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Nickname(s): Perfume Capital of India; Grasse of the East
Kannauj is located in Uttar Pradesh
Coordinates: 27°04′N 79°55′E / 27.07°N 79.92°E / 27.07; 79.92Coordinates: 27°04′N 79°55′E / 27.07°N 79.92°E / 27.07; 79.92
Country India
State Uttar Pradesh
District Kannauj
 • Total 85,000 km2 (33,000 sq mi)
Elevation 139 m (456 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 71,530
 • Density 0.84/km2 (2.2/sq mi)
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Website www.kannauj.nic.in

Kannauj (Hindi: कन्नौज, Urdu: قنوج), also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja[1] (The city of the hunchbacked maidens). Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital of Emperor Harshavardhan. It is said that Kanyakubja Brahmin's are originally from Kannauj. Kannauj is known for the distilling of scents and is a market center for tobacco, perfume, and rose water. It has given its name to a distinct dialect of the Hindi language known as Kanauji. It was called Calinipaxa during reign of Alexander.

Fragrances, Flavors & Ittar[edit]

Rose (Rosa damascena) or Gulabjal (Hindi) essential oil in clear glass vial


The history of natural ittars is very much associated to the history of Kannauj. Kannauj has been known for natural attars from the Mugal period or even earlier when aroma bearing substances like Sandal, Musk, Comphor, Saffron were used as such (without isolation of odorous principles) and the range of such materials and essential oils were further enriched during the Mugal period, when new plants were brought by the Mugals from Central Asia to this country. This lead to the discovery and development of process for the preparation of attar from Roses by Noorjahan, the Mugal queen, This was the beginning of the natural attars in India, which developed and progressed in and around Kannauj and is quite strong even now. Floral Attars may be defined as the distillates obtained by the hydro distillation of flowers in Sandalwood Oil or other base materials like DOP, DEP, Paraffin etc. The attars of Rose and Kewra are used as flavours in Indian sweets. The main users of attars is in the Pan Masala and Chewing tobacco industry. The two product also unique to India & consume nearly 80% of all the attars manufactured. All the attars are used as perfumes by themselves. In India and middle East, attars are made as offerings to the God.

There are evidences in the history and Hindu sacred books ( Holy texts) that perfumery tradition dates back to over 5000 years at the time of Indus valley civilization as well when distillation practice was reported to be in existence.

Raw Materials

Base Material : Sandal wood oil, Di-octyl Phthalate (DOP) & Liquid paraffin.

Floral Material : Flowers of Gulab, Kewra, Bela, Mehndi, Kadam[disambiguation needed], Chameli, Marigold[disambiguation needed], Saffron & Maulshri.

Herb & Spices : A number of hersbs and spices are used in this industry which includes Oakmoss, Sugandh mantri, Laurel berry, Juniper berry, Cypriol, Indian valerian, Jatamansi, Hedychium spicatum, Daru Haldi, Sugandha Bala, Sugandha Kokila, Kulanjan, Javitri/ Jaiphal, Cardamom, Clove, Saffron, Ambergris & Musk.


The attar manufacturing for floral type takes place in remote places because the flowers are required to be processed quickly after plucking. The apparatus & equipment’s used for manufacture of attar are light, flexible, easy to repair with a fair degree of efficiency, keeping in view the above facts, the traditional Deg & Bhapka process is being used for centuries and even now

The details of equipments are as follows :-

(i) Deg or Still

The process is carried out in copper stills called ‘ Degs’ as was done centuries ago. These are all direct fire heated stills and their capacities can range from 10-160 kilos of floral/herbal materials. The lid of the still is called ‘Sarpos and is also made of copper having opening for connections to one or two receivers.

(ii) Bhapka or Receiver

One of the peculiar features of attars distillation is that no separate condenser is used. The unique odour of attars is obtained by condensing vapours into the base material, mainly sandalwood oil. The receiver is built of copper and is of round shape with long neck, for case in connection with Deg via chonga. It is known as Bhapka and it acts as condenser as well.

(iii) Chonga or Bamboo Condenser

The still and receiver are connected by a Chonga. This is a hollow bamboo pipe wrapped with twine for insulation.

