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Old 7th April 2015, 18:25   #1
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Default Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

This is not a travelogue.

It's about 48 hours... stolen just for ... kicks.

It's about making the most of the long Good Friday weekend , which rolled in two weeks after returning from Kausani (Heaven's Tides - Kausani, up in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand).

It's about ... a few things that are very dear me:
  • Introducing my son to the wonders of the camera
  • Going somewhere , where Delhi won't go for a change, and neither will West Bengal.
and a few things that are very dear to my spouse:
  • Shopping for the wardrobe
and common ground for both:
  • had to be an easy day-drive from Delhi
  • Not unbearably hot in the first week of April
  • Accommodation at 4-star hotel at reasonable rates.
  • Mughlai food
And just like that , we decided on :

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Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 21:01.
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Old 7th April 2015, 19:05   #2
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Default The journey....

On paper Delhi to Lucknow is about 550 km of staid driving , first on the YEW, then Kanpur, and finally Lucknow.
We started at 5:30 AM. And reach Lucknow latest by 3 PM for a late lunch. And oh, yes! With plenty of breaks in between.

The drive was very much a part of the vacation. So we stopped at will.
See that weather front? Well it was ultimately responsible for dousing most of NCR that weekend. And we watched it build up. Amazing sight. Then we ran away, as quickly as 4 wheels could turn!

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0445.jpg

Or how about these transmission towers... are those black crows perched there?

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0461.jpg

Wait a sec! those are not crows. Those are our national birds , roosting!

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0466.jpg

Well , dear reader... Delhi to Lucknow in reasonably good weather is very comfortably doable in about 9 hours by road.

Because:

Only 9 diversions remain from Etmadpur to Kanpur. These are fast approaching completion.
Driving through Kanpur and onto Kanpur-Lucknow highway is a breeze... if you happen to know the magic trick.

I will pass on the wisdom of bypassing that quagmire called Kanpur now. And by the way, this is all due to a very helpful DBHPian sgiitk, who took the time out to explain the magic trick.

But first things first... conventional wisdom would require you to exit NH-2 for NH-25 at Kanpur about here:
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Well, conventional wisdom... as is so often the case... is completely off-whack, and as recent experiences of some folk traveling to Lucknow have pointed out... a pointless exercise in a pointless waste of time.... thus suitably avoided.

So, what's the right answer..? Read the 10 steps to a breezy hour's drive through Kanpur enroute to Kanpur-Lucknow highway.
  1. 26.458697, 80.219747 exit from NH-2 at SAIL onto NH-25
  2. 26.461663, 80.294078 left at Vijaynagar Chowk
  3. 26.477516, 80.283031 right at Namak Factory Chowk onto Sharda Nagar Road
  4. 26.487433, 80.291418 left onto Aligarh-Kanpur road
  5. 26.491530, 80.285665 right at Gurdev palace crossing onto Indra Road
  6. 26.501312, 80.315243 Left onto a narrow connector to NH-91 bypass.
  7. 26.507508, 80.316540 Right onto the Ganga Barrage (NH-91 bypass)
  8. 26.530023, 80.335797 Right onto NH-91 bypass extension (see the sign that points towards Lucknow)
  9. 26.496639,80.397010 Straight Past the level crossing, and cross roads that follow soon after.
  10. 26.472006, 80.447775 Left onto NH-25 dual carriageway to Lucknow.
The approximate route shown here...
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-alternate-route.jpg

Did I mention a breezy hour? I forgot to mention that the drive included half-an hour of unbridled enjoyment here.
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0810.jpg.
And for those with a sweet tooth, "here" is about 100 m away from the Sharda nagar road crossing at NH-91 a.k.a. Aligarh -Kanpur Road (step # 3 to # 4).


The rest of the journey, towards Lucknow, was short and passable.

With one notable mention. The stretch (26.555054, 80.507208 to 26.556023, 80.509375) adjacent to Unnao Sports Stadium going towards Lucknow is an abysmal lunar landscape. Like this...
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0516.jpg.
Mercifully it's less than a kilometer, but it does test the springs! One is welcome to take the flyover through opposing traffic. That's in slightly better shape. But, unfortunately, yours sincerely is not cut out for the kind of road side adventures that every U.P.ite driver takes for granted. So, I graciously accepted the undulations, and creaking springs for a good 10 minutes.

