Thursday, 14 February 2019

Travel Diaries: Lucknow

Lucknow is a city that is very close to our hearts because we have lived there for a period of five years at some point in the 90s.

Lucknow is known for its tehzeeb and you have to visit there just to see how lovely and polite the locals are!

My sister was back in Lucknow after almost 17 years this past week and so, I am going to hand it over to her to share some snippets of her travel to the city she loves!

I stayed at Lebua Lucknow, a heritage hotel in the heart of the city in Mall Avenue. Lebua is housed in a heritage haveli built in 1936 by an officer of the British Indian Army. The house is sprawling and built in the style of old Indian homes with an angan in the middle of the property. It is a beautiful hotel and the staff is really helpful and nice. Highly recommend Lebua Lucknow if you are looking for a good hotel to stay in the city.

Now, I didn't have a whole lot of time on my hands to do everything that I wanted to do, but I had a few things on my Lucknow checklist:

  1. Buy some chikan goodies (chikankari is a type of intricate embroidery that Lucknow is famous for) 
  2. Get sweets from Ram Asrey 
  3. Go see my old school 
  4. Visit Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara and click many pictures to make up for the ones we lost in the move 

So, like I said, I could not do everything on the list, but I did manage to go buy some beautiful chikan kurtas and materials from Ada Chikan (highly recommend their store on Hazratganj)! I also went and bought sweets from Ram Asrey and, then, I headed to Bara Imambara. 

The Bara Imambara complex houses the imambara, the Asfi mosque, the very famous Bhoolbhoolaiya (a labyrinthine maze built inside the walls of the imambara) and a step-well. I didn't have enough time to get into the bhoolbhoolaiya this time, but I've been in and out of it myself multiples times earlier, without ever getting lost or confused.

 This is the view of the outside from the first gate to the Imambara complex. The fish motif is very often used all over this complex and can be seen in almost all of the gates leading in and out of it. 

Here is the view of the main Imambara structure. It houses the tomb of the Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, who commissioned the building of this structure. This structure is famous for whispering walls- where something whispered in one corner of the hall can be heard all the way across. As the Hindi saying goes, "Deewaron ke bhi kaan hotey hain" (translates to- the walls have ears) :) 

Here is a closer shot of the Imambara. 

 Beautiful details of the gates leading into the Imambara compound. The Mughal architectural style can be seen in the arched windows and multiple jharonkhas. 

Here's the full view of the front gate from the inside and the large entrance lawns to the complex. The lawns were in full bloom and looked beautiful! 

Here's another close-up of the gate. 

This is the Asafi mosque. It is being restored right now, so is closed to visitors. 

Hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Bara Imambara, Lucknow! 

If it is not on your travel list, you must add Lucknow to it! It has a lot to offer- history, great food, lovely chikankari and more! 

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