(iv) Traditional Bhatti or Furnace

         Normally wood or coal is used for heating. Heat is controlled manually.

(v) Gachchi or Cooling Water Tank

This is the place where Bhapka, or receiver is kept and used for cooling the distillate from Deg.

(vi) Kuppi or Leather Bottle

These are the bottle made from leather of animals. The reason for making these bottle is their semi-permeability towards water. It is used for removal of moisture from attars. The leather allows water to move-out and attar to be remain, as such, thereby separating the moisture from attar.

Copper has been the main structural material for Deg and Bhapka because it is malleable, good conductor of heat & easy to repair.


The attars may be broadly categorized into following types on the basis of raw materials used.

Floral Attars – Attars manufactured from single species of flower are coming under this category. These are :-

(i)Gulab ex Rosa damascena or Rosa Edword

(ii)Kewra ex Pandanus odoratissimus[disambiguation needed]

(iii)Motia ex Jasminum sambac

(iv)Gulhina ex lawsonia inermis

(v)Chameli ex Jasminum grandiflorum

(vi)Kadam ex Anthoephalus cadamba

The attars does have a good market potential in Middle East countries where they are using it due to absence of alcohol. Simultaneously, if properly packaged and marketed in the name of natural fragrance there does exists a market potential in other countries as well. The attars can have a good market potential in international market if consistency in quality and supply is ensured. They can found a good use in high class fragrances, cosmetics and even for aromatherapy as far as National market potential is concern, the prevailing one is in Tobacco, Pan masala & Gutkha industry but, its horizon of market can be widen if surety about quality and assurance about consistency in supply could be made. It could found a lot of use in herbal products and in aromatherapy. There also exists a good potential if they are packaged in small packing in marketed in attractive manner. If, there national & international potential are properly harnessed there, exists a good future for Indian natural fragrance & attars.

The Kannauj Triangle[edit]

Kannuaj remained a focal point for the three powerful dynasties, namely the Gurjara Pratiharas, Palas and Rashtrakutas, between the 8th and 10th centuries. The conflict between the three dynasties has been referred to as the Tripartite struggle by many historians.[2][3]

The Kanauj Triangle was the focal point of three empires: the Rashtrakutas of Deccan, the Gurjara Pratiharas of Malwa, and the Palas of Bengal.

There were initial struggles but ultimately the Gurjar Pratihars succeeded in retaining the city.[2] The Gurjar Pratihars ruled Malwa, which was bounded to the South by the Rashtrakuta Empire, and the Pala dynasty to the East. The Tripartite Struggle began with the defeat of Indrayudh at the hands of Gurjar Pratihar ruler Vatsaraja.[2] The Pala ruler Dharampala was also keen to establish his authority at Kannauj, giving rise to a struggle between Vatsaraja and Dharampala. Dharampala was however defeated.[4] Taking advantage of the chaos, the Rastrakuta ruler Dhruva surged northwards, defeated Vatsaraja, and took Kannauj for himself, completing the furthest northern expansion by a South Indian ruler.[3][5]

When the Rashtrakuta ruler advanced back to south, Dharampala was left in control of Kannauj for some time. The struggle between the two northern dynasties continued: the Pala Chakrayudh was defeated by the Pratihara Nagabhata II, and Kannauj was again occupied by the Gurjar Pratihars. Dharampala tried to take control of Kannauj but was defeated badly at Moongher by the Gurjar Pratihars.[2] However, Nagabhata II was in turn soon defeated by the Rashtrakuta Govinda III, who had initiated a second northern surge. An inscription states that Chakrayudh and Dharampala invited Govinda III to war against the Gurjar Pratihars, but Dharampala and Chakrayudh both submitted to the Govinda III, in order to win his sympathy. After this defeat Pratihara power degenarated for some time. After the death of Dharampala, Nagabhata II regained hold over Kannuaj and made it the capital of the Gurjara Pratihara Empire. During this period the Rashtrakutas were facing some internal conflicts, and so they, as well as the Palas, did not contest this.[2] Thus Gurjar Pratihars became the greatest power in Northern India after occupying Kannauj.[2]