As we rolled into Lucknow, the dash clock read 2:30 PM.

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0519.jpg

Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 21:43.
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Old 7th April 2015, 21:18   #3
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Default Impressions about the city's life

It's often said: First impressions count!

When it comes to Lucknow, nothing could be further from the truth.

Wherever we looked - there were crowds , and more crowds. Milling about. In all possible directions. Chaos reigned. Like every other city in India.

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0289-copy.jpg

Where was the much talked of Lucknavi Tehzeeb?
We probably needed to dig a little more than skin deep to find out.

So the first decision of our visit. We would leave our vehicle behind at the hotel, and take autos/rickshaws/e-rickshaws or whatever mode of public transport caught our fancy. In retrospect a good decision.... it ended up saving our time. We did not have to look for parking or worry about an ill-directed missile of a cyclist rudely bumping into the doors. So cheaper, by far. Another, side-effect, was that my son and I could shoot at will. Pictures , of course !

For a few cities, the railway station is as iconic, as the city's famed monuments. Lucknow is one of these few cities.
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0800-copy.jpg

Weavers , making curtains.
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Yummy treats lovingly tended at Tundays
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A popular hangout for the locals.
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0293-copy.jpg

A fast disappearing trade - the kite seller
Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0294-copy.jpg

Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 21:40.
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Old 7th April 2015, 22:08   #4
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Default Sightseeing. The plans come unhinged. First Eat. Then Shop!

We had ambitious plans. Eat at Tundays. Shop till we drop. Relax. And Sightsee.

In deference to the other priorities , sight seeing was last on the agenda. So, we could only take in the Bara Imambara complex, Chhota Imambara complex and the Rumi Darwaza.

Thoughts of visiting the ruins of the British Residency perished, at the altar of shopping at the Chowk.

We will come back some other time. For sure.

For now, interesting spreads awaited us at the table. A sight for sore eyes.

Lunch is served... at Tundays

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-20150404_141340.jpg

Digging In!

Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-20150404_141403.jpg


Where to shop? What to shop ?
Like any other old city, Lucknow is famous for its wares too. Chief among these are Chikan ( a kind of intricate embroidery), and leather goods.

As the home minister, wanted to fill up the wardrobe and then some, we headed to the two places we knew of that sell Chikan work (and also came highly recommended by our friends).
  1. Chikan Collection stores near F1 hospital (26.843149, 80.936163) on Cantonment Rd between Kesarbagh Chauraha and Burlington Chauraha. These vend upmarket goods, and are naturally more expensive than the garden variety found elsewhere. There's stiff competition. Shop around.
  2. At Chowk (Reach Chowk Chauraha @ 26.865729, 80.908902). There are a large number of Chikan stores here. And most vend the everyday wear kind of Chikan. Hardly the kind of refined elegance which one looks for , when buying something special. Having said that, we did discover a Paridhan Chikan that some boutique owners in NCR make a beeline for @ 26.864941, 80.908725
One recommendation. Do turn a deaf year to every rick or auto who claims to know the ultimate Chikan collection. They are in it for a fast buck.

Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 22:32.
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Old 7th April 2015, 22:43   #5
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Default Bara Imambara Complex

The complex consists of five distinct buildings of which four are open to tourists.
  1. The Bara Imambara itself
  2. The Bhul Bhulaiyya (the Labyrinth)
  3. The Shahi Baoli (the well)
  4. The Rumi Darwaza
  5. The Masjid
Of the above, the last one is an active place of prayer, and not open for public viewing.


Enough has been said and written about these buildings. Many a horror story of poor souls lost in the labyrinth have chilled story tellers and listeners alike.

But, actually it's hard to see why that's the case, because it is quite difficult to get lost. One just has to get upto the terrace, walk to any one of the four corners, and take the single flight down to freedom.


But enough said! Let the pictures do the talking...

Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 22:49.
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Old 7th April 2015, 23:02   #6
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Default Sights... the Bara Imambara

The pictures are arranged in chronological order. Most of these are shot with very slow shutter speeds owing to ambient light conditions.

