Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh state in the north west of India. Once known as the city of Nawabs (Muslim princes), Lucknow’s colourful history is clearly evident in its grand architecture, from colonial Government buildings to elaborate mausoleums.
Stop off in Lucknow for a day or two on your way to the Taj Mahal or stay for longer to fully experience the rich culture and famously delicious cuisine of this fascinating city.
Top things to see and do
- Step back in time amid the ruins of the British Residency, where around 3000 British men, women and children took refuge during the Siege of Lucknow in India’s First War of Independence in 1857.
- Shop for chikan (finely embroidered muslin cloth) and attar (essential oil extracted from flowers) in Janpath Market.
- Explore the labyrinth (bhulbhulayah) on the upper floors of the Bara Imambara, an impossibly grand construction built in 1784 to keep locals employed during a time of famine. There are over 1000 dark corridors in the labyrinth, so it’s a good idea to take a guide with you.
- Stop off for a bite to eat in Tunday Kabab, Lucknow’s renowned 100-year-old kebab shop. Try the mutton biryani and kebabs made to a secret recipe using 160 spices.
- Pass through the zoo to gain entry to the extensive art, natural history and ethnographic collections in the State Museum. Highlights include a 17th century wine jar that belonged to Aurangzeb, the last great Moghul Emperor.
Tips for travellers
For a 2-day trip outside of Lucknow, try a Jeep or elephant safari around Dudhwa National Park. There are upto 100 tigers in the park, as well as swamp deer, leopards, sloth bears and more. Dudhwa is about 4 hours from Lucknow by bus.