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Lucknow Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Lucknow

Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the most popular Indian destinations due to its valuable architectural, cultural and historic attractions. This tour will guide you around the most beautiful buildings, giving you the chance to experience and admire Lucknow’s great heritage.
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Lucknow Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Lucknow Introduction Walk
Guide Location: India » Lucknow (See other walking tours in Lucknow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.2 Km or 3.9 Miles
Author: Xena
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Jama Masjid
  • Chhota Imambara
  • Satkhanda
  • Hussainabad Picture Gallery
  • Husainabad Clock Tower
  • Rumi Darwaza
  • Naubat Khana
  • Bara Imambara Entrance Gate
  • Bara Imambara Second Gate
  • Aasifi Masjid
  • Bhool Bhulaiya
  • Bara Imambara Shahi Baoli
  • Teele Wali Masjid
  • Lal Pul
  • British Residency
  • Begum Hazrat Mahal Park
  • Saadat Ali Khan Maqbara (Tomb)
1
Jama Masjid

1) Jama Masjid (must see)

Located in the center of the old city, Jama Masjid is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in India. It was built by Sultan Ahmed Shah. The mosque is designed in a harmonious combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. It’s built out of yellow sandstone and lakhauri (special small size bricks). The uniqueness of the building lies in the fact that its 15 domes stand on 260 pillars. All the mosque decorations have deep cultural and religious meaning. Since the very day of its construction, the Jama Masjid has become a significant place of worship.

Please note, that non-Muslims are not allowed inside of the mosque during prayer hours. And when entering the mosque visitors need to remove their shoes.
2
Chhota Imambara

2) Chhota Imambara (must see)

Chhota Imambara is an imposing structure built by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah in 1838. It aimed to serve as his mausoleum. The tombs of other family members of this ruler are placed inside the Imambara as well. Thousands of workers labored on the project to sustain their lives during a severe famine. Chhota Imambara is also known as the Palace of Lights due to its ornaments during festivals and holidays. The chandeliers that adorn the interior of this building were acquired in Belgium. The mausoleum features a beautiful white dome, as well as turrets and minarets. Arabic calligraphy decorates the walls.

Why You Should Visit:
Rich Indo-Ismalic and Persian style monument; clean and has washrooms plus a drinking water facility within the premises.

Tip:
The entry ticket for this is combined with the Bara Imambara, so you should actually visit Bara Imambara first.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Satkhanda

3) Satkhanda (must see)

The Satkhanda watchtower, or "the tower of seven storeys", is located outside the Chhota Imambara. Satkhanda was built between 1837 and 1842 during the rule of Mohammad Ali Shah and the construction was interrupted when he passed away – thus, in spite of its name, the tower only has four storeys. Ali Shah wanted to make it similar to Qutub Minar of Delhi and the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. Its main purpose is lunar observation.

Why You Should Visit:
Well renovated and pretty in the evenings with the lights-arrangements, plus surrounded by a green and spacious park.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Hussainabad Picture Gallery

4) Hussainabad Picture Gallery (must see)

The Picture Gallery, housing full-length portraits of nawabs of Awadh, is a small part of the brick colored building raised by Mohammed Ali Shah around 1838. The building used to be named “Baradari“, which literally means “having 12 doorways”. What’s unique about the Hussainabad building is that iron pillars support the second-floor pavilion. In addition to portraits of the royal family members, performed by such artists as Harrison, Dawling and Gravet, as well as Indian artist D.S.Singh, the gallery exhibits photographs of various officials of the Colonial period.

Why You Should Visit:
Can be compared to any good art gallery. Some of the paintings stand out for their 3D effect, which may give butterflies to anyone who sees them for the first time.

Tip:
You will need a guide to explain the history behind the paintings and the intricacies of each.
Photography is not allowed.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Thu: 10am-4pm; closed on Fridays
5
Husainabad Clock Tower

5) Husainabad Clock Tower (must see)

The Husainabad Clock Tower of Lucknow is the tallest and the most beautiful tower in India. It represents one of the finest examples of British architecture. The tower was raised in 1887 with the obvious impact of the Victorian-Gothic architectural style. Some of the structure's components were imported straight from London. The tower is 67 meters (230 feet) tall and can be seen from most parts of the area.
6
Rumi Darwaza

6) Rumi Darwaza (must see)

The Rumi Darwaza, sometimes called the Turkish Gate, is an imposing gateway, built under the patronage of ruler Asaf-Ud-Dowlah in 1784. It is a perfect rendering of Awadhi architecture (the Lucknow School of Architecture). This sixty-foot tall structure was patterned after the Sublime Porte (Bab-iHümayun) in Istanbul. Upon entering Lucknow in 1858 accompanying the victorious British army, Russell, a “The New York Times” reporter, called the area between Rumi Darwaza and Chattar Manzil the most beautiful and spectacular cityscape he had ever seen, better than Rome, Paris, London and Constantinople.

