Nagpur, often overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbours, holds a unique charm waiting to be discovered. Located in the heart of Maharashtra, this vibrant city offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for curious travellers seeking an authentic Indian experience. Here's why Nagpur deserves a spot on your travel to-do list.
Ever wondered what else the British did in Nagpur besides the Anglo-Maratha wars? They built the Zero Mile Stone in 1907. The milestone represents the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India (GTS) Standard Bench Mark. It is considered as undivided India's geographical centre. This was the spot from where the distance to all Indian cities was measured. At present, it looks nothing like a tourist spot, but maybe it's time the city gave it a major makeover. When you know what it stands for, just being there and knowing the exact distance between you and other cities, it's a great experience to be had. Good enough for Instagram.
Think Nagpur is not exciting enough? Think again. Keeping Nagpur as the base, you can experience at least five wildlife parks. Tadoba Tiger Reserve is approximately 3 hours (144.9km) away, Pench National Park (Maharashtra) is 2 hours and 30 minutes away, Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary is an hour away, Nagzira Tiger Sanctuary is 2 hours and 40 minutes away, and Bor Wildlife Sanctuary is an hour and a half away from the city. The proximity to these wildlife parks makes Nagpur an excellent place for an exciting wildlife getaway.
Think Nagpur, think orange. This is by far the easiest word association, thanks to the popularity of oranges from Nagpur. The city isn't called "Orange City" for nothing. But what do you do when it's off-season? No reason to worry because then you will find the delicious orange flavour in the city's popular sweets. The famous ones like son-rolls and orange burfi have some serious fan-following.
Keeping orange aside, when in Nagpur, one must try the Kadaknath chicken. A local delicacy and not widely available, this dish is a must-have for its uniqueness. The bird (Kadaknath chicken) is completely black (even the meat) and tastes more like red meat. The taste of Vidarbha, the unique combination of spices and flavours, makes this dish a special one. And speaking of special, another Nagpur special is the matka roti. These are tissue paper-thin rotis made by (very few) local ladies after hours of kneading. The process of kneading itself is a great task because of which, this roti saw a decline in popularity and production. Cooked over an upside-down matka (earthen pot) over a fire, matka roti is best had with Saoji chicken and mutton dishes.
This is the largest stupa in Asia, and if that is not enough to make you want to visit, then maybe the fact that Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, converted to Buddhism here and, along with him, so did 600,000 followers. Such mass conversion and the place where that happened deserve some attention and a visit. It is one of the famous Buddhist pilgrimage centres in India.
This will probably benefit the younger crowd, but it is perfect for adults, too. The Raman Science Centre and the Narrow Guage Rail Museum are attractions worth travelling for. The former, a dedication to C V Raman, who was the recipient of the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics, is an interactive science centre where young minds can learn plenty and explore the space and the unknown that comes with it. The latter, the Narrow Guage Rail Museum, is home to everything antique. Here now rests many outdated locomotives and steam engines.