Early Days of Hazratganj
Hazratganj is located in the heart of Lucknow and was built by Nawab Amjad Ali Shah. The name came from the nawab’s unconditional adherence to Hazrat. During the British era, Hazratganj road was known as Queen's Way and it was restricted for only for British carriages. The road became accessible to all commoners post India’s Independence.
Behind the facade of freshly coated paints and appeal, every buiding in the Hazratganj area has a story that the present generation is not aware of. Hazratganj was the hub of all kothis, ball room and dancing halls during pre-independence era. Kothi Noor Baksh, Kothi Haya Baksh, Kothi ahoor Baksh, Kurshid Manzil, Kankar Wali Kothi and Munnawar Kothi were some of the famous places of visit during nawabi times.
The Ring Theatre was one of the most sought after places in Hazratganj. The doors of the Theatre were closed for the natives. It was an entertainment centre for British officials who along with their families enjoyed English plays and movies.
Shopping in Hazratganj
Hazratganj has evolved as a posh market with rows of all top consumer brand shops that include retail shops, automobile brands, jewellery shop, antique dealers and host of handloom emporium trading some of Lucknow’s best Chikankari apparels. The most reputed shops on handlooms in Hazratganj are Gurjari, Gandhi Ashram and Handloom Emporium. Naza Market, also a part of Hazratganj, is a hub for all electronic and Information Technology equipments. Latest software and hardware gadgets can be found here. Needless to say, it is the favourite part of the city for all computer whiz-kids.
When in Hazratganj, don’t forget to sip a piping hot coffee at the Coffee House. Established in 1914, this place was the favourite hub for many freedom fighters like Atal Behari Vajpaee, Dr. Ram Monohar Lohia, Chandra Sekhar, Sunil Sashtri, Raj Nath among others.
Hazratganj also houses some of the best cuisines available in the city. The famous Dastarkhwan, Naushejaan restaurant are located in this corner. Don’t miss out the chaats and kachouri stalls buzzing all over the place. Lucknoow is also famous for its betel leaves. Try out the meetha paan made from petha, gulkhand and cardamom and relish the heavenly taste.Two of Lucknow’s most luxurious hotels Gemini Continental and Clarks Awadh Continentals are situated in Hazratganj.
Hazratganj is also a place for some of the well-renowned colleges of the state. Presitigious colleges like Loreto Girls College, La Martiniere Boys’ College, La Martiniere Girls’ College, St. Francis College and Christ Church College.
Though predominantly a Muslim area, Hazratganj also has a beautiful Hanuman Mandir and St. Josephs’ Cathedral along with couple of mosques. This area rightly reflects the unity and fraternity of countrymen irrespective of their caste and religion.
There are two imambaras in Hazratganj – Shah Najaf Imambara and Sibtainabad Imambara. Though these two imambaras are not as significant and popular as Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara yet it has its own unique charm and history.
Shah Najaf Imambara – The monument is just a throw away from the market area. The Imambara was built by the last nawab and first king of Awadh state, Ghazi-ud-din Haider during early 19th century. The architecture of Shah Najaf was a replica of Hazrat Ali’s tomb in Iraq and it served as a mausoleum. Nawab Ghazi-ud-din Haider along with his wives Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal and Sarfaraz Mahal are buried in the mausoleum.
Sibtainabad Imambara – The construction of the Imambara was commenced by Nawab Amjad Ali Shah and was completed by his son Wajid Ali Shah after nawab’s death. The Imambara was later addressed as maqbaraas it served as a burial place for future nawabs and their wives. The Imambara came under attack and then occupied by British army on March 13, 1858. This beautifully structured building has wonderfully managed to capture the essence of its past till today.
Several palatial architectures in Hazratganj have been transformed into commercial and official complexes post India’s independence. Kothi Noor Baksh, a palace gifted by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah to his beloved wife is now the residence of District Magistrate. Once known to all as the Ring or Imperial Theatre is now the General Post Office of Lucknow. Present day multilevel parking in Hazratganj area was yesterday’s Hazratganj Kotwali.
Today, Hazratganj is one of the busiest areas of the capital and jam packed with people and traffic snarl. Hazratganj Crossing is a confluence of four national highways – NH 24, NH 24B, NH 25 and NH 28. The entire Crossing area has been declared as a heritage zone by the Archaeological Department of India.
Recent Developments in Hazratganj
Hazratganj houses one of the largest malls in India, Sahara Ganj Mall a five-storied shopping mall covering an area of over 400,000 square feet. The mall also has one in-house multiplex showing theatre. Apart from the modern multiplex, traditional movie halls with screen can also be seen here, Sahu, Leela and Novelty, located in Hazratganj, were once the three best movie halls in the city.
Hazratganj is indeed a beautiful amalgamation of the old and the new. Make sure to list Hazratganj in you must see places on your next visit to the city. The charm and warmth of the place is sure to have a mesmerising spell on you.