The winter capital of Maharashtra, Nagpur, is in the middle of the country, and a Zero Milestone was set up here during the British rule to represent the centre point of the colonial rule. The stone still exists, though the city is now famous for its oranges and its location—at the confluence of several essential tiger reserves—making it an ideal town in which to base yourself before heading out into the wild.
Best time to visit: The best time to explore Nagpur is between October to March.
How to reach Nagpur
Most spoken languages in Nagpur
Marathi is the state language in Nagpur, whereas Hindi is the official language of India and is also very popularly spoken in Nagpur.
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.
This rooftop hotspot is complete with an extensive bar and beautiful cabanas. It is the perfect place to down a few with friends and let your hair down to the excellent food, music and great views of the city.
This quirky and cheerful little space brings all-day western-style breakfast to Nagpur. It is one of the few stand-alone places where you can tuck into a proper English breakfast complete with pork sausages, baked beans, waffles and pancakes.
Set in an old house done up all in white, the airy ambience of this upscale lounge restaurant, is matched by its tasty cocktails and excellent European and pan-Asian cuisine. The seating in the gardens is perfect for cooler evenings.
A local favourite is Param da Dhaba, where the proprietor has been dishing out the same dal, cooked over a charcoal fire for decades. Don't get turned off by the ambience and remember to order the dal.
An old Nagpur favourite, this place does excellent north Indian food and kebabs. Go early, especially on weekends, to make sure you don't have to wait too long for a table.
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 stores like 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.
Le Méridien, Wardha Road With a modern, chic vibe, posh interiors, and an inviting outdoor pool, the Le Méridien remains a firm favourite with those looking for an excellent five-star experience in Nagpur. Its proximity to the Industrial belt of Butibori also makes it ideal for business travellers.
Tuli Imperial, Ramdaspeth The Tuli group has three properties in Nagpur, but our pick of the lot is the beautifully done up Tuli Imperial, with majestic interiors, heritage-style ambience and a vibrant rooftop bar.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Wardha Road With its impeccable service, excellent rooms and great food, the Radisson Blu is the top pick for those seeking a luxury stay in the Orange City. The Creative Kitchen, its all-day dining restaurant boasts one of the best buffets among Nagpur hotels.
The Legend Inn, Sonegaon Located close to the airport, Legend Inn is one of the best choices for travellers looking for convenience. The fact that this hotel is consistently ranked as one of Nagpur's best in terms of value and service makes it a solid pick.
Hotel Centre Point, Ramdaspeth Centrally located close to the railway station this Nagpur favourite has been around for over 25 years but has recently got a modern makeover, making it a solid mid-range option.
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 the layout of the garden.
This British-era Sitabuldi Fort 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.
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 has been mentioned 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 offer the chance to spot birds, giant monitor lizards and crocodiles.
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. Visitors can live in the original huts and experience the Gandhian philosophy. This is one of the essential 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.
The main festivals celebrated in Nagpur are Hanuman Jayanti, Ganesh Chaturthi, Id, Christmas, and many others. Marbat is the local festival of Nagpur which is rejoiced with great enthusiasm and likewise, Ganesh Utsav and Ramjanam in Nagpur is also celebrated with joy and enthusiasm.