Places Of Interest in Lucknow

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Bara Imambara

Built in 1784 by the fourth Nawab of Oudh, Asaf-ud-Daula, the Bara Imambara is Lucknow’s most famous monument. An Imambara is where Muslims commence "maatam" for the Muharram .

The Bara Imambara, a.k.a. Asfi Imambara , is a colossal structure. The main hall of the Imambara is 50m long and 15m high, without any pillars to support its ceiling. A balcony runs along the inside of the hall which is built in such a way that even the faintest whisper anywhere in it can be heard across the hall.
A labyrinth called Bhool Bhullaiyya adjoins the main hall on the first floor. Towards the left of the main building is a baoli (step-well) connected by tunnels to the river, Gomti.

Legend has it that a great treasure lies undiscovered in these tunnels. Within the Bara Imambara compound are mausoleums of Asaf-ud-Daula and his family.

Husainabad Clock Tower

In the same complex is the huge and ornate Rumi Darwaza , or Turkish Gate, also built in 1784. Nearby is the Husainabad Clock Tower that has the largest clock in India. Towering to a height of 67m, this Victorian-Gothic Clock Tower was designed in the 1880s, by Roskell Payne. A mosque with two tall minarets is located near the Clock Tower.

Chota Imambara

The Chota Imambara , or the Husainabad Imambara , is also known as the Palace of Lights . Built in 1837, the Chota Imambara is called the Palace of Lights because of its chandeliers that come alive during the Muslim festival of Muharram.
The Chota Imambara, with its golden dome, silver throne and gold-edged mirrors, is the grander of the two Imambaras. The Mughal Emperor, Muhammad Shah began the construction of the Jami Masjid . Situated towards the west of the Chota Imambara, the Jami Masjid was completed by the emperor’s wife in the mid-1840s.
To the east of the Chota Imambara’s is a representation of the Taj Mahal. The false gate near the main entrance was where musicians performed to venerate the departed. In the Victoria Park , near the Imambara, are tombs of the British. Other interesting monuments around the Chota Imambara are the Dargah (shrine) of the Sufi saint, Hazrat Abbas; the Nadan Mahal with the tomb of Shaikh Abdur Rahi, Governor of Oudh, appointed by Emperor Akbar, and the tomb of the Sufi saint Ibrahim Chisti’s son.

British Residency

The Residency became the stronghold of the British for 87 days during the Revolt of 1857, and is now in ruins.
Within its walls are numerous stories related to the siege, when 3,000 British men, women and children escaped from their homes to seek refuge in these red brick buildings.
They fought Indian sepoys, the blistering heat and disease, until Sir Colin Campbell defeated the Indian forces on November 17. Only 1,000 of those who had taken shelter in the Residency survived.

What remains of the Residency has now been converted into government offices and a museum. Within the complex are graves of British soldiers who died fighting the Indian troops. Other monuments within the complex are the Kaisarbagh Palace ; the tombs of Sadat Ali Khan (died 1814), the first Nawab of Oudh, and his wife; a white obelisk in honour of Indians who died during the Revolt of 1857; the Nur Baksh Kothi and Tarawali Kothi (circa 1832); and the observatory built for the British astronomer, Colonel Wilcox.

Other Attractions

The Mughal Governor Safdarjung’s Macchi Bhawan (Fish Palace) was destroyed by the British in 1857. A ruined step well is all that remains of it. The tombs of Ghazi-ud-Din and his three wives are located inside the Shah Najaf Imambara , built from 1814 to 1827. The mausoleum was a stronghold of the mutineers during the Revolt of 1857. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who played chess while British troops occupied Lucknow, laid the Sikanderabad Gardens , now called the Botanical Gardens . The Wingfield Park has a white marble pavilion. Christ Church is a memorial to the British who died during the Revolt.

The Constantia , on the banks of the River Gomti, is now La Martinere School .
The school was originally the residence of the French Major-General Claude Martin, who is buried beneath the building. Dilkusha was a royal shooting lodge amidst woods inhabited by deer, and was used by the Nawabs and the British.

Modern city of Lucknow, spread evenly on both sides of the Gomti, offers a tourist plenty of places of historical interest. Aminabad, with its twisted lanes, is the main shopping centre, though Hazratganj, with its theatres, coffee houses, restaurants, hotels and bars has attracted tourists since long. The Prince of Wales Zoological garden at Banarsi Bagh and the Botanical Garden at Sikander Bagh are ideal places for family outings. Besides, the Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary and the Kukrail picnic spot also offer exclusive recreational facilities.

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