NOTE: This informational article about Lucknow is mostly derived from the Wikipedia article of the same name. IIM Lucknow derives part of its name from the city and providing a reference to the location from which it derives its name seemed appropriate.
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India. It had a population of 2,541,101 in 2006.
Located in what was historically known as the Awadh region, Lucknow has always been a multicultural city. Courtly manners, beautiful gardens, poetry, music, and fine cuisine patronized by the Persian-loving Shia Nawabs of the city are well known amongst Indians and students of South Asian culture and history. Lucknow is popularly known as the The City of Nawabs.
Today, Lucknow is a vibrant city that is witnessing an economic boom and is widely stated to be among the top ten fastest growing non-major-metropolitan cities of India. It is the second largest city in Uttar Pradesh state.
India map showing location of Lucknow
||26°51' N 80°54' E
||2,345 km2 (905 sq mi)
||123 m (404 ft)
||English, Hindi, Urdu
The Chhota Imambara in Lucknow
Gateway to Bara Imambara
The ancient history of Lucknow is believed to begin after the Suryawanshi king Lord Rama ordered his younger brother Lakshman to establish a town at the present site of Lakshman Tila. Lucknow was named Lakshmanpuri or Lakhanpuri or Laknamau after him. Slowly the name Lakhanpuri became 'Lakhnau' and then named 'Lucknow' by the British.
After 1350 AD the Lucknow and parts of Awadh region have been under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire, the Nawabs of Awadh, the East India Company and the British Raj. Lucknow has been one of the major centers of First War of Independence, participated actively in India's Independence movement, and after Independence has emerged as an important city of North India.
Lucknow's rise to growth and fame begins with its elevation as capital of Awadh by Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah. He was a great philanthropist and gave Lucknow a unique and enduring legacy. The architectural contributions of these Awadh rulers include several imposing monuments. Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imambara, the Chhota Imambara, and the Roomi Darwaza are notable examples. One of the more lasting contributions by the Nawabs is the syncretic composite culture that has come to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb...
The city played an important role in both the First War of Independence and the modern Indian freedom struggle. Whether it was the Lucknow Pact of 1916 or the Khilafat Movement it brought the citizens on a united platform against the British rule.
In 1901, after staying the capital of Oudh, since 1775, Lucknow, with a population of 264,049, was merged in the newly formed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. However, it became the provincial capital in 1920 when the seat of government was moved from Allahabad. Upon Indian independence in 1947, Lucknow became the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the erstwhile United Provinces.
Geography and Weather
Situated in the heart of the great Gangetic plain, Gomti River, the chief geographical feature, meanders through the city, dividing it into the Trans-Gomti and Cis-Gomti regions.
Lucknow has a warm subtropical climate with cool, dry winters from December to February and dry, hot summers from April to June. The rainy season is from mid-June to mid-September, when Lucknow gets an average rainfall of 1010 mm mostly from the south-west monsoon winds. In winter the maximum temperature is around 21 degrees Celsius and the minimum is in the 3 to 4 degrees Celsius range. Fog is quite common from late December to late January. Summers can be quite hot with temperatures rising to the 40 to 45 degree Celsius range, the average highs being in the high 30's.
Hindus comprise about 77% and Muslims about 20%. There are also small groups of Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists. Lucknow is one of the most educated cities in India with a literacy rate of 83.5%(78% for females and 89% for males).
Economy and business
Lucknow is not only a major market & trading city in Northern India, but is also an emerging hub for producers of goods and services with very promising potential. Being the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, the Government departments and the public sector undertakings are the principal employers of the salaried middle class.
Traditionally, Lucknow has been a mandi town for mangoes, melons, and grains grown in the surrounding areas. Sugarcane-growing plantations and sugar industries are also in close proximity.
Lucknow is famous for its small scale industries that are based on unique styles of embroidery, namely, Chikan and Lakhnawi Zardozi, both of which are significant foreign exchange earners.
During the period of the Nawabs, kite-making reached a high level of artistry, and is still a small-scale industry. Lucknow has also been an industrial producer of tobacco products like 'Kivam', edible fragrances like 'attars' and handicrafts such as pottery, earthen toys, silver and gold foil work, and bone carving products.
