February 19, 2012

A day in Lucknow - The City of Nawabs (Part-3)

British Residency popularly known as Residency is a historical protected monument maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. This place was used by the British inhabitants as a refuge during the uprising of 1857. It houses various buildings and a museum also. Entrance fee is INR 5 and entry closes by 1630 PM.
Below is a photo journey of the place-
Main Gate and Ticket window

Historical Facts
Site Plan
Bailley Guard Gate is entrance gate to Residency

Notice on Bailley Guard Gate
Memory of Native officers and Sepoys
Dr. Frayer's House

Begum Kothi

Main Building
Main Building
Main Building
Lost Grandeur 
Canons in the lawn in front of Museum
Residency signature shot
Way to Church and Cemetrery
Church & Graveyard Info
Main Building

Banquetting Hall

Banquetting Hall
Residency is spread in a large area and you see only ruins of buildings amidst lush green gardens and old trees with young couples hiding themselves here and there. Earlier a light and sound show was performed here, not sure if it is continue or not.  As you come out of Residency, you see a Martyrs Memorial Tower (Shaheed Smarak) and Kargil Martyr Garden (Kargil Shaheed Vatika) on the opposite side of the road on the bank of Gomti river. A few boats are there to give you a ride to a Shiva Temple in the middle of the river, however the bank of the river is filled with filthy garbage flowing into river. 
Kargil Memorial Garden
Shaheed Smarak (Martyr Memorial)
Shiva Temple
Boat ride
Saddening scene - Garbage dump in river Gomti (Hotel Clarks Avadh in backdrop)

A day in Lucknow - The City of Nawabs (Part-2)

Rumi Gate:
On the main road outside the Bara imambara you will see a gateway called Roomi Gate. This is often portrayed as a logo of Lucknow city.
Full view of Roomi Gate
Roomi Gate has 3 doorways for passing traffic
Imambara side of Roomi gate (front)
Imambara on left, Naubatkhana on right
Clock Tower:
From here we reach towards Husainabad and see the clock tower and picture gallery. It is an old building with larger than life size portraits of Nawabs of Awadh. We captured some good shots of picture gallery and clock tower.The 67m red-brick clock tower, reputedly the tallest in India, was built in the 1880s in memory of Sir George Couper, a reform-minded Governor of UP (United Provinces in those days).
Clock Tower
Clock Tower from Picture gallery building
Shadow of clock tower in Husainabad tank
Close View
Shadow of the time
Picture gallery:
On the main road you will see a board of the road named Dara Nawab Road which leads towards Picture gallery building. This building was built by Mohammed li Shah.
Dara Nawab Road
Red building is picture gallery
 Info Notice
Inside the gallery (Nawab Wajid Ali Shah on the left)
On the other side of this bulding is an incomplete building called 'Satkhanda' built during rule of third king of Awadh (Oudh) Mohammed Ali Shah. This building was planned for 7 floors but could be made only up to 4 floors as construction was abandoned in 1840 when Mohammed Ali Shah died.
A stone with Urdu Shayari in devnagri
on the gate of Satkhanda
Satkhanda ruins
Chota (Small) Imambara:
This beautiful building was built in 1837-40 by  Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Avadh to serve as his own mausoleum. Attractive chandeliers  brought from Belgium are some of the most appreciated items. The Golden dome, silver throne and gold-edged mirrors makes the Hussainabad Imambara,  grander of the two Imambaras.  You can view the Central hall of the Chota Imambara where you can notice  the graves of Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah and his mother Malika-i-Aliya. The graves are fenced with railings and covered with a embroidered Shamina.   
One most attractive monument  you see is a replica of Taj Mahal which is built in the Imambara campus and supporting monument - a similar building on either side of the water tank. This  attractive building houses the tomb of one of the princesses of the royal family. This is also called Shahjadi ka Maqbara. Opposite to this you can see an identical  structure which is a supporting structure but have a decent and attractive look. 
Husainabad gate before the Chota Imambara

After exploring the grandeur of Awadh, we reached the residency, which is described in next part 3 of this series.

A day in Lucknow - The City of Nawabs (Part-1)

There is this famous poetry about Lucknow
लखनऊ है तो महज़ गुम्बद-ओ -मीनार नहीं 
Lucknow hai to mahaz gumbad-o meenar nahi 
सिर्फ एक शहर नहीं कूचा-ओ-बाज़ार नहीं 
Sirf ek shahar nahi kooch-o bazaar nahi 
इसके आँचल में मोहब्बत के फूल खिलते हैं 
Iske aanchal mein mohabbat ke phool khilte hain 
इसकी गलियों में फरिश्तों के पते मिलते हैं 
Iski galion mein farishton ke pate milte hain
(Lucknow is not just its domes and minarets, 
  not just a city or markets and corridors, 
  in its lap are grown the flowers of love, 
  in its alleyways you find the addresses of angels)
We are a resident of Lucknow and have seen all the tourist points many time, but we wanted to travel the historical part of the city again in a one day package as an outsider tourist will do. Lucknow has many attractions but most of the historical heritage points are located in the heart of the town on the Mahatma Gandhi Road leading to Husainabad Trust Road. You can visit 'Asifi or Bara Imambara (Big shrine)', 'Husainabad or Chota Imambara (Small Shrine)', Clock Tower, Picture Gallary, Roomi Gate and British Residency. The heart of Hazratganj (City Center) is also nearby and you can enjoy the Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine in any of the restaurants in this area or in the roadside joints near Tulsi Complex.
See the red circles for spot locations (Source: Google Map)