Gahrwar Rajputs and Kannauj[edit]

After the dismemberment of the Gurjara Pratihara Empire, there were repeated incursions in this region. When the "earth" was thus badly disturbed by political upheavals and destructive raids, a bold adventurer of the Gahadvala sept named Chandradeva, arose into this region and by his "noble prowess" put an end to "all distress of the people". The rule of Gahadavala dynasty over the district is incontestably proved by the discovery at Kudarkot of a copper plate grant dated in the reign of Chandradeva. Chandradova founded the Gahadavala dynasty at Kanyakubja after defeating a chief named Gopala. His jurisdiction extended almost over the whole of the present Uttar Pradesh including this district. Chandradeva was succeeded by Madanpala. However, he ruled for a very short period. Madanapala was succeeded by hit son Govindachandra. Two copper plate grants of Govindachandra, dated respectively Samvat 1161, or A. D. 1104, and Samvat 1174 or 1117 A. D. have been found in village Bisahi, two miles north-east of tahsil Bidhuna of the district. Another copper plate grant of this king dated Samvat 1166 or A. D. 1109 has been found at Rahan in the district. Govindachandra seems to have wielded substantial power in the state while he was only a "juvaraja" or crown prince. He defeated the invading bands of Muslims sometimes before 1109 A. D., for the Rahan plate records that he "again and again by the play of his matchless fighting" compelled the Hammira (i e. Amir) to "lay aside his enmity". The Rahan plate further described Govindachandra as "terrific" in cleaving the frontal gloves of arrays of irresistible mighty large elephants from Gauda", which shows that Govindachandra must have made some encroachments in Magadha. In short, Govindachandra made himself a considerable power and under him the glories of this region revised.

Govindachandra was succeeded by his son Vijayachandra sometime in 1155 A. D. Like his father, Vijayachandra also successfully faced Muslim aggressions. By the very beginning of the reign of Vijayachandra an unmistakable symptom of decline of the Gahadavala power manifested itself in the loss of Delhi. The full significance of this loss was realised when, about a generation later, the Muslims attacked Delhi region and occupied it, rendering the Gahadavala frontier practically defenceless. Vijayachandra was succeeded by his son

Jaichandra in 1170 A. D. He may be described as the last great king of the Gahadavala dynasty, whose power and extensive jurisdiction struck even Muslim historians. During the reign of Jaichand of Kannauj, the Chauhans, who starting from their territories in Ajmer had annexed Delhi and were at this time bidding for supremacy in North India under the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan. Towards the south there were the Chandellas whose power at this time was at its height. Apart from this, there were repeated Muslim invasions in North-western India which had already threatened the unity of India The most important event of his region was the celebration of the Swayamvara of his daughter Sanyogita, who eloped in the midst of the ceremonies with Prithviraj Chauhan. Perhaps, this was the cause which sowed the seed of enmity between these two northern kingdoms. Though there is no reliable evidence of conflict between these two kings, it is quite probable that they were positively hostile to each other; lack of sympathy between these two kings is shown by their mutual non-cooperation on the eve of the definitive conquest of north India by Turkic groups, led by Mohammad Ghori.


The size and scale of the ancient town can be gauged from the fact that existing ruins extend over the lands of five villages, occupying a semicircle fully 4 miles in diameter. While no historic Hindu structures remain intact, the "great mosque", constructed by Ibrahim Shah of Jaunpur in 1406 still remains.

Some Brahmins in Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Odisha trace their origin as Kanyakubja Brahmins to a migration eastwards from this city in the 9th and 10th centuries. There are also eight to nine sacred temples of Hindu goddess. These include the seven temples of seven sisters, the Singhavahini temple and the Kalika Devi temple. The successful community of Kayasthas of Bengal and Odisha also trace themselves to Kannauj, they were brought with the Brahmins to add to the educated class of Bengal, Ghosh, Bose, Mitras and Duttas are part of this group.

Gauri Shanker Mandir, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort, Gauri, is the greatest of all temples. Its name is recorded in the holy Ramayana and later on followed in the records of the tour of Xuanzang.

