Nestled on the banks of the eternal Ganga, Kanpur is believed to be founded by king Hindu Singh of the erstwhile state of Sachendi.
Up to the 1st half of the 18th century Kanpur continued to survive as an insignificant village. Kanpur passed into British hands under the treaty of 1801 with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Awadh and Kanpur became one of the most important military stations of British India.
The Kanpur Memorial Church was built in 1875, in honour of the British who lost their lives in the war of 1857. The interior contains monuments to the mutiny. In the separate enclosure to the east of the church is the Memorial Garden. Its centre is occupied by the beautiful carved figure of an angel by Baron Carlo Marochetti, with crossed arms, a symbol of peace. The memorials were relocated here after independence in 1948. The Military Cemetery on the edge of the cantonment contains a number of interesting graves from the late 19th century.
The mound of Jajmau, on the eastern end of the city was excavated during 1957-58, which unearthed antiquities ranging from 600 BC to 1600 AD. Jajmau,known as Siddhapuri in ancient times, is supposed to have been the kingdom of Yayati, the Pauranic king and the high mound overhanging the Ganga is known as the site of his fort.
Today, Jajmau houses the Siddhnath and Siddha Devi temples and the mausoleum of Makhdum Shah Ala-ul-Haq, the famous Sufi saint, built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1358. A mosque built by Kulich Khan in 1679 also stands here.
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