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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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]
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.
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.
- Ambedkar Memorial. A large, new 107 acre development to honour Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar who was the architect of the Indian constitution. Impressive stone work, statues and fountains intermix with carefully sculpted gardens. free.
- Amrapali water park.
- 1 Bara Imambara and Bhool Bhulaiya. A large and impressive tomb complex built in 1783. There is an interesting labyrinth too. You could easily spend half a day wandering around these beautiful but crumbling examples of Mughal architecture. If you hire a guide, do not expect him to know the way around; some are known to get lost in the labyrinth. The ticket also includes the Chhota Imambara, the Husainabad clock tower and picture gallery. Lone couples are not allowed to enter the labyrinth inside the complex without a guide. This prohibition is not brought to notice while buying the entry ticket. You will also have to pay a man 1 rupee to mind your shoes while exploring the complex: shoes are not allowed inside. ₹500 for foreigners.
- Botanical Gardens. 06:00-08:30.
- 2 Buddha Park. A small park on the side of a noisy congested road in Lucknow. A statue of the Buddha gives the park its name. The park features fun rides and boating facilities.
- Cathedral School, Hazaratganj. It is a school and comprises of a massive church. Lot of celebrations take place around Christmas time and is packed.
- 3 Chhota Imambara. An imposing mausoleum built by the third Nawab of Avadh in 1837. The ticket for Bara Imambara is also good for admission to Chhota Imambara.
- Colvin Taluqdars College. A must see place it has great architecture built in 1896 named after Sir Auckland Colvin.
- Crocodile sanctuary at Kukrail. One of the biggest sanctuaries in Asia.
- Deva Shariff, around 30 km from the city, is a place of worship and faith where people from all the religions gather, a symbol of unity and love.
- Dilkusha ruins.
- Farangi Mahal. The Oxford and Cambridge of India author/poet Shibli Naumani. For more details see the book Ul Farangi Mahal by Francis Robinson
- Globe Park.
- 4 Husainabad Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar), Hussainabad Lucknow. A British landmark, set in a park with the somewhat poorly curated picture gallery, and a lake. A great place for sunset. The ticket for Bara Imambara also grants admission here.
- 5 Indira Gandhi Planetarium, 9, Nabi Ullah Road , Suraj Kund Park, ☎ . Tu-Su Shows 13:00-18:00 (45-min shows 13:00-13:40 English, 14:30-16:00, 17:00 Hindi). A building in the shape of Saturn. ₹25.
- Marine Drive, Near Inox Cinemas, Gomtinagar. Beautiful Gomti river-side and monumental structures view for fun with Family and friends. Best time to visit is 16:00-18:00, during the sunset.
- La Martiniere College. Boys college. Building also known as Constantia, La Martiniere College is one of the oldest schools in the country. It was built in 1840 and started as a school in 1845. The school building is still well maintained. The best time to visit is either in the morning at around 08:00, when one can see the assembly, or after the school finishes at 15:30. This landmark building has also featured in several Bollywood films.
- Qaiserbagh complex.
- The Ram Krishna Math, Nirala Nagar.
- Rammanohar Lohiya park.
- Ruins of the Lucknow Residency and Museum. The bloody history of the demise of this Raj era compound is immortalised in the Museum in the Basement. This was the scene of the 1857 First Battle for Independence, referred to by the British as `The Indian Mutiny.´ Although you can still clearly see numerous canon ball marks in the ruined buildings, thankfully it is a peaceful place today. So much so in fact, that you are likely to stumble across couples taking a little private time in the leafy shady groves. The Residency is clearly recognised by the locals and tourists alike as a breezy haven to escape from the bustle and dust of a busy Indian city. The Residency will try to sell you a photo pass for an additional ₹25. The guard will also ask you if you have a camera. However once you are inside, no one will say anything if you take photos. ₹100 for foreigners, ₹5 for Indian citizens.
- 6 Rumi Darwaza (Rumi Gate), Hussainabad Lucknow.
- Shaheed Smarak.
- The Zoo/Museum, closed on Monday.
- CIMAP (Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants).