Kannauj City is surrounded by many ancient Temples and Holy places. Although many temples had been destroyed by invaders, yet the remaining ones clearly tell us the story of their past glory. It is noteworthy that during Muslim era, many temples were destroyed and mosques were built in their places. It was in 1640 that some temples were renovated during the Maratha rule but the number of the temples destroyed is still unknown. It is difficult to trace the history of thousand years.

  • Ajay Pal Temple: Ajay Pal was the Guru of King Jai Chandra and this temple was built to commemorate him. It has an idol of Ajay Pal made of red stone with a ‘Trishul’ in his hand.
  • Annapoorna Devi Temple (Tirwa): About 18 km away from the main city of Kannauj, this grand temple is situated in village Tirwa. It is a very huge temple and a fine example of architecture. The adjacent tank contains five small temples known as ‘Panchvati’. Towards the west lies a big pond known as Rani-Ka-Talab.
  • Baba Gauri Shankar Temple: It is the most gorgeous temple having a beautiful canopy and flag made of gold . Formerly known as ‘Kanya Kubjeshwar Temple’, it has a ‘Shivling’ in it. It was renovated by some Maratha ruler.
  • Baba Vishwanath Temple: This temple is situated on a high mound in the village of Chaudhariapur.
  • Govardhan Devi Temple: This temple stands in village ‘Gudhni’ which is about 4 miles away from the main city. The original temple was destroyed by Muslim invaders but was renovated later by Sikhs & Marathas. According to Padma Puran, the idol appeared by itself after the rigorous worship by the sons of Brahmaji. A fair is held here every Tuesday.
  • Jagannath Temple: It is situated in Ladhpuri. Chariot Procession takes places here every year with gaiety and frolic.
  • Jain Temple: It is situated in Chhipatti, north west of Kannauj. It has a big statue of Bhagwan Mahavir. It has been recently renovated.
  • Kaleshwar Nath Temple: It is an old temple situated at Shekhana in Kannauj and was built by the great worshiper of ‘Kalpriya Nath’. This temple has an idol of Lord Vishnu and a ‘Shivling’. People offer snakes to the deity in order to get rid of fears.
  • Kali Devi Temple: This temple also stands on Kannauj–Makarand Nagar Road. Idols of Ram, Sita, Saraswati are also found in the temple besides the idol of Kaliji. A huge fair is held here every Saturday.
  • Kali Durga Temple: This temple is situated in Sarai Meera, towards North of G.T. Road. The idols placed here were found while cultivating the field. It is believed that the idols were established when Shankaracharya visited this place. This temple also contains an idol of Mata Bhuwaneshwari among other idols.
  • Kshemkari Devi Temple: This temple is situated in the north east corner of Jain Chandra fort. Kshemkari Devi is believed to protect the people from miseries.
  • Maurari Devi Temple: This temple stands on a mound near the Kannauj City Station. This temple contains so many idols, some of which are broken now. They were destroyed during the regime of Aurangzeb. This place is under the control of Nagas.
  • Padma Sati Temple (Rampur): It is situated right to the east of Dewaria pond in village Rampur. It is said that Rani Padmavali became sati at this very place.
  • Pakaria Nath (Tiraha Makarand Nagar): This temple stands in village Makarand Nagar alongside the G.T. Road. The present temple was built only 40 years ago.
  • Phoolmati Devi Temple: The time of construction of this temple is unknown. Phoolmati Devi is said to be the daughter of King Ben. The temple has the idols of Rani and Raja Ben. A big fair if held here every Guru Purnima.
  • Ram Lakshman Temple: This temple is situated in Makarand Nagar. It has the idols of Ram & Lakshman.
  • Sandohan Devi Temple: It is situated in the village of Vahapur, 3 km away from Jalalpur-Panwara Railway Station. It is situated in a very pleasant environment. Thakur Baghel Singh, the Zamindar of Mirpur, used to maintain it properly.
