Lucknow, the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has kept all it charm alive. The historic buildings, monuments, old bazars and delicious food is what makes ones visit to this city of Nawabs a memorable. There is famous saying about the city in pure Urdu dialect “Nawab, aadaab (‘respect’), kebab and shabab (‘beauty’)”.
Well, Lucknow was on my travel plan from a quite long time and finally I had a chance to visit this city where there is plenty to see but often overlooked. I had a very less time to explore the city as I had only 12 hours halt in Lucknow. So, I made a plan to visit the best touristic attraction of the city.
The sun was shining and the weather was pleasant. I knew that the city has gone through a drastic political changes since the new government has come into power. But, it would hardly matter when you are here to just enjoy its touristic beauty.
So, I took an auto rickshaw and rushed to the first attraction of the city, the Bara Imambara. It is the top choice islamic tomb in Lucknow. The Bara Imambara is a holy place, particularly for the shiite muslims and the place is worth watching of its own.
It took me just 20 minutes from my hotel to reach the place and already a huge number of people were already there. At the entrance there are many small road side souvenir shops. The horse cart is also there to can take you on a tour to other attractions of the city as most of them are in and around 1 kilo meters range.
Bara Imambara: Top visited place in Lucknow
Without waisting anymore time outside I enter from the main gate of the Imambara. There is an entrance fee of 0.78 dollars for Indian visitor and 7.85 dollars for foreigners . Besides that, if you are a couple you will be provided a guide for which you have to an extra amount of 1.5 dollars. The guide is not only to narrate the history of the Bara Imambara, but is also there to prevent any hanky – panky things inside the labyrinth.
The Imambara can be accessed through two gateways which leads into a huge courtyard. On one side of the courtyard remains a beautiful mosque and on the other side a step well. At the far end of the courtyard is the big hall where Tazia, a small replicas of Imam Hussain’s tomb in Karbala, Iraq remains. Every year the Tazia are paraded around the city during Shiite mourning ceremony of Muharram.
On the left end of the hall remains what is more attractive to the people is the Bhulbhulaiya. This enchanting network of small and narrow passage ways which would lead to the upper floor, balconies and rooftops. But many a time to the dead ends and its had to find the way outs.
Spending some time exploring the Bara Imambara was an amazing experience. I wanted to spend some more time at the rooftop of this historic place, but I was running out of time. So, I needed to move to the other important places.
Rumi Darwaza: Monument of centuries old
After taking a rounds of narrow passages inside Bara Imambara it was already noon and I could feel the heat of sun. So, without any further delay, I rushed to the other place. From here, I took an auto rickshaw which is very convenient and easily available transportation in Lucknow. In next 5 minutes I was at the Rumi Darwaza.
Rumi Darwaza is a historic place build in 1780s by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula.The gate is said to be the copy of an entrance gate in Istanbul, Turkey and the name Rumi is applied to turkey by muslims when it was called as Byzantium, the capital of the Eastern Roman empire.
At Rumi Darwaza i spend some time observing the architect of this two century old monument. The arches, tomb and other artistic works is really out of this world. It definitely takes one to the that era and for a moment takes you on a walk into the chapters of history.
Just on the other side of the gate remains one more attraction called as chota imambada. So, while on a go I had a short visit to this place as well.
Now after spending a quality time at Rumi Darwaza and chota imambada, it was time to move back to hotel, revitalise myself and get all the stuff packed as in the evening I had to catch the train back to Delhi.
Old Bazar of Lucknow: Taste some good food and buy Souvenir
Spending some time in the hotel and getting prepared for the back journey. I decided to take all my luggage with me and move towards the railway station which was some 30 minutes drive from my hotel. But I had still enough time to roam around the old markets of Lucknow.
As the sun sets the charm of the old market in Lucknow enhances. People throng to the market places and the food out lets remain abuzz. I straight went to Tunday Kabab shop, a famous shop established in 1905. As its said that if you did not have Tunday Kabab in Lucknow than you have not enjoyed the taste of the nawab culinary.
As I reached to the shop, deep into the old Lucknow market. At the entrance of the shop there were big photographs of famous Bollywood celebrities who have visited the shop with the founder of the shop.
The juicy and yummy Tunday Kabab was all I needed to make my evening colourful and I was all set for spending some more time in exploring the bazars. So I was now looking for some Souvenir from the city of Nawabs.
Many people while traveling to different city want to buy something which remains as a memory from that place and when you are in Lucknow then there would be nothing like the lucknowi chikan garments. So, I bought some well designed kurta. With the exploration of bazar, shopping and food it was now time to move to the station.
How to reach and where to stay
Lucknow is about eight hours drive in train. Travelling in train is the best, continent and cheeper way to travel to the city of Nawabs.
Lucknow is not too expensive and you can easily get a good accommodation under 1000 INR at some of the best locations.