Welcome to the city of ‘Ada’ and ‘Tehzeeb’, a city that has much more to it than what meets the eyes. From its most crowded alleys to towering obscure architecture, there is a whiff of its multicultural soul everywhere. The capital of Uttar Pradesh is still carrying its centuries-old values and traditions – in its food, buildings, and in its people.
The capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, was once known as the Awadh region. Throughout history, it has been ruled by different rulers belonging to different cultures– from Mughals to British – all of whom have left an unerasable mark on the city’s culture.
Traditionally, the Lucknow we know today was once the capital of Awadh Pradesh. During the Mughal rule, Delhi Sultanate administered its whole region. Later on, it was ruled by Nawabs of Awadh. The city also came under British rule when Lord Clive collectively defeated troops of Mughals, Nawab of Awadh, and Nawab of Bengal. Lucknow then went under the reign of the East India Company. It was ruled by the British Empire in 1857. In the coming few decades, the Khilafat movement, with the support of Maulana Abdul Bari, gained a lot of momentum and created a strong footing in the entire region. In 1920, Lucknow became the United Provinces’ provincial capital. United Provinces was later named Uttar Pradesh.
Why Visit Lucknow Though
Well, Lucknow stands out. Although it has a lot of cultural influence, it’s the Mughal culture that breathes through the city. Whether it’s their delirious cuisine, music or dance forms, or even the daily conversation language, the royalty with which Lucknow once thrived is still very much alive in all these facets of the city of Nawabs. And people, oh the people! These are some of the most courteous and warmest folks you’d find in and around India. To them, their guests are no less than Gods. Get them conversing with you and you’ll surely be pampered by these incredibly sweet-spoken people. Promise!
Architecture is another factor that magnetically attracts people from across the globe. The detail, the nuances, and the vigor with which the Mughal monuments and structures were built now round up the tourist destinations of Lucknow any day.
Talking about the cuisine, let me tell you, Mughals loved their food. And they desired it to look nothing less regal and not taste anything mediocre. The royal chefs of the time were, therefore, trained to make the dishes look grand and give them a special royal touch. And no, the tradition hasn’t been lost to this day and age as well. Chefs even today cook their Lucknow cuisine arduously to give it that distinct royal aura that you won’t find anywhere else.
Places to Visit in Lucknow
1. Bara Imambara
Bara Imambara is a magnificent architectural brilliance, it has more than just age-old designs to impress you with. When you’re here, you got to visit three of its specialties, aka its USPs. First, this architecture houses the mosque of Imami Hussain.
So you’ve to take off your shoes before entering the hall. It’s said that whoever can’t afford to visit Mecca and other Muslim religious significant places in Iran and Iraq, can come over here for their wish fulfilments. Also, the whole structure is made up of unconventional things like pulses, and even sugarcane. And guess what, nowhere in this 200-year-old sturdy structure was used a single iron rod!
Standing tall and strong, it also has the planet’s oldest human-made maze – its second gem. It’s said that there are over 1000 ways to enter the maze but there’s only one way to exit. So, if you go in there alone, you’re definitely going to get lost, unless of course, you have a smart guide by your side! Its architectural genius is such that, that when you’re inside the maze, you can even hear a person whispering, standing several feet away from you. Amazing, isn’t it?
Talking about its third wonder, Bowli is a place where you can watch people entering the structure by seeing their reflection in the water. CCTVs of old times, we can say.
2. Lucknow Zoo
Sited at the main center of the city, where one can view the amazing wildlife creatures; Lucknow zoo covers a land of 71.6 acres and earlier known as the Price of Wales Zoo. A large number of species can be seen in the zoo and some of them are Black Bear, Lion, Wolf, Blackbuck, Hog Deer, and so forth.
3. Rumi Darwaza
Rumi Darwaza is a magnificent regal arch-type gateway once used to be the gateway for the rich and royals of the time. That’s how glorious it was! It was constructed to mimic the architectural beauty of an already existing piece in (now) Istanbul. The time has nonetheless taken a toll on its epic beauty but its timeless glory still breathes through its brick and mortar. Arching the skyline of Lucknow skies, it’s, however, still a glorious badge in Lucknow’s identity.