  • Shitla Devi Temple: It is a 300-year old temple. At present it is situated at a distance of about 08 km from the city in the Village of Seermau. It was also destroyed by Muslim invaders but was renovated by devotees from time to time. The idol of Deviji is in a vandalized condition but people throng here for worship. It is believed that people get rid of their various ailments such as fever, diarrhea, eye troubles etc. by worshiping this idol.
  • Shivala (Sarai Meera): It is a big temple situated on G.T. Road in Sarai Meera, built by Lalaman Chhammilal Mishra about 250 years ago.
  • Singhvahini Temple: It is situated at Kannauj–Makarand Nagar Road. It has an idol of Singh Vahini built of red stone. Today this temple is almost desolate and is located near power house (power station), Kannauj.
  • Balapir: Built in 1660, it is situated to the west of Jai Chandra Fort. It is made of marble and redstone. Balapir was the son of Kasim Suleman of Chunargarh.
  • Chintamani: This place is situated towards the east of Jai Chandra fort. Formerly this used to be an Ashram of Saint Chintamani a renowned Saint and Worshiper of Devi Saraswati. Today sandles of Saint Chintamani are kept in this temple.
  • Dargah Haji Sharif: It is famous for ‘Urs’ fair which is attended by Hindus & Muslims both.
  • Fort of King Jai Chandra: the ruins of the fort are now available. The government auctioned this ruin to the public On its excavation, 22 bricks of Gold, each weighing 50 Tolas and gems like Neelam Panna etc. were found. Lacks of gold pieces have been found until now.
  • Jama Masjid (or) Sita Rasoi: A huge building, called Sita Rasoi by Hindus and Jama Masjid by Muslims stands in Mohalla Tila in Kannauj. The whole structure is based on 56 pillars of white stone. On the main gate, a text is carved in Persian language. At present Namaj (Persian 'namaz' or Muslim prayer) is performed here regularly.
  • Makhdum Jahaniyan: It is a grand building built on a height in the east of Kannauj City. Domes on outer wall resemble Red Fort style. The name of the building is given after the title name awarded to Saint Jalaluddin Sails who travelled all over the world on foot. He was buried here after his death. The beauty of this building is compared with that of Humayun’s tomb.
  • Ramashram shyamnagar(Satsang): This place is situated on gursaiganj fatehgarh Rd district Kannauj near Kali nadi.
  • Rajgriha (Rijgir): This place is situated towards the south east of the city, 3-4 miles away from the city of Kannauj. It is in a triangular shape. King Bali performed the ‘Rajsuya Yagya’ in this very place. Kind Jai Chandra’s family used to live here. It was a very magnificent palace but has now turned into ruins. A little village named Rijgir is also situated there.
  • Suryakund Tirth: This place lies near village Makarand Nagar. Its old name was ‘Manikund’.
  • RAJGIR "" Rajgir a village in Kannauj was known for Nawab of Rajgir was belong Sheikh Muslim .He also known for his Elephant travelling. Nawab mahal was build (Kakaiya adobe).He was also known for his justice for villager.


Kannauj is located at 27°04′N 79°55′E / 27.07°N 79.92°E / 27.07; 79.92.[6] It has an average elevation of 139 metres (456 feet).


As of 2001 India census,[7] Kannauj had a population of 71,530. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Kannauj has an average literacy rate of 58%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 64%, and female literacy is 52%. In Kannauj, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Sister Cities[edit]

the biggest town in district is chhibramau.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rama Shankar Tripathi (1989). History of Kanauj: To the Moslem Conquest. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 2. ISBN 978-81-208-0404-3, ISBN 978-81-208-0404-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pratiyogita Darpan. Upkar Prakashan. p. 9. 
  3. ^ a b R.C. Majumdar (1994). Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 282–285. ISBN 978-81-208-0436-4, ISBN 978-81-208-0436-4. 
  4. ^ Kumar Sundram (2007). Compendium General Knowledge. Upkar Prakashan. p. 195. ISBN 978-81-7482-181-2, ISBN 978-81-7482-181-2. 
  5. ^ Pratiyogita Darpan. Upkar Prakashan. 
  6. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Kannauj
  7. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 


External links[edit]