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Nagpur Nuggets: Rediscovery of the Orange City

By Bikash Mohapatra
Last updated on: February 24, 2011 09:07 IST
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Our correspondent Bikash Mohapatra travels to the centre of the India -- trying to rediscover the country again.

Journey to the centre of the country

It is a fact.

Geographically, Nagpur lies in the centre of India.

Zero MileThe 309-year-old city in eastern Maharashtra enjoys the privilege of being right in the middle of the country.

The same is indicated with a Zero Mile Marker (pictured) placed at the heart of the city.

The distances of various other major cities in India, which are measured from this point, are carved on the pillar erected at thespot.

For sure, a good piece of trivia for those of you who only knew Nagpur as the Orange City!

Baat ek bat ki

M S Dhoni for Rs 100, Yuvraj Singh for Rs 50 and so on.

Don't jump the gun. We are just referring to prices of bats (pictured) bearing the names of the Indian cricket stars being sold by the roadside in Nagpur.

Dhoni batThese hand-made bats come in various sizes and the prices palpably change accordingly.

"I have been selling bats (and stumps) by the roadside for the last 25 years. The sales pick up considerably when there are matches played here," says Abbas Ahmed, one of the hawkers, adding, "The prices range from Rs 20 to Rs 150."

Putting a sticker carrying the name of an Indian player makes the product a tad more valuable, he adds.

So while the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni and Yuvraj use the various branded bats to score big, the sellers here use thename of our eminent cricketers to rake in that extra moolah.

The low prices mean even customer satisfaction is guaranteed.

A great marketing strategy, one must admit.

Finally, a visit to Deekshabhoomi

Despite having visited Nagpur few times before, one had never quite found time to visit one of its most recognised landmarks.

During this visit I made it a point to visit the Deekshabhoomi.

It is said that Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, converted to Buddhism here (in 1956) along with his many followers.

The place now houses a huge stupa, a bronze idol of Gautam Buddha, a huge Bodhi tree and Vihara -- for the Bhikshus to live.

This is, by far, Nagpur's biggest tourist attraction.

In December, it will be 10 years that the stupa was opened to the public.

No points for guessing -- there will an influx of tourists to celebrate the occasion.

Photographs: Bikash Mohapatra

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