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10 Historical Places In Lucknow That Prove It’s A Hidden Gem!

access_time October 26, 2018 chat_bubble_outline 0 comments 6023
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It probably only happens a few times in one’s life, that just standing in front of a monument can evoke such strong emotions and leave you awestruck. Neha Mathur, an avid traveller, lists some of the most beautiful historical places in Lucknow from the Mughal era that promise to captivate your senses.

Lucknow is sprinkled with exceptional monuments from the Mughal era

Mughal architecture, of which the Taj Mahal is the most famous symbol, evokes that emotion with a lot of its magnificent structures. The intricate carvings, the alleyways, high ceilings and open spaces are traditional signs of the Mughal architecture. With its cultural richness and heritage buildings, Lucknow is a treasure trove of architectural wonders. So, here are some of the most beautiful historical places in Lucknow that you must witness to appreciate the true art of the Mughal era.

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Top 10 Historical Places In Lucknow From The Mughal Era

Let’s take you on a tour of the Mughals and Nawabs, and explore the many historical places in Lucknow which remain as marvelous as grand even today.

1. Bara Imambara

historical places in Lucjknow - bara imambara

Lucknow is home to ‘Bara Imambara’, a historical edifice with a marvelous architecture

The intricate stone carvings, aesthetic flower designs and poetic Urdu writing charms you to the architecture of the Bara Imambara instantly. Manicured lawns, structured pathways, a magnificent and humongous mosque catch your eye instantly. The Imambara is home to the largest ceiling in the world, with no supporting beams.

historical places - bara imambara

Bara Imambara’s decorated hall is one of the largest of its kind in the world

It’s an architectural marvel for sure. Not to forget the amusing labyrinth of passageways, the Bhool Bhulaiya, which is fun to navigate and can really test your sense of direction! If this is not enough, the view from the rooftop, overlooking the entire complex of structures, is great for stunning selfies. This is one of the most popular tourist places in Lucknow, and must not be missed.

Must Watch: A Visit To Bara Imambara

Video: A Visit To Bara Imambara, Lucknow

2. Rumi Darwaza

historical places - rumi darwaza

The Rumi Darwaza is a spectacular gateway and a popular monument of Lucknow city

As Lucknow grew and expanded, merging Mughal and Colonial structures dotted the city. So as you make your way through the towering Rumi Darwaza, what also greets you is the newly renovated Clock Tower, a colonial creation. Built by Asaf-ud-Daula in the late 18th century, the gate is one of the many gates that led to the old city of Lucknow. The Rumi Darwaza is reminiscent of the Roman gates, in fact, the word Rumi means Roman. The stone carvings, the central oval dome and the majestic nature of the structure make for an impressive entrance to the city.

3. Kaiserbagh Palace

Lucknow Historical Places - Kaiserbagh palace

Discover Kaiserbagh Palace, the grandest, most elaborate complex of Nawabi Lucknow, Picture source – columbia.edu

The opulence of the Nawabs is well known, and their tales of extravagance are not hidden from the world, this is most obviously seen in the many historical places in Lucknow today. As the legend goes, Wajid Ali Shah, who built the Kaiserbagh complex, asked his staff to spread Persian saffron on the walls of the buildings, so they would have a nice yellow colour and the scent of saffron. Today, it retains its dreamy beauty, and while you may not be able to smell the saffron, the walls are still painted yellow to remind you of the Nawab’s quirk. Truly a dream!

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4. Safed Baradari

Historical places in Lucknow - safed baradari

Be awestruck by the beauty of Safed Baradari, Picture source – Pinterest.com

Part of the Qaisarbagh complex, the Safed Baradari was built by the last king of Awadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Literally translated as the White Palace, this was initially a palace of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. The beautiful main hall pays homage to the founders of the British India Association Oudh, which still controls the buildings, and is one of the more popular historical places in Lucknow.

