Nagpur does not exactly scream Dream Destination. What if we were to tell you otherwise? Nagpur oranges are great but that just can't be the only attraction (and they are seasonal). Before stepping into Nagpur soil, I too had similar ideas (or the lack of it) but after a little bit of exploring, I found Nagpur to be ripe with all things unique. Here are five great reasons to visit the city.
See The 'Zero Mile' Stone
Ever wondered what else the British did in Nagpur besides 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 were 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?
Be Near Nature
Think Nagpur is not exciting enough? Think again. Keeping Nagpur as base, you can experience at least five willdife parks. Tadoba Tiger Reserve is approximately 3 hours (144.9km) away; Pench National Park (Maharashtra) is 2h 30min away; Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary is an hour away; Nagzira Tiger Sanctuary is 2h 40min away and; Bor Wildlife Sanctuary is an hour and a a half away from the city. The close proximity to these wildlife parks makes Nagpur a great place for an exciting wildlife getaway.
Gorge On Delicacies
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 nothing like chicken; more like red meat. The taste of Vidarbha, the unique combination of spices, flavours make this dish a special one. And speaking of special, another Nagpur special--matka roti. Tissue paper-thin rotis made by (very few) local ladies afte 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 dish.
This is only 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 conservion and the place where that happened deserves some attention and a visit. It is one of the popular pilgrimage centres of Buddhism in India.
Make It Educational
This will probably benefit the younger crowd but nonetheless, perfect for adults too. The Raman Science Centre and the Narrow Guage Rail Museum are two such attractions that are definitely worth travelling for. The former, a dedication to C V Ramam who was the recipient of 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.