Therefore, despite reasonable precaution, some shots show unintended movement in the frame - other tourists, oscillating objects e.g. chandeliers.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by joybhowmik : 7th April 2015 at 23:03.
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Old 7th April 2015, 23:07   #7
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Default Chotta Imambara

The Chotta Imambara was being refurbished at the time we were there. Although small in comparison to the Bara Imambara, it's really a jewel!
Attached Thumbnails
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Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow-dsc_0377-copy.jpg  

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Old 7th April 2015, 23:22   #8
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Default The small but significant things

We stayed at Golden Tulip Hotel. Its centrally located, and has good parking facilities. Other than that my experience was not good. Read about it here.

The way back to Delhi took an hour more. Reason: SP decided to hold up NH-2 at Kanpur Dehaat to felicitate a local MLA for winning in a panchayat election. I guess Netaji needs his ruses.

Other than that, the run back to Delhi was unremarkable.

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Old 8th April 2015, 07:30   #9
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Default re: Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th April 2015, 10:40   #10
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Default re: Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

Incidentally, the hall in the Imambara (Chhota, I think) is the largest unsupported (no steel beams, etc here) structure anywhere. Believe it or not, I have never been in the Labyrinth even though I am a Lucknowite (born and brought up there).
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Old 9th April 2015, 17:58   #11
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Default Re: Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
This is not a travelogue.

It's about 48 hours... stolen just for ... kicks.
Your write up serves as an illustrative guide for anyone looking to visit Lucknow any time soon. Added to that are some awesome pictures for the readers' viewing pleasure. You could very well consider this as a travelogue.
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Old 11th April 2015, 23:30   #12
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Default Re: The small but significant things

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
We stayed at Golden Tulip Hotel. Its .........

Other than that, the run back to Delhi was unremarkable.
Hello joybhowmik,

Thank you for the fresh look at Lucknow from a visitor's eyes ! We have been living in Lucknow, off and on, for the past 20 years (I grew up and schooled in Allahabad before moving out into the wider world!) and it is amazing to see so much of the city that we have almost forgotten - thank you for this renewal of acquaintance with a city I felt we were familiar with till now!
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Old 15th October 2015, 16:55   #13
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Default Re: Sightseeing. The plans come unhinged. First Eat. Then Shop!

[quote=joybhowmik;3680630]We had ambitious plans. Eat at Tundays. Shop till we drop. Relax. And Sightsee.

In deference to the other priorities , sight seeing was last on the agenda. So, we could only take in the Bara Imambara complex, Chhota Imambara complex and the Rumi Darwaza.


For now, interesting spreads awaited us at the table. A sight for sore eyes.

Lunch is served... at Tundays

Digging In!

Dear Joy da,

Congrats for the beautiful write-up and pictures. I just want to ask all who have visited lucknow, including Sir Sgiitk, where are famous biryani shops. You also have forgotten to visit them, though you did taste the same at the famous tunda's.

You are not the person who forgets. ( Have closely followed all your travelogues). Any advise, as i am visiting lucknow on 18th oct, from kolkata on my way to kasauni. Your advise is highly solicited.

Regards
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Old 7th November 2015, 23:39   #14
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Default Re: Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

Dear BHPians, I am planning to stop over in Lucknow during my Delhi- Darbhanga journey. Looking for a decent hotel to stay in Lucknow which is not far from the highway so that I can save time while approaching and leaving Lucknow.

I will greatly appreciate any leads on this. I am using this thread because can't find a more suited thread available. Which leads me to a suggestion: why not have a hotel suggestion thread in which hotels are suggested from the point of view of high way access and from a driver's point of view in general. Thanks.
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Old 8th November 2015, 09:58   #15
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Default Re: Lost in the city of Nawabs - Lucknow

Quote:
Originally Posted by itinerant View Post
Dear BHPians, I am planning to stop over in Lucknow during my Delhi- Darbhanga journey. Looking for a decent hotel to stay in Lucknow which is not far from the highway so that I can save time while approaching and leaving Lucknow.

I will greatly appreciate any leads on this. I am using this thread because can't find a more suited thread available. Which leads me to a suggestion: why not have a hotel suggestion thread in which hotels are suggested from the point of view of high way access and from a driver's point of view in general. Thanks.
Great idea, itinerant!

I can right away suggest a hotel (The Picadilly) in Lucknow on the NH25A. This hotel is one where I have stayed before and I find it convenient and with decent standards (Cleartrip). NH25A connects Kanpur and Lucknow and the Picadilly is located well before the real congestion of Lucknow starts and is very close to the airport as well (2.8 km).
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