city, central Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. Kannauj is situated near the Ganges River, northwest of Kanpur, with which it has road and rail connections. Its name probably has more popular spellings than any other place-name in India. Kannauj has existed since ancient times and contains numerous ruins and artifacts. It was important during the Gupta empire, and in the early 7th century it became the capital of Harsa's empire, which included much of northern India. The city entered a period of great splendour during the 9th and 10th centuries, at which time a large number of Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries were built. In 1018, however, it was razed by Mahmud of Ghazna and was plundered again in 1194, by which time it was almost totally destroyed. Since then, Kannauj, though renowned for perfumes and tobacco, has been of minor importance. Pop. (1991 prelim.) 59,650.
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