Muskuraiye aap Lucknow me hain!

#XploreBharat halts at the Royal and Historic City of Nawabs and Kababs – Lucknow

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Hello, my fellow travelers, I am sure you are enjoying the ride on the #XploreBharat Blog train. After exploring so many amazing destinations with the most recent trip to Nainital with Dr. Jenifer. Today we have finally reached one of the most beautiful cities of Northern India, The City of Nawabs and Kababs, Lucknow.

The capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is situated on the banks of the river Gomti. Retaining its old world charm, from the British era buildings to the magnificent mosques to the lush green parks to the grandiose sandstone monuments, this city has so much to offer you.

Hence it lures the travelers across the globe to experience this city. YES! Lucknow is an experience. It has all the amenities of metro cities as well as all the pleasures of a small town.

So, Muskuraiye aap Lucknow me hain (Smile, you are in Lucknow) and come, let’s explore this royal and historic city through my lens.

For me, Lucknow had a different meaning always. In childhood, a visit to this city on Sundays with my parents meant a luxury picnic to the zoo, historical monuments, and many parks.

I was studying in Noida when my parents shifted here in 2005 due to my father’s job but my heart was always in my hometown, Sitapur which is an hour drive away from Lucknow.

But gradually, this city’s charm captivated me and now, I happily and proudly call it home. Writing this post itself is evidence of the fact that I love being called a Lucknawi.

So, here I’m sharing the top sightseeing attractions and other important details which would help you plan your itinerary to my city.

Top Places to visit:

Bada Imambara: 

The Bara Imambara also known as Asfi Imambara is one of the most famous monuments of Lucknow. It was named on the Nawab of Lucknow who got it constructed. It is said to be the world’s largest unsupported structure and one of the finest specimen of Mughal Architecture.

The central hall of this landmark is known for its largest arched hall in the world. You will be surprised to know that the entire building is constructed using Lucknawi bricks (which are relatively smaller in size) and lime plaster only. No metal or wood has been used in this building.

Chhota Imambara

Bada Imambara

In the Central Hall, you can also witness the grave of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah and his crown. There are few more religious centers and famous sightseeing monuments like the Asifi Mosque, Shahi Bawali, Rumi Darwaja, etc. within the vicinity of Bada Imambara.

Bada Imambara is an important place of worship for the Muslims. They come here to celebrate the religious festival of Muharram every year.

Bhul Bhulaiya: 

You will be amazed to witness another popular monument an incredible maze, Bhul Bhulaiya which is located on the upper floor of Bada Imambara. It is an unusual labyrinth of corridors which is the show stealer and attracts many tourists.

The interesting part of Bhul Bhulaiya is that you speak very slowly at one end of the building, it can be heard from the other end. So, never share any secrets with anyone hear. As they say, Deewaro ke bhi kaan hote hain” (Walls have ears), it holds very much true for this place.

I have many fondest memories of my childhood of this place, playing and running around with my brother and later I boasted about this historical monument to my husband on his first visit to Lucknow. You can take a ride on the horse chariots just outside the monument and get a feel of the Nawabs.

Chhota Imambara:

The Chhota Imambara, also known as “The Imambara of Hussainabad”, is another enchanting building and one of the most prominent historical structures in the old city of Lucknow. It is situated in the West of Bara Imambara and is a true sight to behold. Constructed in the year 1838, by the third Nawab of Awadh, Muhammad Ali Shah, this monument was initially a congregation hall for Shia Muslims.

Chhota Imambara is embellished profusely with the chandeliers during Muharram. Hence, it has been named as the ‘Palace of Lights’ by European visitors and writers. It looks phenomenal during the night when all lit up during the festivals and catches the fancy of many travelers across the globe. It looks splendid not just from the outside but the interiors are also intricately decorated and look captivating.

Its rich architecture is a beautiful blend of Indo-Islamic and Persian structural designs. On the exterior walls of this building, Quranic verses are written in Islamic calligraphy. It makes the best spot for photo fanatics and history lovers.


If you really want to experience the history of The British Era, this is the right place for you. The Residency was the living quarters of the British Commissioner of the Awadh, who was the representative’s of the British East India Company in the courts of Nawabs. You will witness the royal and grand life that the Britishers led here along with the pain and struggle of our freedom fighters.

The biggest event Residency is known for is the First War of Independence in 1857. You can still see the marks of the bullets and canons of the Freedom Movement here. It gives you jitters merely thinking about the siege which lasted for 5 months.

You will find the ruins of the treasury, kitchen, the storehouse, the Brigade mess, the banquet hall that still bore the signs of intricate carvings of that Era. This is not to be missed place in the city.

I clearly remember once my school planned a trip to Lucknow and Residency was the first place we visited. I left the place with mixed emotions as the pain and struggle of our freedom fighters was so real and hard.


