Major Tourist Attractions of Lucknow
Lucknow’s grandest monument, the Bara Imambara is a testament of the vision of the nawabs and the skill of the artisans who worked on it. The complex includes a mosque (Asafi Masjid), a labyrinth (bhul bhulaiya) and a step well (Shahi Baoli). It was built in 1785-91 during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula as a famine rehabilitation project and designed by Delhi architect Kifayatullah. Inspired by Mughal architecture, the Bara Imambara's main hall holds the mausoleum of Asaf-ud-Daulah. The tomb is surrounded by eight chambers built to different heights and connected by an elaborate labyrinth which supports the weight of the building.
Rumi DarwazaAdjacent to the Bara Imambara complex, the imposing Rumi Darwaza Lucknow draws visitors to it. It once marked the entrance to Lucknow and is a fine example of Awadhi architecture. It stands 60 feet tall and was modeled after the Sublime Porte in Istanbul. The Rumi Dawaza consists of an arched entrance, with intersecting arcs forming a honeycombed pattern, surmounted by an octagonal chhatri which is accessible by a staircase. It would be lit at night by a huge lantern kept on top of it and had small jets of water sprouting from the sides, creating a beautiful effect. The monument's name is derived from "Rome" from the days when Istanbul was called the new Rome.
Within the precincts of the Bara Imambara Lucknow, the Shahi Baoli is a magnificent step well that was built around a reservoir which was dug to supply water for the construction of the monument. It was later expanded to to serve as a guest house for Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah whose son, the next nawab, was coronated here. Consisting of five storeys, the building’s floor is remarkable for its white marble with inlay work in black and red. Its supply of water is perennial as it is connected to the Gomti River. Warren Hasting is one of the many distinguished guest to have stayed here.
Delicacy and detail characterise the Chhota Imambara. It was built by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah in 1838 and serves as his mausoleum. Its interiors are lit by Belgian chandeliers and the exteriors are decorated by a gilded dome and several turrets. A watch tower called the Satkhanda stands outside the Chhota Imambara which is also known as Hussainabad Imambara.
Chattar ManzilSurmounted by a gilt umbrella-like dome, the Chattar Manzil today houses the Central Drug Research Institute. It was built by Nawab Ghazi-ud-din-Haider.
Moti MahalBuilt on the riverfront of the Gomti River, Moti Mahal was used as a pleasure palace by the nawabs. They would watch birds flying or stage animal fights here.
The imposing facade of La Martiniere, a school for boys, masks a story of adventure and courage. Called Constantia, it was built by a French adventurer, Claude Martin, in 1785 as his residence and the school came into being in 1845 on his request after his death. For its role in the events of 1857, the school was awarded royal battle honours. The building displays a curious mixture of architectural styles and is profusely ornamented.
Once the British Residency in Lucknow, the ruined buildings are a testament to the fierce fighting that erupted during the Siege of Lucknow in 1857. Built in 1800, it served as the residence of the British Resident General and was the place where the British residents of the city took refuge. It has been preserved as it was at the end of the siege. Nearby are the graves of 2,000 men, women and children who died during the battle.
Safed BaradariAlso known as Qaiser Bagh, it was built by the last nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, to commemorate Muharram. Painted white, it stands in its own gardens and is used to hold functions today. It is a property of the British India Association of Oudh.
Jama Masjid Lucknow
Located in the Husainabad area of the city, the splendid Jama Masjid is another striking example of Lucknowi architecture. Built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah in 1842, it remains incomplete. Its grand entrance echoes the design of the Rumi Darwaza. The interiors are decorated with foliage and flowers and the Mehrab is imprinted with verses from the Quran. The Jama Masjid has two prayer halls. A staircase in the south-east corner of the mosque leads to the roof top.
Shah Najaf ImambaraLocated in the heart of the city, next to the National Botanical Research Institute, it was built by Nawab Ghazi-ud-din-Haider in 1817 and serves as his mausoleum. It was modeled after the tomb of Hazrat Ali, the fourth Caliph, in Najaf, Iraq and is on the Gomti riverfront.
Ghanta GharThe tallest clock tower in India at a height of 221 feet, the Ghanta Ghar was built by Nawab Nasir-ud-din-Haider in 1880 to honour Sir George Couper who had taken over as the first governor of United Provinces. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, it is appreciated for its large dial shaped like a 12-petalled flower, decorated with bells all around, and its 14-feet long pendulum. The clock tower is located a short distance away from the Bara Imambara. It was recently restored and chimes again after having been silent for many years.
Lakshman TilaBelieved to be the site of the original habitation of Lucknow, it is located north of the Bara Imambara on the riverfront of the Gomti, close to the Alamgiri Masjid.
Lucknow ZooKnown as the Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens, the Lucknow Zoo in Hazratganj is a popular spot for visitors. Its collection includes a variety of animals and birds including white tigers, lions, baboons, giraffes, zebras, emus and macaws.
Ambedkar Memorial Park LucknowA recent addition to the imposing monuments of Lucknow, it seeks to match them in scale. Built in 2008 by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati in Gomti Nagar, it is constructed of sandstone in a 107-acre park. A stupa in the centre contains the statues of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Mahtama Phule, Narayana Guru and Shahuji Maharaj. The walkway leading to it is flanked by 62 stone elephants. The memorial is set in lush landscaped gardens studded with Ashokan columns and bronze fountains.
Best Time to Visit LucknowThe best time to visit Lucknow would be during the months of October to March. The weather during this period is dry and cool to cold with temperatures from a high of 320C to a low of 70C. Thick fog on winter mornings is common. Summers (April-June) in Lucknow are very hot with temperatures varying from 440C to 270C. The rainy season (July-September) sees moderate to heavy rains in the city.
Travel in Lucknow
Shopping in Lucknow
Shopping in Lucknow is a pastime in itself. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of traditional bazaars in Hazratganj, Aminabad, Chowk, Nakkhas, Sadar, Narhi, Kaiserbagh, Alambagh and Aliganj. These are the places where they can pick up some exquisite Chikankari and zardosi textiles jewellery in gold and silver, antiques and bronze artifacts. Lucknow is also famed for its attar or perfumes which are available in many varieties including sandalwood, jasmine, musk, lavender and marigold. A number of ethnic home furnishings, accessories and utility items can also be bought here. Nakhas is well-known for its pavement bazaar where one can pick up delightful bargains. The bazaar in Hazratganj is closed on Sunday while Aminabad and Chowk are closed on Thursday and Narhi on Monday.
Modern malls and shopping complexes have come up around the old city and in the suburbs and they include Wave Complex, Fun Republic, Inbox-Big Bazaar, Phoenix Mall, Saharaganj and Vishal Mega Mart.
Leisure Activities in Lucknow
Lucknow offers opportunities for a host of leisure activities including kite flying, horse racing and golf. Kite flying happens mainly during the festival of Makar Sankanti in January. Horse racing and golf enthusiasts can head to the city's golf club and race course to indulge in their favourite pastimes. Dreamworld, 25 km from the city, on the Lucknow-Kanpur highway offers a water park, go-karting track and various other amusements.
Lucknow Tourism Offices
For more information tourists can contact:
U.P.C-13, Vipin Khand
Gomti Nagar, Lucknow - 226010
Tel: +91 0522 2307028, +91 0522 2308916
Regional Tourist Office
10, Station Road
Lucknow - 226001
Tel: +91 0522 2638105
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