Places to see
One of the most prominent monuments of Lucknow, the Bara Imambara was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah during the famine which struck the area in 1784, to provide employment and relief to his subjects. The architect was Kifayetullah from the town of Shahjahanabad. The building displays unique features of architechture. The entire central hall is not supported by any pillar. On the upper floor is a labyrinth of intricate balconies and passages - better known as the Bhul-Bhulaiya. The Imambara houses Nawab Asaf ud Daulah's tomb. The Imambara once displayed a grand collection of decorative and lighting items. Mirrors, chandeliers, crystals, candlebars, globes and some ornamental items adorned its interiors.
Much of this was either destroyed or taken away during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Whatever remains today draws visitors' appreciation.
To the left of the Imambara is the Asafi Mosque and to the right a well. The gate of the Imambara is a splendorous piece of architechture too and on crossing the sprawling gardens in front one can reach the steps of the Imambara.
On the west of Bara Imambara, stands the Chhota Imambara or the Husainabad Imambara. This magnificent example of Mughal architecture was built by Nawab Mohammed Ali Shah (1837-1842). Along with the numerous decoratives, elaborate collection of tazias and chandeliers from India and abroad, the silver throne of Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah is on display here. The number of minarets amongst the golden main dome add to the beauty. Messages from the Holy Quoran inscribed on the walls are examples of fine calligraphy.
Inside, are the tombs of Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah and his mother. The large courtyard encloses a rectangular tank with small imitations of the Taj Mahal.
This 60-feet high structure was built by Nawab Asaf ud Daulah in 1786 and stands to the west of the Bara Imambara. It is said that it was supposed to be the replica of another such gate in Istanbul (erstwhile Constantinople) in the territory named Rum, and hence, the name 'Rumi'. It marked the end of Machchi Bhavan Complex and the begining of Husainabad.
CLOCK TOWER & HUSAINABAD PICTURE GALLERY
The Clock Tower lies midway between the Bada and the Chhota Imambara. It was built by Nawab Nasir-ud-Din Haidar during 1880-87 to commemorate the occasion of the arrival of Sir George Cooper, the first Lt. Governor of UP.
The cost of constructing the tower in the Moorish style and fitting it with the then biggest clock in India amounted to Rs. 1.75 lakh. Adjacent to the Clock Tower is the Husainabad Picture Gallery. Built by Muhammad Ali Shah, This Gallery contains the life-size potriats of the Nawabs of Oudh.
In 1775, after the capital of Oudh was shifted to Lucknow, the then Governor General of the East India Company, Warren Hastings conceived a campus for the British Resident and his associates. The Residency was thus built on the land belonging to Major General Claude Martin, at an elevated area in Lucknow. Mansonaries were erected and by 1778, The then British Resident, Major Palmer and Claude Martin were living in the well established Residency along with a few other officials.
The Residency is perhaps remembered for the bitter fighting it witnessed during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 when the rebellious Sepoys laid seige for almost three months. Here, all the British people living in Lucknow at that time had taken refuge.
The Residency was reopened for the public exactly 100 years after in 1957 and is maintained in the same condition as it was in 1857.
SADAT ALI'S TOMB
The two tombs are situated in an area known as Kaisarbagh and are known for their well-proportioned domes and finials. These are tombs of Saddat Ali Khan and his wife Murshid Zaid and were constructed by their son Ghazi-ud-din Haider. The tomb of the king is large and solidly built, has beautiful floor of black and white marble. The central hall of the structure is tastefully adorned with stucco designs brought into relief by the application of red ochre. There are four staircases in each corner to lead to the upper floors. A huge dome with a fluted exterior, and a tall spike on the top surmounts the monument. In the kings tomb lies three of his wife and three daughters. The mausoleum is a costly and splendid building. The tomb of the queen differs from her husband's in some structural details. It is entered through a crypt in the basement. Above the crypt is the central domed hall with arcade sides and an encircling corridor. During the mutiny both of these maqbaras were fortified by the rebels.
This was the erstwhile palatial residence of the French Major General Claude Martin (1735-1800). After being captured in Pondicherry in 1761, Claude Martin Joined the East India Company and subsequently came over to Lucknow to serve as an officer under the Nawab. During his lifetime, he began construction of this house but could not complete it. After his demise the La Martiniere school was housed in this building, perhaps the finest and the largest example of European funerary monument in the subcontinent. In this building one can see glimpses of the Gothic style of architecture. There is also a huge gun placed in the front. Claude Martin was buried in the basement floor of the house.
Chattar Manzil - an imposing structure on the banks of the river Gomti was built by Nawab Nasiruddin Haider, presumably to house his harem. The building gets its name from the unique umbrella-structure on the roof in place of the dome. There were underground chambers for its residents to take refuge during the scorchimg summer months. A few other houses formed the complex where there was a smaller replica of the Chattar Manzil known as the Chota Chattar Manzil. It was later remodelled by the British to house their European Club. After Independence, the Chattar Manzil complex was converted into an office complex for the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The Chattar Manzil now houses the Central Drug Research Institute.
Situated opposite to the Residency and on the banks of river Gomti. This beautiful tower of white marble was built in memory of those who lost their lives during the Mutiny of 1857, otherwise considered as the First war of Independence.
KAISERBAG PALACE COMPLEX
The Kaiserbagh Palaces were built during 1848 - 1850 by the famous Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Here, buildings were constructed by the nawab to house his harem. A white stone edifice of picturesque design - the baradari stands in the centre of the complex.
The House of A.P.Sen
THE HOUSE OF ATUL PRASAD SEN
A notable place of visit may be the house of the eminent Bengali poet Atul Prasad Sen. A road in his name - A.P.Sen Road runs from Charbag area. The house of the poet, which was next to the Labour Court Complex is now no more. It was here that he had composed quite a number of his famous works.