Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, thrives along the banks of Gomti river. The city, Awadh and Uttar Pradesh fell to the British during imperialistic era . Today, Lucknow is dotted with remnants of its rich cultural past.
Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and Chikankaari or exquisite shadow-work embroidery on fine muslin cloth.
Lucknow is a historically important city and for many centuries was at the heart of North Indian culture. In particular, the city was famous for its Adab and Tehzeeb (manners and hospitality), intricate embroidery, beautiful gardens and dance forms such as Kathak. It was also one of the sites of the 1857 Indian Mutiny (or First War of Indian Independence). The Hindi spoken in Lucknow is considered the most beautiful and gentle in the country. Currently the city has a population of around 2.5 million.
Lucknow is the heart of the art, cuisine, dance, culture and music of Northern India. It was the cradle of the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh symbioses that made India great. it brought in the best of various cultures and accepted Western institutions like La Martiniere in her womb. It was made famous by the soft-spoken, and sweet tongued, Awadh-Lucknowai culture that was based on civilized behaviour toward fellow human beings. Lucknow is the home of Urdu, Hindustani and Hindi languages. The city became known as a centre for Urdu poetry and courtly presence and diction, being the birthplace and city of residence for many poets. The Mushaira, an event of poetry recitation forms the heart of Lucknow's nightlife where Mushairas go on into the wee hours of the night. Lucknow's only rival in Northern India was Delhi, though Lucknowies were always embroiled in a healthy rivalry with Delhi, home of the famous poet Ghalib and others. Lucknow is also famous for its sweetmeat, the sweet shops in the old city dates to 1850s. Awadhi and mughlai food is the delight of the visitors to Lucknow.
Another thing that may surprise visitors are the ubiquitous posters, billboards and signs boasting of great progress and bearing the picture of Mayawati. She is the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state and is quite controversial. Labeled by some as the "Dalit Queen," she has come under fire for misuse of public funds and abuse of power. She has spent millions upon millions of rupees on massive public works projects such as the Ambedkar Memorial (see below) which opposition leaders see as a waste. No matter who you speak to in Lucknow, everyone will have an opinion about her! It's a great conversation starter.
There are daily flights from Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata and Patna. Amausi Airport, Lucknow is directly connected with Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Bombay and Varanasi by direct flights.
Indian Airlines, ☎ (0522)220927, (0522)435401, 436188 (pre recorded, 142).
Air India-Janata Travels, ☎ (0522)226171. (General Sale Agent) Hotel Clarks Awadh, 8, M.g. Road
Sahara India Airlines, Sahara India Tower, 7, Kapoorthala Complex, ☎ (0522)377675, 372742.
Lucknow is on the Delhi-Varanasi railway route. Connections can be made from Agra and Allahabad.
A major railway junction, Lucknow is conveniently connected to many cities. Some of the important trains are : 2003/2004 Shatabadi Ex. : 5063/5064; Nainital Ex; : 9165/9166; Sabarmati Exp : 2553/2554; Vaishali Exp : 5609/5610; Awadh-Assam Exp : 2875/2876; Neelanchal Exp : 4283/4284; Ganga-Yamuna Exp : 2229/2230 Lucknow Mail : 2419/2420; Gomti Exp : 4257/4258; Kashi-Vishwanath Exp : 4011/4012; Nauchandi Exp : 1015/1016; Bombay-Gorakhpur Exp : 2511/2512; Cochin-Gorakhpur Exp.
The important contact for Lucknow Railways are: Railways Manual Enquiry 139, 2636132; resservation 0522-2635841; Badshahnagar 0522-2385182. 0522 is Lucknow's STD code.
Lucknow is connected by road with all the major cities of the country. Some of the major road distances are: Agra 363 km, Allahabad 210 km, Ayodhya 135 km, Kolkata 985 km, Corbett National Park 400 km, Delhi 497 km, Dudhwa National Park 238 km, Kanpur 79 km, Khajuraho 320 km, Varanasi 280 km.
The Bus Stations are situated at Alambagh, and Kaisar Bagh.
