Lucknow has much to offer the interested visitor. From the traditional 'chikan' wear that the city is famous for, to cuisine that teases the taste buds to the people whose hospitality and charm is warmth incarnate, Lucknow is all this and more.
There are monuments, which could take your breath away and this city has many a tale to tell. But lest you think that this is a city only for aficionados of history, Lucknow is also a modern city with its share of industrial belts and progress. But what will strike you as you walk the streets of this city is the ease with which you walk in from one era to now.
Population: About 3,681,416
Climate: Lucknow is quite pleasant through the year with temperatures staying rather even and moderate. Summers peak at 36.6°C and winters get as low as 11.1°C.
Main Language(s): Hindi and English Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
Phone Area Code: 0522 Best Time To Visit: Even tempered, plan a trip to Lucknow any time of the year, though October to April are considered the best time to visit.
Airport Distance from City Center: 18 kms Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Pre-paid taxi service available at Rs. 300 to city centre.
The Bara Imambara is a tomb built by Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. It is quite an architectural wonder with beautiful and intricate niches and tall minarets. The famous Bhulbhulaiya (maze) is contained in this monument and myth has it that there are passages from here, which go as far as Jaipur, Delhi and Mumbai! The central hall of the Imambara is 50 m long and 15 m high and has one of the largest vaulted galleries in the world. There is also the beautiful Rumi Darwaza, adjacent to the Imambara - an example of Muslim architecture with shades of the Byzantine.
If you are one of those people who looks at monuments and can appreciate what life must have been like then, you must visit the British Residency. Built in 1800, the red brick structure with picturesque lawns is well maintained and has a model room, which helps you gain an understanding of the life lived here. Walk done to the cellars where women and children took refuge during the siege, as also the cemetery.
While Lucknow has much to offer one, it is true that this abundance includes dust and heavy pollution. Which is what makes a trip to the Sikander Bagh even better. Scene of the historical battle of 1857, the Bagh is now a fortified garden with a gateway stamped with the royal insignia of the Nawabs. The lush Botanical Gardens are adjacent and make for a literal breather.
The one thing that you will be doing a lot of is shopping. Lucknow is full of shops and bazaars crammed with interesting buys ranging from clothes and jewellery to attars and birds! The chikankari work whether in fabric or clothes is a must buy, Aminabad and Hazratganj are well-populated areas with lots of shopping options.
Lucknow is the gourmet's true delight. The cuisine of this place is rich, aromatic and unbelievably tasty. The famed 'Dum Pukht' way of cooking originated from this city. The subtle flavours of meat and vegetables simmered in whole spices, is a taste that your mouth refuses to forget long after the meal is over.
There is the vast range of kebabs, rotis, pulaos and sweets that you can dig into. The sheer sight of food here makes you want to never stop eating. Hazratganj (M G Road) is a good place to start licking your fingers in.
Hotel Clarks Awadh
Meal Weal Restaurant
Hazrat Ganj, Mehrab
Hotel Taj Mahal
Tulsi Theater Bldg.,
12 Rani Laxmi Bai Marg
Ritz Continental Corner
Shi'ite Muharram - This is a festival whose date changes from year to year. It is observed with fanfare even though the origins of Muharram are not celebratory. Muharram mourns the Karbala tragedy when Imam Husain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the early days of Islamic history. With Lucknow being the principal Shi'ite Indian city since the time of the nawabs, it is an important date in the calendar of Lucknow. There is a spectacle that has a kind of awful fascination to visitors - one of penitence where followers scourge themselves with whips at the Bara Imambara.
But there is much else to gawk at. Lovely taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the martyr's tomb), embellished with gilt and mica are carried through city streets. Wrestlers and dancers enact scenes depicting the battle at Karbala. Men beating their chests, chanting "Husain! Husain!" to the beat of drums is strangely moving.
Lucknow Mahautsav - This 10-day program begins on the 25th of November and ends on the 5th of December. Culturally rich, there are processions, performances by artistes in dance and music - all in accordance to the way it has been done for years. This festival will give you an insight into the arts and crafts of Lucknow and above all, the experience that is the cuisine of Awadh.
Deva Mela - Dedicated to the Sufi saint, Haji Waris Ali Shah, this mela is celebrated annually during the months of October and November. This is held at Deva, 10 kms from Barabanki and attracts pilgrims from as far as Pakistan and the Middle East Countries. This shrine of the Sufi Saint is much revered by Muslim pilgrims all over the world.
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