Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. With its rich cultural and artistic history, Lucknow is still an important place of music, art, poetry and tourism. It was shaped by several emperors since the Mughal period upto the arrival of the British. Lucknow was the capital of the Nawabs of Oudh and so the city came to be referred to as “City of Nawabs”. Amongst the various rulers few to name were Muhammad Amin Saadat Khan, Abdul Mansur Khan Safdur Jung, Amjad Ali Shah and Wajid Ali Shah who ruled the city for more than hundred years. With its vast heritage consisting of monuments and a mixture of Hindi and Urdu Literature, it was difficult to point out the top ten places to visit in Lucknow but nevertheless, here is one.
10. Husainabad Clock Tower:
This building is midway between the Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara in the old part of the city. The tall clock tower was built by Nawab Nasir-Ud-Din Haider in the year 1880. The height of the Clock Tower reaches upto 221 feet which makes it the tallest clock tower ever built in India. The cost of the clock fitted inside the tower was rupees 1.75 lakhs at that time. Roskell Payne prepared this ethereal structure which reflects the Victorian-Gothic designs. Its 14-feet long pendulum and 12 petal shaped dial gives it a beautiful look especially in the night.
9. La Martiniere:
La Martiniere Boys College shows the perfect architectural vision shared by French impresario Claude Martin and Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula for building up an unparalleled architecture for educational purposes. Built in the 18th century, the La Martiniere Boys College is considered one of Asia’s leading monument besides holding the distinction of being one of the finest schools of the country. The tomb of Claude Martin is also located inside the building. The exterior walls of the architecture are lavishly decorated with the animal and mythological figurines. The interior has a unique blend of a banquet hall, a mausoleum and a mansion to name a few.
8. Rumi Darwaza:
It was built to the west of Bara Imambara by Asaf-ud-Daula to provide a relief to the people who were affected from famine of 1784. Standing tall at 60 feet, it is also known as the Turkish Gate and the signature building of Lucknow. Since the workers from Rome were also involved in making this structure, it got the name ‘Rumi Darwaza’. The beautifully carved floral designs are decorated at the gateway. The most amazing part of the building is that it doesn’t have any fitting of wood or iron to support it from the outside and yet, it still stands erect.
7. Chowk Market:
It is the oldest marketplace located in the old part of Lucknow. This area is best known for its famous ‘Chikan Kari’ work which is done in small units with exquisite shadow embroidery. Chowk market is well connected to other parts of the city and has an intricate web of narrow streets. The essence of historical and cultural heritage can be experienced with its old Nawabi blend with modern times. There are around 5000 shops in this market. It is the best place to taste authentic Lucknowi cuisines like Kabab Parantha and is home to a 200-year-old sweet shop.
6. Ambedkar Memorial:
It is also known as Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal and is dedicated in the honour of Shahuji Maharaj, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and others who committed their entire life for the humanity and equality. It was constructed by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati, under the reign of Bahujan Samaj Party. It is the only modern architecture in the city worth admiration. The construction of the memorial is in the shape of flower which has four petals.
5. Hazratganj Market:
This is the most popular market especially among the youth of Lucknow. It was established in 1810 by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and is also known as the ‘Park Avenue’ of the city. Earlier, it was only used by Nawabs and Zamindars for listless and a leisurely walks. Today, Hazratganj has a mixture of both small and big markets which offers almost everything under one roof. Hazratganj market completed its 200 years in 2011 in celebration of which the whole area was given a brand new look.
4. Lucknow Zoo:
Lucknow Zoo was established in the year 1921 to mark the visit of the then Prince of Wales to the city. The Nawabs and Zamindars donated rupees 7.3 lakhs for its maintenance and smooth functioning at the time. The State Museum of Lucknow is located inside the zoo premises. The toy train is an added attraction in the zoo that began operation from November 14, 1969. The Lucknow Zoo is one of the best in the country and house a variety of wild animals in an area of 71.6 acres making it one of the most popular destinations.
3. British Residency:
The Residency built by nawab Saadat Ali Khan in 1800 near the bank of river Gomti is worth a visit. It was the centerstage of violent clashes between the British and Indian revolutionaries during the Lucknow siege of the 1857 revolt. The walls of the Residency protected 3000 British inhabitants for almost 90 days. The remains of the building are preserved since 1920. It also has a museum which delineates an exact presentation of First War of Independence.
2. Chhota Imambara:
It is located in the old city popularly known as the Imambara of Husainabad. This beautiful and magnificent building was built by Mohammed Ali Shah in the year 1837. The clinquant domes – one smaller and the other larger – of the Imambara attract visitors even from a distance. The tombs are said to be those of Mohammed Ali Shah and his family members. It is well equipped with gold edged mirror and silver throne. The interiors of the monuments are adorned with beautiful Arabic calligraphy and entangled pieces of glass work. During the eve of Muharram, the Imambara shines with its attractive lamps and Belgium Chandeliers which are worth watching.
1. Bara Imambara:
Also known as Asafi Imambara, and popularly known as the Bhool Bhulaiya, the Bara Imambara which was built in the year 1784 Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. It is considered the icon of Lucknow’s heritage. It was built as a part of a charitable trust for an extreme scarcity of food and hunger that took place in its year of construction. The central hall of the Imambara is the largest in the world. The roof stands steady till date without any support from pillars. Because of its maze of corridors built to confuse enemies, it got the name of Bhool Bhulaiya.