A day might not be enough to explore Lucknow, the capital city of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, but these monuments can be visited, marketplaces hopped while traversing through ancient doors, all in a day’s time.
Visit the Bara and Chhota Imambara
The Bara Imambara and the Chhota Imambara are perhaps the most popular tourist spots in Lucknow. Grand and intricate in their size and their design, both are places of worship and have their own share of stories to tell. It is believed that the Bara Imambara was built to employ the famine hit locals of Lucknow. As is recorded, the then emperor of Awadh, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula came up with the idea of the construction of a prayer hall or Imambara as a way of generating employment for his people, who worked day in and out on the Imambara for 11 years till the famine lasted. On the other hand, Chhota Imambara, which stands to the west of Bara Imambara, was built by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah, whose tomb rests here. The smaller of the two, it is more intricate in its design.
Pass through Rumi Darwaza
The Rumi Darwaza (Rumi Door) stands adjacent to the Bara Imambara, which it shares its story with. An ancient piece of architecture in the middle of the road, it is also referred to as the Turkish Gate. The doorway is often compared in design to an ancient portal at Constantinople in Turkey. Marked by an eight faceted chhatri (umbrella style dome) in its uppermost part, it is a huge ornate structure. In earlier times it marked the entrance to the Old Lucknow City and has now adopted as a symbol of the city of Lucknow.
Shop and eat in the old bazars
Just like many other Indian cities would, Lucknow’s bazars or local markets too bustle with people on foot and on rikshawas trying to make their way through the narrow alleys. Everything is packed- small retail shops, restaurants, tea-stalls, juice vendors- to make an enjoyable and rather welcoming chaos. Experiencing this rush is actually why a foreigner should visit the local markets in India; but when in Lucknow, head to shop the famous chikankari kurtas and eat the Tunday Kebab. Chikan is a traditional embroidery style from the city, which is commonly done on kurtas (tunic). There are various shops lining the streets, selling the same quality piece at different prices, making shop-hopping and bargaining as essential shopping hacks. Besides the chikan, the markets should be visited for getting a taste of the famous kebabs at the Tunday Kababi, a 112-year-old heritage restaurant chain.
Pray at the Jama Masjid
Dotted with various mosques across the city, Lucknow ‘s Jama Masjid particularly stands out. The mosque is an important place of worship for Shia Muslims, who gather here on all of their auspicious occasions. The construction of this Jama Masjid began in 1837 during the reign of Muhammad Ali Shah but was completed by his begum Nawab Malika Janah, after his death . Broadly boasting of Mughal style of architecture, it also has pillars with carvings that have been inspired from Hindu and Jain culture.
Hussainabad Picture Gallery
Once a royal summer palace, the Hussainabad Picture Gallery displays life size portraits of the Nawabs of Awadh, showing the richness of the costumes and jewellery adorned by them. Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah had it built in 1838 as a Baradari, meaning having 12 doorway.