Tip:
Lit up during nights, it's a wonderful feeling to pass through this gate via rickshaw.
You can also find hawkers around offering elephant/camel rides.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Naubat Khana

7) Naubat Khana

Naubat Khana or Naqqar Khana means a drum house or an orchestra pit for ceremonies. This monument is a distinct representation of the Mughal architecture. It was built for drummers who announced the hours of the day, as well as the arrival of the emperor or his distinguished guests. In mid 19th century this structure was in a highly deplorable condition. And after the American Mission refused to take Naubat Khana as a gift, Lucknow authorities took the decision to restore the building. For some time it was used as the police headquarters.
8
Bara Imambara Entrance Gate

8) Bara Imambara Entrance Gate (must see)

Bara Imambara Entrance Gate features rather restrained and moderate architectural elements comparing to the structures that await visitors inside the complex. The smooth lines of the gate represent a definite example of Mughal architecture. Arched windows and doorways were designed to allow free flow of air, which is typical for Indian architecture, as well as the symmetrical “umbrella” towers with small pikes on the tops.

Construction of Bara Imambara began in 1785, a year of severe famine, and one of Asaf-Ud-Dowlah's objectives in starting this epic project was to provide employment for the population in the region. It is said that common people used to labor on the building during the day, while noblemen and other elite worked at night. Construction of the Imambara complex was finished in 1791. This is one of the last masterpieces in Indian architecture that has not included European elements.

Tip:
Make sure to take a guide from within the complex rather than from the entrance gate.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Bara Imambara Second Gate

9) Bara Imambara Second Gate (must see)

The second gateway to Bara Imambara creates a splendid view. Its architectural features include some Rajput details, and patterned reliefs on the arches that represent the so-called “fish motifs”, typical for Lucknow architecture, especially on gates. There is a symmetrically laid out garden in front of this gateway, which completes the spectacular scenery.
10
Aasifi Masjid

10) Aasifi Masjid (must see)

The image of the mosque Asafi Masjid is often used as the city symbol, highlighting Lucknow tourist attractions lists. It was among the first buildings erected after the capital of the state was permanently transferred to Lucknow in 1775. Asafi Masjid is located inside of the Bara Imambara and it was built near 10 years before the complex itself. It is believed that this three-domed mosque was designed and raised by Iranian architect Kifait-ullah, who later drafted the project of Bara Imambara. The masjid is topped with two imposing minarets, 153 feet high each. The main façade of the building features 11 arched doorways, the central one being larger than the rest. A wide stairway leads to the wide platform placed in front of the mosque. It is an assembly place for followers of Islam.

Tip:
Beautiful architecture and craftsmanship; the Friday prayer ('juma namaaz') here is definitely worth a visit.
11
Bhool Bhulaiya

11) Bhool Bhulaiya (must see)

Bhool Bhulaiya is the main part of the Imambara complex. The central part of it is a big arched hall where the tomb of Asaf-Ud-Dowlah lies. The Iranian architect Kifait-ullah, the author of this project, also lies buried there. There are eight more chambers built to different roof heights. The building is surrounded by 489 identical doorless galleries. Bhool Bhulaiya has no pillars to support the ceiling and it is among the largest vaulted constructions in the world. Above and in between the chambers there are hundreds of narrow lanes and stairway passages, some leading to dead ends, some to overhanging drops, and others to entrance or exit points. It is recommended to always take a guide when exploring Bhool Bhulaiya in order not to get lost. This three-dimensional labyrinth is possibly the only one existing in India. It was designed to confuse any intruding enemy and to support the weight of the whole structure, which was built on marshy land.

Legends say that the building has several blocked passageways that used to lead to a location near the Gomti river, to Faizabad (the former seat of power of the Nawabs), to Allahabad and even to Delhi. These passages have been sealed because of long disuse and disappearance of adventurers who tried to explore them.

