A leisure trip to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow

Last month I got an opportunity to visit Lucknow with my friends. Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. The beautiful city still retains its Nawabi style and famed culture as in olden times. We had a good train journey from Varanasi to Lucknow. At around 7.00 am we reached Lucknow. It took almost 5 hours travel by train from Varanasi.  We got down at Char Bagh station and went to Shivgarh Resort. Our rooms were booked in advance.  The hospitality we received there was really nice. [caption id="attachment_1151" align="alignnone" width="300"]lucknow_11 Lucknow[/caption] As decided prior to our visit, the same day itself we started visiting tourist places in Lucknow. With the help of a guide we made a list of must visit places in Lucknow. The first place we visited was Asafi Imambara, or the Bada Imambara. Asafi Imambara is a shrine complex of Shia muslims which includes a mosque, a baoli (step-well), and a bhul bhulaiya(labyrinth). This was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula as a means of providing employment to his people in famine time of 1783. The main hall is a large arched central chamber, over a 100 feet long and nearly 50 ft high and has no beams to support the ceiling. This is considered to be among the largest arched constructions in the world. There are about 489 doorways and complicated 3-D labyrinth of interconnecting passages and balconies. From the roof of Asafi Imambara we could see many landmarks of Lucknow such as the Safed Masjid, Ghantaghar, etc. The baoli here was built to store water for construction work but later a guest-house was constructed over the baoli for the Nawab’s visitors. At a short drive from the Bada Imambara was the beautiful Hussainabad Imambara or Chhota Imambara. To reach there we had to pass through the remarkable Rumi Darwaza. Rumi Darwaza resembles Bab-i-Humayun in Istanbul and so the 60 ft tall gate is also known as the Turkish Gate. The Chhota Imambara was built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah. Here in this complex we could see a shahi hamam or a royal bath, a mosque, and also the tombs of Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah and his family members. The Residency was the next place of our visit. This is a group of buildings by the then Nawab of Awadh, Saadat Ali Khan, for the British Resident General in 1800.  Mainly comprise of living quarters, kitchens, stables, a mosque, a church, granary, etc. The Residency came under the military operation of India’s First War of Independence (1857). We could see ruins and also scars made by cannons on the walls there. There is also a small museum depicting the history of Lucknow within the Residency. The next place we visited was the Dilkusha Palace.  This was built in the English Baroque style. Our guide explained us the history of the place. This was built by Saadat Ali Khan and the then British resident, George Ouseley in 1800. Now here we could only find the ruins of the palace with only the pediment, columns and some walls. We also got a chance to see La Martiniere School for Boys known for the mixture of architectural styles used in its construction. The next day we had great shopping in the Hazratganj area. We also had Lucknawi chaat. The days we spend in Lucknow were memorable as we could very well experience the beauty of Lucknawi style, and its famed adakari and nazaakat.

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