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A city of kebabs and nawabs, of architecture and history, of literature and culture – that is Lucknow in a nutshell for you. The capital and the largest city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, situated on the banks of river Gomti, welcomes you with a heartwarming note of "Muskuraiyein, kyunki aap Lucknow mein hai". Known as the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow has a charm to it that is hard to resist. While the city itself is rich and opulent, the people of Lucknow also follow an endearing 'pehle aap' (you first) culture, which always leaves behind a smile on the faces of its visitors. From a slice of rich colonial history to modernized museums, the 'City of Nawabs' beautifully brings together the opulence of a glittering past and the simplicity of a modern city.
Rumi Darwaza, the Mughal Gateway built in the centre of the capital divides Lucknow into the 'Old Lucknow' which is ancient, more crowded, and comprises most of the Muslim population, and the 'New Lucknow' which is urban and one of the most planned cities of Asia. Old Lucknow is home to the iconic Mughal monument known as the Bara Imambara, where you will find the Bhool Bhulaiya, which is basically a complex, an intricately designed labyrinth with around 500 almost-identical doors and around a thousand passageways connected by multiple flights of stairs. The Bara Imambara is an architectural marvel in and of itself and is an exemplary embodiment of Awadhi architecture and culture. Close by, Husainabad Clock Tower exhibits traces of Victorian architecture, while Moti Mahal serves as an excellent vantage point for bird watching.
Most of Old Lucknow is well-known for its bustling, vibrant streets, its authentic, mouth-watering kebab and biriyani outlets, its lakhnavi chikan market, and its wholesale jewellery stores.
New Lucknow, on the other hand, hosts people of varied cultures and is structurally planned with wide roads, shopping malls and parks built to serve varied entertainment purposes. The most famous among these parks are the Ambedkar Park and the Gomti Riverfront Park, both ideal places for visiting and strolling around with friends and family in the evening. The Ambedkar Park, in particular, is spread across a staggering 107 acres of land, and is a colossal memorial park built entirely out of red sandstone. Despite being a park, the place doesn’t actually have any trees, and the only nature connect you will find here are the beautiful elephant stone statues, which are eye-catching, nevertheless.
The Marine Drive of Lucknow, situated beside the Ambedkar Park, is a beautiful boulevard devoid of transport, and both locals, as well as tourists, come here during the mornings and the evenings for a casual walk or a jog.
Hazratganj, a major shopping area located in the heart of the city, is famous for its 'chaat' and 'kulfi' eateries, posh Mughlai restaurants, and various shopping complexes. All the buildings in Hazratganj have a distinct Victorian architecture, and you can shop for literally anything you want here – starting from inexpensive accessories and trinkets to high-end clothes, shoes and jewellery.