Lucknow Travel Guide

Photo of Lucknow

Lucknow Overview

Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh and close to the Nepal border, is a frantic city, combining a modern day metropolis with a rich history and heritage. Witness to both Muslim and British rule, and renowned for the infamous 1857 Uprising (Siege of Lucknow), the city is awash with historical monuments, including a plethora of British Raj era architecture, and possesses a unique character that epitomizes the state in which it proudly sits.

 
On first impressions, the city seemingly stretches for miles, however the main tourist action concentrates in the Hazratganj district and along the northwest banks of the murky Gomti River. South of Hazratganj, the Aminabad region depicts old Lucknow with a labyrinth of lanes and colourful markets. This is a region recognised for its fine Mughal cuisine, arriving in the form of tikkas and kebabs. Look out for Tunday Kabab, a 50-year-old institution and believed to be the finest in town. To wash down the delicacies, the British influence has paved the way for a sprinkling of pubs and bars in where to enjoy a beer.
 
Lucknow is a well-placed city in terms of transport, roughly halfway between Agra and Varanasi and, for those heading into Nepal, close to the border crossing at Sunauli. The two train stations, Lucknow Junction and Charbagh serve destinations including Agra, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Kolkata, Mumbai and Varanasi. Buses for Agra, Allahabad and Varanasi leave regularly from Charbagh bus stand and, should the budget allow, domestic airlines fly into Amausi airport daily from Delhi and Mumbai.
 

Although fighting the congestion and negotiating the urban sprawl that is Lucknow can be a tad frustrating, anyone jumping off in the City of the Nawabs is likely to be pleasantly surprised by the atmospheric and welcoming city that lies beneath.

Things to do in Lucknow

Residency - Constructed for the British Raj in 1800, the Residency was also the site of the Siege of Lucknow - 1857 Uprising. Today, stepping inside the gardens and red brick ruins provides a glimpse of how life was at both the beginning and end of the British Raj. An onsite museum depicts battle scenes, a model recreation of the original buildings and the basement room used as a hiding place for the women and children throughout the uprising.

 
Bara Imambara - This immense Muslim tomb is a masterpiece of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, built during the 1780s. A labyrinth of courtyards and a mosque, the main hall possesses an enormous and impressive domed gallery. Open daily from dawn til dusk. Entrance fee is Rs300 (includes entry to Hussainabad Imambara). Watch out for persistent guides claiming that tours are obligatory.
 
Hussainabad Imambara - Another striking tomb, yet with a more personal feel, constructed in 1832 by Mohammed Ali Shah. In addition to the tomb is a garden housing two reproductions of the Taj Mahal, serving as the tombs for Ali Shah’s daughter and husband. Open daily from dawn til dusk. Entrance only with a ticket from Bara Imambara.
 
Sikandar Bagh - A lasting monument and battle ground of the Siege of Lucknow, today these sprawling gardens are a popular recreational spot. Fashioned by Wajid Ali Shah in honour of Sikandar Mahal, the area is entered through a striking gateway, there is a mosque and remnants of yesteryear.
 
State Museum - Excellent museum inside the grounds of the zoo. Exhibits include a range of sculptures dating back to 3rdC AD and local artist galleries. Opening times are 10.30am - 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Entrance fee Rs50.
 
Lucknow Zoo - Reasonable zoological gardens with well-kept environments for, amongst others, lions, elephants, and bears. A good break away from the frantic city streets. Opening times are 8.30am - 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Entrance fee Rs10.
 
Lucknow Mahotsava - 15-day festival, held in late November, celebrating the Nawab traditions and culture of Lucknow, with parades, dancing, kite flying, cock fighting and local cuisine stands.

Hotels in Lucknow

Budget Hotels Lucknow

Hotel Gomti - Selection of cheap rooms with good bar and restaurant. Tel (91) (522) 2212291.
Hotel Ramakrishna - Good location and reasonable, good value rooms. Tel (91) (522) 2230837.
 
Midrange Hotels Lucknow
Capoor’s Hotel - In the heart of MG Road with a vibrant buzz, aided by the busy bar and restaurant. Tel (91) (522) 2202120.
Mohan Hotel - Close to the train station but a little out of the way. 24-hour checkout. Tel (91) (522) 4035555.
Tekarees Inn - Business like hotel with clean and sparkling rooms. Tel (91) (522) 4016241.
 
Luxury Hotels Lucknow
Hotel Clarks Avadh - The best bed in town, complete with pool, bar and rooftop restaurant. Tel (91) (522) 2616500.
La Place Park Inn - Decent hotel with good rooftop restaurant, however perhaps a little overpriced. Tel (91) (522) 4004040.

Lucknow Weather

Lucknow Travel Resources

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