Places of Interest In Lucknow
¤ Bara Imambara
Built in 1784 by the fourth Nawab of Oudh, Asaf-ud-Daula, the Bara
Imambara is Lucknows most famous monument. An Imambara is where
Muslims commence celebrations for the festival of Muharram.
The Bara Imambara, a.k.a. Asfi Imambara, is a colossal structure. The
main hall of the Imambara is 50m long and 15m high, without any
pillars to support its ceiling. A balcony runs along the inside of the
hall which is built in such a way that even the faintest whisper
anywhere in it can be heard across the hall.
labyrinth called Bhool Bhullaiyya adjoins the main hall on the first
floor. Towards the left of the main building is a baoli (step-well)
connected by tunnels to the river, Gomti.
Legend has it that a great treasure lies undiscovered in these
tunnels. Within the Bara Imambara compound are mausoleums of
Asaf-ud-Daula and his family.
¤ Husainabad Clock Tower
In the same complex is the huge and ornate Rumi Darwaza, or Turkish
Gate, also built in 1784. Nearby is the Husainabad Clock Tower that
has the largest clock in India. Towering to a height of 67m, this
Victorian-Gothic Clock Tower was designed in the 1880s, by Roskell
Payne. A mosque with two tall minarets is located near the Clock
¤ Chota Imambara
The Chota Imambara, or the Husainabad Imambara, is also known as the
Palace of Lights. Built in 1837, the Chota Imambara is called the
Palace of Lights because of its chandeliers that come alive during the
Muslim festival of Muharram.
The Chota Imambara, with its golden dome, silver throne and
gold-edged mirrors, is the grander of the two Imambaras. The Mughal
Emperor, Muhammad Shah began the construction of the Jami Masjid.
Situated towards the west of the Chota Imambara, the Jami Masjid was
completed by the emperors wife in the mid-1840s.
To the east of the Chota Imambaras is a representation of the
Taj Mahal. The false gate near the main entrance was where musicians
performed to venerate the departed. In the Victoria Park, near the
Imambara, are tombs of the British. Other interesting monuments around
the Chota Imambara are the Dargah (shrine) of the Sufi saint, Hazrat
Abbas; the Nadan Mahal with the tomb of Shaikh Abdur Rahi, Governor of
Oudh, appointed by Emperor Akbar, and the tomb of the Sufi saint
Ibrahim Chistis son.
¤ British Residency
The Residency became the stronghold of the British for 87 days during
the Revolt of 1857, and is now in ruins.
Within its walls are numerous stories related to the siege, when
3,000 British men, women and children escaped from their homes to seek
refuge in these red brick buildings.
They fought Indian sepoys, the blistering heat and disease, until Sir
Colin Campbell defeated the Indian forces on November 17. Only 1,000
of those who had taken shelter in the Residency survived.
What remains of the Residency has now been converted into government
offices and a museum. Within the complex are graves of British
soldiers who died fighting the Indian troops. Other monuments within
the complex are the Kaisarbagh Palace; the tombs of Sadat Ali Khan
(died 1814), the first Nawab of Oudh, and his wife; a white obelisk in
honour of Indians who died during the Revolt of 1857; the Nur Baksh
Kothi and Tarawali Kothi (circa 1832); and the observatory built for
the British astronomer, Colonel Wilcox.
¤ Other Attractions
The Mughal Governor Safdarjungs Macchi Bhawan (Fish Palace) was
destroyed by the British in 1857. A ruined step well is all that
remains of it. The tombs of Ghazi-ud-Din and his three wives are
located inside the Shah Najaf Imambara, built from 1814 to 1827. The
mausoleum was a stronghold of the mutineers during the Revolt of 1857.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who played chess while British troops occupied
Lucknow, laid the Sikanderabad Gardens, now called the Botanical
Gardens. The Wingfield Park has a white marble pavilion. Christ Church
is a memorial to the British who died during the Revolt.
The Constantia, on the banks of the River Gomti, is now La Martinere
The school was originally the residence of the French Major-General
Claude Martin, who is buried beneath the building. Dilkusha was a
royal shooting lodge amidst woods inhabited by deer, and was used by
the Nawabs and the British.