LUCKNOW CITY TRAVEL
The Famous Nawab of Awadh - Wazid Ali Shah
Ethereal, enchanting and exotic...Lucknow, conjures up images of a society where the legendary etiquettes (adab and tehzeeb) is still a way of life. Capital of India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh, the erstwhile capital of the Awadhi Nawabs has always been another word for cultural refinement. As Delhi's glories wanned under the tottering Mughal empire, Lucknow attracted the best of talents, which imbued the court and the growing city with distinctive culture which gradually became synonymous with the city. It is the land where Urdu language was refined, here was created the rhythms of 'tabla' and melody of 'sitar', and of Kathak, North India's most refined dance form. The extravagant pastimes of the earlier royalty such as rooster fights and kite flying still evoke passionate involvement among the locals. Nestling on both sides of river Gomti, Lucknow pulsates with an unique Indo-Persian culture, portraying an impeccable blend of the ancient with the modern. But for most tourists, Lucknow will always be associated with the splendour of the nawabi era.
Wandering around the crumblimg nawabi palaces can keep
you occupied for days. Get into a tonga (horse cart) to save your energy
for exploring the myriad monuments that embellish the bustling Lucknow
city. Start your itinerary from Asafuddaulah's Rumi Darwaza, the founder's
flamboyant symbol on the heart of Lucknow. Stand under the fantastic giant
gateway, heavily ornamented with stucco, and you just cannot overlook the
grandeur of this exquisite archway. There was a time when stately
processions of elephants, horses and camels carrying nawabs, the British
Resident and his retinue, and pilgrims passed through this magnificent
The Rumi Darwaza forms the western side of a great courtyard in front of the Bara Imambara, designed in a peculiar Shia faith. This imambara is both the first and the largest of its kind in Lucknow. Step into the spacious central hall measuring 163 ft then the world's largest vaulted hall to stand without wooden supports. Let your guide show you the tombs of Asafuddaulah and his relatives, and a mind-blowing collection of old gilt mirrors, chandeliers and ornate 'taziyas'. Lose yourself in the eccentric Bhul-bhulaiya, also a structural device to distribute the enormous weight of the vaulted roof below, which provides a panoramic view of the complex.
Lucknow is a picturebook representation of the Nawabs' interest in architecture. They imported teak from Burma for the roofs, bought up most of Avadh's bamboo for the scaffolding, and brought stone from Chunar and marble from present-day Rajasthan. In its time the place had elegant havelis cooled by statusque fountains, with ambrosial palaces and sarais draped along the Gomti. Today, it is difficult to reconstruct what it may have looked like, but a walk around the site will still unveil secrets of tourist interest. Gift yourself a memorable time by visiting the Hussainabad Clock Tower, which flaunts of the largest clockface in India and an alluring monument when illuminated brilliantly at night. Don't miss the attraction of Qaisarbagh, the greatest palace of Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Lucknow. Roam amidst the handsome series of gardens and European design, and you might see history take rebirth in a dramatic way. The ruins of the British Residency are a poignant reminder of the heroism on the part of besiegers and defenders alike. The impressive ballroom today bears the marks of the cannon balls that were fired during the Sepoy Mutiny.
Change your holiday mood by visiting Chowk and gifting
your palate with some of the best street food you will find here. Make
this part of your journey on foot to savour Old Lucknow properly, stopping
here and there and listening to your heart. The Chowk is the heart of Old
City, already ancient when the Nawabs came and started building 'New'
Lucknow on the river banks. There is much to see here, although you have
to work for it. Temples, mosques and 'sarais' (inns) are hidden away, up
steep paths on the winding streets that bend and double back in seemingly
random patterns. Titillate your taste buds with Lucknawi 'golgappas' in
Chowk. Each one comes with a different stuffing. Start with the usual
'zeera'(cumin seeds) flavour, then move on to 'hing' (asafoetida),
'pudina' (mint), lemon and so on..till your buds just can't take any more
Near the 'Akbari Darwaza' (not at all hard to find because of the floating kebab aroma) is one of Lucknow's most visited food stalls, 'Tunde ke Kabab'. The reason the meat used in most Lakhnawi kebabs is minced so fine is that Asafuddaulah lost his teeth early and could only manage the most succulent food! Those who want to savour the joys of lazzet-e-Lucknow should make a beeline for Naushijaan on Chaina Bazaar Road in Hazratganj. Splurge into 'majlisi' and 'galouti' kebabs. Dip into 'aflatooni korma' with a gigantic 'afgani' parantha, and round off your Nawabi repast with 'shahi tukra' for a truly memorable experience.