Also known by the name of “Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Prani Udyan” or “Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens”, Lucknow Zoo is one of the nicest zoos in India. It is a home of around 1000 animals of more than 100 species. The most famous one is a chimpanzee also named Hukku Bandar who makes funny voices and is the center of attraction of all the visitors.

Spread across a huge area of 29 hectares, it can be explored by a Pollution free Battery Vehicle which is for the visitors in the zoo. It is very popular for its recreational activities like paddle boating and toy train named “Bal Rail” that runs across the zoo.

One thing that catches visitors attention here is the adoption scheme for the animals. You can adopt any animal you wish to and donate for its expenses. If anyone is interested in the noble cause, further details can be found here.

I re-visited Zoo after many years, during my recent India trip along with my daughters, husband and mother and the little ones enjoyed equally. A remarkable change I noticed was plastic is banned inside the campus. So, if you are planning to carry any snacks with you, pack them in box or paper bags.

Rumi Darwaza: 

Also known as “Turkish gate”, the creation of this masterpiece has a very charitable reason behind it. Its architecture is an imitation of a similar specimen in Istanbul. During 1748, famine struck North India and the then Nawab of Awadh came up with a plan to feed his countrymen as well as give him something to be proud of.

The Awadhi workers built the majestic Rumi Darwaza for the Nawab as a barter association, in exchange for every day’s meal. This was constructed without using even a single piece of wood, iron or stone beams.

It used to be the gateway to the royal city and palace in those days but gradually Rumi Darwaza has stopped being the main doorway to the royal residence. Despite this, it has nowhere lost its beauty and importance when it comes to the culture of The Awadh City, Lucknow.

Over the years, I have seen this place changing and today, the arch of this gigantic and strong monument, Rumi Darwaza remain cacophonous all day as it runs roadways to both the sides. It still reminds me of horse chariot rides every time I pass through it.

Husainabad Clock Tower:

This is another historic building of the city which stands tall right adjacent to the Rumi Darwaza. Built in 1881, The Husainabad Clock Tower is the tallest clock tower in India.

Sham-e-Awadh in Hazratganj Market: GANJING!!!

A visit to Lucknow is incomplete without hopping the biggest and most posh market, Hazratganj. We call it Ganjing. You will find the entire market quite happening throughout the day, especially in the evening (Sham-e-Awadh).

If you are looking for branded outlets for shopping or some exciting food options or just hanging around, this is just the place for you. How I miss Ganjng with my cousins during my teenage years while typing this.


Ambedkar Park, Janeshwar Mishra Park, and Ram Manohar Lohia Park are the three largest parks of the city. Ambedkar Park is a mammoth construction of stones, fountains, and marble and looks magnificent in the night when lit up.

Janeshwar Mishra Park is the biggest park in Asia spread across a huge area of 376 acres. With a large variety of plants and trees and many man-made fountains, it is popular for its longest jogging and bicycle track in India. It displays a real MIG-21 aircraft and a battle tank which is open for the public. You can see a 200 ft. high flag of India in this park.

Ram Manohar Lohia Park is famous amongst the morning and evening walkers as it’s lush green environment is well suited for the purpose.

Other famous parks like Buddha Park, Nimbu Park, Haathi parks are one of the most popular places for the families and kids who prefer outdoors to the malls over the weekend.

A few more interesting places to visit are Indira Gandhi Planetarium, Regional Science Center, Hanuman Setu Temple, Vidhan Sabha, Chandrika Devi Temple, Shaheed Smarak etc.

Foods to Eat:

Lucknow is very famous for its varied cuisine. From Tunde Kababi which is more than a 100-year-old restaurant in Chowk where you get many varieties of the softest and mouth-watering kababs to Malai Makhan which is available only during the winters. (Delhiites might know about it as in Delhi, you get it by the name of Daulat ki chaat in Chandni Chowk) but nothing can beat the original taste of that of Lucknow. It is made up of milk by keeping it under the dew drops overnight and then frothing it. As I write this, I crave for its heavenly taste.

Other famous foods to try here are Basket chaat or Tokri Chaat at Royal Cafe, Hazratganj, Lassi at Chowk, Dhaal ki Chaat (chaat in a narrow road) in Aminabad, Prakash Kulfi (Ice cream) in Aminabad, Lucknawi Pan, Chai Bun at Sharma Tea Stall and the endless variety of sweets are a few not to miss foods in Lucknow.


Lucknow is famous for its Chikankari embroidery work all over the world. The suits, sarees, kurtas, kids wear etc. are exported to many countries. The best places to shop is Chowk which is said to be the hub of this 400-year-old art and is flooded with chikankari shops. You will get a lot of variety at the best rates here.

Alternately, you can also hop on to any Seva Chikan outlet. There are many outlets across the city, though the prizes are a bit higher but you get classy stuff.

