Going home to Lucknow

My association with Lucknow begins with my great-great-grandfather, Khan Bahadur Chaudhry Rasheed uddin Ashraf, the Taluqdar of Karkha, who built my family’s ancestral house in Barabanki, situated 25 kilometres away from the main city.

More than half of my maternal and paternal family lives in India and I travel to Lucknow almost every year to visit my grandmother, cousins and other relatives.

What is significant about this delightfully picturesque city is its marvelous juxtaposition of the buildings and structures of the day’s bygone alongside its modern charm. A walk through Lucknow’s streets will give you a glimpse into history. - Text and photos by Zuha Siddiqui for Dawn.com

The imposing Rumi Darwaza. It was constructed by Nawab Asaf ud Daula in the year 1784 and marked the entrance to the city of Lucknow.
The imposing Rumi Darwaza. It was constructed by Nawab Asaf ud Daula in the year 1784 and marked the entrance to the city of Lucknow.
Constructed in 1914, the Charbagh railway station marks Lucknow's entrance. It is said that four gardens existed at the present location during the time of the Nawabs of Lucknow.
Constructed in 1914, the Charbagh railway station marks Lucknow's entrance. It is said that four gardens existed at the present location during the time of the Nawabs of Lucknow.
The twin tombs of Qaisar Bagh: the mausoleums of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and his wife Khursheed Zaidi.
The twin tombs of Qaisar Bagh: the mausoleums of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan and his wife Khursheed Zaidi.
The twin tombs of Qaisar Bagh: the mausoleums of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan (previous photo) and his wife Khursheed Zaidi.
The twin tombs of Qaisar Bagh: the mausoleums of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan (previous photo) and his wife Khursheed Zaidi.
Novelty Cinema, Lalbagh
Novelty Cinema, Lalbagh
One of Lucknow's infamous Tempo's
One of Lucknow's infamous Tempo's
A cycle rickshaw driver relishes the beautiful weather.
A cycle rickshaw driver relishes the beautiful weather.
Gateway of the Bara Imambara ? built by Nawab Asaf ud Daula in 1784. The architect behind this masterpiece was Kifayatullah from Iran. Legend says that construction was initiated in order to provide employment to the citizens of Lucknow during a famine. Ordinary workmen constructed the structure during the day whilst noblemen and officials of high ranks constructed the structure in the darkness of the night so that their faces could not be seen.
Gateway of the Bara Imambara ? built by Nawab Asaf ud Daula in 1784. The architect behind this masterpiece was Kifayatullah from Iran. Legend says that construction was initiated in order to provide employment to the citizens of Lucknow during a famine. Ordinary workmen constructed the structure during the day whilst noblemen and officials of high ranks constructed the structure in the darkness of the night so that their faces could not be seen.
Entrance to the Bara Imambara. Within this building are the graves of Nawab Asaf ud Daula and his wife, Shamsunnisa Begum.
Entrance to the Bara Imambara. Within this building are the graves of Nawab Asaf ud Daula and his wife, Shamsunnisa Begum.
The mosque within the premises of the Bara Imambara.
The mosque within the premises of the Bara Imambara.
Another view of the mosque at the Bara Imambara.
Another view of the mosque at the Bara Imambara.
The Bauli ? this structure served a dual purpose. Its first use was as a stepwell ? the literal meaning of 'Bauli.' Its second mode of use was as a means of conducting surveillance. The archers positioned within the dark corners of the Bauli's many dim nooks could monitor the entrance of the Bauli and the gardens outside by looking at the reflection of the entrance in the moat below them.
The Bauli ? this structure served a dual purpose. Its first use was as a stepwell ? the literal meaning of 'Bauli.' Its second mode of use was as a means of conducting surveillance. The archers positioned within the dark corners of the Bauli's many dim nooks could monitor the entrance of the Bauli and the gardens outside by looking at the reflection of the entrance in the moat below them.
This is the moat at the Bauli, at the moment it has been drained. What was significant about this ancient mode of surveillance was the fact that outsiders could not decipher the position of the archers positioned in their hideouts. The structure of this Bauli is much like a maze, making it impossible for an outsider to navigate through its dark corridors without a trained guide.
This is the moat at the Bauli, at the moment it has been drained. What was significant about this ancient mode of surveillance was the fact that outsiders could not decipher the position of the archers positioned in their hideouts. The structure of this Bauli is much like a maze, making it impossible for an outsider to navigate through its dark corridors without a trained guide.
The ruins of the Lucknow Residency. Built for the British by the Nawabs in the year 1800, the Residency was the centre for British activity in Lucknow. During the Mutiny of 1857, this building fell siege and the walls of the structure bear scars until today.
The ruins of the Lucknow Residency. Built for the British by the Nawabs in the year 1800, the Residency was the centre for British activity in Lucknow. During the Mutiny of 1857, this building fell siege and the walls of the structure bear scars until today.
A memorial built for Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence at the point where he died, succumbing to the wounds caused by a shell that hit him whilst he was defending the Residency from attack. He was one of the first casualties of the Mutiny of 1857.
A memorial built for Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence at the point where he died, succumbing to the wounds caused by a shell that hit him whilst he was defending the Residency from attack. He was one of the first casualties of the Mutiny of 1857.
A busy morning at Lucknow's ?chowk?.
A busy morning at Lucknow's ?chowk?.
The Clock Tower or Ghanta Ghar built by Nawab Nasir uddin Haider. Its construction was completed in the year 1887 and was built to commemorate the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of the United Province of Oudh.
The Clock Tower or Ghanta Ghar built by Nawab Nasir uddin Haider. Its construction was completed in the year 1887 and was built to commemorate the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of the United Province of Oudh.