Bara Imambara:

First of all we reached the Bara Imambara. Bara means big and Imambara is a shrine for the purpose of Azadari (The processions and ritual performed during the Muharram are known as Azadari). It is a large complex with Main Imambara building, Bhool Bulaiyan (Maze or Labyrinth), Bouli (Step well) and Asifi Masjid inside. It was started in 1783 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula for providing jobs to peaple during a famine in Lucknow. It took 14 years to complete.It has two grand entrance in the shape of triple arch gateways. 
Introduction Stone
Entrance Fee
The combined entry fee for Bara imambara, Baoli, Chota Imambara and Picture gallary is INR 35 for adults and INR 15 for kids between 5 to 12 years. Entry fee for foreign tourist is INR 350, which in my opinion is exorbitantly high. 
Guide Charges
Guide charges shown above is only for main building and Labyrinth section. For Baoli or Step well, it is negotiable, we paid Rs. 50 extra for showing us the Baoli.
Below you can see the official sign of Awadh that was a pair of fishes. The same has been taken by the Government of Uttar Pradesh also in its official seal.
One arch of the first gateway
First gateway and garden from inside
Second Gateway from inside
Second Gateway leading to main building
Right side of main building with Asifi mosque
Left side of main building
After crossing the two gateways you see the main building of Imambara. It has been divided in 3 halls - named as China hall, Persian hall and Indian hall. The central hall is sized 52 meter long, 16 meter wide and 15 meter high, and is one of the largest hall of its kind in the world, without any column and beam. The whole building is made of Lucknowi Bricks (sometimes called Lakauri bricks) which are thin bricks. No wood, metal or cement has been used.The main architect of the building was Kifayatullah. The Central hall has the graveyard of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. 
The same roof covers three halls in all, the Persian Hall, the China Hall and the Indian Hall. The Persian Hall is the central hall, which is quite large in size. The China Hall is of an interesting shape, being square at ground level, octagonal at mid-height and 16-sided at the top. The India Hall is in the shape of a watermelon.
Below are some pictures of inside the main building-
Central Hall
Central Hall - the largest unsupported roof
Roof of the Indian Hall

In the balcony of central Persian hall (Graveyard of Asif-ud-Daula is seen below)
You will find some guides burning a matchbox stick at the other end of the balconies that have openings to the Central Hall.  In fact, this is another significant and architectural art of the building that has been used in this structure.  You can listen the sound  of a match stick at the other end of the hall.  It is really interesting and seems unbelievable. If you happen to visit this monument, please do observe this uniqueness
Labyrinth or Bhool Bhulaiyan:
Surrounding the main hall is a 3D labyrinth or Bhool Bhulaiyan (भूल भुलैयाँ ), one and only of its kind in India.  On left hand side you will see steep chain of stairs going up to the roof of the monument. 
Way to staircase leading to Labyrinth
Rules for Labyrinth
Shoes and slippers not allowed inside halls and in the labyrinth. The guide is compulsory if visitor is a couple.
Long staircase leading to labyrinth and rooftop
This amazing maze consists of corridors hidden betwen 20 feet wide walls. It is dark, scary and has dead ends at some points. You can enjoy it if you take services of a guide.
Here are some pics of maze corridors and view from rooftop.
Corridor on front side
Maze has many such similar looking 4 way points
Corridor on other side
Views from rooftop of Imambara:
You can see the magnificent views from the roof top with River Gomti, Roomi gate, Asifi masjid and 'Teele wali Masjid (Mosque on a hillock)' in view.
On far distance - River Gomti & White Mosque is Teele wali Masjid
Asifi Masjid on left
Roomi gate in far center and river Gomti

Roof and burj along the sides
The back side boundary
In the back side view you see present Medical college (KGMC, now CSJMMC)

Teele wali Mosque
Bauli or Stepwell:
The imambara complex has a step well also called Bauli, which is a 5 storied structure. It was made for royal baths and also for taking construction water. It's water source was river Gomti.
Way down to step well
Renovation is being done, presently well filled with construction garbage
Asifi Mosque opposite to Bauli entrance
Before exiting the imambara complex I tried my hands to test my photography skill on floral beauty in the garden of the premises. A few shots are here-

An unusual variety of palm
A craftsman selling handmade small Lucknawi Jutis (shoes) for INR 10
After visit of this place we proceeded towards chota (small) imambara, picture gallary and clock tower, which is in next episode of this series.
A day in Lucknow - The City of Nawabs (Part-2)