Ada is another fancy outlet for Chikan stuff located at Hazratganj but its too pricy. Kapoorthala is a relatively smaller market but you get everything under the sun here from jewelry to clothes to footwear etc. Aminabad is the busiest and the most popular market of Lucknow and you can get stuff at any range – low to high. So, if you are comfortable in a crowded market, this is the place for you.

There is a heavily populated and famous market in Aminabad where you get a huge variety of cosmetics, bangles, and craft related stuff which makes it a highly loved place for the women. How can I not mention the interesting name of this market, we call it, “Gadbadjhala”. My favorite part of this market is bargaining, which makes every woman happy, isn’t it?

I personally buy from Kapurthala if I don’t have much time and need only 1-2 pieces of suits but if I have time in hand, I prefer Chowk or Aminabad any day.

Interesting facts about Lucknow:

  • There is a posh area, Gomti Nagar, named on the river Gomti, which is home to malls, PVRs, IT companies, 5-star hotels etc. Its residential area is divided into many sectors (Khands) and all their names start with the alphabet “V”. To name a few, Vardaan Khand, Vastu Khand, Vaibhav Khand, Vibhor Khand, Vikas Khand, Vikalp Khand, Vineet Khand, Vipin Khand, Vinay Khand and many more.
  • One of the historical landmarks of Lucknow, the La Martinere School started in 1845. It was the abode of the tomb of French Major-General Claude Martin as he lived there.

  • Lucknow was earlier known by many names like Lakshampuri, Laksmnaut, Laksnaut, Laksnau to Laknau and finally Lucknow.

  • Lucknow’s Charbagh Railway Station is one of the most beautiful and busiest railway stations in India. It resembles a chess board when seen from an aerial view.

  • Begum Hazrat Mahal took charge of the city during India’s first war of independence and led her armies against.

  • The famous event, Kakori trial that involves our freedom fighters Ram Prasad Bismil and Afaqullah Khan, took place in Lucknow.

  • There is a nexus of 4 National Highways NH-24, NH-25, NH-56 and NH-28 in the city.

  • Residents of Lucknow call themselves “Laknavi” and are known for their elegance and sophisticated way of speaking like “Tashreef rakhiye” (Please have a seat).

How to reach Lucknow:

Being the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is well connected with all the major cities of India through airport and railway station. The nearest airport is Amausi airport which has good connectivity with many major cities of India. The railway station is Charbagh and is quite accessible from most of the cities across the country.

The sheer brilliance and splendid beauty of this city get imprinted on the mind of visitors and stay with them forever in the form of a beautiful memory.

So, this was a glimpse of my city which is beautiful in its own way. Hope you liked its virtual tour. Now the next stop of #XploreBharat train would be Kanyakumari by my dear friend and a brilliant writer Sitharaam Jayakumar.

This post is a part of the #XploreBharat Blog Train hosted by AditiEshaMaheshwaranPraGunPreetiSabaSanjotaSoniaSudipSuhasiniSupriya



Finally a big shout out to our sponsors KAIV and FABZANIA for taking this Blog Train experience even further.


KAIV is a personal grooming accessory and appliances brand offering a wide range of world-class products.



FabZania is an upcoming Food, Travel, Entertainment and Lifestyle web portal.


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February 26, 2019 5:12 am

Such an elaborate post about the city I stayed in for 9 years! You have put in so much effort into bringing everything about this beautiful city of nawabs alive for the readers and it shows in your narration too. I am going to Lucknow soon and your post is making the longing more intense. Thank you!
Just one suggestion: please mention pic credits too.

Ujjwal mishra
February 26, 2019 5:41 am

It in indeed a a place that has historic as all as modern sense of living. I have been to build bhulaiyaa manu times and every time the experience adds to memories.the place offers lot of food lovers too.wonderful vertika.

Mayuri Nidigallu
February 26, 2019 6:27 am

A post that covers everything one needs to know about Lucknow! I love the insider shopping tips, and hope to refer to them when I visit this beautiful city.
Awesome post, Vartika, and your love for the city is so evident in it.

Anshu Bhojnagarwala
February 26, 2019 7:06 am

Lovely post, Vartika! I have never been to the city of Nawabs, though long to go there one day. It was such a royal place and still it is said that Lucknowi adab has a character of its own. I am not a meat eating person, so tundai kebab I will never be able to relish, but yes I have eaten daulat ki chaat many times in Delhi. In a recent wedding, the caterers had been called from Lucknow, and there they had served malai makhan. It was meltingly frothy and I love the less sweet taste which is full… Read more »

Pragnya Mishra
February 26, 2019 8:30 am

Lucknow absorbed the Nawabi culture and stood strong during First war of Indian Independence. Vartika, I loved the way to shared your memories and place intertwined together.

February 26, 2019 10:40 am

That’s a lovely and detailed post. I have been to Lucknow and enjoyed it. Your post just made me refreshed my memories.

