It was a conference tour to present my paper at prestigious PAN-IIM conference in IIM Lucknow. Our research team from IIT Kgp started our journey from Kharagpur to board Kolkata -Lucknow Indigo flight. It was about 2 hours flight journey to reach Lucknow airport at 11 am on 14 December, 2017 (our tour was 14-17 December 2017). We reached our destination IIM Lucknow in 40 minutes car drive and checked in International hostel inside the campus.
Since, we went there for conference, most of the time we were busy in attending relevant sessions and lecturers. Meanwhile, we roam around beautiful IIM Lucknow campus in the afternoon. By 16th December morning, my presentation got over. Now free for the city tour. Since, Lucknow is a city of Nawab, hence, we plan to see most important historical places in Lucknow.
Normally, I used to read a lot about history and directions before visiting the places. But, time was limited due to conference activities. But tempo was high after I finished my presentation, as only limited time left for touring.
Some quick facts about Lucknow:
Lucknow is popularly called as city of Nawabs. Nawabi culture and foods make this city distinct from other cities in India.
It was a kingdom of nawab of Awadh. The rulers of Awadh (anglicised as Oudh) governed the states in north India during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Nawabs of Awadh belonged to a dynasty of Persian origin from Nishapur, Iran.
The top most historical places to see in Lucknow are
1) Bara Imambara
2) Rumi Gate
3) Chota Imambara
4) Clock towers
5) Moti Mahal
Places to enjoy and shopping
- Lucknow kebab
- Chikan sari/garment
Journey started at Bara Imambara
Our team set out to visit Bara Imambara from IIM Lucknow campus. When we reached the venue, it was 12 noon. Being it Saturday, there are many school teams and picnic parties inside the premise. We entered through the mail gate, and got mesmerised to see the vast and beautiful architecture of Imambara. We took ticked and price is Rs. 50 per head for entrance to old and new Imambara, and art gallery. So single ticket is enough to visit there top 3 locations.
At Bara Imambara, it it better take a guide. They charge Rs 150 per team of 3-5 people. But it’s worth to spend on it. Without guide you cannot feel the history of Imambara. We took a quick tour inside the main tomb of this beautiful structure. There we found samadhi of Badshah Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh .
First guide handed our team to second guide to explore bholbhuliya (labyrinth). This located on the top of tomb. Seeing through the secret window and sensing riddle of narrow path inside bholbhuliya could made you nervous. Without using permutations and combination, our guide narrated that there are hundred of ways you can get stuck inside the maze.
While walking though narrow dark lane, guide informed us to put ear on the left side wall. We could hear that someone was whispering from different chamber in the maze. Popular proverb, “deoler kan ache” (wall can also listen your talk) was originated from here. Following guide direction, we reached on the top of the bara imambara. We took some photo session on the top. From, here you can see distant view of clock towers, Chota imambara, rumi gate. All are located in a km distance.
After coming out from bholbhuliya, we were handed over to the third guide to explore Bouli. It located inside the bara imambara campus. In Bouli, our guide explained how if some enter through the main gate, can be captured as a image on pond located beneath the fort. We took a quick round inside Bouli.
After Bara Imambara visit completed, we now moved to visit chota imambara. It a nice, but small structure. Which entering, one self appointed guide asked us: what is meaning of big metal fish near the entrance? What is the meaning of statue in the garden? What there are the purpose of certain hooks fastened on the main gate? “These are really top secret. If you like to know you have hire me as your guide at a fees of INR 100.” he exclaimed. But, we refused take guide here.
When we entered the main mosque, a young man explained history and significance of this place. He also explained the answers of the 3 questions that the first guide asked. We gave them Rs 30 as a tip He was very courteous.
Clock towers and rumi gate
After Chota Imambara, we walked back to clock towers and spent some time near rumi gate.
It was 4 pm by that time. We took an auto to reach the nearest junction for shopping. Lucknow is famous for chikan garments. I purchased chikan sari for my wife from Aarohi market. We finished our lunch in this area. It was 5:30 pm. We booked another OLA cab to return to IIM Lucknow campus.
It was a quick tour. We, in fact , need more time to explore Lucknow old city and Moti Mohal etc. However, we managed to see few important places in Lucknow in a half day tour. Hope, in our next tour we would explorer cultural heritage of Lucknow.