4. Chota Imambara
Just a ten-minute walk away from Bara Imambara, there is standing the Persian and Indo-Islamic architectural marvel of Chhota Imambara. It’s one of the few places where you can peep into the Lucknow history just by basking in the glory of the architecture. Chhota Imambara is also quite significant from the religious point of view, for its walls are inscribed with Quranic verses in Islamic calligraphy.
And it’s not just exteriors, the interiors are equally, if not more, attractive. The intricate designs on the interior walls are breathtaking and remind us of the architectural intelligence of the old world. And everything just amps up come the festival time. Profuse decorations with chandeliers are just excellent, especially on Muharram. There’s a reason, visitors call it the ‘palace of lights’. Brownie points for you if you come here during the festive season.
5. Ambedkar Park
While other architectures draw tourists in with their structural beauty, Ambedkar park makes a mark on its visitors with its biographical collections and also the material that’s been used to construct it. Made up of sandstone from Rajasthan, it has a unique copper tinge that casts an ethereal view all around itself, especially if you visit in the evening light. And guess what, at the entrance welcomes you a total of 62 cute elephant statues. What’s better than that, right?
On the inside, this public park mainly tells the story of social workers from all walks of life and a myriad of different eras. And there’s, of course, a special emphasis on the life of Dr. Ambedkar. There’s this life-size bronze statue of him which is awe-inspiring. Also, there are numerous statues that depict many important moments from his life.
Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest religious events that take place in this world. It is known to be the largest human gathering on earth and hence is a unique event.
2. Lucknow Mahotsav
Organized every year, Lucknow Mahotsav is a 10-day celebration that is loaded up with brilliant exhibitions, delicious cuisines, a few intriguing contests, and a ton of enjoyment.
3. Dev Deepawali
The day the Gods descended to celebrate Dev Deepavali in Kashi, one must decide to be just there to fill in the divine energies and blessings.
4. Barsana Holi
Splashing colors, loving hearts; integrating memories, peaceful warmth; these are just some phrases that can be used to describe this happening festival to its very best.
Best time to visit Lucknow
The best time to visit Lucknow is from November to March. This is high time if you’re in the mood for some Lucknow tourism and travel. During these months, the weather is pleasant and quite sunny. The chilly winter nights, however, can be foggy and cold. Months from April to July are considered the hottest months in Lucknow and better be avoided.
How to reach Lucknow?
This wonderful city is a dream destination for a history buff. It is located at a distance of around 535, 1,377, 974, and 1,938 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Let’s see what all the routes you can take to visit this incredible city! Here’s your Lucknow travel guide.
The major airport of Lucknow is Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport aka Lucknow Airport. Located approximately 15 km from the city center, it’s very well connected to all the important destinations in India. Major airlines like Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo, GoAir, and Air India Express operate frequent flights to and from major cities.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Lucknow
Lucknow is thoroughly connected to major cities in India via a rail network. The city has Charbagh Railway Station which is located right at the heart of the city. Other important railway stations in Lucknow are Lucknow Junction, Lucknow Junction NER, Lucknow NE, etc. There are also numerous AC special trains that run from Lucknow.
Here are some direct trains from the following cities to Lucknow:
Delhi: Board Ljn Swran Shtbd from New Delhi and deboard at Lucknow NE
Varanasi: Board Sadbhavana Exp from Varanasi City and deboard at Lucknow NR
Agra: Board Gomti Express from Tundla Junction and deboard at Lucknow NR
Kanpur: Board Udyog Nagri Exp from KANPUR CENTRAL and deboard at Lucknow NR
Coming to Lucknow via bus from nearby cities is a very viable option. A number of deluxe, luxury, Volvo buses are run at regular intervals from Lucknow to nearby cities. From New Delhi, the bus fares start from Rs. 500. From Kanpur, the bus fares start from Rs. 250. From Varanasi, the bus fares start from Rs. 550. From Agra, the bus fares start from Rs. 500.
You can also reach by your own vehicle or a hired car via the following routes.
Delhi - 554 km via Taj Express Highway and Agra - Lucknow Expy
Kanpur - 101 km via NH27 and NH230
Agra - 340 km via NH19 and Agra - Lucknow Expy (336 km)
Varanasi - NH19 (320 km), NH31 (305 km), and NH731 (318 km)
Frequently Asked Questions about Lucknow
Q. Where is Lucknow located?
A. Lucknow is the capital city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
Q. What are some popular tourist attractions in Lucknow?
A. Some popular tourist attractions in Lucknow include Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Ambedkar Memorial Park, and British Residency.