Lucknow: The City of Nawabs

Posted on January 26, 2010 in Travel

Avneesh Kumar:

Lucknow is a city of historical importance; there are many beautiful tourist spots in Lucknow, which were made during the Mughal rule. It has been a centre of great cultural and literary activities, but in spite of that it is a peaceful city in comparison to other big cities. It is one of the most favored destinations by tourists; it is a big tourism centre of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Glimpses of some of its tourist spots:

Bara Imambara– In the region of Asaf-ud-Daula, a great famine was occurred and there was a great need of employment for many people. Then this building started providing employment for many workers. Even today at the time of Muharram and other religious functions, the people of Shia community gather at this place. The building also contains a Bhulbulaya, a maze with many passages, which is itself situated in the walls of the building. Once one has entered the maze it is a very tough task for him to find a way outside; so going without a guide may be a dangerous adventure.

Chota Imambara– It is the smaller Imambara, as its name indicates, situated near the Bada Imambara. It was built in 1837, and was basically the idea of Mohammad Ali Shah. There are many tombs in this building, which are assumed to be of Mohammad Ali Shah and his family members. There is a golden dame, which is illustrated during festivals. It is also known as Husainabad Imambara. It is also called the place of light, because of its glorious decoration at the time of different type of festivals. There is one central stream of water in the middle of the garden. It may seem Indo-Islamic in nature but also has the put of Persian craft. In the interior parts it has Arabic calligraphy and glasswork.

Residency– The residency is a group of buildings, which were used by the British as their headquater in the state of Oudh as the region was known in the 19th century. It was seized by the Indian soldier during the revolt of 1857. It is situated in the centre of the city, in the area which is known as Hazratganj. But it is a peaceful building which is surrounded by gardens and flowerbeds; still a brooding silence engulfs the walls of this residency. There is a weathered epitaph near the grave of Sir Lawrence that reads “Here lays the son of Empire who tried to do his duty”.

Rumi Darwaaja– It is also said to a plan of famine relief strategy, and was built in 1783, the big gate soars to a height of 60 feet, and is one of the famous landmarks of the city. It is situated to the North-West to the building of Bada Imambara. It is also known with the name of Turkish gateway since it is assumed to be identical with a similar design in ancient Constantinople. It is one of the finest gateway in Lucknow, at the top of which is a umbrell sized dome which is being carved by beautiful arts. On the top of the Rumi Darwaja there was kept one lantern that would light up the structure at the time of the night. Little jets of water would rush out of the sides of the arch from beautifully carved flower buds thus making it look like a gateway to Paradise.

Sikandar Bagh– It is a very beautiful garden, which was laid in 1800 by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan; and was later used by the Nawab of Oudh. It was named after his queen Sikandara Mahal Begum. The garden was used for different types of cultural activities such as dance performances. During the time of the 1857 revolt the revolutionaries took shelter in this garden, but about 2000 of them were killed by the British.

Chattar Manzil– It is also one of the most famous tourist spots in Lucknow. A very peculiar architecture is used in this building; there is one very big umbrella shaped dome in its structure from which its name has been taken. One can also see the glimpses of the architecture of Europe, so it proves that different types of arts were used in this building. Its construction was started by Ghazi-ud-din Haider but before it would have been completed he died. So, it was completed by his son Nasir ud-din Haider. Now, it has been remodeled as an office for the Central Drug Research Institute.

Kaiserbagh Palace– It was constructed in the reign of Wajid Ali Shah, the son of the Muhhamud Ali at the time of 1848-50. The Nawab expected it to be regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. Some portions of the palace have suffered damages following the attack of the British in the year 1858. The palace incorporates ionic columns, banisters, Moorish minarets, Hindu umbrellas, lanterns and pediments. At the centre of this structure there is one white stone structure named as Baradari, initially the structure was entirely covered by silver. The appeal of the palace is enhanced manifold by the usage of gilt crowns, Mughal style pavilions and European style statues. There are the three yellow buildings flanking the quadrangle. These buildings housed the royal ladies.

La Martiniere College– Major General Claude Martin founded this college. Nawab of Awadh Asaf-ud-Daula provided him the land to establish this college. Its pupils and staff played a great role in the defence activities of the nation.

There are certainly more tourist spots in the city of Lucknow; such as the State Museum, the Aurangzeb’s mosque, haunted house, a zoo etc; and Lucknow is becoming more and more popular with tourists.