Do you know the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest states in India, yes the same state where the Monument of Eternal Love, Taj Mahal is located has so much to offer? Okay so you knew about Varanasi, great but then there is more, fine so you know about Allahabad the Kumbh city, but there is still a lot more. Yes, there is much more…. for starters have you heard about Lucknow? Oh great, so you know that this city is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. So that’s it, just capital of a state, nothing more…..
My dear friends this is where you are mistaken. Don’t make the mistake which everyone does. While visiting Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, should also feature in your must visit list, it should be a part of your bucket list in terms of tourist destination. Why? Simple, it is a city with a very rich cultural and historical heritage. Infrastructure wise Lucknow has everything which a tourist may want – good air, rail and road connectivity with all the major cities in India, hotels for all ranges – from luxury to budget, you name it and the city has it, ample transportation options in the city, excellent shopping opportunities, entertainment options, food joints dishing out some mouth-watering local cuisine and also world cuisine.
The Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport or the Amausi Airport (as it is still known by old Lucknowites) has direct flights to South East Asian Destinations and many Gulf nations. You have some favourite chain of hotels, name it and you would find it here in this city – the Taj Group, Marriott, Radisson, Hyatt, Hilton, Sarovar etc. are all here. The city is also in close proximity with all other favourite destinations in the state – 335 kms (a 4 hour drive via Lucknow Agra Expressway) from Agra, 200 kms from Allahabad, 300 kms from Varanasi, 170 kms from Shravasti, 400 kms from Jim Corbett National Park, 135 kms from Ayodhya; not only this it is quite close to the international border to Nepal (250 kms) – yes you can travel to Nepal by road.
In Lucknow one can find a cultural potpourri – the mix of different religions in the city has created a unique flavour for city. On one side the city has deep rooted links with Hinduism – Lucknow or Lakshmanpuri is related to Lord Rama’s brother Lakshman, on the other hand it has been the a strong centre for Shia sect in Islam, not only this the city has major links with Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism and the lesser known Parsi Zoroastrianism. The impact of the same can be seen in everything, from traditional architecture to food to embroidery, traditional dresses and even the local lingo. Everything you would find in the city is engulfed with this unique fragrance.
The most important relationship which one witnesses is between the people of different religions – the Hindus and the Shia sects of Islam. This relationship has again resulted in beautiful architectural styles, interesting cuisine which has flavour and fragrance of both of them and to satiate your shopping needs a unique style of embroidery – chikankari. In every part of Lucknow there is a piece of history hidden waiting to be discovered. There is story waiting to be told, a picture to unfold, in every nook and corner of Lucknow, be it the old city or the outskirts. Lucknow or the erstwhile Awadh or Oudh (the British pronunciation) has always played an important role in India’s freedom fight – be it the being one of the most important centres during the First War of Indian Independence (the Revolt of 1857 or the Sepoy Mutiny as the British like to refer), or be the part of Gandhiji’s Quit India movement, Swadeshi movement. Lucknow had in the past always been the favourite place for the Indian Freedom Fighters.
Want to learn more about the Revolt of 1857, what better place than Lucknow – visit the British Residency and relive the days of siege, experience the pain and agony of the residents, witness what happens when the long oppressed rise. Meet the residents, the oppressed, the oppressors, all at one location. Some of you may also get a chance to know more about your ancestors here. Want to learn about the relationship between the British and the Nawabs of Oudh (Awadh) – visit the Chowk area, visit the Dilkhusha, visit Bibiyapur Kothi. The relationship has resulted in some amazing architectural styles, presence of some interesting artefacts and has also impacted the cuisine.
Lucknow allows you to feel and relive the luxurious era of the Nawabs, drown down in the by lanes of old Lucknow, the smell, the sights all will take you back in the Nawabi era. If that’s not enough for you, you can dine in/stay with the few erstwhile royal families of the Oudh region. Did you know that Lucknow shares a very strong connect with the Australian Capital (Got you – it’s Canberra and not Sydney, Sydney is not the capital of Australia as many people in Lucknow believe). Have you ever heard about Walter Burley Griffin, the designer of Australian Capital, visit Lucknow to know how he is connected with this city of Tehzeeb (etiquette). Lucknow has a strong connect with the Indian Independence Movement. Where do you think the tricolour was hoisted for the first time in 1928, where was Independence Day celebrated on 26th January 1930? Where did the revolutionary Durga Bhabhi (connected with Bhagat Singh), wife of Bhagwati Charan Vohra, also a revolutionary associated with the Kakori Plan, stay once she was released, where is the school she had established, the first Montessori school in North India? Mahatama Gandhi’s sufi tryst had roots in which city? Inquisitive???? The Indian film industry has a deep connect with this city. Noted author and director Satyajit Ray also was not untouched by the magic of Lucknow – his Feluda (Detective series) has Lucknow, his movie Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Player) has Lucknow. All the Hindi Socials of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were some or in other way Lucknow centric. Need more reasons to be in Lucknow? We would give you many more. Don’t wait Lucknow has just the thing for every pocket – from budget to Luxury, just choose.