- East End Mall & Wave Cinemas, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar.
- Fun Republic Mall & Fun Cinemas (Adjacent Eldeco Greens, Gomti Nagar).
- Haathi Park.
- Hazaratganj (the center of the city).
- NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute).
- Phoenix United Mall & PVR Cinemas (Behind Piccadilly Hotel , Alam Bagh Kanpur Road).
- River Side Mall & Inox Cinemas (Adjacent Taj Residency Hotel, Gomti Nagar).
- Sahara Ganj Shopping Mall & PVR Cinemas, Shahnajaf Rd.
- TORNOS (Lucknow Walks), Tornos House, C-2016 Indira Nagar ('C' Block crossing), ☎ , toll-free: 18001022882, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1000 hrs to 1900 hrs. They offer some great heritage walks including a culinary walk. ₹15.
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!
- Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Gomti Nagar.
- Aminabad Market. Very old market, good for buying chikan (hand-embroidered clothes), leather shoes/bags and for chaat/sweets. There's a reasonably large book-market, consisting of an entire street. Gadbad-jhala is a market to get cheap bangles and fashion jewellery.
- Chowk (in the old city, just south of the Imambara complex and the clock tower). Lively market. This is the place to find bargains, and check out the locals. Visit in the evening.
- FUN Republic.
- Hazratganj Market. Very trendy and upscale. All recognizable Western brands will be available here.
- Inox. Movie multiplex and shopping mall
- Nishatganj, Nishatganj, NH-24. A very big fruits and vegetable market is here. Also, one can buy latest fashion trends clothes at a huge market area under the Nishatganj Gurudwara located nearby NH24
- Sanatkada, 130, Jagdish Chandra Bose Road, Kaiserbagh. 11:00-20:00. Sells wide variety of crafts, including woven and hand embroidered garments, short tops, sarees, dupattas, home furnishings, artefacts, silver jewellery and accessories, organic honey, jams, preserves and herbs.
- SaharaGanj Mall, Sahanajaf Road, Hazratganj, Lucknow. The very first and biggest mall in the city. Good for everything you need.
- The Tornos Studio (Indira Nagar), Tornos House, C-2016 Indira Nagar, ☎ . 2. They have great collection of book on Indian Mutiny. One can visit to read pr watch a film on Lucknow. They will offer tea/coffee free of cost. But nothing is for sale - great place for evening. All this by appointment (call: 0522-2349472)
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).
- Alzaiqa (Near Novelty Theatre). You can find great non-vegetarian food here, specially chicken.
- Bajpai Kachauri Bhandar (Leela Cinema Road, Hazrat Ganj Lucknow). Best kachauri from lucknow.
- Dainik Jagaran Chauk. Cheap and delicious non-veg food
- Dastharkwan (Near Tulsi Theatre).
- Haji Sahib's Shop, Akbari Gate. 07:00-10:00. This is in the heart of Old Lucknow. Serves the juiciest Nihari (lamb shanks in gravy) and Kulchha (a traditional bread). This is the best in the city
- Jai Durgmaa Hotel (Lalbagh, Lucknow). Very good Vegetarian food etc.
- Prakash kie kulfi (Aminabad). One must have faloodha kulfi from here
- Ram Asrey Sweet Shop (Baanwaali Gali,Chowk Lucknow). Very good sweets and snacks like Namkeen,Daalmonth etc.
- Tundey's Kebabs (Aminabad and Food Court, Sharaganj Mall). Has been serving kebabs for more than 50 years. The place offers wonderful kebabs with parantha and also sells biryani.
- Basket Chat, at Royal Hotel, hazratganj and at sahara ganj.
- 1 Cappuccino Blast, 12 The Mall Avenue, Lucknow, UP, India, ☎ . 10:00 - 00:00. Cafe, hookah lounge and restaurant serving continental, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
- Dastarkhwan (The street next to Tulsi thatre in Hazratganj). Exotic non-vegetarian delicacies, specially the special chicken masala, shaami kebabs and rumali roti/mughlai parathaas.
- Kewal's (Outside Maqbara Compound, Hazratganj). Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
- KFC (Saharaganj Mall).
