Lucknow

Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Understand

Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, thrives along the banks of Gomti river. The city, Awadh and Uttar Pradesh fell to the British during the imperialistic era. Today, Lucknow is dotted with remnants of its rich cultural past.

Lucknow is also known for its elaborate cuisine and Chikankaari or exquisite shadow-work embroidery on fine muslin cloth.

Lucknow is a historically important city and for many centuries was at the heart of North Indian culture. In particular, the city was famous for its Adab and Tehzeeb (manners and hospitality), intricate embroidery, beautiful gardens and dance forms such as Kathak. It was also one of the sites of the 1857 Indian Mutiny (or First War of Indian Independence). The Hindi spoken in Lucknow is considered the most beautiful and gentle in the country. Currently the city has a population of around 2.5 million.

Lucknow is the heart of the art, cuisine, dance, culture and music of Northern India. It was the cradle of the Hindu-Muslim-Sikh symbioses that made India great. it brought in the best of various cultures and accepted Western institutions like La Martiniere in her womb. It was made famous by the soft-spoken, and sweet tongued, Awadh-Lucknowai culture that was based on civilized behaviour toward fellow human beings. Lucknow is the home of Urdu, Hindustani and Hindi languages. The city became known as a centre for Urdu poetry and courtly presence and diction, being the birthplace and city of residence for many poets. The Mushaira, an event of poetry recitation forms the heart of Lucknow's nightlife where Mushairas go on into the wee hours of the night. Lucknow's only rival in Northern India was Delhi, though Lucknowies were always embroiled in a healthy rivalry with Delhi, home of the famous poet Ghalib and others. Lucknow is also famous for its sweetmeat, the sweet shops in the old city dates to 1850s. Awadhi and Mughlai food is the delight of the visitors to Lucknow.

Another thing that may surprise visitors are the ubiquitous posters, billboards and signs boasting of great progress and bearing the picture of Mayawati. She is the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state and is quite controversial. Labeled by some as the "Dalit Queen," she has received criticism for misuse of public funds and abuse of power. She has spent millions of rupees on massive public works projects such as the Ambedkar Memorial (see below) which opposition leaders see as a waste. No matter who you speak to in Lucknow, everyone will have an opinion about her, and it's a excellent conversation starter.

Get in

By plane

There are daily flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Patna to Lucknow's Amausi Airport, which is also directly connected with Bangalore, Sharjah, Jeddah, Muscat, Dehradun, Indore, Pune, Goa and Varanasi by direct flights.

By train

Lucknow is on the Delhi-Gorakhpur railway route. Connections can be made from Agra and Allahabad. A major railway junction, Lucknow is conveniently connected to many cities. Some of the important trains are : 12003/12004 Shatabadi Ex. : 15063/15064; Nainital Ex; : 19165/19166; Sabarmati Exp : 12553/12554; Vaishali Exp : 15609/15610; Awadh-Assam Exp : 12875/12876; Neelanchal Exp : 14283/14284; Ganga-Yamuna Exp : 12229/12230 Lucknow Mail : 12419/12420; Gomti Exp : 14257/14258; Kashi-Vishwanath Exp : 14011/14012; Nauchandi Exp : 11015/11016; Bombay-Gorakhpur Exp : 12511/12512; Cochin-Gorakhpur Exp.

The important contact for Lucknow Railways are: Railways Manual Enquiry 139, 2636132; resservation 0522-2635841; Badshahnagar 0522-2385182. 0522 is Lucknow's STD code.

By road

Lucknow is connected by road with all the major cities of the country. Some of the major road distances are: Agra 363 km, Allahabad 210 km, Ayodhya 135 km, Kolkata 985 km, Corbett National Park 400 km, Delhi 497 km, Dudhwa National Park 238 km, Kanpur 79 km, Khajuraho 320 km, Varanasi 280 km.

By bus

The bus stations are situated at Alambagh, and Kaisar Bagh and Polytechnic.

The telephone number for Roadways Inter State Bus Terminal Alambagh is: 0522-2458096

Buses from Sunauli-Bhairawa on the India/Nepal border stop on their way to Varanasi.

From Lucknow to New Delhi: There is a luxury air-conditioned bus from Quaiser Bagh Bus station. Route for this bus is Lucknow - Sitapur - Bareilly - Muradabad - Gaziabad - Delhi [Anand Vihar ISBT]

Get around

By hired car

There are many car rental companies available. One should hire cars with local drivers as traffic is dangerous for anybody not used to local traffic conditions.

By taxi and rickshaw

Taxi and rickshaw drivers in Lucknow are of the more insistent type, although few of them speak enough English to go to locations that are out of the way. Trilok Battery Rickshaw has launched a battery-operated tricycle. Now the plan is to introduce solar tricycles also. CNG buses and rickshaws are available to get you around the whole city. Metro Project was approved by the government in 2013 and was scheduled to be available 3-4 years later.

See

Places of interest are spread out over a large distance, therefore will require the use of taxis or rickshaws. Cycle rickshaws contribute less pollution to this historic city than their motorised cousins, and provide work to some who need it most.

Tomb of Nawab Sadaat Ali Khan

Do

Buy

Chikan dress a cotton dress with hand-made embroidery, is a must-buy in Lucknow. These garments are both for men and women. The cost is anywhere between ₹250-₹5000 depending on the chikan work (hand embroidery work on cloth is of various types, "Murri" is the traditional handwork and is therefore a little more expensive). In old Chowk and Aminabad it is a small scale industry so it is cheapest to buy from there. There are a lot of shops next to each other, and for the obvious reason of close competition, you'll get the best bargain. In Hazratganj ("Ganj") the same piece will cost some 200 rupees more. Beware of the touts who will take you to shops near the Civil Hospital and Hussain Ganj where the prices are 500% higher!

Eat

Everyone in Lucknow knows about the famous tikkas and kebabs. They are Mughal delicacies. Lalbagh, many roadside hotels near Aminabad and old Chowk offer cheap and unique types of dishes. Also, try out the street next to Tulsi thatre in Hazratganj for some exotic non-vegetarian delicacies.

The Food Court at Sahara Ganj, near Hazrat Ganj is the recent hot favourite with a number of fast food joints. If coffee and tea is something you like, you will find a huge variety at Cappuccino Blast at Mall Avenue. At Akbari Gate, during winters one can also enjoy Kashmiri Tea (a red coloured hot tea) with cream and Makhan Malai (a local variant of ice cream, saffron flavoured, made by hanging unsalted butter overnight in dew and then aerating it by beating it).

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Finding alcohol is not a problem, but most bars are seedy and are to be avoided, except for those in five-star restaurants.

Sleep

Please be wary of any hotels listed here that give details like 'close to x y and z' and 'air-conditioned rooms'. Most of these might be self-promotion attempts and not based on real tourist feedback.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Cell phone coverage in the city is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of plans, including Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Tata Docomo, Aircel, BSNL and Uninor. It might be a good idea to buy a mobile phone and use one of those prepaid plans to get yourself connected while you are in the city.

Phone numbers in Lucknow begin with 0522, typically followed by seven digits. To call Lucknow from outside India you will need to dial the international prefix for your country, followed by India’s country code 91. If you want to dial a landline no. from a mobile, then you have to add 0522 before the number.

Cope

Emergency numbers

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, January 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.