Tehzeeb is a Persian word for showcasing a refined and educated persona. This word is used a lot in Lucknow, a city that was built on the ideals of art, pleasure and reformation. Lucknow exudes grace, and every landmark speaks of pride of its regal legacy and culture. A city of arresting visuals, unparalleled taste and sophisticated prose, Lucknow is an experience for all the senses.Here are some of the things to do in Lucknow, the city of Nawabs.
History Lessons First
Go on a Heritage Tour: One of the best things to do in Lucknow is to go on a heritage tour and spend some time in its famous Nawab and Mughal era landmarks.
1. Bhool bhuliya and Bada imam bada:
Find your way through the Bhulbulaiya maze and climb to the top of Bara Imambara a structure that is not just a sight to withhold but a place to explore.
2. Rumi Darwaza
The nearby Rumi Darwaza is another landmark which you can visit. This late 18 th century structure was modelled after an Istanbul entry gate and is an imposing example of the architecture that defines old Lucknow.
Step back into the glory days of Awadh’s Nawabi dynasties with a guided heritage walk throughthe old town. The bylanes of the Chowk are brimful of historica anecdotes, and you can learn more about the legendary embroidery techniques behind Lucknow’s chikan and zari fabrics. Old doorways lead you to gem stone artists, perfumers and hookah sellers. This charming face of Lucknow cannot be missed.
4. The Memorial Museum
Revisit the rebellion of 1857 at the Memorial Museum.
5. The British Residency
While you explore this part of Indian history, a visit to the British Residency is warranted, complete with the scars of bullets and cannonballs and a military cemetery.
6. Uniquely Lucknow
You haven’t experienced the city until you have done some rounds of Lucknow by Tonga. Try one of the heritage routes like a trip between the two famed imambaras in Lucknow’s iconic mule-drawn carriages.
7. Fetes and Festivals
The Lucknow Literature Festival: This is one of the biggest in India. You can experience this mega- event if you happen to visit the city in February or March. This is a festival where you can immerse yourself in the city’s rich legacy of Urdu poetry and prose.
8. Kite flying at the Lucknow Mahotsav
If you are in the city in the months of November or December then you can witness the Lucknow Mahotsav or Festival, a grand celebration of the Nawabi days which includes kite flying and other traditional games.
9. Culinary Tour
Exploring the city with your taste buds is one of the top things to do in Lucknow. While in Chowk, look for the legendary Tunday Kebabi that has been serving succulent buffalo meat kebabs for a century.Enjoy the refreshing local Persian inspired dessert called nimish, which is made from milk and saffron. The biryani at Idrish is considered a national treasure. Complete your epicurean journey through the alleys and roads of Lucknow with an all time favourite that is present across the town – the Banarasi paan.
A Blend of Architecture
10. Lucknow’s Jama Masjid
This monument is a poignant reminder of the multicultural harmony of India.Stop over at this grand mosque and see for yourself how Indian Hindu architecture blends seamlessly with Muslim design elements from Persia to create a structure that is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in India. Carvings on the pillars of this mosque are influenced by those in Jain and Hindu temples and the building has stood for close to 600 years.
11. The Tila Wali Masjid
Located near the Bara Imambara, the Tila Wali Masjid with its white dome and tall
minarets is a must visit for those who want to see 17th- century Mughal architecture up close. This place was also the site of an 80-day siege during the 1857 rebellion.
12. A Fun and Educational Tour
From wildlife to history, there are some popular activities in Lucknow where you can have a lot of fun and also get to learn more. For those passionate about wildlife then the Lucknow Zoo is home to some of India’s flagship species -tigers and elephants. If you have the kids along, then they will love the resident toy train which runs through most sections of the zoo. The real learning experience at the zoo is the Uttar Pradesh State Museum which features Buddhist artefacts, an Egyptian mummy and a large collection of exhibits.
Enjoy some stargazing at the Indira Gandhi Planetarium where you can marvel at the architecture inspired by the planet Saturn and its rings. Catch up on some old royalty at the Hussainabad Picture Gallery where you can witness portraits of the old Kings of Oudh.
13. Bazaar Walks
Go for a stroll through the Hazratganj area and pick up some quintessential Lucknow products while soaking in the hustle-bustle of this old marketplace. Get lost in the crowds and labyrinths of Aminabad, where you will get some of the best bargains in town. The Sunday Market at Nakhas is a treat, as you get to see this old part of the city come alive with colour and sound. Lucknow’s markets are more than just shopping venues, they are places where you can mingle with the locals and try out the delicious cuisines of the city.
14. Lucknow after Dark
Lucknow is the scene of a burgeoning nightlife culture. Some of the famous clubs of the town include the rooftop EOS at the Best Western Levana and the beer garden at the Tashna Bar. One of the best things to do in Lucknow at night is grabbing a beverage at the Cafe Coffee Day in the prime MG Road area and indulge in some people watching as the town winds down. In addition, the Hazratganj area also has a few nightspots popular with locals.
Music, literature, cuisine and art embody the soul of Lucknow. A city driven by the senses, Lucknow moves on into the modern age singing tributes to the opulence of erstwhile rulers through its festivals, markets and cuisines. There is always more to the city than meets the eye. Share with us your tales and experiences about Lucknow.