For many hundreds of years the ancient city of Lucknow was at the heart of Northern Indian culture. The city was the capital of the Awadh region the "granary of India", so was always of great strategic importance to whatever imperial power was ruling at the time. Under the Mughal Empire, the Nawabs (local rulers) gave Lucknow a unique and enduring legacy - "wisdom, women and wine". They were great philanthropists who encouraged learning, music, poetry, fine food, good manners and gracious living; their tolerant rule resulted in a symbiosis of all that was best in Hindu, Islamic and Sikh cultures. Their heritage can be seen in the architecture of the city's magnificent buildings - the Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara and Rumi Darwaza ae notable examples.
The British displayed a lamentable ignorance about the culture of this sophisticated society and they made themselves hated for their high-handness. They were eventually forced to abandon their Residency in the Siege of Locknow, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
In the early 20th century, the people of Locknow were a major force in the Indian Independence Movement. After independence, the city retained its economic and intellectual status as one of the most important cities in North India.
Today, after a period of decline, this vibrant city is making an economic comeback. Regarded as one of the finest cities in India, it combines sophistication with old world charm.
There are still traditional districts like Aminabad bazaar - a chaotic market where you can buy just about anything - and even in the slick shopping district of Hazratganj you will stumble upon family owned shops dating back to the Raj, still making and selling the incredible chikan embroidery work for which Lucknow is so famous.
WHEN TO GO
October to February
Chhattar Manzil - an imposing edifice, built by the nawabs.
The Residency - remains of the building, bombed out in the Mutiny - and museum set in lovely gardens.
Shaheed Smarak - a tower to commemorate the Indian Mutiny.
Asafi Masjid - Mosque in the Bara Imambara.
La Martiniere College.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Lucknow is the centre for Kathak Indian classical dance.
Hotels in Lucknow
Hotels in Lucknow