Lucknow: The City of Nawabs
Walk slowly, one step at a time. Watch the soft glitter of the Victorian era street lamps as it rejuvenates your dusk. Engage with the trance, enveloped with Mughal and British era architecture, as Lucknow calls you, quite elegantly. But are you listening?
This largest city and capital of Uttar Pradesh demands patience, as you peel it away, layer after layer. Also pack a little bit of romance, grace and warmth in your luggage. Reflecting the beauty of true Indian culture, your trip to this historic destination would perhaps, reveal a bit about yourself, too.
Nevertheless, it has always been difficult to describe Lucknow. Phrases like ‘Constantinople of India’ and ‘Golden City of the East’ did touch its soul, or perhaps even caress it. Over the decades, even the beauty of Lucknow sightseeing has evolved, letting you explore it beautiful gardens, shrines, fine cuisines and music, with a touch of class.
For art connoisseurs it relates to the birth of fictional character of Umrao Jaan in India’s first Urdu novel of 1899. Even the journey of internationally recognised Kathak dance begins here, elegantly enwrapped with femininity.
History of Lucknow reveals it as a significant capital of Awadh region, ruled by the Shia Nawabs hailing from Persia. Later, the reign of British Raj witnessed Lucknow as one of the catalysts during Revolt of 1857. The extravagant lifestyle can be noted through Indo-Saracenic and Victorian architecture, predominantly evident in the educational colleges, even today.
In case, lip-smacking cuisine trail in Lucknow attracts you, the Awadhi cuisine will add zing to your journey. Do not miss to gulp down famous North-Indian dishes like biryanis, kebabs and even nahari (mutton-dish). But that’s not all. Even the restaurants where you would devour them have their own history, often including 100 years in their repertoire.
Following are the main attractions of Lucknow
It is a monumental shrine built by Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh in the year 1784. The building was erected under the umbrella of ‘Food for Work’ programme started by Asaf-ud-Daula. It aimed at providing employment to the people who were ravaged by the recurrent famines.
The building exhibits the typical Mughal style of architecture. No supporting pillars have been incorporated in its construction, making it the world’s largest hall without the support of stones, iron or even wood. Tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula rests in the centre chamber of the Imambara.
The complex includes a confusing labyrinth called Bhool Bhulaiya, a mosque, entrances, step wells traditionally called as baoli and a beautiful courtyard.
Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gateway is a beautiful arch-shaped gateway looking similar to the one in Constantinople. It was also built by Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. The construction stretches to a height of nearly 19m and is topped with an octagonal shaped chhatri. It is adorned with rich carvings and can be approached by a flight of stairs.
A huge lantern is placed at the top of the monument. During night the structure looks enchanting in the dim light of the lantern. Flower buds that are carved on the sides of the arch jet out water making the sight even more heavenly.
It is one of the most impressive architectures in the city constructed by the Nawabs of Lucknow. History suggests that it was the palace for the Awadh rulers and their wives. The monument receives its name from the giant umbrella-shaped domes included in its construction. It also makes the site unique from the other constructions in the city.
The monument stands at the bank of Gomti River. Influence of European architecture can be seen in its construction due to large underground rooms and the heavily carved domes.
Also called as Residency Complex and British Residency, it is a cluster of buildings. It sheltered nearly 3000 Britishers during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. The marks of the fired cannon shots can still be seen on the walls of ruins narrating the tragic past of the city.
Lawns and beautiful gardens surround the construction. A cemetery is situated nearby, housing the graves of nearly 2000 people. Grave of Sir Henry Lawrence, the British soldier who died during the mutiny also rests in this cemetery.
Excursions from Lucknow
Shah Najaf Imambara(14km), Kukrail Reserve Forest(15km), Dewa Sharif(25km), Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary(44km) and Naimisharanya Misrikh Temple(94km) are some of the ideal getaways to explore with the Lucknow Travel Guide.
Shopping in Lucknow
Get ready for exploring the narrow and crowded lanes, if you want to enjoy real shopping in this city. Janpath Market, Halwasiya Market, Aminabad Bazaar, Chowk and Nakhas Market are the famous shopping centres in Lucknow.
The intricate work of hand embroidery called Chikankari done on soft cotton fabric is the first thing to purchase from this city. The destination is famous for its astonishing gold and silver ornaments. Shoppers can also buy handicraft items sold in the government emporiums.
When to Reach
The best time to visit is during October-March when the weather is cool and suitable for sightseeing. Kite Flying Festival held every year during October- November is also a sought after time to take the trip to Lucknow.
How to Reach
Air: Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Amausi receives flights from cities like Delhi, Varanasi, Patna, Mumbai and Kolkata. Flight are also available for foreign cities like Jeddah, Riyadh and Dubai in the Gulf.
Rail: Lucknow Junction is a major railhead in North Indian railways. Trains are available from Bhopal, Kanpur, Allahabad and Patna for the destination.
Road: Buses ply from the nearby cities like Allahabad, Agra, Kanpur and Jhansi. Tourists can take rickshaws or auto-rickshaws for short distances within the city.
This city is a combination of several flavours, artistically bundled in one. So book for Lucknow Tour Packages and savour the different tastes of this city.
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