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Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Timings : 24 hours

Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow Overview

Rumi Darwaza in the heart of Lucknow looms over the busy everyday traffic of Lajpatnagar like an old guardian angel that has seen the city rise and fall. The ancient Awadhi architecture of Rumi Darwaza is one of those features of the old city of Lucknow which still clings on to the nostalgias of the past, like the horse driven Tonga cart. The creation of Rumi Darwaza has a very charitable reason behind it. When famine struck North India during 1748, the then Nawab of Lucknow came up with a plan that will feed his countrymen as well as give him something to cherish and be proud of.

As per the plan, the Awadhi workers built the great Rumi Darwaza for him, in exchange for every day’s meal. Back then it was the gateway to the royal city and palace, and the architecture was a flattering imitation of a similar specimen which stood in the then Byzantine empire, now called Istanbul.

Slowly and steadily, Rumi Darwaza has stopped being the majestic doorway to the royal residence, but it has nowhere lost its charm and significance as far as the culture of Lucknow is concerned. Instead of being abandoned, it has been incorporated into the modern world - such is the glory of the building. Through the arch of the Rumi Darwaza runs roadways to both sides and they remain busy, crowded and cacophonous all day long. The rush of vehicles and the brunt of time have weakened it, but it still stands ever strong and majestic.

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Etymology of Rumi Darwaza

Rumi Darwaza is said to be influenced by a similar gateway which stands in present-day Istanbul in Turkey. The now Islam-based city was once the prosperous capital Byzantine of the East Roman Empire, and this tie of architectural influence led to the corruption of the word Rome and became Rumi in India.

History of Rumi Darwaza

Now a landmark for the city of Lucknow, the great Rumi Darwaza was once built keeping a very noble and thoughtful idea in mind by the then Nawab. In 1748, the Awadh region along with a large portion of North India was going through a terrible phrase of famine and depression. Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula thus decided to set on certain construction projects as a food-for-work campaign which would generate employment for the common people and thus help the economy as well people's standard of living to get better a bit. He engineered the making of Bara Imambara and along with that the towering gateway - Rumi Darwaza. It did not take long to build the structures. Within two years, the fruit of labour was gracing the gateway to the Old City of Lucknow which was quite a feat given the critical situations.

Architecture of Rumi Darwaza

Rumi Darwaza might just look like all the other Islamic structures that dominate the old cities of North India, but its style is quite different than that of the Mughal or the Sultanate ones. The architecture of Rumi Darwaza is distinctive and in sync with the Nawabi gharana popular in the Awadhi region. Unlike the Mughals, who used red stone, the Nawabs of Lucknow used limestone which was much easy for carving intricately detailed designs than hard stone.

The top of the Rumi Darwaza at 60 feet height has a small octagonal place which is called the chhatri or umbrella – it looks over both sides of the gate from the absolute top. A staircase leads up to it, or so it did in the old days. So it can be assumed that this was either used for vigilance, or to light up the gate with a big lantern at night, which is the more popular history.

The whole structure of the massive door is decked with ornate patterns of flowers and leaves and other detailed designs that speak explicitly of the great craftsmanship of that time. It has four minarets at four corners, and it stretches out on both sides taking up almost the shape of a building rather than a gate. 

What To Expect at Rumi Darwaza

Rumi Darwaza is known for its true Awadhi style of architecture dating back to 1700s. Even though weak and decaying, it is still one of the biggest landmarks of Lucknow and stands tall and proud. If you visit at night, Rumi Darwaza is lit up and the archway can be witnessed in all its 250 years old glory. Do not forget to click pictures as the memory of the trip should remain with you forever, as well as a souvenir of the history.

How To Reach Rumi Darwaza

Being located near the city's heart, reaching Rumi Darwaza is not a trouble at all. Hire a rickshaw or a taxi, or a car from your hotel (if you don't know your way around) and reach there in a jiffy. It is only 5.5 km from the Lucknow Junction which is the nearest railway station.

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