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Nagpur

This is almost literally the centre of India, the capital of the orange-growing region and a great area for cotton and strawberries. It sounds rather romantic, but sadly is not - it is mainly used as a stopover en route to the game parks of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, or the Gandhian ashrams. The Civil Lines area has some grand bungalows and other Raj-era buildings and the Ambazari Lake, reached by auto-rickshaw, has boats for hire and numerous chai stalls.

After Mumbai and Pune, Nagpur is the third largest city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It was founded in the early 18th century by the leader of the Gonds Dynasty, King Bakht Buland Shah of Deogarh, and later became part of the Maratha Empire under the rule of the royal Bhonsale dynasty. Then in the 19th century the British East India Company took it over and made it the capital of the Central Provinces and Berar. It is now the second capital of Maharashtra.

A major site in Nagpur is the Deeksha Bhoomi, which is a Buddhist monument and the largest hollow stupa of all the Buddhist stupas in the world. Jainism is another important religion in Nagpur and the city has nearly 30 Jain temples. The Hindu temple, Ganesh Mandir Takdi is one of Nagpur’s most visited temples. The temple stands of a hill which is called Tekdi in the local dialect and it features an idol of Lord Ganesha whose forehead is adorned with gold decorations.

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