"Lucknow, underestimated historical pearl" Top 5 Page for this destination Lucknow by irisbe

Lucknow Travel Guide: 138 reviews and 426 photos

9-12th January 2011 I was in Lucknow

Boarded in Delhi train station and after a painful night on worn out matrasses (just say iron frame) and a loose piece of iron hiting the train every 2 seconds, we saw dawn... misty and we wondered if we would be able to catch some sun in Lucknow. We could see we were getting closer to urban places accordingly to the crowd waking up and coming to sit near the railtrack to do what we do as well... but rather not in public. I witnessed it by accident and I quick turned my head back to look at the interior of the train compartment where my other fellow travelers were waking up.
The trainstation of Lucknow was a relief compared to that of Delhi. No rude military police hitting ad random and as they pleased innocent poor travelers they thought were not standing in a perfect straight line or not boarding quickly enough. I know in Belgium there is an organisation who would put a complain file if a farmer would butcher his cows this way but since recently, this kind of treatment has settled in in Delhi.
In Lucknow nothing as such. The bus with driver and obliged guide picked us up to get us to our hotel. The young Brahman guide immediatly wanted to persuade us to go visit chicken factory... we all though uh? chicken??? but then we found out it was the typical lace like cloth for which Lucknow is wellknown.
We thanked him for the offer but we had other plans and places to visit. This refusal and the unusuall untouristic travel we made, confused the young yuppie and after a clear discussion at the 2nd day he settled with our plans. No... we are no travelers, we were explorers. We do go eat in restaurants but we also eat in the little places in the street. We do go shopping, but we mainly visit the historical places. At the end he arranged us a meeting with an ancestor of the last Nawab. Normally it would be the Nawab himself but he and his wife went of for a funeral and it was the brother-in-law, who welcomed us. That is worth a tip on itself.
So much there is to tell about Lucknow but as I am a lazy tip maker I wonder if I ever will be able to build up a page that will describe this city with all the respect it deserves.

The people of Lucknow

My travel companion is a real Indian knowledgable person. He is visiting this country since 1976 on a regular base, that means more then once and even twice a year. He has studied Hindi and Indianology at the University so I knew we were in good hands.
It is so crucial to be able to speak the local language and it was through his knowledge of Hindi (and of his wife's ability to speak this as well) we could get in close contact with the local people.
Mostly I had the idea it was nice but when locals think you don't understand what they say because you are a foreigner, then they might find out to their suprise they thought wrong.
My companions complained that in Lucknow not every one was as friendly and that they heard remarks behind our back and that we were lucky we didn't understood because it could spoil our day.
Goree is one of the nicknames they give caucasians. And the treathment at some restaurant was not quite as it should have been... but overall I didn't encounter problems and it suprised me all the time how nice many people were.
It was one of the questions my companion would ask later to the Nawab, why he encountered more hostility and bad threatment then we had in a city as Delhi. His answer was simple... The ones who were not friendly were probably people from outside, like Bihar or elsewhere. They don't have the refined manners a Lucknow person has. He was sure it were the people at the entrance of a mall or serving in a restaurant that acted less refined.
I secretly had to smile with his answer... it is a recognizable reaction to go into defense telling that it are people from elsewhere, outsiders.
But maybe there was some truth in his answer... as where it comes to refined. When visiting Lucknow you could not denie there was refinement, in the cloths, the old buildings... the Moskee's. Once this was a very beautiful city and it still is... only it is not maintained. Although, as the previous picture shows, they started to repaint the main shopping street, add parisienne lamps and benches and fences...
If they only now would take care of the religous inheritage but as we learned from the Nawab, this maintainance should come from religious organisations, not from the government.
It hurts to see the treasure is just there but it is so much neglected.
If with enough financial input and a good strategy, Lucknow could become one of the main travel destinations of India.

Visiting Lucknow is taking a historical dive

Visiting all the places of interest in just a couple of days is impossible but I am happy I managed to see such a lot in the four days I spend there:
The Bara Imambara, the magnificent Tombs, the Residency, the (endangered) laundry place near the river, the visit to the Nawab’s brother-in-law, the botanical garden at 6 am, the waterwell…
This is really a place that should be added in your initary next time you travel to India!

  • Last visit to Lucknow: Jan 2011
  • Intro Updated Jul 28, 2011
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irisbe

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