Lucknow, one of the finest cities of India, is still dipped into the heritage of Indo-Persian culture that flourished in this part of the world centuries back. This is the place where Urdu literature attained its ultimate refinement and grace of Kathak dance blossomed. Be it the melody of Hindustani classical music or the recitation of Urdu poetry or even the foot tapping of Kathak dancer, the ambiance of Lucknow is always filled with the touch of class and art. Lucknow came under the limelight when the fourth Nawab of Avadh, Asafuddaulah stood against his formidable mother abandoning the Avadhi capital Faizabad and set up court in Lucknow on the banks of historical river Gomti in 1775. Nawab Asafuddaulah decorated the simple city immensely and turned it to be one of the most lavish cities in the country by adding some extravagant imambaras, ornamented gates and stately mosques. By the time Asafuddaulah died in 1791, Lucknow was firmly the centre of the universe of Avadh. The process of decorating the city continued till the reign of last Nawab Wajid Ali Shah reigned, who was forcibly deposed from Lucknow by the British. His deep feelings for Lucknow then came out in the form of mournful Urdu Poetry which till date people enjoy. The spelndour of Nawabi era is not faded yet and Lucknow is still known as the pearl of Avadh.
The first thing that comes to mind after hearing the name of Lucknow is its huge, ancient and spectacular Imambaras. Fringed all over the city, the Imambaras follow particularly Shia faith and hold tazias (symbolic tombs) that provide a focus during Muharram, the period of mourning that marks the deaths of Imams Hassan and Hussain, grandsons of Prophet Muhammad. Some famous Imambaras of Lucknow are:
Bara Imambara is the first and largest of all among its kind in Lucknow. The great central hall of the Imambara measures 163 ft and then you find the world’s largest vaulted hall to stand without wooden support that surely leaves you amazed. But the most cherished attraction of Bara Imambara is its Bhul-Bhulaiya. As you will be lost in mazes, the fact that Nawabs used to use this place
to play hide and seek wit his wives will surely take your breathe away. The tombs of Asafuddaulah and his relatives are also situated nearby. Chhota Imambara or Hussainabad Imambara is another architectural wonder that commands over its surroundings. Built in black and white calligraphic pattern, this gem of an architecture is a worth visit in Lucknow. The souls of Muhammaed Ali Shah and his mother rests here. Sibtainabad Imambara is another architectural splendor of Lucknow which houses a large garden in the front where young Herry Webb and pop singer Cliff Richards used to sit which is still remembered with pride.
Shop the Splendors of Nawabs
Lucknow is the land of art and craft which is visible from its exquisite embroidery and spectacular forms of printing. From the fabulous heritage of zardozi embroidery to the delicate chikan work, the Lucknavi garments are world famous for their elegance and panache. ‘Chowk’ in Old Lucknow is the best place place to shop for some chikan and zardozi work. The excellent hand block
and batik printing cotton fabrics embellished with floral, geometric and ornamental motifs make the city of Lucknow more important and precious. You can shop for some excellent cushion covers, bed covers and other garments from ‘Paisley’ which carry Lucknow’s trademark design.
The Royal Cuisine
The style and elegance of the Nawabs touched the kitchen of Lucknow too which produces a wide range of highly appreciable royal cuisine’s that include a number of kebabs, variety of biriyani delicacy and rich vegetarian food like Dum Pukht. These Nawabi delicacies are still enjoyed with extreme superiority in almost all parts of the country. Falaknuma, Oudhyana and Whaid Biriyani are some of the famous restaurants of Lucknow that surmount in Lucknow and Avadhi cuisine.
How to Get There
Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara flights connect Lucknow with many cities all over the country. The Amausi airport is 14 km from the city and connects Lucknow to Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai and Varanasi in regular manner. Pre-paid taxi service is available outside the airport which will take you to the city in no time.
Express and super fast Buy Trains, including the Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi Express link Lucknow to almost all the cities of India. Lucknow houses two railway stations Charbagh and Lucknow Junction. Charbagh operates all Buy Trains between New Delhi and Kolkata and while Lucknow Junction handles the Buy Trains heading to the cities in the Southern India. Prepaid auto rickshaw service is available just outside the station.
Lucknow is on important cross routes of National Highways 24, 25 and 28. Some important road distances from Lucknow are : Agra – 363 km, Allahabad – 210 km, Ayodhya – 134 km, Delhi – 497 km, Kanpur – 79 km and Varanasi – 305 km. The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation bus stand operates regular bus service to Kanpur, Allahabad, Dehli and Varanasi.