‘Quirky Indian Cities’ series –
Lucknow is a little queer city. It has got a lot of character and charm to it, but it’s also sordid in some ways. Although it is presumed to be a Nawabi (royal) city with ‘politeness’ embedded in its texture, the real face of Lucknow is far from its preconceived image.
Just like Delhi, I have lived in Lucknow for a decade. Therefore, I know the city quite closely and I can talk about its many quirks, belittled gems and also a few gray shades.
Before I begin, I’d like to share that Lucknow has seen a substantial growth in terms of infrastructural developments in the past years, which has changed its face to a great extent. It is a much better city today in the wake of good roads, multiplexes, shopping malls, eating joints and discotheques. But, I’m going to share with you the Lucknow that I knew, which is timeless -
1.The royal bygone era still begs for your attention.
If you think Lucknow is a kind of city, where you will find people exchanging royal greetings, you are absolutely mistaken. The city is very much like any other Indian city. There are no old-fashioned mannerisms in people. Everything is very ordinary in their everyday lives. But, the era of Nawabs still lives somewhere in the Mughal palaces and their illustrious history.
|The old-era still reflects...|
2.Eve-teasing can be a nuisance in Lucknow.
I don’t intend to misrepresent Lucknow, but I have experienced very annoying eve-teasing there. I don't know if that has changed now.
3.Food is a serious business.
Lucknow relishes great Mughlai cuisine. From Biryani, Korma, Chicken curry to the much-loved Tunde Kababs, the richness in food needs to be seen to be believed.
|Image source: Google|
4.People have a certain amusing way of talking.
It’s quite easy to pick a Lucknowi style of talking, which has a very desi (rustic) appeal to it. A typical inhabitant of Lucknow uses hum (we) quite often.
5.Lucknow has an awe-inspiring architectural beauty.
As I mentioned earlier, the old-era still peeps from somewhere and it’s evident in the architectural treasures of the city. Besides the mysterious Bara Imambara and the glorious Chhota Imambara, there are some ruined buildings as well, such as The British Residency and Dilkusha Koth, which have an intriguing history to tell.
|Architectural gems: Bada Imambara and Bhul Bhulaya|
6.The legendary markets never lose their sheen.
The two most popular markets in Lucknow are Hazratganj and Aminabad. They are not just great shopping hubs, but they are also charming places for snacking on some traditional savoury stuff like Chaat, Kulfi and Malai Makkhan. Besides, the atmosphere of the two places is undyingly charismatic. Aminabad is more conservative, while Hazratganj is more towards the modish side.
|Image source: Google|
7.Lucknow has high standards when it comes to shopping.
Well, it may not be a metropolitan, but shopping is nothing less than bliss for women. If you have good taste in clothes, the variety is immense. Although the Chikan embroidery is easily the highlight of Lucknow, other stuff like shoes, bags, accessories and western wear are also worth going for.
8.The Taj of Lucknow looks ethereal.
Vivanta by Taj in Lucknow is a sheer delight. It is one of the most beautiful Taj hotels in India. It would be absolutely apt to say that it lives up to Lucknow’s majestic past. Also, it’s a good way to experience Lucknow’s Nawabi culture.
|The Taj of Lucknow: Backyard view|
9.Lucknow isn’t really a ‘safe’ city.
It is an easy-going and modest city, but the crime rate cannot be overlooked. There is a huge mix of people in Lucknow, which makes certain smaller neighbourhoods in the city a bit unsafe.
|Lucknow is waiting to be explored.|
10.Lucknow isn’t aware of its tourism potential.
This is perhaps the funniest thing about Lucknow that it has got a tremendous calibre of drawing travellers, yet it seems to be nonchalant about it. Lucknow’s food, shopping and architecture are superlative. If only they adopt the enthusiasm for hospitality and the locals create a tourist-friendly atmosphere, things can drastically change.
What do you say? Is Lucknow your kind of a city?
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