The Alternative Lucknow

Born and nurtured in Kolkata, a merely 300 odd years old city is not enough to quench the thirst of a lover of history, heritage and the historical monuments. Then I moved to Delhi in 2010.It offered me a buffet, from Indraprastha era through Sultanate/Mughal up to Lutyen and beyond.Soaked and immersed in Delhi’s architectural splendor for initial few moths, I ventured for Jaipur and Lucknow, two of North India’s old cities that can compete with Delhi in terms of historical monuments, old world charm.

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In 2012, I managed a day trip to Lucknow in the sultry April. In that trip, I saw the marvelous Charbagh, The gigantic Imambadas, beautiful Rumi Darwaza.Here comes the winters of 2016, when I retraced back to Lucknow on the Republic Day. This time it was ought to be the lesser known monuments and the culinary delights of Lucknow, the soul of Oudh. I started witht he zoo.It is a nice, little zoo where the animals are very happy and lively at their open air enclosures.

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A brisk rickshaw ride lead me to the Hazratganj, the epicenter of the modern Lucknow. Here is the giant and beautiful Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha is located.It was dusk till I reached and it adorned a tricolored livery  and illuminated with bulbs for the R-Day celebrations. Many other government buildings and business is situated around this district. Hazratganj reminds me of the Connaught Place of Delhi and Park Street/Esplanade of Kolkata where all the glitzy brand shops, upmarket lounges and eateries are situated. It was nice to roam around the thriving market place and taste some local delicacies like the virally popular Basket Chaat of Royal Cafe. The cafe offers a host of other vegetarian snacks, desserts in a city synonymous with Biriyani and Kebabs.

Next morning, I tried to visit the newest addition to the plethora of Lucknow’s attractions – the Ambedkar Memorial.Though it was closed in the morning still what could I manage to see from outside is quite impressive. The magnificence of the structure is quite imminent from outside though purpose of its construction still remains marred by controversy.

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Ruins of Dilkusha Kothi is located among quiet surroundings and seldom visited. The soft light on the neatly maintained structure is a photographer’s delight. Next was the La Matiniere campus, which is simply awesome. It is dotted with old buildings, pathways and beautiful gardens.Grandest among all is the Constantia.It is an innovative architecture. A visit during the morning prayers is a cherishing experience.

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The lens now shifts towards the banks of Gomti. Qaiserbag is the old city area dotted with palaces, mosques and parks. The Farhat Baqsh Kothi, better known as Chhatarmanzil is least visited by tourists. I needed help of Google Map to locate the palace. Enjoying the  day in warm sunshine, I invested a handsome time this time to explore the runs of the Residency. It speaks the story of the turbulent time and the horrible genocide committed by both the belligerent parties. Numerous dilapidated structures, mostly destroyed and razed during the mutiny is now maintained by ASI. It is a huge complex with landscaped gardens, a small museum about the Mutiny and the structures.

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As the day approached the dusk, I again took a brisk visit to the amazing labyrinth of Bhulbhulaiaya, The Grand Imamabara, huge Asafi Mosque and ornate Rumi Darwaja before departure towards the next destination.

 

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