Lucknow, with its excellent educational, commercial, banking and legal infrastructure, is witnessing rapid growth in information technology, banking, retailing, construction and other service sectors. Private coaching institutions, which prepare aspirants to competitive exams and services is another business that is flourishing in Lucknow.
The available multiple modes of public transport in the city are taxis, city buses, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, and Vikram-Tempos. The fares are affordable. Compressed natural gas (CNG) has been introduced recently as an auto fuel to keep the air pollution in control.
Lucknow has good road, rail and air links with the rest of the country.
From Hazratganj intersection in Lucknow city Four Indian National Highways originate, viz, NH-24 to Delhi, NH-25 to Raksa, Jhansi(M.P. Border), NH-56 to Varanasi and NH-28 to Mokama (Bihar).
Lucknow is directly connected by air with New Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, and Mumbai and other major Indian cities. The Amausi Airport at Amausi is situated about 20 km from the city centre. It is an international airport and internationally connects to Dubai, Jeddah, Muscat and Sharjah. During Haj special flights are also operated from Lucknow.
The main railway station is Lucknow Railway Station at Charbagh. It has an imposing structure built in 1923. Lucknow is a major junction with links to all major cities of the state and country.
Language and poetry
Both Hindi and Urdu are spoken in Lucknow, but Urdu has been the lingua franca of the city for centuries. Under the rule of Nawabs, Urdu flourished and turned into one of the most refined languages. In recent years the use of Urdu has reduced significantly. Day-to-day transactions in the city are typically performed in Hindi or English. Nevertheless, Lucknowites are still known for their polite and polished way of speaking which is noticed by visitors to this charming city. Lucknow is one of the world's great cities for Shiite culture.
Places to see
The Asafi Imambara (popularly known as Bara Imambara), the Chhota Imambara, Residency, and Shah Najaf are monuments of architectural importance at Lucknow. The famous 'Bhul Bhulaiyan' (Labyrinth) is part of Asafi Imambara complex. Some other places of interest are the Picture Gallery, Chattar Manzil, State Museum/Lucknow Zoo, Shaheed Smarak, Dilkusha, Ambedkar Memorial, Planetarium, and Ram Krishna Math.
The British-built architectural sights in Lucknow include the Vidhan Sabha (State Legislative Assembly), the Clock Tower and the Charbagh Railway Station, with its distinctive domes, arches and pillars.
Some of the oldest schools in India are also situated in Lucknow: La Martiniere Lucknow and the Colvin Taluqdar's College.
The sprawling National Botanical Garden at Sikandarbagh on the banks of Gomti river is also worth visiting.
The city also has the Kukrail Reserve Forest(a picnic spot and Gharial rehablitaion centre), Moosa Bagh and Utretia are other popular picnic spots.
Natural attractions accessible from Lucknow are Katarnia Ghat, Dudhwa National Park, Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary and Samaspur Bird Sanctuary.
Aminabad, a quaint bazaar is situated in the heart of the city. It is a large shopping centre that caters to a wide variety of consumers.
Chowk and Nakhhas are markets in the old Lucknow area where you can get a feel of traditional Lucknow. Some other important shopping centres are Alambagh, Kapoorthala, Indiranagar, Mahanagar and Nishatganj.
The Hazratganj area is an upscale shopping market with colonial- style buildings. Interestingly, a popular pastime among the locals is window-shopping in the Hazratganj market. It is popularly referred to in Hinglish as Ganjing. The Janpath market, Rovers, Lovers Lane, Mayfair building, Kwality, and Universal book store are some popular landmarks of the area.
Lucknowites are also experiencing the new waves of shopping malls and multiplex culture now sweeping India. The first shopping mall-cum-multiplex to open in Lucknow was the East End Mall in Gomti Nagar. Now Lucknow has 3 other operational Mall-cum-multiplex, viz., Saharaganj (With PVR Cinemas), Fun Republic (Fun Cinemas) & Riverside (Inox theatre).
