Legend has it that Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama, laid the foundation of this city on the banks of the River Gomti. In 1775, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, the wazir of Oudh, made it his capital. Today, the capital of Uttar Pradesh is known for its ornate monuments, exquisite crafts, and heavenly food. Explore the best of the ‘City of Nawabs’ in a day. By Sunita Pandey
7:30 am GO ON A HERITAGE WALK
Explore the city of Lucknow on foot or by cycle. Uttar Pradesh Tourism organises heritage walks and cycling tours, starting from 6.30 am during summers and 7.30 am in winters. Over a duration of three hours, the walks and tours cover magnificent monuments of Islamic architecture, such as the Baradari Qaiserbagh, Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, and Rumi Darwaza, as well as European masterpieces, including The Residency and La Martiniere School. There are also tours that take you around the parks in the city, both old and new, such as Lucknow Zoo, Sikandar Bagh, National Botanical Garden, Lohia Park, and Janeshwar Misra Park. Tonga rides and bus tours are also available.
10:30 am SAVOUR THE FAMOUS TUNDAY KEBABS
Breakfast calls for the most sought-after combo of Mughlai paratha and kebab at Tunday Kababi in Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in the city. This iconic eating joint was founded by Haji Murad Ali around the end of the 17th century. Their most famous offering is a variation of the galouti kebab, cooked with over 150 spices.
12:00 pm SHOP FOR CHIKAN AND MORE
Explore the bazaars of Chowk and adjoining Aminabad, where rows of shops sell Chikan, the intricate handcrafted embroidery style of Lucknow. Saris, kurtas, dupattas, dress material, home linen—an endless variety of products with this lace-like embroidery is available.
2:00 pm SAVOUR HOME-COOKED AWADHI LUNCH
Step into Sanatkada, a quaint store located near the Qaisarbagh Baradari. It stocks handlooms and handicrafts from various states of the country. It is also instrumental in organising a craft and cultural festival at the end of January, every year. Their in-house restaurant called Naimatkhana, claims to be the only restaurant in town that serves home-cooked food. Lunch here consists of unique drinks like kewra sherbet (a drink made from the essence of screwpine flower), and traditional Awadhi delights such as aloo gosht (a hearty meat and potato stew), ghuiyan ka salan (colocasia curry), kachche keeme ke kebab (a preparation of freshly minced mutton and papaya), and moong ki kheer (yellow lentil pudding).
4:00 pm TRY LOCAL TEATIME SNACKS
Head towards the 200-year-old Hazratganj Market and its more modern offshoot, Janpath. You may enjoy seeing some more varieties of Chikan in a contemporary, upscale setting. Grab a quick kulhar (clay cup) of tea at the fabled Sharma Tea Corner in Lalbagh. If you’re feeling peckish, try the bun makkhan (buns slathered with butter), and their in-house speciality, round samosa.
5:30 pm MAKE SOME TIME FOR AN EVENING STROLL
Take a walk through Dilkusha Kothi. The remains of this Baroque-style building constructed in 1800, are surrounded by manicured gardens. Nawab Saadat Ali was known to use this 18th-century house as a hunting lodge and summer retreat. Even today, it lends itself
to an air of tranquillity.
7:00 pm INDULGE IN CHAATS FOR DINNER
Make a meal of chaats at the Royal Cafe in Hazratganj. The must try here is the Tokri Chaat or Basket Chaat, which is a medley of fritters, chickpeas, yogurt, and chutney, all plated in a basket made of fried potato julienne. Other well-known chaat joints nearby are Shukla Chaat House on Shahnajaf Road, Parampara Sweets on Sapru Road, and King of Chaat on Mahatma Gandhi Road. For melt-in- the-mouth galouti and boti kebabs, visit Sakhawat near Gymkhana Club. You could also book a Lucknow By Night Tour, which takes you around the city, and ends the day with an Awadhi dinner.
Lucknow’s Chowdhary Charan Singh Airport is well connected to most major cities in India. There are hourly flights from New Delhi as well as direct international connections to Dubai, Muscat, Jeddah, Riyadh and Bangkok. Charbagh is the main railway station, while the Yamuna Expressway and Lucknow Expressway connect Lucknow to Delhi via excellent roads.
October to March.
History and heritage enthusiasts, food connoisseurs and those interested in handicrafts and embroidery items.
Accommodation options across budgets are available in Lucknow, including 5-star options such as Vivanta by Taj (starts from INR 14,000/US$195) and Renaissance by Marriott (starts from INR 12,000/US$167).
La Martiniere School, Rumi Darwaza, and The Residency are must visits.