The telephone number for Roadways Inter State Bus Terminal Alambagh is: 0522-2458096
From Lucknow to New Delhi: There is a luxury air-conditioned bus from Quaiser Bagh Bus station. Route for this bus is Lucknow - Sitapur - Bareilly - Muradabad - Gaziabad - Delhi [Anand Vihar ISBT]
Taxi and riksha drivers in Lucknow are of the more insistent type, although few of them will speak enough English to go to locations that are out of the way.
There are many car rental companies available. One should hire cars with local drivers as traffic is dangerous for anybody not used to local traffic conditions.
Places of interest are spread out over a large distance, therefore will require the use of taxis or rickshaws. Cycle rickshaws contribute less polution to this historic city than their motorised cousins, and provide work to some who need it most.
Bara Imambara and Bhool Bhulaiya. A large and impressive tomb complex built in 1783. There is an interesting labyrinth too. You could easily spend half a day wandering around these beautiful but crumbling examples of Mughal architecture. If you hire a guide, do not expect him to know the way around. Guides are known to get lost in the labyrinth! The ticket you buy lets you enter here, the Chhota Imambara, the Husainabad clock tower and picture gallery too, so do not lose your ticket. Please note that lone couples are not allowed to enter with out a guide. This prohibition is not brought to notice while buying the entry ticket. You will also have to pay a man 1 rupee to mind your shoes while exploring the complex (shoes are not allowed inside Bara Imambara).350 INR for foreigners.
Rumi Darwaza (Rumi Gate), Hussainabad Lucknow.
Chhota Imambara. An imposing mausoleum built by the third Nawab of Avadh in 1837. The ticket for Bara Imambara is also good for admission to Chhota Imambara.
La Martiniere College, . Boys college. Building also known as Constantia, La Martiniere College is one of the oldest schools in the country. It was built in 1840 and started as a school in 1845. The school building is still well mantained. The best time to visit is either in the morning at around 8AM, when one can see the assembly, or after the school finishes at 1:30PM. This landmark building has also featured in several Bollywood movies.
Husainabad Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar), Hussainabad Lucknow. A British landmark, set in a park with the somewhat poorly curated picture gallery, and a lake. A great place for sunset. The ticket for Bara Imambara also grants admission here.
Ruins of the Lucknow Residency and Museum. The bloody history of the demise of this Raj era compound is immortalised in the Museum in the Basement. This was the scene of the 1857 First Battle for Independence, referred to by the British as `The Indian Mutiny.´ Although you can still clearly see numerous canon ball marks in the ruined buildings, thankfully it is a peaceful place today. So much so in fact, that you are likely to stumble across couples taking a little private time in the leafy shady groves. The Residency is clearly recognised by the locals and tourists alike as a breezy haven to escape from the bustle and dust of a busy Indian city. The Residency will try to sell you a photo pass for an additional 25 INR. The guard will also ask you if you have a camera. However once you are inside, no one will say anything if you take photos.100 INR for foreigners, 5 INR for Indian citizens.
Buddha Park. A small park on the side of a noisy congested road in Lucknow. A statue of the Buddha gives the park it's name. Often filled with homeless people and boys playing sports.
Cathedral School, Hazaratganj.
Farangi Mahal. The Oxford and Cambridge of India author/poet Shibli Naumani. For more details see book by Dr. Francis Robinson on the Ulema of Farangi Mahal.
Colvin Taluqdars College. A must see place it has great architecture built in 1896 named after Sir Auckland Colvin.
Deva Shariff, around 30 km from the city, is a place of worship and faith where people from all the religions gather, a symbol of unity and love.
Amrapali water park.
Ambedkar Memorial. A massive new 107 acre development to honor Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar who was the architect of the Indian constitution. The memorial is still under construction and parts are still off limits. Impressive stone work, dozens of statues and fountains intermix with carefully sculpted gardens. There are statues of dalit icons as well as incredibly self-indulgent statues of Mayawati, the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. A police force exists to prevent vandalism and may search you before entering some areas.free.
