Lucknow - enjoying the ambience of the Nawabs of Oudh

I have arrived in Lucknow - the capital city of the populous North-Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on my way to Dudhwa National Park. A visual treat to land at 6.30 am at the imposing Charbagh Railway Station built in 1914 that blends the best in Mughal & Rajput architecture.  The city lies on the banks of the River Gomti that lends it an additional charm that only a water-body can add to the landscape. With just a day in hand, I check out some of the the well known monuments of the old city. Truly an interesting insight into the grandeur of days gone by.

Lucknow is best experienced through the medium of cycle rickshaws. First on the itinerary is the Shah Najaf Imambara built by Nawab Ghazi-ud-din Haider as a burial ground for himself & his 3 wives. It is a replica of Hazrat Ali's burial in Najaf in Iraq
entrance to the Shah Najaf Imambara

the interior corridors

an ornate door

the mausoleums

An interesting old building used as an office

An old Church probably the St. Joseph's Cathedral

More old structures

above & below: Mausoleum of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan & his Begum Khurshid zadi near the begum Hazrat Mahal Park

And amidst all the old structures, a swanky new building!

A Sunni Mosque close to the Bada Imambara
And finally, after winding my way through structures old & new, I get my sighting of the Asafi (Bada) Imambara. It was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and is one of the architectural wonders of that era. Its central hall is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world. Except for the galleries in the interior, there is no woodwork in the entire structure. It has large underground passages which have been blocked up. A staircase from outside leads to a series of labyrinths known as Bhool-Bhulaiyan which is a complicated entanglement of zig-zag pass.
View of the bada Imambara

Above & below: Before entering the gate of the Bada Imambara, I am enchanted by this beautiful view of the imposing Rumi Darwaza  50 ft high (Turkish gate)

Above & following pictures :The magnificent Bada Imambara

Below: The construction of Jama Masjid, to the north-west of Bada  Imambara, was started in 1832 AD during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah but was completed after his death by his begum, Nawab Malika Janah. It is entirely free from the pseudo-Italian art then in vogue in Lucknow and reflects the Mughal style of architecture.

Above & below: interior views of the Bara Iambara including the ornate Tazias

View from the Bara Imambara

Bhoo Bulaya is part of the Bara Imambara consisting a series of narrow passages that are intertwined so well that it can confuse anyone & hence the name of Bhool Bulaya. very Interesting architecture! You need a guide if you do not wish to get lost!!!

More views from the bada Imambara - view of the King George's Hospital

The heart of the old Lucknow

Going ahead of the Bada Imambara past the Rumi Darwaja (Turkish Gate) is the throbbing old city with the Hussainabad (Chota) Imambara a smaller but more a ornate structure.
Built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah (1837-42), it is more ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers, gilt-edged mirrors, silver mimbar and colourful stuccos which adorn the interiors. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal architecture. 

an interesting reflection

Entry to the Chota Imambara

above & the following photos show the Inside view of the Chota Imambara

A buzy street scene

Clock towers always make an interesting picture & when surrounded by Date Palms show a beautiful combo of natural & man made beauty.

This 221 ft. high Clock Tower was built in 1887 to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, the first Lieutenant Governor of the United Province of Awadh. . It is said to be identical in design to an ancient portal at Constantinople. Its uppermost part consists of an eight faceted chhatri, approachable by a staircase.

Rumi Darwaja

wondering what this photo is doing???? Just to show the contrast between the exquisite workmanship of days gone by & our modern horrors......LOL!

contrast with this interesting mausoleum

A view of modern Lucknow