Comments (19) Closed




manish
Aug 15, 2012 11:29am
and madam the tempos are not infamous. but they are still very much the lifeline of lucknow to this very day.
manish
Aug 16, 2012 04:13pm
gurgaon....you must be joking comparing lucknow with gurgaon.....we in lucknow have 24 hours light, and still have plots at affordable rates, and can say hi, bye to our uncles.....and yes, the things which should shine are shining....go, visit ambedkar maidan.....since the photographer above, is a muslim from pakistan so she was concerned only about old lucknow, and not the newer parts of it.
Sudhakar
Aug 16, 2012 11:14am
Hello, Would love to see some pics of standing/functioning Hindu/Buddhist temples in Pakistan(if any)
babu
Aug 17, 2012 03:19pm
well i can't even get a visiting visa to India because my father was born in an area which is part of pakistan. i would love to visit all these historical places in India.
rajesh
Aug 15, 2012 10:27am
Lucknow looks a very old town with these torn building ....make it shiny like Gurgaon
Mohammad Taqi
Aug 15, 2012 12:22pm
Webmaster, some of the pics are blurred/don't load. Kindly fix
ritu
Aug 15, 2012 04:55am
you are luckey enough to go back to your ancestors place whenever you want , but most of people whio migrated from pakistan can't say the same, infact there is nothing left to go back . their temple , their house and even name of town have been changed in some case.
MH
Aug 15, 2012 06:20am
India does not recognize "dual nationality" so all people having dual nationality cannot go to India unless they revoke one of their nationalities. This is true even for Indians having dual nationality. Many people who have got second nationality with great difficulty and a lengthy process are unwilling to give up their second nationality, hence they cannot visit India. Revoking one of their nationalities is a "huge price" to pay to visit India. I feel by this law India is losing a huge foreign exchange. This rule needs some modification for the interest of those people who wish to go to India whilst keeping his dual nationality intact.
padma
Aug 15, 2012 08:20am
Amazing photos! Thank you so much for posting this. It would help me plan a trip there in the future!
malihabad
Aug 15, 2012 09:52am
I go to lucknow every year myself i am from maliahabd
deepak
Aug 15, 2012 05:55pm
Lucknow is far better than gurgaon and any NCR city...anyday..
Suneesh
Aug 15, 2012 06:25pm
I too think to plan a trip to Lucknow next time.
Zeta
Aug 16, 2012 08:11am
Tell me which temples don't exist. There are still many towns named after Sikhs and Hindus.
Atif
Aug 16, 2012 10:03pm
Amazing.. I am Australian of Pakistani/Indian Origion. Planning to visit India this year, i will be the first person in my family to visit india after partition. Just like millions of sikhs and hindus they were forced to leave india for pakistan. Yes it is true alot of temples would have been destroyed in Pak but so would have been alot of the mosques all over indian punjab. Can't we just have one reliogion called humism and forget everything else. Lets turn these mosques and temples in schools and hospitals that the ppl of these two countries really need.
Kautiliya
Aug 17, 2012 01:44am
No photographs of any Mandirs in Lucknow. Get my point.
ashish
Aug 17, 2012 07:00am
no Mayawati's statues ?????
VMIndia
Aug 17, 2012 07:55am
Temples in Nowshera, Krishna Mandir Lahore, Parahlad Mandir Lahore, Jain Mandir near Anarkali Lahore, Katas temple is depleted and the water Hindu's consider sacred is being used for commercial purpose. these are on the Top of my head the the rest you can google
manoj
Aug 17, 2012 08:31pm
what a nice thought !!!
Raj
Aug 18, 2012 07:13am
You are most welcome in our City, Although more than 75% population of Lucknow at this time are non Lucknow based, that s why they are not aware about our culture. When I was there in Lahore & Rawalpindi, I do not feel any difference between both cities other than Language.