I recently had the chance to visit Lucknow, the City Of Nawabs, on a business trip and I was blown away. Music, poetry, landscaped gardens; the royalty of the Nawabs, all intermingled with the humdrum of the mundane is what greets you on a typical day in this bustling city. With so much to see and do and the time crunch I had (thanks to my official meetings during the day), I had a lot to squeeze in and very little time.
I obviously needed professional guidance to take me around the city and I approached the reception of Renaissance Lucknow, the hotel that I was staying at. They suggested their personal Renaissance Navigator who would take me around the city and that’s how I met Omar, my navigator in Lucknow who took me on this amazing personalized tour of the city. Here are my top ten recommendations:
1. Visit The Bada Imambara
Built-in 1838 by the Nawab of Awadh to employ the poor, the bada Imambara and the Chota Imambara, consist of a Bowli, a Mosque and a Bhool Bhulaiya all located in the Bada Imambara. It is said that without a guide, it is next to impossible to come away from this historical monument, which is why I was really thankful to have Omar by my
side. He told me that the maze is the oldest of it’s kind and has many ways to go in but only one way out! The structure is constitutive of materials like Lakhori Brick, Pulses, Sugarcane. No iron rods were used and still, I could hear clearly through the walls.
2. Try The Famous Tundey Kebabs
The city has a lot of famous places to eat at and my personal favourite is, cliché as it sounds, the galouti kebabs at Tunday Kebabi. This 100-year-old little restaurant is worth all the effort it takes to get there and if it hadn’t been for
Omar, I’m pretty sure I’d have never found it. The kebabs are soft and melt in the mouth and totally deserve all the praise and accolades. I was told that the kebabs are made with minced meat, using 125 ingredients! 113 years old, the spices are specially handmade by the women of the house. And I could taste the distinct spices in every bite.
3. Get Enchanted By The Rumi Darwaza
Ruled by Mughals, Lucknow is heavily influenced by the Awadhi culture that is reflected in the language and architecture of the city as well. Constructed in 1784, Rumi Darwaza stands 60 feet tall! And it highlights the intricacies of Awadhi architecture perfectly. Definitely stop here to appreciate its old-world charm! I did and absolutely fell in love with it.
4. Soak In Some Lucknowi Culture
If you ever want to really experience the true feel of the city, then take a heritage walk through the streets of Lucknow. I went on a walk through some of the more offbeat places and absolutely loved the vibe and feel of the city.
5. Go Shopping At Hazratganj
This market is a one-stop-shop for all your needs in Lucknow and was established in 1810 by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. It used to be a favourite spot for royalty and the British alike for a walk and shopping exquisite hand made arts and crafts. Now, it’s a great place to buy precious chikan work in clothes and other crafts items. What will you buy? I had to get myself an authentic lucknowi chikan kurta!
6. Indulge In The Nahari Kulcha At Rahim’s
Started in 1890 by Haji Abdur Raheem Saheb, this is another meat lovers’ paradise! Kulcha, Roomali Roti and Sheermal all served with meat gravy are staples here. But the joint’s famous dish is the Nahari and Kulche combination. It was my favourite and I’d highly recommend it.
7. Experience Lucknowi Hospitality
Get a taste of Lucknowi hospitality at the Renaissance. I personally enjoyed the graciousness of the staff, luxurious rooms, amazing food and great views. Additionally, the hotel’s location is very convenient to explore the city and all that it has to offer.
8. Gorge On The Tokri Chaat
The tokri chats are immensely popular here and mind you, you cannot finish one tokri by yourself! I couldn’t either, the quantity is that crazy. And the tokri adds to a very quirky quotient to the otherwise common chaat. The flavours are spot on and very khatta mitha! Don’t miss out on this when in Lucknow, it’s literally available everywhere.
9. Visit The British Residency
The British Residency is a huge slice of Indian history. It served as a refugee home for Britishers during the mutiny of 1857 that saw a large uprising of Indians against British rule. The monument is also a graveyard for the many British soldiers who died during this very mutiny. Now also consisting of a museum, go learn for yourself!
10. Sip On The Iconic Sharmaji Ki Chai
The stall is a whopping 50 years old and draws young and old people alike, enjoying the flavoursome tea any time of the day. Omar suggested I have the Ginger tea and what a great idea it was. Sharmaji Ki Chai is actually worth all the hype should be on your list.
Thanks to my Renaissance Navigator, my itinerary was filled with the most authentic hidden gems the city had to offer. Unfortunately, my business trip in Lucknow was quite short and that was all that I had time for but would I like to visit this gorgeous city again? Absolutely, because there’s a lot more than what meets the eye and all that I’ve
missed is definitely on my list for my next trip. And for a more detailed guide, watch this:
Now you know what to do the next time you are in Lucknow, the city of Nawabs.
*This is a sponsored article written in association with Renaissance Hotels*