Situated on the banks of the river Gomti, Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, was founded by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. He was a great philanthropist and gave Lucknow a City unique and enduring legacy. The architectural contributions of various Awadh rulers include several striking monuments. Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imam-bara, the Chhota Imambara, and the Roomi Darwaza are notable examples. One of the more lasting contributions by the Nawabs is the synergetic composite culture that has come to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. In the olden times, it served as the capital to the nawabs of Awadh which is why it is known as the city of Nawabs. It is also known as the Golden City of the East, Shiraz-i-Hind and The Constantinople of India.
The history of Lucknow can be traced back to the ancient times of the Suryavanshi Dynasty. In ancient times, Lucknow was part of Kosala kingdom (modern Ayodhya) ruled over by Ikshvaku dynasty to which Lord Rama belongs. Lakshman, brother of Lord Ram, laid the foundation of this ancient city. It was then called Lakhanpur or Lakshmanpur. However, the city came into notice only during the 18th century.
In the year 1732, Moham-mad Amir Saadat Khan was appointed as the Viceroyal of Awadh, in which Lucknow was a major province. It was then that the powerful dynasty of the Nawabs changed the history of this place. Under the rule of the Nawabs, Lucknow ﬂourished like never before. After 1755, Luc-know grew by leaps and bounds under the rule of the fourth Nawab, Asaf-ud-Daula. Poetry, dance, music and the other ﬁner aspects of the lifestyle of Luc-know ﬂourished like anything.
When the British came to In-dia, Lucknow was made the administrative capital. There were many uprisings during the British rule by Indian radicals and many appalling incidents left Lucknow with awful memories. However, after independence Lucknow was declared the capital of Ut-tar Pradesh by the Government of India. Since then it has progressed beautifully, merging its past skillfully with the present.
Still famous for words such as 'aap', 'janab', 'pehle aap', etc., popularly known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, this leisurely city has a magical charm in everything be it the delicious cuisine or heart melting culture. Even though ﬂats have replaced Nawabi mansions, he city is still as charismatic as before and leaves an everlasting impression on its visitors. This golden city of the east' regarded as one of the ﬁnest cities in India represents a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of sophistication, courtesy and a love for gracious living.
The era of the Nawabs bestowed Lucknow with courteous culture as well as mouthwatering delicacies for which it is famous even today. It also gifted the city with timeless literature, music, dance and arts and crafts that allures tourists here. Even after witnessing tremendous modernization, Lucknow has managed to retain its age-old charm and glory. The warmth, hospitality and the formality of the city are still not lost. A visit to Lucknow brings one closer to the glorious days of yore.
It is a Tomb of a holy Muslim man built by Asaf-ud-Daula for famine relief, being one of the largest in the world. There are excellent views of Lucknow from the top of the Imambara. An external stairway leads to an upper ﬂoor laid out as an amazing labyrinth known as the bhulbulaiya. The dark passages stop abruptly at openings which drop straight to the courtyard below. There's a mosque with two tall minarets in the courtyard complex and to the right of this is a well which is said to have secret tunnels.
This huge 60-feet-high door was also built by Asaf-ud-Daula. It is also called the 'Turkish Darwaza,' it is the entrance to the Bara Imambara. It is a massive gate on the the western side of the front of Bara Imambara.
Hussainabad or Chota Imambara, was built by Mohammed Ali Shah in 1837 as his own mausoleum. The appeal of this structure lies in its furnishings comprising exquisite chandeliers of Belgium glass. The glittering brass-domes and ornate architecture of this building made a Russian Prince call it the "Kremlin of India." It contains the tombs of Ali Shah and his mother. A small bazaar, known as the Gelo Khana or "Decorated Place", lies inside the imposing entrance of the Imambara.
The Clock Tower
It is located very near to the Rumi Darwaza. Built in 1881 by the British, this 67 m-high clock tower on the river Gomti is said to the tallest clock tower in India. The tower has European style artwork. The parts of the clock are built of pure gunmetal and the pendulum hangs 14 feet. The dial of this clock is shaped like a 12-petalled ﬂower and has bells around it.
Shah Najaf Imambara
It holds the tombs of Ghasi-ud-Din Haidar and his two wife's. Situated on the south bank of Gomti towards the west of Sikandar Bagh, the building is almost an exact replica of the tomb of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, at Najaf Ashraf in Iraq. The interior is used to store chandeliers, and elaborate creations of wood, bamboo and silver paper which are carried through the streets during the Muharram Festival.
