Thursday, 25 December 2014

(Don't) Lucknow

This blog covers our short visit to Lucknow - a city steeped in history with many interesting buildings and sites to visit.  Surprisingly, there are few tourists around which is a shame because the city has a lot to offer.

Our first stop on arrival is the Royal Hut which serves fantastic aloo ticki and masala dosas - the photo is taken in the morning but trust me in the evening it's mobbed by locals who enjoy the open air dining in an informal setting.

The Shah Najaf is a replica of a tomb in Iraq - during the relief of Lucknow the British relieving force met with stern resistance from the rebels (or freedom fighters depending on your perspective) who occupied the Shah Najaf - two VCs were won in the battle.

There are many pretty buildings, many of which are under the care of the Indian Architectural Society - here an umbrella lies neglected in a small garden

The Mermaid Gate in rose coloured stone

The fish are the emblem of the local ruler but the background to the mermaids is not known but we are a long way from the sea

Everywhere you look the kids are playing cricket, often from an early age and with rudimentary equipment

It's said you haven't seen Lucknow unless you've visited the Chowk, a maze of alleys and homes

Entrance to the chowk

In the chowk is the Kings Unani Hospital which provides free 'medicine' made from herbs for all manner of ailments.  The apothecary bears some resemblance to Compo

He kindly provides John with two specially mixed potions - one for digestion, and one for wind! A kite might have been a better prescription.

A quick stop for chai

These guys are making silver foil - they start with a small piece of silver and using small wooden mallets to hammer the foil which is microns thin - the rhythmic hammering is hypnotic

The chowk is narrow and crowded but that doesn't stop motor bikes, dogs and cattle from wandering through the alleys

We head out from the chowk to find the Bara Imambara.  Usually we would jump an auto rickshaw but today we engaged a pedal rickshaw.  This guy must have been at least 70, was thin as a rake and pedalled a rickshaw containing John and myself uphill for over a mile - for about 30p

John offered to swap seats but this fellow wouldn't hear of it.  Just as well, the crowded streets needed local knowledge

On the way down to the Bara Imanbara

Mosque at the Bara

Entrance to the Bara

There was a wedding at the Kaiserbagh - these guys are the caterers

Wedding or not, those bricks won't lay themselves

The Residency at Lucknow has been preserved in the condition it was left in after the 147 day siege in 1857.  Thousands of lives were lost around here including almost 2,000 British men, women and children.  On the 16 November 1857 Lucknow was relieved - on that day 24 VCs were won, the most VCs awarded in a single day

View through the windows and doorways

Part of the Residency has been converted into a small museum.  Outside, one of the large field guns used in the siege.  The Indian troops were well trained and well equipped

The cemetery in the grounds contains many graves although a significant number bear no details

The tombstone of Sir Henry Lawrence, the commander of the British garrison who died early in the siege - he dictated the epitaph as he lay dying of his wounds

The clock tower still bears the scars of cannon ball and musket round

The usual Lucy posse was in attendance

The Indian monument to its martyrs from the Indian Mutiny stands over the road from the Residency on the banks of the River Gomti

And finally, we allow one small reminder of Christmas - Happy Christmas to everyone back home

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic........Merry Christmas to you both.xxxxxxxx