Small towns are always taken as the best place to relax from the hectic lives of industrial towns and cities. One such place is Mirzapur, a district in the heart of the northern part of India. The place has been in news this year all because of the documentary “Smile Pinki”, which bagged an Oscar. The story moves around a cleft-lipped girl living in the village of Mirzapur. Hats off to American filmmaker, Megan Mylan for bringing this small city into the limelight through her documentary.
Situated on the banks of the river Ganges this city is at the centre of Allahabad and Varanasi. Mirzapur was once known as commercial city. This fact is confirmed from the carved stone on which the rates of toll taxes belonging to the times of Ashoka have been inscribed. This stone can still be found at Naar Ghat in the city.The picturesque beauty, dams, waterfalls and various fairs are some of the major attractions of Mirzapur.
The city is of immense historical importance. On the outskirts of Mirzapur i.e., at Lakhania Dari one can find ancient paintings on walls. The rock-cut caves here are decorated with primitive paintings and line-drawing scenes. These are indications of the city being inhabited by primitive man. The paintings have a connection with the famous rock-cut paintings of Cogul (Spain). These caves affirm that Mirzapur was a hub for the earliest cultural development in the East. Microliths and pottery of stone ages depict that this place is one of the oldest inhabited places of the world.
It has been said that this city has been named after its ruler Sheikh Mirza. This has been documented by the Kacchwa bazaar findings. The city captured by the British has its areas named after the names of Englishmen e.g. Wellesleyganj (Lord Wellesley), Mukeri Bazaar (Lord Mercury), Windham Water Fall (Mr. Windham).
Mirzapur is widely surrounded by hills and thus, we are bound to focus on its picturesque beauty. Several spots like Rajdari, Devdari, Lakhaniya Dari, and Windham fall, Sirsi, Sidhnath dari, Bara Dari and Khajuri have a breathtaking view. The waterfalls and ghats capture the eyes of people here and one feels the ultimate essence of nature.
On the outskirts is an ancient town, Chunar which is famous for its fort. The fort was established by the king of Ujjain named Vikramaditya. The main attractions of the fort are Sonva Mandap, Raja Bhartihari Samadhi, Bavan Khamba and Solar watch. The place could be reached through Babatpur airport (Varanasi). Shakteshgarh fort which lay 28 kms from Chunar, is now in ruins, but one can find natural beauty surrounding the area. Jirgo dam also could be reached through Chunar as it is only 14 kms from Chunar.
The next important place of Mirzapur is Vindhyachal. This place is better known for pilgrimage. The religious place consists of temples like Vindhyavasini Devi temple, Asht Bhuja temple, Bhairav Kund, Kaali Khoh temple. Asht Bhuja has mythological background dating back to the period of Lord Krishna. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Maha Saraswati. Kaali Khoh temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kali. This temple has a mouth-shaped opening to enter the cave and pay homage to the deity.
Mirzapur is also famous for its fairs and celebration of various festivals that occur from time to time. Kajari Mahotsava, Lohandi Mela (in the month of Saawan i.e. rain), Kantit’s Urs, add to the charm of the city. Vidhyawasini Jayanti Samaroh is famous since 1971 and is arranged by the government, where renowned Indian folk artists participate to pay homage to the Goddess Vindhyawasini.
It is also famous for brassware, carpet weaving and clay products. Such varied forms of art and culture make a perfect combination, which attracts people from all over the country. Mirzapur’s strong traditional history will continue to make the place a favourite among historians and tourists.
[Imagec ourtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rizwanoola/47653290/]