Lucknow, the capital and the largest city of Uttar Pradesh is well known for its rich history, culture and heritage. Historically the city was a hub for art, architecture, food and literature. In the past, Lucknow, the seat of the Nawabs, was the capital of Awadh Region, under the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire. Today Lucknow is extremely popular among tourists for the majestic monuments, Lakhnawi delicacies, chikankari embroidery and tehzeeb (polite mannerisms). There are many places to see in Lucknow and here comes the list of best places to visit in Lucknow.
In 1780, Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab of Awadh, commissioned the Bara Imambara as part of a famine relief program. It is said that people from the lower strata of the economy used to work during the day. Construction work was carried on during the day while people from the higher economic strata worked at night to break down anything that was raised that day. This way the grand building was finally completed in 1794. The Imambara Complex houses the majestic Asfi Mosque, a Bowli (step well) and the popular Bhoolbhulaiya, amaze or a labyrinth. Huge gateways lead to a hall which is Asia’s largest hall without any pillar for support. Asaf-ud-Daula’s simple grave rests in this hall, decorated with mirrors and chandeliers. The chief attraction, Bhoolbhulaiya, is a three-dimensional labyrinth with passages interconnecting with each other through 489 identical doorways or nodes. It is suggested to enter the Bhoolbhulaiya with a guide, because most of the passages are dark and have unpredictable bends. If you feel claustrophobic it is better to avoid the labyrinth. However, please climb to the terrace. The view from the top is amazing. Bara Imambara and Bhoolbhulaiya tops the chart of best places to visit in Lucknow Ticket price for entry to only Bara Imambara is Rs.50 and guide charges are separate.
Rumi Darwaza stands as an emblem of Lucknow, the city of Nawabs. It is located in between Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. This area is old and one of the best places to visit in Lucknow. From Bara Imambara and/or Rumi Darwaza, riding a horse carriage (tanga) is almost mandatory. This gate is a massive gate influenced by Turkish architecture. The two sides of the gate totally differ in design. From one side of the gate, when it is looked upside down it resembles v shaped neckline used in chikankari kurtas and the intricate designs were influenced by necklace of the Begum. On the gate there are cloves as a prominent part of the design. The other side of the gate is like a three storied mansion. Rumi Darwaza, like Bara Imambara, has two fish engraved on it. This is the mark of the Nawabs. However, Bara Imambara has no element of European architecture incorporated.
Hussainabad Heritage Zone
Bara Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Chhota Imambara, Ghantaghar, Satkhanda, Hussainabad Shahi Talab and Picture Gallery make the Hussainabad Heritage Zone. If you are in Lucknow, this area must be visited as it comprises of all the oldest and the best places to visit in Lucknow. As we moved away from Rumi Darwaza we came across Ghantaghar, the tallest Clock Tower in India. Influenced by London’s Big Ben, Richard Roskell Bayne designed it in Victorian and Gothic style. Rupees 1.75 Lakh was spent in 1881 to build it for marking the arrival of the first Lieutenant Governor of the United Province of Avadh, Sir George Couper. The Shahi Talab (Lake) and its surroundings near the Clock Tower is a sprawling structure. The Satkhand, an incomplete mansion stands nearby. Then there is the Picture Gallery housing gorgeous full size paintings and portraits and some items which belonged to the Nawabs. The guides at the Gallery give a good insight of the history of the Nawabs. Another beautiful gate leads to the Chhota Imambara which is much smaller in size compared to the Bara Imambara. Yet it is serene and the architecture, calligraphy and decoration are wonderful.
The Residency comprises of sprawling green lawns, flower beds and numerous buildings which are ruins today. There is a museum inside it stating its history. The Residency was subject to the Siege of Lucknow due to the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The complex is beautiful with a ruined Church building; a cemetery with many graves, including one with a High Cross and Banquet Hall and Brigade Mess. Ruins of Begum Kothi and the Begum’s Mosque are also frequented by parrots and squirrels besides humans. Even though the history of this place is one of unrest and hatred, today as we walked round the place, we experienced serenity and peace. It is one of the best places to visit in Lucknow.
Parks of Lucknow
Lucknow is a city of Parks with Asia Pacific’s largest Park, Janeshwar Mishra Park and Gomti Riverfront Park from where one can watch city’s best sunset. There are many more sprawling parks like Ambedkar Memorial Park, Gautam Buddha Park, Botanical Garden, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Park, and Begum Hazrat Mahal Park. Spread across 72 acres of land at the heart of the city, stands Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden. It also houses a Nature Interpretation Centre, a Nocturnal House, Crocodile Park and an Aquarium House. There’s a toy train too; making Lucknow zoo one of the best places to visit in Lucknow for children.
Lucknow, the City of Nawabs
Besides the site seeing spots the best places to visit in Lucknow are the places to eat. Check out this link below:
The city of Nawabs is full of eateries. When it comes to Lakhnawi Zyka (taste), be it pocket friendly option or opulent luxury dining, every item is unparalleled. When in Lucknow, do not miss out shopping Chikankari embroidery hand worked items. They are a speciality of the city. With its history, culture, mannerism, architecture, food and chikankari, Lucknow will steal your heart and bring smile to your lips. Muskuraiye Aap Lucknow Mein Hai.