Tip:
Make sure you are fit before going inside – not recommended for elders as there are many staircases (some of which are very narrow) and the maze can be quite hectic. However, once you reach the roof, the view of the city is breathtaking.
Note also that on one side of the Bhool Bhulaiya (above the India room) there is a whispering gallery with amazing acoustics.
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Bara Imambara Shahi Baoli

12) Bara Imambara Shahi Baoli (must see)

Shahi Baoli is a building raised around a large well, initially dug as the water reservoir for the Imambara construction works. The well happened to be a perennial source of water due to its connection to underground river streams. The emperor desired to build unique premises to host his distinguished guests and had chosen this particular spot to place it. Many of the emperor’s guests described this building as having an exquisite design with the rarest English marble finish, small hot an cold water fountains, oblong niches and graceful pillars in the room corners. Only a small part of the splendor of Shahi Baoli has remained till the present day. It consists of an arched gateway and a five-story structure formed by interconnected archways and galleries. The open staircase leads to the deep well. Visitors are welcome to throw a coin in the depth of the water for good luck.
13
Teele Wali Masjid

13) Teele Wali Masjid

Teele Wali Masjid, also known as Alamgiri Mosque, is located to the north of the Imambara complex and is believed to be the earliest construction in the area. It is built on a mound specially raised by order of Aurangzeb, governor of Lucknow, to serve as the mosque ground. An interesting fact is that “teele” is translated form the local dialect as “mound”. Teele Wali Masjid is renown for its outstanding architectural symmetry and equilibrium. Its white lace towers rise high and can be seen from the most parts of the city.
14
Lal Pul

14) Lal Pul

Lal Pul, also known as Pakka Pul and Navabi pull, is a bridge across the Gomti river. It is considered to be the best starting point of Lucknow heritage walks. This bridge is among the oldest in the area and it has survived many floods. It is the tourists’ favorite passageway to the monumental building named Bara Imambara. The bridge is also famous for having been used in shooting “Tanu Weds Manu”, a 2011 Hindi romantic comedy.
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
British Residency

15) British Residency (must see)

The Residency is a complex of buildings that were raised in 1800 by Nawab of Oudh, Saadat Ali Khan. It was the residing place for the British General who was a representative in the court of Nawab. In 1857 the place suffered significant damage during a prolonged battle, known as the Siege of Lucknow. The Residency has been kept as it was at the end of the battle, and the walls are still scarred by cannon shots. Even after India attained Independence, little has changed. Around the ruined building there are lawns and flowerbeds. There is a graveyard at the nearby ruined church where 2000 men, women and children are buried, including Sir Henry Lawrence who lost his life defending the empire. There is an inscription near his tomb that reads "Here lays the son of Empire who tried to do his duty."

Tip:
No guides available.
Allow 2-3 hours time to enjoy the trip.
Carry water and preserve the entry ticket.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Begum Hazrat Mahal Park

16) Begum Hazrat Mahal Park (must see)

Begum Hazrat Mahal Park is located in the heart of the city and pays the tribute to Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s first wife. She was very beautiful and courageous, and had great leadership qualities. She stood up against the British East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. When her husband was sent into exile to Calcutta, she seized control of Lucknow, took charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh and placed her son, Prince Birjis Qadir, as its ruler, but was compelled to give it up. She refused allowance and status from the British. Subsequently, she found asylum in Nepal where she lived until the end of her life.

On 15 August 1962, Begum Hazrat Mahal received special recognition at a ceremony in the old Victoria Park where a marble memorial was open by the state Government in her memory, for she played a an important role during the first freedom movement in 1857. This memorial was embellished with colorful flowers, light bulbs and neon tubes. A marble tablet with four round brass plaques holds up the coat of arms of the Awadh royal family.

Begum Hazrat Mahal Park has hosted many Dusshera festivals when Ravan (the bad character in Hindu Sanskrit) is set on fire as a symbol of good triumphing over evil. Also, numerous Lucknow Mahotsavs have been organized here. These festivals are meant to showcase the art and culture of the Uttar Pradesh state and to promote tourism in the area. The park is a very green and beautiful landscape. Scores of people walk through it in the mornings, and many more find delight visiting the Park in the evenings when the fountains go up and the lights are turned on.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-7:40pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
17
Saadat Ali Khan Maqbara (Tomb)

17) Saadat Ali Khan Maqbara (Tomb) (must see)

Near the Begum Hazrat Mahal Park there is Nawab Saadat Ali Khan’s mausoleum. It was built by Saadat Ali Khan's son to memorialize his father as nawab wazir of Oudh. The tomb was built in the best classical traditions of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Each of the belfries, as well as the main dome, is crowned with a graceful gilded finial. The floor inside the tomb is covered with black and white marble, which is rather rare for this part of India, due to the scarce marble resources and its extremely high price. The arched verandas on southern and eastern sides of the building house the graves of nawab's daughters and wives.

Why You Should Visit:
Peaceful, clean, and the beautiful garden adds a mark to its scenic beauty.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5am-8pm

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