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Lucknow

Lucknow is often overlooked by the mainstream tourist trail, but this historic city is brimming with prime examples of elaborate Islamic and British Raj architecture. It’s also something of a foodie’s paradise, and not having to jostle through busy tourist crowds is a serious bonus. Take a regal ‘ganjing’ stroll through Hazratganj’s shops and stalls, visit the region’s majestic architectural sights, and sample a plethora of delicious dishes with a distinctive Lucknow twist. Don’t leave without sampling the smoky kebabs, fragrant biryanis and paya kulcha spicy mutton soup...

Three things to do in Lucknow

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Heritage and culinary discovery

The densely-packed Old Quarter of Lucknow brims with culture and history. Its alleys are lined with the ornate windows and intricate woodwork of crumbling havelis, and artisan families sell handcrafted embroidery, colourful kites, and heady attar perfumes from tiny shopfronts, as they have done for generations. As soon as you walk through the historic royal city gates you enter a foodie heaven. Feast on distinctive Mughlai and Awadh dishes at various eateries and stalls, sampling slow-cooked nihari mutton stew, tender kebabs, chaats, kulfi and sweet saffron-infused sheermal bread. Treat yourself to elaborate multi-course feasts, delicately prepared using local ingredients to methods developed by cooking for royalty, and grab light bites on the go from a street stall or two.

Lucknow

Historic architecture 

Lucknow is peppered with buildings that illustrate the city’s diverse history, and you can spend hours on a ‘ganjing’ wander through the city, learning about its past through its imposing architecture. The grand La Martiniere College is a prestigious private school, established in 1845, and its elaborate Constantia building casts an ornate silhouette against the skyline. The abandoned ruins of the old British Residency ruins, built in the 1800s as official home to the British in Lucknow and refuge for British expats during the 1857 siege, are an eerie reminder of Britain's complex relationship with India. In contrast, the more recently constructed Ambedkar Memorial Park is a poignant monument to India's continuing fight for social justice. Every corner reveals something new, so keep wandering...

La Martiniere College, Lucknow

Bara Imambara 

The fairytale Bara Imambara, also known as Asfi Mosque, gleams in the warm sunset light, its embellished minarets and domes rising elaborately towards the sky. Built in the 1780s, this huge imambara complex forms a beautiful counterpoint to Lucknow’s Colonial buildings; a contrasting feast of ornate domed palaces, spooky underground tunnels and a labyrinth of interconnected passages navigated through 489 identical doorways! Its name, which translates 'big shrine', is something of an understatement - the complex contains a mosque, a large stepwell and a remarkable central hall, on top of the aforementioned bewildering maze of secret passageways. Take time to explore.

Bara Imambara

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