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Lucknow - City of Nawabs

DISTANCE - 363 KM From Agra, 77 KM From Kanpur, 497 KM From Delhi

By Air : Lucknow is directly connected by Indian Airlines flights with Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Gorakhpur, Mumbai, Kanpur and Varanasi with regular flights. The Amousi airport is about 14 km from the city centre.

By Rail : Lucknow is on the trunk line and has direct rail connections with Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bomaby, Cochin, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Jammu, Puri, Varanasi, etc. The most convenienet connection from Delhi is Shatabdi Express – which is air-conditioned.

By Road : Lucknow is well connected by road with all major cities of the country like Kanpur, Ayodhya, Allahabad, Varanasi, Khajurhao, Agra and Delhi.
Lucknow is the city of gardens is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow derives its name from Lakshman, the Lord Rama’s younger brother. Lucknow was the principal centre of the erstwhile Awadh province. Even while keeping pace with modern developments, Lucknow has preserved its golden past and its sublime culture – the Lucknawi Tehzib. Lucknow has also been the home of various poets and writers of Hindu-urdu literature, dance, music and delicious cuisine. The fascinating ‘Chikankari’ or exquisite shadow work embroidery on fine muslin cloth is also known worldwide. Hindu, Urdu and English are the main languages which are spoken in Lucknow.

The Lucknow witnessed the rise and fall of many dynasties. When the Mughals conquered North India in the 16th century it was absorbed into their empire and rapidly developed under Akbar’s patronage. In the 18th century, Nawab Sadat Ali Khan founded the Oudh (Awadh) dynasty. The builder of Lucknow was Nawab Asif-ud-Daula who shifted his capital here from Faizabad in 1775 and shaped it into a city of gardens and great buildings like the Great Imambara. He also emptied the regal coffers with his ambitious building and personal extravagance. The rulers of Oudh were great connoisseurs of music and poetry. It remained a center of political and cultural activities. In the mid 1850, under Lord Dalhousie, the British annexed a number of Indian states. The Lord Dalhousie considered British rule so superior to Indian that the more territory directly administered by the British the better it would be for the Indian people. He therefore evolved a policy of lapse whereby the states of Indian princes without direct heirs could be taken over on the ruler’s death. Chronic mismanagement was also the main cause for takeover. The great Muslim state of Oudh was annexed for this second reason. The Oudh dyansty also falls as the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was so engrossed in his game of chess that he remained unheeding to his tasks even when British soldiers occupied his capital.
Bara Imambara : The hall built by Asaf-ud-Daula for famine relief, is one of the largest in the world. There are excellent views of Lucknow from the top of the Imambara. An external stairway leads to an upper floor laid out as an amazing labyrinth known as the bhulbulaiya. The dark passages stop abruptly at openings which drop straight to the courtyard below. There's a mosque with two tall minarets in the courtyard complex and to the right of this is a well which is said to have secret tunnels opening into. Rumi Darwaza : This huge 60-feet-high door was also built by Asaf-ud-Daula. It is also called the 'Turkish Darwaza,' it is the entrance to the Bara Imambara. It is a massive gate on the the western side of the front of Bara Imambara.

Chota Imambara : Hussainabad or Chota Imambara, was built by Mohammed Ali Shah in 1837 as his own mausoleum. The appeal of this structure lies in its furnishings comprising exquisite chandeliers of Belgium glass. The glittering brass-domes and ornate architecture of this building made a Russian Prince call it the "Kremlin of India." It contains the tombs of Ali Shah and his mother. A small bazaar, known as the Gelo Khana or "Decorated Place", lies inside the imposing entrance of the Imambara.

The Clock Tower : It is located very near to the Rumi Darwaza. Built in 1881 by the British, this 67 m-high clock tower on the river Gomti is said to the tallest clock tower in India. The tower has European style artwork. The parts of the clock is built of pure gunmetal and the pendulum hangs 14 feet. The dial of this clock is shaped like a 12-petalled flower and has bells around it.

Shah Najaf Imambara : It holds the tombs of Ghasi-ud-Din Haidar and his two wife's. Situated on the south bank of Gomti towards the west of Sikandar Bagh, the building is almost an exact replica of the tomb of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, at Najaf Ashraf in Iraq. The interior is used to store chandeliers, and elaborate creations of wood, bamboo and silver paper which are carried through the streets during the Muharram Festival.

Residency : Built in 1800 by Saadat Ali Khan for the British Resident. There is a model room in the main Residency building which is worth visiting and a small museum on the ground floor. This group of buildings became the stage for the most dramatic events of the 1857 Mutiny the Siege of Lucknow. There is cemetery near by with graves of those who suffered in the mutiny.

