Monday, April 14, 2014

"L" for "Luck-now- The Nawabi City"

I went to Lucknow in the year 2011 and was mesmerized. I finally got a chance to take one week leave from office and went to attend my brother's IIM convocation. The moment I stepped in to the city I realized the nawabi(royal) grandeur of the place. Every lane and every minar exuded poetic reminiscence. Needless to say I fell in love with the city.Other than the university campus of IIM the rest of the city felt like it belonged to past and we traveled in time machine to the era of nawabs and the time when Britishers ruled India. Today I just am posting few pics from my Lucknow trip and describe a bit about the places in the pics.  The day we reached Lucknow every one was celebrating Holi and it was one heck of a sight but all the shops and hotels were closed, so most of the day got wasted. We only roamed around a bit exploring the empty roads of the city. People were very pleasant and hospitable & offered the Holi special gujjia  and Lassi to us where ever we went.

First and foremost place I visited in Lucknow on the 2nd day of our trip is "Bara Imambara" . Bara means big and Imambara means shrine. It was built by Asaf-ud-DaulaNawab of Lucknow, in 1784. It is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari (source: Wiki). Azadari means mourning during muharram. The architecture is grand and mindblowing. The complex has a mosque , the bhulbhulayah (the labyrinth), and bowli, a step well with running water. I also went to Chota Imambara which is built by Muhammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh in 1838. The building is beautiful with chandeliers which have unique designs. It looks gorgeous when lit up during the night. This place acts as Nawab's and his mother's mausoleum. It also acted as a congregation hall for the shia Muslims.

Bada Imambara from the top
Bada Imambara entrance
Chota Imambara
 The above pics are clicked by me. I didn't get a chance to click chota imambara in the night. The below one is downloaded from wiki

Image source: here
Rumi Darwaza is one more beautiful structure near the Imambara. It is just a gate  and is a fine architectural style of Awadh. We went to do some shopping and bought some beautiful Lucknow chikan work dresses and sarees. If you ever visit Lucknow don't come back with out buying the chikan work dresses. They are gorgeous, original and are sold at reasonable prices.

Lucknow chikan work. Image source: here

The Hussainabad Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) is an elegant sight in the Lucknow's historical area. The tower is well maintained and it is the tallest clock tower in India. The clock is still operational. It is one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India built in 1887. Click on the link to know more.

Clock tower pics clicked by me

British Residency in Lucknow is in the heart of the city. It served as the residence for the British Resident General who was a representative in the court of the Nawab Saadat Ali Khan II. You can only see the ruins now but each brick speaks volumes of history. The building also acted as a hiding place during wars and unexpected attacks. It was a refuge for British soldiers during the revolt of 1857. We roamed with out the help of a guide but still could read and understand about each building with the help of sign boards. Few buildings still have the bullet holes. The museum in the complex is also well maintained. Below is a glimpse of the residency.
British Residency

We also visited another pristine white museum near to Imambara (the name of which I forgot now). It had all the nawabi memorials , their attires, jewels , photographs and much more. I love museums as I my mind's imagination runs at the speed of Cheetah. I get lost in that era and imagine those people when ever I visit a museum.

The pic of a handsome nawab clicked by me in the museum secretly. No photographs were allowed inside the museum. I just loved his sharp features and in the second pic it is my mom outside the museum

The moment of pride during the Lucknow visit is when my brother received his MBA degree. The convocation was a happening event with a lavish dinner and my mom dad's smiles were worth watching.

IIM Lucknow campus on the convocation day -2011
Last but not the least thing you must and should do if you visit Lucknow is tasting the royal Galawati kebabIt is a traditional Awadhi recipe. ‘Galawati’ means ‘ melt in mouth’. History says that galawati kabab was specially made for Asaf-ud-daulah, who was aging and had week teeth but was a meat lover. This recipe is made up of minced pasted meat and hence does not require chewing. On the present day and time this is the most famous recipe through out India but none can get it right. One must taste it only in Lucknow.

