There is this famous poetry about Lucknow
लखनऊ है तो महज़ गुम्बद-ओ -मीनार नहीं
Lucknow hai to mahaz gumbad-o meenar nahi
सिर्फ एक शहर नहीं कूचा-ओ-बाज़ार नहीं
Sirf ek shahar nahi kooch-o bazaar nahi
इसके आँचल में मोहब्बत के फूल खिलते हैं
Iske aanchal mein mohabbat ke phool khilte hain
इसकी गलियों में फरिश्तों के पते मिलते हैं
Iski galion mein farishton ke pate milte hain
(Lucknow is not just its domes and minarets,
not just a city or markets and corridors,
in its lap are grown the flowers of love,
in its alleyways you find the addresses of angels)We are a resident of Lucknow and have seen all the tourist points many time, but we wanted to travel the historical part of the city again in a one day package as an outsider tourist will do. Lucknow has many attractions but most of the historical heritage points are located in the heart of the town on the Mahatma Gandhi Road leading to Husainabad Trust Road. You can visit 'Asifi or Bara Imambara (Big shrine)', 'Husainabad or Chota Imambara (Small Shrine)', Clock Tower, Picture Gallary, Roomi Gate and British Residency. The heart of Hazratganj (City Center) is also nearby and you can enjoy the Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine in any of the restaurants in this area or in the roadside joints near Tulsi Complex.
|See the red circles for spot locations (Source: Google Map)|
First of all we reached the Bara Imambara. Bara means big and Imambara is a shrine for the purpose of Azadari (The processions and ritual performed during the Muharram are known as Azadari). It is a large complex with Main Imambara building, Bhool Bulaiyan (Maze or Labyrinth), Bouli (Step well) and Asifi Masjid inside. It was started in 1783 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula for providing jobs to peaple during a famine in Lucknow. It took 14 years to complete.It has two grand entrance in the shape of triple arch gateways.
Guide charges shown above is only for main building and Labyrinth section. For Baoli or Step well, it is negotiable, we paid Rs. 50 extra for showing us the Baoli.
Below you can see the official sign of Awadh that was a pair of fishes. The same has been taken by the Government of Uttar Pradesh also in its official seal.
|One arch of the first gateway|
|First gateway and garden from inside|
|Second Gateway from inside|
|Second Gateway leading to main building|
|Right side of main building with Asifi mosque|
|Left side of main building|
The same roof covers three halls in all, the Persian Hall, the China Hall and the Indian Hall. The Persian Hall is the central hall, which is quite large in size. The China Hall is of an interesting shape, being square at ground level, octagonal at mid-height and 16-sided at the top. The India Hall is in the shape of a watermelon.
Below are some pictures of inside the main building-
|Central Hall - the largest unsupported roof|
|Roof of the Indian Hall|
|In the balcony of central Persian hall (Graveyard of Asif-ud-Daula is seen below)|
Labyrinth or Bhool Bhulaiyan:
Surrounding the main hall is a 3D labyrinth or Bhool Bhulaiyan (भूल भुलैयाँ ), one and only of its kind in India. On left hand side you will see steep chain of stairs going up to the roof of the monument.
|Way to staircase leading to Labyrinth|
|Rules for Labyrinth|
|Long staircase leading to labyrinth and rooftop|
Here are some pics of maze corridors and view from rooftop.
|Corridor on front side|
|Maze has many such similar looking 4 way points|
|Corridor on other side|
You can see the magnificent views from the roof top with River Gomti, Roomi gate, Asifi masjid and 'Teele wali Masjid (Mosque on a hillock)' in view.
|On far distance - River Gomti & White Mosque is Teele wali Masjid|
|Asifi Masjid on left|
|Roomi gate in far center and river Gomti|
|Roof and burj along the sides|
|The back side boundary|
|In the back side view you see present Medical college (KGMC, now CSJMMC)|
|Teele wali Mosque|
The imambara complex has a step well also called Bauli, which is a 5 storied structure. It was made for royal baths and also for taking construction water. It's water source was river Gomti.
|Way down to step well|
|Renovation is being done, presently well filled with construction garbage|
|Asifi Mosque opposite to Bauli entrance|
|An unusual variety of palm|
|A craftsman selling handmade small Lucknawi Jutis (shoes) for INR 10|
A day in Lucknow - The City of Nawabs (Part-2)