The sprawling yet exhilarating metropolis of Lucknow, capital
city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, has long been regarded as the
cultural and artistic heart of northern India, a legacy which began
in 1722 with the first Nawab (a governer appointed by the Mughal
Emperor) of the city. The successive Nawabs of Lucknow were
renowned for their refinement and etiquette and for their patronage
of the arts including dance, poetry, music, cuisine and design.
Today, Lucknow retains this devotion to civilised behaviour,
culture and the arts making the city an exceptionally welcoming and
rewarding city to explore.
A historic landmark of Lucknow that should not be missed is the
British Residency and Museum. The Residency was built in 1800 to
house the British Resident General, but following the annexation of
the former Indian state of Awadh by the British East India Company
in 1857, became the site of a bloody siege at the hands of an
Indian rebellion. The Residency's buildings and gardens have been
preserved as they were at the time of the siege; the bullet holes,
cannon damage and other battle scars remain untouched.
Besides an intriguing mix of traditional Mughal architecture and
British colonial architecture that is evident throughout the city,
friendly and cosmopolitan Lucknow offers visitors an abundance of
landmarks, activities, entertainments and cultural experiences that
includes something to please everyone.
Lucknow and the state of Uttar Pradesh are the origins of an
elaborate cuisine that features Mughal delicacies including
varieties of tikkas, biriyanis and kebabs that are now enjoyed
around the world. Lucknow offers a wide range of dining
establishments at which the finest and most authentic versions of
these dishes may be sampled.
For a cultural experience the Ravindralaya Auditorium, which is
located near to Lucknow's two railway stations, provides free
performances of classical and traditional dance, theatre and
Souvenir and bargain hunters who enjoy an authentic shopping
experience should eschew Lucknow's many modern shopping malls in
favour of the city's traditional markets. Aminabad market in the
old part of the city has been in existence for more than 160 years
and is a good place to find example of the Chikan embroidery for
which Lucknow is famous. Chowk, also in the old city, is another
ancient market and specialises in handicrafts, ornaments, toys,
clothes and shoes.
Bird spotters should not miss Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, which is
just outside the city on the Kanpur-Lucknow Road, and is a wooded
park with a lake that is not only home to more than 250 species of
bird but also to herds of spotted and barking deer and a number of
snake species including vipers and watersnakes.