The winter capital of Maharashtra, Nagpur is located at the middle of the country, and a Zero Milestone was set up here during the British rule to represent the centre point of colonial rule. The stone still exists, though the city is now famous for its oranges and its location—at the confluence of several important tiger reserves—making it an ideal city in which to base yourself before heading out into the wild.
There are many places to visit in Nagpur that are not just historical, but interesting too. The Zero Milestone, which consists of four horses and a sandstone pillar, depicts the geographical centre of the Indian peninsula and is an important landmark in the city. The Deekshabhoomi Stupa is an important Buddhist monument in the heart of the city, built at the spot where Dr. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism with his followers. From the stupa head to the 150-year-old Nagpur Central Museum, with 11 galleries, housing historical art and architectural pieces and other historically significant artefacts. For some spectacular views of the city head to the famous Seminary Hill, named after St Charles’ Seminary. Trek up the walking paths through thick greenery and enjoy the sunset and the city down below. Come back down and spend time at the Japanese Rose Garden, home to a variety of species of roses, and the Japanese influenced layout of the garden. Close to the Milestone is the British-era Sitabuldi Fort, which has seen many a fierce battle in its time. It was here that Nawab Kadar Ali, the grandson of Tipu Sultan, was hanged by the British. For a unique experience, visit Ramdham Nagpur which houses replicas of well-known Indian temples.
A visit to Nagpur is incomplete without checking out the picturesque Khindsi Lake, which finds itself mentioned in the Limca Book of Records as India’s biggest boating centre. Choose from pedal boats to houseboats and everything in between, and spend time trying out the many varieties of water sports to be found here. A short drive from the city in Kamthi village is the brilliantly white and peaceful Dragon Palace Buddhist Temple, also called the Lotus Temple of Nagpur. Built by the Mother Noriko Ogawa Society of Japan and inaugurated in 1999, it is a symbol of Indo-Japanese friendship. Shift focus and head to the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum, a favourite with the kids. The museum has on display old narrow gauge steam locomotives, a royal saloon, a philately collection on the railways, old communication equipment and a toy train to ride on. Search for Fun and Food Nagpur on the internet and book your tickets before your trip so that you can enjoy at this amusement park without any delay.
Enjoy delectable cuisines at these popular restaurants in Nagpur: Saoji Jagdish Bhojanalay, multiple locations: Saoji food originated in Maharashtra’s Vidharba region and the Saoji Jagdish Bhojanalays strewn across Nagpur continue to serve the same mouth-watering spicy trotter and chicken curries for decades.
Famous for its cotton saris and other cotton-based handicrafts, Nagpur has several markets and old shopping areas, the oldest being Sitabuldi. Head there on a Sunday if you can brave the crowds and bargain for everything from footwear to clothes, bags, accessories and other knick-knacks. The area also has handloom emporiums, boutique stores and designer outlets for a more relaxed experience. Try Anupama for authentic Bengali weaves, or Raosons if you’re looking for some Rajasthani flair. Tuck into some vada pav to rejuvenate yourself in between all the bargaining.
There are many places to visit near Nagpur for an extended trip. For beautiful temple architecture and unique motifs, head to Ramtek, an important Hindu pilgrim centre, where in addition to the Ram Temple, you can find 27 Brahminical-style temples that are over 600 years old. It is here that the poet Kalidas wrote his famous Meghdoot. Just before Ramtek, is the hidden gem of Mansar, now an archaeological site dating back to the 5th century, with neatly laid out ruins surrounded by beautiful gardens. History comes alive in the small town of Markandi, now mostly in ruins. Of the 24 ancient temples only 18 still exist in various stages of decrepitude, each with stunning paintings and sculptures.
85km from Nagpur, Sevagram, chosen by Gandhi as his base during the independence movement, now has a peaceful ashram surrounded by farmland. The original huts have been preserved and visitors can live by and experience the Gandhian philosophy. This is one of the most important places tourist places in Nagpur.To truly understand the Gandhian way of life, volunteer at Baba Amte’s Ashram, Anandwan, 100km from the city. The ashram works with tribal communities, leprosy patients, has an animal orphanage and more.
Nagpur is the perfect starting point to visit the majestic Bengal Tiger, at the forest reserves of Tadoba-Andhari, Pench, Bandhavgarh and Kanha. While Bandhavgarh and Kanha are located deep in Madhya Pradesh, Tadoba-Andhari and Pench are close enough from Nagpur for a weekend getaway. Pench is immortalised in Rudyard Kipling's classic The Jungle Book and besides the big cats is home to gaur, sambar, wild dogs and over 200 species of birds. Tadoba with its significant tiger population is becoming increasingly popular and now has several high-end resorts to make for a luxury safari experience. The marshy water bodies within the sanctuary afford one the chance to spot birds, large monitor lizards and crocodiles.
|Sonegaon, Nagpur, Maharashtra 440005||NAG|