Noor Baksh : Noor Baksh Kothi (Light giving palace) is in Lal Bagh area next to the Methodist Church and now known as Noor Manzil. It was believed to be built by Saadat Ali Khan as a school for royal children while others say Agha Mir, the Prime Minister was its owner. Rafi us Shan, son of Muhammad Ali Shah made this his residence till the end of Nawabi rule. Now it houses a psychiatric clinic for the mentally disturbed.

Chattar Manzil : The two Chattar Manzils near the Begum Hazarat Mahal park, on the banks of the Gomti were Royal pavilions. The name comes from the gilt chattars or umbrellas atop the two main buildings. The Greater Chattar Manzil was once a king's palace. Under the existing river terrace was the ground floor with the tykhanas (cool underground rooms), cooled by the waters of the Gomti which lapped against its outer walls. Considering their size, surprisingly little is known about the Chattar Manzil Palaces. Today this building houses the Central Medicine Research body. The Lal Baradari was also the part of Chattar Manzil and was built as Coronation Hall and Durbar Hall.

State Museum : The state Museum in Banarasi Bagh houses an impressive collection of stone sculptures, 1st-11th century exhibits of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain works, rare coins, marble sculptures and an Egyptian Mummy.

Dudhwa National Park : Dudhwa is 238 km N of Lucknow and was designated a National Park in 1977. Bordering the Sarda River in the Terai, it is very similar to the Corbett National Park. It has sal forest, tall savannah grasslands and large marshy areas watered by the Neora and Sohel rivers. Dudhwa National Park is home to unusual animal species. This national park's star attraction is the Royal Bengal tiger

Gautam Buddha Park : Situated in between the Bara Imambara and the Martyrs Memorial, this park has been a recreation ground for children. Rides here are a big draw. Also used by political parties to hold rallies now.

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial : Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial is the newly added attraction in Lucknow. This memorial is spread over 53 acres of land in Gomti Nagar, and dedicated in the memory of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In the heart of this sprawling complex, stands a 112 feet high memorial resembling a Stupa, with a 16 feet high bronze statue of Dr. Ambedkar. Numerous figures of life-size elephant, lush gardens with a 20 feet. wide canal surrounds the memorial.

Moti Mahal : There are three beautiful buildings on the fringes of the Gomti. The main one is the Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace constructed by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. The other two include Mubarak Manzil and the Shah Manzil. They were mainly constructed for the Nawab and his courtiers to watch animal combats from the balconies of the buildings, which were held at the other side of the river. The Nawabs also used these buildings to view the birds in flight.
Sankat Mochan Temple : Sankat Mochan Temple is located in the heart of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The presiding deity here is Lord Hanuman. With a height of 6.5 ft, the one-piece marble idol is visible from all corners of the puja hall. The temple is also noted for its astounding architecture, a perfect blend of old and new.

Sri Hanuman Badi Temple : The Sri Hanuman Badi temple is situated at Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh. This temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, was built by the Nawabs, the Muslim rulers of Lucknow, in medieval times. People of both Hindu and Muslim faiths offer worship in this temple. The temple, though small in size, attracts a large number of devotees

Jama Masjid : The splendid mosque built by Muhammad Ali Shah in the typical Mughal style with two minarets and three domes, lies to the west of the Hussainabad Imambara and is entirely free from pseudo Italian art, then in vogue in Lucknow.

Lucknow is a wonderful place and can be visited just about anytime through the year. However, the best time to visit Lucknow is usually from October to March. This is usually the peak season for Lucknow travel.

Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh enjoys a warm tropical climate. The summers are very hot and dry and last from April to June. December to February is the winter month, which remains very cold. During December to January, Lucknow remains foggy. From the mid June, rainy season sets in and continues to September. The ideal time to visit Lucknow is during October to March.

Some of the major Hindu and Muslim festivals are celebrated in Lucknow. There are also several festivals celebrated distinctively in Lucknow. The day after Diwali is celebrated with a great fair and national kite flying competition at the Patang Park. In the month of February, the UP Government organizes the Lucknow festival. Song, drama, dance, processions, boating, ekka races are the main features of the ten day festival with special emphasis on the performance of Indian classical music. Moharram is another festival which is celebrated in Lucknow. This is really not a festival but a period of mourning when huge tazias (replicas of tombs of the son-inlsaw and grandsons of the Prophet) are taken out in procession by Shia Muslims amidst beating of breasts. The pageantry of the Nawabi days is re-enacted. Fire-walking takes place on one of the nights.
Lucknow is also a gourmet’s city. ‘ Lucknavi Parathas’ (unleavened bread) with 10 layers are soft and crisp. Variety of Kababs, Dampukhta, Seenkh Kabab, Rumali Roti, Kulcha Nahari, Biryani, Sheermal etc. are some of the famous dishes of Lucknow. There are also various restaurants and eating joints in Lucknow, where you can have truly delicious Lakhnawi cuisine. The coffee shops, pizza outlets and fast food joins are also available as well.

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