Kasganj is a city and a district headquarters of Kasganj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city is popularly known as Kasganj because it was established in a thick forest of kans, a vegetation grown abundantly here.
Kasganj was also known as ‘Khasgunge’ or ‘Khasganj’ during Mughal and British period. According to ‘Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol. XV’ (1908) by William Wilson Hunter Kasganj came in the hands of James V. Gardner (who was in the employ of the Marathas and later in the British service) and later died in here in Chhaoni, Kasganj.Before James Gardner, his father Colonel William Linnaeus Gardner was also stationed here. William Gardner built his estate in Kasganj after retiring from army and he also died in Kasganj in July, 1835.William and James Gardner belonged to the lineage of Baron Gardner of Uttoxeter, England. Evidences are that heir to the Barony of Gardner is still living somewhere around Kasganj. Famous writer and historian William Dalrymple also came to Kasganj in search of Julian Gardner, heir to the English Barony, while researching for his book ‘White Mughals’.Besides, the book of Fanny Parkes namely ‘Wanderings of a Pilgrim in search of the Picturesque’ gives details of her visits to Kasganj (then Khasgunge) and her mention of the town and Gardner Family.
An older description mentioned Kasganj as standing on an elevated site, its drainage flowing towards the Kali Nadi(Black Stream) which runs about a mile south east of the town. The town was constituted a municipality in 1868. Kasganj set in the midst of the strategic Indo-Gangetic plain figured in military and political vicissitudes of ancient kingdom from the Mahabharata onwards. It formed part of the grand empire of Harshavardhan; and it finds mention in the accounts of the 7th century Chinese pilgrim Hsien Tsang (Xuanzang) who passed this way in 647 A.D.
Atranji Khera, a village near Kasganj, is a major Archaeological excavation site. This site was first identified by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1862. Excavation here began in 1962, which revealed that site was occupied from 1200 B.C to 300 B.C.Various artefacts and ruined structures from ancient town have been found in Atranji Khera. Another village near Kasganj, Jakhera is also a major archaeological excavation site. Iron tools like sickles, hoes, ploughshare and terracotta figurines have been found from Jakhera which dates back to 1000B.C. to 600B.C. giving evidence that Jakhera was a part of Painted Grey Ware culture and Northern Black Polished Ware culture of ancient India.Currently research is going on the collected artefacts. These evidences show that Kasganj has a rich history since ancient and medieval times.
The city was established here because it represented a centre point in the road connections between various small, ancient cities of District Etah, such as Bilram, Marehra, Etah, Sakeet, Atranji Khera and Aligarh. It was the junction of east, west and south UP, that very much reflects through peoples language,dresses and dishes. Direct impact of Brij Pradesh is very much evident. Hindu-Muslim culture is woven fine here. There is a long history of togetherness of both communities with love and respect to each other. Christians and Sikhs are also indispensable part of the society.
Kasganj features a humid subtropical climate. Not far from the foothills of the Himalayas, the winters are moderate, with temperature sometimes reaching zero degrees. The summers are hot and dry, with temperatures regularly exceeding 40 °C. The monsoon season runs from the end of June to September. During the monsoon season, almost daily showers are not an uncommon phenomenon. From October onward, the weather is pleasant. Proper winter begins in early December.