February 26, 2019 9:40 pm

I am from Kanpur and my aunt lives in Lucknow do we used to visit Lucknow every now and then.
Infact, I first tasted Tokri Chaat in Lucknow. And yes, Malai Makkhan, we get at Kanpur too. Infact, it was one of the delicacies in our wedding and was super duper hit.

February 27, 2019 3:29 am

Such an elaborate and detailed post . I am attracted to this city’s old world charm just because of your post now. This was my dream city after Mumbai, as I wanted to enter into IIM post IIT. No regrets though
I will try to visit this city at the earliest

Sitharaam Jayakumar
February 27, 2019 3:54 am

What a lovely set of attractions and what lovely descriptions! I really enjoyed your post Vartika.

February 27, 2019 4:53 am

I loved reading your post .I visited Lucknow when I was very small your post just brought back the memories attached that I spent .Lovely post.

Esha Chakraborty
February 27, 2019 4:55 am

A fab post Vartika… So detailed and the love you have for your city comes through in every word… Doing a foodcataion in lucknow is so on my bucket list… Hopefully soon

sanjota Purohit
February 27, 2019 5:14 am

Whoa! every location has its own hidden treasure. I knew Bhul Bhulayya as Picture name but there is a location with its name. Also the wall listening thing. Very informative post & interesting facts at the end of the post is just like a Cherry on the cake. I’m glad I came to know about the city of Nawabs & Kababs through #xplorebharat Blog train.

February 27, 2019 7:44 am

Now THAT’S how you bring a city to life! ?

February 27, 2019 9:07 am

Great travelogue, Vartika! You make thorough justice to the subject you write! And make it engaging.?

Aditi Kapur
February 27, 2019 1:11 pm

Nawabi culture and nawabi style! Lucknow is one of those places where we can find historic connection. Loved your post Vertika:)

Prerna wahi
February 27, 2019 7:42 pm

I loved your write up Vartika. Very heartfelt and well articulated. You have bared your heart and soul in this piece and so it touches us! Would love to visit Lucknow soon.

Manas Mukul
February 28, 2019 10:29 am

Really happy with your post. Lucknow is my hometown – your post has done justice to it. I loved the Makhan Malai pic. One of the Best places to try food in India.
#ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

February 28, 2019 7:09 pm

I’ve been to the city once or twice, but have never had the time to explore the place. Also, one of the things I love most about our #XploreBharat series is that the reader gets to know a lot about the history of a particular place, and its landmarks. And what better place for a historical tour than the City of Nawabs?

That image of the delicacy at the end salivated my mouth. 🙂

Top post! ??

Vijayalakshmi Harish
March 3, 2019 6:30 am

Brilliant post! Among the best in the #XploreBharat series!
Have always wanted to visit the Bhul Bhulaiya. Especially after I saw it in the Bengali Movie Badshahi Angti.

March 3, 2019 1:57 pm

Such a detailed place od the royal city Lucknow. Making one want to experience it soon

March 3, 2019 1:57 pm

Lovely detailed post on the city of Royals

March 4, 2019 2:58 pm

Hi Vartika, you brought such fond memories back dear. I am a Lucknowi at heart too. My first job was in Tata Motors Lucknow. I got my first salary there and tasted independence to the core as a 21 year old. Loving the Xplore BHARAT train.

March 4, 2019 6:15 pm

OMGGG i want to go lucknow! next time you are here! I am comingg

Shilpa Garg
March 4, 2019 7:33 pm

Aah! This post has renewed so many memories for me. We have stayed in many cities but Lucknow has been our favouritest!! 😀
Love everything about the place… people, food, shopping, and historical wonders too. I am drooling at the mere mention of the tunde kebabs!! I so want to visit Lucknow, hopefully sometimes soon!!

pooja budhiraja
March 5, 2019 6:59 pm

I have been to Lucknow twice and experienced the beauty and traditions so closely. specially Bhul Bhulaiya and nawabi food

#poseinstylereads #xplorabharat


[…] Nainital, we went to the land of nawabs, yes that’s Lucknow for you with all its old world charm. We can revisit our history books by going through this little […]

March 13, 2019 5:51 am

This post brought back memories from a time long ago. Around 14 years ago I spent some 6 months. Yes Hazratganj was a weekly affair. And Aminabad was our shopping destination whenever any parents came visiting. I also remember Dewa Shareef as a major draw in the outskirts of the city. a trip back is long due. LEt’s see when does it materialise.


[…] I was very clear in my mind, which places I would be writing about. In my last post, I shared about Lucknow and today, I am writing on a pilgrimage in UP, Naimisharanya, about which most of the people […]

March 27, 2019 2:35 am

Wow this place looks really good. I always wanted to go to Lucknow but haven’t yet been there. After reading the post, I’m more excited to see the city soon.

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