7 Best Places to Visit in Lucknow
This is a guest post by Rohit Agarwal, author of Trans India Travels.
Lucknow, commonly referred to as the “City of Nawabs,” is a bustling destination brimming with the charm of the Royals who used to call this place home.
British and Mughal influences are evident in the local architecture. Plus, both Hindi and Urdu are widely spoken here. The amalgamation of the two languages is evident in the local vernacular, which is very pleasing to the ears. Uttar Pradesh and its capital city are filled with many tourist attractions and experiences.
If you’re planning a visit to India anytime soon, here are the best places to visit in Lucknow.
1. Rumi Darwaza
This gateway is the ideal place to begin your journey because Rumi Darwaza is centrally located with respect to other tourist attractions. Built in 1784, the imposing and historical structure stands 60 feet tall and is the legacy of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daulah. You can see clear impressions of Awadhi architecture in the structure. By evening, the Darwaza is lit up with lights and looks amazing in the twilight. It acts as the gateway to the Bara Imambara and features the Chota Imambara on the other side.
2. Bara Imambara
This majestic marvel is home to three other monuments: the Imambara Mosque, the Bhool Bhulaiya (a.k.a the Labyrinth), and the Baoli. Enlist the help of a guide before exploring (just be sure to decide on a fixed price beforehand). Having a guide is the best way to learn about the beautiful folklore of yesteryear in addition to the building’s historical significance. People do get lost in the labyrinth without the guides, but the whole experience is incredible. From the top, you’ll have beautiful views of the city. A fun fact is the sonic features of the architecture — if you whisper on one side under the dome around the supporting pillar, your whisper can be clearly heard on the other side.
Situated in the heart of the city, Hazratganj is a modern blend of shops, restaurants, and historic architecture and buildings. When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the local crowds, grab a bite to eat, catch a flick in the cinemas, relax in a cafe, or shop your heart out at the big stores lining the lane. A stroll through Hazratganj is a mind refresher and one of the most recommended experiences by the locals. It’s been compared to similar places like Connaught place, but Hazratganj has the old ‘Awadhi’ charm that is second to none.
4. Chowk (Old Lucknow)
Chowk is a foodie’s paradise. Old Lucknow is evident in the vibes of this part of the town, and the streets are filled with people fulfilling their appetites with the city’s famous Kebabs. It’s a chaotic place with its own character and shops buzzing around you. You can also see the intricate and beautiful workings of Chikankari, which is a traditional embroidery style. Apparel with this kind of work can be found in the shops around the Chowk, but be prepared to haggle and (if you want the best deal) shop around a bit. The rustic vibe of the Old Lucknow will leave you mesmerized!
Situated minutes from Rumi Darwaza, Satkhanda (meaning “seven floors”) was built during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah. The architecture has clear visuals of the traditional architectural style. It was originally intended to be seven floors long, but construction stopped after the death of the King. The locals say its original purpose was to see the moon during the Holy month of Ramazan. You can explore it by yourself or, if you hire a guide, be shown parts unknown to the general public.
6. Constantia House (La Martiniere School)
Built as a recluse for General Claude Martin, this huge palace has impressive architecture on display. With the lion facades guarding the grounds and the intricate work visible on the walls, this is an impressive structure which remains a remnant of the older rulers and administrators. Now turned into one of the best schools in the country, the sweeping driveway, the alluring gardens, and the impeccable structure are worth your time and visit.
7. Ram Krishna Math (Ramakrishna Mission)
“The Math” is a mind relaxing attraction which remains less crowded and peaceful, making it a great place to relax and get to know about the Math’s teachings and works. There’s a meditation centre inside to calm your soul and guide you towards tranquility. The Math’s sprawling campus features gardens and splendid architecture. There’s also a big library with a huge collection of books. You can get to know more about the teachings of Swami Ramkrishna paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda. If you get a chance, visit during the evening hours when the rituals are carried out. Time stands still as the hymns and chants brush away all your problems and guide you towards solace.
Lucknow is the cultural epicentre of India’s North-West corridor. It’s the birthplace of famous musicians, including the pioneer of ghazals, singer Begum Akhtar. The Nawabi style is evident in both the city and its people. It’s embedded in their hearts and is an obvious way of life here. And, by the time you leave, Lucknow will have a special place in your heart, too.