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Popularly known as the 'City of Nawabs', Lucknow is also the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow is well known for its own distinct cuisine patronized by the erstwhile Maharaja. Polite comportment, Nawabi biryanis and kebabs, classical music and poetry characterize Lucknow. The city abounds with the heritage structures built during the Raj era and the time when it used to be the capital of Awadh. The monuments of historical and architectural importance include Rumi Darwaza, Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Shah Najaf, Residency and Bhul Bhulaiyan. Other tourist landmarks and places worth visiting include Chhatar Manzil, Lucknow Zoo, Shahid Smarak, Ambedkar Memorial and Ram Krishna Math.
A 60 ft high ‘Rumi Darwaza’ is the finest gateway built in Lucknow. This monument is highly inspired by a gateway in Istanbul that is quite similar to Rumi Darwaza. The word ‘Rumi’ is taken from present day ‘Rome’, earlier Istanbul. The upper portion of the Darwaza is in a shape of an octagonal umbrella (Chatri), which is carved aesthetically and one could reach to it using the adjacent staircase. The Rumi Darwaza, an impressive architectural structure, was constructed by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in the year 1784. This structure is one of the finest specimens of Awadh style of architecture.
The Rumi Darwaza of Lucknow is also popular as the Turkish Gateway due to its design identical to a similar gateway in ancient Constantinople. Earlier, there was a huge lantern placed on the top of the Darwaza that would light up and make the structure look magnificent during night. Adding to the beauty of Rumi Darwaza, there were fountains that would rush water out from the flower buds carved on the sides of the arch. During night, Rumi Dawaza is synonymous to a gateway to Paradise. Therefore, the carved flowers and unique designs add to the eye for detail and praiseworthy architectural style.
Bara Imambara was built back in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. The historic monument is considered a one of the best architectural wonders of those times. It is well-known for its unique construction. The star attraction of this monument is the central hall which is believed to have the largest domed chamber in the world. Intricate woodwork can be seen in the galleries in the interior.
The Bara Imambara also has a unique maze called Bhul-bhulaiya. It is believed that there are great treasures hidden in the secret tunnels of this maze. The monument provides a scenic view of the city from the top.
Jama Masjid is known as one of the most beautiful mosques in India. The beauty of this mosque is spellbinding and people from all over visit this place to have a look at its stunning architecture. The mosque is completely built in yellow sandstone. It was constructed back in the 1423 by Sultan Ahmed Shah.
The mosque is set in the heart of the city and is a great example of the Hindu-Muslim architecture. During auspicious occasions and festivals, the mosque is thronged by many Muslims.
Jama Masjid has beautiful designs and carvings on its pillars which are truly captivating. Hindu and Jain cultures have been a key inspiration behind the designing of this monument.
British Residency is a monument which holds great historical importance. It is known to have witnessed the famous revolt of 1857 which had shaken the entire then-British regime. Large parts of the residency were destroyed when there was a battle between the English forces and the Indian rebels. The walls of the building still have marks of the cannon balls.
The residency is the most important historical landmark in Lucknow. The monument today has partly-in-ruins of the main building and it is now under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India.
It is surrounded by beautiful lawns which are full of flowers. An 1857 Memorial Museum has been set up in the residency which showcases India's First war of independence in 1857 which took place in Awadh.
Also known as Umbrella Palace, Chattar Manzil is situated on the banks of river Gomti. The name of Chattar Manzil has been derived from its umbrella-shaped dome. It was built long back by the Nawabs of Lucknow. The architecture of the monument takes its inspiration from Europe.
The Chattar Manzil palace has seen many phases right from the year in which it was built. It served as a palace for different Awadh rulers and their wives. After that, it was used by the Indian revolutionaries during the revolt of 1857.
Today, the Chattar Manzil has been re-modeled and it serves as an office for the Central Drug Research Institute. A visit to this palace is a must as it makes us observe a great example of European architecture. The charm of the palace promises to leave all the visitors spellbound.