Lucknow Tourism

Lucknow’s rich heritage and culture makes it a tourists’ haven. The heart of the city is littered with splendid monuments and buildings from the days of the nawabs. While many important buildings were destroyed and many more are past their best days, much remains that reflects the city’s glory. Lucknow’s social and cultural milieu is such that history, art and culture are part of its everyday fabric and visitors can find many things that interest them.

Travel in Lucknow

Visitors to Lucknow, especially those arriving by train, know what’s in store when they set eyes on the impressive Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow. Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, they can note with interest that an aerial view of the station shows its plan as a chessboard with its domes and pillars as the pieces. As they travel into the city, passing through the various neighbourhoods, they can appreciate the pleasing skyline of domes and minarets. Though the modern age asserts itself in Lucknow, the city’s past is more than just a memory.

Major Tourist Attractions of Lucknow

Bara Imambara

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.

Major Tourist Attractions in Lucknow

Asafi Masjid

The cynosure of all eyes at the Bara Imambara, the Asafi Masjid is an impressive sight with its domes and 153 feet high minarets. Two large prayer halls, each 183 feet long, 32 feet high and with 11 arched doors, hold the faithful. A large platform in front has a flight of 28 steps leading to it. The mosque is named after its builder Asaf-ud-Daulah and also offers fine views of the city from its roof top.

Rumi Darwaza

Adjacent 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.

Shahi Baoli

shahi baoli in lucknow

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.

Chhota Imambara

chhota imambara in lucknow

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 Manzil

Surmounted 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 Mahal

Built 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.

La Martiniere

Lucknow Getaways

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.

The Residency

the residency in lucknow

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 Baradari

Also 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

jama masjid in 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 Imambara

Located 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 Ghar

The 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 Tila

Believed 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 Zoo

Known 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 Lucknow

ambedkar memorial in 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.

Kukrail Dam

On Lucknow's periphery, 12 km away from the city centre, the Kukrail Dam is a popular picnic spot. Located near the Kukrail Reserve Forest, it is a gharial rehabilitation centre and also has a deer park.

Best Time to Visit Lucknow

The 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

Getting around Lucknow requires no great effort with a regular bus service, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis playing all over the city. It has, in fact, become easier with the introduction of air-conditioned and non air-conditioned CNG buses. The buses are run by the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation. Bus depots are located in Charbagh, Gomti Nagar, Amausi and Dubagga. Efforts are being made to develop a metro and mono rail service for the city too.

The interstate bus station at Alambagh sees buses plying from Lucknow to all parts of the state and beyond. Lucknow is well connected by train to major cities in region and the country.

Lucknow Getaways

Lucknow has a number of interesting places close by and these include Allahabad, Kanpur, Faizabad, Ayodhya, Sravasti, Nawabganj and Dudhwa National Park. They are all within a 25-km radius from the city and easily accessible by car, bus and train. While Allahabad is famous for the Sangam, where three rivers meet and its fort, Kanpur is a centre for leather production. Dudhwa National Park is a tiger reserve and Nawabganj has a bird sanctuary. Faizabad was the former capital of the nawabs, Ayodhya is a temple town and Sravasti was a Buddhist centre.

Shopping in Lucknow

Lucknow Tourism Offices

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:

Directorate of Tourism
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
    Free Listing