Bithoor is situated on the banks of river Ganga about 114 km from Lucknow and 24km from Kanpur. Bithoor (Brahmavarta) is a centre of Hindu pilgrimage. Bithoor has been referred to as Brahmavarta in the Puranas, and is the center of Brahman (universe). According to Hindu mythology here Brahma creation of the world. Brahma is also believed to have enshrined here a lingam of Shiva, which is still worshipped as the deity Brahmeshwar Mahadeva. In some ancient texts, Bithoor has been referred to as the Utpalaranya. According to Hindu mythology, Bithoor was known as Brahmateerth and Rishi Valmiki is supposed to have composed the Ramayana here.
There is a small pool inside Valmiki Ashram, famous as Sita-Kund. Sita 'Rasoi' (Sita's kitchen) is still preserved, near which stands 'Swarga Naseinee' or Deep Malika Stambha, studded with niches all around for illumination. The tower has about 48 steps leading to its top, surmounted by a cupola, where one can have a panoramic view of the entire area.
Bithoor has been closely associated with the Indian independence movement, especially the war of 1857. It was at one time home to many of the rebellion's most prominent characters including the Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai.
During the British Raj, Bithoor used to be part of Cawnpore district (now Kanpur) in the United Provinces. The last of the Peshwas, Baji Rao II, was banished to Bithoor; his adopted son, Nana Sahib, made the town his headquarters.
Bithoor was captured by Havelock on July 19, 1857. The town was laid waste by the British who razed Nana Sahib's palace and the temples in the town in retaliation for the brutal killing of over 500 British men, women and children who had been lured out of their defences at Cawnpore with a promise of truce.
Valmiki Ashram, deriving its name from the sage Valmiki, is located at a height and is accessible by a flight of stairs, which is known as the stairway to heaven. From the location of the Ashram, one can have a panoramic view of Bithoor.
Brahmavart Ghat is considered the holiest of the ghats of Bithoor. Devotees of Lord Brahma pray at the altar of the Wooden Slippers after taking a ceremonial bath in the Ganga river. A peg sticking out of a small temple is the axis around which the universe is turning.
Patthar Ghat, a ghat built of redstone and founded by Tikait Rai, a minister of Awadh State, has a temple by its side, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The shivlinga in the temple is made of Kasauti, the philosopher's stone.
Dhruva teela is the place where the child Dhruva is believed to have meditated single-mindedly as he stood on one leg. As a reward, the God granted Dhruva the divine boon to shine for all time as a star. According to Hindu mythology, Dhruv continues to shine as a star called Dhruv-tara, that is, polar star.
Other places of interest in and around Bithoor include temples of Ram-Janki, Luv-Kush; an Ashram known as Haridham (the abode of Hari, the Vishnu), and a monument dedicated to Nana Rao.
This is also the site where the Sepoys followed by the British crossed over the Ganges on their way to Lucknow in 1857. Places of interest here are the Brahmavarta Ghat, the temples of Luv-Kush, Dhruv Tila and the Valmiki Ashram.