Built in 1800 by Saadat Ali Khan for the British Resident. There is a model room in the main Residency building which is worth visiting and a small museum on the ground ﬂoor. This group of buildings became the stage for the most dramatic events of the 1857 Mutiny the Siege of Lucknow. There is cemetery near by with graves of those who suffered in the mutiny.
Noor Baksh Kothi (Light giving palace) is in Lal Bagh area next to the Methodist Church and now known as Noor Manzil. It was believed to be built by Saadat Ali Khan as a school for royal children and Agha Mir, the Prime Minister was its owner. Raﬁ us Shan, son of Muhammad Ali Shah made this his residence till the end of Nawabi rule. Now it houses a psychiatric clinic for the mentally disturbed.
The two Chattar Manzils near the Begum Hazarat Mahal Park, on the banks of the Gomti were Royal pavilions. The name comes from the gilt chattars or umbrellas atop the two main buildings. The Greater Chattar Manzil was once a king's palace. Under the existing river terrace was the ground ﬂoor with the tykhanas (cool underground rooms), cooled by the waters of the Gomti which lapped against its outer walls. Today this building houses the Central Medicine Research body. The Lal Baradari was also the part of Chattar Manzil and was built as Coronation Hall and Durbar Hall.
The state Museum in Banarasi Bagh houses an impressive collection of stone sculptures, 1st-11th century exhibits of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain works, rare coins, marble sculptures and an Egyptian Mummy.
Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa is 238 km N of Lucknow and was designated a National Park in 1977. Bordering the Sarda River in the Terai, it is very similar to the Corbett National Park. It has sal forest, tall savannah grasslands and large marshy areas watered by the Neora and Sohel rivers. Dudhwa National Park is home to unusual animal species. This national park's star attraction is the Royal Bengal tiger. About 100 tigers are believed to still roam this region. The Indian rhino was also introduced here to save it from extinction. Leopards, elephants, bears, gharial, crocodile, and spotted deer inhabit the thick forests too.
Gautam Buddha Park
Situated in between the Bada Imambara and the Martyrs Memorial, this park has been a recreation ground for children. Rides here are a big draw. Also used by political parties to hold rallies now.
Situated at 4 km from the Charbagh station, this Zoo is also called as the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens. The Zoo comes under the Banarasi Bagh area. Constructed in 1921, it also has a museum, an aquarium and a toy train. The plane Rajhans used by Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru is also kept in the zoo.
Your trip to this culture city will remain incomplete if you don't head out to famous shopping places in Lucknow. The city of Lucknow does not have many glittering malls and multiplexes, yet shopping in those little markets for knick-knacks and souvenirs has its own different charm. The ﬁrst thing that comes to mind while talking about shopping in Lucknow is of course the famous Chikan work of Lucknow. Chikan is a very famous thread work that is done by the skilled craftsmen of Lucknow. Lucknow is also famous for its shops of jewellery and ornaments. Jadau is another type of jewellery in which gems are studded. Lucknow is famous for its big danglers and jhumkas that are loved by every girl. Some of the major and famous shopping places in Lucknow are Aminabad, Kapoorthala, Hazratganj and Janpath. For exquisite jewellery, one can go to Gadbadjhala, which is quite reputed for its exquisite jewellery works.
Street Shopping Hazratganj
Hazratganj is the most posh and costly market of Lucknow. Basically in Lucknow Lucknowites prefer to enjoy by spending an evening out in the streets of Hazratganj, commonly It is known as Ganjing. The beauty of this market is that if you don't have to purchase anything, don't worry you will not be alone in this market, as in this market mostly people prefer just to be there. Generally as this is the No 1 market of Lucknow, so in terms of price the things are comparatively costly. In case if you want to purchase Costly Branded Items, then Hazratganj is the right place for you. People prefer to do window shopping here. Apart from having good showrooms, this market is having chain of good restaurants, which offer multi cuisine lovely food. It is closed on Sundays.
One may not ﬁnd the big names and brands in the market, but the local made products are more of style and looks. A big charm of the market is the cheap and durable garments. The market gets bustled by people during festive season, when shopping becomes a necessity in Indian families. Major buys from the area are Chikan garments, bangles,ornaments, silver jewellary, fancy footwear, daily usage items. The colorful lightings, decorated shops and traditionally dressed people in the market, combined with the Lucknow politesse makes shopping in Aminabad a unique experience. It is closed on Thursday.