If your weekend stay has not left you with time for shopping, you could consider coming back again just for the rich experience it offers. Shopping in Lucknow is not simply the stunning variety of bargains but indulging in the Nawabi experience itself. The pleasure lies in chewing 'paan' while browsing through silver 'paan-daans' or chatting with elderly shopkeepers as you choose an attractive 'chikan' garment. Start, as all who shop in Lucknow do, at Chowk. Enter through the aged colossal gate just ahead of Bara Imambara. Walk past the shops selling modern toys and clothes the real stuff is further ahead. Literally hundreds of bustling speciality shops selling jewellery, curios, antiques, 'attar' and delicate 'chikan'- worked clothes call for your attention. Don't forget to wrap yourself in the mindblowing aroma of 'attar' before you drive ahead to reach the most happening place in Lucknow city, the famed Hazratganj area. Nestling very near to Vidhan Sabha, it was once built for the British and Lucknow 'aristrocrat-sahib log'(high profile people). Now it's for every one. On the pavements, in the shops lining this throughfare and on the alleyways that lead off it, you will find what you are looking for lying cheek-by-jowl with those buys you haven't planned for. Holidayers can also enjoy their evenings listening to rock shows that are organised at the corners.
Fly : Lucknow being the capital of north India's most visited state, Uttar Pradesh, is well linked to all major destinations of India. Indian Airlines (situated on M.G Road), Jet Airways (Park Road) and Air Sahara (Kapoothala Complex, Aliganj) flights connect Lucknow with many cities all over the country. Amausi airport is 14 km from downtown Hazratganj and is directly connected with Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai and Varanasi.
Trains : Express and superfast trains, including the Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi Express link Lucknow to cities all over India. The two stations Charbagh and Lucknow Junction are side by side. Charbagh handles all trains between New Delhi and Kolkata, while Lucknow Junction handles the trains heading to the cities in the south. Take a pre-paid auto rickshaw from Charbagh Railway Station from the counter located in the parking area just outside the main entry hall.
Roads : Lucknow is on important cross routes of
National Highways 24/25/28. There are no yellow-top taxis. Tourist taxis
(rates negotiable) are available in the city at the railway station,
hotels or through travel agencies. There are plenty of auto-rickshaws in
the city but most of these run on fixed route point-to-point basis. Only
at the railway station or two ends of the route can you hire a rickshaw
all for yourself. The best way to get around the city, however, is on a
horse cart (tonga and ekka) that can crusade through narrow lanes and
UP tours, travel division of UP State Tourism Development Corporation (UPSTDC), runs a sightseeing tour by air-conditioned and luxury coaches everyday. The itinerary includes all the major places of tourist interest in Lucknow city and is quite a convenient one to enjoy.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Lucknow
Lucknow The City of Etiquettes
A Connoisseur of Art
A Kaleidoscope of Kebabs
Portraying The Nawabi Splendors
Shop A Bit of Lucknow
Pilgrimage Spiritual Tour
» Splendrous Taj Mahal
Glorious Golden Triangles (I & II)
Delhi : Capital of Hearts
Jaipur : The
Power and Valor of Rajputs
Pradesh : Ecstasy in Hills
Chandigarh : Tradition