Bara Imambara; Photo by: Jeremiah C Rao; Photo Source: Nat Geo Traveller India, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh

The City of Nawabs- A Historian’s Delight


Travel Guide at Lucknow

Lucknow with its immense heritage and grandeur is a must-see for tourists interested in Heritage Tourism. As the ‘City of Nawabs’ still holds the culture, it provides immense opportunity to taste the history in a raw form.

The city has the following marvels to its credit:

1. Bara Imambara:

Built in 1784, by the fourth Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, this structure is still a place of worship for Muslims during Muharram.

Bara Imambara; Photo by: Jeremiah C Rao; Photo Source: Nat Geo Traveller India, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Bara Imambara; Photo by: Jeremiah C Rao; Photo Source: Nat Geo Traveller India

The Bara Imambara is known for its exquisite construction. The central hall of Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world. The blocks of Bara Imambara have been stalked with an interlocking system of bricks with no use of girders and beams whatsoever. The roof stands steady even today with no pillars to support it and the precision in acoustics kept in mind during construction is amazing.

Other than the halls, another primary attraction here is an incredible maze called “Bhulbulaiya”, which is situated on the upper floor of the monument, which can be accessed via a straight stairway. We had a guide hired as it is very difficult for tourists to come out of the maze quickly.

On reaching the roof of the maze he said, “Zara muskuraiye, Aap Lucknow mein hai”, and exposed a brilliant panorama of the city. The tunnels around the maze are said to lead to Delhi, Agra, even Pakistan, but are sealed for security reasons.

The Bara Imambara, being a brilliant monument in itself also has lush green fields for families to spend time on cold winter mornings. The building also has mosque named Asfi Mosque where prayers still happen.

2. Shahi Baoli:

Shahi Baoli; Photo Source: lucknowonline.in, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Shahi Baoli; Photo Source: lucknowonline.in

Another architectural marvel is the Shahi Baoli, reflecting 18th Century architecture and the grandeur of the Nawabs of Lucknow. It is located inside the Bara Imambara Complex. The structure though had the basic intention of a well-providing water to the monument, it really is a notable monument itself with the country’s first smoking chamber in this monument, which was imported from Great Britain. Other than this, it has the mechanism to watch enemies without being seen, elaborating classical warfare strategies. The Baoli has a few areas closed to the public but even then, the rest is remarkable.

Shahi Baoli; Photo Source: lucknowonline.in, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Shahi Baoli; Photo Source: lucknowonline.in

Timing: Sunrise to Sunset

Entry fee: Rs. 50.00 (Indian) and – inclusive of Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Picture Gallery, Shahi Hamam

3. Chhota Imambara:

Chhota Imambara stands west to the Bara Imambara and is another example of the glorious Islamic Architecture in 18th Century India. The monument has large mirrors and has beautiful calligraphy. The area has two other structures, one a mausoleum, which is a miniature of Taj Mahal, while the other is a Mosque. There is another incomplete structure called “Satkhanda” near the monument.

Chota Imambara; Photo by: iStockphoto; Photo Source: LiveMint, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Chota Imambara; Photo by: iStockphoto; Photo Source: LiveMint

Though the monument has appreciable aesthetic beauty, its restoration has been poor, depriving it of its original grandeur.

Entry here has to be done with the same tickets as of Bara Imambara and the structure is illuminated on special occasions.

4. Picture Art Gallery:

The fondness of Nawabs for art is already famous all over the world and the documented proof to this can be witnessed at the Art Gallery. Here, once you enter, you will be greeted by a guide, who would guide you through the life-size paintings in the room which was previously used as a court of justice. The paintings not only show the quality of colors, but also illustrate the brilliant use of perspective in the early 18th Century.

Finally, the guide would charge a meager amount for the gallery’s maintenance and restoration.

5. Rumi Darwaza:

Rumi Darwaza; Photo Source: TripAdvisor, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Rumi Darwaza; Photo Source: TripAdvisor

Also knows as the ‘Turkish Gateway’, it was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula in 1784. This used to serve as the entrance to the city of Lucknow. It provides the west entrance to the Great Imambara and is worth a visit while taking a ride on a horse-cart.

6. Husainadabad Clock Tower:

Standing right beside to the Rumi Darwaza, it is the tallest clock tower in India. With a Victorian-Gothic architecture, it is standing still since 1881.

7. Dilkusha Kothi:

This is now the remains of a palace, once constructed by the British resident Major Gore Ouseley (around 1800). Constructed in English Baroque architecture, Dilkusha Kothi once served as a hunting lodge and summer resort for the Nawabs of Awadh.

8. British Residency:

Shahi Baoli; Photo By: Sarit; Photo Source: Flickr, lucknow, pristineroutes, travel blog, uttar pradesh
Shahi Baoli; Photo By: Sarit; Photo Source: Flickr

This place served as a refuge to the Britishers during the uprising battle in 1857. Though the place is now in ruins, it still contains the marks of the bullets and the histories with them. There is a museum at the place that narrates the story and the structures of the place well.

It would take no more than an hour to visit this place.

How to reach:

One can easily travel to Lucknow via train or by air. It is also well connected from Delhi through frequent trains.

Best Time for visit:

Winter, preferably late December or Early January. November and March are also good with a fair temperature

Where to stay:

A few hotels are recommended below, though you can look for yourself – Gomti Area would be the best place to stay:

  • Hotel Vivanta Taj
  • Lineage Hotel in Gomti
  • GenX Casaya Inn

Other online booking options are also available with every range of hotels for your budget.

Women are advised to dress conservatively and might need to cover their heads while entering few of the heritage sites. So carrying a scarf is an easy option.

Data provided by: Neeladri Bhattacharjee

Edited by: Pristine Routes

Image Sources: Internet

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