Places to Stay
- The Piccadily, Sector B Bara Birwa, Kanpur Road
- The Taj Residency, Gomti Nagar
- Hotel Clarks Avadh, 8 Mahatma Gandhi Road
- Hotel Sagar International, 14-A, Jopling Road
- Hotel Gemini Continental, 10, Rani Laxmi Bai Marg
- Hotel Deep Palace, Cantt Road
- Rahi Hotel Gomti, Sapru Marg
- La Place Park Inn, Shahnajaf Road
- Hotel Shimla Palace, Latouche Road
- Hotel Presidency Inn, 3 Sapru Marg
- Hotel Mera Mann, Station Road
- Mohan Hotel, Charbagh
- Hotel Arif Castle, 4 Rana Pratap Marg
- Hotel Charans International, 16, Vidhan Sabha Marg
When it comes to dining, Lucknow is a culinary delight as the Awadh region has its own distinct Nawabi style cuisine, with various kinds of biryanis, kebabs and breads like 'sheermal' / 'roomali roti' all very popular delicacies.
Lucknow has also pioneered the slow-fire cooking called Dum Pukht.
The city has a range of fine restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets.
From 'Oudhyana' 'Zaika' 'Royal Cafe' 'Falaknuma' 'Dastarkhwan' 'Daal Mein Kaala' 'Naushi-Jaan' to fastfood joints like Pizza Hut, McDonalds to traditional eateries like 'Tundeys' and 'Rahims' in the Akbari Gate area the choice is wide.
Makkhan Malai, 'Malai Ki Gilori' of Ram Asrey (an oldest shop of pure ghee sweets, established in 1805) Chowk , the famous Tundey Kebabs, named after the one-armed chef Haji Murad Ali, and 'Kakori kebabs' are very popular with food lovers.
A street food court with a number of street-side restaurants and eating joints are also present in China Bazaar (near Tulsi theatre) serving affordable Avadhi-Mughlai-Punjabi remix cuisine.
The Chaat in Lucknow is on a par with the best you will get anywhere in the country. There are quite a few places serving outstanding chaat, like Shukla Chaat in Ganeshganj, Moti Mahal, Radhey Lal in Aliganj Chhappan Bhog in Sadar and Mahesh Sweets in Nirala Nagar, Neel Kanth in Gomtinagar(Vivek Khand) and mohan sweets in bhootnath indira nagar . Actually, you can pretty much have Chaat in any corner of Lucknow and never be disappointed.
After a delicious dinner, one can have Paan from the shops Malhotra Pan Bhandar near K.D. Singh Babu Stadium
For the adventure loving people the Fauzi Dhaba situated on Sitapur Road near Chaata Meel is a favourite hot spot. Driving among crazy truckers and then a homely diet surely gives a delight to the tongue.
Lucknow is bravely struggling to retain its old world charm while at the same time acquiring a modern lifestyle. Regarded as one of the finest cities of India, Lucknow represents a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of sophistication, courtesy, and a love for gracious living. The Pehle-Aap (after you) culture, popularised as a tagline for the society of Lucknow, is waning. But a small part of Lucknow's society still possesses such etiquette. This sublime cultural richness famous as Lakhnawi tehzeeb blends the cultures of two communities living side by side for centuries, sharing similar interests and speaking a common language.
Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the secular and syncretic traditions of the Nawabs of Awadh, who took a keen interest in every walk of life, and encouraged the traditions to attain a rare degree of sophistication.
Dance and music
Kathak, the classical Indian dance form took shape here. Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, was a great patron and a passionate champion of Kathak. Lachhu Maharaj and Birju Maharaj have kept this tradition alive.
Lucknow is also the city of eminent Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar. She was a pioneer in Ghazal singing and took this aspect of music to amazing heights. "Ae Mohabbat Tere anjaam pe rona aaya" is one of her best musical renditions of all times.
The Bhatkande music university at Lucknow is named after the great musician Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.
Lucknow has given music legends like Naushad Ali, and Talat Mehmood to the entertainment industry. It is also incidentally the birthplace of British pop legend Sir Cliff Richard.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lucknow".