Lucknow is the capital city of state of Uttar Pradesh. It is on the verge of a major metropolitan city of India and has always been known for its multi-culture and flourished as a cultural and artistic hub of North India.
Lucknow is still retaining the architecture of yores of British Empire. It was once the administrative and cultural hub of “Nawabs of Avadh (Oudh)”. Lucknow is popularly known as The City of Nawabs<. It is also known as the Golden City of the East, Shiraz-i-Hind and The Constantinople of India. City is characterized by courtly manners, beautiful gardens, poetry, music, and fine cuisine patronized by the Nawabs of city.
The ‘tehzib’ or mannerism is still prominent and a theme of great appreciation. This is a city that still speaks the language of “aap-janab” and the dictum of “pehle aap” is a part of everyday life for a true Lakhnawi. ‘Aadab’ the Lucknowi salutation has its own sophistication and style. Dress forms though have changed noticeably in the span of a century, yet the beauty and charisma of Chikan – the intricate and delicate hand embroidery, still rules the wardrobe.
For anyone with any interest in the art, history and culture of the Indian subcontinent, Lucknow is a must-visit. The sights, sounds, tastes and smells of each corner of Lucknow are an exclusive exposition of the evolution of not just a city, but a culture and a way of life.
Much has been and will continue to be written about this city and the zenith of its glorious past. A must-read is Abdul Halim Sharar’s Guzishta Lucknow or the English translation Lucknow: the Last Phase of an Oriental Culture. Another quirky piece on Lucknow’s History can be found in the Awadh Punch edited by Prof. Mushir Ul Hasan.
Some believe the city has lost most of its charm and is bursting at its seams like a mufassil town on steroids, while others continue to know with certitude that Lucknow lives forever in the heart of those that will never be able to call anywhere else “home”. I grew up in Lucknow and have never loved any city quite as much. Lucknow is aaram (rest), itmenaan (easy) and rehaish (the home that has nurtured me).
Lucknow, remains, in large parts still, one of those places where tehzeeb (culture) and tameez (grace) is a part of everyday life – the beauty of the language that the rickshawallah speaks, the swift twirls of a kathak performance, the perfection in each stitch of chikankari, the way the kebab melts onto the paratha or how the “malai gillori” transcends the barriers of the palate cleansing paan and subtly sweetened mithai
In Lucknow, culture is supreme – nafees.
Ideally take a train because the experience of getting down at the historic Charbagh Station can be gorgeous in itself. You could also fly into the Amausi airport, but it isn’t quite the same. Although the station can be really busy and crowded during the day.
And once your reach: Muskuraiyye ki aap Lucknow mein hain. (Smile because you have found yourself in the city of Lucknow).
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