The capital and the largest city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, situated on the banks of river Gomti, welcomes you with a heartwarming note of “Muskuraiyein, kyunki aap Lucknow mein hai”. A city of kebabs and nawabs, of architecture and history, of literature and culture – that is Lucknow in a nutshell for you. The people of Lucknow are known for their courtly manners and endearing ‘pehle aap‘ (you first) culture, which always leaves behind a smile on the faces of its visitors. From a slice of rich colonial history to modernized museums, this artistic hub of Awadh region beautifully brings together the opulence of a glittering past and the simplicity of a modern city.
Its central hall is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world. Except for the galleries in the interior, there is no woodwork in the entire structure. It is now used by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari.
It is believed that the construction of this grand building was started in 1785 when a devastating famine had hit Awadh, and the nawab’s objective was to provide employment for people in the region for almost a decade while the famine lasted.
It has large underground passages which have been blocked up. A staircase from outside leads to a series of labyrinths known as Bhool-Bhulaiyan, which is a complicated entanglement of zig-zag passages. Visitors are advised to visit only with authorised guides. Within the compound of the Imambara is the grand Asafi Mosque. Shahi Baoli is another attraction here.
Timing : Sunrise to Sunset.
Entry fee : Rs. 25.00 (Indian).
Rs. 500.00 (Foreigner) (inclusive of Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Picture Gallery, Shahi Hamam).
How to Reach ?
Lucknow is a popular place which can be reached by air, rail, and road transport. Lucknow is connected to all the major cities of India through all the three modes of transport. Lucknow is also connected to some places abroad like Dubai, Jeddah, Bangkok etc. through international flights.
With a stunning white Mughal architecture adorned with a golden dome on the top and exquisite calligraphy on its exterior, Chhota Imambara is one of the top tourist attractions in Lucknow. Also known as Hussainabad Imambara, this marvelous structure is basically a congregation hall which was erected in the year 1838 for Shia Muslims by the Nawab of Awadh – Muhammad Ali Shah. Located in the west (some 2 km) of Asafi Imambara, this popular historical landmark in Lucknow also serves as the resting place of Muhammad Ali Shah and his mother. The Imamabara boasts an exquisite construction which is beautifully adorned with several turrets, gilded dome, and chandeliers. At present, Chhota Imambara is reckoned to be one of the must-visit places in Lucknow, mainly because of its grandeur and interesting historical significance. On the special occasions and festivals, the building is festooned with beautiful decoration and is often touted as Palace of Lights. Inside the Imamabar, there is located the crown of Muhammad Ali Shah.
Hussainabad Road, Daulatganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226003, India
Chhota Imambara remains open all days of the week. The opening and closing timings of Imambara remain the same throughout the year. One can visit the place any time between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM.
The entry fee for Chhota Imambara differs for Indian and foreign tourists.
- For Indian Children, the entry fee is 25 INR per head.
- For Indian adults, the entry fee is 50 INR per head.
- For foreign tourists, the entry fee is 500 INR per head. The charges include entry to Bara Imambara, Pictura Gallery, Chhota Imambara and Shahi Hamam.
The British Residency of Lucknow is a famous historical landmark of this place. It is now in ruins and has been declared a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. The British Residency was the place that served as a refuge for approximately 3000 British inhabitants during the time of the uprising of 1857. Lucknow was center of all British activities during the siege and the Residency became the monopolistic center of the British for almost 90 days.
The Residency still has within its walls, the graves of around 2000 British soldiers who died in the Revolt of 1857. The people of Lucknow tell intriguing stories of British who fled from their homes to seek shelter in these red buildings. Only a 1000 inhabitant survived this tough ordeal. On November 17th, the British troops led by Sir Colin Campbell defeated the Indian forces. Though they triumphed, it was victory in the true sense.
Today, the British Residency of Lucknow serves as a government office. The Residency also has a museum that is well-maintained by the authorities. One also finds the tombs Sadat Ali Khan, who was the first Nawab of Awadh, Kaisarbagh Palace and an observatory built for Colonel Wilcox, who was a British astronomer.
How to Reach ?
By Train: 4.1 KM away from Lucknow Junction Railway station
By Air: 16.7 KM away from Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport
Railway Address :Lucknow Junction Railway Station, Preeti Nagar, Railway Colony, Charbagh, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226004
Airport Address :Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Amausi, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226009
Rumi Darwaza in the heart of Lucknow looms over the busy everyday traffic of Lajpatnagar like an old guardian angel that has seen the city rise and fall. The ancient Awadhi architecture of Rumi Darwaza is one of those features of the old city of Lucknow which still clings on to the nostalgias of the past, like the horse driven Tonga cart. The creation of Rumi Darwaza has a very charitable reason behind it. When famine struck North India during 1748, the then Nawab of Lucknow came up with a plan that will feed his countrymen as well as give him something to cherish and be proud of.
As per the plan, the Awadhi workers built the great Rumi Darwaza for him, in exchange for every day’s meal. Back then it was the gateway to the royal city and palace, and the architecture was a flattering imitation of a similar specimen which stood in the then Byzantine empire, now called Istanbul.
Slowly and steadily, Rumi Darwaza has stopped being the majestic doorway to the royal residence, but it has nowhere lost its charm and significance as far as the culture of Lucknow is concerned. Instead of being abandoned, it has been incorporated into the modern world – such is the glory of the building. Through the arch of the Rumi Darwaza runs roadways to both sides and they remain busy, crowded and cacophonous all day long. The rush of vehicles and the brunt of time have weakened it, but it still stands ever strong and majestic.
How to Reach ?
Being located near the city’s heart, reaching Rumi Darwaza is not a trouble at all. Hire a rickshaw or a taxi, or a car from your hotel (if you don’t know your way around) and reach there in a jiffy. It is only 5.5 km from the Lucknow Junction which is the nearest railway station.
Constantia House is a part of the famous La Martiniere College located in Lucknow. The construction of this grand building was started in 1785 by Major-General Claude Martin, a Frenchman, who wanted to make this palatial structure as his country residence in India. Unfortunately, he died in 1800, two years before the construction was completed. Believed to be named after ‘Labore et Constantia’, which was the principle of Martin’s life, the building came to be known as Constantia House. In his will, he cited his desire to use his property to establish schools in three different cities. Thus, Constantia then became a part of the college.
The stone and sand-colour majestic building has grand steps leading to the entrance and you will see a spire rising high from the middle of the structure. The architectural grandeur of this place will remind you the bygone eras and surround you with an old-world charm. There is another structure, known as the ‘Laat’, which is a tall cupola that seems to touch the blue sky. The central part of the building now houses the La Martiniere Boy’s College.
How to Reach ?
- Bus: Public transport buses are available here. Chauraha Bus Stop is the nearest bus station to this place.
- Auto: Shared auto and hired auto services are available nearby.