"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety." - Shakespeare. This quote by Shakespeare best describes the beauty of the old princely city of Lucknow. The city is swathed with many monumental structures that remind you of Lucknow's opulent lifestyle that was once common to the nobility of Lucknow. Visit Lucknow to sample its singular culture that is sure to make you fall in love with the city and its people. Known as the cultural hub in the region, Lucknow stages a variety of cultural events that will take you back to the Mughal era. Its traditional dance forms, music, and poetic recitals only go to show how much the people of Lucknow treasure art and literature. As you wander through the many sites of the city, you will find that each of the monuments, parks and palaces have a story of their own to narrate. Read the sections below to know more about the tourist attractions in Lucknow.
Tourist Attractions In Lucknow
The Bara Imambara is a public square or a complex, which also serves as a prayer hall on important religious occasions. Built in the year 1783, during the famine, Bara Imambara is one of the best architectural sites in Lucknow. According to some historians, the then Nawab of Lucknow took up this grand project in order to provide the local people with employment. According to the legends, the building was constructed during the day and was demolished during the night. This was done to ensure that no one remained unemployed. This went on for almost a decade until the famine ended. This monument is one of the unique structures in the world and rumor has it that the old building has a secret passage that leads to Faizabad, Allahabad and Delhi. The Bara Imambara is one of the best examples of the wealth and aesthetic skills that the city once possessed.
Also referred to as the 'Hussainabad Imambara', the Chota Imambara is a smaller version of the Bara Imamabara, as the name implies. The monument is a striking white colored building. Constructed by Muhammad Ali Shah in the year 1838, the building was said to be the third Nawab of Avadh's very own crypt. During religious celebrations in the city, the mausoleum is decorated with lights, due to which the place is also called as 'palace of lights'. Once you are inside the building, look out for the imposing Belgium chandeliers, unique Arabic inscriptions and the tomb of Ali Shah and his immediate family members. On the exterior of the monument, you can find a watchtower.
Situated in the Hazratganj locality, which falls under the centre of the main city, is the British Residency. Amidst the crowded local area still standing proud is the centuries old monument that was the former residency of the English officials of Avadh. The residence was built between 1780 and 1800. Once the Indian Mutiny rebels tried to attack the building but were later captured by the soldiers. The British Residency in Lucknow gives you a realistic picture of colonial India.
The Rumi Darwaza is a magnificent and colossal sized gateway built in the centre of the city. The entryway is said to be a facsimile of one of the gates of Constantinople. The structure was built in 1784 by Asaf-ud-Daula, one of the Nawabs of Lucknow. This ornately designed wall is 60 feet tall and is a popular landmark in the city.
While touring the city, one must include the state museum in his/her itinerary. Located in Banarasi Bagh, inside a modern three-storied building, the state museum is a versatile storehouse that hosts a variety of objects such as sculptures, paintings, anthropological samples, coins, bronze items, textiles and other pieces of art. As you stroll along the various exhibits, do take a look at the ancient terracotta collection and copper coins belonging to the Indus valley civilization, the Egyptian mummy, a 2nd century sculpture of Balarama, Panch-Mukhi Shiv Lingam, etc. This museum has innumerable items with great value such as the 17th century wine jar of Aurangzeb, a jade chamakali that has Jahangir name inscribed on it and the 16th century Kalpasutra painting, which are some of the major highlights in the museum. A trip to Lucknow is incomplete without visiting this museum.
Designed and laid by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan in 1800s for his beloved queen Sikandara Mahal Begum, the Sikandara Bagh is another beautiful garden within the cities numerous well-laid gardens. The park is named after the nawab's wife. In the 19th century, the last king of Avadh developed the garden by revamping the place. During the British Mutiny, the place became the backdrop for the battle between the English soldiers and the rebels. Several hundreds of Indian protesters were slaughtered in this park. Today, however, the park is an important stage for the many recreational activities. The park is common venue for several cultural programs such as Kathak dance recitals, music and poetic recitals.
The Kaiserbagh Palace, built in 1848-1850, was the brainwork of Wajid Ali Shah. The palace is elaborately decorated with dome shaped minarets, Hindu styled umbrellas, Mughal styled marquees, large colossal columns, etc. The Kaiserbagh palace is popular tourist spot in the city of Lucknow and you will know why when you have a look at this brilliant structure.