Our half empty plate of Galawati Kebab or Tundey ke Kebab in a restaurant named Royal in Lucknow :)
There are many other places which can be well described but for now I am ending here. As and when I can recollect some more things we did in Lucknow will write another post. By the way if you ever visit the city do not forget visiting Hazrat Gunj - the famous shopping complex. From Lucknow we went to Agra, Jaipur and Ajmer but saving them all for rainy days on blog and for other days of the challenge ;)

Shared below is a song from a movie DedhIshqia which was shot in U.P. and the whole movie flows like a poem. This movie reflects the nuances of  U.P. and Lucknow very aptly. This song is a poetic rendition by Naseeruddin Shah

This Lucknow travelogue is my 12th post for "A to Z blogging Challenge 2014"

Some K posts worth giving a read from our group are


  1. Thanks for the wonderful narration. Will look forward to visiting Lucknow. Also, thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

  2. That was awesome. I have never been to the Nawabi land! Bhopal is also a nawabi land but Lucknow! I need to visit!

  3. Wow! What a gorgeous place. I love the architecture, and am quite surprised that the clock tower is British - it looks far more beautiful and exotic than most of the architecture we have at home. I guess they borrowed from surrounding styles, which are quite beautiful :)

    I loved all the photographs - thank you.

  4. Just stopping by to say "Hi" from the A-Z list and wish you good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

    That looks like a gorgeous place! x

  5. I know the lady whose husband restored the clock at the clock tower. Such is my claim to fame. :) :)

    There is much serenity in the pics Afshan!

  6. Beautiful post, lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving a bird's eye view of Lucknow.

  7. Lovely pictures. The British left their clock towers everywhere. Added Lucknow to my places to see after reading your post. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I have fond memories of visiting Lucknow with friends in my first year of B.Tech..I even sat on a baggi in Gomtinagar...Wow...Thanks for taking me through the place again :)

    L for loved-Random Thoughts Naba

  9. It's nice! I have lived in Lucknow for 10 years, thus, it holds special significance in my life.

  10. I have been to Lucknow but missed going to the Imambara :( but I had the kebabs and milk cake. I also bought a few dresses in chikan work. Thanks for showing me the parts of Lucknow I had missed.

  11. I had visited Lucknow, for my friend's wedding more than two decades back.I visited the immambaras .I brought a Lucknawi salwar kameez from there !

  12. Lucknow has such character. i hope to visit the city someday.

  13. I loved your fabulous pictures. What an amazing city. The buildings look straight from a fairy tale.

  14. Wow, in sheer simple words, how beautifully you described the city, the essence came out perfectly well Afshan. That's What I love about your writing. And thanks for introducting Jaibala's blog. Had never visited her, and now I love it.

  15. Thanks for the virtual tour. :)

  16. Beautifully described Afshu, what a virtual treat. I have been there many a time and ofcourse love the city :)

  17. Thanks for the virtual tour through Lucknow. The architecture is simply amazing.


    Updated my blog. Do drop by :)

  18. Those pics are gorgeous! What an interesting place to visit.

  19. Lovely pictures and lovely post afshan. Btw...didn't know u had an IIM alumunus in ur house. .congrats for that ;-)

  20. Lovely pics indeed and I can't wait to visit and taste galawati kebabs!

  21. Lucknow is lovely, isn't it? The chikan work dresses are awesome. I remember I had a few of them in different colours as a child.

  22. I always wanted to visit this ancient city. Thank you for taking me there.

  23. Oh I really want to visit Lucknow so much now! And congratulations on the accomplishments of your family! How wonderful that you were all together for this great occasion!

  24. What a beautiful place! I especially love the clock tower, surrounded by palm trees and water. I'm also thinking that Galawati kabob looks pretty delicious!
    Thank you for including my K is for Kindergarten post on your list!


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