascinating

And suddenly this…the contrasts are fascinating

And the crowds!

And the crowds!

Advertisements

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on December 2, 2013, in Travel & Experiences and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. There is still use of cycle rickshaws and Horse carts.. It is not that common in this part of the nation.

  2. Mukta, U caught the spirit of Kanpur well in the pictures and the captions… It once was a city with great potential… lazy people, bad governance and even worse politics ruined the city… The city with business potential and some really rich guys with a lot of lobbying power couldn’t get an airport of its own… the city has good school but lousy the higher education institutes, has so many great places to eat, old galis, heritage sites but all wasted… ok I shall stop I got emotional ha ha 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: