About Unnao

Origin of the Name:

Unnao Bypass Gate Near Nirala Nagar

The district is named after its Headquarter town, Unnao. About 1200 years ago, the site of this town was covered with extensive forests. Godo Singh, a Chauhan Rajput, cleared the forests probably in the the 3rd quarter of the 12th century and founded a town, called Sawai Godo, which shortly afterwards passed into the hands of the rulers of the Kannauj, who appointed Khande Singh as the Governor of the place. Unwant Singh, a Bisen Rajput and a lieutenant of the Governor, killed him and built a fort here, renaming the place as Unnao after himself.

A Historical Banyan Tree

Bargad Tree at Janki Kund,Pariyar and Kalyani Mandir at Unnao

About the District

Situated between rivers Ganga and Sai, Unnao has, since ancient times, made place in the pages of history. The district has been popular from the view of history, literature, religious and cultural heritage.

The District is divided into 5 Tehsils Unnao, Hasanganj, Safipur, Purwa & Bighapur and 16 development Blocks namely - Ganj Moradabad, Bangarmau, Fatehpur Chaurasi, Safipur, Miyanganj, Auras, Hasanganj, Nawabganj, Purwa, Asoha, Hilauli, Bighapur, Sumerpur,Bichia, Sikandarpur Sirausi, Sikandarpur Karan.

Local traditions connect a number of well known personages like Parashuram, Dasharatha, Sharvana, Valmiki, Sita, Lava-Kusha, Rama, Bakasura, Krishna, Mayuradhvaja, Ashvatthama and Astika, mentioned in the Ramayana & Mahabharata and the Puranas, with different places in the district, adding sanctity to them.

Many brave personalities who played a major role in the Country's freedom struggle and sacrificed their lives for the country, were born here. Popular among them are Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, Maulana Hasarat Mohani, Ram Beni Madhav, Pd. Vishambher Dayal Tripathi, Thakur Jsasingh, Narpat Singh, Barjor Singh, Hathi Singh, Devi Bux Singh, Mansab Ali, Kasturi Singh, Bhopal Singh and Chandrika Baksh Singh.

The District is not left behind in the field of literature too, having produced learned persons right from Maharishi Valmiki to Gaya Pandey. Shukla, Pratap Narayan Misra, Surya Kant Tripathi 'Nirala', Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Nand Dulare Bajpayee, Sumitra Kumari Sinha, Chandra Bhushan Trivedi (Ramai Kaka), Dr. Ram Vilas Sharma, Jagdambika Pd. Misra, Bhagwati Charan Misra, Pratap Narayan Misra and Shiv Mangal Singh 'Suman'.

History of Unnao


The freedom struggle of 1857-1858 was followed by the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown. As soon as order had been restored, the civil administration was re-established in the district which was named district Unnao, with headquarters at Unnao. The size of the district was however small till 1869, when it assumed its present form. The same year the town of Unnao was constituted a Municipality.

In ancient times the area covered by the present district of Unnao formed part of the region known as Kosala and was later included in the Subha of Awadh or simply Awadh. This tract appears to have seen civilized and settled life since very early times. Finds from and traces of ancient remains at several places in the district are however, fairly interesting and testify to the antiquity of those sites.

Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese pilgrim to India, stayed at Kannauj for 3 months in 636 AD. From here he journeyed a distance of about 26 kms and reached the city of Na-fo-ti-po-ku-lo (Navadevakula) which stood on the eastern bank of Ganga. The city was about 5 km in circumference and had in or about it, a magnificent Deva Temple, several Buddhist Monasteries and Stupas. This place, which is about 3 kms north-west of Bangarmau in Tehsil Safipur, has been identified by some scholars with Nawal and is supposed to represent the site of an important ancient city, believed to have been upturned in the 13th century by the curse of a saint, and still called Aundha Khera or Lauta Shahr both meaning an upturned city. The dargah of the Muslim sant, whose curse is said to have befallen the city, is not only the oldest Muslim monument at Bangarmau but perhaps, in the entire district.

By far the most important ancient site in the district is perhaps Sanchankot, also known as Sujankot, which lies in village Ramkot, in pargana Bangarmau of Tehsil Safipur about 55 km north-west of Unnao.

History of District as Administrative Unit

In the days of Akbar, the tract covered by the district was included in sirkar Lucknow of the province of Avadh, and the mahals of his time appear generally speaking, to have been close predecessors of the parganas of today.

During the days of nawabs of Avadh, the eastern portion of the district formed the chakla of Purwa. The portion of the district lying to the north of this chakla were included in the chaklas of Rasulabad and Safipur which also included the mahal of Mohan. Pargana Auras belonged to the chakla of Sandila belonging to district Hardoi. The tract comprised in Pargana Patan, Panhan, Bihar, Bhagwantnagar, Magaryar, Ghatampur and Daundia Khera formed part of the chakla of Baiswara.

After the annexation of Awadh by the British in February 1856, the district, then called district Purwa came into existence and the headquarter was shifted from Purwa to Unnao. The district then contained 13 parganas namely Bangarmau, Fatehpur Chaurasi, Safipur, Pariar, Sikandarpur, Unnao, Harha, Asiwan-Rasulabad, Jhalotar-Ajgain,Gorinda Parsandan, Purwa, Asoha and Mauranwan. In 1869, parganas Panhan Patan, Bihar, Bhagwantnagar, Magaryar, Ghatampur and Daundia khera were transferred from district Rae Bareli to tehsil Purwa of this district, and pargana Auras-Mohan was transferred from district Lucknow to the old tehsil Nawabganj of this district. Hence, the tehsil headquarters were removed first to Mohan and, again in 1891, to Hasanganj.

Unnao at a Glance

Area : Total 4,589 km2 (1,772 sq mi)

Population (2011) :Total 3,110,595
Density 680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)

Official :Hindi, Indian English

PIN : 209801

Telephone code :91-515

Coordinates: 26.55°N 80.48°E

Geography of Unnao

Location & Boundaries

The District is roughly a parallelogram in shape and lies between Latitude 26°8' N & 27°2' N and Longitude 80°3' E & 81°3' E. It is bounded on the North by District Hardoi, on the East by District Lucknow, on the South by District Rae Bareli and on the West by the Ganga which separates it from districts of Kanpur & Fatehpur.

Area 4589 Sq. Km


The Ganga and Sai, the major rivers of the district have played an important role in fashioning the topology of the district which may be divided into two main parts - The Lowlands and the Upland.

Lowlands: These tracts comprising about 23.7 % of the total area of the district lie along the Ganga in the west and along the Sai in the extreme north and east. The lowland of the Ganga also known as the tarai or khadar , lies between the main channel of the river, and its old high bank. It varies in width from a km to about 10 km getting wide wherever the Ganga meets its tributaries eg. in the north-west and in Pargana Pariyar. The narrowest section of the tract lies in the pargana Unnao near the railway bridge over the Ganga. The Lowland is liable to frequent floods and is thinly populated. A considerable area of the tract is overgrown with grass and babul trees. The characteristic soil is stiff clay except where sand has been deposited by fluvial action. The lowland produces usually a precarious Kharif harvest and good Rabi crops in a succession of dry years but it is disappointing in a wet cycle. Along the immediate bank of the river, there is a narrow strip of alluvial land, constantly subject to inundations. The Ganga lowlands comprise 19% of the total area of the district. The lowland of Sai is similar though smaller in extent. It contains mostly a stiff and moist soil liable to get waterlogged in wet years and produces reh which considerably reduces its fertility.

Upland: Extending from the old high bank of Ganga to the Sai valley, the upland comprises about 76% of the area of the district. The course of the high bank, though irregular, is well defined. On top of the high bank, there is a belt of high soil, with a width of 1.5 km to 7 km. In the upland, the surface is gently undulating, the water table low, and the irrigation facilities scanty. Another belt of similar light soil is met with along the banks of the Sai. The soil occasionally rises to bhur and, in parganas Sikandarpur & Faterpur Chaurasi, there are substantial sandy bluffs projecting into the Tarai. Further inland, the tract is mainly of fertile stiff loam broken by large usar wastes and shallow rice depressions. At places, ridges of sandy soil cause large depressions in which clay predominates. The deeper of these depressions form permanent lakes & tanks. The depths and sizes of these lakes and tanks increases as one proceeds from north to south. The streams running through the tract are comparatively unimportant, with the exception of the Basha and Loni streams. The country on either side of of the former, which springs in the bhur tract in the North West of pargana Jhalotar-Ajgain and runs, like a stream, through parganas Gorinda-Parsandan, Purwa & Mauranwan and then leaves the district for Rae Bareli, is characterised by frequent outcrops of bhur. It provides a cheap and easy means of irrigation and excellent crops of rice are, in many places, grown in its bed.The Loni is shallow at its source, but during the rains, it flows in a wide bed in which excellent crops of transplanted paddy are grown.

