In and Around Lucknow (°C - °C)
For travellers interested in art, architecture and food, Lucknow should definitely rank high on the travel bucket list in India. Lucknow is a must-visit. The sights, tastes and smells are an exclusive exposition of how the city has evolved over the years. There are many who believe the city has lost quite a lot of its charm and is bursting at the seams with a population growing. Lucknow, however, is still one of those places where grace and culutre is part of everyday life. The swift turns of a kathak performance, the language of rickshaw pullers, the perfect stitch of chikankari and the way kebab melts into the paratha are just some of the many peculiarities that make the city what it is. The city is liberally dotted with British Raj–era buildings, including the famous Residency that boasts of two resplendent mausoleums. The Uttar Pradesh capital plays a third fiddle to Agra and Varanasi, but caters to history enthusiasts. By contrast, the modern side of Lucknow has an Iron Curtain-esque feel, with grand monuments as well as parks and gardens. There are marble sidewalks and pink sandstone. One will definitely be interested in the city from an aesthetic standpoint. The city gained prominence as the place where the Nawabs of Avadh (Oudh), who were patrons of the culinary and other arts, stayed. The Nawabs had a hand to play in developing dance and music. The city’s reputation as a hub of culture, rich cuisine and easy living continues to persist even today. One of the famous tourist places in the city is the Bada Imambara. One can also visit the clock tower and baradari (summer palace). The complex can be accessed through two large gateways that lead to a huge courtyard. On one side is the beautiful mosque while the large baori (step-well) can also be explored. At the other end of the courtyard is the central hall, which houses one of the world’s biggest vaulted galleries. Tazias (replicas of Imam Hussain’s tomb in Iraq) are stored inside and are displayed during Muharram. A visit to the Residency will give you a front row seat to a restaging of the dramatic events that led to the 1857 First War of Independence and the Siege of Lucknow. The compound is in the same condition, with the walls dotted with bullets and cannon balls. Lucknow is a beautiful place to visit and can be toured throughout the year. However, Lucknow is best visited from October to March. This is usually the peak season. One should avoid visiting the city during summer as temperature soars. There are a number of affordable premium and budget hotels in and around Bara Imambara, Shai Bawali, Asifi Masjid and other locations. For travellers that do not want to stray too far from important hubs can stay near the airport or railway station. The OYO hotels are well-equipped and have a number of facilities for you to use.