- Lalbagh. Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
- McDonalds (Saharganj Shopping Mall, Fun Republic, East End Mall and Phoenix mall), ☎ .
- Mint (Arif Castle). Offers alcoholic beverages and great food. Food festivals are common.
- Paani Batashe (Sadar (Cantt)), Near chappan Bhog.
- Pizza Hut (East End Mall and opposite Raj Bhawan).
- Sakhawat (In a narrow lane next to Gymkhana Club, near Gemini Hotel, Hazratgunj). 57:00-22:00. A lesser-known but good joint for connoisseurs. Operating since 1911, it has a limited stock and little seating space, with a select clientele.
- Sharma Tea House. Famous for their tea and mouth watering samosas (potato stuffed pancake).
- Ultra Violet, Mall Ave. Offers non-alcoholic beverages, great food and has a great ambience. Food festivals are common.
- Aryan's (Hazratganj). is also located at many various parts of the city
- Royal Cafe.
- The Salt, Sapru Marg, Lucknow. Family restaurant
Finding alcohol is not a problem, but most bars are seedy and are to be avoided, except for those in five-star restaurants.
- A safer drink alternative is the famous local lassi yogurt drink.
- Not all retail shops of wine/liquor are authorised to serve so it's always suggested to drink in a bar or at your home or hotel.
- Cool Break, ashok marg. Nice ambience, rich menu.
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.
- 1 Hotel Mansi Ganga, Pandariba Road, pandariba Road Charbagh, Khalsa Hospital,, ☎ , .
- 2 Lucknow Homestay, 110-D Mall Avenue, ☎ . 110D Mall Avenue. Has WiFi, home cooked meals and boasts of space. Just off The Mall. The hosts are friendly, and a mine of information.
- 3 New Sharma Hotel (Opposite charbagh railway station), ☎ , , . There are two Sharma Hotels, one is 30 years old.
- Sharma Hotel, ☎ (Contact person Shujat Hashmi). Opposite charbagh railway station
- 4 Arif Castles, Rana Pratap Marg, Hazratganj.
- 5 Carlton, Rana Pratap Marg.
- Hotel Gomati near Hazratgunj and Sharagunj mall is run by Uttar Pradesh Tourism and offers decent rooms at moderate cost.
- 8 [formerly dead link]Hotel Mandakini Saket Regency, 92/3-A, Old R.T.O. Compound, Gautam Budh Marg (Latouche Road), ☎ , . Check-out: 12:00. Located in the cluster of hotels just north of the railway station. Reasonably friendly staff, just don't ask where to eat nearby, instead go a block or two back towards the station. The hotel doesn't have a restaurant but does offer room service. Rooms are reasonably clean but the air-con units are ancient and noisy. Large LCD TVs with cable. You may be able to negotiate a double room down to ₹1350 in the low season. Double room ₹1800.
- 9 [dead link]Hotel Sagar International, 14-A, Jopling Road, Butler Colony (Opposite Butler Palace), ☎ .
- 11 Clarks Avadh, Parivartan Chowk, Mahatma Gandhi Marg (Opp. Begum Hazrat Mahal Park), ☎ . One of the more centrally located hotels in Lucknow. Clean, well-kept and very smart. The restaurant named "Falaknuma" at the ninth floor has the right ambience to enjoy a Mughlai dinner with awesome views of the city. The Murg Malai Tikka is recommended. The service at the restaurant leaves much to be desired however, and the alcohol selections are in no way on par with what would be expected from an upscale hotel elsewhere. Wi-fi is available for a price.
- 13 Piccadily Hotel, Kanpur Road, Sector B, Bara Birwa, ☎ . A new addition to the luxury hotels of Lucknow. Just 3 km from Lucknow Airport.
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.
- Emergency Helpline (Local): ☎ 108
- Police: ☎ 100
- Fire Department: ☎ 101
- Ambulance: ☎ 102, or dial the nearest local hospital.
- Childline: ☎ 1098
- Women Power Helpline: ☎ 1090
- Emergency Helpline (India): ☎ 112