The City Of Tehzeeb – Lucknow

I have been travelling a lot since my childhood.been to many places…..But there are a few which settle deep in your heart forever,like they were your own and one of them is luchnow…the city of Nawabs or what we call as the city of tehzeeb which means the ‘City of Culture’.So what are you waiting for come lets take a ride….

 

The first place I take an out-of-town visitor is Bhool Bhulaiya, built by Nawab Asif Ud Daulah to employ the people of Lucknow when a famine had struck. People preferred to work than qualify for royal charity.

When I crave a nature walk I always go to the National Botanical Research Institute, an 1857 memorial and garden. To escape city traffic, I head to the Residency, a British stronghold from the 1857 war. If You want to browse books I go to the East End Mall, and check out the Landmark Book Store.

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If you come to the city, get your picture taken with Birju Maharaj (if he is in town), the Kathak (classical dance) guru.If you have to order one thing off the menu from Chaudhary Sweet House it has to be Chola-Bhatura.Thingz Boutique is my one-stop shop for great Chikan embroidered dresses, saris, and kurta pyjamas.When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Bhootnath Market for inexpensive deals.

Photo ops in my city include the Imambaras, La Martiniere College, the Residency and the best vantage points are the rooftop of Bhool Bhulaiya (Bara Imambara), the cemetery at the Residency, and the sunset across the Gomti River. The most random thing about my city is the chaste language (Urdu) used by the common man.My city has the most cultured, chivalrous, romantic, and poetic men.My city has the most petite, elegant, educated, and aesthetically inclined women.In my city, an active day outdoors involves a visit to the Lucknow Zoological Garden, the National Botanical Garden, La Martiniere College, Kukrail (alligator sanctuary), or Lohia Park.

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My city’s best museum is State Museum at the zoo. It features sculpture from the Kushan School and statues of Buddha discovered at Mathura. It also contains great marble statues of British royalty from the pre-independence era (before 1947). My favorite jogging/walking route is the walking plaza within the Lucknow Cantonment.For a night of dancing, go to Nashwa. Or, for live classical Indian music and theatre, check out Rai Umanath Bali Auditorium, Ganna Sansthan Auditorium, or Valmiki Rangshala.

 

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read The Times of India.You can tell a lot about my city by the way the taxi drivers greet you. Lucknow is known for its respectful and poetic language. You can tell someone is from my city when they open their mouth to speak–a language of poetry, tongue-in-cheek wit, and respect.In summer, savor a drink of thandhai or lassi at the Chowk market.

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In fall, come to Lucknow during the rainy season and enjoy the festival of Teej during which married women get together and tattoo their palms with henna, wear green clothes, sing rain songs pertaining to the gods, and celebrate conjugal love.

In winter, celebrate Makar Sankranti with bonfires and sesame goodies. A hidden gem in my city is the Picture Gallery that has life-size portraits of all the Nawab rulers of Lucknow. For a great breakfast joint try Nihari-kulche at Akbari Gate in Old Lucknow. Don’t miss the Dussehra festival in Lucknow, a spectacle of fireworks commemorating man’s victory over evil within, symbolizing the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.

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Just outside my city, you can visit Naimisharanya, a place where yogis live. The best way to see my city is by staying as a paying guest with a local. If the city were a pet it would be a song bird.If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in the mango orchards of Malihabad, on the outskirts of Lucknow. The best book about the city is Lucknow: The Fire of Grace by Amresh Misra.

 

When I think about the city, the song that comes to mind is “Aapko dekh kar dekhta reh gaya, kya kahun aur kehne ko kya reh gaya…” meaning, “I am spellbound by just looking at you! I cannot speak, I am so enthralled by you.” What more can I say?! Welcome to the Paris Of East.

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