Lucknow: An Old World Charm

A perfect blend of modernity and tradition, this city acquaints us with a side of India we are all proud of. Be it its history, architecture, music, dance, handicrafts, cuisines or etiquette, Lucknow offers it all.

Renowned for its impeccable courtesies and remarkable hospitality, one can notice the Tehzeeb of the city in common interactions with the locals at old market places, shopping malls, railway stations, and other public places. It is this characteristic of the city that endears it to many, as one witnesses niceties of etiquette which has been so beautifully internalised by the people.

Tourist spots include the Bada Imambara, which was a complex was erected by the then Nawab of Awadh, Asaf -ud-Daula in the year 1784. It includes the large Asfi mosque (the Badi Masjid), the Bhul-Bhulayah (a labyrinth), a Chhota Imambara for the younger nawab and a summer palace which contains the interestingly constructed Bawli or a water reservoir, which was the source of water for the area. The architecture is perhaps one of the finest examples of Mughal ornamented design and also marks the last of Indo-Islamic architecture without any influence of Europe.

Situated at the west entrance of the Imambara is the Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gate. All the surrounding area gives us a taste of the old Lucknow, where one feels the tales of Umrao Jaans, Nawabs and Kebabs were for real. The Tarunvali Kothi and the Juma Mazjid are other places worth a visit, owing to the history attached to them. The Qaiser Bagh Palace, Wajid Ali Shah’s sole contribution to the city built in 1850, also deserves a visit. Wajid Ali aspired to have this included as an eighth wonder, however now is scarcely recognizable amidst the Qaiser Bagh market.

The Residency is the only surviving evidence of British presence in the city. A dilapidated monument, almost completely destroyed in the revolt of 1857, its ruins remain to preserve the architectural style of Sadat Ali, its creator. During the revolt, Awadh was led by Begum Hazrat Mahal, who has a beautiful garden and a statue dedicated to herself as a tribute to her valour and sacrifice in the freedom movement.

The capital of one of the most politically active states in India, its Legislative Assembly Building, the Vidhan Sabha, is a grand, magnificent and an impregnable structure.

For food lovers, the place is a heaven on earth. Its specialities range from the famous Tunday, Shekhawat Kebab to finger licking street Chaat and Gol Gappas at Jain’s or Sharma’s, not to mention the kulfi served in the traditional ‘matkas’ and paans at every nook and corner. Besides the street food, the city offers some of the largest hotel chains such as the Clarks Awadh and the Taj Residency. It was in Lucknow that the evolved the ‘Dum’ process of cooking, which basically requires the food to be cooked slowly in its own steam, which lends it a unique aroma and flavour.

The city is famous for its Chikan embroidery and suit pieces and dress materials, which remain in demand throughout the country. The best places to shop would be Aminabad, Hazarat Ganj and Janpath, which constitute the centre of the city. Being a capital city, the place is easily accessible with an excellent connectivity of trains as well as a national airport. Even by road, the city is well connected. Taxis, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws are available throughout the city. Charges vary according to the distance.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the city is that it presents an amalgamation of more than one culture, religions which coexist in an extraordinarily harmonious fashion complementing each other. It truly constitutes the heart of the country, complete with all its spirit and beauty.

Saumya Saxena


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