Lucknow, the ‘golden city of
the east’ retains an old world charm that fascinates one an all.
Regarded as one of the finest cities of India, Lucknow emanates a
culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of
sophistication, courtesy and a love for gracious living.
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. A city which saw great
rulers and dynasties come and go, and in the process leave indelible
impressions. Excavations at Lucknow have revealed a civilization of
the pre-Christian era.
Lying on the banks of river Gomti, this beautiful city was the capital
of the Wazirs and Nawabs of Avadh (Oudh) two centuries ago. It was
once the pivot of a unique culture, art and etiquette – an ethos so
unique that the term “Lucknavi” culture still continues to be a
by-word for gracious living. The dynasty of Avadh was founded by a
Persian named Saadat Khan in 1739 and the laudable work was carried on
by his successors till 1814 after which it began to deteriorate.
During the reign of Asaf-ud-Daula (1775-1797), Lucknow was at its
zenith. It was practically the “Paris of India”, the country’s centre
of art and culture. The year 1857 saw a mutinous Lucknow. The
bullet-pierced walls of the Residency speak of the six tumultuous
months of the 1857 uprising. The great Imambara, with the Central Hall
measuring 162 feet by 53 feet, is one of the largest vaulted galleries
in the world.
Lucknow is a city synonymous with the Nawabi Culture. The
imperialistic splendor and magnificence of the Nawabi Era has been
glorified and eulogized down the ages by writers, poets and historians
Tremors of time have not effaced Lucknow of its cultural heritage and
traditions, which once contributed in creating the city incomparable
in its times. As the 18th century seat of the Nawabs of Avadh, Lucknow
flourished becoming an important political and cultural center,
rivaling Delhi in its patronage to art and literature. It was during
this time that culture and architecture synthesized emerging in a
distinct form now so typical to the Lucknow culture.
Built in the year 1784 by the champion of charity Nawab Asaf ud Daula,
the Bara Imambara provided food to the famine stricken subjects of the
Nawab. It is said that once even the rich persons worked here as
laborers in the construction of this impressive monument. They worked
at night to avoid the embarrassment of being noticed. The monument is
known for its simplicity of style, sheer proportion and symmetry. To
the left of the Imambara is a grand mosque. To the right is a row of
cloisters concealing a huge well known as the Baoli.
clock tower, constructed in 1887, is the tallest Clock Tower in India
and one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India. The
221 feet tall structure was erected by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to
mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, Ist Lieutenant Governor of
United province of Avadh in the year 1887.
popularly called as the Chhota Imambara the Hussainabad Imambara
stands to the west of Bara Imambara. Built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah
(1837-42), it is more ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers,
gilt-edged mirrors, silver mimbar and colorful stucco s which adorn
the interiors. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of
the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal
architecture (open 0600 hrs to 1700 hrs.).
Saadat Ali's Tomb
twin maqbaras of Saadat Ali Khan and Khurshid Zadi, near Begum Hazrat
Mahal Park, are one of the best examples of Awadh architecture. The
proportionate domes with elegant kiosks and above all, well balanced
architectural design makes them extremely interesting.
have been one of the earliest habitations of the city, the Laxman Tila
is situated to the north of the Imambara complex. The Tila contains
the famous Alamgiri Mosque built by Sultan Ali, Governor of the
province of Avadh, during the reign of Aurangzeb. The mosque is known
for its outstanding symmetry of form and sobriety of decoration.
Rumi Darwaza leads to the outer section of the Bara Imambara and is
widely believed to be a facsimile of one of the gates of
Constantinople. Also known as the Turkish Gateway, it is a brilliant
example of Avadh architecture.
Palace is an imposing façade with huge underground rooms and a
beautiful dome surrounded by a gilt umbrella. The European influence
can clearly be seen in the architecture of this beautiful building.
Today it houses the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI).
construction of this mosque was started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah
but it was finally completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his
death. This splendid mosque built in the typical Mughal style lies to
the west of the Hussainabad Imambara. It is entirely free from pseudo
Italian art then in vogue in Lucknow.
There are three beautiful
buildings on the fringes of the Gomti. The main one is the Moti Mahal
or the Pearl Palace constructed by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. The other
two include Mubarak Manzil and the Shah Manzil. They were mainly
constructed for the Nawab and his courtiers to watch animal combats
from the balconies of the buildings, which were held at the other side
of the river. The Nawabs also used these buildings to view the birds