East End Mall & Wave Cinemas, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar.
Fun Republic Mall & Fun Cinemas, (Adjacent Eldeco Greens, Gomti Nagar).
River Side Mall & Inox Cinemas, (Adjacent Taj Residency Hotel, Gomti Nagar).
Phoenix United Mall & PVR Cinemas, (Behind Piccadilly Hotel , Alam Bagh Kanpur Road).
Hazaratganj, (the center of the city).
NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute).
Chikan dress — a cotton dress with hand-made embroidery, is a must-buy in Lucknow. These garments are both for men and women. The cost is any where between Rs 250-5000 depending on the chikan work (hand embroidery work on cloth is of various types, "Murri" is the traditional handwork and is therefore a little more expensive). In old Chowk and Aminabad it is a small scale industry so it is cheapest to buy from there. There are a lot of shops next to each other, and for the obvious reason of close competetion, you'll get the best bargain. In Hazratganj ("Ganj") the same piece will cost some 200 rupees more. Beware of the touts who will take you to shops near the Civil Hospital and Hussain Ganj where the prices are 500% higher!
Aminabad Market. Very old market, good for buying chikan (hand-embroidered clothes), leather shoes/bags and for chaat/sweets. There's a pretty big book-market (a whole street). Gadbad-jhala is a (ladies) market to get cheap bangles and fashion jewellery (not gold).
Hazratganj Market. Very trendy and upscale. All recognizable Western brands will be available here.
Chowk, (in the old city, just south of the Imambara complex and the clock tower). Lively market. This is the place to find bargains, and check out the locals. Visit in the evening.
Inox. Movie multiplex
Sanatkada, 130, Jagdish Chandra Bose Road, Kaiserbagh. 11am-8pm. Sells wide variety of crafts, including woven and hand embroidered garments, short tops, sarees, dupattas, home furnishings, artefacts, silver jewellery and accessories, organic honey, jams, preserves and herbs.
Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Gomti Nagar.
The Tornos Studio (Indira Nagar), Tornos House, C-2016 Indira Nagar, ☎ 2349472, . 2. They have great collection of book on Indian Mutiny. One can visit to read pr watch a film on Lucknow. They will offer tea/coffee free of cost. But nothing is for sale - great place for evening. All this by appointment (call: 0522-2349772)
Everyone in Lucknow knows about the famous tikkas and kebabs. They are Mughal delicacies. Lalbagh, many roadside hotels near Aminabad and old Chowk offer cheap and unique types of dishes. Also, try out the street next to Tulsi thatre in Hazratganj for some exotic non-vegetarian delicacies.
The Food Court at Sahara Ganj, near Hazrat Ganj is the recent hot favourite with a number of fast food joints. If coffee and tea is something you like, you will find a huge variety at Capuccino Blast at Mall Avenue. At Akbari Gate, during winters one can also enjoy Kashmiri Tea (a red coloured hot tea) with cream and Makhan Malai (a local variant of ice cream, saffron flavoured, made by hanging unsalted butter overnight in dew and then aerating it by beating it).
Alzaiqa, (Near Novelty Theatre). You can find great non-vegetarian food here, specially chicken.
Dainik Jagaran Chauk. Cheap and delicious non-veg food
Dastharkwan, (Near Tulsi Theatre).
Haji Sahib's Shop, Akbari Gate. 7AM-10AM. This is in the heart of Old Lucknow. Serves the juiciest Nihari (lamb shanks in gravy) and Kulchha (a traditional bread). This is the best in the city
Tundey's Kebabs, (Aminabad and Food Court, Sharaganj Mall). Has been serving kebabs for more than 50 years.
Bajpai Kachauri Bhandar, (Leela CInema Road, Hazrat Ganj Lucknow). Best kachauri from lucknow.
Basket Chat, at Royal Hotel ,hazratganj and at sahara ganj.
Dastarkhwan, (The street next to Tulsi thatre in Hazratganj). Exotic non-vegetarian delicacies, specially the special chicken masala, shaami kebabs and rumali roti/mughlai parathaas.