River Systems & Water Resources

The Ganga and the Sai are the main rivers of the district, the former making its western and southern boundaries and the latter, for the greater part of its course, forming its northern & eastern boundaries. Among the other mainstreams of the district are Kalyani, the Tanai, the Loni and the Morahi (Naurahi), all tributaries of the Ganga. These rivers generally run dry during the hot weather, but hold water during the greater part of the year and are utilized for irrigation.


The only great river of the district is the Ganga which first touches the district near the village of Purwa Gahir, in pargana Bangarmau and flows south-eastward, seperating this district from districts Kanpur and Fatehpur. Generally it flows from north-west to the south-east, but it makes several sharp bends such as those near Umriya Bhagwantpur, and Rustampur in tehsil Safipur, Rautapur in tehsil Unnao and Ratua Khera and Duli Khera in tehsil Purwa. The Ganga receives the Morahi near Baksar where it flows close to its old high bank. It leaves the district at a short distance from Baksar.

The river is not, however, put to much use either as a waterway or as a source of irrigation. There are several ferries for pedestrians and pilgrims but none of them approaches what may be termed a trade route. The river cannot, as a rule be utilised for irrigation owing to the height of the bank but certain of its small drainage channels or sotas, which run island for a considerable distance in some Parganas, are sometimes used to irrigate crops grown in low lying alluvial lands. Otherwise, cultivated lands lie at great distances and cannot be irrigated from the river whose water would, in order to irrigate these lands, have to be passed through the sands on the sides of the river, and in the process be greatly washed, if not altogether absorbed. The main channel of the river is subject to constant variation and the cultivation in its immediate neighbourhood is, therefore of a shifting kind.

It appears from its old high bank that the river has a general tendency to shift its course to the west. In the days of Akbar, the river skirted the village of Ghatampur but has since then so altered its course that it now runs about 8 km to the south-west of this village.


There is unusually large number of swamps & lakes of great size and value, particularly in the southern & eastern parts of the district. The larger lakes, which hold water all the year round, are the Kundra Samundar near Jhalotar, the lake near Nawalganj, the wide expanse of water near Kantha and the long chain of lakes in pargana Mauranwan. In Tehsil Safipur, the more important tanks are those at Mawai-Bhari and Kursat and the Harial Tal near Mustafabad. In Tehsil Hasanganj, besides the Kundra Samundar at Mawai, there are the Kulli Bani and Jalesar tanks near Ajgain and the chain of lakes called Basaha, which it seems, partakes of certain characteristics of a stream also, travelling a distance of 96 Kms in the district and eventually leaving it for district Rae Bareli where it is reckoned as a tributary of the river Sai. In the western part of the Tehsil are the Katgari Lake near Asiwan and the stretches of water at Amarpur, Sambha, Sheothana, Marenda & Asakhera, but in its northern and eastern parts, there are only small and very shallow tanks which dry up when rainfall is deficient. In Tehsil Unnao there are no important lakes, but a number of very shallow depressions, which get filled up with water during the rains and yield excellent crop of rice.

In Tehsil Purwa there are many lakes, situated in a well-defined belt stretching along the whole length of the tehsil. The main among them are the lakes at Kantha, Bhadain, Unchagaon, Qila, Akhori, Miri, Zorawarganj and Sarwan. The Barhna tank near Sagauli, the Mohan and Sukrar lakes near Mauranwan, and several others, like the Bharda lake, skirting district Rae Bareli. Besides these, there are the tanks at Sahrawan, the Bhundi tank at Gulariha, and the Kumbha tank at Bhagwantnagar. The lakes at Kantha, Sagauli, and Barela contain water all the year round, while the others generally provide irrigation for the Rabi crops only, drying up in the years of drought.


Geologically the district forms part of the vast Indo-Gangetic alluvial tract, of which the origin is attributed to a sag in the earth's crust, formed, in the upper eocene times, between the northwardly drifting Gondwanaland and the rising Himalayan belt, and gradually filled in by sediments so as to constitute a level plane with a very gentle seaward slope. The alluvium formation of the district, comprising sand, silt & clay with occassional gravel, is of the the early quaternary to sub-recent age. The older alluvium called bhangar, forms slightly elevated terraces usually above the flood levels. It is rather dark in colour generally rich in concretions and nodules of impure calcium carbonate, locally known as kankar. The newer alluvium, called khandar, forming the lowlands between the Ganga and Bhangar, is light coloured, poor in calcarious contain and composed of lenticular beds of sand, gravel and clays. The economic minerals found in the district are Kankar, Reh and Sand.