5. Chhota Imambara

Lucknow - Chhota Imambara

Also known as Imambara of Hussainabad, the Chhota Imambara is one of the most beautiful buildings in the old city of Lucknow

The Chhota Imambara or the Hussainabad Imambara is often dwarfed by its majestic big brother, the Bara Imambara, but that does not diminish its own beauty and heritage value. Located just down the street from the namesake, this Imambara was built as a congregation hall for Shia Muslims by Muhammad Ali Shah. The minarets, the white intricate façade and the stone carvings are traditional to Mughal architecture, and much like the Bara Imambara they are delicate and charming in their appearance. One of the lesser visited tourist places in Lucknow, do give this one a visit.

Must Watch: Must Have Food In Lucknow

VIDEO: Must Have Food In Lucknow – Tunday Kabab!

6. Chowk

Historical places - Chowk

Explore Chowk, one of the oldest markets in the city of Lucknow. Picture source – amazingindiablog

The Chowk area is reminiscent of the Mughal and Nawabi time, when trade of textile and spices happened within and outside the empire. The commercial centre of Lucknow, where even today there are scores and scores of textile and spices manufacturing units, is the best place for authentic Chikankaari work and the most delectable food! Chowk, with its alleyways and courtyards, narrow lanes and bustling streets, is one of the oldest commercial markets in all of North India. Do stop by here for a vintage Lucknow experience and for the famous Tunde Kabab!

7. Dewa Sharif

historical places in Lucjknow - deva shrine

Visit Dewa Sharif Dargah to experience serenity & calmness in Lucknow

The noisy street vendors on your way to Dewa Sharif may push you to a frenzy, but as soon as you step into the gates of the Sufi shrine, all you can feel is peace. A large courtyard, typical of the Mughal architecture, is surrounded by covered alleyways all around. In the centre, made of glittering marble, is the shrine of Dewa Sharif. As the light pours through the marble designs, seat yourself along the walls, and listen to the harmony of the music as a group of singers croon to the melodious sounds of Sufi music, colouring the air with their soulful mysticism.  You will lose yourself to the environment and feel at one with the place.

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8. The Shahi Baoli

The lesser known part of the Bara Imambara complex of buildings, the Shahi Baoli is a traditional Mughal stepwell, where water was stored as an efficient community water reservoir. The legend says the British found a network of tunnels beneath the water well of the Shahi Baoli. Of these tunnels, one is supposed to reach all the way to Delhi, but it has been barred now, as anyone who went through it did not come back. A bit eerie, but beautifully designed by the architect, you must visit the Shahi Baoli for a unique architectural experience in Lucknow.

9. Chhatar Manzil

Historical places- Chhatar manzil - Lucknow

One of the imposing structures built by the Nawabs of Lucknow. Picture source – lucknowobserver.com

A lot of the buildings that were built even after the Mughal rule over Awadh, still had heavy influences of Mughal architecture in their palaces, homes, gates and gardens. One such historical place in Lucknow is the Chhattar Manzil, or Umbrella Palace. On the banks of River Gomti, which cuts through Lucknow, this beautiful palace was the bigger of 2 buildings. Sadly, only one remains and is a sight to see against the serene backdrop of the calming river. The palace gets its name from the umbrella shaped domes, and is a charming relic of Mughal architecture.

10. Sikandar Bagh

Historical places in Lucknow - sikandar bagh

Sikandar Bagh, formerly known by the British as Sikunder/Sikandra/Secundra Bagh, is a villa and garden enclosed by a fortified wall. Picture source -amarujala.com

The Nawabs of Oudh were known to appreciate nature and patronise beauty and art. A combination of the two was developed in the form of gardens, beautifully designed and manicured spaces where Nawabs would enjoy leisurely walks with their begum or queen. Sikandar Bagh is one such beautiful historical location where Nawab Sadat Ali Shah enjoyed many kathak and poetic performances. It’s still worth a visit!

Historical places in Lucknow thrive on the beauty of Mughal architecture, and it truly is a gift that they left us to enjoy even today! So, which architectural wonder would you be exploring first?

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Neha Mathur loves to explore the stories behind places and people. She believes travel is the best form of education, and loses no opportunity to visit a new place. Neha writes to express stories that touch her heart or entice her mind. She’s a foodie and nothing gives her more happiness than delicious local food! She has a deep love for poetry and music, and swears by the artistic genius of Mirza Ghalib and R.D. Burman.

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