Kewal's, (Outside Maqbara Compound, Hazratganj). Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
KFC, (Saharaganj Mall).
Lalbagh. Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
McDonalds, (Saharganj Shopping Mall, Fun Republic ,East End Mall and Phoenix mall), ☎ 9841673647.
Mint, (Arif Castle). Offers alcoholic beverages and great food. Food festivals are common.
Paani Batashe (Sadar (Cantt)), Near chappan Bhog.
Pizza Hut, (East End Mall and opposite Raj Bhawan).
Sakhawat, (In a narrow lane next to Gymkhana Club, near Gemini Hotel, Hazratgunj). 5PM-10PM. A lesser-known but good joint for connoisseurs. Operating since 1911, it has a limited stock and little seating space, with a select clientele.
Sharma Tea House. Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
Ultra Violet, Mall Avenue. Offers non-alcoholic beverages , great food and has a great ambience. Food festivals are common.
Aryan's, (Hazratganj). is also located at many various parts of the city
Finding alcohol is not a problem, but most bars are seedy and are to be avoided, except for those in five-star restaurants.
A safer drink alternative is the famous local lassi yogurt drink.
not all retail shops of wine/liquor are authorised to serve so it's always suggested to drink in a bar or at your home or hotel.
Please be wary of any hotels listed here that give details like 'close to x y and z' and 'air-conditioned rooms'. Most of these might be self-promotion attempts and not based on real tourist feedback.
New Sharma Hotel Opposite charbagh railway station. There are two Sharma Hotels there, One is 30 years old. ph 0522-2635901,2630544,4045586
Sharma Hotel Opposite charbagh railway station. Contact person Shujat Hashmi, Mob:9369266335
Hotel D D International
Hotel Basant Vihar
Hotel Park Avadh
Hotel Mera Mann
Hotel Ganga Maiya
Hotel Naznin Palace
Hotel Ankit Yadav from NIEC
Hotel Mansi Ganga near charbagh railway station ph 0522-2630513,2637841
Hotel Manglam, . Close to Aminabad. It is close to Husainabad Clock Tower, and Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary (not close to any of those, by Lko's distant standards - this is another self-promotion attempt - and this isn't a budget hotel) Rates start at India Rupees 1,290.00.
'Lucknow Homestay 110D Mall Avenue. Has WiFi, home cooked meals and boasts of space. Just off The Mall. The hosts are super friendly and a mine of information.
Hotel Gomati near Hazratgunj and Sharagunj mall is run by Uttar Pradesh Tourism and offers decent rooms at moderate cost.
Hotel Gemini Continental' Hazaratganj, Lucknow 0522-4011111
Hotel Sagar International Opposite Butler Palace
Comfort Inn Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar
Park Inn Laplace
Arif Castles Rana Pratap Marg
Carlton Rana Pratap Marg
Hotel Simla Palace, 5 Gautam Budh Marg, Latouche Road, Lucknow 226001, Uttar Pradesh, India, ☎ +91 05224007269. Hotel Simla Palace is strategically located 1 km from the railway station and 13 km from Lucknow Airport. Close to Bara Imambara, Husainabad Clock Tower, and Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens (not close to any of those - self promotion attempt).
Hotel Taj Residency Gomti Nagar. +91 522 239 3939( fax:+91 522 239 2282 ''+91 522 239 2465), . One of the landmark hotels of Lucknow
Clarks Avadh Parivartan Chowk, Mahatma Gandhi Marg is one of the more centrally located hotels in Lucknow. Clean, well-kept and very smart. The restaurant named "Falaknuma" at the ninth floor has the right ambience to enjoy a Mughlai dinner with awesome views of the city. The Murg Malai Tikka is recommended. The service at the restaurant leaves much to be desired however and the alcohol selections are in no way on par with what would be expected from an upscale hotel elsewhere. Wifi is available for a price.
Piccadily Hotel Airport Road. It is new addition to the luxury hoetls of Lucknow. Just 3 Kms from Lucknow Airport.