Places to Visit

Badarqa Harbans

The village of Badarqa Harbans lies about 11 km south of Unnao near Achalganj at a distance of 3 Km west of Unnao - Rae Bareli road. It was founded in 1643 AD by Raja Harbans, an official at the court of Shahjahan, who recieved a grant of 500 Bighas from the Emperor in Pargana Harha. He built a fine house here with walls of limestone blocks to a height of about 500m, surmounted with turreted walls, on an elaborate frieze of red stone over the gateway, having alternately Geese & Elephants in pairs. A large hall of audience supported on carved pillars firmly stood here, but Asaf-ud-daula is said to have taken these pillars to help building Imambara at Lucknow.

The house built by Raja Harbans was was very picturesque and massive, and the strength of its construction was calculated to defy the hands of time.


Baksar, the southmost village of the district, lies on the left bank of the Ganga, about 5 km south of Daundia Khera and 51 km south-east of Unnao. The place is said to derive its name from a sanskrit word Bakasram denoting the residence of Baka, a rakshas, who founded a town at the site of the present village. He lived here and erected a temple to Nageshwar Nath Mahadeo. Baka is said to have been killed by lord Krishna more than 5000 years ago.

It is also said that Raja Abhai Chand, a Bais Rajput conquered the place naming it after the shrine of Bakeshwar Mahadeo and made it its capital. Ram Bakhsh Singh, the Raja of Daundia Khera, who took an active part in the freedom struggle in 1857 was hanged here on a tree over a Temple which was also blown up by the British. The ruins of the Temple and and several broken images are still found in the Village. A bathing fair, attended by a large number of people, is annually held here on the full moon day of Kartika.


Bangarmau , a large village, lies in the centre of the Pargana, which derives its name from this village, surrounded by extensive groves. It is situated on the left bank of Kalyani, about 49 km north-west of Unnao and 22 km north-west of Safipur on the Unnao-Hardoi road.

The ancient town of Newal stood close to te site of Bangarmau, and was occupied by Raja Nal, a local ruler and is traditionally associated with ancient site of 'Alavi' of the Buddhist records and 'Navadevakula' of Huien Tsang's travel accounts. According to Buddhist literature, Buddha stayed here for some time and preached the gospel. The antiquity of the place is attested by the discovery of earthen black polished wares and other Archaeological finds. One terracotta piece, in particular, representing 'Aradhanarishwari' a rare specimen of its kind in India, was found here and is displayed in the National Museum. The other interesting objects found here include Manshila Mandir, Davendihar & Mahadeo Phulwari.

The Budhawa Mangal fair is held here on the first Tuesday of Chaitra. Two other fairs are also organised here by the villagers, one known as Baboo Mian ka Mela, falls on the Ist Tuesday of Chaitra, and the other, called the fair of Shitla Devi, falls on the 8th day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra.

Daundia Khera

Also known as Sangrampur, lies on the high bank of Morahi (Naurahi) river about 5 km west of the Unnao-Dalmau road and 29 km south of Purwa.About the 13th century, one Abhai Chand, a Bais Rajput, drove out the Bhars of Daundia Khere, after fighting a fierce battle. Abhai Chand gave the name of Sangrampur to the village where he fought the battle. Since then it formed the home of the great Bais clan of Rajputs. Ram Bux Singh, talukdar of the place and a descendent of Abhai Chand, was hanged here for participation in the freedom struggle of 1857.


Mohan, a considerable village lies on the left bank of the Sai river, about 6 km east of Hasanganj and 38 km north-east of Unnao. Roads lead from this place to Malihabad in Dist. Lucknow on the east, Nawabganj on the south and Bangarmau on the north-west. During the days of the Nawabs of Avadh, it was an important town, of which many residents found employment in the court of the Nawab and earned large fortunes. The town was well known for its Unani Hakims, mimics & actors.

To the south of the village near the Sai, is a high mound, supposed to be the remains of an ancient fort. On this mound is an old tomb of a Muslim Saint.


Nawabganj lies on the Lucknow-Kanpur National Highway, about 20Km. North-East of Unnao. It was founded in 1842 by Amin-ud-daulah, the prime minister of Avadh who built a serai and a mosque which are still in good condition.Nawabganj a scene of heavy fighiting with 'General' Havelock's army after he crossed the Ganga at Kanpur in July/August 1857. Havelock did not face a regular sepoy army when he crossed into Avadh , Ubdool Huda Khan Kandaharee was despatched with two companies from regiment in Lucknow and 14 Guns to check the General 's Progress, But he was defeated and his guns were captured.

Tuhwar Hussain was then ordered to take command but he refused, and Mohammad Hussain who was formerly Chakladar volunteered and set out against the General. He was defeated but remained at Nawabganj, and fell upon the British troops, when the General harassed by the men of the Talooqdars' Mansab Ali, Jassa Singh, Baboo, Rao Ram Buksh and others, retreated back.


Pariyar, which gives its name to a Pargana, lies on the left bank of the Ganga at a distance of about 23 km north-west of Unnao. In the vicinity of the village lies the Mahua Lake.

Tradition has it that in the Treta yuga, Lakshman at the behest of his brother Rama, accompanied Sita to her banishment to this place, which in consequence, came to be known as Parhar, a sanskrit word meaning abandonment. With the passage of time the name Parhar has been converted to pariyar. It was here that Sita gave birth to Lava & Kusha who were trained in archery by Valmiki, and grew up to be accomplished warriors. They caught Shyambaran, a horse loosed by Rama during Aswamedh Yajna arranged by him and this gave a signal of for a war between Rama and his Sons whom he did not know.

The village is said to have been founded in the 12th century by Himachal Singh, a Dikhit Thakur. The place possesses 2 temples, one of Balkaneshwar Nath Mahadeo, said to have been built by Lava & Kusha and the other of Janki.

Patan (Takia)

Patan lies on the road from Unnao to Allahabad via Achalganj, about 16 km south of Purwa. The Rae Bareli-Kanpur branch of the Northern Railway passes by the village which has a Railway station, Takia.The village possesses a temple dedicated to Lingeshwar Mahadeo, a Tomb of Muhabbat Shah, and an ancient mound ascribed to the Bhars. A large fair known as 'Takia-Ka-Mela', is held here on the Ist thursday of Paus, in honour of Niamat Shah, a disciple of Muhabbat Shah, a darvesh, who was a contemporary of Shuja-ud-daulah and Asaf-ud-daula, nawabs of Avadh.

The story goes that once a Kurmi devotee of Muhabbat Shah fell accidently into a dry well and called out his name for help, but no one arriving, he called one Niamat Shah, who is said to have instantly appeared, and helped him out of the well. The next day the kurmi reappeared to Muhabbat Shah's hermitage place, but saluted Niamat Shah only and on being asked to explain the omission to pay his respects to Muhabbat Shah, related th story in full. Muhabbat Shah getting enraged with Niamat ordered him to die, which command he carried out at once. Niamat was buried in the Takya (grave-yard). In order to perpetuate his memory, Muhabbat Shah arranged for a fair to be held over his tomb, which is still kept up.


Safipur lies on the Unnao-Hardoi road about 27 km north-west of Unnao. It is said to have been named after a dervesh Makhdum Shah Safi. On his death he was buried here and the place assumed the name Safipur. Safipur forms the last resting place of several other derveshes also of whom the chief are Ifhamullah, Kudrat-ullah, Hafiz-ullah & Abdullah.

A famous mausoleum over the remains of the dervesh Safi was erected here. Small urs fairs are held here on the 12th & 22nd day of Rabi-ul-awwal, 20th day of Jamat-us-sani, 12th & 14th days of Rajjab, 8th day of Ramzan and 14th day of Zilhaj.

How to Reach


Unnao is seamlessly connected through Railways. Unnao railway station is the junction point for Rae Bareli, Allahabad, Hardoi, Balamau situated at Lucknow-Kanpur stretch. Trains for major cities like Agra, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Nagpur, Vijaywada, Chennai, Coimbatore, Palakkad, Bhubaneswar, Bhadrak, Cuttak, Chennai, Chandigarh, Chitrakoot, Cochin,Delhi, Gorakhpur, Ernakulam, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu Tawi, Jhansi, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Katihar, Surat, Sonipat, Panipat, Gorakhpur, Gwalior, Balia, Darbhanga, Kota, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Puri, Surat, Trivandrum, Vadodara, Ujjain, Varanasi, Bangalore can be boarded here.


The major national highway NH 25 passes through Unnao which has bypass from Unnao. The State Highway which is 78 km encompasses Unnao is in good condition.


The nearest airport is Lucknow International Airport towards east(approx. 50 km) and Kanpur Airport towards west(approx. 25 km)

Inner City Transport

The city has transport likes auto-rickshaw(by-pass to Bus Stand), Rickshaws and Sub Metropolitan city buses and economical cross overs like Endeavour, Scorpio, Innova, Bolero etc. which are privately run.

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